Why do People Pray?

The Power of Prayer

During war the power of prayer has about 50% effectiveness.  In sports, its exactly 50%.  The Super Bowl MVP usually thanks his god.  The striker who just scored a game winning goal points to the sky thanking his creator for guiding him.  If winning a battle is god’s doing, do the losers then blame god?  Does the losing quarterback blame god for not being able to go to Disneyland?  Does the goalkeeper blame god?  Or did he not pray hard enough?

Parents of sick children pray for their kids.  Unfortunately most of the time god is too busy.  People pray for all kinds of things.  For god to help them pass an exam, win the lottery, cure them, help them in a relationship.  From the most serious to the dumbest shit they can think of.  Now I have not seen the statistics, but I am betting that prayers are not answered all that often based on my observations of this world.  Is saying “it was god’s will” the equivalent to “its god’s fault?”  People believe in the infinite power of god, god can do anything, he just chooses not to.  So why do we pray?  Praying to god for things hardly works.  And what does the result mean?  If I pray for money and I win or find money tomorrow, does that mean god loves me more than the poor bastard who prayed but got nothing?  If I pray and get nothing then what?  God ignored me, is mad at me, I did not pray hard enough, he’s spiteful?  300 people pray for safe arrival to their destination, their plane lands safely.  Another 300 hundred do the same, yet the plane crashes, and they all die.  Did god do this?  Is it really god’s will?

That’s the one thing I could never stomach.  Why would god do such things to us?  And why do we put so much pressure on god?  Why do we see god as out meal ticket, saviour, education tutor, military commander, doctor, love councillor, therapist, when his track record is so poor?  Yes, why the hell do we pray for things?  When we don’t get them we subconsciously make god either ineffective or mean (to use the nicest word possible).  Fact is prayer is not powerful.  At least not when we pray like a bunch of spoiled needy selfish little kids.  Me me me me me me, help me, give me, save me!!!  Some of the nicer of us pray for their family and friends, some even pray for strangers, that’s a nice sentiment, but its the same thing.  Prayer by proxy.  More needy people wanting things from their god.  Does god have to do things for us?  When he does not do we just say “oh well, never mind.”  Or do we blame him?  That’s a lot of pressure to put on a deity.  Praying for thing is much more common than praying in celebration of our life or just for the fuck of it.  Even when we pray thanking god for things its not cool.  It does not make us good people, just polite enough to thank someone for doing us a favour.  The sentiment is as selfish as when praying for things.

I just don’t get it, the need for it, the selfishness of it.  Praying for stuff does not bring us closer to god.  Thanking god for things working out does not do it.  People have confused prayer with asking for favours.  I even get emails from supposedly religious, god fearing folks telling me that the prayer they sent will help me in one way or another, if I send it to at least 10 people.  If I don’t some bad things are going to happen to me.  Really?!  I am to be scared into praying?  Or promised a reward?  Is this what prayer is about?  Am I to calculate the risk reward factor when deciding if I should pray.  These days it appears that only kids pray properly.  Because they have been brainwashed to and don’t know any better.  But as soon as they grow up they wont pray for free.

There is a great scene in a Polish film The Teutonic Knights, right before the great battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg 1410), both the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and the Polish King say “everything is in god’s hands now, he will help his faithful servants.”  Poles won.  What did it mean?  Absolutely nothing.  It was a waste of time really.  At least for the Germans, god did not help them.  I also doubt that the Poles won because of prayer (I have a suspicion it might have been greater number and better tactics).  Plus there is that whole “we’re going to kill a shitload of people with god’s name on our lips” thing.  It just does not feel right.  Hell, it not right at all.  So again, why do we pray for stuff?  Its ineffective, its selfish, it does not bring us closer to god.  Basically its a waste of time and effort.  The Power of Prayer is just a slogan.  God is not here to do chores for us.  Yes, not even to help us live longer or to help keep our kids safe.  There is that whole free will thing that people forget about.

There is also lack of self responsibility.  We are responsible for our actions, not god.  We do shit to ourselves.  And sometimes things just happen for no reason.  God did not destroy New Orleans, a hurricane did.  There was not reason for it, just weather patterns.  Snow and rain cause floods, not god, why would god want to flood our homes and destroy our crops?  It wasn’t god’s will that New York got attacked.  Some mean fuckers who thought their god wanted them to did it.  They try to excuse their murders with god’s will.  There was no god’s plan that we don’t understand.  That’s just bullshit that those who claim to know god try to feed to people who are scared and are trying to understand why all this crap happens.  What kind of god would god want a 7 years old to get cancer?  That’s not a plan, that’s sadism.  God is not a sadistic freak.  Why are people trying to convince us otherwise.  Just because we have a problem getting a handle on this whole “why are we here” thingy, it does not mean we have to buy the stupidest answer people give us.  It makes no sense.  Is illogical, and it makes god into a bloodthirsty sadist.  There is no plan.  What logic is there?  The life on Earth is the only life we know.  Its short, and full of pain, but we are told we will suffer for eternity (yes eternity as in billions and billions of years + infinity) if we fuck something up at 21 and do not get a chance to repent.  What?  God is not to be feared, god should be loved and revered.  This universe place is cool.  Life can be great.

But no, we are brainwashed into being frightened all our lives and the only thing is we have to say to god is “please sir, can I have some more?”  Its not prayer, its begging.  We also apologise every five minutes.  Why?  God supposedly made a whole universe just for us.  He supposedly loves us above all species.  And some even believe he sent his son to to die for us.  Is this the same god that scares the shit out of us.  Is he there to just to feared or be our servant?  That is what our relationship with god became.  We don’t understand so we are afraid.  We are helpless so we pray.  But for what really, and what good will it do?

(disclaimer: the word “god” is deliberately typed with a small “g” (except when starting a new sentence as that would be just wrong), because I was not writing about any specific God, but about any god.  It was a generic thing, and not meant to belittle God or people’s faith in God, or the existence of God, so please, take no notice of that.  The rest of course, you are welcome to disagree with and debate.)

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 3:17 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. people pray because the want to not because they need yo

    • well obviously, but that was not the point of the post.

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