The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

What Does Prayer Achieve?


Andrew Brown (The Guardian)

If praying for someone else does them no good, what is the point of all those words and all that longing?

When I consider my Christian academic friends – people who are smarter, better read and harder working than I am – it’s clear that Christianity is a very dangerous profession. Three have daughters who died in their 20s; another has a daughter who is a drug addict. Parents and spouses get Alzheimer’s disease when they don’t get cancer. I imagine they all prayed for these things not to happen. I know they all still pray.

So what is going on here? What is the point of all that prayer? This is hardly a new question. It has been around at least since Job. Nor is there any hope of finding an answer that will convince everyone. But it is possible to tease out a couple of questions. The first is whether intercessory prayer works better than chance. There aren’t any reputable studies suggesting that it does, which is, I suppose another example of unanswered prayer, since at least some of these studies must have been commissioned in the hope that they would prove prayer is a worthwhile medical intervention.

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October 4, 2010 Posted by | Atheism/Agnosticism | , , | Leave a comment

The Eddie Long Scandal: Betraying The Memory of MLK


Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

David A. Love (The Huffington Post)

… But Bishop Long’s sexual orientation ultimately is not the subject of this commentary, although it provides some valuable context. Now, if these accusations are true, then Bishop Long is at least guilty of hypocrisy and self-hatred. And if the charges are not true, he is still an anti-gay minister who has damaged many people. Either way, he is a prosperity preacher who preys on the black community and shames the legacy of the civil rights movement. And that’s most of what we need to know.

When the Southern Poverty Law Center decides to write an intelligence report about you, you know you’ve done something wrong. SPLC calls Bishop Long “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.” In one sermon, he says to gays and lesbians, “God says you deserve death!” The message of “hate the sin and the sinner” are strong words in a religion that is supposed to teach love, healing and redemption.

Long believes that homosexuality is spiritual abortion, “a manifestation of a fallen man.” He believes that if black gays and lesbians feel alienated and abandoned by the black church, the problem is not intolerance against them but their own sins. But before these people go to Hell as he contends they are, Long is trying to cure gays and lesbians (except himself, we can assume). And his church bookstore sells the works of authors such as the homophobic James Dobson of Focus on the Family — no friend of the black community.

And Long’s misappropriation of the King legacy is shameful. Coretta Scott King’s funeral was held at New Birth in 2006 rather than at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King family’s church. Civil rights giants Harry Belafonte and then-NAACP-chair Julian Bond were so mortified by this fact that they boycotted the funeral. After all, Mrs. King was a supporter of gay marriage, and she called it a civil rights issue. The late Yolanda King, the oldest child, took after her mother in that regard, but Bernice King, the youngest child in the King family, called Long her “new father” and symbolically passed a torch to him.

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October 4, 2010 Posted by | Current Events | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Wants You To Know (Message #3)


Construction of Noah's Ark

The Flood

The most significant ancient Near Eastern flood accounts are found in the Atrahasis Epic and the Gilgamesh Epic. In these accounts the chief god, Enil, becomes angry at mankind (the Atrahasis Epic portrays him as disturbed over the “noise” of mankind) and, after trying unsuccessfully to remedy the situation by reducing the population through things like drought and disease, persuades the divine assembly to approve a flood for the total elimination of mankind.

The god Ea manages to forwarn one loyal worshipper, a king who is instructed to build a boat that will preserve not only him and his family, but representatives skilled in the various arts of civilization. The other people of the city are told that the gods are angry with the king and he must leave them.

The pitch-covered boat has seven stories shaped either as a cube or, more likely, a ziggurat. The storm lasts seven days and nights after which the boat comes to rest on Mt. Nisir. Birds are sent out to determine the time of leaving the ark. Sacrifices are made for which the gods are very thankful since they have been deprived of food (sacrifices) since the flood began.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Education, Satan Wants You To Know | , , , , , , | Leave a comment