Sunday, November 17, 2013
Prayer in the face of “Freewill”: The bugaboo Christians don’t want to hear.
I was reading about a Christian pastor who is imprisoned in Iran for promoting Christianity. Naturally, the Christian community has been praying their knees to the bone for the past year or so for his release, with zero luck. In fact, he was just transferred to the most hideous prison in Iran for their troubles.
On the same day I read a tragic story about a Youth Pastor in California who lead a prayer meeting calling on god to end gun violence. That evening he was shot dead in the street.
Both stories had reader comments explaining how it wasn’t the failing of prayer that has caused these unfortunate predicaments. No, it is the fact that god gave man “free will,” and its man’s evil use of freewill that is the problem.
The religious always seem to have an explanation for why things don’t work out the way they wish / pray / or are promised they would. It’s easy to do because - unlike reality - the supernatural is as fluid as a puddle of mercury. When in doubt, just make it up, who’s going to prove you wrong? But this time they stepped into a pile of steaming prairie pizza that is inescapable. Here’s why:
If as Xtians say god gave man free will, then by praying for the incarcerated pastor to be set free they are imploring the god thing to intervene and take back / over rule the free will of his Iranian captors. Similarly, by praying for gun violence to stop, they are imploring their god to intervene in the evil actions of freewill-possessing-gun-toting-criminals.
Now here’s the paradox: If god thing can revoke freewill, impose his preference on man, based on prayers of the faithful then it's not free will at all; it’s simply an illusion of free will ... thus freewill is a lie.
On the other hand, if free will trumps prayers, and thus god doesn't / won’t intervene to change man's mind/behavior, then why pray for world peace, or pray for an end to abortion, or pray for non-believers to come to jebus, or pray for any condition that is controlled by human thought and action?
Now, reason tells us you can’t have it both ways. Prayer is either effective in getting god thing to cloud mens' minds and turn their unkind acts or alter their preferences; or prayer is ineffective in the face of freewill.
When posing this problem to a believer one encounters only the usual mindless platitudes (i.e. “God is good ALLLLL the time!!!!!”); or the inevitable cry of “CONTEXT!!!”; or the endless quoting of some totally unrelated biblical verse in an effort to divert the issue. I have yet to find a Christian capable of reasoning through this dilemma and rendering an intelligible response. See if you can find one. Good luck.
But it’s not their fault. They are condemned by their mind virus to endlessly try and defend a befuddled, defunct, contradictory and utterly absurd doctrine.