Prayer Is Worse Than Nothing

ObamaLet's talk about prayer and visions and things today.

First, let's talk about the inauguration with Obama. Even if I weren't a vocal atheist, I'd be offended by the choice of rick warren to deliver the prayer. Of course, as a Constitutionalist, I believe in the Separation of Church and State. The office of president of the United States is earned by votes. Not direct votes of the people, but hey, let's not nitpick on that issue at the moment. This job of president is purely secular. Why is there a bible, a pastor and prayer involved at all? The FFRF is suing to get rid of the reference to god and the prayers, at least.
warren, this hypocritical slimeball, is going to act as an agent of the state to deliver the invocation and benediction. Read more about warren and how he backs a man (martin ssempa) who burned condoms in the name of jesus in Africa, virtually stamping out the free distribution of condoms to people to replace it with abstinence only (yeah, we all know how well the abstinence program works!). Oh, and let's not forget how warren compares homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and beastiality. So now we know how far off his rocker he is.

It disturbs me that Mr. Obama is embracing a hateful christian fundamentalist and giving him such a stage on this big day. It seems to me that it is a grim harbinger of things to come, and how they look bleakly like recent times.

lawful evilOn a lighter note, the catholics are trying to clamp down on "false" claims of seeing the virgin mary or jesus. If you are eating a bowl of spaghetti-o's and you happen to see jesus in there, you must remain silent until psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists investigate your claim. If you don't keep quiet then you're obviously lying. (ooh, the logic!)

Here's the best bit, if you keep silent about your vision (then how would anyone ever know? some kind of weird catholic brain twister there), then you will be visited by exorcists and demonologists to make sure that satan isn't hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful. WTF? Satan is so powerful that he can appear on a piece of pizza to fool catholics to pray to .. um.. wha? Ok, those people are whacked. wrapped this one up nicely:
Demonologists! I’d love to meet one of those. Exorcists! Clearly such people are useful for distinguishing between reality and fantasy.

Never mind that. Look at what this passage is implying: Satan has the power to create Christian apparitions and visions. Presumably, then, Jesus’ resurrection appearances as described in the gospels - or his famous appearance to Paul - could all have been a Satanic apparition with the purpose of deceiving Jews and Gentiles into believing in the false religion of Christianity. Now that would be brilliant.

And then there's this woman saying that it's ok to turn to god in times of crisis, even if you've been ignoring him since then. From what she says I am under the impression that it's good to have a big problem in your life if it drags you to your knees and gets you to pray. WTF?!

I hate to tell you, but I've been through bad times as an atheist, and it never occurred to me to pray to anyone, not even the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I agree that in times of stress and need, it's nice to not be alone, but I rely on friends and family, real people, to help me, not some pathetic hope that has zero chance of helping me.

myth-bustedIn fact, a huge study was done on intercessory prayer back in 2006. The results? There were no differences between patients who were prayed for and those who were not. But, there were significantly more complications for the patients who knew they were being prayed for, 59% as opposed to 51% for those who didn't know they might be receiving prayers. For those who weren't informed that they were receiving prayers, 18% suffered major complications, while only 13% of the people who didn't get prayers had complications.( See here for a different report on the same study.)

Spooky weird, huh? By the way the study cost $2.4 million. I have no idea how it could cost so much. But same article also mentions this little tidbit: The government spent more than $2.3 million on prayer research between 2000 and 2006. Again, I say WTF?

Back in '97 the University of New Mexico did a smaller study with 40 alcoholics in rehab. The men and women who knew they were being prayed for also did worse. Now how does that scramble your eggs?

Prayer does nothing. In fact, all it does is waste your time and energy for actually dealing with what is wrong.


  1. After seeing this post title yesterday I've been itching to comment that meditation can be quite useful (and prayer is a form of meditation). Now though, I see your topic is entirely different, and I agree with you; Rick Warren is slime.
    I enjoyed the rest of the post too.

  2. I was stunned when PE Obama named Warren. I equate this hate-monger to David Duke and my question is; would Obama invite Duke to say a few words at the inauguration? Of course, he wouldn't. Duke is avowed racist and a KKK founder.

    Warren is of the same ilk...he is a religious supremacist. And quite frankly, has no business promoting this 'Klan' at a civic event, especially, one as historical as the inauguration of Obama.

