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No prayers. (Why not?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bleeding Heart Prayers

Well, this blog may still be in its infancy, but that hasn't stopped some good Christians telling me that they are going to pray for me already. If you're willing to help me out so much by saying a prayer, let me ask you for a favor, then...

Please don't pray for me; instead, put that time to better use by donating blood. How long would a prayer be about me? It has been a while since I prayed last, but I would imagine a "good" prayer would be about two minutes (unless you do it half-heartedly). I am estimating two minutes as you must pray for God to shine light on me, Jesus to enter my heart, let me realize the wickedness of my ways, etc. And how many times would you pray for me? Does it take just one prayer to save me, or would you include me in your nightly prayers for a week?

Let's assume the latter case. So, you would spend about 10-15 minutes to pray for me in a week. Why not put that time to actual use and donate blood? Blood donation takes 7-10 minutes. If your God hasn't revealed Himself to me like he has done so for you, obviously he doesn't want me to believe in Him anyway, so why try to change his mind? And even if your prayers succeeded, that took 10-15 minutes to save one person. Had you taken 7-10 minutes of that time, you could have donated a pint of blood which could have saved three people. If you're a good bleeder, you could have donated two pints within 15 minutes, and thus saved six people.

Since Christianity is so big on sacrifices, allow me to sacrifice my salvation by having you save up to six people by donating blood than saving one person by praying for me. And, if you're really wanting to save people, why not also be a platelet donor like me by also donating platelets? It may take up to 90 minutes per donation, but you can donate 1.5 gallons of blood and also almost 10 gallons of platelets every year. You can donate platelets to save many children whom God has cursed with leukemia or you can waste your time trying to save someone who God has cursed with rationality.

It just adds up: blood donation > prayer.

17 comments:

flinging dust said...

Prayer: a way to feel like you're doing something without ever actually doing a damn thing.

I love your response to this. If anyone told me they were going to pray for me I'd tell them to take that time and 5 bucks and donate it to UNICEF instead. That way they would actually be doing something useful and just talking to the ceiling.

Brittany said...

"And even if your prayers succeeded, that took 10-15 minutes to save one person. Had you taken 7-10 minutes of that time, you could have donated a pint of blood which could have saved three people."

I don't think you quite understand. When a non-christian accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her Savior then that is a glorious day indeed. I think that we could agree on the fact that every human beings life is valuable. While giving blood is a very nice gesture, praying for ones salvation is much more important.

A Christian = Eternal life through Jesus Christ!

Giving blood = Limited life in a sinful world.

Choose Christ friend....

In Christian Love,
Brittany

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Hello Brittany,

Thank you for your comments and taking time to read the post. I appreciate the thoughtful words. Do not misunderstand me, though, I do understand the point of belief in Jesus.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

As a counterpoint to that, I added the last part. I will sacrifice my salvation and eternal life so that you instead spend that time donating blood and platelets so that you may save the lives of others in the here and now. I would rather those people live and live without pain and their loved ones live without pain.

And what of those unbelievers that your blood and platelets save? What if you save their lives and because of your generosity and kindness they become a believer? Then you have saved them in this life and the next. For that, I must say, I have no hesitation in sacrificing my own salvation.

Brittany said...

Thank you for answering so politely. I truly do appreciate that.

"And what of those unbelievers that your blood and platelets save? What if you save their lives and because of your generosity and kindness they become a believer? Then you have saved them in this life and the next. For that, I must say, I have no hesitation in sacrificing my own salvation."

It is not I who has saved those non-believers lives... it is God alone who can save anyone. He works through His "minions" :), His followers.

btw

How can you honestly say..
" I will sacrifice my salvation and eternal life..." if you do not beleive in eternal life...therefore you are not sacrificing any thing at all!
Am I mistaken, or did I take that way out of context?

In Christian Love,
Brittany

DisComforting Ignorance said...

"It is not I who has saved those non-believers lives... it is God alone who can save anyone. He works through His 'minions' :), His followers."

If it is God who saves people (for eternal life) and you can affect such salvation of another through prayer, then prayer would simply be giving them the opportunity to save them. Likewise, if you were donating blood and platelets, it would be you who has given them the opportunity to be saved (after you saving them in this life).

