Prayer: How to do nothing and still think you’re helping

This post is dedicated to every religionist who:

  • Responds to hearing of hard times of others with prayer, rather than actually doing something or making a donation when such acts are well within their abilities, and still feels like they have made a meaningful moral act. One would not consider it a moral act to, upon hearing of suffering, tap the shoulder of the person next to them and ask them to help the sufferers while they them self are doing nothing. So people can stop feeling morally satisfied with themselves for tapping their God of choice’s shoulder and asking him to make everything better while they continue to do nothing.
  • Gets squarely out-argued in a theist debate but rather than conceding that they have failed to defend their beliefs and that they have serious thinking to do, simply says “W-w-well IIIII believe that we were created by a loving God, and I will pray for you”.
  • To every person who responds to one of my heretical posts and those of other nonbelievers with “I will pray for you”. While I can be truly appreciative of those who genuinely mean well in saying this – it is, after all, the thought that counts – the photo above captures pretty nicely my assessment of what can reasonably be expected of such prayer efforts.
55 Responses to “Prayer: How to do nothing and still think you’re helping”
  1. Chimera says:

    I have a narrower definition.

    Prayer: How to do nothing and still make other people think you’re helping.

  2. Michelle says:

    I think you’ve got a genuine misconception about Christians here (and excuse me for assuming that this group is your main target; the image makes it hard to think otherwise). Most Christians, if they’re honest-to-goodness Christians, will make donations to causes they support if they’ve got the money to do it, most will take an active role if they can. But not every Christian has money pouring out of their ears, we can’t donate to everything all the time. Maybe prayer is, when you get down to it, tapping God on the shoulder and saying “Hey, could you help me out with this?” but it’s better than just sitting around and writing a blog about how other people should get off their butts and empty their wallets for everyone who walks by.

    If it’s a worth-while theological debate you want, I would be glad to give you one. Please, ask any one you’d like, I’ll do my best to give an answer that doesn’t have the phrases “I think” or “I believe” in it.

    And honestly, I will pray for you, or at least for a response. I wouldn’t be surprised if that statement just earned me your virtual silence, but I’ll pray anyway.

    • zengardener says:

      I concede that not every christian has money coming out of their ears, as I do not have money coming out of my ears. but I postulate that not only is praying a waste of time, (unless you can show evidence that it has ever worked), it also gives a false sense of accomplishment that satisfies a person’s normal desire to help another individual in trouble. At best, praying is a gesture. At worst, it pushes the natural tendency to help onto one who does not exist.

      • Michelle says:

        I’ll be honest and say there’s no way to prove beyond a doubt that prayer does anything. It takes a little thing called faith to believe that it does. But it takes just as much faith to believe in evolution and people who believe in that are considered reasonable.
        Does prayer give people a false sense of accomplishment? I’m sure for some people that really is all prayer is for, chasing away guilt. But you can’t just judge an entire international community of believers based on a few people who are just pretending.
        So at worst “prayer” is just as you say, a way to get out of helping others, but at best it’s something that truly makes a difference, even if it only affects one person (who isn’t praying, that is).

      • Charles Holeman says:

        First of all, sir, you are absolutely correct in your first bullet about how idiotic and hypocratic to pray for someone in need and not DO anything to actually help out. In fact, we are in perfect agreement with each other and with, in fact, the Bible. The Bible teaches on this subject in James Chapter 2 (If you have acces to a Bible, please read it, even if you still disagree with it; it will only take about one minute tops. Start at verse 14. It is very short.). It says there that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Another famous verse: “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” I’m done throwing Bible at you; I know it probably offends you. I apologize if it does, but I only say this to make the point that you are in fact right in your criticism of Christians that just think that sitting around praying for their friend that can’t pay for his rent is going to solve the problem. That’s mere foolishness, and frankly not what the Bible says Christianity is about.

