Monday, August 27, 2007

God Makes You Bulletproof

According to rabbi Ovadia Yosef, soldiers who "believe and pray" don't get killed. Good to know. He seems to be willing to take this on faith. I like science, so I propose an experiment: he believes and prays while someone shoots him in the head. Let's see what happens, shall we?

I bet there's a family member or two of these fallen soldiers who would volunteer right about now.

Ovadia also blames their deaths on the fact that they don't put on their magic prayer boxes every day. Hmmm... That sounds strangely familiar, but far be it from me to draw parallels between superstitious aborigines following a discredited system of belief and superstitious practitioners of a not-yet-discredited system of belief... especially when they have thermonuclear weapons.


Johnny Yen said...

Maybe they should try their Lakota Sioux Ghost Shirts.

deadspot said...

Hence the "strangely familiar" link... although I could have also linked to the page on the Mormon's Magic Long Johns.

Remember: guns don't kill people, god kills people. Be safe out there.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Amen, brother!

Elizabeth said...

That's a twisted take of mind over matter. I once heard somebody say that people die from diseases because they don't have enough faith that God will heal them. That's so stupid!

I know the crowd I'm talking to here will probably pan me, but I believe in God and I don't think He doesn’t worry about us holding on to our human existences as much as we do because there’s more to who we are then our present lives. Death to God is like stubbing a toe. He looks at us and says, "So, this body you've been living in is dead now. Let it go and move on, already. There's a lot more to accomplish."

I think he does consider our prayers (not prayer boxes or T-shirts or towels or whatever), but he ultimately decides when we’ve completed our lessons for this lifetime and I’m okay with that.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Didn't they do a study where they divided hospitalized patients into three groups and discovered that:

1. The patients who did not have people praying for their recovery did just as well as the patients who did have people praying for them, but weren't told that people who praying for them.

2. The group that did know that people were praying for them did a little worse than everyone else.

deadspot said...

Heya, E. Flan and I talked about this the last time I got fired up over one of Big O's God Talks. For the most part, I'm perfectly content to let people believe what they want to believe. For many people, faith is a private and beneficial thing, and it sucks that they end up getting lumped in with nutjobs like this guy.

If everybody was willing to play nice and let their beliefs remain their beliefs, it wouldn't even be an issue. If these assclowns hadn't just killed hundreds and hundreds of Lebanese civilians and showered the region with cluster bombs because they believe in a millennia-old fairy tale about god and some goatherds that says god told them they can steal any of the land in the region that they feel like taking, then it would all be kind of a moot point. Sadly, it's not. Unfortunately, for many people, faith is an excuse to treat other people in ways that they would find reprehensible if it were applied to them, simply because they believe in a slightly different version of their story, or worse yet, don't believe in any version of the story.

It's when people let their faith affect other people that I start getting antsy about the whole religion thing. As long as they realize that I don't believe in their god, and that means that they don't get to tell me what to do, we get along fine. know, as long as they refrain from saying things that are patently ridiculous. But I make fun of other people who say really stupid things that don't have anything at all to do with religion, so that's OK. I'm an equal opportunity offender in that regard.

If you believe in god and it makes you happy and doesn't give you an urge to forcibly convert your neighbors, then I'm happy for you.

And that is an interesting take on the whole divine intervention thing: that maybe god just doesn't get how important staying alive is to us. It doesn't make me any more sympathetic to people who want to play fast and loose with my life, because I do understand how important the whole staying alive thing is to me, but it's an intriguing philosophical premise.

I think I do remember that study, Vikki. It's weird. You would think that there would at least be some sort of placebo effect if the people believed that it would help.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't mean to imply that God doesn't think human life is important or that we shouldn't value it. I just think He has a greater understanding of the big picture. I believe our spirits are eternal and we choose to take on mortality many times in order to gain wisdom. The true self is the spiritual self, while the body is the temporary form we take in order to test our limits.

In our true spiritual selves, our existence is perfect and because it's perfect there are no challenges. We take on human form so that we can live imperfectly. We suffer and through our suffering we gain wisdom and we take that wisdom with us after our bodies are gone.

I keep referring to God as a He, but I actually believe it's an It or more accurately, a Them. I believe that those who suffer the most in human form are the closest to God, meaning their level of suffering indicates that they are at a higher spiritual plateau. The more you suffer and learn how to love in spite of your tragedies, the closer you are to becoming part of God, Itself/Himself/Herself/Them; however you’d like to refer to it.

I want to be very clear that I don’t think we aren’t supposed to help those who are suffering. It’s not like we should say, "Oh, they're trying to become part of God, we shouldn’t get in the way of that.” People in need suffer enough even with accepted generosity. Compassion, faith and trust are also part of the learning experience.

People who create suffering, on the other hand, aren't nearly as advanced and have much more work to do.

I almost attempted to explain this to Big Orange once, but talking about God exhausts me. People usually look at me like I'm insane when I try to explain what I think about this stuff. Some of my beliefs are Christian, some are Buddhist (Christ and Buddha were actually quite similar in my opinion). I don't think any religion is 100% accurate. I choose to worship as a Christian because it's what I'm most familiar with and the comfort level suits me. We are all part of the same thing, but we have to choose what makes the most sense to each of us individually.

So anyway, how was your day?

deadspot said...

It was OK... If more suffering means you're closer to god, then I think I had a very enlightened day yesterday. Hopefully, we'll be back to our usual long-distance relationship today.

How about you? How's the Shakespeare class going? Actually... I can probably go read about that, can't I?

Elizabeth said...

I'm okay. The Shakespeare class hasn't started yet, but I'll keep you posted.