Saturday, March 21, 2009

I believe in a God I don't talk to.

I've been pondering lately the ways in which I believe in God. And I'm not sure I can say that I believe in a God who personally interacts and cares about how I/we go about our lives.

For example, one of my co-workers was pregnant. She was two weeks away from delivery, only to have the baby strangled by the umbilical cord. When I learned about this, I felt an incredibly amount of grief and compassion for her -- not just for what she lost, but that she got that far into the pregnancy, and was so close. That, if she ever becomes pregnant again, she won't be able to enjoy the experience. That she had the room prepared, the name picked out, all her dreams about how she'd raise her child, and all of that was gone.

In looking back, not once did I pray to God asking Him to be there for her, to shower her with peace, or any of that. I didn't pray to God, asking how this could happen. I didn't actually pray to God, period.

In a second example, I found this week that I had made an unavoidable mistake when I submitted some numbers to another department (unavoidable because I interpreted what I was supposed to differently than how the other department operates, and there was no way for my interpretation to be caught until I saw the final numbers). Fixing this mistake is going to affect every other department.

In telling people what happened, and trying to see if it even can be fixed, I was trying to think of solutions. It was maybe five or six hours later that I thought I would pray to God ... followed quickly by a thought of having no idea how that would help. Either the mistake can be fixed, or it can't.

Based on these two examples, I see no way that I can currently say that I believe in some sort of personal God. If I did, wouldn't I be interacting with God in the two examples I listed?


DagoodS said...

Ah…one of the steps to being a heathen.

We’ll have you pillaging small villages, laughing manically and becoming the evil Stepmother from a Disney movie in no time. *grin*

I don’t mind people who pray to a personal God on their knees. As long as they get on their feet and reach out their hands once done. Sadly, too many think kneeling alone is enough.

Sarge said...

Dagoods, the maniacal laughing is OK but at my age the pillaging is becoming kind of blah.

I'm running out of storage room at my house and hate to rent a storage unit just for plunder. And ya always wind up with the same old stuff... the neighbors complain about the lamentations and wailing of the chained captives... why bother?

OneSmallStep said...

I'm still trying to figure out how maniacal laughter and becoming an evil Stepmother come after pillaging a village. It's almost like a comback.

"Pillager of villages!"
"At least I'm not laughing manically!"

Sarge said...

OSS, my colleague will bear me out on this, it's the RULES. If you join our band you get a book with work rules, and as a neophyte you may emit menacing cackles for the first year. After that it's maniacal laughter of the shop steward fines you.

We don't work you too hard at first, you become a ransacker, then a pillager, then a despoiler. There are five levels of proficiency in each.

Come to the Dark Side! We have coffe and scones! And sometimes chocolate chip cookies!

DagoodS said...

Really, One Small Step?

I always found maniacal laughing very difficult—the deep-throated sound with just a hint of bittersweet that causes hearts to stop, children to weep and goosebumps in every direction. Mine always comes across as a sardonic chuckle. Not even a good cackle, actually.

But pillaging is just directed mayhem. I breezed through those courses without a problem. My Dismemberment professor claimed I had the highest E.R.A.* she had ever seen.

*Effectively Removed Arms.

Lorena said...


I don't know if you believe in God more than someone who swears to do. You are just being honest about it.

If every Christian stopped to analyze whether they thought of God during a crisis, they would realize that they didn't really, as you have.

In my case, it was a source of guilt. I came home after a blunderous day at work and realized that not once I had asked for help, and I hated myself for it.

Of course, those times when I did ask for help, the results were no different.

Don't you think that metaphysical thinkers who believe WE ARE PART OF GOD are closer to the truth? If you think of it that way, when you do something to help yourself, then God is doing something.

Or from the atheist point of view, if something is to be done, we've got to do it ourselves.

OneSmallStep said...


Are these chocolate chip cookies Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? Because then I'm totally there.

OneSmallStep said...


I was thinking Dr. Evil type of maniacal laughter. He made it look easy.

Do we have any sort of bloodless activities I could partake in?
Dismemberment sounds kind of messy.