        Concerning your second point: Blind faith is not what Christians are commanded to have. Instead, we are commanded to test everything we hear for truth, to search for truth with all of our hearts, even if that means being able to give up all we’ve ever believed in if we find it to be based not on truth (by the way, is this not exactly what scientists do? Scientists must be willing ALWAYS to try what they believed to be true and, if/when that is proven wrong, to change everything they had put FAITH or TRUST in). Therefore, when a Christian tries to fall back on the whole ‘Well, I believe this anyways, so nya-nya!’ routine, I see it as childish and foolish. However, to the furthest extent of my reasearch (which is VERY extensive for a 17-year-old boy), everything I have found on the topic of debate between theism and not has supported the idea that there IS a God. You may email me to discuss matters if you like. I promise to approach them as scientifically as I am now and have in the past. If you really want to test your degree of scientific-ness, I would challenge you to test what you believe as I do every day. I try to learn about all religions and the ideas opposed to religion so that I may find which ideology is true. I challenge you as an intellect to do the same, leaving all bias alone and addressing only the facts. (If you are up to this way of life I will suggest you start off with book titled The Case for Christ. It is written by a man named Lee Strobel. From Wikipedia: Strobel earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School. He was a journalist for fourteen years, at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers. From me now: he decided that with all his journalism training, he would do an all out investigation on Christianity based only on facts; he ended up believing it all.) Also, there are literally thousands if not millions of stories of instances in which prayer results in miraculous occerences. Often times, people will say that such things are merely coincidence, and perhaps they are, but the messages are out there if you’re listening. I can share some of them with you if you would like.

        In a final address to the last bullet: I will anger you by praying for you, but know this: I do not pray that you will go through some great transformation and become a strong Christian or that through some miraculous intervention you will come to know Christ. I pray only that you will search for truth as a true, pure scientist would, and will follow where that trail leads with no bias, again like a true scientist. So you see, it is in fact ironic: I am not praying for you to gain some great faith where no facts support it (as some would wish), but rather wishing you to have the mind of a scientist (which some would say is the opposite to the mind of a Christian).


    • Alberto says:

      So you don’t have the money to make a change, a donation or relief someone in trouble, you give your prayers… Wow, so go to tell all the people in suffering to eat and cover with “your” prayers, you lazy bitch. Go to the nearest Red Cross and give the tuna, bean and apple cans instead of just speaking to your imaginary friend

    • Claudia says:

      The old “not-really-a-true-christian” response. It is right up there with the “goddidit”response. Loser.

  3. placeboswork2 says:

    I actually like your picture. I think it’s makes perfectly good sense to wish somebody well when you can’t do anything but that. Even if you make a donation to a cause it doesn’t necessarily make that individual feel better. Some people positively respond to the idea that they are being prayed for. I think there is plenty of merit in the power of suggestion. Refer to the placebo effect.

    I don’t regularly read your blog. I don’t expect I will in the future. I think debates about religion/atheism/agnosticism are pointless and nothing short of an ego trip regardless of which side is making them.

    Life is too short to argue about the existence of a god or lack thereof. Nobody is going to prove or to disprove it within my lifetime & I have better things to do.

    I just think it’s funny that I got to your blog by way of the picture which I thought hit the nail on the head as to how I feel about prayer. Prayer isn’t just for the individual being prayed for in all cases. Sometimes it’s for the “pray-er” who is trying to cope with the difficulty of hearing the tragedies of life without becoming overwhelmed by them.

    I believe in Darwin. I believe that God might be an alien from outer space. I believe that science is nothing short of amazing. I believe there are little bugs in my mouth that cause holes in my teeth (aka cavities) and I believe that prayer works on a level that is beyond the tangible, material world.

    I also think if it doesn’t float your boat, but it works wonders for somebody else…live & let live.

  4. RB says:


    Hi. Just a few quick comments.

    Firstly, with regard to defending and upholding reason, god need not be disproven for theism to be shown to be unreasonable. All that needs to be done is to show that belief in a God – especially a particular God – has not been substantiated. Similarly, one need not demonstrate the non-existence of martian overlords living below the surface of Sweden in order to demonstrate that belief in such a proposition is silly.

    Secondly, regarding live and let live with regard to religion. I can understand how one would come to this conclusion. However, I don’t think this is something we should just be silent about. The reason being that these beliefs are not simply private personal matters. These beliefs really do affect the way individuals, groups and societies think and behave. Religion played massive roles in the following things: defending slavery, motivating and justifying murder, abusive and oppression of gays, women, apostates, nonbelievers, believers of other faith, and other races, motivating and/or justifying terrorism, interfering with scientific research (e.g., stem cell research) and polluting scientific education (creationism, intelligent design), justifying and motivating disbelief in global warming (a catastrophically dangerous mistake), discouraging some from seeking or providing medical treatment or preventative treatments for self, children or others, etc. Further, our excusing of the unreason that we call religion has opened the floodgates for either types for other opportunistic attempts to exploit people’s trustworthiness and “openmindedness” – e.g., the cult of scientology, homeopathy, psychics, and so on.

