Friday, October 09, 2009

Why I Don't Pray (Killing the Buddha)

This puts into words how I've been feeling for a good long while.

Why I Don't Pray from Killing the Buddha

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Scott Robinson said...

Terrific; I often feel the same way. I like your writing, too.

Mr. Adkins said...

You're kidding, right? Aren't you a minister or something?

Look, I honestly don't go around to random blogs and comment like this, but I was intrigued by your "Preacher Mama" post. I must say I am horrified that you are what seems to be a minister or pastor and promote a message such as "Why I don't pray" with such silly reasoning. So, for the sake of the Gospel, I must comment.

Men and women CAN certainly pray when they are in need, this is one great consolation, BUT it is NOT WHY Christians pray. We pray because "it is meet and right" to do so. We OWE to God our prayers and praise.

If the God Christian men and women worship is merely the projection of their own ideology or pre-supposed notions/desires, then of course why bother praying? After all, you're praying to yourself (like Arthur Goldwag, author of that childish article you linked)! This is why he, and apparently you, have stopped praying: the God you believe in is not God at all, but something else... Then to make excuses for not praying is even dumber (and possibly more arrogant): God is the creator of the "double helix." So, I guess God's not interested in your or my needs and thoughts? Is that what the Father said to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? "Sorry, I can't pass this cup right now because I'm perfecting the double helix of a newly evolved species of monkey, and then I'm all booked-up bonding some protons and neutrons?" Riiiight.

BUT, if God IS the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, and impassible God, Creator, Sanctifier, and Redeemer of the Universe, then we OWE the Lord praise and thanksgiving... and we ought to ask the Lord for help sometimes too, because when we try and solve our problems and the world's problems according to our own agenda we are once again worshiping ourselves.

If you buy into Goldwag's dribble, then I dare say you are guilty of moralistic-therapudic-deism. In other words, you can only imagine worshiping a God of your own creation who is simply there to affirm and re-affirm your individualism and personal preferences. Might as well resurrect that dead Buddha, Arthur. Or better yet, follow the so called "prosperity Gospel" of Joel Osteen and the like.

Does not Christ himself pray and teach the disciples to pray?

Arthur writes: "I know that many people approach their spirituality in a completely different way and I have no argument with them." Great and fine, but did God really intend to merely have 6 billion individualistic relationships at any given time? What is "church" and what is "communion" and what is "community?" Again, this reflects an idea that God is merely a projection and deification of one's own desires/agenda. If this were God, then I'd become an agnostic too. Why bother?

Sheesh. Time to get back to basics.

I strongly recommend you read some Aquinas or Augustine or Church Fathers. Maybe Theresa of Avilla's "Interior Castle"? I hope this does not appear rude to you. I really only want to help or if nothing else provide a perspective from another side. Such an idea as you have proposed flies in the face of almost 2,000 years of Christian thought on prayer...

God bless you.

Stasi said...

Dude, chill. I'm not a "minister or something". I'm a Christian with a lot of doubts and questions about my faith, as you'll see if you read through the blog.

I like presenting people with thought-provoking writing. Clearly I've provoked some thought in you. But just because you have God all figured out, doesn't mean the rest of us do. So give me a break.

Mr. Adkins said...

I do apologize for what appears to be an angry rant. I guess I am weary of Christians saying "I have doubts about my faith" because it undermines the very meaning of the word "faith." It's one thing to be uncertain of how to live out the faith, but another to doubt the faith. At any rate, I ask your forgiveness for the caustic tone.

No one has God "figured out," but certainly God gives us plenty of wisdom to know who God is and how we ought to live our lives.

When I lost my mother 6 years ago (she was 49) I realized we just don't have that much time on earth. God is a God who wants us to know who he is and what he has for us- we don't need to use our entire lifetime to figure those two things out: God gratuitously gives that wisdom to us-we simply need to accept it in humility and submission to his will.

After my mother's passing I read Christian works and prayed voraciously and had a "conversion experience" so to speak. I'm now in the hard part-the real and ordinary part-of the Christian walk... actually living the faith out well. (And yes, I can be an asshole! I was just at Confession this morning.)

That said, I do get pretty passionate and frustrated when I see Christians preaching a false Gospel or heading down "dead end" paths theologically or philosophically. (By no means do I think that you were purposely trying to confuse anyone etc.)

I was so poorly catechized as a youth that it pains me that kids are no longer taught the "basics" of the faith. I made a lot of poor decisions because my catechesis consisted of "Jesus loves you!" "How do you feel about God?" "Who do you think God is?" "How is God in your heart?"... and other BS like this.

At the end of the day, smarter people have done all of the difficult and existential thinking for us modern Christians. The Rick Warren's, Joel Osteen's, Pat Robertson's, and liberal/progressive theologians of today have little to offer if anything at all. All a person really needs at the core is the Nicene Creed, a community of fellow disciples, charity, and humility.

Virtually all the important questions have been pondered in more thoughtful ways in prior epochs. Our task is to apply that wisdom to modern problems, not to rethink Christianity as so many moderns are guilty of (ie: don't walk away from one of the primary vehicles by which to commune with God: prayer).

So, don't give up quiet, contemplative prayer! Buddhists even pray... except they aren't praying to anything! As when Elijah encountered God in Kings:

"11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"

God bless.