Prayer doesn't work! That's why sick people take medicine!

Prayer doesn't work!  That's why soldiers dive into foxholes!

Prayer doesn't work! That's why everyone stops at stop lights!


I have a child who was just diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

I am sick of all my friends telling me that they are praying for him: praying for the surgeons to have a steady hand, praying for a speedy recovery, praying for strength, praying for a cure.

Medicine IS science.

Science is an evaluation of what works and what doesn't work.  If it works... we build on it.  If it doesn't work.... we leave it behind.  Prayer doesn't work. So it must be left behind.  Pretty simple.

If chemotherapy and radiation had the success rate of prayer -- no one, and I mean no one- would put their child through this kind of excuciating pain for a chance of recovery. We do it only because it works. Not nearly 100% of the time, but even then, the sucess rate is way better than PRAYER!!!

How will we EVER get that through to these thick-headed, upper-middle class, mid-western folks?!? It's like they are brain-washed. And there are SO MANY OF THEM!  

It is ignorance and stupidity and I am sick of it being shoved in my face!!!

Thank you for letting me rant.




Views: 410

Comment by Violet Chartreuse on September 2, 2011 at 8:36pm


Thank you for your kind words, Kris.  It is sooooooo refreshing to hear words of sympathy that don't invoke imaginary beings and worthless drivel.  You are so right when you say there is sincere sentiment underneath it all. When they start-in on the prayer talk, I have programed myself to hear them saying, "I feel so helpless. I wish I could do something more."   Only once have I barked back at someone for their remark. "God never gives us more than we can handle."  

  I also had a friend explain to him that if he would just let God into his life and accept Jesus as his personal savior then the healing could finally begin.  As if it was my son's fault that he was not recovering!!  I can't believe that someone would try to guilt or FriGhTeN a child into believing.


Comment by Doug Reardon on September 2, 2011 at 9:37pm

Prayer alleviates them of the guilt of not knowing if and how things could be changed. 

Comment by Darlene Edelman on September 2, 2011 at 10:15pm

When people tell me they will pray for me, I tell them I won't accept their prayers. However, their empathy is welcome.

Comment by Michael on September 2, 2011 at 10:19pm

I'm truly sorry to hear that your child has to go through such pain. I've been in remission for 2 years now and I know exactly how you feel. I had a lot of people telling me they will pray for me or they sent a prayer chain at church. Just politely thank them, they are thinking of your child even though in a way you don't follow.  My best advice to you is be strong for your child and keep a positive outlook on it. Have confidence in doctors. When the doctors told me I had cancer, I told myself that I would beat cancer. I didn't just say it to encourage myself, but I actually believed I would win against cancer and I did, I knew I would. Treatment has come a long ways and doctors are among the smartest people we have. Trust them but trust your own judgement more on whats best for your child. If you need any help feel free to send me a message. Not saying you aren't capable as I'm sure you are but I could give some insight on treatments and other related things.

Comment by Garrett Taffer on September 2, 2011 at 10:59pm

I too am a parent to 2 sick kids. They were born with several disorders, some manageable, others threatening enough for one not being able to attend school anymore since she's in the hospital much of the time. I was told by family and friends to pray for her. At the time, I still had a religious belief, and did so, repeatedly.

As she lay in the hospital bed, with tubes and wires sticking out of her, unable to eat or drink, she told me "Daddy, I'm thirsty and hurt."

That was the beginning of when I started to believe that this God that I prayed to, this omnipotent creature that was supposed to help me and protect my family, who was supposed to be compassionate and hear my prayers, cannot possibly exist. Not because I was expecting an instant cure; I was told that God doesn't do that, that he works in a very typical 'mysterious' way.

No, it was because I suddenly realized that human suffering of any kind does not equate to this thing called God's love. It does not teach me anything about how I should follow the path of Jesus. It does not aspire me to become closer to God. Most importantly for my daughter, it doesn't tell her anything at all except that she's sick and wants dad and mom and the doctors to make her feel better. To her, God has no relevance to the matter. He is unimportant to her because she's too young to know what he is and what he stands for. Therefore, if there truly was a God, then he would have ended this suffering a long time ago. "God never gives us more than we can handle" is a thing that irks me as well, for there are people who have been driven mad through torture, have become comatose through sickness, and have endured decades of pain only to die painfully.

But to the deeply religious, this is a lesson in life. It is perhaps a sin that needs to be uncovered, and your children are paying for it. A way for God to remind you that you are still human and that if you overcome this, you'll get better, your family will get better. Or maybe it's the devil. What a miserable way to create life then allow it to be manipulated.

Yes, I now believe that prayer is for the weak, who have no way to help a situation such as this. If we, the freethinkers, the skeptics, the agnostics and atheist are to be people that are compassionate, then we also have to be tolerant of such drivel.

May science, medicine, technology, the intelligence of doctors, and the progress of humanity and life help you and assist your child. I certainly will be relying on these things myself, because God is curiously absent.

Comment by Graham on September 3, 2011 at 4:31am

God is ALWAYs absent in those situations that believers would have us believe that he is supposed to care for us, and protect us in. Always has been, always will be.

But he is curiously responsible for lots of disasters (acts of God - isn't that the term that's used?)

Strange way to show love. I've heard of tough love, but come on God, give us a break.

Keep the faith, though, Kristin - in the doctors, nurses, and all of the human beings that will work like trojans to get your child back to health. I did, when my son had leukaemia in 2006. He's still in remission over 6 years on, has been to university, got his BA and MA, and is now living a normal, healthy life.

And it was no credit to God. If he could have had any possible part in it, it was failing to prevent it in the first place, or even causing it. Science, medicine and people made the cure possible. I sincerely hope that your lovely child makes as good a recovery, but I won't be praying for it.

Comment by Arcus on September 3, 2011 at 10:25am

Hope for the best, prey plan for the worst; It's the atheist way.

Those who say they are praying for you are just panicking. They don't know what to do or how to help you, the only thing prayer does is to make them feel less guilty for not helping at all. If there's anything I can do, like read and entertain some of your well deserved rants, please let me know. 

Comment by Joseph on September 3, 2011 at 6:21pm

Kris, I've never seen people more afraid of death than lifelong devout Christians. Your courage and positive outlook are more powerful than any prayer they can offer.  Stay strong, and know that your TA friends are pulling for you and your family.  

Comment by Violet Chartreuse on September 3, 2011 at 9:39pm


Thank you for all the kind words of support and hope. I am grateful for all your messages of well-wishing that are just honest, rational and heart-felt. Garrett, when you wrote, May science, medicine, technology, the intelligence of doctors, and the progress of humanity and life help you and assist your child,  my heart lept with joy.  It's just the kind of sentiment I have been needing to hear.  I wish you the same. I will remember that phrase and pass it on.

I have had to learn to choose my battles and keep my mouth shut. It's frusterating because, MY family is the one going through this and THEY are the ones who get to share their opinions.  I have to keep my mouth shut for my son's sake because, honestly, he needs their love and support.... and I won't be the one who takes that away from him, now, when he needs all the support he can get.  If I told them all how we really feel ( and they already know a bit ) they would all be gone.  But you all know that.  Thank you for being there for me.



Comment by Garrett Taffer on September 4, 2011 at 12:26am

Thank you for just being here, kristin. It certainly makes me feel infinitely better, or a close proximity of it, knowing that someone out there feels as I do.


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