In order to give my rants a bit of consistency, I’m starting a new series of posts called Sheeple Reports. A large part of skeptical inquiry is pointing out the blind following of numerous trends from religion to homeopathy. Sheeple Reports will give me a chance to vent my frustration in dealing with the various followers all around me. First on the agenda is an update to my previous snippet of frustration:
_____’s boys are still super congested and coughing horribly, but praise God they’re in good moods!
Yes, praise God for smiting my children with illness but having the decency to keep their spirits up. Such a merciful, loving god. Oh but wait… Them being sick is all part of His plan, of course. So, what if they were miserable? Would you still be praising the Lord who made them suffer in the first place? Just goes to show there’s no room for honesty in religion. Hypocrisy is the rule.
Thankfully (to the outcome, not to some mystical cause of the outcome), the children are beginning to feel better. Less-than-thankfully, as you might have anticipated, the mother is thankful to some mystical cause of the outcome (you know, the same mystical cause of the problem itself):
_____’s boys are starting to get better! Thank you, Lord!
I’m trying to think of the best way to describe the image of God she’s painting here. Münchausen Syndrome by Proxy seems to fit pretty well. This megalomaniacal being manifests illness in His children for the sole purpose of curing them and “earning” the praise of His other children. Yeah, I really want to worship Him now…
Next up we have someone who sadly confuses his own inner strength with that of God:
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:30,31
Tonight after youth group I went to the gym and got on one of the recumbent-style exercise bikes and started going (Level 12ish, kept it to about 80 rpm). Had my iPod blasting worship music by Everybodyduck. My first goal was 20 minutes or five miles, whichever came second. At 17 minutes (about four and a quarter miles), both calves started quivering; threatening to cramp at any moment. I closed my eyes, grunted once, and recited the verses above to myself. I then prayed, “Lord, please be my strength. I know you are made perfect in my weakness. Let me get to 10 miles.” At about 19 minutes, I made it to five miles and kept going. At 22 minutes, my legs started hurting a little more. I noticed my legs were hurting more when there was slack in the peddling, so I bumped up the level to 15 to keep constant resistance against my legs and pressed on. For the last mile and a half, I closed my eyes, tuned out everything and just focused on the worship songs. I finally hit 10 miles at 35:06 minutes. Pressed the cool down button and continued peddling for another 5 minutes at Level 3. In all, I went 10.94 miles in 40:06 minutes and not once did my calves go into full-blown cramping.
Why are you selling yourself so short? I guarantee you it’s not the prayer itself that did the trick. Here, I’ll highlight the key phrase from your note:
For the last mile and a half, I closed my eyes, tuned out everything and just focused
Any time you do that—whether it’s focusing on a prayer from the bible, visualizing some new-age imaginary energy field around your body, or listening to the violent and misogynistic lyrics of some hard metal band that you happen to enjoy—you’re going to discover an inner strength without any intervention from a divine being. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What makes you so certain you would’ve cramped in the first place?
- What if you had been reciting any other passage from the bible?
- Why would God even care about something so trivial as exercise cramps when people have been praying for far more worthy goals for millennia?
- Why won’t God heal amputees?