I took a lot of criticism for a recent comment I made regarding the response to the tornadoes in Oklahoma. To paraphrase, I criticized “Christians” (The emphasis on the quotes) who simply offered their prayers when there might be other more tangible ways to impact the victims in a positive manner.
I got many comments ranging from “People DO believe in the power of prayer.” and “Why are you singling out Christians?” to conspiracy theorists who don’t donate food or money because “Hey, we don’t even really know if it gets to the victims.” I was so upset by the reaction that I felt the need to write a column about it.
Here is perhaps the best response that I got:
“Christians pray because it’s an important belief to them. To them it absolutely matters. But they also are on the ground working, raising donations, putting themselves in harms way, going beyond their means to do what they can. I’ve been with many of them working hand in hand and have seen it up close how many of them help improve the lives of many less fortunate all around the world. I know many who dedicate their lives to this. I’ve seen Christians give the shoes off their feet to someone who needed them more then they did. So lumping them into this one category of what amounts to laziness or uncaring is an unfair statement.”
I 100% agree with this. Prayer is important. My point is that prayer does NOT put a roof over somebody’s head, or food in their stomach. Are you praying to the same God who SENT the tornado, or does he work in a different department in Heaven?
Is it smarter to sit in the middle of the road and “pray” that the tornado misses your family, or should you seek cover in a storm shelter?
Here’s WHY people thinking that prayer itself is the answer to real-world issues is ultimately destructive:
“Schaible’s son Brandon died on April 18th from dehydration and bacterial pneumonia due to a streptococcus infection, sicknesses [that] could have been treated with antibiotics. His death was ruled as a homicide. Instead of caring and nurturing him, they ultimately caused his death by praying [over] his body instead of taking him to the doctor… We all believe in prayer; but as a compliment and a supplement to appropriate medical attention.” said District Attorney Williams.
So to recap – A child is dead from strep throat because his parents believed that prayer was an acceptable substitute for basic medical care. Read the full story here.
Until whatever God you pray to starts throwing down food to help starving children, or medicine to save people’s lives, it’s going to be up to us. I know that it requires a bit more work than simply praying, but if our neighbors need help, is it better to do what we can to assist them, or are we serving God better by making HIM do all of the work?
Maybe God needs to start outsourcing a bit more. Can you imagine if Heaven was as profitable and successful as Apple?
–Sean Kemmerer is a freelance writer, administrator of Politics Without The Crazy Pills , and is currently praying for Kate Upton to fall in love with him, the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup, to hit the Powerball, and maybe even World Peace.
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