An Atheist’s Open Letter to Those Praying for His Son

As many of my readers have noticed, I haven’t posted anything in about a month.  That’s because on April 27, my life got exponentially busier, when my wife went into preterm labor and delivered our son 12 weeks early.  Grayson now lays in the local neonatal intensive care unit, where he’s been since he was born.  He’s doing well and continues to grow and gain weight, but the experience has been draining — physically, emotionally, and financially.  As things normalize and he comes home, activity on the site will resume and most likely increase, since the field of GOP presidential hopefuls is an ever-expanding source of church/state separation editorial fodder.  I don’t normally post personal stories such as this, but since I’ve found myself in a situation that has caused monumental frustration — with my only true sympathetic outlet being my wife (who is probably tired of hearing my rants by now) — I’ve decided to turn to the loyal audience of my blog.  I hope that you’ll read this, and more importantly, share it with believers, so they better understand what goes through an atheist’s mind when we hear, “Sending you prayers,” or something similar.

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Exhausted parents on the day Grayson was born

The following open letter may upset you.  You may feel insulted because when it comes to matters of faith, people are more apt to take criticism personally and react defensively when their religious beliefs are brought into question.  Please know it is not my intent to offend, because as I said earlier, I am truly grateful for the offers of support and kind words from family and friends.  But sometimes we’re faced with emotional situations that escalate to a boiling point.  I’m at that point, and it’s time to open a vent.

I’d like to open this letter by acknowledging and thanking those who have shared that they’re praying for my son, who was born prematurely and since then has resided in our local neonatal intensive care unit.  I realize your intentions are good and that you believe your prayers are helping him grow stronger.  By appealing to a deity that you believe exists and listens to your pleas, you feel you’re offering your support and contributing to my son’s cause in some way.  Because I realize you believe you’re helping, I thank you for doing what you feel will help my son get healthy and strong.

However, my wife and I are atheists.  We don’t believe in the supernatural, and we have good reasons for that, but that’s a topic for another day.  We have placed our trust in science and modern medicine, and we are absolutely amazed at what is possible, thanks to medical research and man’s advanced understanding of biological sciences.  In fact, if we had not placed our trust in medicine, or lived in different times, or belonged to a religion that frowns upon fertility treatments or medically assisted conception, we would not have any children at all.

If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-year-old son, Ryan, would not exist.  He would not have been conceived without modern science and fertility doctors.  And if we had become pregnant on our own, he very well could have died in childbirth without the intervention of doctors and nurses, as my wife had to have an emergency c-section after a difficult attempt at childbirth that put Ryan at risk.  If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-week-old, Grayson, would not exist.  He also would not have been conceived without modern science and an IVF procedure.  And if we had become pregnant on our own that time, he would have died shortly after being born prematurely, without the intervention and constant care of doctors and nurses.  Thanks to medical breakthroughs, not miracles, we have two children and get to experience all of the joy, pride, love, and everything else that comes with raising children — all of which would have been replaced with sorrow and heartache had we left it to a god to decide.  We would have had no children, and like many of the religious, would have attempted to rationalize this in an attempt at comforting ourselves by saying it was god’s plan, or that everything happens for a reason.

So should you be appealing to that same supernatural entity to help protect my son — a child that he never wanted to exist?  Does that make sense to you?

There’s a reason that the sick go to hospitals full of doctors and nurses when they need healing, instead of seeking out faith healers or priests, or staying home to pray as their only means of treatment.  It’s because most believers realize that prayer isn’t an effective cure for anything.  Even so, the religious are so quick to thank their god when they or loved ones recover from illnesses rather than show their gratitude to the men and women who made it their life’s work to treat the sick.  Let’s be honest, if an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving god wants to heal the sick or let them die, what’s your prayer going to do?  Aren’t you just telling him something he already knows?  Aren’t you asking him for something he already knows you want?  Isn’t your god going to do what he wants despite your pleas?  Isn’t that your rationale when your prayers aren’t “answered”… that it was “God’s will”?  So really, what’s the point?  And that’s IF (a monumental IF) a deity exists and you’re praying to the right one, out of the >2000 that have been worshiped throughout human history.

So now you’re thinking, “So what?  What does it hurt that I want to pray for you?”  It’s not that it hurts anything or anyone directly.  Your prayers are your prerogative.  By telling us you’re praying, you’re saying to us that you want to do something to help, and that’s appreciated.  But the avenue of assistance that you’ve chosen is one that we feel is an ineffective one.  You’re telling us, “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you.  I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping.”  If you want to help a religious person who believes that prayer actually does something, then by all means, pray until you’re hoarse.  But if you want to do something in your power to help a family who places their trust in the doctors, nurses, medicine, and technology that heals the sick and is the reason my son is alive and sleeping in my arms as I type this in the NICU, then do something tangible. Donate to families in need or medical research.  Contact your representatives when a vote comes up that might inhibit scientific advancement.  Call a friend or family member who’s in crisis and be a compassionate ear.  Volunteer with a local group without an underlying agenda (like preaching to those benefiting from their good deeds).  There are so many things you can do that are infinitely more effective than talking to a god who already knows what you’re going to say and will do what he wants anyway.

So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you.  But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.  Everything does not happen for a reason, and my two children are anything but god’s plan.  I feel grateful every single day for mankind’s scientific and medical advancements.

Thank you for allowing me to blow off some steam.  If you’d like to help, I’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help offset Grayson’s hospital costs and any applicable extra care he may need when he finally comes home.

[Edit: Now that Grayson is home and doing very well, I’ve closed the campaign. $10,000 was raised in total and the money was used to pay medical bills and household expenses while we reduced our hours to care for Grayson, and some was given back to local charities that help families in similar situations.  We’d like to thank the amazing secular community (and some of the religious as well) that helped to support us during a very trying, emotional, and stressful time.  We’re happy to report that Grayson is thriving, thanks to modern medical advancements and the amazing care he received.]

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Grayson in his bed at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY

About Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones. Kevin is also the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids focused on critical thinking. Guest bloggers are welcome at SecularVoices. Please email submissions to contact@secularvoices.org.

  • http://whatisstoppingus.wordpress.com amygrace44

    I cannot imagine how much pain you are in right now as your son and family goes through this. You made some good points in this post. I feel as though you perhaps do not realize the true nature of prayer. As a follower of Christ, when I pray I am completely lifting up a the request into the hands of Christ. I do not “feel” better about myself. I feel more better that I know there’s an all-loving, beautiful God who can comfort me and was willing to take on this pain with me. In fact, I typically feel very humbled and powerless as I give my troubles that I cannot solve on my own, to the one that can. Sometimes I do not want to pray. Sometimes I do not trust in God enough to take care of situations. However, He has never failed me. He is always walking with me. It is more about a relationship and conversation with Him rather than some magic power. I know it’s hard to believe in. I’ve been there, but He is on your side. He is on your son’s side. Some Christians can come off as superficial. It still pisses me off. Yet, Jesus reveals Himself to us through prayer. I wouldn’t give up on Jesus just like He isn’t giving up on your son. The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus. I completely agree that as Christians in general, we need to not only pray, but donate money and time towards these very good causes. So, I have to say that I am praying for you and your family. But not in some cute self-serving, way. I lift up Grayson and all the doctors in His care. I ask for Jesus’s peace, mercy, comfort, and grace to be poured out on every being involved in this situation. I also feel very inspired to give to you all as well as I can imagine it may be very expensive. I admire you for sharing your thoughts. May His peace be with you and your family.

    • http://bri65.wordpress.com bri65

      Way to miss the point, amygrace44.

      • Brandon

        God does not exist. Jesus Christ lived more than two thousand years ago and has no power. Your prayers mean nothing. If they make you happy, fine. But realize they don’t have any real meaning.

      • http://hugenjolly.wordpress.com hugenjolly

        …indeed, which is the central problem – the solipsism of “believers”.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10153284413559454/ George Lovelace

        I Pray to the Great and Holy GOP to give your son…. BS. I’m going to http://www.gofundme.com/GraysonFund and hopefully make a difference. Great thoughts and wishes are with you, your wife and most importantly Grayson. We’re all in this together (with the exception of this “god” being others speak of. Shared on Facebook so that other “human beings” can identify with your situation. Best of luck with Grayson’s future, with as wonderful a father as he has I expect he will have a great future.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10204410931777545/ Michele Luster Farley

        I agree with most of what amygrace44 said, but would like to add something- there is no reason that we have to separate God and science. It has always been my opinion, that God created science and technology, guiding us. And because he cannot stand to see any of His children suffer… Kiss that beautiful baby for me, you don’t know me, or I you, but babies are the best thing we have. And I do feel for you and your precious family. <3

      • Anne

        Michelle, if you truly believe that “god “does not allow “his” children to suffer, then you’ve never been outside your house. Children are raped, set on fire, & thrown off buildings many times, every day. Just like with the Holocaust, god is sound asleep or else concerned with who’s having sexy ith who. Religion is the polar opposite of science and cannot claim credit for the hard work and intelligence that scientists have committed to modern medicine. You and Amy Grace are simply parroting what you been told to think.

        • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100001496547514/ George Clymer

          Well, they DO “claim” it…just part of their endless, slick, deceptive, taxdodging, self-enrichening marketing campaign.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Amy, thank you for your monetary donation. It’s very much appreciated. However, as a former Christian, all of the apologist rationalization about prayer you just added is not new to me. I used to say all of that myself. It sounds nice but is complete nonsense, to be frank. If you can answer the questions in my post about what you think you’re telling your deity that it doesn’t already know, I’d be glad to hear it. Do you think he’s like “Oh yeah, that Grayson kid, thanks for the reminder”? Next time you need a doctor, go ahead and “give the troubles you cannot solve on your own” to God and let me know how that works out. As bri65 said, you’ve totally missed the point.

      • Molly Mo

        Kevin,

        I hear you. I totally do. Last year, my mother was in the hospital in a coma for 12 days. she died multiple times, but world-class doctors and the 24 hour vigilance of her nurses saved her life. It was increasingly frustrating to be in that situation and hear every other person in my very large Christian family “pour out their hearts in prayer.” It came off as something akin to begging an almighty god for her life — if God is great and he’s some loving spiritual father, why does he make you get on your knees and BEG for the lives of your loved ones?? Sounds like one narcissistic asshole to me.

        Only relating that because I COMPLETELY understand that under normal circumstances, some passerby saying they’ll pray for you is fine, but in dire straits (like a 12 week preemie!) and purely exhausted days and nights, yeah, a place to vent is entirely necessary and I think you did it justice.

      • Victor

        Well, in your expertise on religionGod, you apparently all missed the parts about Him helping those who help themselves and trials and tribulations.
        While I do believe that the help of people in the medical profession are absolutely necessary, don’t you think it’s a little selfish of you to make the decision for your son that he wouldn’t want people to pray for him and that you aren’t going to allow him, if possible in the future, to make his own decision about his faith?
        I know this must seem like an uncaring post, but let’s get this straight, I don’t and will never be apologetic or make excuses for the well being of another person. I don’t pray for others to make myself feel better about myself and if that’s all you got out of it when you did it you were doing it wrong.

        With all that being said, whether you want it or not, my prayers will be there for your son and your family.

