I wanted to share some thoughts on religion, god, prayer, and religious wackiness during this pandemic. If I were still a Christian, I would be having a difficult time with this situation. The mental gymnastics that people are going through to let god off the hook is exactly what I would be doing as well.
The Christian denominations that I grew up in don’t have to do as much theological juggling as others. They were of the opinion that whatever is happening is just god’s will, because he is in control and all that. This group still prays for what they want, but if they don’t get it, then that means the answer was “no”. But the group that I was with for the last 20 years of my Christian life was of the charismatic/word of faith flavor. This group will have more trouble explaining things. They believe (and I used to) that god wants you healed and happy and protected and all your needs met. The believer’s faith is very important with this group and they find scriptures to back up their faith or beliefs. They believe that god’s will has already been revealed in the Bible. If a believer doesn’t get what they want, or gets what they don’t want, the blame is always on the believer, never on god. So if a person in this group comes down with the coronavirus, it’s because they didn’t have enough faith that god would protect them, or they are living in some kind of sin, or god tried to warn them about something and they ignored it… man, trying to figure all that out is exhausting!
But when it’s convenient, god’s will or his plan is brought up. If lots of “good Christians” who have a lot of faith are praying that the coronavirus wouldn’t get to the point where it is today, but it does, then it’s because it has to happen as part of the end times. Or maybe it’s god’s judgment on a sinful world (even though my understanding was that Jesus paid for all sins). Or something similar to that. But even within specific denominations, Christians can’t agree on god’s part in all this. So when you spread it out among the top 5 or so groups within Christianity, you come up with many, many varying ideas as to where is god in all this. Not that I know anything more than anyone else about that, but it seems to me that god is conspicuously absent.
And then you have the extremes like a Pentecostal church that continues to meet, even though there is a statewide ban of 50 or more gathering. A quote from the pastor regarding the state ban on gatherings because, well, people could die: “This is an extreme test brought on us by the spirit of antichrist and the mystery of lawlessness,”. “What good is the church in an hour of peril if the church caters and caves in to the fears and the spirits of torment in our society?” Crazy man, just fucking crazy. I’m thankful for the majority of pastors who preach faith, but have the sense to cancel services until this thing is past us.
I wonder if the idea of having church services in the midst of a pandemic is partially to try to “prove” that god exists? Or something like that? Even some of the most devout believers that I know are having doubts and questions coming into their minds during this time. Contrary to what I was taught in church, I think questions and doubts are a good thing. If questions and doubts regarding god cause a person to pray and think and research what they believe and why they believe it, no matter what conclusion they come to, I think that is a great thing. That would be a good thing for people to do with other beliefs as well, such as political, parenting, marriage, health and wellness, etc.
I don’t pretend to know anything for sure, just putting some thoughts out there.
Stay healthy, folks.