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Yoon Ha Lee wrote, quoting M.S. Soderquist and respectively herself:

> > > <nod>  Is it silly to pray for people after they're deceased...?
> >
> > Also, of course, if you believe that the deceased may be trapped in
> > purgatory, you can always pray to speed up their release to the better
> > parts of the afterlife. :)
>
> Alas, or not--no.  I've never understood purgatory.  I seem to pray for

As a protestant, I have to say I believe there's no such thing. The
reason, in a nutshell, is that purgatory seems to make a mockery of
forgiveness.

That statement could lead down either of two tracks:

(1) My beliefs about the afterlife. The whole point of my faith is that
    given personal committment, God will transform us into perfect beings
    incapable of sin. That is what Heaven is all about. As for Hell, I
    believe it to be the place where souls are destroyed if they refuse
    to accept the only God who can possibly bring them fulfilment.
    Since I believe that souls are literally destroyed in Hell, I do not
    believe that Hell is eternal.

(2) My beliefs about forgiveness and punishment. For one thing, I believe
    that the idea of 'deserving' punishment is a human invention and not
    a divine one. Punishment viewed as an ethical necessity in its own
    right places a second principle in competition with God's will - and
    surely Christianity has to teach that ethical desirability depends on
    God's will alone. How can anything be desirable unless it makes the
    world a better place and brings God's fulfilment closer to fruition?

> people who are now deceased mainly out of habit...and there are a
> couple who, unfortunately, I don't know if they're alive or dead.
> (Whoops...attempted an anaphora? that doesn't work in English, but
> hopefully the meaning is clear.)  I suspect it doesn't *hurt,* though.

I think it makes sense to pray, "Lord, I trust that they are in your
hands". Apart from that, I don't think it makes a lot of sense. How do
you pray for someone who is already perfect, and experiencing God in a
way beyond earthly experience?

That said, M. Soderquist is right about God and Time. If you believe you
can pray for something that has already happened, then you might well do
so. But I can't think of any occasion when I have prayed in that way.

--
web.       | Here and there I like to preserve a few islands of sanity
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