This article on the Washing Post site 'Some nonbelievers still find solace in prayer' is about an "atheist" who was overweight and depressed, so he created an imaginary "goddess" he coincidentally called "God'. He prays to this God three times a day, and attributes his healing to a "miracle". This was all a fallout from joining a 12 Step program that required prayer (Don't get me started), and seems to have gotten out of hand.
There's no way this guy's atheist, I would say he's barely agnostic. He's comparable to the vegan who has bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning.
Atheists don't pray...it's a definitional thing
If a delusion works and doesn't hurt anyone, use it.
I like your thinking...a delusional atheist = a believer...nice...
It is said that insanity involves believing your delusions are real, while religion involves believing other people's delusions are real - at least this guy's just insane, it could be worse, he could be religious.
Atheist doesn't mean you always behave perfectly rationally. It just means you don't believe that gods exist. This man prays to a god he doesn't really think exists.
It says he prays "to a very vivid goddess he created with a name, a detailed appearance and a key feature for an atheist: She doesn’t exist. While Gold doesn’t believe there is some supernatural being out there attending to his prayers,..."
This looks to me like a good example of the placebo effect. As you may have heard, the placebo effect works even if you KNOW you're getting a placebo. Maybe visualizing some deity giving him things tricks his mind into going after them, better than just meditating or positive self-talk would. It's the power of positive thinking, but from a different angle.
In the comments on this blog about the same article, numerous atheists say they talk to their mother or father who is dead, and sometimes "hear" advice from them, even though they don't believe their mother is really there somehow.
As I transition from Christian to atheist, I've often wondered if it wouldn't do me some good to start praying again. I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking that.
I find this truly fascinating...I have always thought that atheism and disregard for mysticism and the supernatural go hand-in-hand...it is interesting to read that some atheists engage in this kind of thing...now I know that atheism isn't some 'miraculous' worldview that protects us from human foibles...it's just, as i wrote initially, a definitional thing or so I thought...but I am definitely for what gets you through the day, as long as it is not hurting you or someone else...at times life can be a tough thing, so if this helps folks then more power to them..same way I think of religious folks actually...if it helps then manoever through existence then that's great...it's only when they cross the line from personal to public that I take issue
RE: "as long as it is not hurting you or someone else" - Interestingly, Terrance, you hit on the only rule I ever had, when raising my children. I told them, you may do anything you like, as long as you don't hurt yourself or anyone else. It took awhile though, for them to see how some things hurt others. A couple still haven't figured it out entirely.
Indeed. This is the only reasons atheist groups exist at all. We don't form "a-unicornist" groups full of people who don't believe in unicorns. If those who believe in unicorns were forcing their beliefs into science class, advocating against some helpful laws based on their belief, or threatening those who don't believe with persecution and damnation, I suspect we would form a-unicornist groups pretty quickly.
The guys (Bill W and Dr Bob ) who founded AA were christian, but they stumbled upon something that cuts to the core of addiction. Addicts sink into a twisted world view built on paranoia, distrust, selfishness. shame, egotism and denial that provide them with an excuse to justify their addictive behaviors. Many of the 12 steps encourage recovering addicts to shed the negative narcissism and to shift their view to recognize and accept that events they cant control.
The praying atheist could be a fiction created by christian apologists, or even an atheist mocking the religious leanings of the 12 step programs.
There is such a thing as an atheist church, complete with pastor, pews, and passing the plate.
Personally, I don't think this helps the cause.