Monday, May 23, 2011

Superstitious Prayer

I didn't realize until this morning that I forgot to post yesterday. Whoops. I was too busy being grumpy at my family and sleeping to remember...

But, on the bright side, I found out today that my stepdad got his job back! Now we can get out of debt! Hooray!

Anyway, as I was driving to the doctor's office today, I found myself sending up a silent prayer for safety. It was more of a reflex than an actual cry for help. It's just that I find driving so stressful that I want to make sure nothing happens. These subconscious prayers happen other times as well, such as when I'm taking a test or worried about a missing pet. It bothers me when I do this because it just seems like superstition to me. I don't really trust God to deliver, I just want to stack the deck in my favor. I think a lot of modern-day Christians are like this. They want life to go well for them, so they lift up a prayer in an attempt to placate the one holding the strings. It's like he's our all-powerful good luck charm or something, and I don't like it. What kind of relationship is that?

This sort of "easy answer" mentality shows up even more rampantly when the question of "God's will" comes up. I have heard people say so often (enough to want to hurl) when something doesn't go as planned, "Well, it must not have been God's will." What?! That's pure fatalism! Sometimes things just happen because God has allowed us to live in a free universe. He's not up there arranging everything in our lives to go exactly as he has planned. Sure, I believe God can give direction to those who ask, but I think our fall-back statement when things so wrong should not be something about his will. Sometimes we just don't know. And to live otherwise is to do away with free will.

I apologize that my thoughts are a little scattered today. I tried arranging this post several ways and just could not get it right. I don't really know how to state what I feel about these things. I just know they bug me.


  1. If you take a moment to gather your thoughts and focus on the task of driving a motorized vehicle easily capable of killing others or yourself through a brief lapse of concentration, then I say your prayer is not superstitious in the least.

  2. Yeah, I've had thoughts along those lines. You know how some evangelicals will tell you, If you Seek After His Kingdom everything will fall into place in your life. But when something terrible happens to a devout believer -- say, their child dies -- they tell the devout believer, "God is mysterious." To me, it sound like they want to have it both ways. That is, they want the comfort of a Sugar Daddy for a God, but they want the "out" of saying He is "mysterious" if He doesn't act in a Sugar Daddy kind of way. The truth, I think, is that crap happens to everybody. Much of what happens in life is random. To me, it's now accident that God "uses" evolution. It seems to me that that is the way He works all the time: in a very roundabout, backdoor kind of way -- a very Hands Off way, even.