So, say you save the (physical) lives of six people in this life than devote a prayer to save my (spiritual) life. If those people whom you (physically) save are so moved by the generosity and kindness, and having a new outlook on life come to believe in Jesus (and thus spiritually saved), you will have saved them in this life and affected their salvation for the next.

"How can you honestly say..
' I will sacrifice my salvation and eternal life...' if you do not beleive in eternal life...therefore you are not sacrificing any thing at all!
Am I mistaken, or did I take that way out of context?"


Let me try to give you an analogy. Say I am driving through Arizona (or Nevada or somewhere with vast stretches of desert) and I have, for whatever reason, been without water for quite a while that I will surely die soon if I do not get water. I can survive without water for 4 more hours. My motorcycle (which can carry only one person) happens to run out of gas where you stand and you have a container of gas. It just so happens that a motorcycle couple have also run out of gas at the exact same place (and their motorcycle can hold only two). You say that the nearest place to get water is 100 miles away. I don't believe you, as I am sure there is one only 5 miles away. You offer me the gas and insist that I take it as I will surely die if I don't (as I cannot travel 100 miles in 4 hours). I do not know that there is a store 5 miles away, but I believe it. I am willing to sacrifice being saved for certain so that the couple gets the gas. Even though I don't believe you that the nearest place is 100 miles away, I don't know for sure that there is a place only 5 miles away. Nevertheless, I am sacrificing my chance at being saved for certain so that the couple may be saved.

That's not a perfect analogy, but it gets the point across. I don't believe in eternal life through Jesus. Nevertheless, I cannot be absolutely certain of it (as a rational person, I keep my mind open to all possibilities). I am willing to sacrifice the opportunity, though, so that others will be saved. For if I reject your time, then I certainly will not be saved (if it is indeed true that your prayers can save me). If I allow your time, while I open myself up to be saved, I will have just denied physical and possibly spiritual salvation for a number of other people for whom you could have spent your time instead.

I hope that clears it up. I am not trying to be intellectually dishonest by saying I am willing to sacrifice my salvation. I simply mean I am willing to take the chance, even though I don't believe it.

Brittany said...

"(as a rational person, I keep my mind open to all possibilities)"

Good, many atheist I meet are steadfast in their beliefs and will not accept any kind of teaching/help from a Christian.

I would like to reccommend a book about prayer that just might answer some of the questions and doubts that you have on this certain topic...

It's called "Why Pray" by Philip Yancey....part of the book was actually selected from "Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?"

If you have any other questions regarding Christianity then feel free to ask away. I'll try my best to answer......Thanks again for answering my questions respectfully and politely.

In Christian Love,
Brittany

Anonymous said...

     And I suspect that the biblical god is really an evil spirit and that the people who are "saved" are in for a rather nasty shock.

DisComforting Ignorance said...

I apologize for the delay in responding; I am currently out-of-town. (I also apologize for the length.)

"(as a rational person, I keep my mind open to all possibilities)"

Good, many atheist I meet are steadfast in their beliefs and will not accept any kind of teaching/help from a Christian.


I fear you may have either misunderstood the atheists you have met or have just met a bad lot. As one who is somewhat active in atheism, I can safely say that I have only met one atheist who has said that he is a gnostic-atheist, meaning that he knows there is no God. He did have a good qualifying reason for this, however. Nonetheless, that's only been one. Every other atheist I have ever known aptly describes themselves as agnostics, as I would expect Christians to do as well.

One of my favorite lines from Ray Comfort is the following, when asked if he could ever accept evolution based on evidence:

Could I give you any evidence that would make you believe in fairies or that the sun is made of ice? Even answering that question would reveal something about you intellectually.

I think it reveals something intellectually about Ray. When my eyes read that, it relays it to my brain as "I have my mind so closed off to reality that I am obstinate and impenetrable by reason, logic, and evidence." My answer to the above two items is yes and yes. If you gave me irrefutable evidence that the Sun is made of ice, I would believe it. Likewise with fairies.

But both of these are extraordinary claims. If someone came to me and said that they believe in fairies, or that they know that fairies exist, I would be open to such a claim. This is an extraordinary claim, however, and as such it requires extraordinary evidence. I certainly don't know that fairies don't exist, but I still don't believe they exist. The same goes for Bigfoot, 9/11 Truth, alien abductions, homeopathy, therapeutic touch, 2012, ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, mediums, psychics,... and religion.