        • eric collier

          “God helps those who help themselves”–the last refuge & lamest dodge of the credulous masses who believe in the God Who is Never There.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        You need to send amy her money back

      • Lizzy

        I really feel your focus is misdirected , you should be more focused on being supportive to your wife and your son. To have something like people saying, ” are prayers are with you” or anything along that means to cause such an upset to you, sounds like you are dealing with some kind of internal struggle over the issue. When you believe something, its what you believe and what anyone else has to say about it doesn’t matter. As you believe in your post your being gracious to those that are trying to show some kind of support in essence your really not. You are slapping them in the face. Alot of religions encourage, giving and helping, so basically you are taking money from someone who is giving money to you because in their religion it is the right thing to do , and you take the money!!!( forget religion and talk about your character).

        You are atheist not your sons! That is a huge personal choice and they are not of age to decide that on their own. As a parent of a sick child, you should be accepting of ANYTHING that could possibly help your son , Well wishes, Healing Powers, Prayers, or Science whatever it is! You are basically dictating to the world, don’t pray for my son because I don’t believe in prayer, WTF!!!!!! and if you do, PLEASE don’t tell us about it… Seriously. This is an ill attempt to try to shove your beliefs down peoples throats.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          In no way am I pushing my beliefs down anyone’s throats. In fact, I graciously thanked everyone for their prayers as I continue to do in person. I guess you skipped over that part in an effort to try to find something to make you feel persecuted. Typical. And if my son is not an atheist, then what is he? Everyone is born an atheist until someone who thinks they know better shoves religion in their face. When he is old enough to make his own decisions, he will be able to choose any religion he wants, or none at all. That’s called offering choices — something religious indoctrinators know nothing about.

      • Fred

        Victor, Kevin is asking that believers don’t tell him about it. He never asked anyone to not pray, at all. Read it again, please, and be fair.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        I love how theists come to an atheist’s blog and complain how you are “forcing your views” down their throat. They should remember a few things before they post.

        1. This is a personal blog about a person’s thoughts.
        2. This is explicitly an atheist’s blog page, and that has been made very clear.
        3. Those of us understand the first 2 points are here BECAUSE we are interested in the author’s views.
        4. No one forced you to come here and read this post.

        If you don’t like what has been said here, then don’t come troll an atheist blog, act butthurt and then complain about having their views “forced” upon you. Unlike most atheists who know exactly what that is like. If you don’t like what he has to say, then leave here and take your “views” with. I think I can say with some confidence that most people here are not interested in your opinion. We didn’t come here for that, since we get more than enough of that sortinformation view in real life.

        Sorry to everyone else here. That was a pet peeve of mine. Rant ov

      • Jnell

        Just because you think it is nonsense, doesn’t mean we all do. Everyone believes differently and that is ok. As soon as everyone realizes that(which will never happen) this world will be a better place. I for one believe in God as I believe in medical science. Without Dr;s and nurses we wouldn’t have the knowledge that we do. But I believe that God gave them that talent. I have no problem with what you believe, so please give me the same.

      • Ebie

        Just say thank you Kevin. Going through a sad time in your life does not give you an excuse to be rude and ill mannered . You’re an atheist, good on you, you’re entitled to your beliefs but so are others. Last time I checked, there’s freedom to engage in any religion of your choice. Just say “thank you” and leave it at that. Manners cost nothing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/614031575 Kerry Stafford

        This is to Lizzie…..

        I’m curious as to whether you have Children and if so, do you take them to church?

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10153341326904049/ Michael J LaGrange

        Why are theists unable to read. Im guessing that of Ebie. He clearly states he says thank you to everyone who says it to him.
        I love how in one breath Ebie says he should just say thank you to the bible thumper, IE accept that person shoving his religion down your throat. Then in the next breath says “You’re an atheist, good on you, you’re entitled to your beliefs but so are others.”
        So effectively this douche is saying “hey be a good boy and just take his religious crap, because hes entitled to have it, but how dare you try and stay strong to your views”.

        EBIE YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE LIKE EVERY OTHER RELIGIOUS PERSON IVE MET..

        • Ebie

          Michael J LaGrange, did any part of my text mention anything about me being religious ? Or you just assumed i was, because i have not supported kevin’s stance. And yet we accuse religious people of imposing their thoughts , what we have in the world today is aggressive forms of atheism where people become rude and abusive to anyone who expressed their opinion against ”so called” atheists. You’re a moron and you can’t read because if you could, you would have understood what my reply was referring to. But you have not made any sense in your text, no sense at all. I repeat what i said earlier, ”someone makes a donation to your cause, you just say thank you. It is not the time and place to be discussing your feelings about your beliefs. It is not right to say; thank you for your donation but ………. ”
          You don’t need to be religious to have morals and manners. If my child were sick, and a muslim came up to me and said ”May Allah bless you” and gives me a donation, i would just say thank you for your kindness. Not ”thank you but i’m not muslim so dont mention the name of Allah ………..bla bla bla”. Same would apply to any other beliefs, jews, hindu, scientology, pagans, whatever, we’re all humans and we are different and we need to tolerate each other’s differences whether you agree or not, I do. I think it’s strange that Kevin should use his grief about his son’s condition as a chance to express his atheistic views. This has become more about atheists and their aggressive views and not about a sick child that needs help. Nothing about my texts so far, says anything about my faith, or religious beliefs, if any. I just dont think you should accept someone’s donation and then with the same breathe, chastise them for mentioning their beliefs cos that’s what it sounds like whether you agree or not, i’m not going to argue with you . There’s a better time and place for that.

          • Mel B

            I don’t really care what you believe because you call people names like “moron”. You may not be religious but calling people names shows what type of person you are.
            Who gives a flying F if people take $ for a sick child….Religion doesn’t even pay taxes!!!!!
            I’ve seen many religious people on here that claim to go to church yet pretend to be holy!!!
            Religion legally robs millions of people every Sunday on a weekly basis. Don’t see them donating to sick children.
            Religion is the root of all evil and should be banned…..

          • Ebie

            Mel B , i dont care what you believe either, but you dont go around calling people ”Douche” for believing in a different approach to issues. So as Michael thinks i’m douche, i think he’s a moron. And once again, nothing about my text says anything about me being religious. Also nothing about my text says i’m a saint and holy and purified. Dont preach to me. You can have your point of view and i can have mine. WE JUST HAVE TO AGREE TO DISAGREE. Pretty Simple. This should be about a sick boy , not about atheistic views

          • Mel B

            The world would be a better place if the world was less horrible to one and other and religious people kept their opinions to them self…..just sayin’

          • Ebie

            Not only religious people, everyone including atheists need to keep their opinions to themselves. But then its a free world, which means opinions are expressed and people have to agree to disagree at some point. Not become abusive to people who have a different point of view. Atheists judge as much as the blind christians they criticise, FACT. I’ve read through all the comments on here and find most of the comments from ”atheists” very very aggressive.

          • Ebie

            Just to add, if people feel they can throw abuse at anyone who expresses their views, then they should be open to receiving abuse back in return. Mel B, its interesting how you pick up my calling Michael a ‘moron’ but did not pick up on his abusive text to me. One law for atheists and another law for everybody else. You’re just as bad as the blind christians you criticise, because you’re so closed in your thinking and never willing to think about the rationality of your actions. The fact that we are here , discussing the importance of saying ”thank you” to a gift, shows the way you think.

      • bobtheaxolotl

        This comment is to Lizzy: No one is “shoving” any beliefs down your throat, you melodramatic idiot. You came to his blog where he poured out his feelings about a difficult situation. You had to specifically seek out his opinion. You could have just as easily avoided it, or closed the page.

        However, you are in fact trying to foist your inane beliefs on others, by coming to this blog and ranting at this poor man with a sick child. You should be ashamed of your behavior.

        Also, in response to the claim that he should be accepting of ANY help: If some manner of witch-doctor came and offered to heal your child by rubbing raw chicken on them, would you accept that help? Not that prayer would cause harm to the child, but he is under no obligation to accept whatever voodoo, magical prayer, spell-casting, superstitious horseshit that someone thinks will help his child. Religious prayer is just another inane ritual, the same as casting spells, or poking pins in a doll. It’s a way for people to do nothing while feeling as if they have. A very easy way to not be obligated to expend time, effort, or money.

        Faith is belief without need of evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence. This is also a very good working definition of delusion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/100001351521493 Jon Pierson

        “In no way am I pushing my beliefs down anyone’s throats”. Kevin, as a pedantic twat, which I am, I feel that it is my duty to point out that, if you are pushing anything down anyones’ throats, it is you your lack of beliefs. :-)

      • http://rosross.wordpress.com rosross

        Your intolerant position is now better explained. Ex-Christians are often like ex-alcoholics or ex-smokers and more fundamental in their positions than they might otherwise be because they have fled to the opposite end of a spectrum and still live in fear of that which they have left, i.e. that from which they have escaped.

        I am sure if you belonged to one of the more fundamentalist religions or were brought up in one, this reaction is more common and would be powerful at an unconscious level.

        Just bear in mind that atheists can be or become as ‘religious’ and as fundamentalist in their approach as anyone belonging to any religion. The shadow effect can be powerful.

        For what it is worth my position, having explored and studied quite a few religions out of spiritual interest, but not having been brought up as anything in particular, I now reject all religion, having cherry-picked from any of them that which is of worth and I stick with what I call God which is an intelligent consciousness at work in his world.

        I can’t see the point in atheism since it is as ridiculous to be categorical that there is no God as it is to claim that there is. There is no doubt that the ‘God’ of most religions, particularly those of the fundamentalist kind, are nothing like any God which could exist might be, but are made rather in the image of men and deeply flawed, if not a bit silly as a result. If you were a former fundamentalist Christian you would have been exposed to the worst of it and no doubt have good reason to flee to the other end of the spectrum.

        But, perhaps remember that this God and these versions of God are human inventions, mostly male human inventions, derived from a deep desire to have certainty in an uncertain world and no doubt from fear.

        There are many other religious/spiritual practices which do not involve smiting, smoting, fearing, judging, damning etc. etc. and which bring a spiritual compassion and awe to this wonderful, frustrating, frightening, inspiring, ever-changing world.

        Take care and best of luck to you and your babe. Life is an adventure and at the end of the day all any of us can do is come up with a set of beliefs which work for us and which make the worst of life tolerable through enabling us to find meaning and purpose. We all do that in different ways and to each their own I think, given that any God who might exist is going to have a great sense of humour and I am sure S/He reacts with compassion and grace to each and every one of us, atheist, agnostic, religious or any of the ‘not sure,’ ‘don’t care,’ ‘why bother?’ mindsets which make up the rest of his roiling mass of humanity.

