Hi. This is God.
I'm speaking to you through this obscure blog for two principal reasons: first, most people don't know it exists. If I were to speak through, say, CNN, or Reuters, or Althouse, I'd be besieged by intelligent comments and difficult follow-up questions. I don't have time for comments. And I don't take questions.
Second, most of you who do read this will think it's a joke. But it might get you thinking. (It won't get Jewish Atheist or the Mighty Middle thinking much. They're pretty persuasive; they almost make me not believe in myself. But I digress.)
I'm here to address this study, which said that heart-surgery patients who were prayed for by Christians did no better in recovery, and that in fact those who knew they were being prayed for fared worse, than patients who weren't prayed for.
Let's get a couple of things straight. First off, I don't care who's praying to me, I take it for what it is, which is usually an attempt to manipulate me. Isn't that hysterical? You, manipulating me? On those rare occasions when it's something else -- love, confession, anger, amazement, praise -- I'm grateful for it. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Baha'i, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Unitarian Universalist, or RWP (Religionist Without Portfolio): give a call. Operators are standing by.
Second, science as currently configured is going to do a poor job of studying the efficacy of prayer. Scientists can only ask: "Does prayer work?" And the way they define "work" is in short-term, immediate benefit: Did the person praying get what they asked for, in the timeframe requested? I can tell you from my infinity of experience that prayer -- although it sometimes works that way -- rarely works that way. If it did, you'd never get off your asses and do anything. You'd sit around praying all day. Which some of you do anyway, for reasons which escape even me.
Look: if I answered every prayer, I'd never get anything done. And if you got everything you asked for, that would mean you were in some other realm of existence, not Life. You're not an angel, and I'm not Santa Claus. The things you ask me for will sometimes be granted, but for "reasons," if you want to call them that, and within chains of causation, extending far beyond your ability to see or comprehend.
Yes, some of the guys who were prayed for did worse (most of them were guys). Why? Because some of them were really unhealthy. And some figured, Hey, if I'm getting prayed for, I can Supersize it.
To which I say: gourmand, meet free will. Yes, you can Supersize it. And you can suffer the consequences.
I am astonished and sometimes ashamed at the bathos of your kind. With all the wisdom that you've accumulated, and all that you've experienced, you still think sickness, pain and death should operate on principles of fairness. That if I were a just God, little children would never suffer. That innocents would never be raped or kidnapped. That everyone who gets prayed for gets better.
Problem is, I had to give free will to everybody. Otherwise you'd have had to call it something else, wouldn't you? And I had to make a world that was governed by physical laws, not merely "suggestions," so I could go off and attend to other business. In a system like this, bad things will happen. That's the peril of living; it's that constant vulnerability, that little frisson of fear that the angels so envy.
I don't much care if you believe in me or not. I've got a lot going on. You think you're the only show in the Universe, and that I don't do anything all day but sit on some cloud and worry about you. All I can say is: Time will tell.
I set your world in motion and handed it over to you. If you make a mess of it, the mess is yours to live and die with. If your kid makes a huge mess in her room, she has to clean it up or else live in it, right? Where do you think you got that methodology? (Hint: I came way, way before Dr. Phil.)
So, is it a waste of time to petition me? Not always. Do I hear you? Always. Do I care about you? Yes, always.
Do I foresee all? Well . . . would it change your behavior if you knew that I did?
If you don't want to pray to me, I'll survive.
But maybe you'd consider praying for me? I've got a lot on my mind.
We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging . . .