One of my work associates is a follower of Shamanism. She is an intelligent and articulate person, and did not fall into this pursuit lightly. It is a genuine belief, and one she pursues with diligence.
She shared one of her books with me. It was an interesting book, as it was essentially a book of testimonials by believers in the ways of the Shaman. It had an amazing parallel to Christian testimonials to answered prayers. Indeed, other than a few words now and then that reflected the true roots of the beliefs of those testifying, it could be mistaken for a piece of literature from contemporary Christian culture.
I simply found it curious. I could see how someone inflamed with an anti-Christian bias could argue that it was evidence against the existence of the Christian God. I could see how an insecure Christian could experience doubts about the Christian faith, seeing that such experiences as answered prayer occurred in beliefs quite contrary to what is Christian.
When I examined evolution I saw something similar. Perhaps not a true parallel, but still an example worth considering. The evidence presented in favor of evolution was the significant similarity of human DNA to the DNA of a chimpanzee. How could one not conclude that both humans and chimps were descended from a common ancestor?
Again, the anti-Christian would readily load this bit of evidence into their God-busting cannon. Again, an insecure believer might experience doubts about the Christian faith. How can these things be, in a God created world?
That, however, is precisely the point. Is it unreasonable that God, in His creation, would use similar patterns in the elements of His creation? That is simply good engineering. It is simply good design. So, we should not be surprised to find parallels in DNA patterns. DNA as a building block is obviously part of God's design, given the assumption and belief that God exists and is Creator of all that is.
As to answered prayer? God created this world, and he created people to live in this world. Our interactions with that creation will be similar, whatever we believe. The degree and form of direct intervention by God is an unknown. Though He has the power to interact with His creation in any manner He sees fit, it is quite obvious that His interaction is quite subtle except for a few rare occasions.
He does not move mountains if allowing a pebble to follow its natural course will adequately execute His will. Not only is He an excellent engineer, He is also quite adept at being God.
Much of what people perceive as answers to prayer is simply pebbles following their natural courses. It should therefore be no surprise that a Shamanist would perceive answers to prayer much like the Christian does.
God may execute His designs according to His own wisdom, and extends His grace to whom He chooses. We may attribute what we experience in His creation to whatever and whomever we like. Answers to prayer are not proofs of the existence of God, nor are they the foundation of true faith.
The book my Shamanist friend shared with me was a curiosity, and very interesting. I am glad she shared it with me. It gave me something to think about. It will be interesting to see what others who find this blog might think, as well.
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