Do Gallup poll respondents have a prayer?
You’ve probably seen the screaming headlines about a Gallup survey revealing that Americans’ belief in God has hit an all-time low.
I’m not here to quibble with the atheists, agnostics and alternate-spirituality practitioners who answered the survey.
No, I’m just flummoxed by subsets of the supposedly pro-God respondents.
You see, the survey also branched into questions about prayer. Of the 81% of Americans who conceded still believing in God, 28 percent said He hears prayers but cannot intervene, while 11 percent think God neither hears nor intervenes.
Why wouldn’t the Supreme Being be able to intervene? Restraining order? Expired warranty?
Seriously, how do you reduce the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to a bureaucrat muttering, “Next window”?
I can’t accept that God created the entire universe and then accidentally locked Himself out of it, like a bleary-eyed commuter who left his keys on the kitchen table. (“Hey, somebody let me back in! I left Vesuvius and Krakatoa turned on, and even the continents are starting to drift! Stupid, stupid. I could just smite myself!”)
And what’s this about not even hearing prayers? An ACLU lawyer on the top bleacher can hear a coach praying on the field after a game, but the Creator of the miraculous human ear is left out of the loop??? Just how few bars of service do they get in the heavenly realm? Does God still have tinnitus from the Big Bang?
What kind of definition are these jokers using for a “capital G” God, anyway? For me, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence pretty much go with the territory. I’d hate to see how these characters define other words. (“My uncle is a police officer. He doesn’t belong to the police department or carry a badge or deal with public safety or appreciate doughnuts, but he’s a police officer.”)
I suspect many of the folks casting aspersions on the efficacy of prayer experience nagging doubts because of the trite “Why is there evil in the universe?” question. That query has been definitively answered by approximately 13 gazillion sermons and essays, but the respondents didn’t notice because they were too busy asking, “And why doesn’t glue taste as good as it did when I was a kid?”
I’m sorry that some people just can’t be satisfied. (“My nana died peacefully in her sleep at age 107 — instead of dying while watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ at age 108. That proves God doesn’t care about us!”)
I don’t like the implications of prayers going unheard. Did the Pilgrims waste their breath with their Thanksgiving gratitude? Was it really Bigfoot who just wandered along and rescued Daniel from the lions’ den? Don’t supplicants pouring their hearts out to God deserve more than a recording of Strother Martin explaining, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”?
Would you ruin your child’s bedtime prayer by warning, “If you die before you wake, we’re calling Ghostbusters”?
Wonder why people in crisis are suddenly so dismissive about offers of “thoughts and prayers”? Maybe not enough thought goes into the subject of prayers!
Faith is faith, but it should be internally consistent.
Perhaps straddling the fence and worshiping a supreme-ish being aren’t the answers mankind needs.
(“Yikes! My legs went to sleep while straddling the fence, and here come the locusts! Please, God, I have enough light; let there be citronella!”)
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”