18 thoughts on “Prayer Flowchart”

  1. I find it interesting that most of us view God as a sort of cosmic Santa Claus. We don’t believe in him. We don’t read the Bible. We wouldn’t do what God wants us to do anyway. But we sure think he should do what what we want him to. Would it be any wonder if he ignored us.

    • Orrrrr a bunch of people just made it up. Of course, I probably wouldn’t do what he told me anyway. “Kill your son!” “NOPE!”

      • Manticore. What proof do you have that there is not a God? My proof that there is a God is the perfect assembly of the universe, our bodies, the animals etc. But there is only one way for us to find out for sure that my theory is correct, and it is not a definitive proof, but an individual one. If we pray and ask if he is there, in faith, then he will speak to us individually. The key is faith, and a private trial of your faith will not cost you anything.

        • You can’t prove a negative. And it’s not up to non-believers to prove there isn’t a god, it’s to believers to prove there is. If I walked up to you and said “Prove I can’t fly,” you’d be right to tell me “What? Prove you can!”

          If a god created us, why do men have nipples? Why do we have appendices, or tonsils, or wisdom teeth? Why do children have birth defects? And that last one right there, if you say God punishes innocent children, or subjects them to a life of pain for his own selfish reasons, then I don’t want to worship your god anyway.

          And if prayer is useless because god has everything planned, how does doing something useless help humans other than absolving guilt? “Oh, I’m not going to help you in any tangible way, but I’m going to think at my sky wizard and put in a good word for you, but if he already doesn’t want to help you, you’re boned, sorry!”

          I have been through the wringer of religion. I got better, and I feel better for it. I don’t feel like I’m worthless just for being a human, and because my alleged ancestor did something she couldn’t have known the consequences of anyway, and I don’t feel the need to believe that someone had to be tortured and die to clean humanity of that “sin”

          That’s fine if that somehow or another makes you feel better about your existence, but I will continue with my freedom to find it patently ridiculous and potentially harmful.

          • Actually, it’s not up to Christians to “prove” God’s existence. He doesn’t try to prove His existence, I’m not so arrogant as to think that I can. I can’t even prove to you that I exist. But I know that I do, whether you believe it or not. I also know that He is real, but to prove it to you? No. God loves you, but not like some battered spouse that needs to chase the abuser around trying to prove her love. God loves you, but He’s not needy and He feels no compulsion to provide an answer to every arrogant challenge from one of His children.

            • There’s evidence that you exist, at the least, and there are ways to prove you exist with empirical evidence. Can that be said of God? I’ve seen no evidence to suggest he exists, but do admit there’s no way to prove it, thus agnostic atheist. Though I really doubt there is. But, like I said, even if he came before me, I wouldn’t worship him. Not too worried about the possibility though.

              And doesn’t the Christian God say he’s a jealous God? No other gods before him? Love me or I’ll punish you forever? Sounds abusive to me.

    • Prayer isn’t necessarily for God, but for us. Perhaps a sophomoric answer, but it is true. Perhaps a deeper answer is that despite the fact that we are insignificant in the universe, our actions (whether we choose right or wrong) are important to him. Whether we pray and try to communicate with him is also very important to him, not because he doesn’t already know our hearts, but because it shows that we have faith in him.

  2. I think people pray for the wrong things. They pray for money or a new girlfriend or for people to be nice to them. Instead, they should pray for strength, patience and humility.

  3. Most people who pray (heck, even just ask questions) forget that “no” is a valid answer.

    “Not yet” is valid also

  4. Then there is the possibility that man invented god(s). The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, etc. were pretty good at that. Then some Jews came along…

    Imagine….

  5. If you pray to a sandwich, you get about the same success rate.

    Praying to Joe Pesci jumps it to 90% success, mind you; That’s a guy who can get shit done.

  6. The problem that Christians make is feeling they need to be lawyers and advocate for God, as if God needed defending. Silly. Christ called upon Christians to be “witnesses” not lawyers. Just share what you know to be true (like a witness in court). It’s not up to the witness to prove the veracity of his testimony. That’s what lawyers are for. Jesus calls Himself the “Advocate” which is just another name for lawyer. He’ll make His own case, of that I have no doubt. If you don’t believe my witness testimony, or if you think I’m duped, or crazy, or evil, what do I care. I don’t answer to you. The fight that non-believers have has never been with believers. Their fight is with God. Christians have got to stop thinking the fight is with them. Give your testimony, get off of the witness stand, and go have a beer. Let God deal with it.