    If it is at the president elects discretion to have a prayer at all at this event then why pick someone so vile? I would argue that there are many other pastors who are less polarizing and a lot less insulting.

    As for the catholic thing..hahaha. They (the Vatican) were exposed by the idiocy of these apparitions and had to get it under control quickly before the sheeple caught on. "Visions" are now the fodder for late-night jokes and are ridiculed for the delusions they spot-light. Not good for filling the coffers every Sunday. hahaha.

    And prayer is, imo, the dim-witted cousin of religion...they both appeal to the lowest common denominator in human thinking...self-deception.

    Lots of interesting reading here. Thanks

  3. I actually posted about Warren this morning. Seems Dan Savage is looking for the definition of saddleback and the results are pretty funny.

    I know some nice, agnostic Catholics, and every time one of these missives about "real" miracles comes out of the Vatican, they cringe a little. That pool at Lourdes has only had one "success," and even that's questionable. It doesn't stop the hordes of faithful from going there every year by the thousands to get healed in the miracle water. *sheesh*

    When a really good friend was dying of cancer two years ago, praying never even crossed my mind. A lot of people did the knee mail thing, but of course, the doctors were right and my friend died surrounded by friends.

  4. Hi Guanoloca, I agree with you wholeheartedly! Thank YOU! :D

  5. Hi Steve, thanks for your great comment. I'm sorry your friend died, but you absolutely cracked me up with the knee mail thing. I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything. That's hilarious.
    I'm glad your friend was surrounded by friends. That's the best tribute to a person, really.

  6. Ok, Steve, I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but it would not let me. It's probably me being retarded. I wanted to comment using OpenId and I have no idea what I did wrong.
    Here's the comment:
    Well, I think it's worrying to say the least, to pick such a reprehensible saddlebacker for such a supposedly honorable role. This creep is so full of hate and lies. He's a creationist bigot! This is NOT OK. I hope it comes out that he's been saddlebacking with Ted Haggard for years.
    Number 4 is definitely my fav.

  7. Weird- I have no idea why it wouldn't let you leave a comment! Maybe it's something going on on blogger- cause you have left comments before (that's how I found your awesome site!)

    Anyhoo, yeah. Saddlebacker. Hee.

    When I read a quote from him telling his flock (at a rally in a stadium, no less) that they needed to be more like the Hitler youth or Mao Tse Tungs followers, I was flabbergasted. You're telling people that you want America to dash itself on the rocks of a totalitarian theocracy?

    Not having a flabber to gast, it makes me wonder if Obama actually knows about this, and if not, why not. If he does know, how can he go through with it?

  8. I love that prayer study!

  9. You know, there really are people out there who are working for a totalitarian theocratic police state for this poor country. It simply blows my mind and makes me violently ill.

    I too wonder if Obama knows who he picked, and if not, why not. If so, how could he? And what else does he have in store for us!?

    Ok, I have no freaking idea why I can't leave a comment with openid on your blog. I have now tried over 15 times. Wasn't there a way I could leave a comment before where I could just type in my name, email and url and be done with it? I like that way best.

  10. Hi Kelly, thanks. Science is awesome!

  11. "Of course, as a Constitutionalist, I believe in the Separation of Church and State."

    I don't remember the separation of church and state being in the constitution?

    "A constitutionalist is often known by other names such as a constitutional conservative or a strict constructionalist. While the latter term typically refers to judges and justices, it is also used to describe any person that believes in a strict reading of the Constitution"

    The phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state.

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  12. Wikipedia: Constitutionalism:

    "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law." These ideas, attitudes and patterns of behavior form "a dynamic political and historical process rather than as a static body of thought laid down in the eighteenth century." (David Fellman).

    Follow the link to read his quote which describes how such a complicated term can be applied pragmatically.

    Here's a little excerpt: "...the central element of the concept of constitutionalism is that in political society government officials are not free to do anything they please in any manner they choose; they are bound to observe both the limitations on power and the procedures which are set out in the supreme, constitutional law of the community."

  13. Rick Warren...That man makes my blood boil.

    Wal-Mart carries his books. But sad to say no Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Christopher Hitchens. WTF?!

    Hey, Neece sorry it's been a while. My internet was off. But I'm back. :D

  14. You sound shocked, Colleen. I mean you know they are openly very christian. Why would they carry the books of the enemy?

    I've missed you Colleen! Hopefully we can look forward to an irreverent post from you again soon! :D