(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SU NOMBRE EN VANO)
As an atheist I don't pray. To me it's no different from talking to the air, or to the ceiling if I'm laying on my bed. Since I know it makes no difference in this world, I don't give up to such wishful thinking. However, I have friends who do pray. I think we all have. One of them is a pastor, a really nice guy who for me is kind of hard to see as the intolerant and narrow-minded bible-thumper that characterizes evangelical Christianity. He never made any negative remark about gays or against evolution (on the other hand, we didn't talked about it either). I don't know if he would consider me a "friend" since it's been a long time since we talked. But I remember him as a nice guy and that's important for me.
Anyway, yesterday I went by his blog (I tend to read him, it kind of helps to know what a pastor thinks) and saw that his newborn son is sick. Not sick like with a cold or even a fever. Sick as in in a hospital, with tubes all around his body and hooked to big machines. That sick.
It doesn't matter how much our worldviews might differ, or how deluded I can consider him to be. I do not like the idea of him (or anyone) having to see his son in such situation. Yet, and as expected, his blogposts are basically prayers to God to give him strength and heal his son. Also, he asks his readers to pray for him. Looks like he truly thinks that would help. So I thought "If I were to pray, what would I say?" My "prayer" came out kind of like this:
"Hey God. I'm doing this in case you're really up there and really care about what is going on here. So far I have no evidence about your existence, and your fans tend to be assholes, bigoted and intolerant, so you can't blame me for not believing in you. And since I don't believe in you, I don't ask you for anything. Keep that in mind.
However, he does believe in you. He thinks you can help him. Not just him, but his son. He thinks you care about what happens to that baby. So don't disappoint him. He will thank you even if it's doctors who save his kid's life, and if they don't... well, I don't want to think what will happen if they don't. It's going to be horrible to see him suffering the pain of losing a kid. Yet, there are many babies who die, no matter how much they parents prayed or didn't pray. So many innocent people who suffer. And you don't give a shit. So why would you care for this particular life?
He prays to you and he feels strength to keep going, at least that's what he thinks, when the effect of prayer is actually more like a placebo than anything else. If his kid lives he might become even more of a believer, but anyway, a baby stopped suffering. But if the kid doesn't, he will have two options. First, realize that you don't exist and he has wasted his time believing in you. I would be glad for that, except for the price he will have to pay. No one deserves that. Or second, he can keep living thinking that there is a God who let his kid die. Both ways it sucks for him. But again, why would you care? You've let many innocents suffer and die horrible deaths. You really don't care, do you? Really if you existed, what an asshole you would be, very akin to those fans of you who remind us how nonsensical it is to worship you. Fuck you for letting those who don't deserve it suffer, and if you don't exist, fuck you anyway.
These are the main things that came to my head when I tried to pray. After I reached the last "fuck you" I laughed and went to sleep. At this point it's almost impossible to think of an all-powerful being who cares about us without either finding that idea ridiculous or getting angry.