Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nothin' Fails Like Prayer!

Supposedly there is going to be a massive prayer campaign held this weekend for the ambiguous "plight of children." I have a lot of questions here: What children? Children in what country? All children or just the ones that are in need? What constitutes need? I don't understand exactly what they are going to be praying for.

One thing I have noticed is that how easy it is to pray instead of actually doing something. Pious Christians everywhere are willing to sit around and think to themselves for a whole weekend, but going out and actually doing something to help children that are being molested, or children who are starving, or children who are homeless, well that just sounds like a lot of work.

So when you think prayer can heal the world, or anything for that matter, ask yourself this: when is the last time prayer made someones arm grow back? When is the last time prayer brought the dead back to life?



  2. We don't pray to raise the dead or grow an arm or leg back on an amputee. We pray for the family of the dead loved one to be able to heal from the pain of losing a loved one and move on. We pray for the amputee to heal without infection and to be able to accept their new circumstances and help them learn to adapt. We pray for guidance in how we can help, we pray to be given the strength to help in whatever way we can. And no, we do not all just sit around and wait for God to fix things. We pray for him to tell us how. No, not all our prayers get answered right away of the way we want things to happen, but it does get answered in God's time,not ours. Faith in God, or in anything, is not always a "right now" type of thing. A person who believes that God is the ultimate healer and savior understands that he does answer prayer to the way HE wants our lives to be. God has had a plan for all of us, even you, before we were even conceived. There is no such thing as Fate, it is God's Will.

  3. Prayer often doesn't work cause people don't believe or don't understand the will of God. My nephew passed this past year dispite tons of prayer. But in his passing, his organs were donated to 7 people and much good came out. We all die, we don't know when and it isn't God's will that we live forever on Earth. Christians forget that. During his way to short time on this Earth, he helped many people and touched many peoples lives. It was his time and no person can change the will of God.

    As far as people getting healed. I see it regularly to be honest. My mother in law, for example, 28 years ago was severly hooked on Heroin and was given a few months to live cause of Hep B. She walked into a church, and walked out no longer hooked and healed. No withdraws, no 12 step programs, no desire to ever use again and the Hep B gone - no medical treatments for that either. That is one example (and there are hundreds of witnesses in her life who can testify to these events)

    As far as Christians not doing anything...maybe you are right in some cases, but you are being extremely generalization and your statements don't include me. I spend much time helping the homeless and teaching children on Sundays. I have many friends who spent weeks in New Orleans following Katrina and quite a few who regulary head to Central America to dig water wells (not paid to do it either). And my kids and I have spend several experiences cleaning up trash in a park.

    Question for you, when you don't believe in God, what motivation do you have to help others?

  4. what a joke this blog is

  5. when a person says pray, you first of all have to have faith, faith is your foundation, you are correct, prayer can't sew back an arm, but prayer can heal the part of the arm that was removed, the person lost an arm, and was spared their life, no. prayer can not bring the dead back to life, but prayer can help you heal and move on from this persons death, some things we pray for and ask, yes there should be "common sense" involved, try faith, if you try faith and you believe, you will see God move, it may not be right when you want it, or on your time but you will see what God can do ! you can have faith the size of a mustard seed, i will pray for you, God loves you and so do i !!

  6. You can both pray and take action. They don't have to be mutually exclusive events. God uses people as his means of making change on Earth, so you're exactly right when you say that prayer doesn't give anyone an excuse to sit by idly when we need to take action.

    Still, I believe in the power of prayer. I understand those that don't - and I won't try to convince you otherwise - but don't just assume that those who believe in prayer aren't trying to make this a better world as well.

  7. A truly bizarre line of thought.

  8. Wow, I don't know where to start. When I pray I don't expect anything to phsycally happen. It is more of a medition process for me to help me find answers to how I can help others. If you are thinking prayer is going to grow back an arm then you might as well find Hogwarts school of Wizadry and ask for a bottle of Skele-grow. Because you want a present doesn't mean you deserve one. Praying is not like asking a Genie for a wish and expecting to get it because you uncorked his bottle. I am a Christian because I chose to be. It is my route to being a better person by making me think beyond my own selfish desires. I pray every day that my sons will be safe and then I do what I can to help them be safe by teaching them how to make their way in this world. I don't pray for them to be safe and then expect God to do it all. Wouldn't that make me a lazy person? For what it's worth this is my opinion / belief. It get me through life, helps me to work with others, and inspires me to help others when I can.

