Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interesting Definition of "Blessed"

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
--Matthew 5:4

This was one of the verses on a church sign I passed on my way home from work yesterday. I can't help wondering as I read verses like this one if any of the people who post them actually think about what message is being implied by statements such as this. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), I can't help thinking about it.

  Are people in mourning really blessed? Would they think themselves blessed to be in the midst of an experience that finds them mourning? I could be wrong, but I can't think of a single instance in which an individual feels blessed to have lost a loved one, lost a job, lost their home, or any other scenario which might lead one to mourn. Based on my own limited experiences, it seems to me that it would be safe to say that in most cases, people in mourning are not feeling blessed.

Of course, there is an upside to all this mourning going on. "...they will be comforted." How will they be comforted? Will friends, family, and community come together to help in a time of need? Possibly. But I still fail to grasp the connection to being blessed for mourning. Sure, a person might feel blessed to have a caring network of individuals around to rely upon in dark times, but how does that make a person blessed to be in mourning? This begs the question also of why God would allow bad things to happen to people (thus creating the need to mourn) and then say that those people are blessed because somehow, some way, they will be comforted. Why doesn't God just prevent the need to mourn in the first place, because then an individual might actually BE blessed?

And what about people whose lives are working out just fine? Does this imply then, that they are not blessed, but in fact, are damned for being happy? As far as the comforters go, are they damned as well, since they are not in mourning themselves and are merely acting as facilitators of recovery from mourning for the person who is so blessed? Finally, if the ones who mourn are the ones who are blessed, why do they need comfort in the first place?

Just something to think about....

Quote of the Day:

"You cannot transmute some incoherent mixture of words into sense merely by introducing the three-letter word 'God' to be its grammatical subject."

--Antony Flew

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ockham's Razor Required to Slice 1/2 Price Beef

Yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday. As is customary in our family, we all headed over to my in-laws' house for a celebratory dinner and party. During dinner, my mother-in-law made a comment that just tickled my funny bone, and while it might not seem so funny to anyone else, I thought I'd share it anyway.

My father-in-law, Bruce, is a total steak-and-potatoes kind of guy. When we have dinner at their house for his birthday, we know the menu will be limited to some kind of steak and mashed, baked, or fried potatoes. Last night was no different. Prime rib, mashed potatoes, pasta (for the non steak-and-potato eaters), Italian bread, and fresh fruit rounded out the meal. When everyone was done and complimenting the chef (hubby's mom) on how great the meal was, the conversation turned to the beef. Apparently, the butcher who cut the meat for Bruce gave him boneless prime rib at the bone-in price; a savings of about half. Around the table, people murmured about how nice the butcher was, how it was a great birthday present for Bruce, how it made eating at home worthwhile, etc. My mother-in-law then said in all sincerity, "I guess God wanted  you to have prime rib for your birthday. He must've whispered into the butcher's ear to give you that meat for 1/2 price." 

Whatever conversation immediately followed is beyond my comprehension, because all I could hear in my head was my own sarcastic, smart-ass voice replying, "Yes, that's just what God did. He cared sooo much about Bruce's birthday that he made it a priority to follow him around all day...and then, at the opportune moment, whispered in a butcher's ear so that Bruce could get his prime rib for 1/2 price." 

Forgive me but I have to ask...Where is Ockham's razor when you need it?

Quote of the Day:

"...other things being equal...the simplest hypothesis proposed as an explanation of phenomena is more likely to be the true one than is any other available hypothesis..."

--Richard Swinburne