I hope the god-of-abraham has a decent internet connection. He seems to have dropped “omnipresence” from his skillset and to have been reduced to logging on to catch up with his latest comments, like us mere mortals.
I was already baffled enough by prayer. The internet version is incomprehensible to another order of magnitude.
There are lots of tragic situations listed, with set prayers to go with them. (I don’t know if the participants are allowed to put them in their own words or to precis them in a hurry.)
Do these get delivered straight to the-god-of-abraham? Or are people supposed to repeat them aloud or read them silently, or what? (I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have inadvertently “prayed” by reading them online).
Apparently, the site has seen a huge surge in online prayer requests since the economy tanked. Is the divine omniscience failing again? Surely the-god-of-abraham already knows about the economy?
If he was going to spare his devotees from getting poorer, surely he’d have already sorted them. Or, at least, raptured them or something. Don’t tell me he’s doing that bastardy thing again of just helping them out if they really crawl first and tell him how much they love him.
The answer is so obvious. He’s got fibre-optic cable and now he spends all day surfing the net rather than listening to individuals’ hearts. If it’s not on a blog – or at least on twitter – he hasn’t heard it.
The Times post quoted Richard Sloan:
“The prayers on these sites are all prayers for petition, as opposed to prayers of praise, or prayers of wonder…”
In other words they are all celestial begging letters.
Beliefnet reckons Jesus or god or both (I’m mildly confused by which one this is) promised to answer these prayers:
Jesus lays down amazing promises about the power of asking things from God. He promises to answer. You can check out Thursday’s post if you’d like to see a few of those commitments. Bottom line: God puts himself on the line to deliver what we pray for!
God “puts himself on the line”!!! By Ogum! God may even step up to the plate to deliver on these prayers. Count me in, there’s loads of things I’d like to ask for.
No wait, there is small print. “conditions.”
One of which is, bizarrely, that “Jesus makes prayer a corporate matter.”
I am in awe at this 21st century god. He doesn’t just have a net connection. He is also a CEO.
Ah, it seems to mean he answers prayers by volume.
Effective requests come to God as petitions with more than one signature attached.
Look, he’s a busy guy, right? He can’t be expected to pay attention to the fall of a single sparrow or anything, in a world with 6 billion human beings. He needs lots of voices clamouring for him to do something before he’ll bother to put himself on the line. (That’s why your single prayer for the regrowth of your amputated limb failed, fool.)
There were previous conditions: “asking” (Well duh, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Surely you didn’t think your god was omniscient enough to know that you wouldn’t welcome that bankruptcy?) and “faith.”
Which has a strangely instrumentalist meaning:
Faith as the Bible defines it is an action based on a conviction that something promised with be delivered, even before any evidence appears that it will be so.
Is this a new consumerist adaptation of Christianity? Guaranteed delivery, even if you don’t actually get the thing you ordered.
The god-of-abraham as a giant e-commerce application?
According to the Times,
Worries about the ethics of these sites are further fuelled by the existence of some which charge for intecessionary prayer, offering a ‘call-centre’ style service.
Bang up to the minute, again, god-of-abraham.
What’s the betting that he’s outsourced the whole god business to some Indian call-centre? There must be enough gods in the Hindu pantheon to service the current global demand for divine intervention.
And the god-of-abraham is sunning himself on the beach at some Red Sea resort with a fast internet connection.