Friday, December 5, 2014

Prayer... It Doesn't Work

At this point, I won't even lie about my disdain for individuals who feel the need to say at every turn that they praying for someone, about something, or saying they use prayer in hopes that somehow, this will bring about a resolution. Well, sorry to be my usual cynical self -- and maybe this is my charred blackened atheist heart talking, but I find people who pray when tragedies occur are basically giving themselves comfort to deal with something that is beyond their scope of reason and understanding about the human condition. And while that is nothing to mock or to denigrate, if you're looking for real answers, you won't find them clasping your hands and looking up the sky.

What is prayer but an admission that there is no "plan" at work. Is it all according to God's plan? Granted, not every Christian I encounter says that, but enough of them do to the point where I have to interject (and this makes me look an asshole, but I'll do it) and ask them how they can reconcile praying with holding a belief in some divine plan that already has your life outlined to happen in a certain sequence? To pray for a resolution is expressing a level of dissatisfaction with this plan, especially when you factor in the recent events in Ferguson, MO and in New York with the tragic case of Eric Garner. Can you say this is a part of God's plan? Is civil unrest a part of God's plan? Are the senseless deaths and murders of millions of people a year a part of God's plan? And if you are so content with the divine plan at hand, why not just accept the horror in the world and "let his will be done"?

What has prayer solved? Seriously, what does it do? Aside from the inner calm and peace it gives the one praying, what tangible benefit does praying offer? There are many instances I can think of that are purely anecdotal where I prayed and something good happened. But when I looked back on those instances that I could recall, there was usually extenuating circumstances at play. Once, I needed to pay my rent and I didn't have the money so I prayed. My unemployment came the next day, and I got more than the usual amount because of a backlog. But, that wasn't prayer... it was me calling them directly and telling them the problem and then having a windfall when the clerical error was fixed. But, of course I chalked it up to God and called it a day, not thinking twice about my logic. Even those times I prayed and nothing happened, it was just "God saying 'no'." But ultimately, prayer doesn't change anything because it can't. Saying something isn't doing something, so when I hear people say "We need to pray more", it grates my nerves; you might as well say, "Let's keep doing nothing, and hope the problem solves itself."

Are you really praying? This is an honest question that I have only recently began wondering about out loud. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, "I'll pray for you" has often been uttered at me by a religious person, and it was usually said in a holier-than-thou attitude. Granted, it doesn't bother me in a vitriolic sense, but it makes me ponder if these people are simply saying it. When someone dies, especially when it's in the news or on the Internet, the comment sections and social media platforms are loaded with persons offering their condolences and saying "You're in my prayers" or "I'm saying a prayer for you" or "Thoughts and prayers". But is the action in the statement alone or simply repeating actions one is either doing or planning on doing? Because there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of those invoking the P-word have no intention of praying and are parroting the sentiments of others. After all, there are those narcissists on the Internet who exist solely to get those upvotes, thumbs ups, and likes on their "well wishes".

For real, though... what has prayer solved? Still children being raped and killed. Still world hunger. Still diseases and virus rapidly evolving to fend off our advancements in medical and scientific technology. Still people killing and butchering innocent people over their interpretation of their man-made doctrine from thousands of years ago. This is my ultimate problem with prayer: the very nature of it symbolizes a longstanding issue of how religion stops progression of our society. After all, when you think the answers to your problems lie in an act as easy as saying a few endearing words, why would you want to do the hard work of constructing a better and more moral society? Let any Tea Party or hardcore evangelical tell you, our problems started because we took prayer out of schools... we took religion out of the public square... we took "Christ" out of Christmas. Ignoring the astounding idiocy, let's say this is the case. What does that say about your god and your religion that you have such a feeble dictator who needs public adoration and the imposition of holy doctrine on others to grant wishes. And that's what prayer is pretty much... a more sophisticated way to ask your genie to perform magic.

Prayer doesn't hurt, but it damn sure doesn't help. We only inhabit this earth for so long before we go down the inevitable road of no return, so why not actually do something about the state of our society? Praying more isn't going to do a damn thing but fill the heads of a bunch of well meaning folks with delusions of grandeur and continue on with a tradition of doing the very least and expecting the very most. I'm just saying... don't be surprised when you open your eyes from your one on one with your individual god and find everything exactly the same. These simply my thoughts... if you want an essay or a dissertation, you can take your ass over to Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, or Matt Dillahunty (love him!!!) and they'll pontificate in a more eloquent manner.

Okay, I'm done.

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