I have a few friends who are not only atheists, but are outright hostile to any belief in a higher power.
More than once, I’ve heard them describe God as a “Sky Wizard,” or “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Even as a Christian, I find those descriptions humorous, even though they’re designed to insult. The latter one is my favorite.
To a person who doesn’t believe God does — or even can — exist, to pray to a non-existent entity is beyond foolish. It gives an individual’s power away, and — according to them — is used as an excuse to not act so that they can be their own answer to prayer.
For instance, someone might pray for healing. The atheist assumes that by praying, the person isn’t seeking medical help for that healing. And if they are healed, that person should be giving the doctors credit, not some imagined creature who lives in the sky.
I’ve seen people complain how so many are praying for those harmed by the latest hurricanes and western state forest fires. They assume that since those people are praying, that’s all they’re doing. They’re accused of thinking God is going to wave his magic wand and fix everything, and those praying don’t have to do anything themselves to help.
First off, that’s false, because I know many who have prayed, but have also sent money, goods, and even gone down there to help. So, yes, we are often our own answers to prayer.
I and many others have also seen miracles that can’t be explained by science, but that’s an entry for another time.
And what about the times God doesn’t answer our prayers? Doesn’t that alone prove he can’t exist?
Truth is, God is not Santa Claus, nor is he a genie. He knows what’s best for us a lot more than we do. I have prayed for many things when God said no, and in looking back, I’m so glad he did. I could give plenty of examples, but that would make this entry too long.
Prayer is also not just about what we receive, especially when it comes to the material, whether it’d be our finances or our health. Prayer changes us, because we’re open to not only the possibilities, but it’s also our best way of communicating with God, and building a relationship with him. Every relationship we’ve ever had, and ever will have, changes us. Sometimes for good, sometimes not. With God, however, it’s always for our good, even if we sometimes hate him for it. For a time. Or maybe that’s just me . . .
Wouldn’t you get annoyed if the only time a person came around was to ask for something? Pretty soon, you wouldn’t answer the door anymore. But if that person also tried to build a relationship with you, and not ask for something in return every time, then you’d be more inclined to help when they are in need. I don’t think God is much different.
All of this, however, will fall on deaf ears to those who refuse to believe God exists, and that he cares enough to want to build a relationship with us. They first have to consider the possibility before it becomes a possibility.
For instance people used to believe the world was flat. Based on their experience such as looking at the ground and the horizon, it’s flat. Therefore, the earth is flat.
Yet some considered the possibility that the world was round, and then set out to prove it, such as Christopher Columbus. For him, the idea — the possibility — came before he could step onto his ship to seek out proof.
That’s how faith started for all of us believers in God, aka The Flying Spaghetti Monster.