The Agnostic's Prayer - 1965

ed rosenthal
March 2, 2015

I am the product of a mixed marriage - my father was a committed Agnostic, and my mother was a Social Christian; that is to say, she believed you should go to church because you were expected to go to church.

My maternal grandmother, a Christian Scientist, gave me my own copy of the King James version of the Christian Bible for my seventh birthday.   It was a small, thick blue book with my name embossed in gold on the cover.   By the age of nine, I had read through the more interesting Old Testament and part of the New Testament, but, despite active encouragement, I never went in for further Bible study.  I also attended Sunday School for a few years, but the only impression left on me from that experience was a dislike for dressing up in my Sunday Best.

At home, I was encouraged by my father to decide for myself about religious matters, but the culture in which I grew up still shaped  my early thinking.   The following verse, from 1965, shows the effects of my upbringing:

The Agnostic's Prayer

If I die before I sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And tend it, fend it from the Foe.
Is there a God?  I do not know.

If I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take
And guard it, ward it, save it well.
Is there a God?  I cannot tell.

And if I live another day,
Tomorrow Eve again I'll pray.
For unto Him i, if things pan out,
Give the benefit of the doubt.

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