Thursday, June 26, 2003

"God loves you!"
I've never derived much comfort from this. Even if it's true, it rings hollow. For one thing, why should G-d love you or I more than the next person? I mean, out of billions of people, I'm so special? He loves the starving and AIDS infected Africans too. Maybe there's a God and He loves us on a collective scale, but to love any one of us more than another? Secondly, what good is it to be loved if you can't feel it? Despite what people have always enthused over to me, I can't feel an overpowering love from heaven. I don't even feel a simple hug from Him, which any human can give. So really, what good is it, anyway?

"All things work together for good"
What they don't tell you is that this verse is incomplete and taken out of context, and the rest of it says, 'for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.' So- when things don't seem to work out well, you can conclude that
a: You don't truly love Him. (How can you? You've never seen Him, we can only imagine and fantasize. To really love someone, you have to know them. And contrary to what some say, it's pretty hard to love an invisible person based on what you've read about them in a book.)
b:You aren't one of the chosen who are called according to His purposes. See: Calvanism. What other conclusion can you come to?
c: That however screwed up things may seem, we feeble humans don't know what's good for us. It's *good* if you're starving! God has a purpose for it! It's *good* if you've been paralyzed from the neck down! God has a reason (maybe He'll heal you!) It's *good* that your child just died in a car wreck! Who knows, maybe God knew he was destined to go astray as an adult? So he tok him early. That way, he could go to heaven.
I can only conclude that this verse was intended to pacify through empty consolation. Sort of like the livestock in Animal Farm; what do we know? After all, we're not pigs.

"He never gives us more than we can bear."
What exactly is this supposed to mean? It is the platitude to end all platitudes, IMO. Of course you don't get more than you can bear. If you do, you lose your mind, or die. The human body or mind can only endure so much, and then it gives way, thus not having to bear the pain (or whatever) any longer. I guess this little gem of wisdom is meant to tell us that whatever happens, we should put up with it uncomplainingly. After all, we're still alive and ostensibly sane, right?

"Pray about it. God answers prayers."
OK. Except, he doesn't. I could pray until I'm blue in the face, and it won't matter unless I take action to change things. Of course, any results from this action must then be chalked up as 'answered prayer.' And if by some fluke, something unexpected and good happens, it's immediately attributed to answered prayers. Never mind the unexpected bad things life throws at us. Those are good, we just don't realize it yet. And, if your prayer doesn't seem to be answered, there are all sorts of one-size-fits-all reasons for it; you have sin in your life,(who doesn't?) or what's going on must be God's will, or an unaswered prayer is, in itself, an answer.

I'm not saying prayer is useless. Undoubtedly it does one good to scream out your troubles and frustrations to the universe. The trouble comes when you expect an answer and all you hear is the sound of your own echo.

"I'll pray for you."
This can be taken in two ways: your own prayers aren't good enough, or you're not righteous enough. Therefore, you need someone else to pray for you on your behalf. Or, the person simply dopesn't know what else to say. They're at a loss, they've got nothing else to offer, but they'd like to say something. This is the way I usually take it, so this bugs me less than the others. It's sort of like, 'I'll be thinking of you and hoping the best for you.' In that context, it isn't offensive at all.

I guess that the purpose of platitudes is to make ourselves feel better, to wish and imagine that our lives have a purpose and a meaning, and that life's hardships are not, in fact, random and senseless. Just don't think too hard about it.

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