      • http://gravatar.com/dwmccu Doug

        First, I am sorry that you and your family are experiencing such a difficult situation, and I wish you all the best. I will certainly be glad to make a contribution as soon as possible, as I cannot even imagine going through this with my own children. It is unfortunate that so many felt the need to come on here and somehow take on the role of the victim. Apparently, they are unable to make the connection that they are the ones constantly attempting to force their religion on others, and that you merely expressed your feelings–during a very emotional time–in a very articulate and well thought out manner… on your own page.
        Had you gone to the pages of the faithful and said “I’m an atheist, and you should be too. Stop offering me useless prayers,” that would be close to the equivalent of what these people are doing. I do not think you could have done a better job of expressing your appreciation, while not “attacking” anyone. For those of you you coming here with your condescending remarks, you are the absolute worst. To Victor in particular, yes, thank your god for giving the doctors and nurses the skills necessary to perform such procedures… if only he/she/it hadn’t waited 2,000 years to do so, think of all the unnecessary pain and suffering that could have been avoided. Also, people would have no idea what prayer, Jesus, Christianity, or any religion is without people “forcing their views” on them, as the ignorant folks here have so rudely accused Kevin of doing. This is a personal page, titled “dividedundergod.com;” nothing was forced on anyone, and if you feel that way then I am sorry for you and your clearly lacking ability to reason. If he cannot vent his emotions here, what is he to do? Oh, of course… You would have him keep silent, because if he doesn’t live your way, then he is living the wrong way. You are not persecuted, if anything, Christianity has enjoyed a very undeserved status of privilege.
        Again, Kevin, I offer my condolences. Your patience with such people is admirable, and as I click on your gofundme page, I hope to see a staggering number. All the best.

      • Becky

        As a “former Christian” you’d know God (names are supposed to be capitalized whether you believe in them or not) hears the prayers of many.
        I’ve never heard that believers are supposed to shy away from medical technology. A vague claim you’ve made, but still a completely inaccurate one. Many believers seek fertility treatments. They seek medical help because they know God has assisted in the knowledge given to man, so utilize it. It has nothing at all to do with thinking prayer doesn’t work.
        I find it hard to believe that if you were a Christian at some point, it was anything more than a mediocre fair weather fan.
        Just be greatful people see your family as something important enough to stop what they’re doing and pray for you. You don’t have to mock people or believe what they believe but this blog shows how ungrateful you are. You claim you’re appreciative but you’re clearly not.

      • http://monicaguidryocb2013.wordpress.com monicaguidryocb2013

        *let me apologize in advance for typos and run on’s my phone has a mind of its on.

        Hello. Of course you do not know me, we’re all just passing through, but your story caught my attention and grabbed my heart. I NEVER respond to posts on sites such as these, but, here I go. And I’ll try not to be long.
        My husband and also struggled for many years with infertility (8 years to be exact) I was told that I’d NEVER be able to have children EVER! (Oh yeah I guess if I have to claim a religion, it’d be Christianity) *I believe in prayer, but I also wholeheartedly believe and LOVE science.
        We saw fertility specialists and spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to get pregnant, we did a round of artificial insemination(one canceled due to too many eggs and the other time none of the eggs *all 6 got fertilized. we were DEVASTATED!!!
        I’m not here to make you change your mind, I have MANY friends who are just as you, atheist and we co-exist and love one another. All of that said we have two beautiful children now….how it happened. I wrote a book, and a body of musical work. It was as if my womb was full, and it needed to have room for my children(too deep huh? Spoke cookey? Lol I know) what I’m trying to say is, there IS a plan for all of us, and yes God does know all..when, where, why. But he chooses to LET US reap the benefits of figuring it out, not as a puppet master or unkind practical jokes ter, but as a Father wanting his child to grow, learn, build up faith for even more difficult life challenges. To have a story like you and I and to be able share your outcome..one that will help someone else go through the journey THIS journey of life.
        I digress *sigh so long, I know.
        I won’t say I’m praying for you, because that’s already been done, and I will not offend. But I will say, your family is beautiful and I’m glad you and wife have been able to bring to beautiful children into this world. I’m sure your great parents.

      • Lisa

        I don’t always get to choose how others wish me well, but I for one am sure glad that they do it anyway. Sure, I’ve gotten questionable words of encouragement and received gifts I hate in my lifetime; that doesn’t mean the bearer had any ill will or in any way meant to disparage my way of thinking. Most may not even KNOW my way of thinking and they are gifting as they’ve been taught, how they feel it will help. And every gift has merit, whether it’s through generating positivity, paying it forward, or a monetary resale value on craigslist. It’s all in how you choose to receive and perceive it. May the force be with you.

      • lynn

        your son is not the one who needs the prayers

      • Ken J

        As a Parent of a child who i almost lost due to a unforeseen health condition i can say this with 100% certainty.

        When your child is sick to the point of them being on deaths doorstep.. ” ANY PORT IN A STORM”.
        When i walked in and saw my child laying there hooked to all those machines and no one having a answer to any question i know i prayed.. begged.. wished.. and cried for anyone to make her better.
        In the end does it really matter if someone else prayed for her or someone donated a dollar ( in her case a organ ) ? focus on the most important thing.. the child becoming well.

        If you dont agree with someone elses personal views how does it effect yours in the end? Say thanks and move on. If someone said ” i hope your child gets better fast ” and doesnt really mean it, will your child not get well? Same thing for someone saying ” i will pray that the Lord protects and comforts your child ” If you dont beleive that there prayer does any good will your child fail to get well?

        last thought here.. are you asking all your doctors and nurses caring for your child not to pray? Are you screening them for religious preference before letting them care for your child? Didnt think so. So your belief in no higher power only goes so far.. you will allow someone who does have that belief do the job that they have worked and prayed so hard for. so again in the end say Thank yo for the support they are willing to offer and focus on your baby getting well by whatever means possible.

      • Kate

        I have never understood the oppressive need to tell people you are praying for them. If it is really about you, your beliefs, YOUR HUMILITY, and your “conversation with God” then those are all private things you keep private (cuz they’re about YOU). I am a critical care nurse and I have absolutely seen prayer comfort families, though in my heart I think this is less about God and more about surrendering to being human. But I have also seen countless believers look increasingly burdened as people stop by their mom/dad/daughter/husband/etc’s hospital room and say “We’re praying for you” when a HUG would have helped so much more because even the strongest believers are angry at God when they are at an ICU bedside. Give yourself, pray privately (or with the person you’re praying for if they consent), and stop seeking credit.

      • http://jkukura.wordpress.com tripjjj

        Wow. I am an atheist with a 2 year old daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult this experience is for you, and I fully sympathize.
        I also cannot understand how you are not only willing, but eager to pick a fight with people sending you well wishes and good thoughts in the form of prayer.
        I don’t believe these prayers will have an impact, but I don’t understand the purpose of slapping these people in the face. Is it to guilt them in to giving you money?
        You are not just an atheist, you are anti religion. Your disdain and superiority are no different than what you apparently perceive is fostered against you.
        You are setting atheism back decades. You need to come to grips with what made you so anti God, for your sake and your children.

      • Luisa Torres

        There is this story in the bible where God is about to kill all of the Isrealites ( ironic because they are his people) but Moses pleads for them, in a nutshell hey prays to God and Says i know they’re dumb annoying people but let them live… and so forth God listens to this man. yes this might sound like a fairy tail, considering i grew up most of my life in church never believing a thing i heard…I understand where most of your points come from. but know i cant un-see God’s favor

    • Tammy Bevins

      And yet you will accept money from anyone, religious or not. Hypocrisy at its best, the other side of the religious hypocrisy you rail against. I am not religious, have been through a situation where I had an ill child who eventually died, and still said thanks gracefully, to all those well wishers, and people who prayed, although I don’t pray. What has happened to just accepting humans caring for each other, no matter how they express it to you, especially when it comes to your child? Personally, I would have told you that I would keep you and your family in my thoughts. But to me, thoughts, wishes, prayers….are all the same; it’s attempt of another person trying to say they hope all goes well. Your lecture (yes, that’s what it read like), on relying on Science, well, duh! A lot of people who believe in God don’t believe we should just pray and everything will get better. I think your non belief in God clouds your perspective of why most people say they will pray for your baby….it is because they HOPE everything will go well, that the Doctors will be successful, and that you will soon bring your baby home. They aren’t trying to convert or save you.

      • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

        Yes, Tammy, I’ll accept tangible contributions from anyone — whether that’s monetary or in any of the other forms I mentioned in the piece. It appears that you’ve missed the entire point of the post, especially the parts where I said thank you to the people who have expressed their support in the form of prayer. I’m sorry you had a negative reaction to this, but I won’t let that bother me. I realize it’s because you obviously didn’t understand the intent behind this piece.

      • Tammy Bevins

        No I didn’t miss the point, as I read it as a “thanks but….” kind of statement. However, I appreciate your response back to me, and again, best thoughts to you and your family! (My thoughts, not God’s).

      • Lisa

        To me, thoughts, wishes, and prayers are completely different things. They have become comfortable ways to express concern for others, but as Kevin eluded to, it becomes ad nausiam to people of different faiths or non-religious. Sending prayers has become a mindless reaction to sympathy. Unless you know 100% that the receiver of that prayer is religious, it reverts to a self-serving act of kindness. To an atheist, those comments stand out as much as someone saying ‘praise allah’ or something to that affect. Religious people seem to relish in how their god has become infused in our society, literally inescapable and bias. When some of us ‘push back’ and point this out, we are often accused of being ‘too politically correct’. It is a small space between the rock and hard place.

      • Bonnie

        If someone wants to say that they hope everything goes well and that the baby will come home soon, then they should say that. Saying you’ll pray for an atheist’s kid is asinine and is only ever about you, not about them. I had a baby son who died, and the people who were there for me, who actually helped me through it, were by and large the less religious ones. The devout Catholics on one side of my family did jack all except pray and tell me God loved my son so much he took him from me for himself. Believe me when I tell you, praying for an atheist annoys us. A lot.

      • Tammy Bevins

        I had a daughter that died, and I had many people, the religious and the non religious, tell me they were sending good thoughts, wishes, prayers, and other advice. Honestly, none of that did diddley squat, because unless you are going through or have gone through having a sick child or losing one, then all of the well wishes and prayers don’t do anything. My daughter still died. But in the end, I was comforted by the thought that at least there were humans that cared and were trying to say or do something nice. I am tired of trying to be PC all the time and way too old at this point. That includes saying something non PC to someone religious as well, or from a different faith, or an athiest. If I am a caring human being, and am being nice, overlook the “ignorance” at your particular situation and get on with your life. I am not religious, nor do I pray, but I am smart enough to know that if someone says they are praying for me, that they are just trying to do something caring. My best friend, who died 18 months ago, was a deeply religious person. She knew where I stood on that subject, and I knew where she stood. I meditate, listen to the wind, go over my problems. She called it windtalking, and would ask me, in her times of trouble to windtalk for her. When she told me she was praying for me, I didn’t get all hurt about it, or take offense. Life is way too short to take offense to someone offering care or kindness.

      • PaulRainwater

        how does accepting money make him a hypocrite, in fact it reinforces the man’s point, having someone send him money is actually helping vs someone who says they’ll pray for him, what a stupid comment, oy vey

      • Traci J.

        Tammy – your response is right on the money! I don’t understand why anyone feels the need to write a post that basically says, “Thanks for the prayers but I don’t believe in prayer.” Just say thank you and move on. Kevin – vocalizing your non-beliefs in such a public forum is just as bad as being a religious zealot, in my opinion. Tammy stated it perfectly when she wrote, “Thoughts, wishes, prayers….are all the same; it’s the attempt of another person trying to say they hope all goes well.”