  9. Who said pray and then do nothing?

  10. wow, you have no faith whatsoever..

  11. Right...right hey I don't believe in drinking water and eating food. Well that's until I need it. This athiest stuff is completely made up garbage. No one buys into. Please give me some truth.

  12. Will wrote: "Pious Christians everywhere are willing to sit around and think to themselves for a whole weekend, but going out and actually doing something to help children that are being molested, or children who are starving, or children who are homeless, well that just sounds like a lot of work."

    That comment just shows that Will doesn't know any more about Christians in action than he does about prayer.

  13. God is a powerful & all knowing God. He knows what needs to be done in the world & in each life. He is in complete control. Pray is a way that Christians communicate with God & He with us. He instructs us in His Word to pray without ceasing and to pray for others, to carry each other's burdens. In being faithful to the Lord & His Word we are to do this while trusting Hils Will to be done. Of course a loving God would like for this to be a sinless world with no pain, suffering or sin, however, it's not that way. Man was born sinful, thus God sent His Son Jesus to make a way for our sins to be forgiven. He calls us to be faithful to Him & His Word, not to try to solve all the worlds problems. He will be faithful & just to do His job if we are faithful to do ours, to pray & trust. If we pray for an arm to grow back it just might not be His Will for this to happen, He may have other plans. Prayer is a wonderful tool that allows us to communicate with a Holy God pleading on the behalf of others. He hears every prayer & answers accordingly. I will pray for you & ask the Lord to open your eyes to His Word & His Will for your life.

  14. Tom commented, "Trust in a some mythical god is the coward's way out."

    Okay Jesse Ventura wannabe, it's the "coward's way out" of what, exactly?

    This whole premise that religion is for the weak is silly because do strong atheists face a better outcome when they die? Why does it make one weak to believe in something greater than ourselves? Everyone agrees that our lives will all come to an end as we know it in this world. But the question is, what do you do with the thought that there could be something else after this life.

    I will give the author of this blog credit for one thing. A lot Christians become complacent and won't get off their butts and actually do what needs to be done, instead, they claim to be praying for them, when in reality they are too lazy or selfish to do anything at all.

    To answer the why won't prayer bring people's arms back question, there are still consequences in life, I don't mean punishment, but simply natural consequences. People in the Bible lost limbs and died and belief in God only wasn't enough to heal people of every ailment out there.

  15. I think a lot of people are missing the greater point of this blog post and this blog for that matter. The Southern "Atheist" posted it which means that he does not believe in a higher power or in the ability of faith to really do anything. I myself believe this as well. Don't get me wrong, I have a family and I am "hopeful" that my family will be safe and happy but I do not pray to an non-exsistant being in the sky to help me with this or to help me have more motivation. I know that a lot of people that are Christian do have a positive affect on the world by taking action to help others but I myself have never understood when someone says to me, "I will pray for you" as a way to reassure me when I am having a bad day. I too feel that prayer and God will do nothing for me and prefer just the concern of another human that I can see in front of me. A "massive prayer campaign" is just another way for people in my opinion to have a social gathering to appear to be doing good works, as I observed people doing as a child at church. I have tried to involve people in groups that were not affiliated with the church in the past and they were not interested however for some reason once they were invited to join groups that were involved with the church, they were willing to join. I did see a positive change in the person once they joined but they would have seen they same positive change in the non-religious groups as well. They were are so convinced that prayer and religion were needed to make the group a "wholesome" and worthwhile group, that they discounted all others. I am just asking the people that are religious to take a look at how their faith, prayer and God may make them feel superior to others that don't share their beliefs.

  16. Will is right on the money! Praying is nothing more than faith based masturbation.. I don't know what is funnier, the article Will links to or the comments on this post.

