I feel angry as I write this tonight. Angry at the time I’ve lost in actually living. Angry at the time people I love dearly have lost living within the fundamentalist belief system, then realizing that like me, ‘God’ never bothered to show up as promised. I am angry at being lied to my entire life, at being warped socially and emotionally by the many seemingly unending capillaries of lies that I unknowingly believed and based my life upon. I am angry as I realize the faulty expectations I brought into my former marriage hurting a beautiful human being and destroying our relationship!
Damn fundamentalism theology to hell!! (this doesn’t actually mean too much since hell doesn’t actually exist 🙂 )
And I wonder how otherwise intelligent, sincere people can continue to believe and live their lives out within this framework of ignorance and obvious lies? There are no answered prayers, ‘God’ does not have a ‘purpose’ for the events that happen in either their lives or my life.
I invite you to consider this term from psychology called ‘confirmation bias’. In a nutshell, it means that we interpret information in a way that merely confirms our beliefs.
Scott Clifton says it quite eloquently. . .
“If you believe that God, or Allah, or the Universe itself is listening to your prayers and, in fact, answering them, I want you to ask yourself why you think so. It may be a matter of religious doctrine—the Bible tells you your faith can move mountains—but for most people, most of the time, it’s a matter of personal experience. You know prayer works because you’ve seen it work, first hand!
No. No, you really haven’t.
In psychology, they call this “confirmation bias”—counting the hits and ignoring the misses. Our brains are predisposed to seek out and remember information that affirms our preconceptions, and omit or explain-away information that doesn’t. If you get results, “Glory be to God!” If you don’t, “God works in mysterious ways”.
and. . .
“If a god does exist and does answer prayer (only some of the time, for some people) it is also interesting to note that this god only seems to answer prayers in ways which can happen scientifically and naturalistically on their own, anyway: remission of cancer, getting hired for that job, the misdiagnosis of terminal diseases, the check in the mail that came just in time. But when was the last time you’ve seen an amputee grow a new limb? Or a stick turned into a snake? Or someone deceased coming back to life after a week? Or the sun stopping in the sky? If God exists and answers prayers at all, He always seems careful to leave room for a naturalistic alternative explanation.” [Source: http://www.scottclifton.com/prayer-and-confirmation-bias/]
I was taught that ‘God gets all the glory, man gets all the blame.’ So in other words, if we perceive that God answered our specific prayer due to our confirmation bias combined with magical thinking, then God gets the glory for ‘answered prayer.’ If, however, our prayer does not get answered, or comes out exactly the opposite that we asked for, then somehow it’s my fault for a. praying with sin in my heart b. praying with a wrong motive c. not being patient enough for God to work out His plan, d. any other irrational explanation that lets God off the hook for another unanswered prayer.
For me, this really was the reason that I stopped believing. There was no real supernatural causative tangible result that I could definitively place my finger on and confidently say, ‘This I know that God answered my prayer!” Not once.
But supposing that the fundamentalist god exists, and really does answer prayers, as a loving, all-knowing heavenly father.
Key words here are ‘all-knowing’, or to put it in theological jargon, ‘omniscient’. God knows how everything will turn out, because He chose the outcomes. The fundamentalist god is said to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere. So it seems to me that we have a number of built-in fallacies concerning the defined nature of this god. But, I’ll merely point out this one right now. . .
If the fundamentalist god is indeed all-knowing, and all-powerful, then god already chose every outcome. Prayer changes nothing. And free will is merely an illusion, since god already determined what would be. This god already chose to either respond or not respond to our prayers.
And sadly, all fundamentalists have left to do is to engage in conversations whose subject matter is WHY god didn’t answer their prayers, (speculation along the lines of God is accomplishing His will for His glory, or trying to teach you something to improve your character) WHAT prevented their god from answering (self-blame), and HOW to pray effectively (lot’s of books on this subject)
Either God shows up within the needed time frame and answers our prayers, or He doesn’t. Anything else is pure cow dung. And if God doesn’t answer prayers reliably, then what’s the point of trusting in something that doesn’t work?
As long as my car runs reliably, consistently every day when I need it to be there, I’ll keep it. But when it gets to the point that I wonder if it will start, if I have to spend time and energy figuring out why it’s not running, then I jettison it. It’s usefulness is over.
And the same thing goes for expectations of god. Theological explanations mean nothing without the reality of a supernatural god who reliably and consistently answers our prayers in a way that our senses can perceive.
And the fundamentalist god I was brought up to believe in is merely a broken construct of fabrications that blinded me to the realities of living a normal, happy life!
Do you dare to follow the truth wherever it leads?