    The idea that religious beliefs are simply personal is 100% untrue. Live and let live is hardly justified when religious communities are consistent offenders and consistently affect people in rationally and morally indefensible ways.

    • Michelle says:

      I fear you have either tragically misunderstood my point here or you have purposely avoided the topic.

      For one, I am not here to defend every little faith out there. I am not trying to defend religion in general. I am specifically defending Christianity because that is what I believe in, Christ. I believe because it makes sense. So all the junk pertaining to Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, etc. has no place here and is a distraction. I find murder, Scientology, racism, terrorism, sexism, and a lack of a proper science education just as unsavory as you do.

      I am also not here to defend what people have done “in the name of Christianity” because there are plenty of people out there who will use anything and everything to justify their actions, be it God or anything else. I commented to defend prayer and the Bible. The real Bible, not the one you hear about from people who make fun of a book they’ve never read. You cannot justly condemn a book you have never read based on the way people decide to pervert it.

      So to start, people used God to defend slavery. But what does the Bible say about it? It doesn’t say slavery is good, that’s for sure. The Bible never says that it’s okay to keep other people like livestock. And, for the record, when the Bible refers to slaves, it’s not talking about abused Africans who were ripped from their homeland, it’s talking about people who were paid to work for someone, and stayed on that person’s land. The slaves of Biblical times chose to be so, because that meant they were well-provided for. They were more like employees than slaves.
      And when people were enslaved based on race and the like? Yeah, do you remember what happened to the Egyptians when they did that to the Jews? There were some plagues and serious Divine punishment going on there, and then the slaves were freed. God condemns forced slavery.

      The Bible also says Murder is flat-out wrong. It says killing any human, no matter the circumstance, is wrong. When people justify murder with the Bible, it becomes obvious they’ve never read it. Yeah, there were some wars, but that doesn’t mean God was happy when he allowed them to happen.

      The abuse and oppression of gays is mostly dumb people taking things overboard. Yeah, the Bible says not to be gay, and yeah, in Old Testament times, they stoned gays, but then they stoned adulterers, theives, murderers, liars, and bad children who refused to straighten out after they hit a certain age. That’s just how they dealt with things back then, it was a harsher time. However, the Bible also says one, don’t kill (that includes not killing homosexuals), and two, hate the sin and not the sinner. If someone’s homosexual, you just let them be. Tell them it’s wrong if they’ll listen, but then let them be. And the average Christian you meet on the street will do that.

      The oppression of women? A mix of a misreading and not getting things in context. Why people don’t read the Bible in context is beyond me, but if they did… Still, you can’t pin this one on the Bible exclusively, it’s been happening since the dawn of time.

      Apostates, nonbelievers, believers of other faiths: Bible says to teach with love, and that you’re not supposed to force the message down anyone’s throat. Also, this is the same as with homosexuality; you’re not supposed to beat a nonbeliever, you’re supposed to love them and let them be. Once again, your average Christian will do this.

      Racism: The Bible never even mentions race. Whenever it refers to people from other countries, it either refers to them by their family name or the name of their land, not by race or the color of their skin. Besides, just about everything that happens in the Bible takes place in the middle east and northern Africa. All they’re seeing is people who look like they’re from the middle east. Not much room for racism there.

      Terrorism: I think this may be more in reference to Islam, perhaps? But if you think it applies to Christianity, guess again. Commandment six says rather explicitly “Thou shalt not kill”. No way to mess that one up here, anyone who does simply isn’t a Christian, end of story.

      Stem cell research: There are plenty of non-Christians who think it’s cruel to use what could’ve been a child for experiments. Christians don’t mind stem-cell research, as long as unborn children aren’t used for it.

      Science education: It takes just as much faith to believe in Evolution as it does to believe in God. There are holes in evolution so big that if it were a story no publisher would print it because there would be a gaping plot hole staring you right in the face. I could spend my entire evening writing about the obvious flaws in evolution and how both history and science support the Bible, but I’d rather just refer you to an expert on the matter. If you’re interested in actually learning about your opposition–creationism/intellegent design, then visit Dr. Hovind really knows his stuff. Try saying that creationism is polluting scientific education after you learn what it’s really about.

