When We Talk To God

Are we really talking to ourselves?

I recently found myself in a bit of a bind and if the outcome had gone the opposite direction, the event may have effected my life in a very negative way. As I came to a realization of the seriousness of the situation, I began to engage in a long ignored but not forgotten dialogue.

You all know it. It goes something like this:

“God, if you get me out of this I swear I’ll never do such a stupid thing again. I don’t know why I’m so ignorant. Surely, if this works out the way I’d like I’ll try my best to be a wonderful person and always remember what a glorious guy you are and shower you with praises and give lots of charity and always be nice to the less fortunate and never lie or think bad of people or masturbate again”.

OK, well it didn’t go quite that way, but you get the gist.

It is a strangely soothing dialogue. It’s reassuring to know that in our darkest moments, when we’re the most desperate, there is some one there to listen. I’ve given up the idea of a God who is active in our lives, so why did I continue this conversation? Habit? Perhaps.

I think that these type of prayers or conversations or whatever you want to call them are illusions, but they do serve a purpose. For me, as soon as I realized what I was doing, there was also the recognition that a type of void has been created. I no longer have God to unload my burdens upon, but I do have my own inner conscience. I’m able to sort out my thoughts and emotions in times of great stress.  I am able to admonish myself for my own stupidity and also give myself a type of reminder to be grateful for the good things I do have. I’m able to control what I can and let go of what I cannot.  

Somehow though, talking to yourself (especially out loud) isn’t as settling as talking to the omnipotent, but invisible, Creator of the universe. It also might get you long sideways looks and questions regarding your sanity.

That doesn’t make a bit of sense if you think about it.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “When We Talk To God

  1. Adeel

    It’s like you are dealing with all the same issues as i did/do as i left Islam, the conditioning is still there such as the “Alhamdulillah” after a sneeze which too made me realise that it has nothing to do with spirituality but is programed within the reactionary part of “instant rewards” which somehow satisfy us. Indeed i see all prayers as trying to fill a self-centred created void but it is “false” or and illusion as you say. Such as my father being so “deep” in prayer would run outside as soon as possible to have nicotine withdrawal satisfied (although that too is never satisfied). It made me realise that i used prayer to fill that “void” just as he did but it truly is a self worship which gets you no where since you end up beating yourself over it for not truly “fulfilling you”. As someone once remarked “Man made God in his own image”.

    Your observations of “your” thoughts is a very useful exercise which makes one realise the nonsense that floats around waiting for you to make it in some way a part of “you”. I was someone who was self critical, saying “I’m going to hell” which contributed to a state of deep sadness and depression for a number of years, i laugh now whenever confronted by a so called “thoughts”. We are the “conscience” as is God, not separate.

  2. Lisa

    “I’ll never masturbate again” – heheheh.

    Timely post for me. Michael and I were just talking about this very subject this morning. I was telling him how, when Finn was a newborn and stuck in the NICU recovering from major surgery, I found myself praying, “Please let him be okay, please let him be okay . . .” Even though I was already atheist. I think some habits die hard. It’s not that I actually believed in God or the power of prayer as I prayed during those frightening, stressful moments, I think it was just a self-soothing mechanism.

  3. Charlene

    There’s also a stage of grief called “bargaining” that looks a lot like this. And people go through it whether they believe in any kind of higher power or not. Maybe these kind of “prayers” are little grievings in the midst of uncertainty?

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