OneSmallStep said...


Your comments remind me of that recent story of the plane that crashed in the river and everyone walked away. Many called that a miracle. When the pilot was asked if he prayed, he said he left the praying to others, as he was too busy piloting.

So maybe the question is how much time is there to think of God in a crisis?

Sarge said...

As a former air traffic controller and infantryman I can tell you that people in these situations generally are much too busy trying to stay alive.

My second tour in Viet Nam I ran the control tower at Quang Tri. We had a C 123 (fairly large aircraft) on approach, but for some reason he deviated and clipped some guy wires on a communications tower.

We saw the dust and parts fly and one of the pilots said, "Well, s++t: we're f++ked" in about the most disgusted voice I've ever heard.

A good poertion of the wing was gone and some parts were banging the side of the fusilage, but they set it down pretty well, no extra damage, no one hurt.

The plane touched down, was askew and skidded but straightened, and a voice said, I think we made it...yup, we're down...DON'T FOAM THE BIRD"!!

One of the crew said couldn't remember what happened between the collision and realising they were down. Just that they'd done a lot of work.

As to the cookies, sometimes. And Miss Emma makes sand tarts with almonds. The captives stop wailing and lamenting when we serve those.

OneSmallStep said...


In intense situations like that, is prayer even something useful? As you mentioned, people are too busy trying to stay alive, and that usually requires all of one's concentration. Yet prayer, taking the time to talk to God, to ask God for help, might serve to break that concentration.

Sarge said...

That's true, I've been in situations where at the end I could hardly believe I was still alive, and what had happened sort of came back in dibs and dabs.

They are anecdotal and unscientific, but here are some obsevations I've made over the years.

I am an almost lifetime atheist (since age five)but I noticed that when confronted with a situation that was pretty bad, people who were 'born again' and would tell you how assured of salvation they were, how they were looking forward to meeting their savior face to face, they did something strange.

They invariably petioned this same savior to to defer that imminent meeting for another day 'way in the future.

I heard about as many people call on their mothers when we were in trouble as on any deity, and the results seemed to be the same for all of us.

When I was hospitalised during my last bout of cancer treatment, quite a few rooms had people in a lot of pain in them (rooms and people both in that place) and at all hours you could hear people in agony braying "God help me" or some variation on that theme.
No help seemed to come, not even when they finally got medication.
The only 'miracle' I observed is that people's vocal apparatus could sustain such continued abuse for so long. said...

Haha. This is about as silly as praying that something didn't happen, like "Oh, lets pray that the accident was not all that bad" or "Lord, we pray that their trip was successful..."

OneSmallStep said...


I don't understand the purpose behind those prayers at all. If the event has already occurred, then what can prayer possibly change?

societyvs said...

Prayer is all about it's intention I think - when it used and for what purpose?

I know, for me, I rarely do any traditional prayer per se - but when I do it's very sincere and real. I really do not feel the need for a lot of prayer over every little thing - I think if there is a God - it's pretty obvious He has left a lot of stuff in our hands.

But I am in the same boat as you - I don't pray about bad situations as per 'God help them...' - because I feel like such a dolt asking for something that I know little about.

What happened to that lady is very unfortunate and my heart truly goes out to her and the hurt and pain that goes along with such an incident. My only 'hope' is this can can allow her to re-build and not take away from what she has already built in life. That kind of loss is tough though.

As for the numbers thing - I work in a business too that is effected by numbers - would I ever pray about the fixing of my own mistake? Maybe - in that 'give me the strength' type way to fix what I have harmed.

OneSmallStep said...


**because I feel like such a dolt asking for something that I know little about. **

In most cases, I also feel selfish. I am so much better off than a majority of the people in this world, that to pray for something to be better for me -- when I still have a good job, benefits, my house, my health -- feels like I'm taking something away from those who don't have any of that. Or who have it a lot worse.

My hope with the co-worker is that she'll be able to enjoy her next pregnancy on some level -- assuming there is one. This incident happened two weeks before her due date, so I don't see her being able to not be terrified until after delivery.