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The most popular reading of the Lord's Prayer reads as follows:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

I find the most interesting line in the whole thing to be the one where the supplicant is begging of God to "lead us not into temptation" -- not to prevent some other entity from leading them into temptation, not to prevent them in some generic sense from being led into temptation -- but as a direct appeal, "please, God, don't you lead us into temptation"....

There's a strange subtext to this, as though God just might decide to trick us into defying him if we don't properly go about begging him not to. As if God might drop us in a garden, and also drop in this garden a tree with fruit of forbidden knowledge, and a serpent which is (oddly enough) particularly designed with the ability to persuade us to eat that fruit. Or, as if God might 'harden our hearts', so that just at the moment when we are about to do the right thing, we are forced to choose the wrong path by a power beyond our ability to resist. Or, as if God might allow us to do some acts without ever before having set down a prohibition against them, and then condemn us, kill us, drown the world even for such uncautioned acts.

Does it seem odd to imagine that we must make such a prayer to an entity with the raw power to cause us to act against our own inclination, and the intellect to trick us into falling into error? That we must plead with a God to avoid having that very God cause us to do things that it is supposed to have commanded that we don't do? At the very least, though, it would seem that a God who was a really good dude would give us a pass on those particular trespasses into which it had opted to lead us.

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