I was sent a link today, “10 ways to respond to atheism“, steps 1 & 2 covered the mandatory pray &
shout quote scripture at. Step 10 was a very unenthusiastic & token “remember God loves them too”…which was very hard to take on board as steps 3-9 did their best to convince me that atheists are satan controlled demon spawn out to get me… which leads me to a story about how one did get me (atheist that is, not demon spawn).
My prayer was horrible, you know one of those ones that goes something like, “Father God bla blah blah, Father God blah blah blah & God blah-blah blah Father God blah blah God blah amen”. If it were an essay, references to God would have made up 30% of my word count.
Afterwards a friend of mine (atheist, not demon spawn) asked me, “why do christians address god so much when they pray? I’d think that once you’d done it he’d know you were talking to him & it’d be like a conversation”.
BOOM! (but subtle boom, it wasn’t in my face, it was gentle. He’d asked a question, I love questions & thinking. It wasn’t directed at me, so I wasn’t defensive, even though it clearly applied to me… brilliant).
Why do we, why do I, “Father God”, “Lord Jesus” or “insert equivalent” my way through prayers?
I guess it’s a spiritual filler, the churched up version of umm, err & arr. It’s because sometimes our cliché-glib prayers don’t do justice to the situation & we find ourselves mumbling and stuttering through events far bigger than ourselves,
it’s because we try to do it ourselves,
that we’ve stopped listening & risking, and instead offer up the safe & rehearsed no matter how inadequate they appear. It’s because of expectation, of how long it should be, what it should sound like & how I appear…
maybe for me it was all of the above.
So what would I say to atheists?
thank you for calling me out on my bullshit.