      Global warming: Just because we’re not running around like chickens with our heads cut off, doesn’t mean we don’t recycle. We love the planet God blessed us with and like to take care of it. But there really isn’t any need to go chaining oneself to trees in the Amazon now, is there?

      Medical treatment: Jehovah’s witnesses are not Christians, because they don’t believe in the Bible, simple as that. This was an irrelevant point because the Bible doesn’t say anything against being treated for illness.

      The Bible also has nothing to do with other cults, either. I find just as much fault with cults and their craziness as you do.

      So to summarize, the Bible doesn’t condone violence against anyone, it condemns it. The Bible doesn’t condemn learning and science and, in fact, prompts you to ask questions and learn all you can. The Bible does clearly influence the world, but I don’t think anyone was complaining when governments passed laws saying not to kill or steal or lie under oath. Don’t judge all Christians as being like that carnal “christian” you saw on T.V. or at work.

      • Keith DeRosa says:

        You argument seemed good right up until the moment you recommended “DR” Hovind he’s in jail for the last 3? or so years for embezling funds i beleive he is not honest or reputible.
        Its funny you say the bible is good and honest and true and then site someome “in your camp” who is suposed to suport and even stand up for this stuff and guess what he’s a lair and a crook just like most of the christian preacers all thoughout history.Starting right at the begining of the religion read you history these guys were horible and mordern chrisitanity has’nt changed it is still full of liars theifs forgers and the like its a lie and will never change.

      • Litesp33d says:

        So you accept xtinaity as true but reject all other religions. Can you not see the hole in your own argument. No of course you do not because you have been brainwashed not to.

        The following quote from Stephen F. Roberts sums up the situation very nicely:

        “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

        If you believe in God, you have chosen to reject Allah, Vishnu, Budda, Waheguru and all of the thousands of other gods that other people worship today. It is quite likely that you rejected these other gods without ever looking into their religions or reading their books. You simply absorbed the dominant faith in your home or in the society you grew up in.

        In the same way, the followers of all these other religions have chosen to reject God. You think their gods are imaginary, and they think your God is imaginary.

        In other words, each religious person on earth today arbitrarily rejects thousands of gods as imaginary, many of which he/she has never even heard of, and arbitrarily chooses to “believe” in one of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop all this bullshit ,and do something else in your life.flipping useless people.

      • Anonymous says:

        I see religion doing noting to stop 77 billion land animals slaughtered every year.

    • lovinfantasy says:

      I personally am not a fan of organized religion, but Science also played a part in defending slavery, apartheid, pollution, created WMDs, and so on and so forth, but we don’t say get rid of science do we? (Well at least not those of us that are sane or intelligent lol). albeit it was bad science when it came to slavery and race; you can also claim it was man that used the science to create slavery and WMDs, but that’s the point.
      There are some atrocities which were committed by religion(mostly religious zealots), but you can not say it is ALL bad. There is plenty of good which can come from religion, and even dare I say it organized religion. While I LOVE Richard Dawkins and most of his philosophy, I do disagree with his belief the all religion should be abolished. On the other hand I do STRONGLY believe that religion SHOULD totally be kept out of: Government/laws, Education/Schools, Science, and shouldn’t be forced on people who want nothing to do with it.

  5. Amanda says:

    I like your picture of the little girl praying I stumbled upon while looking for a picture of praying. I put scriptures on my little boys wall and pictures help him remember them. The scripture for this picture is simply: Devote yourselves to prayer Colossians 4:2. That is what Christians are supposed to do. All it is is talking to God just like you would talk to your friend or to your dad. It doesn’t have to sound fancy; just talk to God and listen too.

    I don’t know everything but I do know for a fact that prayer works.

    • ATHEIST says:

      have you every tried drinking snake venom… if you believe in “god” then it wont hurt you in any way!!!!

      Mark 16:17 – 18 “These are the signs that will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; even if they drink any deadly poison it will not hurt them; and they will place their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

  6. RB says:

    You do not know for a fact that prayer works. You may believe that it works, but you don’t know it.

    • Michelle says:

      And you do not know that prayer doesn’t work. You may think it doesn’t work, but that does not prove that Prayer does nothing.
      Consider using a more effective argument or some fallacies of logic next time.