      • Arron

        So many people say “I’m praying for you” as a way to move on from a difficult/awkward situation. It’s the same as Facebook activism where people simply “like” or “share” something to show support, but won’t actually go out in the worlds and make a difference for that cause. It’s nice to feel that people care, but the amount of people who truly “care” enough to do something seem to be dwindling. Kevin’s point was not even about helping him, but helping period. Being a good person shouldn’t require faith. If you follow Christianity, i’m pretty sure everything boils down to loving AND helping those in need, but people seem to forget that part.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        In the spirit of understanding, I read your entire letter, leaving my ego and sensitivity out of the experience as much as possible. I also read the comments. In the spirit of understanding, I hope you will read with an open heart as to WHY a believer would pray for you and I will address the points echoing the structure of your letter.

        We don’t pray for YOU to make ourselves feel better about OURSELVES (“your gesture does more to make you feel better…”). We do it because we are called to it for everything and everyone. We do it because we are CONCERNED and BROKENHEARTED for YOUR pain, not our own.

        I don’t think everyone who says “I’m praying for you” is pushing their beliefs down your throat. Unless I had read your piece or knew you personally, I would not know you were an atheist. But, *please check your heart condition*. Why do you feel that way (that we are shoving our beliefs down your throat)? Might you feel the same way about a yogi? A Jew? Why are you antagonistic? (I do get part of it. You’re in a stressful situation and you’re venting.)

        Also, please understand, though, that just because we pray, does not mean all believers don’t use science or medicine.

        NONE OF US can PRESUME to know what God intends for Grayson (“a child that he never wanted to exist?”). We are not at liberty to judge or know. We are called to hope in FAITH and stand by you. *Would you turn away a person who supports you?* If you would, then it behooves you not to deceive yourself in a double-minded “thank you, but no thank you.” Be upfront about it, and let your “no” be a “no”.

        Just because we pray does not mean we don’t help financially. If money is your king, then that is your prerogative. But as @ Lizzy mentioned, do you see the inherent hypocrisy of taking money from a believer in that case? It’s the same as thanking us for prayers, and then writing this piece. Let your “yes” be a “yes” and your “no” a “no”.

        To those who don’t believe, we respect your right to believe that. We understand some will not see things our way. God does not need believers to DEFEND Him.

        To the believers in God, keep praying – it is our calling. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. (Matthew 10:14)

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1163971533631704/ Wendy Peckham

        Angels Armada – Thank you. Amen.

      • http://www.facebook.com/100001351521493 Jon Pierson

        Angels’ Armada, you might want to take a look at your Bible to see what your god REALLY thinks about children. This is only one example of very many: Leviticus 26:22 “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children , and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.”

        The Pew research Centre (sorry, “Center”) has proven that “Atheists/Agnostics” have a greater knowledge of “religion” than any other group in the US. It’s probably best not to throw out random “cuddly” Bible quotes if you don’t know about the very many descriptions of your god as being a homicidal, psychotic, sociopathic, genocidal maniac… which is why, even he did exist, as an ethical, moral, empathetic human being, I would not worship him/her.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        Believe me, Jon, I examine my own heart, motivations, and my words before I post. I apologize if I offended you or antagonized you in any way as I was addressing Kevin’s points. That’s how I’m receiving your comment. As for my quoted reference, that was actually directed at believers.

        It’s great you have biblical knowledge. I suppose we differ in the lessons and principles we draw from it both spiritually, historically and culturally. I would ask if you also discount the principles of kindness, love, helping, gentleness, self-disciple, teaching one another, correcting one another, helping the needy, encouraging one another. Independent of the Bible, do you discount these too simply because THEY ARE present in the bible? (These are all heart conditions, rather than brain/knowledge conditions)

        And I would ask the same questions of you that I did of Kevin, rhetorically even…of your heart motivation. Why do you feel that way (that believers are shoving things down your throat)? Might you feel the same way about a yogi? A Jew? Why are you antagonistic in your approach? Is it frustration? Would you turn away a person who supports you because they are a believer? If you would, then it behooves you not to deceive yourself in a double-minded and be upfront.

        Remember, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I can only go by the fruit of your words and your approach at this point. All that being said, I wish you well as as Kevin’s family the best.

      • Ken J

        Jon Pierson: you try to post saying aethiests know more about the bible then make a fool of yourself trying to prove a point with misquoted information.

        “Punishments for Disobedience
        …21’If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. 22’I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted. 23’And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me,…”

        here is some cross references for you Jon

        Leviticus 26:6
        “‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.

        when you pluck only 1 line you can make it seem to mean anything jon.. what was really being talked about here was a warning. i beleive it was not to make idols .. to keep the sabbath .. ect ect

        so basically if your good doog things will happen. if your bad bad things will happen.

    • http://twitter.com/DumDumDog Dum Dum Dog (@DumDumDog)

      hey … the thing you believe in is superstition … it helps nobody .. sure you can MAKE up some nice stories and say your god did it but it is just superstition …

      • threenorns3

        I’m not a theist, but neither am I atheist. To spiritual to be agnostic, not spiritual enough to have the gall to anthropomorphize.

        That all being said, I found your article rude.

        What’s wrong with believing that the human spirit was given the ability to learn and create and innovate?

        *something* gave humans abilities possessed by no other animal species on earth, ever, in all of history. What’s wrong with calling that something a “god”, for lack of a better term? Without that wondrous ability, your children would never have been conceived and would never have survived.

        Something made life start on earth – what’s wrong with describing it as a god breathing life into clay? Without that breath, your son’s heart would never have started beating.

        Reducing life to nothing but a system of 1s and zeros completely strips the wonder out of the unknown. Just because we now know they’re giant bolts of static electricity instead of Zeus in a mantrum lobbing a few bolts doesn’t change the fact that for millennia, we used a different term for precisely the same phenomenon.

        • Ewashere

          You are either an atheist or a theist. You can’t be not both.

      • http://ravendesigns80.wordpress.com summerdsmith

        threenorns3, I just want to say that stripping the supernatural out of life does not take away the awe and wonder in the unknown. That is what scientists feel all the time and the reason they strive to make the unknown known. I used to be deist, however I learned that I could be comfortable without a god of the gaps and just know that science will explain more in time. Just like you said, we know now it wasn’t Zeus.

    • Emma

      Woosh!!! Did you hear that, Amy? That was the entire point of OPs post, going over your head. Are you serious?

      Kevin Davis, I was born and raised Mormon, but am now atheist. That’s a cute little fighter you’ve got there. I hope he can pull through, with the assistance of all the hospital staff.

      Stay strong, all 3 of you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/1737898674 Roland S. Burritt

      ” when I pray I am completely lifting up a the request into the hands of Christ”
      The same Christ who knows all in advance, right? This is like encouraging your children to keep asking you for something nicely, when you have already made up your mind that the answer is no. Why do you not see the sadism in your “Christ’s” plan?

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10206714899214152/ Dick Thiebaud

        The same Christ who made the child sick in the first place. Why do people thank God for good things that happen but not blame God for bad things that happen?

      • http://www.facebook.com/100004902160723 Cat Morse

        If there is a god, he is either malicious, or not omnipresent/omnipotent.
        One child starving to death, one dead baby, shows that, let alone the millions every year.

    • Lisa

      You may say you read his post, but you didn’t READ his post. You just proceeded do do everything he and his wife are sincerely requesting that you NOT do. He was bravely speaking for many of us who endure this same behavior as we internally cringe, roll our eyes, and shake our heads. He put a lot of effort into delicately explaining a different point of view, choosing his words carefully, and respecting oposing opinions. For you to insult him further with your post is just sad.

    • deej

      Way to miss what he was saying n go on a Jesus rant.

    • http://gravatar.com/tomnikoly tomnikoly

      Apparently reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

    • Joe

      Nothing fails like prayer.

    • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

      You just belittled all his points. Way to be obtuse.

    • Mack

      Amy, dear, you are squandering your life on an invisible friend who even by the words of your own holy book, is a sadistic monster. Please do some reading and studying outside of your comfort zone and embrace reality.

    • http://www.facebook.com/724148130 David Wei

      So your god had it all planned, and your are asking your god to change the divine plan??? Wouldn’t that be blasphemy? If your god have it all perfectly planned, and always follow through, then what is the point of praying for whatever that will happen anyways?

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        God has a plan..and that plan includes prayer..if you went to church you would know this..

      • Stephanie Turk

        I’m very happy for you & your family! As a Christian, I also believe that we should be thankful for doctor’s, nurse’s & medical science. The Lord blessed those people w / the knowledge that they need to go to any lengths to provide for the human race. As far as invetro, those doctor’s were also blessed w/ the knowledge to help those that cannot conceive on their own. Every person is entitled to their own beliefs, you & your wife have chosen yours & others have chosen a different belief. You may think that when someone says that they are praying for you & your family it’s to make themselves feel better. Believe what you will, but sir w / all do respect this is not the case! We pray because it’s our belief that the Lord will make a way! No matter the circumstances, it’s called FAITH! If there is no GOD in Heaven as some may think, I’ll take my chances on praying, asking for prayers & putting my faith in Him. & “IF”, there is no God in Heaven I am out nothing. “IF”, there is a God in Heaven, which I believe to be true. I will have an everlasting life w / Him! I will be praying for you, your family & all hospital staff!

      • Carl

        Is “god” like the Artilleryman in Jeff Waynes The War of the Worlds, moreannoying?

        “I’ve got a plaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

    • Mel B

      amygrace44
      You are welcome to believe in what you like however Kevin has already told you how he feels and does not believe in GOD. After reading the circumstances that Kevin and his wife are in I feel that you are not respecting their beliefs.
      I wish them lots of love and best wishes.
      Please reflect on this before posting on a similar situation

    • http://www.facebook.com/629590742 Manny Panning

      That whooshing sound, amygrace44?

      That was the point going by your head…and you missed it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/100003736918354 Odd Jørgensen

      //The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus.//
      Yes, the whipping and crucifiction of Jesus is so similar to what the writer is talking about.
      derp!!

    • Chille Peppa

      Amygrace44, the amount of “I” statements in your comment says it all…

    • TheCapedAtheist

      I feel more better when I wipe before I dismount from the porcelain, much like when you dismount from the prayer cushion.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1592816807668318/ Jonathan Saunders

      Nice way to say “Fuck how you feel”.
      Typical.

    • Johan Thomson

      Oh FFS! Maybe learn to read. The man does NOT want you’re abracadabras. Period.

      Now, let it be!

    • meinthirdperson

      If god has a “plan” for Grayson (or anyone) and that plan is to live or die (we don’t know) no amount of prayer is going to change that “plan.” God cannot control the doctors because of this “plan” so praying that the doctors do their job is moot. Sorry Amygrace. You can pray all you want but you can’t change god’s “plan.” Everything that has happened to you; all the good is because of YOU. Maybe you reached out to people for help and they provided for you…that’s because of them doing good on their own, not because a god told them to do it. The bad stuff happens just because that’s life. If god has let it happen, I have ask why would he do that if he loves you? Because of his “plan” for you? Maybe the bad has happened because of bad choices you have made? Maybe because some people are unloving for whatever reason? You can be good without God. But if it helps YOU, by all means, pray, put your troubles in his hands but your practice defies logic. Just saying. The interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part blesses you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/578663962 Bobbie McMillen

      Prayer. When you don’t care enough to do something.