For any one of those items I am completely open to. But if there is no good reason, logic, or evidence to it, as a rational person I must reject the claims, while remaining agnostic. And when there is good reason to reject a claim, such as with 9/11 Truth or Christianity, it would be foolish for me to accept it.

In all matters of superstition, I would require reason, logic, and evidence for doing something. If someone says to me: Pray, and your life will be better. I would certainly listen to why they make such a claim and, if convincing, I would immediately start praying. This is just the same as if someone says to me: stand on your left leg only for ten seconds every morning and you will never get cancer. I would certainly listen to why they make such a claim and, if convincing, I would immediately start standing on one leg every morning.

So, if you think there is a good reason to believe in a god, to believe in the Christian God, or to pray, I am most certainly open to anything you suggest, say, or recommend. As a rational person, my mind is open. There is a great many things which I can identify which would convince me.

Brittany said...

I hope you had a great and safe trip!


"He did have a good qualifying reason for this, however."

I wander what that particular "reason" was.... If it is to personal to discuss, then I understand....but I am very curious?

"There is a great many things which I can identify which would convince me."

Could you possibly give me some examples..

Thank You

In Christian Love,
Brittany

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Hey Brittany,

Still on my trip, I'm afraid. I'm out of state for a friend's wedding. Contrary to Ray's latest post, atheists don't fear or hate Christians per se. The wedding is of my best friend who happens to be quite an upstanding Christian -- I'm actually moving her and her fiance into their apartment a week before their wedding, but they aren't going to live together for that week until they're married. Even if I don't agree with the principle, I always admire and respect those Christians who hold the principle and keep it.

I am enjoying the discussion and appreciate the comments as well as the questions. I did start typing up a list of my own, but thought I'd also do a quick search to make sure I hadn't overlooked anything obvious and found a good list (which I had forgotten about). Once convinced, I would believe in Him, but I am not so certain that I would worship him (as that's a separate issue).

On the point about direct manifestation is pretty good. I would need to know that I am not crazy, which they make a point of. I have also always had the following thought when someone says something like "the Lord spoke to me": how do you know it was the Lord? If he told you that he was God, you couldn't really know that. For all they know it could be a prankster spirit, perhaps even Satan, or it could be a prankster alien with very advanced technology. So, I would still have that in my mind, but if I know I'm not crazy, it would probably convince me of the supernatural in the least. More direct manifestations besides auditory might be Jesus coming down in physical form from the Heavens and giving a sufficient display of his magic powers would be a more convincing manifestation.

I think that pretty much gets the point across, though. They also have a link on that page of what would not convince an atheist, which I may make a post of my own. If you wanted to convince an atheist, I'd say there are two definite things you want to stay away from: (1) Pascal's wager, and (2) reciting Psalms 14:1. The first one you should stay away from as it is fractally wrong. The second one because, if I disbelieve the Bible, why would a Bible verse that simply says I'm wrong convince me?

"The Bible says that? Then it must be true. I don't want to be a fool, so I had better believe the Bible to be true."

Psalms 14:1 states that atheists are fools and wrong, and that nothing good comes from us. Basically, if a Muslim were trying to convert you, he would be a fool to quote something like 98:6 (depending on your translation) which says, explicitly, that Christians are the vilest creatures/worst of created beings, and verily Allah is going to cast you into Hell.

But I digress. On the point about being a gnostic-atheist, his point was defining gnosticism in terms of "practical knowledge." For example, you would say that you know that Leprechauns don't exist. Of course, you cannot possibly know to an absolute certainty that Leprechauns don't exist. His point is that you cannot possibly know anything to an absolute certainty (for example, I could just be in a simulated reality). So, his point was to speak about practical knowledge. We must certainly be technically agnostic when it comes to Leprechauns, but in terms of what is practical (beyond a reasonable doubt and short of absolute certainty), we know there are no Leprechauns.

Brittany said...

Hi discomforting ignorance,
Thank you for answering my questions while you are on your trip. I hope you have a great time, and a safe journey back home!


"Once convinced, I would believe in Him, but I am not so certain that I would worship him (as that's a separate issue)."