      • ATHEIST says:

        ya um michelle i will pray for myself to be killed by a ninja-shark-man sent by “god” and lets see if praying works…….

        dear god it would be a great blessing by you if you would be kind enough to have a ninja-shark-man assassinate me in 6 seconds….

        1 Mississippi
        2 Mississippi
        3 Mississippi
        4 Mississippi
        5 Mississippi…

        STILL HERE!!!!!!

      • Valdez says:

        You can’t be absolutely sure that i.e. standing on your left leg for a minute slows global warming. You can’t prove or disprove it. But you won’t do it, unless you have any evidence that proves it. You would have to believe it’s true. But faith is irrational… Greetings from the catholic Poland 🙂

      • bruce says:

        Actually, we DO know prayer doesn’t work.

        The Templeton Foundation sponsored a study (American Heart Journal 151:4, 2006, 934-42) wherein 1802 coronary bypass patients were divided into 3 groups – Group 1 received prayers for quick recovery and no complications but did not know it, Group 2 (control group) received no prayers, and Group 3 received prayers and did know it.

        The results were clear cut – There was NO DIFFERENCE in the recovery of those who received prayers and those who did not.

        Interestingly, there WAS a difference between groups 1 and 3 however – Group 3 patients had significantly more complications (performance anxiety?)

      • Chan says:


      • Agnostic Scholar says:


        The person making the claim has the burden of proof. If I say “god doesn’t exist,” and you say, “god exists,” YOU have the burden of proof. So, prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that prayer works.

        You funny, little, loser christian, you.

      • Litesp33d says:

        Logic fails here because you cannot have a rational argument with a believer. If you could there would be no religious believers. You believe because you choose to. However here is a go. God is the Supreme being. God has a divine plan. That means God already knows everything that is going to happen. If so how can some moron with a second hand prayer book persuade a Supreme being to change their divine plan. Does this observation not make prayer a totally pointless activity.

        To quote a more intelligent philosopher than you or I, Epicurius

        Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
        Then he is not omnipotent.
        Is he able, but not willing?
        Then he is malevolent.
        Is he both able and willing?
        Then whence cometh evil?
        Is he neither able nor willing?
        Then why call him God?

  7. Seventh Day Adventist says:

    i really enjoyed your blog…i posted it on my myspace page. i hope u don’t mind?

    i sincerely believe that if someone needs help and u cant find a way to help, Prayer is Good. A preacher once said to the congregation in one of his sermons…” What do u do if u see some one struggle?..for example on the FWY?…most likely your not going to stop and and help the person out with a flat tire, most people just fly by, past the man and say…’o, i hope he gets it fixed’. he said but as God loving people we can do more than just look, as we’re driving down the hwy… we can Pray for the man so he gets his car fixed or gets to the destination of which he was going.

    I’m only 19 and in my short life thus far I’ve learned the concept of P.U.S.H,…meaning Pray Until Something Happens…
    I’m a firm believer that no matter if u believe in Prayer or GOD, if u pray GOD will listen. At times it takes a bit of pacients to wait out on GOD, hes a busy guy with may prayers to answer.

    so be pacient and PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS…maybe it might not be the answer u were looking for but it’s the answer GOD thinks is right for u at this point in time of your life.

    GOD BLESS!!!

    <3Christina (S.D.A)

  8. Brac says:

    I can’t believe that no one has called out Michelle’s implication that evolution is simply a fallacy; a faith-driven notion of scientific means. That should be enough to simply dismiss that person and not engage them in further discussions.

    If someone said to me, “the sun is only thought to be hot because of scientific faith and you can’t really be sure that it is very hot at all…” I would not even respond to that person; you can’t argue with crazy.

    I agree with this posting in general. I also agree somewhat with placeboswork2’s comments. I don’t think it’s necessary to change what everyone believes; however, it is still amusing to a degree that people believe things that they cannot possibly know, with such conviction.

    Whether it be this beauty of a quote “I am specifically defending Christianity because that is what I believe in, Christ. I believe because it makes sense. So all the junk pertaining to Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, etc. has no place here and is a distraction.” from Michelle (who obviously knows her beliefs are superior and more righteous than those other “nonsense” and “junk” ways of thinking.

    Or it is this sharp bit of intellect, “At times it takes a bit of pacients to wait out on GOD, hes a busy guy with may prayers to answer.” Somehow this individual has personified ‘the” god as a man with a long laundry-list of chores to do before the weekend is over.

