Prayer, a beautiful mistake: Atheism For Lent Part 1

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As I explained in a previous blog post, I’m practicing Atheism For Lent. The online course doesn’t begin until next Thursday but Lent started Wednesday so in the spirit of practicing this on a deeper level I’m going to blog once a week as an atheist. I realize that this might be futile and probably insulting to atheists as well as insulting to people of faith. Let me apologize at the start and say I have no idea what I’m talking about but this is my blog and it’s my Lenten practice so read with caution.

Prayer.

It’s silly.

The definition of prayer is “an earnest request or wish.” Billions of people spend their days with head bowed and eyes closed requesting, petitioning, wishing god to heal, forgive, give, lead them and others. It’s a beautiful mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I admire people who are thinking of helping a friend or themselves but its placebo. It’s the same gesture as wishing someone good luck.

It’s an empty gesture. Our world is not controlled or limited by god because there is no such thing. We have each other, nothing less and certainly nothing more. It is up to us to realize our potential. It is on us to heal others. It is in our power to forgive someone not god.

To play devil’s advocate for a minute, let’s assume there is a God. Why doesn’t God act when people pray? Sure, lots of people say God does act when they pray. Some even say the cancer in their bones or a tragic death of a loved one is of God’s doing and then go to that same God to pray for healing. If that is true, then God is a monster. God is a bully. God is not worth our prayers. God might be worth our hatred but certainly not our earnest requests or wishes.

If there is a God, God heard the cries of innocent children begging for food. God has heard the petitions of millions of people who are in the throes of real life hells of addiction and abuse. God heard the cries of slaves. God heard the cries of millions of jews being slaughtered. God heard and God did nothing.

Beyond these examples, if God is unchanging as classically explained, then God will do whatever the hell God wants. God’s not going to do something because people prayed. God is unchanging. If it is in God’s desire to change a situation then God will do so without our prayers. God doesn’t listen to what we want, God does what God wants.

Finally, many people choose to do nothing because they are waiting to hear back from God. They destroy relationships, miss out on promotions, some people lose their life because they are waiting for God to tell them what to do. We have everything we need in our grasp to live good and fruitful lives without God. We have all the resources in the world, all the intelligence, all the skills to change our world without God. Quit leaving it up to a God, who even if God was real, wouldn’t help us anyway.

Seriously, stop praying. Live your life. Live it free of the burden of god.