My stepson is a devout Catholic. It bothers him that I have an atheist website and a presence on several atheist forums. He has an account on my member forum, at, and follows the conversations there as a lurker instead of a participant.

He told me I should try prayer, just for a little while, to see if they come true or not.

I never approach my family members on the subject of religion but if they approach me about it, I don't hold back unless I see them closing their minds. This is what I told him (edited for posting) . . .

. . . Given the might and majesty of The Lord, I assume people don't trivialize their prayers. They pray for good and worthy things. But if those things are good and worthy AND God is mighty and majestic, why do we have to pray for them in the first place?

I mean, look at the perennially starving masses in Africa, where drought always seems to be a problem somewhere. Don't they pray for rain? Surely some of them are Christians!?! (Not that it should matter.) What about all the fat and happy Christians in the U.S.? Don't they pray for rain for the poor, starving, Africans?

Jesus (i.e. God in the flesh) said that we should live like the birds: they don't worry about food or shelter -- they just flit through life letting God provide for them. If that is what Jesus tell us to do, then why do we need to pray for the starving masses? Why do we need to remind God that he claimed to provide for our needs?

Yes, yes. I know. God works in mysterious ways. That's what we say whenever God does bad things. Don't you ever wonder why we say it so often?

You know, son, I was a Christian once. But I never fooled myself into thinking my prayers were ever answered.

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Comment by Atheist Exile on December 5, 2009 at 12:48pm
Hey Yaya,

Somehow, your response to my blog about the latest Pat Condell video got posted here.

Anyway, yes, that Pat is the unadulterated voice of the atheist conscience. He has a knack for stripping away the crap and exposing the truth about religion.
Comment by Yaya Hawkins on December 5, 2009 at 12:30pm
Great video! Listening to him, I felt like I was listening to my own thoughts.
Comment by Atheist Exile on December 2, 2009 at 7:38pm
Yes, Carver, you're right.

I knew a very old, pious, woman once. She died: decapitated in a car accident. Anyway, she told me that she had spent her entire life praying to God every morning and every night but God never once gave any sign that he had heard her. Then, that morning, while praying to God, she finally broke down and beseeched the Lord to tell her why he had ignored her all these years.

For the first time, God answered her: "I don't really know," he said, "something about you just pisses me off".
Comment by Johnny on December 2, 2009 at 11:15am
man, he should turn the other cheek LOL
Comment by Jim DePaulo on December 2, 2009 at 10:32am
When you pray really, really hard for something you really want and you don't get it - it means god hates you.
Comment by Atheist Exile on December 2, 2009 at 5:48am
Hi Mihai,

Yes, it takes willful suspension of disbelief and a propensity for wild mental associations to fool oneself into believing God answers prayers. I'll bet common sense is not a hallmark of those who believe in prayer.

Actually, I think this crazy talk of prayer power is just a way for some religious people to convince you of their piety.
Comment by Atheist Exile on December 2, 2009 at 5:39am
Hi Lacey,

I find it scary that people can look me in the eye and talk about answered prayers with a straight face. They remind me of the Borg: "resistance is futile". Their grip on reality, if they have one, is tenuous at best.

Prayer is just meditation with a supernatural element thrown in. Meditation might be seen as a form of self-hypnosis. If you meditate a lot, you might get adept at positive suggestion and actually influence your own psyche in a directed way. If you pray for things you can actually do something about yourself, then it's no miracle if your prayers are answered.

But you could get the same results with meditation.
Comment by Atheist Exile on December 2, 2009 at 5:25am
Hey unholyroller,

Nice to hear from you again. Sorry to hear about your grandson.

As a nurse, you're certainly in a position to know about the efficacy of prayer. In a way, I'm glad I'm not the only one God ignores.
Comment by Mihai on December 2, 2009 at 4:46am
I have been a theist myself for some years and I can tell, after getting rid of faith, that good and bad things happen at the very same rate as they did when I was praying.
Comment by Sarah Elle on December 2, 2009 at 1:12am
"He told me I should try prayer, just for a little while, to see if they come true or not."

I had the SAME exact conversation with a theist who approached me about my Agnosticism. I had a similar response as you, great post and I agree! Praying is a waste of time and energy and it only fools the fools into thinking they've done something good for the world, or more likely their own situation. Hear hear!



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