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January 16, 2006

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I believe the reason even a confirmed atheist might resort to prayer in a foxhole is that the chaos, violence and horror of war short circuits the rational brains abililty to focus on survival and that a frightened plea to God for confidence or protection is an automatic response like a scared child's cry to his parents.

if prayer worked they way the man in the waiting room thinks it should work then, yes it would lead to insanity. if you could change reality at any time then reality would become pretty screwed up, to understate it.
that's exactly why God says "no" sometimes. An "inconsistent and stingy" God is really an all knowing, loving being who listens to your prayers and mine, like a Father listens to His children's requests for cookies. sometimes he says "no." From the child's perspective this is inconsistent and stingy, "he has a lot of cookies, sometimes I get to eat cookies, but right now I can't because dad says 'no'"
is this common? yes.
is this rational? no
our father know's what's good for us, and sometimes we don't. we'll ask Him for something we won't need and He'll say no. sometimes he'll give us what we need without us even asking for it. does this mean that we should stop asking him for things? should we just not talk to him at all because he already knows it all?
no.
when we ask God for things, we are reminding ourselves that God know's what is best for us and has things under control.

This is all fine when god is santa claus. but that's fairly immature perspective, even when reduced to terror. Pray for something because we know what's best? Are you praying for your heart to keep beating? for your spleen to pump out what ever it is that thing does?

the point about the foxhole is that it's not a situation to sit back and micromanage your life. the environment drills one to the spot, and there is very little else beside martin buber's "I & Thou."

Prayer is exactly what the man in the waiting room did: find his perfect place in god. and his impressive mind and body worked it out for him when he needed it.

profoundly sneaky, that prayer stuff. it gets you past insanity, and fear, and it gets you to sharing the growth.

If you believe that God 'only gives such help when it(he) is promised loyalty and obedience in return' then of course he would seem 'stingy'.

However I don't think a stingy God would send his own son who he loved to die an excruciatingly painful death to save everyone who would accept him as their saviour.
I don't think a stingy God would go through complete torture to save people who were rejecting him and hurting him.

There have been many miracles where people haven't promised loyalty and obedience in return, as a result of the complete transformation of their life due to the miracle people may well then choose to follow God.

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