Why are you praying?

Believers of all kinds pray at one point or another. The more religious of the bunch pray as and when they feel that a personal communication is required to ask their respective deity for assistance or enlightenment. Others pray as a matter of ritual routinely at their places of worship. Less devout ones pray only when they are troubled and desperate for any kind of help that may seem to alleviate their anxiety.

I can almost say that I feel disappointed with this huge segment of the population. And I want to ask: why do you pray?

In this post, I am not addressing ritualistic prayer - that I really couldn't care for anyways. But I am looking at those who believe that prayer is some kind of communication to their god where the god would offer assistance and/or enlightenment in response.

For believers who subscribe to a god who is simultaneously omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing) and benevolent (all-good),  the question is: why bother? An all-knowing god already knows that you are praying and what you are praying about - in this case, the prayer is a superfluous act. To an all-powerful, all-knowing god, your prayer is futile since he would have acted according to your wishes if he had wanted to. And for an all-good god, you shouldn't need to pray in the first place if you understand the implications.

That mostly deals with the Abrahamic versions of the monotheistic God. Presumably it should also deal with most other deities worthy of the prayer in the first place (after all, why bother praying for assistance from a god incapable of rendering them).

Here's another thought: why do you think that a god would even give a damn about your prayer? A divine being caring about your pathetic cries for help over some earthly human issues? Why do you suppose that human beings would be noticed by the god(s)? Just 'cause we're their creations? Aren't the rest of the living world supposedly their creation too? So the zebra being mauled by lions is not worth a damn but your sick uncle is? I know this might sound cruel but think about it, aren't you presupposing that you're so special that even the freaking supreme being of the universe is actually paying full attention to your whines and complaints about your life?

Here's yet another angle to this issue. You do realize that thousands of (approximately 150,000) people die per day, right? Most of them are not death due to age - rather death by accident, disease or murder. Put it this way, why do you suppose that god would give about a damn about your issues when he evidently doesn't care about those some 150,000 people each day? Presumably, some of those people probably hold the same/similar beliefs about their god as do you. Can you see the arrogance yet?

I could just tell you that there is ZERO scientific evidence pointing to the efficacy of prayer and neither is there any for the god being prayed to. But I think that will fall on deaf ears, sadly.

I know that at the emotional level, it seems almost cruel to ask someone to not bother praying. In desperate situations, it does seem like the only thing left to do is to pray. 

But let me ask you again, why are you praying? Would it actually work? If your friend survives, was it your prayer being answered? Or the effort of the medical personnel? Or sheer luck? Who would you thank? Your god or the doctors? How do you know it was god's doing? What if your kin dies instead? Did your prayer fail? Or was it god's will all the long? Who are you going to blame? The doctor for failing? Or your god?

And if you do recognize that prayer does not work. Why do you do it? Why are you deliberately engaging in a futile act? Just because you're desperate? Is that a reason or an excuse? Do you still think it's a good thing despite its futility? Are you doing it just to make yourself feel good? Just to think that you're actually doing something despite doing absolutely nothing other than wishful thinking?

I don't suppose this would change anyone's mind instantly. But I do hope you think about it. What are you trying to do when you pray? Really.


Atheozoa said...

Provide your counterargument if you disagree. Anything less, don't bother posting. Thanks.