Thursday, May 27, 2010

50 blogs on disbelief - Prayers

50 Blogs on Disbelief
My thoughts on the book, 50 Voices of Disbelief, Why We Are Athiests, edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk. Written as I read them in no particular order. The page number of the essay is provided at the top of each entry.
p. 118 Christine Overall “Unanswered Prayers”

This one was unusual in how personal it was. It recounted some fears she experienced as a 9 year old at Bible camp, afraid of the dark. She covers some of the positive aspects of prayer that don’t require the existence of a deity; it gives one the feeling that they are doing something to help themselves and that you have someone to talk to. She also points out that in the case of opposing sports teams, only one will have their wish granted.

So, this early experience started her pondering about the “favoritism” of God. As an adult she sees this as part of the “argument from evil”, or the “problem of evil”. In this case, the problem is not just that there is evil in the world, but that God only does good things sometimes. It seems to expose some weakness of God. It gradually led her to believe that the Christian God has no sense of justice. She concludes she might as well believe there is no God “of the sort to whom I thought I was praying when I was a lonely and frightened little girl.”

I think I have spoke to this line of logic enough to not have to repeat it here. I don’t worry about Christine or her soul or have any desire to attempt to convince her that some other sort of God is worth praying to. I do hope that religious leaders will read this book or similar essays and give some consideration to what they are saying to 9 year old girls who are afraid of the dark.


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