    Everything that anyone here is confirming about their god has been placed onto them from other human beings. Humans that wrote stories (bible, koran, etc.), taught children “sunday school”, or preachers that shouted out some words of salvation. Humans teaching humans throughout time. None of these things are any more valid than when people were teaching that the world was flat. Just because a lot of people believe something does not mean that it is true. Lack of evidence, the presence of ignorance, and the lack of reasoning are some of the major contributing factors of religious bias.

    But I digress. Does prayer work? It is extremely doubtful that mental focus and meditation has any external effect on people and places throughout the world we live. It is more likely that this praying makes the person praying feel better (intrinsically) and also it is possible that, in situations of illness and hardship, it makes the person being prayed for feel better that they are not alone and they have the support of others.

    Other than that, you aren’t really doing anything else by praying. You can, however, make up whatever results you want to that praying accomplishes.

    Keep this in mind: you can talk to whatever space-god you want to believe in; you just won’t hear your god audibly speaking back to you. If you do hear this, you should seek therapy and possibly medication because you may be experiencing hallucinations or other serious psychological conditions.

    • lovinfantasy says:

      Lol like your post. As for the topic of evolution, most people don’t take the time to argue with or correct people who don’t believe in evolution. They will never see reason, any facts or proof you throw at them they will either ignore or refute with an argument which makes no sense/has nothing to do with the topic. They are simply too ignorant and apathetic to be bothered with.

      • Litesp33d says:

        Be careful in calling someone uneducated or ignorant as that often means that someone does not know something that you just found out.

    • Chris says:

      Hilarious. Michelle has certainly made a fool of herself.

  9. RB says:

    As for why I personally haven’t replied to Michelle’s comments, well, you mentioned it yourself: it’s pointless. Well, it’s not fully pointless, but it’s a massive amount of work and annoyance – and divergence from more enjoyable things – for usually very little if any perceptible benefit. The best thing really that could be hoped for in having such discussions is that you simply introduce ideas to people and perhaps, over the course of years and new life experiences the person will come back and reconsider the discussion.

    I rarely respond to comments on this blog anymore, and when I do it’s almost always regarding posts not pertaining to evolution or theism.

    A doctor – who signs his name with the MD at the end – just posted a comment saying that evolution is a faith position and that science has not come anywhere close to substantiating it. For one thing, it upsets and concerns me that anyone who has been exposed to the medical sciences – even if it is primarily as an advanced technician rather than scientist – and who is charged with interpreting medical research to aid him in serving the health needs of others could be so disgustingly ignorant and/or dishonest. I just can’t be bothered with this discussion. I mean, if he were a scientific novice – though, that comment suggests that he is – who was simply curious, I could see myself possibly having a discussion with him (and possibly not because I don’t like spending so much time posting online anymore). But for a guy with this level of academic training to be putting forth what he is putting forth suggests the presence of a wall of dogma-based dishonesty and willful ignorance that I’d rather not waste my time and wellbeing beating my head against.

  10. usir R --> says:

    Praying father guilty of girl’s death

    End of argument.

  11. Lydia says:

    You forgot one thing – a real Christian combines faith with DEEDS. That’s all have to say.

  12. Rose says:

    Prayer is very passive behavior and does cause people to think they are actually doing something – when they are not. This results in the participant believing they are a “better” believer in . . . (insert religious affliation here). The issue is that the believer honestly thinks “their” chosen religion is the correct one and others are misled. That attitude is wrong as it is extremely subjective. This creates divisions and hatred. Dogmas of who will be saved, who will be condemned is a waste of mental effort.

    Donate to help those in need, if one cannot afford to do so then help with time put into a good cause. If one does not have the time or motivation to put into actively assisting others – then when does one have time to pray for them? We are judged by our actions or inactions. Prayer is not constructive action except in one’s mind.

  13. Rose says:

    To those who defend the Bible or any other book, note that God or the Supreme Being exists outside the confines of a book. The Bible for example has many unknown authors, was edited and censored to appease political times (i.e. Constantine) and is strongly influenced by Greco-Roman philosophy (dying savior myths abound). Myth and metaphor taken literally is most ridiculous. God, through stories, is explained within the very limited geographic limitations of the ancient middle east. Borrowed sources. See Gilgamesh- he was Noah, see King Sargon of Akkad – he was Moses. See Mithras (born of a virgin, died for the sins of mankind) – he was Jesus. All pre-dating the Bible, the list goes on and on.

