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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Shortly after I gave up my theistic beliefs I was in a small aircraft that was flying through a bad storm.  After a loud crack of thunder and a streak of lightning that popped right outside of my window, the airplane felt like it lost air and dropped a number of feet before stabilizing.  It freaked me out and everyone on board was praying.  Everyone except me that is.  Once I gave up superstitious thinking it was like a valve turned to reality and I never needed the crutch again.

I love this story because it is so similar to mine. Sorry if I have told it here before. I wallowed in the gray area of non-belief without really using the words 'atheist' or saying 'I don't believe in god' to myself, even though I was a defacto non-believer and had been one for a while.

Anyway one day I said it, admitting it to myself and realizing that I did not believe and could never really be convinced to believe without a personal visit from Jesus, that other people could see, to prove it wasn't a mental delusion. It was a Wednesday.

On the next day Thursday, I was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at work and the EMT both at work and on the ambulance had a very difficult time finding my pulse. I was admitted with blood pressure of 210/160. In the end I was ok, released after a day of observation and treatment and I went home. I am a soccer fan and against my better judgement I insisted on going to the game that night. Leaving my house, I was fiddling with the radio and swerved into oncoming traffic and got into a low speed head on collision. Wrecked the car (my baby an MG Convertible), but was essentially fine.

So it might be obvious to a believer that this was of course god punishing for my declaration a few days earlier. I took it as no such thing. Instead I considered it to be a test of my non-belief. A test that I passed. Instead of crawling back, I looked over the wreckage and looked up and said 'f**k you, god'. The cop standing next to me thought I said 'f**k you, cop', and said he was going to breathalyze me but never did.
That was the last time I ever spoke directly to god, I was free!

Forgive me for the drama. I like to tell a story, but that is pretty much how it happened.

Marc

That's a good story - can I have your MG?

Long gone. I have a Toyota Solara Convertible now. It fits me better, more room for my stomach not to rub against the steering wheel. It was only a Midget anyway, if it was a B I would have considered fixing it.

Not much chance of getting any roadhead in an MG, I imagine.

It's a matter of flexibility really. Very difficult in such a confined space to maneuver yourself over the stick shift and out of the way of the steering wheel and at the same time into the area of interest. I will attest that it it definitely doable if you choose your co-pilots carefully.

Pray tell, what do you do when the safety alarm sounds, and the oxygen masks deploy? ;p)

It never hurts to ask, I ask for Rolexes on a regular basis, but never get them either --

I have a similar issue. I keep asking for a Datalogger for my shop/lab, but my wife keeps vetoing the idea, but has now spent the same amount for a horse barn construction. Atleast I get the manure and back pain.

The trouble with horse manure as fertilizer, James, is that you need to wait for the salt to leach out, otherwise it will damage your plants.

(See me privately for details)

They say that people who are being tortured to death will sometimes say "Mommy, please, help me" or "Daddy! Daddy!" or they will even pray to the person killing them. People in extreme situations will try anything. I don't blame them. 

A better question: Your father is dying and asks you to pray with him for his recovery. How atheist are you then?

I will stand by people as they pray without comment, but I won't bow my head and disingenuously play along. The people close to me in life understand that I do this because I love and respect them, and not because I am a stubborn mule.

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