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June 20, 2010



Posting this on Father's Day was really good timing.

The prayer request response makes me wonder why nobody has ever thought of imprecatory prayer concerning past events. (Or maybe it's that I just watched the latest episode of Doctor Who.) I mean, if god can do anything and stands outside of time as its creator, surely he can alter events in the past, right? How do we know that it isn't because of the ongoing prayers of the faithful for centuries to come that World War II turned out the way it did? It would be the perfect example of prayers answered before they were sent.

I realize that there isn't really a demographic of people who are anxious about the past being rewritten, so this would never catch on. But it seems like this is a fair question for adherents of an omnimax theology.


Leighton, that's why God sent Sam Beckett back in time to right what once went wrong. Keep bringing them in my house and I'll keep knocking them back

Matt Mikalatos

If Kylie is lucky perhaps she will be treated to a lecture about being a godly woman and correct clothing to wear as a woman so as not to make men stumble.


You're comment reminds me of a really interesting song by Dan Bern called God Said No. The song's narrator keeps asking god if he can go back in time and save people like Kurt Cobain, Jesus, etc. He also asks if he can go back in time and kill Hitler with a big powerful gun. God's response is that "no, you'd just screw it up." Funny and sad.

Jason Shepherd

Being a former pastor and influential in the mental and spiritual rape of many impressionable youngsters I say set her ass free on them. I could have used a girl like her back in the day.

Matt...I kinda prefer it when women dress inappropriately, but that's just me.

Jessica Campbell

I hope Kylie is secure in herself not to buy in to the bullshit. It's hard to be immersed in the crap for an entire week- with the message that your life is sad and that you are hurting being repeated, while your regular teenage insecurities and hurts are being exploited and not at least feel kind of badly about yourself. From what it sounds like though their tactics aren't as mature as she is and she'll be able to withstand the pressure to feel badly about herself. The religious stuff is what it is - it's the message of not being a "slut" etc. or all the other social insults that go along with the messages of purity, drinking, abortion, faith - etc. that make me cringe for her. Remind her that the Socratic method is a rather helpful way to get the attention off her and on to the question asker - make them define what they mean - that will get them to leave her alone maybe. And beware of "I used to be bad but now I'm good" camp counselors - they're the worst.


The backward causation question regarding prayer is actually a pretty common topic in the philosophy of religion. Alas, it typically comes up as an "intuition pump" in arguments for the compatibility of human freedom and divine foreknowledge (though in my case they pump an intuition that I just don't seem to have), or as a counterexample to the necessity of the past, a crucial premise in arguments against their compatibility. Alas, very little attention is ever paid in such arguments to current physics' best account of the nature of time, we philosophers being loathe to get out of our armchairs and deal with annoying things like facts.

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