This makes sense, though I still think 'peace', as in 'peace of mind' is a much more direct way of expressing the effect prayer has on you. But 'freedom' works I suppose - as in, being free from worry, free from anxiety, free from fear...again, to me, that sounds like 'peace of mind', but I get what you're saying.
These are all side effects, but it is much more than this. I don't think the idea of peace captures accurately the more powerful emotion of joy and profound thankfulness that results from being set free.
I'm not sure 'freedom' accurately captures powerful emotions such as joy and thankfulness either. Maybe trying to lump it into a singular phrase isn't appropriate.
Of course, this is all semantics at this point. I get what you're saying, and I suspect others reading it likewise would as well.
Basically, because you've recognized that god is in control of some matters (exactly what...different conversation I suppose), you have been freed of some anxiety, worry, and fear. You've recognized that of the things that you don't have control over, someone who cares about you does have control over. That makes you feel less worried about outcomes that may or may not manifest in your favor or to your detriment.
Yes, I believe God is in control even when I am not, which certainly leads to less anxiousness about things that are clearly beyond my ability to control.
Here is where we deviate:
To me, it makes more sense to train oneself in accepting that there are uncontrollable aspects to life; that tragedy and favor can come at arbitrary times, in arbitrary ways, often times in ways one has no control over. The recognition that there are some things one cannot control...and that there is no real use in worrying about that which I cannot affect or control. To imagine that another entity such as a god is in control of what I don't have control over doesn't change the fact that I have no control over it, and worrying about it, again, is pointless.
I don't think we deviate in this as far as you may think. By and large, I believe things will happen that are outside of my control, certainly.
Is there anything that you feel that either you or god
control over that you do not have any anxious feelings about?
Imagining an entity such as a god in control, unfortunately, opens the door to me worrying about that which I have no control over. That maybe - just maybe - if I had pleaded with this all-powerful entity in control, then <insert tragic situation> would not have occurred, or would have caused a minimum of damage, or whatever. For example, there are people in this world that actually believe that a natural disaster like a tsunami or a flood was instigated by this entity who had control of the uncontrollable to teach humanity a lesson, or did not prevent tragedy from occurring because of the way humanity is or has behaved.
I suppose this does happen, at times, and may indeed result in such conclusions being drawn.
Sadly, you don't need to suppose
anything. It happens
. Finding examples of church leaders ascribing the ills of the world like natural disasters or disease to neglecting god is fairly trivial.
Imagining an entity such as a god in control also becomes rather difficult to apply universally - while I may feel like god is watching over me to protect me when, say, my business fails (i.e. still providing opportunity to feed myself and my loved ones after a failed business), it becomes difficult to resolve that idea in the same world where there are situations like country-wide starvation, murder, war...all of these other tragedies where, if someone who cared were really in control, would have done something about those tragedies. And if he won't do anything to stop an innocent 6-year old child from being raped, how confident can I feel that he'll bother to help put food on my table when the economy tanks?
Again - I understand what you're saying. What you're describing is somewhat akin to 'life-experience insurance', wherein you feel confident and at peace that life will work out because someone's looking out for you.
I certainly do not walk around with assurance that all will be taken care of in this life. I don't think one could read the Bible and draw that conclusion, given what happened to Jesus himself. He reiterated to his disciples that the servant is not greater than the master. He was put to death on a cross...and he warns his disciples that they, too, will face many difficult trials. That is a difficult gospel for Western Christians to face, but it is a reality for many in other parts of the world.
You may not draw that conclusion from the bible, but others do. Some of those unfortunate people have medically preventable dead children
thanks to such conclusions.
I just don't buy that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing entity that actually is looking out for you. Perhaps there is something to playing pretend so that you don't have to worry yourself to death. But I tend to think better of humanity and think we can learn to deal with the unknowable and uncontrollable without having to make up imaginary friends.
While I would desire to share your sentiments, it certainly doesn't feel like this is the case when we look back on the past, and we see the present turmoil in our world, and the increasing capacity to destroy one another with the push of a few buttons or the release of a biological agent. We've been dangerously close in the past, and the capacity for mass destruction by various means grows more and more sophisticated and accessible for those intent on doing harm. It would seem that it is likely a matter of time, before the right (or wrong) person bent on destruction or lust for power, obtains the means to do so. I hope I'm wrong, but I believe that we have a capacity for both great good, and great evil, as a species. We may learn to deal with the unexpected natural catastrophe, but will we learn to deal with ourselves, and with one another? One can certainly hope, and only time will tell.
I think you do
share much of my sentiment. I do
agree that people are capable of great good and great evil. It's just that one of us here purports to believe that an entity of great power and compassion who has the ability to suppress some of that great evil actually exists
I am rather curious - if you were to simply stop praying
, completely and utterly, starting now
, would any of your feelings change? Would you start to feel more worried or more anxious? Note that I'm not saying to 'stop believing that god exists'
- just stop praying
Does the idea of 'no longer praying' elicit any negative feelings? I just mean the act itself - you'd still be believing that god is watching you, that he is good, etc.
Maybe too tangential or perhaps not possible to answer. But it was a question that popped into my head, so I thought I'd ask.