I was quite surprised at the level of response to the Hopi Indian response video which included messages from the family of the elder who created the statement.  What I find amazing is the level of anger towards me questioning the validity of prayer and asking people to donate instead.  Besides being called evil, narrow minded, one dimensional and a douche bag, this to me shows the level people are at when it comes to their so called spirituality.  The level of ignorance is breath taking but understandable as it wasn’t long ago that I would have believed in something similar, though I wouldn’t have taken to calling any disbelievers names.  It really is easy to be caught up in spiritual beliefs and blindly have faith in something that when challenged

Prayer has issues and what is interesting is the obvious need for people to believe in it which is understandable but that will not make prayer effective or it’s effects true either.
I am often shown “evidence” with links to various studies but as far as I know the studies and how they were conducted are under question and repeated studies show no benefits at all. 

The one thing prayer has going for it is the meditative state it can induce that can help people relax and feel uplifted but this can also be achieved in yoga, meditation of simply relaxing and feel appreciative of what they love or are experiencing.  Prayer can torture people by bringing false hope so in my view I would stick to something relaxing for the mind instead.

Prayer it’s self comes in many forms due to the belief system attached and for this blog entry I am focusing on prayers which are requests for help here on earth.

Years ago I got the news that my Grandfather was in hospital after experiencing a severe stroke.  His last words to me were “please pray for me Paul,” after that he pretty much was so severely brain damaged that we were never able to converse again.  I prayed hard, I did all sorts of rituals etc for my Grandfather to be healed and I had 100% faith something would happen.  It never did. In fact he suffered for 9 years with severe dementia, in fact we wouldn’t let an animal suffer like that.  I watched all my Grandparents pass away unpleasantly with health issues and any praying from anyone made no difference at all to their suffering.  They were such good people to and didn’t deserve to have their lives end that way.  This is life though, it’s tough, cruel, mean and torturous for some people.  I would have at the time tried to console myself with God’s plan for them must be unknown or theories about what they were teaching others spiritually.  In reality though, they suffered and there was nothing divine or spiritual about it.

The main problems with prayers requesting help is that the entity they are praying to will either help or not.  If help comes then it must be divine sent, if no prayer is answered then it’s Gods mysterious plan.  Without any prayer then the situation being requested to be helped will either sort itself out on itself, with direct action or it will simply not be sorted and then dealt with the best way known how.

If there is a God who listens to prayer then the following problems arise:

How does God choose who will or will not get help? 

For example every year around a million people die from malaria in Africa most of which are children, this is a horrible death and yet with Christianity or Islam as their main religion, praying for help would be second nature.  Are they not praying right?  Is this Gods plan for children and parents to suffer this way?   I looked through some Christian sites about prayers and saw that prayers are answered if you have enough faith, belief and focus on what you want.  I think this where the deadly Law of Attraction gurus got their ideas from and one comment sent to me recently told me that they now use this in churches.  I shudder at the thought.
The problem with having faith, belief and focus on what you want theory is that they are saying that hundreds of thousands of parents are not praying right when it comes to their children being healed.  They must simply not have enough faith or belief or focus when it comes to God answering their prayers.  This must mean God has some mysterious rules somewhere and his followers have not been taught how to have them answered.  This applies to the millions suffering with famine, war and lack of the basics just to live. 

In my view there can’t be a God who answers prayers if he hasn’t taught his children the simple process for getting help.  I personally believe there is no God but if there is then he doesn’t influence the people of earth, care or have any intention of helping.

Natural disasters are that proof,  the suffering is something that most of us cannot imagine and to sit there in armchairs or churches thinking that prayers will be answered and help I feel is naive and doesn’t even take into account the contradictions about prayer at all.  It’s all blind faith.  In my own life I have been much more pro-active with humanitarian disasters since dropping spirituality from my life.  Besides the liberation, the sympathy and compassion to my fellow man has actually increased as there are no spiritual beliefs making excuses for their suffering.  Could you do the same?

Weirdly not not, the world apocalypse is a Greek word meaning lifting of the veil or revelation and wouldn't it be a different world if the world stopped being blind in faith and took another look at their beliefs?  Maybe they would have a revelation?

As for the negative responses to the Hopi Indian message to Japan,  they show that blind faith is still strong and I will come under fire for some time to come, especially with the next few videos planned.  What my intention to do is though, is to get people thinking about prayer and its contradictions.  What they do next is up to them.  It is all about choice.

With religion becoming extinct around the world, there is some excitement in the air that we will free ourselves from the tyranny of spirituality / religion and I look forward to that day.  For now though I won’t pray, I will act and I will do what I can right now to help who I can.

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Comment by Heather Spoonheim on March 26, 2011 at 5:39pm
Your video was very compassionate and practical.  It was really great that you directed people to ox fam and the red cross.  There may be plenty of hostility, but I bet you also made a lot of people think as well.  If nothing else, at least I'll post a supportive comment on your video.  I think the American Atheists could really learn a lot by studying your approach - and you didn't even frame it around 'spreading atheism'.
Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on March 26, 2011 at 10:06pm

Hi Paul - that seemed very practical and reasonable to me.

Comment by Heather Scott on March 27, 2011 at 10:30am
Love the above picture. Yes you know what they say, "two hands working"


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