Atheist vs Speech - Why pray after terrorist attacks
The following is portions of an email from an awesome journalist (Ewan McGregor) whose interviewed me on numerous occasions. I asked his permission to post, because to me, he passionately stated what so many quietly wonder as they stand frustrated at the string of terrorist attacks. I also included my responses to my friend Ewan who asked why I pray...
Ewan McGregor - Why pray after yet another mass shooting or yet another terror attack or even a natural disaster? Or what are you praying for?
Speech: I pray when I wake up, when I take walks and see the glory of God thru his nature, I pray for relatives and friends who are sick, I pray for the music industry to be more uplifting and less decadent. I pray thanking God for my children and to protect them. I pray for forgiveness as I fall short of my promises to God. Ewan, I pray & talk to God a lot, we love one another! Remember my lyric in Tennessee (1991) "Although you're superior over me, we talk to each other in a friendship way" That's what relationships are, they're honest and consistent communication. The Istanbul tragedy is only an addition to our already existing communications. I pray for comfort for those suffering families, for my and others hearts not to become hardened by sins deceitfulness, and for the others to become more aware of Gods love and His true purpose for them.
Ewan McGregor: I understand the concept of religion, not least because I was originally raised in one before I managed to emancipate myself from the mental and spiritual slavery...
Speech: we are all spiritual / mental slaves. Either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. If you're a slave to sin you are still capable of doing good things at times, but you are still lost inside your sin. The same is true for righteousness. I'm a slave to righteousness yet capable of doing wrong at times, but I'm not lost... because GOD forgives my sin through the blood of Jesus Christ! THATS the very reason Jesus came here Ewan, to offer forgiveness to us sinners. I don't want to be free from Jesus, HE is freedom! HE is emancipation! BUT we each have to decide for ourselves to be with Jesus! He won't force us to be with Him. We must believe in Him as our savior, follow Him and THEN we become free from sin and slaves to righteousness! (Ironically - Slaves to freedom)
Ewan McGregor - Religious people in general – believe that there is an all-knowing, all-powerful entity, someone who takes an interest in us, someone who has a plan and someone without whose stamp approval nothing happens. He might “work in mysterious ways” (the biggest cop-out phrase in the history of mankind), but ultimately it's all God’s plan. Right?
Speech: I can't speak for religious people in general, I actually am not a fan of religion. I actually hated Christianity 20 years ago, I felt it had NO POWER, a tool from the White man to oppress and manipulate! I was met by a Christian and I taunted her, I went to church after being invited and HATED IT! Yet I mysteriously went back again the next Sunday. (LOL) The second time I HATED it even more, but mysteriously agreed to study the bible when asked. (Hilarious!) In my pride, the night before my first bible study, I brushed up on "religious" books that I had in my home library, determined to "SHOW THESE GUYS what REAL spirituality looked like! (LOL) I read the book, "more than just a carpenter" by Josh McDowell and by the end of it I was sick to my stomach! I could hardly stand. My wife ran to my side and said it was as if I had seen a ghost! Ewan, in my determination to prove Jesus wrong, I was convinced that I WAS WRONG. I saw truth and I couldn't turn from it, despite my previous prejudices against it. I say all this because I'm NOT a religious person, I was similar to you. And thru my rebellion I came face to face with the All-knowing, all powerful GOD, who not only had an interest in me, but HE knew my every inclination, HE created me in the womb and He showed me His plan! It was mysterious to me, but not at all to Him.
I was surrendered and I veraciously studied His word night after night, I asked all the questions I ever had! And dedicated servants with godly hearts stayed up with me through the wee hours of the night to help me through my questions. It was an AMAZING testimony to the Spirit of God working! Being a musician and having traveled the world, I KNEW that this was something NOT of man, but of GOD! People helping other people to know GOD, with practically NO benefit to themselves other than what they would receive in the after life of heaven! It CLICKED Ewan! God being of Spirit, would obviously have a SPIRITUAL kingdom, while man being of the earth would crave an earthly kingdom! God is determined to collect that which is His while earthly men are constantly out to collect what is theirs.
