Monday, April 28, 2008

Two disparate Christian responses to high gas prices

One of these is the usual parade of batshit crazy, and the other is a comparatively rare case of a church doing what we're meant to believe churches do all the time: something good for their community. Makes sense that the latter is located in Austin, where people have a tendency to be pretty cool, even some of the religious ones.

In San Francisco, of all places, a bunch of dimwits staged a "pray-in" at a local gas station, begging Sky-Daddy to bring gas prices down. Prayer, as we all know, is that comforting act believers engage in that allows them to feel they're dealing with problems without actually having to do anything. I can understand everyone's frustration at four-dollar gas. But good grief, you fundies were the ones who gave this disastrous administration two terms in which to wreak the havoc we're all now in. Praying to fix a mistake that cataclysmic isn't a whole lot more than slamming the barn doors after the horses are all out, eh? Anyway, old Rocky Twyman, devout as he may be, ought to take a pointer or two from the Neumann family: when it comes to working, prayer has a fairly poor track record.

What does work? People helping people, that's what. I'm perfectly happy to compliment anyone, religious or not, if they do something that shows a healthy community spirit and a willingness to do some real, effective good. And in Cedar Park, just north of Austin, the nondenominational HighPointFellowship made a deal with a neighborhood Exxon that anyone who turned up between 10 and 1 on Sunday could buy their gas for just over a dollar less per gallon, with the church making up the difference. Hundreds of folks took advantage, and the church ended up forking over about five grand.

Yeah, sure, they did it to get some publicity (of course they handed out flyers for their church to people waiting to fill up). But if a group like ACA had the spare cash to do something like this, we'd probably hand out flyers too. The point is, two groups of Christians saw a community-wide problem, and chose opposite ways of handling it. The San Francisco church chose an exercise in goofy futility, while the Cedar Park folks understood something a lot of us have been saying all along: One pair of working hands achieves more than 10,000 pairs of praying hands. Nicely done, HighPoint.


  1. That's funny, I read those stories and thought the same thing. I know I heard growing up a lot "the lord helps those who help themselves". If you have to believe, that's a better way to go, no? DO something.

  2. Now if enough Christians stayed at home all day and prayed, that might make a difference because they wouldn't be consuming any gasoline, thereby reducing the demand and lowering the price if only by a whisker.

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  5. Someone didn't take their meds today.

    More unintelligible ranting and lies about Randi's challenge. That's as old as creationist arguments, and like them has been disproven time and time again. And arguing with them is just as useless as arguing with creationists and other denialists.

    Relevant to the post, my students were taking their science test on Thursday. One of them, who I was tutoring, asked me to pray for her. I said I didn't need to, that she would do fine. But that got me thinking on the whole prayer bit. When people pray before a test, aren't they asking their god to cheat for them? To magically give them the answers, or change the test so that they can pass? Kind of like when sports teams pray for a win. Some ethics.

    What we need is for these theists to stay at home and pray until after the election, then maybe we can get somebody who might actually try to fix the problem, instead of throw money at the oil companies causing the problem.

    I also found it amusing that the "Lord helps those who help themselves" isn't in the bible, but is from the 18th century (I think - I'd have to find the source again).

  6. We're not arguing with Mabus, badger, just banning him. If he wants somewhere to go to scream his adolescent profanities and crazy Nostradamus crap, he can start his own blog to do so. Guys like him just want attention; the thing is, they're so damaged inside that whether you give it to them or not, they'll just keep getting angrier. So the sensible choice is "not," of course.

    Prayer, I think, is tied into the fundamental sense of insecurity that religion feeds upon. The only reason to believe in a god, let alone beg one for favors all the time, is if you still haven't got past that psychological turning point of no longer needing some kind of parental figure to protect you from the big scary world. When it comes to actually working, well, nothing fails like prayer. As PZ pointed out hilariously yesterday, the "National Day of Prayer" didn't exactly help out a number of good Christians who could have used the help.

  7. I read PZs post on this guy and remembered this post, so yeah, you're doing the right thing. He sounds like a real winner.

    Prayer is also an egotistical thing - the ego that makes someone think that they are really better than other people, and that they will have their omnimax god give them their wishes, even to the detriment of others. It's like thanking god for saving them when others have died.


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