I'm confused? Why would you have and doubt about worshipping God (once you truly believed in Him that is) when you would know that He was the very essence of love, peace...etc. I guess what I am trying to ask is...Why would you not worship Him if you knew that He created you, and knew that He is everything that is Good.


Another question I have been wanting to ask is..

Do you beleive in Satan?
If not then how do you account for all the evil in the world?

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. Much appreciated.

In Christian Love,
Brittany

Pvblivs said...

Brittany:

     The god described in the bible is decidedly not the essence of love, peace, etc. If there is a god and the bible is an accurate description, he is the essence of evil.

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Hey Brittany,

I'm actually planning a future post on this very topic. Belief and worship are two very different issues for the Christian God. You asked:

"Why would you not worship Him if you knew that He created you, and knew that He is everything that is Good."

Well, if He truly were everything that is good, that would be something to consider. Contrary to the glossy image portrayed by modern, mainstream, non-biblical Christianity, though, I don't think it is the case. As far as I can tell, though, the Christian God of the Old and New Testament is far from good. The Bible paints a picture of a hideous monster, not of a being that is all that is good. As Paine (a deist) wrote in Age of Reason, the Bible is more of the word of a demon than the word of a god. The Bible teaches that women are inherently inferior than men, indeed simply property of men. Slavery is perfectly moral. Rape is not that big of a crime. God murdered infants and children on numerous occasions. He in fact drowned a world of them along with the rest of humanity in the worst act of genocide ever recorded. There are accounts of genocide all throughout the Old Testament. The moral laws written in the Old Testament are most vile. Unruly children are to be stoned, rapists are to pay fees, people who do not rest one day a week should be killed, animals should be sacrificed, gays are to be stoned, certain haircuts are forbidden, and so on. A God who commit such horrible atrocities and lay down such immoral codes I think does not deserve my worship.

I could continue on, but there is also another thought I have had for a while. Please correct me if I am mistaken in my concept of Heaven. There's not too much description of it, but I imagine if the me of this life is to be rewarded with it, then I must also be the same me in the afterlife. So, consider:

I have made it to Heaven for whatever reason. I dare say this would be Hell, and an eternity in such. A great many people would wind up in literal Hell. I would be in constant torment knowing that these people are being brutally tortured and butchered in Hell of every second. If I consider the worst feeling, the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, those in Hell would suffer infinitely worse every second of eternity in Hell. How could there possibly exist a Heaven for me, then, knowing that of others? What of my sister who is gay? I would know that she's being tortured for all eternity. What of all my atheist friends? I would know they would be there too. And what of the billions of others I must suffer knowing their fate? What of the Jews of the Holocaust? They didn't accept Jesus (while Hitler did). I would be forced to suffer knowing that they were dealt a great injustice in this life, forced to live and die in miserable conditions, only to spend eternity in the next life burning in Hell.

If I were the same me in the afterlife, I would be aware of this. How could a Heaven possibly exist for me? How could I possibly worship a being capable of dealing out such infinite punishments for finite "crimes"? I think it would shock my conscience too much to do so.

I said that even if I knew Him to exist, I may not worship Him. I did qualify that statement for a reason, though. It is much like a conquerer or dictator who takes a city and says "worship me or die." If I had to choose between death and worshiping the Christian God (as I understand him), I would readily choose death than suffer the torture of Heaven. However, the Christian God says there is no death. While I would like to consider myself a man of scruples, inflexible to tyrants and intimidation, I think no mortal capable of resisting under the eternal weight of Hell. As such, I may worship him just for that.

If I did have the option of Heaven, Hell, or eternal death with regard to worshiping the Christian God, I would most definitely choose eternal death.

Brittany said...

Hi,

"I would be forced to suffer knowing that they were dealt a great injustice in this life, forced to live and die in miserable conditions, only to spend eternity in the next life burning in Hell."

Your comment makes me think of many of my un-saved family members. It makes me want to talk to them right now about their eternal life. But I have to
remember that everyone is given a choice. They get to choose to accept Christ or not. I cannot force them to accept Him.

If they do not accept Him, then I can only continually pray for them and show them Christ's love for them through my life.

I see where your coming from,,,because I don't think that any person would want anyone to suffer in hell....Therefore I hope you understand why so many Christians are adamant about telling the non-believers about Christ and all He has to offer them.


