The speed of prayer

A nice heathen strip from Zach Weiner’s comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

20141113

 

h/t: jsp

53 Comments

  1. Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Ha. The maker must be really far

  2. mrclaw69
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    *The* Steve Jones…?

    (I spotted him near Uni College London the other day but felt I should leave him alone. He’s not a rock star and I’m not a teenager. That said, oddly I had my copy of the Language of the Genes on me at the time…)

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      I doubt they mean the geneticist! But Steve’s a good friend of mine and you should have stopped him and gotten an autograph!

      • mrclaw69
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        If I see him again I’ll tell him Jerry Coyne said to bother him!

        I work not far from where his lab is. First time I’ve seen him out and about though.

        Wanted to be cheeky and ask – seeing as he bemoaned the religious students walking out of his classes – if I could come in and learn instead!

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      He usually says that by signing it he is lowering the value of the book!

  3. Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Sometimes God answers with a no.

    • bobkillian
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Or, if asking “can I keep slaves?” she keeps changing her mind.

    • Paul S.
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      I think you mean silence instead of no, which would be because there’s no one there.

      • Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        What a strange world you live in where if you get no response from your partner in the kitchen it must mean they do not exist.

        • jeremyp
          Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          Ockam’s razor. I ask my partner a question and get no response: The options are

          a) she isn’t in the kitchen
          b) she isn’t listening
          c) she isn’t talking to me for some reason
          d) she doesn’t exist

          In the absence of any other phenomena to explain, d) is the most parsimonious explanation since all the others require the entity know as “my partner” to exist.

          • Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            God isn’t in heaven
            He isn’t listening
            Isn’t talking to me
            Doesn’t exist

            Because I lack any evidence to the contrary for the final possibility, I can also eliminate the first possibility. I must assume its one of the others, and because it’s God he has the sovereign choice not to answer. Your logic is irrefutable.

            • bobkillian
              Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

              It was right after zero response to prayer/call-to-the-kitchen number 1,478,354 that I began to suspect…

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          I have occasional doubts about the back of my head.
          My doubts are not strong enough to use the Sock Test though.

        • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          What a strange world you must live in if you assume that you must have a partner based solely on the evidence that s/h/it is silent in the kitchen. Wouldn’t you at least expect to find some dirty socks not yours laying on the floor, somebody else’s shampoo in the bathroom, a photo of the two of you on the mantlepiece?

          b&

          • Paul S.
            Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

            If Sophisticated Theologians are to be believed, JP is the one who doesn’t exist. They’ve assured us that no one believes in a personal god.

            • Diane G.
              Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

              Well, of course! Sorry, JP.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

                None of you exist. Prof. CC types it all in…

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

                Nah…clearly, it’s President Obama who does all that from his secret underground Kenyan gay Muslim Socialist operations center.

                Has anybody ever seen Jerry and Obama together in the same room at the same time? No?

                I rest my case.

                b&

    • Kevin
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Or this God happens to be a No God. Wait, No God…Steve should have been praying to the Know God, right after a few rosaries to the Homonym God.

      • bobkillian
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        It could be a committee of gods, 11 in number. “Your prayer is very important to us, and will be answered by the next available god.”

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      “Somtimes god answers with a no.”

      How can you tell?

      • Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        If you ask for something in prayer and it does not happen it is obviously a no.

        • Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          If you ask for something in prayer you’re obviously talking to yourself. If you sincerely expected something to materialize as a result of the prayer, best to seek advice from a qualified mental health professional.

          (If you’re just using the prayer as a mental device for organizing your thoughts, that’s not something to worry about…though you might want to be careful about admitting said practice in public the same way you’d avoid revealing your thumb-sucking habit.)

          b&

        • bobkillian
          Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          This clarifies everything.

          I had my prayers answered 50 times yesterday. I had to flip the coin 100 times, and apparently god (or the bhudda or the committee of gods) said no 50 times. Obviously.

        • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          JP: “If you ask for something in prayer and it does not happen it is obviously a no.”

          That is not obvious at all. There are numerous other possible explanations. Such as: there are no gods, there are gods but you prayed to the wrong one(s), your prayer wasn’t clearly communicated, the thing you prayed for happened but you didn’t notice, to name just a few.

          On the flip side, if something happens after you have prayed for it, is that obviously a “yes”?

          • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            If God is sovereign it is quite clear whether prayer has been answered or not. An answered prayer is a yes, an unanswered prayer is a no. It must be this way for nothing escapes the will of God.

            • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

              Out of curiosity…which god, exactly, are we discussing here? Even if one of the Christian gods…well, some of them do the predestination thing, others do the test of righteousness thing (“salvation through faith and / or works”), others are a Karen Armstrong non-interventionist “Ground of Being”…and, again, that’s just amongst the Christian gods. Expand it past Christianity and things get even more muddled, if that’s possible; Loki, for example, is as likely to fuck you over by too-precisely granting you your prayer as he is to actually help you.

