"God is great, and God is good, And we thank him for our food; By his hand we all are fed; Give us, Lord, our daily bread."
Get a Room!
The other day I took my family out for a meal at a chain restaurant known for their steakburgers and milkshakes. My children enjoy going out for the occasional meal and it's become sort of a weekend ritual. So we ordered our food as usual and waited for it to be brought out to us.
Now, I'm a people-watcher. I always have been. When I'm out and about my eyes are most often on those around me. So on this occasion I was surveying the scenery and I noticed a young couple praying over their grease-laden meal. I was immediately upset at seeing this but I couldn't pin down exactly why. I mean, of course I'm against religion but these folks weren't hurting anyone. They just wanted to thank Drop Dead Fred for this wonderful bounty of processed cow and potatoes.
Then it hit me. The reason I was upset was because I knew what these people were really doing. We might call it prayer, but what they were really doing was masturbating in public. They're what I call “religious exhibitionists,” and I have to assume they believe the whole world to be eager voyeurs just waiting for the peepshow.
Parental Advisory Warning
Prayer is an act of self-gratification. Just like masturbation, the only person who benefits from prayer are the ones who pray. It makes them feel good, as if they've actually done something. If we go even further into the idea though, we can see it's actually also a way to play out fantasies. When we masturbate we often play out fantasies in our minds of sexual escapades we will likely never partake in. So too, the prayee fantasizes that they can have an impact in someone else's life just by thinking good thoughts about them. When you get right down to it, the idea is actually quite perverse. It's like a flasher who wants to show others their genitals because for some reason they think their package is special.
I suppose it's a matter of perspective for most of us. We don't see prayer as hurting anyone so we just assume it's benign. But when you see it for what it really is, we're left to ask the question why this form of self-gratification is fine to show on television and generally shove in peoples faces but some woman rocking the little man in the boat is considered obscene? It becomes apparent that it is not the self-gratification that we find offensive, but the idea that genitals are involved. But to me the entire idea of self-gratification is a bit vulgar and rude... at least to be putting on public display. I have no more interest in watching you mentally masturbate to dreams of a Jewish zombie than I do to watch some woman flick her bean on the metro. That's what the internet is for.
What really eats me up about this is that many of these religious exhibitionists are the same people who complain about seeing gay couples kiss on television. They complain that they don't want to have to explain that to their children. Personally I find it much harder to explain to my sons why it's okay for religious folks to have a circle-jerk in the town square, but they aren't supposed to walk around in public fondling their penises.
I'm not taking issue with the praying itself either. The problem I have is that this almighty god these religious exhibitionists believe in shouldn't need them to clasp their hands and close their eyes and bow their heads in order to know their thoughts. By all rights all they need do is think and their god is supposed to know it. So instead of having a quiet word with their supposed overlord in their own minds, they put on a show and in essence pull out their genitals to put on a public display of their affliction.
So maybe you're laughing at this. Maybe I worded it with the air of a comedian running a joke. But I doubt that if someone just dropped trousers and started wanking off in your face that you'd be amused. I'm not saying you can't masturbate in public, just don't be surprised when someone tells you, "That looks like a penis.... only smaller."