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May 05 2011

Why Prayer is Nonsense #nationaldayofprayer

In honor of the US tradition of turning Cinco de Mayo into the farcical National Day of Prayer, today I repost my opus, Why Prayer is Nonsense.

By no means is this intended to be an exhaustive list of every theological discussion, every argument and counterargument, with regard to prayer’s efficacy. My aim with this series is to show why prayer is an ultimately useless endeavor, either devoid of any merit when defined narrowly, or if defined vaguely, indistinguishable from other mental disciplines like meditation; and how people entrenching prayer in the public consciousness and including it in their individual philosophies in such large numbers as exists today, tangibly harms society.

This is the master post, the first in a series that will be updated as time allows. I’ll be editing links into this post as I create the subsequent parts. There are a lot of interconnected points that need to be woven together to form my final argument, so please bear with me as I get this thing built. If you’d like to start pulling on threads early, that may help to shape future parts, but otherwise, bear in mind I may well cover it by the time this series is done. Some posts will be longer than others (especially part 2), but I’ll be making an effort to keep the parts relatively digestible, which is of course why I’m chunking this up to begin with.

Part 1: First, define prayer
Part 2: Know your deities
Part 3: But everyone knows prayer works!
Part 4: Even if it IS useless, what’s the harm?
Part 5: So why pray?

As an added bonus, as if that’s not enough to read on its own, check out Religion as a mental parasite to understand why and how the meme of prayer is spread.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Dan J

    All I can say is this:

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgpzLUCY0rU

    #nationaldayofslayer

    It’s Raining Blood!!

  2. 2
    Rich Wilson

    I started off the day by telling Mr. President to fuck off. After a bit of a preamble, but that was the gist. But then some of my FB friends made positive references to NDP (not to be confused with Canuck NDP…) on their statuses, and I felt I had to respond, but didn’t want to sound like that line Jon Stewart bought from Barton about “trying to make sure people can’t pray”. So, that’s actually what I did… I’ve been asking for a “National Day of No Prayer” So we can empirically compare car crash deaths and cancer remissions on the two days, and prove once and for all that prayer works. Or doesn’t.
    And maybe we can figure out how we got to the moon. Good science education, or prayer in school.

  3. 3
    sinned34

    Since Dan’s video won’t play in Canada, I’ll add my favorite slayer video:

    #nationaldayofslayer

    Disciple!

  4. 4
    Someone

    My friend, once you know God and have a personal encounter with Him. You’ll know that God answer our prayer and it’s not a waste of time for us to do if we pray, even we’ll enjoy our time talking with Him in prayer. It’s just like what the author of Psalm says: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:10). If you don;t believe me, then try it. Ask people who knows and loves God to show and guide you if need be.

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    Someone: in order to make that argument, you must first define your God. Do read the linked posts before you spam, thanks!

  6. 6
    Rich Wilson

    I have no doubt that prayer makes the prayerer feel better. But so does meditation. Or a nice 10k run.

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