I also wanted to thank you for your thoughtful questions pertaining to Christianity. You have made me want to read the Bible more than ever, and I am truely thankful to you for that.

As I have said before, I will try my best to answer all of your questions...If I do not have the answer to one of your questions now, I will try my best to get them to you in the near future.


ps. How did the wedding go?

In Christian Love,
Brittany

DisComforting Ignorance said...

Hey Brittany,

If I were in Heaven, I don't think the fact that they could have accepted him would give me much comfort. A large part is that the "crime" is quite small: failing to be convinced of him, and/or unable to believe. It's quite small when scaled against other crimes, such as murder or something along those lines. Imagine if it were here on earth and someone committed murder. They had the option of not committing murder, but they did anyway (we do not know if it was justified or not). While that is certainly a heinous crime, one of the most heinous, I would think it insufferable to watch the man by tortured every waking second of his life. Hell, though, is torture and torment life upon life; for all eternity. Not even death can relieve it. Scale it against some substantially smaller "crime," such as using drugs, or perhaps committing statutory rape (with an age difference of two years). If I couldn't bear the eternal torture of the murderer, I dare say I couldn't bear a single day of torture for them. Even if they were able to avoid it by something simple, I would still be forced to know what they are going through... every second of eternity.

I do understand why Christians are adamant about it. I suppose from a purely self-centered viewpoint (I know there's a greater motivation to it), it would reduce those in Hell who would suffer you in Heaven. But still, you can't convert them all, I suppose.


If you walk away from a discussion with me or any other skeptically minded person, as long as you've examined (and hopefully critically) your beliefs, and you walk away more resolved in your beliefs, that's all I could ask for. For me personally, I definitely always want to be engaged in a discussion where the "opponent" can present something to challenge me so that I have a good opportunity to scrutinize what I believe with more evidence. For example, I will be making a post defining atheism this week, and I expect a lot of challenges to that. If I walk away strengthened in my definition, then that's great. If I walk away with someone else's definition, that's just as great, perhaps even better.

I do hope you will make a habit of this blog, as I would always like a theist's point of view on whatever I'm writing. I've made a post about upcoming post, and the Humanitarian's Hell entry will actually be discussing much of what we have been. Hopefully you can bring something to light I didn't think about or vice-versa. As I said, I'm always open :-)



As for the wedding, I am afraid there has been a hiccup in it to delay me here a bit longer. A long story short, despite being a grown adult, my friend's mother has said that if she moves in with her fiance before they get married, she will disown her. The problem with that, though, is they had to plan on moving in together a few days before the wedding to keep the apartment. So, I'm trying to help them resolve that now. It's quite sad, really, as I've known her for probably fifteen years now and she is so dedicated to her beliefs that, despite living together, she would never have sex before marriage. It seems her mother is more concerned about the appearance of impropriety by the members of the church than impropriety itself.

Such is marriage, though, I suppose. No wedding ceremony can go off without some sort of disaster, no? :-)

- JT

Brittany said...

Hi!

"It's quite small when scaled against other crimes, such as murder or something along those lines."

Yet, either it be a large or small act.. murder, lying, cheating, stealing, are, in the end, all sinful(evil) acts! Do you agree?


"I do hope you will make a habit of this blog, as I would always like a theist's point of view on whatever I'm writing."

I intend to make a habit of this blog. I like your blog because your arguments are stated clearly and respectfully, without any strong (curse words,etc.) language, and I appreciate that greatly. Other blogs of non-believers I have looked at degrade and slander others. I truely do appreciate the fact that you debate your arguments in a mature, respectful way!

"It seems her mother is more concerned about the appearance of impropriety by the members of the church than impropriety itself."

That is sad indeed....It is such a shame when people worry more about what others think....when in the end all that matters is what God thinks.

"Such is marriage, though, I suppose. No wedding ceremony can go off without some sort of disaster, no? :-)"

I agree...It wouldn't truly be a wedding without something going wrong!:)

Have a great day, discomforting ignorance, and a safe trip back home!

In Christian Love,
Brittany

Mandrellian said...

As an employee of a humanitarian organisation which takes blood donations and a donor myself, thanks for this post.

Next time someone offers to pray for me I'll suggest dropping by one of our offices instead and doing something that WILL help another person.

Cheers
.m.