In a friendly liberal Christian blog site a rather long letter from a Christian working with war refugee children in Sudan was posted. Clearly the writer is a dedicated and committed person, and is doing good works which of course she attributes to God’s calling. Among the readership of that blog are many platitude murmuring Christians. The kind who leave comments like this:
“Until the world acknowledges Sudan and gets on it knees and cries for God's mercy on this region, it will not substantially change at the hands of governments.”
I am a tolerated atheist guest there and it’s not a debate blog, so I'm not about to reply and play mean old logical atheist spoiler (something which at least one Fundie has already accused me in the past). So, out of respect for the owner I opted to withhold comment. Instead I sent the Fundie’s platitudinous comment along with four questions to a Christian friend. Here they are:
1) If god were omniscient, omnipotent, Omni benevolent, obviously he would be aware (omniscient) of the conditions in Sudan; obviously he would have the power to do something about it (omnipotent) ; and obviously he wouldn't need to be begged for "mercy" to respond, he would do the right thing independently (Omni benevolent). So, why is prayer needed, and why doesn’t he do the right thing now without prompting?
2) Since this Fundie infers that prayer volume is necessary to resolving Sudan’s problems, it presupposes that god reacts to, and prioritizes his responses, based on numbers and or intensity of prayer. So, if one person's prayers aren't sufficient to provoke god’s action, how many does it take? 72 people? 123,000 people? 3 million people? All 6.7 billion people?
3) Christians always tout that “God gives man free will", and thus does not intervene and influence man's thinking by manipulating his brain. If this is basic doctrine then the prayers for “God’s mercy” must be asking for god's direct, divine and miraculous intervention in Sudan. So why is the Fundie expecting god to effect a substantial change through governmental (Man's) action, unless he doesn't believe in "free will” or he’s asking God to violate his doctrine?
4) Finally, when was the last time civil strife and war was directly stayed by god's direct intervention and not by the intervention of a stronger saving military force ... or threat of same? Remembering that with "free will" God doesn't instigate men’s minds to form saving forces. As far as a force of arms, God would be limited to an army of his personal heavenly host.
Unfortunately my Christian friend demurred and opted out. Instead offering that any answer she could supply would never satisfy my purely logical thinking process. She also inferred I was intent on ridiculing her beliefs (irrefutable reasoning does have a way of sounding condescending to theists, I suppose). But I surmise that what was really happening was that inescapable dilemma theists have always wrestled with for years: the brain whispers “reason…logic!” but the religion meme shouts “STOP THAT!!”.