I posted this in another place and I don't think I hit the right place.

After the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma which killed many people including children, one of the statements made by someone being interviewed was that the lord giveth and the lord taketh away.

How could anyone want to believe in such a monster?  

What is the group's take on such statements as this?

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Believing in such a monster is one thing - being expected to love him/her/it is quite another.

Why would a god actually bother to giveth, only to taketh awayeth againeth? Anybody who does that (used to be called an "indian giver" in less aware times) is, to be honest, a bit of a b'stard, not worthy of praise, much less respect or love.

No, the whole "the lord giveth and the lord taketh away" and "the lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform" schtick is merely a cover up for the "I haven't got a clue what just happened or why - must be god" school of "thought". Yes, it's a total cop-out.

The quote is from the Book of Job.   "Naked I came into this world, and naked I will leave it.  The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord"

It is a touchstone for those in tragedy and despair, like Job.  A reminder that all things in this life are transient - possessions will be lost, family members will die.  Sometimes we are blessed with the gift of another's friendship for many years; other times we benefit from their friendship for only a shorter time before life, or death, separates us. 

Whether friendship lasts for a long time or only for a short while, it is still a gift, still a blessing.

My thoughts and prayers to those families, and to those community members and rescue workers who are there for them in their time of need.

We have enough reminders in real life of the transience of things, and in most respects transience is essential for the continuity of life and/or our environment. It's just the nature of things, and it isn't necessary to assign it to a higher being.

Atheists understand this, too, and probably value it more than the religious, as we appreciate that we only have one life, and we aren't going to be rewarded (or punished) in another place when it's over. So we understand the need to make the best of the one life that we have.

My thoughts and sympathies are with those families too, and my appreciation to those community members and rescue workers who are there for them in their time of need, when god wasn't. No need for prayers though, as it's utterly pointless. What's done is done, and if a god was responsible for the devastation in the first place, praying to it is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

No need for prayers though, as it's utterly pointless.

I wonder... do you think there's a purpose for the ceremonial burying of the dead?  Readings, prayers, eulogies, gatherings of friends and family?  Isn't it utterly pointless?  After all, the person is dead.  He or she doesn't care.

The point of prayer is not that it changes God, or changes the world.

The point is that it changes you.

Yes, I can see that it would - it would make me feel stupid. Children write letters to Santa because they believe he's real and that he really gets the letters. In the case of your god, ain't nobody home, so why pretend to believe there is?

Happy to clarify, GM - thanks for passing the baton back!

"The point of prayer is not that it changes God, or changes the world.

The point is that it changes you."

If it's not supposed to change a god, why do it in the form of requests or thanks, addressed to that god? You could interpret the whole thing as talking to yourself, in that case. You could, I guess extend the idea to the point where, if it's yourself you're praying to, you consider yourself to be god. Perhaps that explains the voices in some people's heads?

What possible good will such self-conversation do, if it's ALL that you do? The only change it will induce in yourself is bringing on a feeling of some small self-satisfaction, when it's not actually made one iota of difference to those on whose behalf you're praying. Utterly pointless self-gratification.

The people who will make a real difference are those with shovels and machinery at the site of the disaster, and those who assist by making donations to organisations that will assist the survivors and their families directly.

All this is just shooting the breeze, though. If it makes someone feel good about themselves by praying, fine - it's their problem. What really boils my blood, though, is when they claim credit for the success of their prayers after something or someone else resolves a crisis by direct or indirect action.

This happened to me after I nearly lost my son to leukaemia 8 years, when an acquaintance turned up unannounced saying that her church group had held "powerful prayers" for his recovery, and she was sure it had made all the difference. How I kept my cool I still don't know. Under the circumstances, my deflection to the praise of the excellent medical staff who'd brought him back from the very brink (he's completely clear of the cancer now) was a triumph of self-control.

Wow! Clear of Leukemia? That's awesome! My mother died of leukemia, as did my childhood friend Cliff. I remember praying hard for Cliff, and it did no good at all. Didn't make me cry any less, either, I still felt like shit

I think that's one of the things that started me down the path to reality. I was eight. 

I'm very happy for you and yours.

Thank you, Hank - very much appreciated.

He was 19 when he was diagnosed, and it seems that the younger you are the better the odds are. Huge progress has been made in tackling the filthy disease in recent years (by SCIENCE, not praying harder), and the survival rate in young people is as high as 90%. In the 60s, it was virtually a death sentence.

It was a traumatic treatment regime, though. He had months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, pneumonia which had him in intensive care for two weeks and two days from losing the fight. Plus two bone marrow transplants, as the first one failed.

Out of many negatives come positives, though. Survival made him a much stronger individual, and it brought my wife and I even closer together than we already were.

Sadly, only 2 years later, I lost her to a brain tumour, so cancer won in the end, I guess.

I'm so glad to hear that Graham, no one should have to lose a child.

Thank you, archaeopteryx, you're very kind.

You're right - no one should have to lose a child. While my son was ill, we made contact with a Florida family, whose daughter, slightly younger than my son, also had leukaemia. She wasn't so fortunate, and some 5 years after being diagnosed, passed away at just 21. But not before she married, and experienced real love and a degree of happiness, despite her bleak outlook.

The small positive here is that both families have made a real, lasting, if distant, friendship based on shared experience which, I hope, will result in a meeting one day.

When that meeting happens, tears will flow, I'm sure.

Isn't it utterly pointless?  After all, the person is dead.  He or she doesn't care.

It gives some sense of closure to the people in attendance.... as you said, the dead person doesn't care. Why do you assign this effect to prayer without any evidence that it is prayer doing the work?

Your god is an asshole .


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