    There are a myriad of other understandings of the Supreme Being but looking into them is unlikely as we tend to believe we are “correct” in our belief. A no need to look further mentality. Resting one’s life and belief system based on a limited book and then defending its content is narrow – especially in light of all the damage caused by religion. Clasped hands for minutes in prayer will not remedy what is wrong on this planet.

  14. yo yo yo yo yo! says:

    yo dudes your like kicking it on, if ya know what i meeeenn. ninja shark.. man now that was clasiiiccc! well done wooo hoo im, bored peace out! dudeee rock on !!!
    xoxo gossip girl 😉

  15. Matt Gray says:

    Most of the genuine card-carrying Bible-bashing Christians I know have a very significant plan of giving (recommended by the much-maligned book). In Australia, more than 80% of charitable organisations have a religious basis and account for more than 90% of the giving. I guess the US would have similar statistics. The assumption of the cartoon is flawed. That prayer doesn’t work is an unfounded and, at best, anecdotal observation. Shall we share anecdotes?

    Rose … oh dear … we have been watching our conspiracy theory internet movies on religion and assuming we have got the real deal. See and check out some of the other interviews. Atheists critiquing the ‘new atheists’ etc. Gullibility is not the reserve of the religious, it would seem.

    • Litesp33d says:

      It may be true that a large percentage of charities are religious based. Unfortunately very little analysis of where the money goes in these type of organisations is undertaken. For the religious spreading the word is considered a more worthy objective than providing food or clothing. Education charities are often sites of brainwashing rather than enlightenment. Religions take a long term view of creating more clones because that ensure the money keeps rolling in and they can legitimately skim loads off to repeat the process again. Just look at the wealth of the Catholic church that collects donations from some of the poorest on Earth raking in over 100 billion every year.

  16. maria says:

    I would rather have a Christian pray for me than to give me money!!! I’ve had more prayers answered than I can possibly remember. By the way I will say a prayer for you!

  17. I LOVE this.

    I wonder though. Why is everyone saying ‘I will pray for you’? (They’re praying for your soul because they think you’re going to burn in hell. XD)

    Another… I wonder if any of them actually have.

    ‘I will pray for you’ is just a snotty way of saying ‘I’m holier than thou’.

    I was raised as a preacher’s daughter. I understand the bible inside and out and I can quote it better than most people here without copy/paste.

    Now as an agnostic person I can say ‘Get the hell of your asses and actually do something for that friend that is down in the gutter’.

  18. R. G. Maines says:

    I am a person with multiple disabilities, a survivor of child abuse and I have to say, I’ve done my share of praying in my life time. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced a positive outcome as a result of praying. When I have called upon God (I would describe myself today as a ‘conflicted Christian’) I feel abandoned, alone. “cue the crickets”, there are no answers forthcoming.

    People with disabilities and chronic illness are often told if they would just pray, they would be delivered from their suffering, and if they continue to suffer after praying then they must not believe strongly enough.

    This seems to suggest that we are suffering at our own hands, that we have the power, through prayer and faith, to heal ourselves.

    Offensive, to say the least, a convenient way to explain so much suffering and pain in the world, to spite the belief that we are all God’s children and He is merciful.

  19. alvin says:

    Seriously, I think this world is pretty fucked up mostly because those guys decided to make money of a book and that they didn’t give a shit about that alot of people died because of that and that science has to back up. The bible is full of paradoxes and self-contradictions.

  20. innertubes says:

    I make it a habit to pray only for amputees, as they seem the most neglected in miracles from teh Allmighties

  21. bananaluver62 says:

    Guys, it doesn’t matter whether or not you believe prayer works. We shouldn’t waste our time on the Internet trying to convince other people if it does or doesn’t. We should just try our best to help Japan, however you can. Which is why I am getting off my computer. Right now. Isn’t that the main point of this paper??

  22. ___.__ says:

    I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

  23. Chan says:

    Wonders if this Michelle chick is Michelle Bachman. Either way, both are ignorant, self-righteous biggots.

  24. SteveLaudig says:

    “i’m only 19 and in my short life thus far I’ve learned the concept of P.U.S.H,…meaning Pray Until Something Happens…”

    I suggest that you be the something that happens. To pray but do nothing is to still do no thing.

