So we all know people use religion as a crutch, everyone needs something to help keep them upright in life at some point or another..... But when things are really bad for you - say the person you love is dying.... Would you ever find yourself, an atheist, down on your knees praying for them to get better?

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Arch, do we evolve to do anything? That I implies a purpose. Whose purpose? Aren't all the things we do, including prayer, just a result of evolution? Maybe our appendices will wither away one day, but cognitive development doesn't seem to be headed in that direction and until that time, externalising a guiding figure will probably remain a strong impulse.

First, My Friend - and I think you know you ARE my friend - YOU were the one who said, "If we've evolved to do it, can't be valueless can it?" which implies that you believe we do.

My premise, is that we evolve certain features, and then explore how many uses we can find for those features. Some of those uses have actual value, some have perceived value, while others have no value whatever, or even negative value, such as drug and alcohol abuse, yet those with self-destructive personalities will attach value to them, which act is actually delusional.

As I mentioned in another comment to June, prayer is a crutch, a perceived value, rather than an actual one, that - imo - retards the development of self-reliance.

As an adult beyond the age of consent, you're of course free to pray all you like, to whomever (or whatever) you like, I'm only saying that it might be mentally healthier if you confined your prayers to Chester, who would likely appreciate the additional attention, and in that way, you EACH receive some actual value from the experience.

Arch, you make a good point about self reliance, prayer kicks in when we feel we need a little help. Debating Unseen, for example. It had occurred to me.

Btw. I am your friend. I prayed for it.

RE: "prayer kicks in when we feel we need a little help. Debating Unseen, for example" - yes, I can envision it might do him some good, after all, he needs all the help he can get, real OR imaginary.

RE: "I am your friend. I prayed for it." To Chester, I hope --

Yes, love and despair can cause one to act irrational.

Good God no !  (whoops!)

Just say to yourself "Thank God I Am An Atheist" 1000 times and that will be penance for your sin.

Have you ever noticed that the only prayers GOD answers are those of winners and survivors?

I can't say that I've ever found myself praying in these situations, but I have made some quiet and solemn requests to the doctors and nurses and to dig deep and pull one out of their collective butts for me.

I am guilty of using the phrase 'Oh my god' in astonishment more regularly than I would like.

What is the harm in that sort of crutch? If there is nothing to appeal to then it shouldn't matter that you appealed to it. No harm, No foul.

Point taken. It means nothing to me, but my believer friends take some delight in hearing me say it and read too much into it.

For example I was at the Jordan River a few weeks ago and watching and video recording people baptize themselves in the river, wearing their required baptismal gowns that they dutifully paid $25 a piece for. As I filmed someone dunking themselves three times in the water, I can be overheard on the recording saying 'Oh-my-god' quite emphatically.

It was an absurd comment in an absurd situation. I would love to substitute it with 'Would Darwin believe?' or some such thing.

On the subject of the baptismal gowns, I think the best picture I took on the whole trip was a picture of the cash register where people paid, it had I sign on it that said 'Baptismal Cashier'. If that didn't sum up a few thousand years of religion quite nicely...

Oh how amazingly ironic!  That's better than my chocolate Jesus fish!  Fantastic!  Post the picture, Marc, if you still have it!

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