  7. History is full of examples of “christians” being Christs worst enemies. In some cases, it is very good NOT to argue for the existence of God. Too many people think that they know God and say some of the stupidest things which does NOT help the cause of Christianity. Just watch the world, as fewer and fewer people believe that there is a true God, there will be hell to pay. The more you think of yourself as nothing more than a naked ape who can reason for yourself who’s race came into being simple because the slime evolved, the more this existence will be worth less.

  8. Usually I sit silently but once in a while I speak up. I was a devout believer for many years, only through intense study of the Bible did I realize how many excuses it takes to make it coherent. Fred says that the non-believers problem is with God, not believers. Well then, take note of how atheists are treated in America, we are hated and blamed for every evil that happens, not by God, but by Christians. True compassion is shown by how you treat your enemies and in case you hadn’t noticed, most of the members of the Tea Party would be just thrilled to line all us atheists against a wall and teach their children how to use machine guns. We don’t have a problem with God any more than we have a problem with Thor, there is equal evidence for both. So here are 10 very random points out of hundreds that I could bring up for my happy disbelief:
    1. I don’t need religion because I have a conscience.
    2. Show me some evidence for God that doesn’t come from humans.
    3. Why don’t Christians pray for Satan?
    4. Why isn’t rape or slavery mentioned in the 10 commandments?
    5. With the entire universe at his disposal, why did God put Satan on the same planet where he had just made his new best friends? Is he so insecure that he has to tempt people to see if they really like him?
    6. How could there be a war in heaven? How do immortal beings have a war? Did they have a tug-of-war with the losers falling to earth?
    7. If you kill God’s enemies with a gun instead of a prayer, aren’t you demonstrating the superiority of science over prayer? Why does God ask people to do it instead of doing it himself?
    8. Why wasn’t the darkness at the crucifiction recorded by the Roman historians who recorded all unusual astronomical phenomina?
    9. After he came back to life, all Jesus had to do was walk back to the temple and show himself to the priests, they would have had to acknowledge that he was who he said he was. Why keep the greatest miracle in the history of the world so secret?
    10. Why is God so obsessed with having us prove our faith? If he wants us to love him why doesn’t he show himself and give clear answers that don’t leave any doubt as to what they are?
    At any rate, I’ve been much happier about everything since I rid myself of the burden of religion. I’ve been married to the same delightful lady for 39 years now, I’ve never robbed a bank, and I help out my neighbors. I don’t have a “God shaped vacuum in my soul”, I’m complete.

  9. Beautifully stated, PJ. Thank you for that.

    I’m sure some Xtian apologists somewhere could smugly “answer” all your questions with a lot of doublespeak. But they are good questions, and when people stop to think about them, they use their evolved brains. Thinking is good.

    One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “Two hands working accomplish more than 1,000 hands clasped in prayer.” Prayer is only a good thing when it energizes people to actually get off their butts and do things to help those for which they pray. If someone you know is sick, or having difficulties, and you earnestly pray for them, the act of doing so may make you more likely to physically go help them. If it does, then prayer has been worthwhile.

    If it does not, it is just empty words that accomplish nothing except to make the person who is praying feel better for not actually doing anything.

    The problem I have with religious belief is that it stops inquiry. It makes little or no sense, it creates situations where otherwise good, rational people will suspend disbelief–and that rarely leads to something good. If you are willing to believe against all evidence that a man lives “somewhere out there” and died in honor of you because you are wicked (oh, and was born of a virgin), then, what else will you believe? That the United States is a “Christian nation,” (it isn’t), and that non-Christians don’t deserve the same rights you do? (Yes, far too many believers do believe this, and will influence lawmakers to pass laws limiting the rights of citizens.)

    “There are good men who do good, and evil men who do evil. But for a good man to do evil takes religion.” If you honestly don’t believe this, take a good long look at the Catholic church abuse scandal (not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of other examples of wickedness brought about by “good Christians”). If that doesn’t make you angry enough to leave the Catholic church, then you have some explaining to do.

    Follow the teachings of your gods if you like (and here in the U.S., you have complete freedom to do so, so stop acting all persecuted), but keep them out of our laws. This country is not goverened by the Xtian bible. Just because the majority of citizens of the U.S. call themselves Christian, doesn’t mean “majority rules.” It doesn’t. Follow the laws and leave people alone unless they ask for you to share your faith with them. Oh, and live your best life.

    Luckily, that can be easily done without religion at all.

    “Claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

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