  25. Vic says:

    “If you could reason with a religious person, there would be no such thing as religion.” – Somebody important said that…just forgot who.

  26. jkweath says:

    Prayer does absolutely nothing to help anybody, and I think today more than ever people are praying without doing a damn thing to actually help.

    My problem with praying is that people ask for it all the time, especially on Facebook. Anyone who uses Facebook has probably seen it often. “Please pray for my grandma” “Keep me in your prayers!” etc.

    Asking for someone to pray for you or someone else in a hospital is about as useful as asking for an injection of saline solution.

  27. red says:

    Hope is even worse than prayer in my opinion. Though both are good for your mind and spirit in the right circumstances, relying on either one without taking action is certainly a negative [or a stumbling block].

    Hope was in Pandora’s Box of EVILs for a reason. I’ve read so many people say that the reason Hope was in it was to “comfort” and give hope to people for the rest of the evils that were unleashed. Sorry, but no. That doesn’t even make sense. For one – hope was a box of EVILS. Second – hope was kept IN and wasn’t released , so how was it there to help? Back then, you couldn’t sit around and hope things got better – you had to get up off your ass and make it better or die trying.

    Hope can cause a delusion that things will get better without action. I’ve heard this mindset many many times – and no surprise certain sects of Christians seem to be notorious for this mindset [In my personal experience it’s protestants – evangelicals particularly]. Instead of them acting to change circumstances they hope about it. If pushed on why they don’t actually do something – they cop out with “my world is not this world” or “I am not of this world”. What a load of crap. If I had that mindset I’d just freakin off myself and get on to “my world”. Either lead, follow or get out of my [the words] way – jack!

    Unless a person is lying on their deathbed — and actually dying — with no way to take action and change or reverse the predicament [even literally fight] then hope shouldn’t even be in their mind.

    People seem to confuse morale and hope. They aren’t the same thing. For example: in war you don’t try to boost soldiers hopes – you boost their morale [confidence in their ACTION].

  28. red says:

    BTW: I asked someone once what faith was – their reply was “Faith is the belief in things hoped for”. I’m certain that’s in the new testament somewhere – but that isn’t faith. That’s teetering close to Fideism.

    “I have faith my hope” — “I have hope in my faith” — “I have faith in my faith” – not much of a difference there.

    Another thing that bugs me about some Christians [certainly other religions are this way as well – but I go by my personal experience]. Many consider it a good thing and a showing of their “strong faith” when they’ve never EVER doubted or questioned their belief system and religions history. That is not faith. That is 9 times out of 10 stemming from a lack of knowledge. Show me someone who has doubted and questioned their religion, researched its history etc and see strong reasons why they shouldn’t “believe” – but yet choose to do so anyway – that is FAITH.

    This is why many times a convert has a sturdier foundation in their faith in their chosen religion than those who were simply “born into it” – particularly religions that don’t require a lot of study.

    How many of the people who follow a faith simply because that’s what they were born into have ever thought about how if they had been born in a different area of the world and raised up in another religions stronghold that that would be their religion? How many of these people who practically hate people they’ve never met and never will have ever considered that the person they hate for being whatever religion – is of that religion – for the same damn reason they are in theirs – geography and culture.

    Some people just don’t think.

    I was raised in protestant heavy bible belt area and their lack of thinking, even to the point of considering it “evil” to THINK flabbergasts me.

    Is it really any wonder these people have practically lost their country? While they were listening to their pastor beat a bible and decrying knowledge of history and politics as “of this world” – they’ve had it ripped out from under them. They aren’t totally to blame, but by God, they have their fair share.

  29. Reuben says:

    Ironically, in the book of James, which I recommend you read (if you’re open minded), it says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
    ‭‭James‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

    In essence, a lot of these Christians have obviously never read that. James is telling the 12 tribes (Jewish Christians) to not just to talk, but to exercise their faith by doing good works for people. lol “I’ll pray for you” etc. IS annoying and you’re right. I agree.

    • Reuben says:

      I agree with your take on works, but I disagree that prayer “doesn’t” do anything. There was scientific research done on prayer in a controlled environment. The documentary is called “what the bleep we don’t know”.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I see religion doing noting to stop 77 billion land animals slaughtered every year.

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