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02 May 2013

Thanking God for All Our Blessings May Be a Bad Thing

"Praying Hands" by Albrecht Dürer 
(1508) Image part of public domain

We often pray to God to give thanks

“God, thank you for giving me this wonderful job.” “Lord, you have truly blessed me for giving me the opportunity to see this beautiful landscape that you’ve created and for keeping me safe and my companion as we travel.” “Jesus, thank you for all your blessings, for our house, our food and my loving and healthy family.”

Indeed, God or the Lord or Jesus is good, but to whom? To us? Why only us?  Prayers always intrigue me because they reveal how twisted and petty we imagine our God can be.  Not “the” God, but “our version of God.” 

I used to pray like everybody else when I was a devout Catholic boy. 

“God, thank you for this life. God, thank you for this delicious fried chicken. God, thank you for making me pass the test even though I did not really study that hard. God, thank you for not flooding our village so we do not have to evacuate and leave our valuable imported possessions.”

It seems God is playing favorites. I’m sure that somewhere in the world, a 13-year old prostitute prayed to God to give her a better job, but somehow, God was busy answering our petty requests that her prayers got buried under many requests for iPhones.  When I was a child, I learned about a priest molested a boy and I never knew if the priest was ever persecuted.  Nevertheless, I am certain that that Catholic boy prayed to Jesus while he was being raped. Unfortunately, God was either unavailable or he turned his head to the opposite direction.

Why does God answer our prayers and not others? Why did God give us our high-paying jobs when all we do is buy the latest gadgets, the nicest clothes and travel to exotic places marveling at the majestic view but averting our eyes to the deplorable predicament of the people living around such beauty?

If I were God, and someone thanked me for giving him a great job, I would say,

“Listen you son of a selfish prick! You are under probation. You get to keep this job for only a year, and I will observe how you use the money you earn to help others in need. If I am not satisfied, you will be fired and I don’t really care where you get your next meal or if you sleep on a dirty alley. You got one year! Next!”

I think there are only two explanations. Either God does not exist or we do not really know God.  I don’t think God is that twisted and petty to answer a rich man’s prayers and not answer a poor man’s prayers.  I also do not buy that suffering will bring you closer to God. I do not think God is a sadist.  I could never imagine God up in heaven saying to his angels.

“See that kid, torture him and make his life miserable. He will become closer to me.”
The angel might ask, “How about this fair-skinned heiress?”
God would say, “Oh leave her alone. I don’t want to mess up her outfit. It’s haute couture!”

God is not petty and twisted. I think only our prayers are twisted.  We falsely attribute our blessings to God’s love for us. For all we know God looks down at us and says, “Look at this crazy fuck! He actually thinks I gave him his blessed life.  It’s capitalism you have to thank idiot! Not me!”

These days, I have modified my prayers. I say, “Dear God or Goddess or Both, I hope you get a new and better filing system. I’m sure your angels are smart enough to sort the really important prayers and fuck the other useless prayers from selfish pricks like me. And for God’s sake, what the hell are you doing with all those horny priests? In the name of Jesus, our Lord, Amen.”

I always hope God never answers my prayers because I want to believe he or she is too busy taking care of the more important stuff. (First published in “The Chair” Blog)

NOTE: The other contributing writers and members of this blog do not necessarily share the opinions of the writer of this article. (Hindi nangangahulugan na sang-ayon ang mga ibang manunulat at miyembro ng blog na ito sa mga opiniyon ng may akda ng sanaysay na ito.)

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