    • LeeWeezley

      “I feel more better that I know there’s an all-loving, beautiful God who can comfort me and was willing to take on this pain with me. In fact, I typically feel very humbled and powerless as I give my troubles that I cannot solve on my own, to the one that can.”

      “However, He has never failed me. He is always walking with me. It is more about a relationship and conversation with Him rather than some magic power.”

      Read what you wrote, then re-read the article. Notice any correlation? You use “I” and “me,” in what you wrote A LOT, which is exactly the writer’s point. The prayer serves the function to make YOU feel better, like you contributed to help a cause. But you didn’t help with prayer, you just made yourself feel better. You just proved the writer’s entire point…

      • http://EndlessSurprisses Joyce Geissinger

        She’s using “I” and “Me” and “My” because she’s speaking from her own personal experience , dah
        From what I’ve read here you atheist peoples nonbelievers only know how to point your fingers and blame.
        God gave the Doctors , Nurses , Scientist their brains with the knowledge to do the great work they do.
        Now I can say that because of my own personal experience. In the last days there will be those that see and those that don’t see. period, unfortunately. (I wish the best for this beautiful baby and family.)

    • http://gravatar.com/danteserenelli dantesere

      […I wouldn’t give up on Jesus just like He isn’t giving up on your son…]

      You mean Jesus won’t give up on his fight against his father who wants to take the baby up there? Or against some kind of evil that is obssesed with having that baby in his little hell? … And, in the other hand, you won’t give up on Jesus, who is god made flesh, consequently somehow he’s the creator, the one who at the end of the day decide if a little puppy lives or not.. Give up on asking for mercy? This is confusing…

      And for those who are saying that he is an atheist not his son… Go and ask a jewish baby if he wants to be circumcised, a christian batized, ask a jehova witness baby if he want’s to refuse a blood transfusion… This guy isn’t taking off his son’s right of receiving the life or death prayer chain supplied by the good Christ followers, you can still pray for this son of the devil if you wat to feel merciful…

    • http://welcometothegeekshow.wordpress.com ColleenPeraltaMcCaw

      “The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus”, uh, so much passion that he let his son, who is also himself, be killed in the most slow way to die, so that we all could sin? THAT makes sense! What a great and passionate dad!!!! NOT! GROSS.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10206988779907523/ John Eastman

      “The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion god had for his son…….” Really? He had so much passion he sent his son to die a horrible death because he had to die for everyone else’s sins? Really? How twisted. You can’t make this stuff up folks.

      • Cindy

        You are right John Eastan. “God” sending “His Son” to die a horrible, humiliating, torturous death is humanly unimaginable, incomprehensible to the human in his right mind. And it IS true. NO ONE could have made this stuff up . . . precisely because it goes so far beyond any human understanding. If we could see eternity, if we could see multiple dimensions all at once, if we could be outside of time, if we could know that that death would not be permanent and would be broken of its power . . . . then perhaps, but because we can’t there is no way to assimilate this information into our knowledge base. The only way anyone in their right mind could believe this “Salvation Theory” is if “God” himself revealed himself and this knowledge personally to an individual. And when that person believes the revelation to be real, others without that revelation will believe that person to have gone madd.

    • Joan Bianchi

      If you don’t have anything comforting to say, say nothing. You’re comforting yourself DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    • jm

      Please show some respect… :) PLEASE!

    • lomolvr

      When you tell a non believer that you’ll pray for them, you make it about you. You’re basically disregarding them and their beliefs to do something that only serves your belifes. if you had cancer and I told you I’d cast a spell with herbs and candles and do a full moon pagan chant in your honor, that action is all about me. Do you see how that works? Keep your god to yourself.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Don’t forget that if you offered to do that, as a pagan might, that the Christian would be mortified and offended by the offer. I’ve seen it hahave.

    • Jason

      You are a selfish and insensitive person to preach this nonsense in response to a letter asking you not to preach this nonsense.

      • http://gravatar.com/lamargopetersen lamargopetersen

        I so totally agree, I have read Kevin’s blog and have scrolled through all the idiotic comments pertaining to the belief in their god and I truly feel for Kevin. He laid his heart on the alter of public opinion and has had it trampled on. His explaining his time away was just that, explaining his wife had given birth 12 weeks early. It was already knowledge at the front that he and his wife did not believe in a deity, yet all the worms crawled out of the woodwork to demean him. To Kevin, be strong, may your little one have a full and happy life unbridled by religious constraints. .

    • Jimmy Hoffa

      As a Christian myself, let me say that Amy has completely missed the point. How is telling an atheist that you are praying for him going to give him any comfort? As a Christian yourself, PRAY if you believe it, but don’t think that telling him that you’re praying for him does any good. Like, so what? As a Christian, I do believe in prayer, I don’t necessarily understand how it works, because you’re right, Kevin, why does an all-knowing God need me to tell Him anything? I don’t know, I’ve stopped trying to know, but I believe in it because I believe I have seen power in it (beside the point). ANYWAYS, the point I think that Kevin is making was not that when you pray for him you are doing it to make yourself feel good, but TELLING him that you are praying for him? Yes, that is a purely selfish move completely used to make you feel like 1. You are doing something for him, and 2. You are trying to prove a point that we as Christian’s are willing to pray for even the ATHEISTS. LOOK AT ME, I AM SUCH A GOOD CHRISTIAN, I AM PRAYING FOR AN ATHEIST EVEN THOUGH HE KNOCKS MY GOD! As a Christian myself, I am embarrassed of what Amy is saying.

      Love to you, Kevin.

    • http://duggerdog1.wordpress.com duggerdog1

      Amygrace44, you appear to mean well and seem sincere. If you really do have a personal relationship and actually converse with the creator of the Universe, could you ask in one of your chats for the cure to childhood cancer or ask him to make an appearance to all of mankind? Then we can all be on the same page, save the lives of countless children and stop killing each other in His name? That would really be helpful and super fantastic. Bunch of Love Com’n Your Way
      Drewski

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1163971533631704/ Wendy Peckham

      I say “On the mark!!” amygrace44. Thank you for putting in words that which I was thinking while reading this letter. I would like to add….his children are here because of God…it is God that has created us and in turn we have created all these technologies to make our lives better. If they were not meant to be here, there would be nothing, no medicine, technology or procedures that would save them. It is God’s will.

      • Mel B

        Wendy!
        You seriously are a very disrespectful person
        Kevin has told people what he believes in yet you are still preaching this religious crap.
        There is no GOD cos if there was he would never had allowed children to be sexually abused in his place of worship.
        Religion pays NO taxes or contributes to the worldwide economy.
        What you believe is up to you however you need to respect others beliefs as well

        • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1163971533631704/ Wendy Peckham

          Mel B, I will pray for you too. I will pray for your peace, comfort and well being in this life. I will include that I hope you find the way, as well. I will pray for relief of the hatred you behold. And, that you not have fear. We all have free will…to believe the way we want.

    • http://phoenixwargaming.com/ Carl

      Hey Amy, if you look up into the night sky and see a bright light moving steadily along, that is the ISS – something else created by the ingenuity of man. If you look beyond that you’ll see… space. That is how far over your head the original point went. Okay, enough of the trademarked British snark, on with my actual point:

      It is my experience that “prayers” are more often than not offered up as an easy ‘out’ of an uncomfortable situation. Don’t know what to say when someone has lost a loved one? “You’re in my prayers.” Unsure how to respond to the news that a dear friends family member is fighting cancer for the third time? “I’ll pray for them!”. It’s a ‘nothing’ response, a way of sounding sympathetic and caring when the person truly has no way of expressing their feelings.

      I get that the intention is noble (as does the author) and well meaning, but if you truly felt such concern you would do something. Donate to a charity (not necessarily monetarily, but time or items you no longer need: I sometimes help out at the local British Heart Foundation shop) in some way. Or if you meet a doctor who specialises in these kinds of cases shake their hand and say something like “Thank you so, so much for what you do. You’ve never helped me, but what you do is so important I think you deserve all the thanks in the world!”. These things are so much more effective than prayer. A kind word to a doctor, letting them know that they are appreciated, could be just the thing they need after seeing a patient die two days before, despite everything they tried.

      Ultimately, though you deny it, prayer is about you. You may not even realise that. But it is. It’s easy sympathy. Anyone can offer easy sympathy. Don’t be anyone, get out there. Sort through a donation bag. Re-stock the DVD and book shelves. Thank a doctor or nurse. Do something with real, tangible results. Please.

      • http://www.facebook.com/100007166768876 Tony Plumb

        Great response… Doubt it will get through, but you did a great job trying….

      • phoenix0879

        I’ll be honest, I went back and forth whilst writing it for quite a while. The arrogance of the believers, that their chosen beliefs trump the polite wishes of the author – expressed during what must be an emotionally exhausting time but sill done so with incredible sensitivity and politeness – is really offensive. It’s as if they are saying “balls to you, I want feel a little better by offering you meaningless words and I’m going to do it, damnit!”. So disrespectful it almost hurts.

      • Carl

        And no idea why it defaulted to my username not chosen display name. Bloody computers lol

    • nlj_64@yahoo.com

      Amen and praise God for this child’s life ! He is innocent and will make his own decisions in this life ! I pray there will be ppl in his life to show him you do exist !

      • Mel B

        You have no respect do you…..This person DOES NOT believe in your fairytale and you say that….

      • phoenix0879

        Dude politely asks people not to offer prayer but to do something meaningful. Selfish people still offer prayers to appease themselves. SMH

      • Kerry

        If your god were as all-powerful as you say he is, why would would he need other people to show him to this kid? And why is it any of your business?

      • Ray Clark

        nlj_ does not have to accommodate Kevin’s atheism since Kevin made an open letter in which he discussed not only his troubles but his disbelief in God. There is no excuse for disbelief in God and no need for those who believe to not proclaim it. and it is as much nlj’s business to comment as it is for Mel B and Kerry and others. As for Kerry, God’s omnipotence is not “deus ex machina.” God is not accountable to you for how He wills to love the world and to save His beloved.

        • Mel B

          If you want to control a group of people…..Give them a GOD to worship!!!!!
          I’m sure your imaginary GOD loves all the abused and starving kids in the world.
          You say he soooo powerful yet allows these things to happen…..
          Dont blame humans cos your apparent GOD created them…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/100007166768876 Tony Plumb

      The whole thing just breezed over your head, Amy….. I will plant a cabbage in your honor tomorrow to help you get closer to god….. At least you can eventually eat the cabbage….Won’t help you at all, but it makes me feel better….

    • http://www.facebook.com/701206562 Genia Hudson Wheeler

      What if you are wrong and Jesus isn’t the real god and you are just making the real god madder and madder every time you pray.

      • http://mschrisri.wordpress.com mschrisri

        Simpson’s Wager!

    • http://glmcfarland.wordpress.com Gretchen

      Wow! Did you really read the post? I’m amazed at your lack of understanding of another point of view. On top of that your comment was all “I” — 21 of them, along with 9 or 10 me, my, myself.

      • http://EndlessSurprisses Joyce Geissinger

        I can’t believe how a lot of nonbelievers here don’t understand when someone uses “I” or “Me” in a sentence how they (the “I” and “Me”) are being used. It’s not selfish you dingbats it’s because they are speaking from their own personal experience. Wise up atheist. In the last days there will be those that see and those that don’t see. And that’s not a fairy tale either. I wish the best for this new beautiful baby and family.

