It's time for me to vent again I guess.
Japan has just been hit by a large earthquake and it is the day after that event.
Prayers are flying all around.
Prayers do not work, not to help the victims of the earthquake, not to provide some sort of divine intervention anyway. Sure, prayer may make the person praying feel like they have done some good without even having to move anything more than their hands. Prayer may give piece of mind to a dying person. It may make some feel closer to an invisible being who they feel is controlling their lives. In the real world, when people need active help, prayer is good for shit.
When someone tells me "I'll pray for you" often my reply is "thanks for nothing".
I don't know why people buy into the whole 'prayer' thing I mean how often does it work? Never. But how often does it even seem to work? Very rarely, unless you are praying that the sun comes up the next day or for some other silly thing which has been occurring for billions of years before you were even born. People pray for their bus to show up on time and then when it does they give credit to god. Like god cares about a bus schedule yet when someone prays their newborn child does not die because of a defect god shakes his head and says "Sorry, can't help you there. If you take a bus to the funeral I'll make sure it picks you up on time though"
As Hitchen's said- "Religion was our first attempt to explain the world." That theory has had ample time to be shown as invalid. It has been tested countless times by countless people and the vast majority of results have shown there is not a god listening to prayers and reaching in to effect the path of our lives. Any results that do seem to prove the prayer hypothesis to be true can also be explained by the odds of chance.
Look at the destruction in Japan. Look at the loss and suffering. Think about the number of people who were praying after the quake for the people of Japan. What happened? A tsunami hit the Japanese coast killing even more people. As a result even more began to pray. "God please have mercy on the people in Japan. Watch over you children and protect them from harm.Amen" Did that help? Nope. The nuclear reactors began to melt down, the fail-safe systems unable to handle the one-two punch dealt to them. More prayers, the number of people praying to god asking for him to help the Japanese grows even larger. "Lord, jesus, almighty creator, please oh please won't you help stop the suffering in Japan? They have been through tremendous suffering. No one deserves such strife. Show your love and help them recover. Bless you lord. Amen." Now you are thinking that must surely have gotten god's attention. Such a huge number of his flock begging, pleading. People who have worshiped just as god commands them to, bowing their heads praying with all their might. Well if god did answer their prayers it was with this- 'Volcano in southern Japan erupts' yep that's right. A fucking volcano erupts in southern Japan. Let me help with the next prayer " Yea. god? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? ARE YOU DRUNK AGAIN? LOOK, IF I PROMISE TO NOT DRUNK POST ON FACEBOOK WILL YOU PROMISE NOT TO ANSWER PRAYERS DRUNK? I WOULDN'T WISH SUCH SUFFERING ON MY WORST ENEMY LET ALONE ON MY FUCKING CHILDREN. DO US A FAVOR AND JUST PUT US UP FOR ADOPTION CAUSE THIS FAMILY UNIT IS JACKED UP. I AM SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING EMANCIPATION. AMEN AND SCREW YOU"
Of coarse it isn't god doing anything. These are natural events. They occur every day and have since the universe began.
Look at the world, the entire world. Don't just look at your world where you consider how large your house is a concern of your god. look at the suffering of innocent children, children who never even had a chance to anger god. Look at the number of people who suffer and die on this planet every day. How many have prayed for them? Does the suffering stop? Does it even lessen a bit? No, it does not.
I ask instead of prayer, take action. Do whatever you can to actively help people, no matter how small the deed every bit of help, helps.
If all you can think to do is pray then while you are talking to god be sure to thank him for nothing.