‘Nuff Said Award Winner: “Time To Think” On Helping Instead Of Praying

Shortly after posting my thoughts on what to say as an atheist to those who are in situations where it is traditional to offer the promise to pray, I came across this article via Hemant Mehta.  In the article, Stephen Bates talks about how much his experience covering religion for 7 years as a journalist has soured him on religion.  But then he laments that while in the hospital a couple of stranger Christians came by to pray for him, there was nothing any stranger atheist might be able to do except say, “This is as good as it gets, mate?”

In reply to this nonsense comes today’s ‘Nuff Said award winner, one of the commentators underneath the article who called him or herself “Time To Think”:

When I was a Christian I used to pray for people that I knew who were sick. I used to think it would make a difference. When I eventually grew up some 20 years later I realised that it didn’t. What I actually meant when I said that I would pray for someone, was that I would spend a few moments out of my day to think about them. Since I thought that God would then sort it out, I used to think that would be enough. As an atheist I still set aside time to ‘think’ about those that I know who need help…but instead of praying for them, I quickly realise that in order for it make any difference I have to DO something…like taking a meal, or just visiting, or fixing a door. The responsibility has shifted, and I’m much more useful as an Atheist than I ever was as a Christian…and my motives are not eternal life. Most of the Christians I know are lovely people…but they would be lovely people even if they had no faith. Personally, I’m slightly more lovely than I used to be. Edging your way to disbelief in God is not something that should make you sad.

‘Nuff Said!

prayer how to do nothing and still think you're helping

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.