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Thursday, 09 August 2012


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Hah! So then, God can't make a stone so heavy he can't lift it? Or are the football games a special case?

Gee Mike, glad to see you running with the "nothing fails like prayer" I used in a comment on your Too Close to Home post last Sunday. Do you think it'll get through? :-)

In case someone is interested, there's a group not far from you that promotes rational thought and does important work to keep state and church separate. Find out more at:


Where did that come from?!

"Where did that come from?!"

All the USA sprinters thanking God for their medals. I just assumed that rather than running faster, they must have prayed harder.


In Detroit we do NOT pray to God for a football win.

We do, however, pray to Bobby Layne to intercede with God in hopes of someday getting a professional football team.

Has TOP been so overwhelmed with traffic recently that you needed to cull?

I prefer Bart Simpson's theological conundrum: Could God microwave a burrito so hot He Himself could not eat it?


I tend to find it a bit, well, disrespectful or nonchalant when somebody thanks god they're cured of cancer for instance. Sort of implies that their oncologist, surgical team, nurses, radiologists, family and friends all just sat on their asses having a burping contest while their god did everything.

" ... it is a logical impossibility for every American football team to win its first game."

An all powerful God could fix that.

Reminds me a bit of Bruce Jay Friedman's play "Steam Bath."

I hesitate to assume that 56,000 lucky men beget 56,000 lucky women. The numbers could be skewed one way or the other, perhaps by a large margin, making some more lucky than others. We may never know.

Oh, I see some hate mail coming your way soon. And, by the way, my Hasselblad H4D did not arrive. I must be reader 12,393 ......

I was wondering, too :) (Haven't been watching much Olympics coverage). I always like the music awards (not that I've watched more than a few hours of those in my life). "I'd like to thank my producer, my mom, my pop, god, my wife, all the good folks at ..." I wonder if they carry a checklist that they review that has God listed somewhere on it.

Careful Mike,
I think I hear a storm of religious indignation forming out on the horizon. Better get an umbrella, they'll be after you any time now... :) I've often wondered the same thing. Do some athletes think God likes them more than the other competitors? A religious friend of mine claims God selects those people as the winners to spread the Word. Sorta like His athletic PR department. If God's helping us bring home the gold, then I'm all for it. I think Peace might be a better use of His time though. Maybe it's sports on his days off.

A fundamentalist agnostic!

As I live and breathe . . . I guess it had to happen sooner or later.


But Mike, surely you realise that God is a democrat - he decides for the majority....


Thankfully, God ignored all the prayers whishing for dead, pain and destruction to come over other people and nations.
Greetings from a secular society!

Reading you post made me feel uncomfortable, knowing that it would make my mother upset if she were to read it.
I was pretty sure you were mocking the religious. And then I read it again. And again. And the truth is you were in no way putting down or insulting these people, it was very lighthearted.
The problem it turns out was not the tone, but my own sense that the act of declaring yourself an atheist in this county can itself be considered an insult to the religious.
Or as my mother would say, it's as if you are announcing yourself to be the devil.

"it became apparent that it is a logical impossibility for every American football team to win its first game. "

Easy (for God); all God has to do is create parallel universes for every team that has any supporters, and shuffle said supporters into respective universes. Supporters who support numerous teams in various sports can be cloned into the necessary number of universes. Done.

I too observe the ritualized upward glances and rubbing of pendants in London with some mirth. There is something about the human psyche that makes it think one is the 'chosen' one.

@Janne: Being an agnostic---defined as a person without the faith necessary to be an atheist---I put no store in the ability of anyone to solve anything by prayer. However, I do come from a very strongly religious area of the US, and I have know people who have recovered from major illnesses who thank god for their recovery. None of those I have known meant in any way to imply that the doctors and nurses sat on their asses while god did everything. Odd as it may seem, even doctors often credited god. Although it may go against stereotype, not everyone who is religious takes an simple-minded view of the world.

So I guess you got that Peter Turnley spot then.

seen on a tee shirt
but I'm his favourite"

A fun read :)

I certainly don't think this pokes fun at religious adherents at all. Coming from a Christian perspective, I read this as a thoughtful reminder for us all to examine the motives of our prayers (or at least our desires). If you truly believe in God, shouldn't you be seeking godlier things than material gain or fame? And shouldn't those desires result in action and not waiting for God to do all the work?

Thanks for posting!

You almost had me there, but the one about the spouses not noticing gave it away...

My son was once required to turn his T-shirt inside out by his Jr High Principal. It read "Jesus is coming - Look Busy! "

Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

(Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911)

It's amusing, but people taking offense wouldn't just be whackos. The piece is (albeit gently) dismissive of some things people believe in strongly. A piece with the same tone, satirically extolling the magical powers of, say, Nikon, could reasonably be taken as a gentle swipe at Nikon users. That's kind of the point of satire. If nobody is offended, it's not satire.

That said, I did find it amusing, and I defend absolutely (possibly not to the death, but at least to the point of being punched in the face a few times) Mike's right to say whatever he wants.

Superb! Fantastic post.

God does, in fact, respond to all our prayers. It's just that we usually don't like the answer.

"...an agnostic---defined as a person without the faith necessary to be an atheist..."

That is most certainly *not* the definition of an agnostic.

There is no "faith" necessary to be an atheist. Atheists take a rational, scientific approach to the matter. Since evidence of a deity is repeatably absent, they reach a logical conclusion: no deity exists. It would require "faith" to do otherwise. "Faith" is believing something in the absence of or contrary to supportive experimental results.

Agnostics don't take a strictly logical, scientific approach. Encountering a lack of evidence to support the existence of a deity, they conclude "we don't know enough to decide." They are unwilling to deem the hypothesis invalid. Apparently, they have a psychological need for even *more* lack of evidence. :-)

I hope you've had a good play with that dream camera and lens...

Just once, I'd like to see an American football player stare into the TV camera and proclaim into the microphone: "I was doing great until Jesus made me fumble the ball".

(I stole that line from some comedian.)

I'm assuming those praying for world peace were outnumbered by those praying for a piece of the world?

Looks like God must've been hanging onto Yohan Blake's shorts....

"12,392 TOP readers suddenly acquired their dream camera outfits, plus various lenses, printers, and accessories. In most cases, their spouses did not notice the acquisitions."

THIS is why I want Nikon (and now also the Sony NEX guys) to make their future cameras look _the same_ as old ones. May my D70,000 look the same as my D,7000 but have new goodness in it.

May the NEX 7 (which I want) look like the NEX 5n (which I have). Dash it- don't camera makers realize upgraders will be HELPED if their badder cameras looked more like their tamer ones?

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