Unanswerable Prayers

Between Prediction & Petition,
We Beg to Differ With Our Lot

Someone once said that faith was created so man could argue with fate. Or god. Or whatever the hell we weren’t pleased about. A last ditch effort, our first and ultimate resort against reality, as we can’t change the outcome, and evidence usually points the other way.
David Bowie’s death was too much? A petition demanded his immediate return. Falling oil prices? That’s because the year started on a Friday, according to a Medieval prediction. A woman remained a virgin after her new born? 2000 years and many still care to vouch for that.
We simply can’t allow the thought that things may happen at random. Unable to accept that everything around us out-scales us by physical distance and impossibility of time, we choose not to ever be ready to hand over our self-appointed role of comptroller of the universe.
Which, as most things, remains as oblivious to our existence as a cat is to frantic calls to come back at once. We’ll scream, and curse, and swear we’ll move mountains if necessary. But the cosmic enigma, and that little ball of fur, won’t even give us the benefit of a glance.
So we create our temples, and churches, and rituals, and commandments. So to make sure that we won’t be forgotten. And our deeds on this planet will last. And our presence will be memorable. We’ll do that even knowing full well that our ashes will be scattered.

That’s what we do; we’re convinced that if we tell a story enough times, it’ll become part of the historical record. Science may have amassed crushing evidence against it, but we’ll still recount our tales as if there’s a purpose to it all. We’ll still do it, bless our bleeding hearts.
The Zibaldone da Canal, a compendium of relevant issues to 14th century merchants, such as Arithmetics, spices, weights and (more)
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measures, prayers, and medical tables for bloodletting, certainly considered it so: it had a section for predictions for each year till eternity. Including of course our godless year of 2016, for instance.
It started on a Friday, and it did have a ‘temperate’ winter, plus ‘the death of many infants,’ and oil abundance, even though the writer hedged his bets by adding, ‘in some places.’ So it was almost on the money, sort of. But let’s not start another cult to it, shall we?

Science has learned to stay clear of religious dogmas, and none is more sensitive to millions of celibatarian men the world over than the one about the condition of Mary’s genitalia post-birth of Jesus. Well, not all science is er, conceived equal, apparently.
Take parthenogenesis, for instance, a process of mate-less reproduction. It’s one of the theories trying to nail the biblical account onto some resemblance of possibility, even as it thrills not about six billion of non-Catholics, possibly more.
For while most have long realized that reproduction was not a concern in early Christians’ minds, some still seem stuck on that image we’ve alluded to two graphs above. As if their faith depends on it. Good luck with all that, that’s all we can say.

That same refusal to embrace the natural world erupted again when David Bowie passed away. Unconsolable, a group of Italians got busy working on a Change.org petition, demanding ‘god or whom it may concern,’ his immediate return to Earth.
‘Say No to Bowie Dead’ gathered thousands of signatures. Thankfully, it wasn’t a ghoulish hoax, just grief over a then suddenly missed human, among the finest we’ve seen around. Sadly, though, it did not move the needle, just spoke volumes about what we are. 
Or what we’d rather not face: inexorability and the world’s utter disregard to our breath and heartbeat. Of course, it’s much better that way: even without any power of grace, we’ve already acquired the illegitimate ability of destroying it all for good.
In the best case scenario, we’ll keep on arguing without changing anything, and one day, we’ll wake up and we’ll be no longer. In the worst? We put forth that it’s too early to commit to that kind of jump, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s just leave it to/live it for another day.

(*) Originally published on Jan. 13, 2016.

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