from The Onion

from The Onion

Christianity commonly teaches that God always answers prayer in one of four ways (here’s an example):
1) Yes
2) No
3) Wait
4) A specific answer. ex. “Choose chocolate, not vanilla.”

Let’s examine these answers a bit more, shall we? I hope it’s agreed that no one can physically hear God. We just don’t have casual back-and-forth chit-chats with the Almighty Whatsit. Prayer, for even the most sensitive and faithful religious individual, is a one-way street. If we could hear God, we wouldn’t need to guess what he was saying in response, now would we?

So, of the four answers, only two seem to bring any visible results: “Yes” and “Chocolate”. When folks say “God answered my prayer!” they–trust me on this–always mean he said “Yes” and they got what they wanted, or they felt a “nudge” to choose chocolate over vanilla (Who wouldn’t? All gods love chocolate). Nobody that I’ve ever met jumps for joy and tells all their friends when nothing wonderful happens. Nobody tries to prove God by saying “God said no to healing my grandma!”

Still, the belief remains that God answers every single prayer. So, how do we tell when God says “No”? What about “Wait”? How do you know if your answer is coming or not at all? What if you’re waiting for guidance on which job to take or which college to go to or if you should marry JoeBob or not? How can you tell what the answer is?

You can’t. Thems the runs, folks. You cannot possibly know whether God is saying JoeBob’s a douche or if the University of Fabric Arts is the place for you. And if nothing happens in your favor, you are left to wonder if God doesn’t favor you and your requests. The only thing that can tell you the answer is the knowledge and inclination of your own mind.

When God says “No,” “Wait,” or even “Chocolate,” you hear the very same as if God never said anything at all: silence you must interpret for yourself. Even if you think God might be saying Chocolate is better, it can’t be certain nor decided. Each person will have their own reasons for believing God prefers one flavor to another. Isn’t it funny how God’s tastes seem intimately closely tied to culture, personal preference, and what we want for ourselves?

What should the believer do when all they have in return from God is confusing silence? Take heart. It’s not as lonely as one may think. The silence is frightening, but what comes out of that silence is the wisdom and intellectual ability of the human mind.

To better explain what prayer is, check this out:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

15 thoughts on “When God Says No”

Adam · April 16, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I've had to explain this several times for several people. It's actually been a fairly powerful argument. It works. People seem to be fairly receptive to so logical a thought. Even faithful Christians often have trouble making sense of prayer. It just isn't logical. Great post.

    godlessgirl · April 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Well, I think if someone can let go of his/her stubbornness to believe prayer is what they *hope* it is, then logic can make an impression. The video I show above made a deep impression on my during my doubting months before I deconverted. But it was so hard to admit because I counted on prayer for so many things.

      jesuspoet · April 23, 2009 at 5:45 pm

      I saw a video on YouTube that demonstrated the the logical illusion of it all. It made a big impression on me. That was really one of the big catalysts in my deconversion.

Adam · April 16, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I've had to explain this several times for several people. It's actually been a fairly powerful argument. It works. People seem to be fairly receptive to so logical a thought. Even faithful Christians often have trouble making sense of prayer. It just isn't logical. Great post.

    godlessgirl · April 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Well, I think if someone can let go of his/her stubbornness to believe prayer is what they *hope* it is, then logic can make an impression. The video I show above made a deep impression on my during my doubting months before I deconverted. But it was so hard to admit because I counted on prayer for so many things.

      jesuspoet · April 23, 2009 at 5:45 pm

      I saw a video on YouTube that demonstrated the the logical illusion of it all. It made a big impression on me. That was really one of the big catalysts in my deconversion.

Pavel · April 26, 2010 at 8:53 am

Nice logic.

In spite of being incomplete and misleading in my opinion. God is not a math problem you solve on a piece of paper.

Your logic is totally correct given your preliminary agreed (_believed_ to be true) by you assumptions. OK, you reach the answer you would like to hear.

