Good Samaritan?

/ posted in: Religion

When I was driving to PA last Friday I heard an interview on the radio with Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse. He said several things that struck me as strange. Well, not strange exactly because I can see where he is coming from but I found them slightly disturbing and off-kilter.

His organization is giving one hundred mobile homes to people who lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina. That’s good. Then he said that they were giving a few to each church in the area to distribute to people they knew who needed them.

I understand that you need a network on the ground that is familiar with the needs of the people in the area in order to effectively distribute aid. The local churches have this knowledge. Samaritan’s Purse is a christian organization so funnelling aid through the churches makes sense for them. But what about the people who aren’t affiliated with a church? It reminded me of a website I saw for an orphange in Haiti. They spent a lot of time discussing the dire situation of the orphans and how much they needed homes. Then they said that the children were only allowed to be adopted by christians that met the doctrinal stance of the orphanage. If you believe your way is the only true way then understandably you wouldn’t want the kids to be raised by unbelievers, but is that more important than getting them out of their “dire situation?”

The second thing he said that struck me was that people needed to “bombard Heaven with prayers on behalf of the people affected” by the storm. My first thought was, “Why?”

Presumably God knows there was a storm. If God wanted to do anything then I’m sure he would. I never liked the idea that you could pester God into doing what you wanted. What kind of God was that if you could annoy him into changing his mind? I know the party line that you actually don’t make him change his mind you open yourself up to allowing change to come through you – or some kind of gobblygook like that. Whatever.

I don’t see why christians get all upset about the idea of magic. If magic can be defined as an attempt to have supernatural intervention into everyday life then prayer is the ultimate magic spell. Personally, I think it would be most helpful to the people affected by the storm if their God had made it so the storm never happened at all.

The idea that now Heaven needs to be bombarded with prayer diminishes their god in my eyes.

While I was writing this entry I got an email with this quote:

I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought,
wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible
things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them. So now
I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the
universe

I’ve never been troubled by the “big questions.” Why do we exist? Why is there suffering? What happens when we die? I’ve always figured that there is no way of knowing so why worry about it. I’ve also never understood people who say that they are on a search for meaning in their life. Get over yourself and go out and help someone else. The world would be a better place.