"If God has a plan for everybody, then why do people pray for change?"
I hear this bandied about often among my heathen friends, usually with a perplexed expression. We struggle to understand how people can muddle through life with so much cognitive dissonance.
But if you're one of the True Believers of the Abrahamic faiths, you probably believe that God has a hand in your life to some degree, and you probably still pray for assistance of some sort. Do you see the irony?
This verse is quoted often:
Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. (NIV)But what is it saying? That God lets little sparrows die, and that he knows about it and still lets them get eaten, get sick, freeze to death, starve, get diseased, and does nothing? If he lets sparrows suffer and have hard lives, what do you think he does for his favored creation? (hint: read your bible and find out! It's not pretty!)
I told you of the little boy I babysat for, when I was in my teens. He was born with a terrible defect in his heart. Did God let that defect happen? Did God have that child be born into a life of years of pain and intense suffering? Why would he do that? (By the way, humans and modern medicine were what saved him and let him live at all.)
And religious people, stop right there. Save your apologetics for yourself. I am not interested in your twisting of reality, your logical fallacies, your cognitive dissonance. You worship a deity who lets innocent children be born and suffer their whole lives and you make excuses for that monster.
I've never ever heard an argument that can fully explain the god of the bible in terms that are completely loving and caring. If you do, then you are cherry-picking out only a tiny fraction of the content of your holy book. You are a cafeteria christian, and therefore I am not interested in arguing with you either.
So God has a plan for all of us, right? In fact, in Romans, it says we are predestined. Well, more specifically God predestines those who will follow him. This chapter also has a bit about prayer which is relevant to us today, so here is the whole section:
Romans 8:26-35 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.Read the whole chapter of Romans 8. If you get through the whole thing and don't notice the contradictions and ludicrousness of the jumbled rant, I don't know what to tell you. You have a much higher tolerance for crazy than I do.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
So the Spirit (what spirit? Is this what the holy spirit does?) talks to God for you because you don't know how to do it yourself. But then it says True Believers are predestined to be called by God. God never intended to call everyone.
And remember, God hardened Pharaoh's heart about 15 times so that he could show off all his magic tricks, including killing all the Egyptian firstborn. Nice, huh?
Also, above, notice this whole logical mess of how God sacrificed his only son, so of course he'll give Christians whatever they want. Ok, if my dad had me sacrificed so that he could fix his mistakes (he made man and then set up a situation where humans were bound to fail, just for being curious and naive), I'd think he was a horrible (criminal!) father. I wouldn't then assume that he would be generous to others if he's willing to have his own child brutally murdered. Seriously, how screwed up is that!?
Now, how many True Believers do you know who have blessed lives, free of hardship, pain, sin, unhappiness? I know quite a few and Christians suffer just as much as the rest of us, on average.
In fact, I'm a godless heathen of the highest order and I actually am quite happy. (Mainly because I look for simple things to delight in, as I am an Epicurean).
But wait! There's More!
Jeremiah 10:23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.So to recap, God chose who will be saved before we were born, in fact, before the creation of the world. He hardens the hearts of everyone else which helps him display his power so that the True Believers will worship him even more.
Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Romans 9:11-22 (see below for the full text - a highly recommended dose of crazy) We are all puppets of God, chosen by him before we are born.
Ephesians 1:4-5 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Jude 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Satan will display power through signs and wonders too. Oh, and God is mad at people for believing Satan's wonders, so he sends them powerful delusions too, so that they will believe the lies and burn in hell for all eternity.
That's your god, the god of the bible. Nice fellow, isn't he?
So why bother praying? You are already predestined and have been since the world was created, or at least before you were born. If God didn't choose you, you will believe all the delusions he gives you, and Satan's too.
Also, remember, you don't know how to pray so the Spirit talks to god for you. (If it's the holy spirit, then one part of god basically talks to another part to bargain for you. And Jesus, the third part of god, also petitions for you - If that doesn't seem batshit crazy, you might need antipsychotics). If God is bargaining for you - to himself - then you do not need to pray. It's completely pointless.
Romans 9:11-24 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”I know this article is all over the place. I'm sorry, but trying to wade through the crazy of this logic leaves me scattered and craving some kind of hard liquor or hallucinogenic, just to try to get closer to reality.
What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?