I’d rather they didn’t- how whiny and legalistic and (worst of all) horribly written!
It encapsulates everything I find weak and meaningless in religion- the idea of the existence of a series of specific, yet not clearly defined rote behavior which are absolutely required for some reward which is constantly being revised and reinterpreted (and I would say reinvented) by a bunch of people who all disagree but insist that it must be true because they wish* it to be.
Basically that argument seems to be that the compelling reason to believe in god is because we get something out of it. The whole “there has got to be more to life than this brief one” argument (which I actually heard proposed by a radio evangelist as being his preferred argument to convert the heathens.) My only reaction is -why does there got to be?
I’m perfectly willing to believe in the possibility of God existing without any afterlife.
“Praise” prayers are much more meaningful to me.
I’m an agnostic who is constantly overwhelmed with how beautiful the world is, how amazing people can be… and I really wish that there is an afterlife, because this one is so cool. But I don’t see any really reason to believe it.
And honestly, most churches are the least spiritual places I’ve been in. Put me in the woods at about 6 oclock in the morning instead with the sun full in my face, and I’m saying "God, how beautiful this all is’. No disclaimer needed- God knows he/she exists, or God is so different from what we can possibly conceive that any of out concepts of what God would “know” are meaningless, or I’m an animal among the animals being amazed by all the other brief lives growing/dying around me while I do the same, etc etc…
“My candle burns at both ends/It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends/It gives a lovely light” -Edna St. Vincent Millay
(Not to imply that this poems is about agnosticism or religion, or that I know anthing about the author’s religious beliefs, just like the imagery in this context.)
When someone wants to pray they might as well pray something meaningful to them- While I don’t particularly believe in the efficacy of prayer, I consider it a loving gesture from someone who does and appreciate it in that spirit.
How could a christian believe that particular prayer (or any prayer alone, considering my heathen unsaved/unbaptized state) could help anyway? If that’s all it takes I’m sure we’ve all gotten that sort of prayer covered at some point on ou Religion is nothing if not specific. Why bother if it’s meaningless to all involved?
*substitute “believe” if you’re personally convinced. I’m just calling it how I see it, I’m not saying it’s how anyone else should.