              A bit of specificity on your part would do wonders to move the conversation along.

              Cheers,

              b&

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

                Maybe you don’t understand the meaning of “sovereign?” There is only one God.

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, but I’m afraid you really are going to have to be more explicit. You see, an imam, a rabbi, and the Pope could all make that exact statement, and it’s damned clear they’re not discussing the same god.

                I’m sure you’re thoroughly convinced your own personal god is the one and only true god and all the others are false, but that doesn’t tell any of the rest of us which god is yours. Hell, even the ancient Romans called the earliest Christians “atheists” because they rejected the Olympians and thus had no real gods.

                …so, again, if you wouldn’t mind…which god, exactly…?

                b&

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                You asked the original question “out of curiosity” and I entertained that request. I’m sorry but I don’t exist to satisfy your curiosity, nor continue a discussion that will obviously go nowhere.

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

                Erm…now you’ve got me confused.

                You started this whole thing with your simple assertion, “Sometimes God answers with a no.” And now you’re not even willing or able to tell us which god it is that sometimes answers, “no”?

                If that’s the case, what was your purpose in your original post?

                For that matter, if you can’t even tell us which god is answering, “no,” that strongly suggests that you’re equally unable to explain how it is that you have come to this knowledge.

                Maybe that’s where you should start. Which god is it that answers, “no,” and how is it that you know that this god is more real than the tens of thousands of other gods of human history I’m sure you’d insist are imaginary, and how is it that you know that it’s this god who’s answering questions in the negative?

                You could, of course, stomp off in an huff as you’re indicating you’re ready to do…but, again…why did you post that first message in the first place? Did you really expect a bunch of strangers to magically understand such a cryptic proclamation — and take your word for it, too? If so…that would seem to be most bizarre behavior, indeed. In most circles, a statement such as you made is an opening for further discussion…but that’s not why you made it…?

                As I wrote up top, I’m confused.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

                I think JP just answered with a ‘no’ … 😉

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

                Certainly wouldn’t be the first abortively failed drive-by evangelism attempt ’round here.

                Either these people really do expect us to be so astonished by their pronouncements that well drop to our knees and tearfully beg Jesus’s forgiveness, or they’re just getting their persecution jollies off when they pretend to expect that and instead get the usual, “Dude, what on Earth are you blathering about?” response.

                Mostly, I suspect the latter. Christians are almost always better at poorly faking sincerity than they are at actually being sincere.

                b&

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

                Wow. Quality comments here.

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

                Then feel free to improve them. Now’s your big chance.

                Which god(s) say, “no,” and what justifies your confidence in making that assertion?

                But, beware; I’ve laid a trap for you. If you don’t answer, all you’ve done is demonstrate that you’re a perfect example of the “abortively failed drive-by evangelist” I wrote of in the comment you just replied to — and, in so doing, of course, show that my comment really is of quality, your snark notwithstanding.

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

                JP’s nym links to an apparent attempt at a WP blog titled, “Earnestly Seeking the Real. Amusingly, when I go there I see the message, “Nothing Found.”

              • Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

                With that much ironing, you could shave with the pleats….

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

                Good one! 😀

              • Posted November 15, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

                Tanks!

                …I was worried it might have been too obscure and / or far-flung….

                b&

              • Diane G.
                Posted November 16, 2014 at 2:08 am | Permalink

                I had to think about it for a few seconds; then it just went together so perfectly.

            • Posted November 15, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

              JP, Any god that is sovereign ought to have the capability to respond to a prayer in such a way that human is unable to understand what the answer is.

  4. Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    That “minimum of 40 light years from his maker” estimation is a very reasonable one, considering that the diameter of the observable universe is around 92 billion light-years, and that the maker might even be busy running around listening to prayers coming in from 10[sup]500[/sup] other universes.

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Perhaps he should have prayed about some bad news since as Douglas Adams knew, travels faster than light and follows its own rules.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Which reminds me, since the answer he was waiting for is “42”, perhaps he died two years too soon…

  5. Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on διά πέντε / dia pente and commented:
    lol

  6. grasshopper
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Isaac Asimov, or was it Arthur C. Clarke, also observed that if god must obey the rules of his own universe then his response to prayer must begin with “I am coming as fast as I can”. Also, if he doesn’t have to obey his own rules, then why are they rules?

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      As with any good oligarchy, the rules are only for the peons; the masters needn’t be bothered with such trivia.

      b&

  7. Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    So religion is indeed compatible with scientific methodology!

  8. Keith Cook or more
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    How simple, ‘the truth’ Good one!

  9. colnago80
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Relative to the speed of prayer, maybe ole Yahweh is using quantum entanglement to transmit prayers back and forth.

    • grasshopper
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Albert Einstein described quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance”, so you could be right!

  10. Kevin
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Based on all the evidence, i.e. recorded human history, the ‘maker’ could have been right next to Steve the whole time laughing.


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