29 Aug 2012 37 Comments
I often see posts on Facebook from people asking for prayers for someone to be cured of some horrible illness or terrible trauma and there are always dozens, hundreds of comments underneath saying that prayer is stronger than X disease, than Y trauma. That if all these people are praying, the person just HAS to get better.
I don’t get it.
What happens if the person doesn’t get better? Are all those people then angry at god? Do they feel that, well, they obviously didn’t pray hard enough or the person wasn’t deserving enough to live? I find that hard to believe – most people that I know who have a lot of faith are good, decent people who don’t tend to think that way about others.
But this is where my whole lack of faith gets me into trouble. Because I want to ask these questions. I’d like to know what people who have this unshakeable faith think when something terrible like this happens. How do you hold on to your faith in the face of something life-shattering like losing your partner or child or parent?
To me, if someone has inoperable, untreatable brain tumors or a car accident has ruined his brain, then it’s up to the doctors. They know how to treat a patient with such a condition and of course, you try everything, but I don’t think praying to take away tumors or illness or head trauma is going to do anything.
I mean, it’s probably comforting to the people doing the praying. I’ve heard lots of people talk about the comfort they feel in their faith. But I just cannot believe in a god who would arbitrarily allow Mary’s prayers to save John, but Sally’s prayers don’t save Sam. I just can’t believe that. I find it hard to even wrap my mind around the fact that people DO believe that, that they believe that prayer works, that it does anything other than comfort the bereft standing by the bedside.
I believe people think they’re doing the good and decent thing when they say they’ll pray and fast so that someone will get better.
Because if it doesn’t work, then what?
Seriously. Then what?
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