More Thought Provokers

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On Love

I was in Doha Qatar recently and observed first hand the apparent strong family unit orientation of the Qataris. I was in an elevator in the hotel with a Qataris family (a father, mother, two sons and a daughter) and the young son (maybe 10-12 years old) was having a problem with his headress. His father smiled at him and lovingly took off the agal (the black circlet of rope used to keep the keffiyeh in place) and the keffiyeh (the flowing cloth part of the headress). He repositioned the keffiyeh, placed the agal back on and properly folded the keffiyeh. This is only one data point, but is a scene one might see in an elevator (or elsewhere) anywhere in the world. The point is that this Arab family following Muslim traditions love each other just like any other family in any other religion. Christians do not have a monopoly on love as is it typically cited that Yahweh (Christian God) is the author of love. I would suggest that love doesn’t flow from a God, but from normal human emotions found in any of the world’s cultures.

On Prayer

Scenario #1

KABUL—A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people at a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders early Saturday, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations. October 3rd, 2015. “The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy,” he said. “Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to all of the civilians affected by this incident, their families, and loved ones.” [US President Barack Obama] Wall Street Journal

What is the purpose of offering prayers? The prayer is likely directed at a god to ask for intervention in the lives of the families and loved ones impacted by the bombing. Isn't it too late for that god to make the biggest impact on the families by preventing the bombing of the hospital in the first place? If the god would not prevent the bombing of the hospital, why would the god do ANYTHING for the families and loved ones of those killed and injured? Those families may experience some emotional comfort knowing that Barack and Michelle are thinking and praying for them, but thats probably about it. It has just become customary to verbalize such things in the face of tragedy as a way of showing concern for the affected families. Barack Obama is demonstrating how a Christian culture does this. A similar approached is used in many other cultures.

Scenario #2

A friend from your church asks for prayer for her brother who is receiving care for cancer at a prestiges cancer treatment center. She indicates that many members of the church are praying for his recovery. The brother does end up beating the cancer and is in remission after a close call with death and significant resources expended by the cancer center. In the meantime, a number of other patients at the cancer center succumb to the disease and pass away. The sister later gives a "praise report" to the church about how god healed her brother from cancer and gives god the greater share of responsibility for this recovery vs. the cancer center. Why would god heal one patient over another? Why does god get most of the credit by believers in these situations when clearly, without the help of the cancer center, the brother would not have survived?