    The christian post article quotes Viva's chief executive saying “If every person involved takes a minute to pray, just one minute out of a whole weekend, that could mean two million minutes – that’s equal to more than three and a half year’s worth of prayer devoted to children at risk"

    Three and a half years worth of prayers... I wonder what the prayer to dollar conversion rate is?

  17. In response to "Question for you, when you don't believe in God, what motivation do you have to help others?"

    I don't need a delusional fear of some fairytale omnipotent being to feel empathy, and to show kindness towards man or other creatures on this earth.

    And with the referenced comment comes a bit more clarity, consistent with my impression of the majority of the people walking around on this place, as to why people "believe" in "God", the story of creation, or the Easter Bunny (Oh wait, my mistake, most people over the age of 6 actually do understand the absurdity of such a character).

    God was fabricated in a time when scientific knowledge was not mature enough to refute the concept. And now, after all this time, it is fear. Apparently without it, man hath not reason to be righteous, to have empathy, to be kind. And while that single positive element of religion may be so, fear ultimately drives irrational thought and action. Yep, that's right.

    What I find most ironic is that while many religious people have a positive influence on humankind and are truly good, most fail to understand or acknowledge the repressive, destructive and intolerant nature of religion, and its impact on humankind. Sadly, it will be the end of all of us.

    Do you really need the influence of God to drive you to be humane?

  18. There are three possible answers to a prayer: yes, no and later. These are also the three basic answers one gets with a magic 8-ball. You can pray for an amputee not to get an infections or you can administer antibiotics. Guess which one works. You can pray for the families of the dead. Or you can fix them a meal, offer them a sympathetic ear or help them pay their rent. Guess which is more useful.

    With the billions and billions of prayers offered each and every day, you'd expect to see more miracles occurring. But there is no credible shred of evidence for the miraculous. There is no credible shred of evidence that prayer is anything more than talking to the ceiling.

    If God's will is what it is, it's immutable and no amount of prayer is going to change it. The person who wrote, "Prayer often doesn't work cause (sic) people don't believe or don't understand the will of God" has just as much said that.

    As a child, I was in a bad home situation. I prayed at every opportunity for it to get better. Nothing happened until I realized that there wasn't anyone listening and the only way things were going to get better was to get off my knees and on my feet. My prayers didn't go unanswered because I was unworthy. My prayers went unanswered because there was nobody there to hear them. I turned my back on the church, God, Jesus and all that nonsense. Only then did things improve for me. The burden of needless guilt was lifted.

    So how useful is prayer? You could ask all the kids who've died over the last few years because their parents prayed instead of getting them proper medical care. You say the dead don't speak? Their silence speaks volumes.

  19. As an atheist, and an overthinking perfectionist with a sensitive conscience, I spend a lot of time thinking about the world and where I fit into it. Introspection is very good for psychological and emotional health. I use my brain to think about complex situations and try to see them from all angles. I think about myself and how I can change and improve myself so I can improve the lives of those around me. If prayer is the same as this, then it wouldn't be that bad. Unfortunately I don't think it works that way most of the time. I know when I was a Christian, when I prayed, I was asking for things, and then fervently trying to "hear" god tell me what to do. I never heard anything, only my own jumbled thoughts. If I were "praying for" a friend, I would think about them and how much I cared about them, which is nice and all, but no substitute for being there to talk to them or give them a hug. In other words, a waste of time. I'd have been better off doing some introspection, and thinking about who I was and what I wanted to be.

    Different people have commented claiming that when they pray for someone to be healed they're not really praying for god to heal (uh, ok), that instead they're just asking for god's will to be done in the situation. Well, if it's just about god's will being done, won't it happen that way anyway?

    If everything is part of god's plan, and he doesn't always tell you why or how his plan is going to work, then why waste time praying when he may or may not answer you based on what kind of "lesson" he thinks you need to learn? And those of you that say you hear the voice of god when you pray---seriously? Because I was once a very naive, very faithful Christian who believed with my whole heart, and I did everything I could to get god to "speak" to me and it never happened. Also, hearing voices is a sign of insanity. Just sayin'.