    • cka83

      Seriously. You are kind to offer your thoughts as the author mentioned, but didn’t you realize that his central message was NOT to be preached to???

    • http://Facebook Rachel Miller

      Dear Kevin, wife and son- I am so sorry for the hard times you all must be dealing with. I can’t imagine how scared you all must be. I hope everything works out well for you and your family. And Kevin, I believe in the same views as you and your wife do, and I consider myself a pretty damn good writer, but let me tell you,…you blew me away. I couldn’t of said what you said more perfectly than you did. You said it with such eloquence, honesty, strength, talent and skill. You gave me hope in general, although I know it wasn’t what you intended, and I wanted to thank you for giving me the pleasure of reading it. I’ve never read anything as intelligent, unbiased, competent and of value as what you have written. Much less writing such worthy literature while under the stress and circumstances you and your family must be under. I don’t know any of you, but can tell right off the bat that you are all very strong individuals. I wish you all the best of luck and health!

      • http://EndlessSurprisses Joyce Geissinger

        I agree with you Rachel Miller, Kevin did write a very good letter . it’s the comments that have been getting to me.

    • David Hastie

      You have spectacularly missed the point as someone else has said in another reply. Haven’t you read the blog?

    • http://www.facebook.com/1046540648 Erdman West III

      “Sometimes I do not trust in God enough to take care of situations. However, He has never failed me”?
      Really, then you must have a PERFECT LIFE? Cool no prob’s . Sounds ridiculous.!!!!
      However if it means that you accept and deal with whatever comes you may as well be Buddhist, Atheist or any way of life which is NOT dependent on deity. Either god FIXES things for you or there is no god. We ALL deal with reality as it is.

    • Tex

      Amy your god is make believe and you ard delusional. That is a fact.

    • Buck Hondo

      You just can’t help yourself, can you? It’s like a tic…

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10153447775694095/ Karl Bertyn

    Right On!! I totally agree, Kevin. There´s a fine line between faith and reason, sadly most people who are believers take GOD to a fanatical endless road . I believe the same things you do as my daughter was also born prematurely and was also in neonatal care. Nevertheless, im not agreeing with you just because we had premature babies, but because your point of view on atheism hits the spot. Never give up! Im proud of being an atheist and Im the happiest man ever whether rich or poor. Can you imagine how advanced science could have been if it weren’t for all these blasphemous knuckleheads? We probably could have prevented premature babies.

    • James J

      Not every religious believer is a knucklehead. How many of the great discoveries in science were made by complete atheists? I’m pretty sure quite a number were made by agnostics and people dissatisfied with the religion of their upbringing, but the majority medical advances and scientific breakthroughs were brought about by people that either believed in God as they developed their ideas or believed in him at some point in their life. Who is to say that many of the inventions given to man were not developed through inspiration from God? Why were there so few scientific advances during the dark ages? Why was there a blossoming of knowledge in politics, religion, science, agriculture and music from about 1400 on? Why was a nation formed that allowed for freedoms unheard of in any history books before 1776? No, our country is not perfect, but I believe it was God inspired and if you doubt, then why is there a speech by an unknown man that fired up the signers of the declaration of independence to all sign and then disappear? The freedoms we were given by those signers and then the politicians that wrote and passed the constitution allowed for us to have the scientific advances and religious freedoms we now enjoy.

      No, science cannot prevent premature babies. We lost our first pregnancy at 22 weeks and our second was born at 29 weeks. She is a healthy and happy 6 yr old now. Our two later children were both full term and are healthy and happy.

      Science cannot fix the heart. Science does not often teach compassion nor empathy. Science can work on the mechanics and biology of how things work, but it can’t talk to why very often.

      That’s just my two cents. As long as someone is generally respectful and tolerant of other belief systems, I have no problem. I worry when we start hating each other because of our religious beliefs. Atheism is fine for you. It doesn’t work for me personally. But I can still appreciate science. I believe God is bound by natural laws just like you and me. He just knows more laws than we have discovered yet. We will one day discover a way to build worlds from raw materials and move faster than light. God already knows how to do that. We don’t yet.

      • Derek

        James,

        Thanks for the diatribe about how our country was founded. It doesn’t at all relate to Kevin’s post.

        “Science cannot fix the heart.” That’s factually untrue. I’ve been through multiple heart surgeries, and here I am. I didn’t need any help from any god. My family and friends made sure to let me know they were praying for me, even though I had requested them not to, and to not even tell me about it. I had complete faith in the surgeons and staff that were handling my care, and they came through.

        “…but it can’t talk to why very often. ” Actually it does, very often. Google the “scientific method.”

      • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

        Did their belief or lack of it have anything to do with their discovery?
        Did they pray to find a cure for cancer?
        Your point is meanningless.

      • Mack

        Er, science can and does fix the heart. Dr. DeBakey proved this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/15904455 Johnny Hopfenblatt

        Actually, science can fix the heart, and it has done so on countless occasions. As for compassion and empathy, we certainly didn’t get animal rights from the Bible, or the near universal repudiation of slavery for that matter. We don’t get compassion or empathy from the Bible; if it was up to biblical morality we’d be stoning our children to death for being rebellious and murdering people for working on the Sabbath. We’d still have slaves and women would be second-class citizens.

      • Gina

        Well said.

      • http://www.facebook.com/100007166768876 Tony Plumb

        “I believe God is bound by natural laws” … Really ??? You can actually say that with a straight face after all the supernatural drivel you just spouted ???? That the same god who created everything, including the universe, etc. in 6 days ??? How can you say that ? Do you not understand the implications of such a statement ? You know, you can worship your toaster for all I care, not my business…. at least it is responsible for a tangible result, toast… ( sans prayer ) When you expect me to worship your toaster, too, that’s where the rub comes in….Especially when the law starts making toasters exempt from current laws & provides ALL toaster manufacturers with a tax exempt status & favorable legislation that condones toasters….You REALLY wanna impress me with religion ? Simple, all churches start paying their fair share of public taxes… If god gets perturbed over the development, let him reimburse you for the difference…. If he is truly all powerful, he will.. If not, you will have to face reality…. We all do it daily, not so hard if you are sincere… You sounded sincere, please, by all means, give it a try. Please tell us how you fare. I, for one, cannot wait to hear the results….

      • james j

        Derek, Tony,

        Sorry you misunderstood my purpose. I meandered from my original idea. Let me go back to what I was originally intending before I for caught up in the moment. Religion is like a road map and science is like an owners manual or a repair manual. Both are useful when used the right way. The owners manual probably won’t help you find a 3 star restaurant, and the map won’t tell you where to find the jack and lug wrench so you could change a tire.

        By saying I believe God is bound by natural laws I’m saying scientific evidence points to the fact that the earth and solar system are millions or billions of years old. The creation story is more of an allegory or a reason for our existence. Science gives us theories on how it all happened via evolution.

        You can be justifiably angry at many religions for their deceitful ways of using the tax code for their own selfish desires. Read James Mitchner’s “Space,” if you haven’t yet. It has quite a lengthy discussion on how many of the televangelist were originally fear mongerers warning us of impending alien invasion.

        Anyway, I thought this would be an open minded place for discussion. My mistake. I was merely pointing out that there are numerous things science cannot explain. And that religion does not preclude science nor should science completely preclude religion even though many zealots from both sides still want to fight that holy war in the name of their science or their God.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Where to start. First of all statistics show that 93% of all scientists ARE atheists. It has also been shown that generally the better educated you are, the more likely it is that you will not profess a belief in a god.

        The Dark Ages occurred as a direct result of religion. You were not allowed to question anything the church said. Science, investigation or inquiry of any kind was not to be tolerated. The church attempted to stamp out as much ancient knowledge as they could find and they did a masterful job of it. We can thank the Arabic peoples for preserving much of it, but not all. One of the biggest tragedies for the knowledge of the ancient world was the destruction of the Library of Alexandria but a Christian mob. The same mob that murdered Hypatia of Alexandria.

        The irony of the Dark Ages is that many of the leaders in the church hierarchy knew that what they were peddling was bogus, but it made it easier to control people. The stranglehold that the church had on society didn’t change until the Reformation and Renaissance that occurred after 1400. That is when society began to throw off the shackles that religion had placed upon it for far too long!

        As for the primary founders of the USA, they were not Christians. They might have believed in a God, but it wasn’t the same one the Christians bowed down to. They were Deists, while Paine was something unique unto himself. Their god was deaf to prayer. Look up what a Deist believes to see the difference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism). Most of them despised what Christianity represented and what it had done to the world. Read their comments, private correspondence and what their friends said about them.

        Since the country’s founding, it’s been a constant struggle to push the religious away from control of the government and scientific discovery. You need look no farther than what we see religious doing to our country today as proof. That is part of the reason you see non-theists starting to become vocal. We don’t want to start backsliding from the progress we’ve made.

        As far as science and scientists being being without compassion or empathy, you couldn’t be more wrong. The ones I know are have a great deal of heart and are very strong in their humanist beliefs. They are passionate about science and the beauty of our planet and universe. In my experience they have more moral fiber than most of the Christians I know. That’s the difference between having a set of values you actually follow because they come from within, and taking your values from outside from of an ancient text that has been heavily edited and altered.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        As an addendum to what I’ve already said it is also true that religion has generally been on the wrong side of nearly every advance the human race has made. Whether the advance has been moral or scientific, religion has fought tooth and nail against change. The only reason the world has advanced so far was due to people beginning to adopt a more humanist view of the world. Slavery, women’s rights, Nazism, equal rights, discrimination, evolution, global climate, scientific research, etc. I could go on, but I think I made my point.

        Religion promotes ignorance and magical thinking. It may be just my belief, but I think that a person never fully matures until they throw off the shackles of faith. Until they do they gullible and therefore susceptible to believing in all manner of crap. That last has been demonstrated to be true. Compassion and empathy are not to be found in the pages of the bible or in the hearts of most fundamentalists.

        • http://rosross.wordpress.com rosross

          I am not making a case for religion and rejected all of it long ago after studying a few and cherry-picking that which was of value. I stick with what I call God and leave religion alone these days.

          However, the point needs to be made that all religions are not equal and the best of religion is a crucial part of our spiritual nature and the need to express that nature. Sadly, little of any religion falls into the ‘best’ but religions are not all bad.

          History also reveals that while a majority of scientists in this age of materialist-reductionism may be atheists, although I think your figure is too high for atheism and many are agnostic and quite a few also hold religious beliefs, the fact is our greatest scientists in the past were religious. Both Newton and Descartes for instance held strong religious beliefs and also practised astrology and alchemy.

          Einstein was a deeply spiritual person even when he put aside his religion of Judaism. Reading his history makes that clear.

          He said something along the lines of religious science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind. The other historical reality is that in the early days of materialist-reductionist science, religion was not the enemy. The further science has detoured, and it is a detour, into the realms of the material and the mechanical, the more it has set itself up as the opposite of the worst of religion.

          Science without philosophy is dangerous. Science with philosophy and spirituality is healthy. Religion is best kept out of everything except, well, religion. It has no place in the State that is for certain.

