This time of year floods me with people who suddenly want to pray. If I hear another conjugation of the word pray, I definitely will explode. That word is grating on me like fingernails across a chalkboard. Prayer, to me, is actively doing nothing yet giving the false illusion of doing something. When someone says they will pray for me, I feel insulted. Why can't the person take action and do something rather than copping-out, passing the buck, and hoping someone else takes action?

The good news regarding prayer is that something *MIGHT* happen. The bad news is that something might not happen. It is 50-50. Chance. Coincidence. It is true that, statistically analysed, prayer offers no better odds than pure chance. Yet, people cling to it. How sad. I read a quote that went something like: Two hands hard at work accomplish more than a thousand hands clasped in prayer. Imagine what we could accomplish if people would take action instead of coping-out and hiding behind imaginary prayer and the isolation and segregation it causes.

A few questions, please:
- How do you handle people who use or abuse the word prayer?
- What do you say to someone who says: "I'll pray for you."?
- What about prayer in the workplace? Statements like: "Please keep these people in your prayers..." or "Please take some time and pray for ...." or signing emails with "Keeping you in our prayers..." What is the best way to handle this?

Please comment and many thanks in advance.

~SJ

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Tags: atheist, pray, prayer, why

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Comment by sjtoupin on December 24, 2008 at 1:34pm
How is it that a superstitious activity is so ingrained in the 21st century? With all the technological advancements of the last 200 years or so, what ritual need does "prayer" justify?

It is sad that while science moves ahead in exciting new areas of research, religionists remain mired in medieval superstition.

~SJ
Comment by Dagwell on December 23, 2008 at 11:59pm
Back when I worked, I was plaqued once in a while by a couple of zealous xtians. And I usually told them that I had my own religion; it's called "last name" with an "ism" at the end. That ended it for a while till next time.
Comment by sjtoupin on December 23, 2008 at 6:24pm
H. L. Mencken is quoted as saying:

"We must respect the other fellow`s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
Comment by sjtoupin on December 23, 2008 at 5:35pm
Good idea. Thank you very much for the suggestion.

One thing I have a slight issue with is the inequality. They can openly speak of their beliefs and religion whereas an atheist/non-believer cannot.

By being vehemently religious and unabashedly outspoken, aren't they ignoring Matthew 6? Hypocrites? How fitting and unsurprising.

~SJ
Comment by sjtoupin on December 23, 2008 at 4:53pm
I agree. But, I have personally experienced situations at my workplace where escape was not an easy option. Even if I very politely and politically correctly requested to cease and desist the discussion and diatribe, it is like pouring kerosene on an already simmering fire. Is there a better way to do this without getting reported to HR for politely and respectfully standing one's ground?

I often state that I prefer not to discuss religious beliefs and that I respect whatever the other individual believes. I humbly request they respect my lack of belief. Alas, they can't and I need to be "shown the way of the truth, the light, and the Lord." At this point the conversation has jumped the shark.

This added religious tension also results in more strained work relationships. Religionists have no sense of humour and are generally some of the most miserable people I have ever known. How is that that belief is supposed to make one worry-free and happy -- confident in the fact that god will provide. Ugh. So much for that fairy-tale fantasy.
Comment by Clarence Dember on December 23, 2008 at 3:17pm
Prayer, it is annoying and irrational.
The use/abuse of prayer is an approach to problem solving that approaches nothing, so i behave as though the person had said nothing. If I'm at work, I try not to engage the customer on that topic because I don't wish the indoctrinated person to cop the attitude I have been discourteous.

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