What about if God _could_ be heard, even physically with your ears? What about if God promptly says to you “WAIT” and you are _sure_ about it? The logic given in the post fails miserably.

Hmm, you haven’t experienced it personally so it can’t be true, right? Yes, this is a possible way for the thought but is it correct? No in my opinion, personal experience is NOT the only way of learning.

And I hope some day after years of bitterness and misery “in the godless way” could show if emotionless logic and reason are the Guide and the only Truth.

May God bless you in your journey!

Pavel · April 26, 2010 at 3:53 am

Nice logic.

In spite of being incomplete and misleading in my opinion. God is not a math problem you solve on a piece of paper.

Your logic is totally correct given your preliminary agreed (_believed_ to be true) by you assumptions. OK, you reach the answer you would like to hear.

What about if God _could_ be heard, even physically with your ears? What about if God promptly says to you “WAIT” and you are _sure_ about it? The logic given in the post fails miserably.

Hmm, you haven’t experienced it personally so it can’t be true, right? Yes, this is a possible way for the thought but is it correct? No in my opinion, personal experience is NOT the only way of learning.

And I hope some day after years of bitterness and misery “in the godless way” could show if emotionless logic and reason are the Guide and the only Truth.

May God bless you in your journey!

leScepticisme · February 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Godlessgirl,

Thank you for your work. You help to inspire “quiet” atheists like me to speak out more against. If only I had time to keep a blog as well!

PaganMusing · May 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

I’ve heard this argument before and it’s powerful to how a lot of people view prayer and relationship between his/herself and deity. It isn’t so powerful for me. I have a relationship with my deities because they’ve made themselves known. They communicate all the time with me and not just when I pray or ask for help.

Indeed “no” and “wait” are some of the most important responses my deities have given me. My “wait” is always a specific amount of time and my “nos” often come with explanation as to why not.

I remember being Christian and praying to a silent God, longing for more understanding, communication and intervention. That part of me sees this video and knows that if I had not found more communicative gods who’ve forged a personal relationship that suits us both, the desperate silence of Christianity, and the callous demanding God would have crushed me.

I hope people watch this video and think on what they want in their life and their faith. May it open conversation and save people from silence (assuming they are like me and require dialogue to continue a belief structure in a changing world).

Ezekiel Heikkila · June 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

Wonderful paintings! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the internet. Shame on the search engines for now not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

mobile games · April 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing
this blog. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts
from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now
😉

battle nations hack tool zip password · July 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

They are good source of entertainment and recreational purposes.
Since we have seen Angry Birds for its huge battle nations hack community,
cool customizable characters and create a mobile casino
for a while and can be played, using play money or real money, play a game.
You can see the results have been devised to protect your home or waiting battle nations hack to receive an email
to staff Tuesday. Though a number of mobile games, shooting, puzzles and non-violent mobile games provide non-profits,
social activists, and brand, and a good collection of action to reveal
its technical specifications.

Did the Prayers for Christopher Hitchens Work? | Godless Girl · September 21, 2010 at 11:21 am

[…] doesn’t want to heal […]

Comics and Cancer | Godless Girl · December 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

[…] praying for healing, you never know if you’ll be heard or if it will ever happen. There can be no reasonable expectation or […]

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

my past

Be the One to Turn On the Light

I remember reluctantly stepping out of faith into atheism feeling as if everything I cared about had been erased against my will. My community support structure was gone; my family now felt like strangers; and I had Read more…

religion

A Little “Thank You” to Atheism

Thank you, Atheism, for: Causing me to realize my ethics need to come from my own truth, and not from someone’s interpretation of a book or prophetic message. Challenging me when I was comfortable and Read more…

Christianity

Let’s Give It Up for the WTF

I love that somewhere out there in the world lives a person who uses precious minutes of their day to comment on reviews of Snow White and the Huntsman like this: THANK YOU TO THE USA. Read more…