Ewan McGregor: where you mentioned three recent examples of terrorism. "Looking through my own eyes, I see chaos. I see no plan, I see randomness. I see a world in which good things happen and in which bad things happen, and in which the bad things stick out more because they seem to be on the rise or because they are easier to sell on the news. I also see that these things will happen again, no matter what we do. We can try to make this world a better and safer place, but even if we achieve that, it will never be completely good or completely safe, because as long as there are enough people around to argue, some of them will use violence to make their point. It’s the uncomfortable reality atheist have to live with."
Speech: through the eyes of the non-believer what you mention above is about all you can see. Through my believing eyes however, I was pre-warned by Jesus that this would be the result of humans disbelief! People would wander around lost with NO PLAN, being RANDOM, seeing no order - only chaos! Trying to make the world safer but never accomplishing it! And it will never be better without God! However with God, I see a spiritual composition being written before my very eyes, I see Gods plan being played out in real time! That this world was NEVER meant to be home, but instead a temporary journey to experience this life in the flesh and to have the choice to live with Him without the constraints of the flesh for eternity! The gift of eternal life! When JESUS came here in the flesh, he was rejected / crucified by those whom He created and loved. This was never home!
Ewan McGregor: God knew about each attack before it even happened. After all, he is all-knowing. Although he knew about it, he didn’t prevent any of it from happening. Which he clearly could have. After all, he is all-powerful. We might not understand why any of this happened, but it definitely happened because God wanted it to. After all, it’s all his plan
Speech: GOD knows all things before they happen, and He prevents most bad things from happening. What if He didn't stop the seas and oceans at the shore? We would all drown! Or if He hadn't arranged the galaxy with such precision that the suns blazing heat would only warm us but not burn us all! Gravity would hold us down, but not prevent us from soaring at times. He is still in control and I am so grateful for that! And in His control, He does allow some things to happen. Doesn't mean that He planned it. There's a big difference between knowing the future and planning it.
I actually believe that the majority of terrorist plans are squelched! Whether thru public/government servants like FBI (which are ultimately God's servants) or through Gods wisdom of making certain ingredients for certain bombs hard to get, etc etc. God is involved always in every detail, not only by what He allows but also by what He DOESN'T allow! I'm encouraged by His strength, and yet bewildered by his willingness to allow us to make certain decisions on our own. I'll never forget the feeling of leaving the hospital with my first born! As I left the doors, I said to myself, "NO ONES GONNA STOP ME from taking this baby home, knowing I had NO CLUE what I was doing!!" LOL! I did alright though! How many people are given free will and they do alright! I think most! God has trust that we can learn to do right if we choose too.
Ewan McGregor: Even if you believe in the power of prayers, what’s the goal? The damage has already been done. The people are already dead.
Speech: My prayers are as much for me as they are for God, before I open my mouth, or type a sentence on Facebook, God knows what I Will say. And yet, I DON'T! I don't know what I'm made of! I need to know that I love people for real. I need to hear my priorities out loud, I need to get to know the God that's within me, this spiritual man made in His image! I need to become more and more convinced of the Spirit world that I cannot see but I do believe in. With each prayer, I'm re-educating myself of my spiritual purpose.
You mention the damage is already done. What's the damage? Is it death? Death is inevitable. Instead Ewan, I see the worse damage being the hardening of the people's hearts, the deception of a false cause that someone's willing to kill and die for. The lack of spirituality to see a different and better way. The hopelessness in people's hearts.
Ewan McGregor: What makes people think their prayers are going to do anything?
Speech: I think they will because my prayers always have! I prayed to make it in the music industry, and YOU know of me because God answered that prayer long ago! I prayed to meet the woman of my dreams and to have two kids - a boy and a girl. God Answers Prayers! I have learned a lot though. I've learned not to pray for world peace, because Jesus didn't come to bring world peace! Jesus says to hate the world and everything in it! But there are people ready to be saved! The ones Jesus will save Ewan, are the ones that NEVER truly saw this world as their home. The ones that always felt a bit out of place here! It's the ones that know there is something more than meets the eye! I personally feel YOU are one of them! Think about it Ewan, why write me? Why does false or surface worship bother you? Why dig my music? You Ewan may be just like I Was, able to see the hypocrisy of religion, but just hadn't seen Jesus yet!
I'll be touring Europe soon, (God willing) maybe we can talk further. I'm honored that you considered me for such a deep question. Much love brother!