If you intresting in sport Buy trenbolone and Buy testosterone enanthate you find place where you can find information about steroids
  • Resources

  • Book of the Month

  • Shopping on Amazon? Use this search box and support Dangerous Talk at the same time.
  • Blog Directories

    blog search directory Religion Top Blogs
  • AdSense

Prayer Requests

Even though it is pretty well established that I am an atheist, I still get e-mails for “Prayers” or to join “Prayer Chains.” On social networking sites I also see these stupid things. How ought an atheist respond to such things?

For starters, I have to figure out what these people are hoping to accomplish with their prayer requests. Fundamentalists of course believe that prayers might change God’s divine plan or something, but moderate believers use them simply as a way of showing some sort of support for their friends and family.

When someone is sick or hurt, I understand that people want to help even when there is no real help that they can do. So I get that prayer requests can in some cases be simply a way to ask for some support from friends and family. Some, atheists let people know that they are “thinking of them” or that we will “keep them in our thoughts.” These are good ways to deal with the whole prayer request thing, but still they don’t seem like they are any more rational than prayers.

So I am wondering what ideas people have which convey that we are there for our friends and family without resorting to these less rational alternatives? One possible thing that we can say in response to a prayer request from someone we know is that we can offer to help out if they or those closest to them need anything or just need someone to talk to.

Maybe we can come up with some social convention which can take the place of the “prayer request” like maybe a comfort request or a compassion request. Just some thoughts, let me know your ideas.

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • http://zadocsbible.blogspot.com/ Zadoc

    When it’s a minor request I tend to ignore it, but when it is a serious situation and there are real ways of offering help such as monetary donations, I take great issue with people focusing attention on prayer. I feel it’s in the best interest of the affected party to relay that prayer is ineffective towards who you’re praying for and that there are other ways one could actually make a difference – such as donating to cancer charities when somebody requests prayers for a cancer stricken relative. I feel it’s really dangerous to allow people to believe that they’ve done something to “help” by praying when there are more effective ways of actually helping.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      That’s a great point Zadoc. Donating to charities looking to cure and/or treat the illness in question is a really good idea. Even just spreading the word about such charities and encouraging others to donate if one is not it the financial situation to do so would be really helpful.

  • Ash

    Something to keep in mind: studies show that prayers do nothing to change outcomes *unless* the subject knows people are praying for them. This implies that knowledge of support has a minor placebo effect on health outcomes in some cases. For this reason, I also say things like “I’ll keep you in my thoughts” when the person will know about it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    I’m more of the lend a shoulder variety. Or an ear. Or a place on my floor, if need be. Perhaps the most prayer-ish thing I do is “hope” things work out okay, though that’s usually when there’s some kind of restriction on providing direct support that I can’t overcome (money, distance, etc.). Nothing wrong with a friendly gesture if it improves their mood, right?

  • Rick Miller

    “Although I share your concern for (whoever), please do not include my address when sending out prayer requests. I don’t pray.”

  • Metaphoenix42

    Here’s my own list of 5 books I like to recommend; not just to Christians, but to theists in general (and atheists – they’re really good reads!)

    1) W.V. Quine – Methods of Logic
    2) Erik Wielenberg – Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe
    3) J.L. Schellenberg – Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason
    4) J.H. Sobel – Logic and Theism
    5) Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Thanks, I just added those books to the Dangerous Talk Bookstore.

  • Peter

    I would add The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine

  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/hugh-kramer Hugh Kramer

    The hardest thing about promoting an argument by offering someone a book to read is getting them to actually read the book. I can’t count the number of times people have offered me a book to read to make their argument for them but I can count the number of times I’ve read one and do it on the fingers of one hand. One way to up the odds of getting someone to read a book with an opposing (and therefore unwelcome) viewpoint is by making them aware it’s both short and an easy read. “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris fits the bill best in my opinion and it has the additional virtue of containing really devastating arguments. I don’t feel the need to recommend another four. If they read that one, they’ll find others on their own.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      That’s a great point Hugh and a great book for all the reasons you described. Here is an interesting story for you. A number of years ago, I was working for a company and had to travel to various venders. One of the venders I met with regularly was a Fundamentalist Christian. We would often talk about politics and religion together and debate the issues as friends. One year he bought me “The Case for Christ” for Christmas. I read it. The following year, I bought him Harris’s “Letter to a Christian Nation” and guess what? Despite being a much shorter book than the one he gave me, he still didn’t read it. I did try and I would definitely recommend “Letter” as a great book to give a lazy Christian because it is pretty short and a Christian might just pick it up and read a little bit just out of curiosity. Good pick!

  • rblevy

    “Ye Shall Be As Gods” and “Man For Himself” by Erich Fromm did it for me. And “Psychoanalysis and Religion” also by Fromm is icing on the cake.

    • BBB

      Already reading about “Ye Shall Be As Gods” and… the description alone is crazy to suggest that secularism & humanism are a ‘disease’ that came in the form of the words of the demonic snake in the garden of eve. Was it really that crazy?

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    I stand corrected. Thanks.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    I did recommend Karen Armstrong. She’s number 2.