          But the fact remains that the rejection of religion, including the best of religion by science has turned science itself into some sort of God, with atheists its acolytes and the realms of science, medicine, cosmology, physics, variations on the theme of religion.

          Science has in essence become what it decries. Therein lies the power of the shadow at work.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        You are correct in one thing. The 93% applies specifically to the members of the National Academies of Science (http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/does-it-matter-that-many-scientists-are-atheists).
        The figure for scientists in general was 41% are atheists, 33% are theists, 18% hold Deist/Pantheist beliefs, 7% didn’t know. (http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/).
        Pantheism vs. Deism vs. Atheism (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120513150252AAAckPX)

        That Newton and Descartes were both theists is hardly surprising considering the time in which they lived. It also explains why they believed in something as silly as astrology and alchemy.

        Einstein’s quote about religion and science related to people seeing something larger than themselves about the universe. He was an agnostic and he said that flat out. He even complained about the people who tried to make out his beliefs to be something other than what he believed. Quotes of his follow:

        “… I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections. It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely personal,’ from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings. Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it. (Einstein, Albert (1979). Autobiographical Notes. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, pp. 3-5.)
        –and–
        Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order… This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as “pantheistic” (Spinoza). (https://books.google.com/books?id=fjR0zUxu5rQC&pg=PT289&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false)
        (Pantheist definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism)
        –and–
        It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
        (Dukas, Helen (1981). Albert Einstein the Human Side. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 43.)

        Science itself is not religion or belief. It requires no faith. I don’t BELIEVE in science, I agree with its evidence-based conclusions. I understand how the scientific process works and I trust its ability to arrive at rational explanations about how the universe operates. I find it to be a good thing that scientists admit that they don’t know everything. It means that are still engaged in productive inquiry. Only religion claims to have all the answers, which is an arrogant stance to take. Atheists are NOT acolytes of science. But we do like, respect and trust its ability to get to the truth. At least scientists can admit where they are wrong. It may be hard for them sometimes, but they can, and often will, change their views if the evidence warrants it.

        I may be wrong, but your comments seem to indicate that you don’t understand science that well. Contrary to what you may believe, the scientist who ignores all philosophy and ethics in a blind rush to explore is generally a straw man. I don’t know of any scientists who think that way. They might exist, but if they do, they are in the minority. Scientists are not blind to the effect their research has upon the world, but many don’t hold a religious view of morality, but a humanist one and that is why many theists accuse them of being soulless. But science carries a humanist philosophy in its core. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism)

        The majority of the world’s religion are poisonous. They are mind viruses that ruin nearly everything they touch. There are some good elements to them, but those elements are far outweighed by the negative ones. Buddhism is the best of them and if followed as the Buddha suggested, not harmful to the world. But it is more of a life philosophy than it is a religion. Buddha never claimed divinity and discouraged people from worshiping him as one.

        • Ebie

          ” I find it to be a good thing that scientists admit that they don’t know everything. It means that are still engaged in productive inquiry. Only religion claims to have all the answers, which is an arrogant stance to take. Atheists are NOT acolytes of science”
          Styxraven you’re not quite right there .As a matter of fact, religious people are very good at admitting they dont have all the answers.
          You said it yourself, in quote ”They ignore the bad with their usual empty platitudes of “god’s will” or “mysterious ways” or “can’t know god’s mind”, even though he created eveything in the universe, good or bad”.
          Science does NOT have all the answers. Religion does NOT have all the answers too. We all admit that there are things we do not understand. Difference is; Atheists believe that science would one day provide the missing pieces but religious people believe that the missing pieces is known by God and they have FAITH in that belief. Science finds a convenient explanation when they do not have the answers and it is something along the lines of ” a series of random occurence or coincidence and that the universe is complex enough without making it more complex by making assumptions………” . And religious people also find a convenient explanation when they do not have the answers along the lines of ” God knows and God is a mystery and faith is believing without seeing, faith can move mountains……”

          So NOBODY knows it all. Lets all admit that and move on and believe whatever gives you peace of mind. Stop trying to convince religious people that their faith is idiotic. Religious people should stop trying to pretend like they don’t understand why athiesm is growing. Nobody has all the answers , i think that is what most people with different beliefs have in common at least.

      • Omar

        Styx, I’m not going to attempt to debate your commentary. If they are your views, then I respect that. The only things I take issue with, as a believer in Science, and a Catholic, is your assertion that the more educated a person is, the more likely they are to not profess a belief in God.

        The reason is, that it implies that those that are proud of their faith, despite never attempting to push their beliefs onto others, are somehow less intelligent.

        Being firm in your faith, especially in todays day and age, is actually much harder to do than to pretend as though you don’t believe in something greater than yourself. This is absolutely not a dig at Atheists, because they are not pretending. At least not the ones I’ve met. If you don’t believe in a greater power, that’s perfectly ok. I mentioned in an earlier post, that my faith is my own, and no one has the power to affect it, and I respect other people’s beliefs with the same sincerity.

        The thing I found interesting about your post though is that while you were intent on making a point about the “enlightened-ness” of the Scientific community, you contradicted your original point by highlighting that 41% of the world’s scientists are Atheists. While 33% are Theists, and another 18% hold Deist/Pantheist beliefs, and the last 7% were unsure.

        While laid out like that, yes it seems that the majority of Scientists are Atheists, but that’s not at all the case. Atheism, as I understand it is, requires a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. It’s not a religion, or a non-religion. Neither is it some sort of weird, cult-like belief in Science. It’s a fact based perspective on the world beyond our existence. Or rather the lack of anything beyond our existence.

        So therefore, that 58% of the World’s scientists don’t necessarily believe in a specific God or Supernatural being, does not mean that they do not believe in something greater than themselves (which by definition can not be an Atheist).

        Is your position specifically opposed to Christianity on the whole? Because that seems like an entirely different argument. One that I’ve never seen an Atheist profess. The entirety of their philosophy is that there is nothing greater than us, and religious people (of any faith) believe that there is something greater than us. Though admittedly, they’ll likely never be able to agree on what exactly that is. :)

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        As for the education part, I didn’t say it, others better educated in the subject than I did.
        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201402/why-are-educated-people-more-likely-be-atheists
        I try NOT to make statements that are NOT factual. If I make a mistake, I will correct that I soon as I realize I have. I made no reference to smarter or better. Just better educated. Because along with an education comes the ability to reason more critically and not believe everything you see.

        Pantheists, atheists and Deists can often get along because in general their views do not conflict in any major degree. Pantheism and Deism reject even the idea of a god as conventional religions describe. Generally the primary difference they have with atheism is how we all saw the universe come into being. They don’t believe in a god that you can pray to or thank and have no dogma. We see no problem with that. So they are actually closer to being like us in how they view the world rather than anyone who adheres to the Abrahamic religions or any other dogmatic religion.

        I find organized, dogmatic religion to be poisonous to society as a whole. It does the world little good by promoting non-critical thinking. I don’t believe that everyone who is part of the mainstream religious whole is a bad person, but I do see their religion as harmful. I also feel that some of the fundamentalists professing it to be promoting evil.

        I never said science was necessarily more enlightened. Just that it was not the demon that religion tries to make it out be. But I do believe that humanists are much more in tune with the world and so more enlightened than religious morality is. You should also please notice that i try to use the word theist whenever possible, because that is what I mean. I may occasionally slip and say Christian, because that is what I encounter 95% of the time, but I usually, but not always mean theists. I will try to be more careful of my wording in the future. Sorry for any confusion that it might have caused.

    • Omar

      No worries at all, Styx. I didn’t think that you had “a bone to pick” with Christians. I just thought it curious that your position hinged so heavily on one philosophy in general.

      I can always respect when a person can acknowledge that they were wrong. In any regard. It’s something that seems to be in short supply these days.

      As for the “educated” topic, quoting someone else’s work without crediting them in the first place usually just leads to confusion. I mean, I could say a whole lot of things that are open to interpretation, and they’d be seen as my perspective. At which point, I can choose to play the cited source card if the situation gets dicey.

      Not saying that you had some ill-intent, just that a statement like that holds little value to all of us. I’m more interested in what YOU think. What the other people on this forum think. For themselves. Because otherwise, we end up in debate that starts looking like a legal preceding rather than a non-hostile discussion amongst civilized, and intelligent people.

      I do not know why so many religious people try to make people agree with their beliefs. I also don’t know why so many Atheists feel compelled to do the same.

      You don’t believe in a God? Cool. I do. I’m not going to try and convince you to suddenly believe in the bible. I’m happy to share with anyone why I believe what I believe, but what bothers me is that both Atheists and Religious people so often seem to have an agenda when they ask the other why they believe what they believe. An agenda to disprove their belief. Be that in one God, 2000 Gods, no Gods.

      That’s why, I think, there’s always so much tension between our respective groups. Atheists tend to have a bit of arrogance about them when faced with a person that believes in a God or many Gods. Why? Why should you judge me because I choose to believe in a power greater than myself? In the same vein, why would I ever look down or up at you for not believing? Can we all just look at each other in the eyes and really listen to what the other is saying? I mean, it’s only right when someone asks someone else what their view on religion is. It’s an extremely personal topic, but we hardly ever give it the respect it deserves.

      :)

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        I didn’t cite the site the source here, because it usually isn’t necessary. It is also what I have found to be true. Better educated people generally tend to be less superstitious and more skeptical to unverifiable claims. But I did finally end up citing the source because that is one the many I found that let me know I wasn’t imagining the correlation. The subject came up in the first place when the poster I was responding to mentioned “knuckleheads” in reference to theists. No denigration meant towards you, but knuckleheads is a polite way of describing most of the theists I have had to deal with.

        I do find the claims of theists to be quite arrogant To claim that a god created a universe of full of billions of galaxies and which formed billions of years before we arrived, just for us? Then to say that he is concerned with the minutiae of our lives over all else is to me the height of arrogance. Most atheists claim that in the scheme of all things in the universe, we are less than nothing. As far as the universe is concerned, we are only a vanishingly small part of a much greater whole. We never claimed to know everything, but we do require evidence before we will believe fantastical claims, like the existence of any god.

        I don’t find most atheists to be arrogant, so much as frustrated. We are constantly bombarded with theistic nonsense, theistic proselytizing and theist intrusions into our lives from their trying to legislate their morality into law. We put up with them trying to change our public schools by trying to force religion into the curriculum disguised as “science”. We get lorded over by the superior attitudes of the theistic by being treated as some poor retarded relation. Theists invade our forums, meeting places, events, etc. preaching the “good news”. They blame us for all the problems of society, when in reality people of our stripe are rarely a problem for law enforcement or the moral fiber of others. If anything, I find most atheists to more ethical than nearly any theist I know.

        With all of this, Is it any wonder that we are starting to become more vocal and militant than before. We have no desire to backslide into the past and we are tired of theists trying to hold back beneficial scientific discovery just because they don’t agree with it. Besides the fact that many theists have said that we should be forced to leave the country or just be killed outright. We are tired of just sitting back and taking the abuse. So we are beginning to fight back.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        I also want to add that I have no problem with someone who believes, so long as they keep it to themselves. It is the ones who want to force it upon others, try to legislate their morality into law, muddy scientific theories with nonsense and who attempt to get their “version” of the “truth” taught as science in education that I have a problem with. This ongoing religious argument would be unnecessary if they would just stop doing those things, but they won’t. So they have made it needful for atheists to draw a line in the sand and say “no further. We hold the line here”. If you don’t like something is society, that’s your business. Stay away from it if you don’t like it, but don’t try to force others to comply with your morality or as I see it, lack of it.