  20. "They came in multitudes. There were the mockers and the laughers. The believers and the non-blievers and the perplexed". This is who we are and no matter how hard I try to get you to believe or how hard you try to get me not to believe at the end of the day we'll all still fit into one of these catagories. Just accept each other as who we/they are and don't condemn or judge and don't wast your time trying to figure each other out. Just sayin'.

  21. Again, Will and Hannah post these comments to try and get people all worked up. If it's an athiest site then who are you trying to convince oh that's right yourselves. Your not athiest please give it a rest. Believing in nothing is nothing end of story, but you two have faith. Can I be a contributor? I think I can really help you two out.

  22. Ah yes, the "atheists don't exist" argument. Yeah, and gay people aren't really gay, they just like to stir up controversy.

    Anonymous, we blog because we like to write and express our opinions. Our audience is mostly other atheists---or whoever wants to read non-religious heathen opinions on the news. If you hate what we have to say, that's fine! But it's kinda sad that you're hanging around leaving comments on a blog you think is fake and worthless.

  23. It's not sad at all, it only take a couple minutes, it's what you losers do every day. You have a web blog so people can respond and get all worked up with your completely ignorant comments. Relax I'm only doing what you do. I can tell it bothers you so I'll stop.

  24. If you're going to post, at least find some kind of identity besides "Anonymous." It's confusing and cowardly.

  25. Anonymous, how you spend your time is up to you; I certainly don't go over to Christian blogs and waste my time trying to see eye-to-eye----or hell, even to leave the sort of worthless comments you've left here. But hey, it's a free country! And nobody is upset, although you'd accuse me of that no matter what I say to you. In fact, every time I've read one of your comments, it's brought a smile to my face.

    Did you not want anyone to respond to you?

  26. This is a great post. I have often found prayer to be a cop out for real action. I don't mean that as a condemnation of only the traditionally religious, but also the New Agers, who substitute "positive thinking" for prayer. Knowing how the mind works, it's easy to understand how people selectively remember a positive outcome from prayer while ignoring all the other times that prayer didn't seem to make a difference. And of course, there is the easy out that applies to everything, "God has his ways. We don't know what God's plan is." etc. etc.

    If someone finds prayer meditatively or personally comforting, I don't hold that against them. But I think it is a tragedy how often people feel that they are doing something positive because they prayed -- as a substitute for actions and deeds that could improve life for others. (And yes, I know there are those who do both - pray and act.)

    In my own life, I have often been disappointed by the lack of support "I'll pray for you" offers. I know it's meant as a show of love, but what I have personally found is that it's an avoidance of dealing with the authentic and unpleasant side of life. When what I really needed was to talk through my feelings or receive a hug, or just have the company of a friend, instead I was offered, "I'll pray for you." I won't comment on my thoughts about what this says about our culture globally, only that the people who want to pray for me have seldom been loving in the ways that would have actually helped me.

    I don't care if people want to pray, but personally, I think their time would be better spent first asking, "What positive action can I take today to make this situation better?" Once that question has been answered, I suggest they pray all they want. Sometimes dealing with the unpleasant reality of having no control over a situation and accepting that there will be pain may be the right answer instead of begging for a miracle and doubling the suffering.

    I think our current economic situation is a perfect example of the consequences of avoiding the truth and life as it actually is instead of how we want it to be. For many people I know, prayer is a way to avoid facing reality -- holding onto an unrealistic hope.

    Maybe we could further world peace and reduce suffering if the hours spent praying were instead spent brainstorming solutions and doing positive charitable work.

  27. I just have one more thought about this. I often hear religious Christians say - as has been noted in earlier comments -- that God has a plan, but also, contradictorily, that God answers prayers.

    Perhaps there is something missing in my logic, but it strikes me as rather arrogant that there are people who believe that God has a grand plan, but that they are powerful enough to influence it. That really, all that is required to change God's mind about God's grand plan, is a prayer - or a certain volume of prayers. Is prayer effective or does God have a plan? If God already has a plan about how life will play out, then what is the point of prayer?

    The logic seems contradictory. Prayer seems at best, powerful only as a personal meditation to focus one's thoughts on what one wants from life, but in no other way capable of influencing its outcome.