Reviews for The Gospel
RoseApprentice chapter 1 . 2/9/2007
A very clever poem. And a good question. I don't think any of us can really know.
Ekari Tirane chapter 1 . 3/31/2006
Very well said,

Gloria

Angelica

berenwasteland

You made your points well. Unfortunately, the author, while a good writer, completely misses the point.

Maybe your wise words have made that clear to him/her.

Again, nice writing in form and structure, but false message.

Unfortunate.
Gloria chapter 1 . 5/19/2005
I don't know where you think you get off trying to tell God to justify His answers to prayer. I mean, THINK ABOUT IT, if God awsered every heartfelt prayer you ever said do you honestly think that you would be happy? We as humans are a lot like children, we don't always know what's best for us, but as you prove, we whine when we don't get our ways. I agree that losing a loved one to war or anything is painful but in the end people should just accept that we don't know eveything and sometimes bad things need to happen in this world for a greater good. Something may very well have happened to this boy in the poem later in his life, he may have lost his faith as I believe you did, Benjamin. There is an example of someone in the old testament who was told he would die and prayed so hard and so pitifully that God gave him a longer life. However, this man gave birth to a boy that was one of the worst kings in the history of Israel. Although 'be careful what you pray for" and "don't question the will of God" are not the main themes of this, its something you have to read between the lines for, the fact remains- we don't always want everything we ask for.
random person chapter 1 . 3/10/2005
Beautiful, brilliant. "The Raven" is one of my favorite poems and you've used it well. I know a lot of people have probably reviewed this with some kind of apologetic stuff about "I'm sorry for your loss...I'll pray for you", but I won't give you any of that crap, except to say that, if there truly is a Heaven, I hope God has taken your son there and that he is happy, because nothing else could ever justify answering such a sincere prayer with "No".

This may be fiction, though, but if it is, it's very beautiful and sincere, I think, so I hope no believers who have lost sons to war are offended by it.
Angelica chapter 1 . 1/21/2003
God can tell loved ones "NO" from time to time, because he knows what they need better than they do. Sometimes unanswered prayers are gifts. I'm sorry to hear all this from such a good writer.
Daughter of the Goddess chapter 1 . 12/28/2002
Isn't there a raven in this poem? Ravens kick ass! Christianity never, pagan's forever!

Otherwise, a reasonably okay version of the Raven, by Poe.
Lucifer chapter 1 . 12/13/2002
berenwasteland,

Settle down buddy. It's just a story. And hey, we all know you'll be seing me.
berenwasteland chapter 1 . 12/12/2002
I think the problem here is the misconception on the part of the protagonist as to what exactly God is saying in the passages at hand. Let's go through this one step at a time. The word Jesus does not have any inherently magical properties. Just saying the word "Jesus" after stating a wish does nothing to make that particular wish more or less likely to occur. This is (quite obviously I should hope) not what the bible is saying. Your protagonist falls into a trap which is generally known as "reading the bible out of context."

Let me put it this way. Do you think that, according to the Bible, God loved Jesus? (The correct answer is "yes" - see Luke 3:22 "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.) So then, by your story's logic, Jesus' prayers must have all been answered in the affirmative, right? (The correct answer is "no." See Luke 22:42 - "Father, if you are willing, take this cup [the crucifiction] away from me; yet not my will but yours be done.")

Obviously, biblical precedence states that God *can* say No to someone he loves - even someone *with* perfect faith (because obviously, Biblically speaking Jesus' faith was perfect.)

In other words, your protagonist has a flawed view of the way that the Christian idea of prayer works. (This is okay; it's a flaw that is pervasive even among Christians I know). God is *not* a big bubble-gum machine in the sky. He's never claimed to be. I think deep down most people are aware of this already, but it's a damnably hard thing to admit.

Let's go back to my example of Jesus' prayer that was denied. The second part of it is just as important as the first: "Not my will but yours be done." To have faith is to submit yourself to God's will. In the passage you quoted, Jesus is not talking about "anybody", but "anybody who has faith". Yes? This means "anyone who submits themselves to God's will." Your protagonist, if I may say so, doesn't submit himself to God's will. I'm not saying that he could have just phrased it differently - "God, let my son live if it's your will." It's deeper than that (as obviously it must be: how foolish people would be to think that simple phrasing could determine the balance between a "yes" and a "no"). I see no "Not my will but yours be done" here; I see: "My will be done or I'm out of here." Which, obviously, is the natural position to take; I'm not critiquing your protagonist as an evil person at all. I'm only saying that a better place to have been at would have been the place wherein he could pray something along the lines of, "God, I put the life of my son in your hands. Your will is perfect; take my son, or leave him, as you desire." That is true submission - and yes, it means that God might have taken his son anyway.

I'm also not saying that we can't ask God for what we want. Jesus was doing that when he asked for God to take away the impending crucifiction. But that doesn't mean God will always say "yes". And any version of Christianity that says it does is trying to sell something.

This is hard stuff to accept, I know. Everyone (myself included) has a hard time understanding why they have to face painful answers. But to imagine that you can go through life without ever having to face that pain is neither a realistic nor a biblical position.
Mercuria chapter 1 . 12/11/2002
Awwwwww ... this is so sad. But you're right, prayer doesn't do anything. At least it never did for anyone I ever met. And I hear all those stories on the news about the miracles accomplished by prayer, and wonder ... if there's a God, why were THEIR prayers answered and not the others? It doesn't make sense to me.

"And let my son come home ..."

So beautiful.
sheered hope chapter 1 . 12/11/2002
Excellent!