        Also to repeat, not all believers are stupid, but many of them are woefully undereducated and misinformed about far too many subjects. Then in their ignorance they try to force their views on others, some of which are very offensive to others. But since they are “right” they feel that it’s OK for them to do that so we can see the “truth”. No matter how much they try to dress it up, what they are doing is wrong.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10205366413692389/ Holly Davis McDonell

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece, Kevin. Now I’ll know exactly what to say when people say they are praying for me or someone else — “Thank you. I’m sure that makes you feel better.” I have never been able to articulate what I’ve felt whenever I’ve heard that phrase, but I’ve always known it was for the benefit of the person who is praying, and not helpful to the one being prayed over. You said it perfectly, and I thank you.

    • Erin

      You do realize that comes off just as obnoxious as saying, “I’ll pray for you,” right?

      What ever happened to being graceful?

      • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

        It might cause someone else to stop and actually think. That is a good thing. No one needs to be polite to someone who is being obtuse.

      • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

        I think the point is “JUST AS obnoxious.” It wouldn’t need to be said if people weren’t insisting on forcing their beliefs on other people in the first place.

        Why aren’t Christians ALSO supposed to “be graceful” and keep their prayers a private matter (as, in fact, Jesus instructs them to do?)

  • Charity

    Congratulations on your new addition! He is adorable and I hope he is continuing to get stronger and healthier. As a NICU nurse and an atheist, I thank you for this post. You stated everything I’ve ever thought throughout my career. I don’t understand how families can watch their newborn struggle to live and call that “god’s plan” and still have faith in him. Any entity that could do something like that to an innocent baby is nothing but cruel. You have definitely found yourself a new follower, and I hope you keep us updated on Grayson’s progress. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    • Brandon

      Excellent choice of words. “You and your family are in my THOUGHTS” instead of “You and your family are in my PRAYERS”. That’s because you and I both know that prayers are completely meaningless.

    • Cindy

      God plan was The Garden of Eden. Man rejected the Garden Of Eden and accepted the lie of Satan the deceptor.. We live with the consequences. Fortunately that’s not the end.

  • Ashley

    You made some good points. Not all denominations are against fertility treatments or birth control (I think that’s really just catholics) and walk around saying that it’s God’s plan. I think that is a cop out saying. Also, you can believe in science, modern medicine and doctors and still believe in a higher power and spirituality. You can’t put all Christians in a box just like you can’t put all atheists in a box.

    • http://www.facebook.com/1439522218 Shaun M. Keefe

      Ashley, Just make sure to remember your statement. You can’t put all Atheists in a box either. I’m not saying you are doing it, but there are those who do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/1439522218 Shaun M. Keefe

      Ignore my comment. I did not see the last of your sentence.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/937169672994862/ Lyn Gonzalez

    I donate blood, food, time and money on the rare occasion I have some. I do not offer prayer to anyone because I do not believe it does anything and while it might make believers feel better to hear it I could not say it and be honest, so I don’t. That does not mean that I am not genuinely hoping they receive the expert care or comfort they need, It just means the compassion comes from me, not some disconnected ‘higher’ source. So I send you and your family my sincere love and hope.

    • http://www.facebook.com/100007166768876 Tony Plumb

      Great response !

  • GodlessEngineer

    Reblogged this on Godless Engineering and commented:
    Great open letter

  • sheryl

    I am also a NICU nurse and an atheist. When my daughter died, the most common thing that I heard was that it was God’s plan. Screw you people!! If you want to believe in a god that kills children, allows them to be raped and tortured and starve to death, Go for it. I want nothing to do with any god like that.

    • Tammy Bevins

      I had a child that died too, and I hated all that crap as well. That was until I got a little older and realized most people are just wishing you well. That, and there were a lot of non believers who said the same stupid thing, that when one door closes…blah, blah, blah. The real trick, the real intelligent thing to do is to accept all well wishes, and understand it’s just one person trying to say or do something to help, because they don’t know what to do. I am not religious, I don’t pray. But during dark times, when people tell me they are praying for me, I understand that they are wishing me well. I am sorry for your loss. My daughter died 31 years ago and there’s not a day that I do not remember.

      • Jen

        Tammy, I am so sorry for your loss, but I do believe that you missed the point he was trying to make. It wasn’t that he doesn’t appreciate the well wishes, or that he hasn’t accepted them gracefully…he just needed a platform to vent with like minded people. We all know that “prayers” are not meant to be anything other than a hope that everything will turn out the way we wish…the same as anyone would give. This post wasn’t meant to be hateful, but you definitely took it to the next level. You seem to have a lot of misguided anger maybe justifiably so, but sometimes it helps to remember that we are all in this world together…and sometimes it helps to get stuff off of our chest with people that might understand where we are coming from. We all accept the “prayers” with a smile and a nod, but you also know the feeling you get and the little person in the back of your head that you have to tune out. He was tired of tuning it out. Now he can take a deep breath, put his smile back on, and continue to agree to disagree.

      • Tammy Bevins

        No, I think everybody here missed my point, and that is, sometimes it is just nice to be nice. I understand that the “I will pray for you” gets really, really tiring, as does all the “when one door closes another opens”, or “everything happens for a reason” anthems as well. Sometimes, it’s just nice to stop, like you said, put a smile on, like you said, and remember that we are all in this world together, and not everyone is trying to shove their beliefs down your throat, they might just not know what else to say or do. I understood his point and everyone else’s here as well….I am not religious either, do not pray, and do not want to. However, I am glad when someone just acknowledges me as a another human being, no matter if I agree with their beliefs. As for me, you would have to know me to know there is no anger, or pain pent up anywhere. I always have a smile on my face, and I always agree to disagree! There is no way I would want to live in a world where everyone agreed all the time. How boring would that be!

      • alumkat584

        At some point, just being nice takes more ” spoons” than you have. Always focusing on being nice is going to unnecessarily exhaust the person. That’s putting unnecessary burden on the minority for normalizing very specific behaviors in dealing with grief or medical scares, etc. I will lay my boundaries for a reason. Those who ignore it are just being rude. Period. If I know and care about said line crosser, I will then address it nicely, but I am not obliged, nor should I be. If they’re truly wanting to be comforting to someone other than themselves, dismissing the request of “don’t say you’ll pray for me” is dismissive of that person’s religious choices. It would be considered I’ll conceived and purposeful if tables were flipped, and always playing nice is ridiculous expectation at that point. But each must set their own boundaries, which the Author just did. It should be respected. Rather than being rude by ignoring the request, they can simply say sorry and give condolences (literally just say that). If they can do more, do more. Boundary respected, help received. So simple. I believe that is what the whole letter is trying to say: “Look, this is not the time, please respect that.”

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        Tammy what you say is THE MOST beautiful sentiment here. I applaud you! Maybe, like you said, the next step is for the mind to be gracious and accept it all well wishes regardless of the ACTUAL words. It’s the energy and the heart that matters.(I’m still confused as to how your comments keep receiving thumbs down…maybe they just chose to not understand the sentiment behind your posts.)

      • Anne

        I understand that they may mean well. However, when you’re raw with grief, you lose patience pretty fast. Why is this so hard to understand? Most people say I’ll pray for you & then get as far away from the problem as possible. I find it better to believe that there is no god than to try to rationalize a way to give her credit for the good things while ignoring the bad.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        Jen, I did not interpret Tammy having “a lot of misguided anger” at all (and now I read she addressed it again as well). She had a tragedy in her family, she’s neither a believer nor a prayer, but she vented then came to realize those who approached her were wishing her well in the best way they knew how.

        Anne, I think you might be on to something – the way that grief (or really any emotion) colors people’s responses to things says a lot about them. It’s the way they are processing these emotions. I do see that in the way Kevin is expressing himself in the situation.

        However, we can’t presume everyone (or most, even) people who pray then get away as far as possible. It’s an individual thing – non-believers/atheists do it too. We can’t blanket everyone or most with one statement, can we? Should we do that?

        At the end of the day, I liked Tammy’s approach that we should believe the best of people that when they say something, they wish you well. Would you agree? Kevin has decided to say, “thanks no thanks”, which reads like a disregard to those who are wishing him well in the best way they know how. :/

    • Dorcas

      If there is not a God like so many seem to believe, then why blame rape, injustice, killings.. on Him. Psychiatrists, doctors, .. have all these ways they are trying to figure out how to make people better- blame them if you are gonna blame someone. It seems people want a dumping ground and try to blame God for all the bad.
      I am a Christian. I once was “lost, but now I’m found”, and my life is a testimony that only God can make the changes that happened in my life. I tried for years on my own and it didn’t help.

      • http://www.facebook.com/1439522218 Shaun M. Keefe

        We don’t blame him.. We blame the offender for their crimes and hold them accountable.

        We are simply demonstrating that, IF it is all God’s plan, then it is his plan for rapists and injustice as well.

      • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

        That may be one of the stupidest thing I’ve read today.

      • Mack

        They are not blaming a “god”, they are illustrating to the deluded that their “god” is a fragile, pathetic thing.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        There is a Satan too..and atheists belong to him as well as rapists and all the others..that is who to blame..

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Lol..thumbs down satanists..thats what you are and dont even know it

      • spookiewon

        We don’t blame him, and Kevin isn’t blaming him. We are, to some extent, blaming you. You say there is a god with a plan. If that’s so, then you must believe this god’s plan includes torturing and killing children, and we’re a bit confused as to why you’d worship someone who did that. He seems perfectly hateful. None of you seems to want to explain why you’d worship someone like that.

        Here’s the thing. To paraphrase Tracie Harris of the Atheist Experience, if I saw someone abusing a child, I’d do something to stop it. That’s the difference between me and your god. I am more moral than your god.

      • spookiewon

        BTW, the Satan described in your holy book doesn’t seem like a bad guy. Just as unlikely as your god, but certainly a better and more moral creature than your god, and responsible for a lot less suffering and death.

        Even the satanists don’t believe in a real Satan, BTW.

      • http://survivingsuicideblog@wordpress.com kristijrn

        This is really funny….are you a member of the Duggar family?

      • Carl

        I haven’t met a single non-christian who blames ‘god’ for rape, murder etc – most people blame the person who carried out the crime, not some mythical deity or devil. Some people are, sadly, just arseholes and they need no higher power to help in that.

      • Kerry

        That’s a lack of willpower, not lack of a supernatural influence.

      • Nikki

        Then why are you on an atheist blog leave this man is trying to find solace in like minded individuals we not on your holy rollers shit telling you delusional shits that you need to follow the evidence leave Kevin be and either donate or talk amongst your own. U.S. Here are here to support Kevin and his wife! Kevin my husband and I will be donating to the babies fund Wednesday we also had preemies and we know the cost from the taking off work the procedures and the mental stress. We support you fully and if there is anything else we may be able to do to promote the cause of premature infants or help to help other parents please post. You thesis go back to your holy than thou sites and leave us alone!!!!!!!!

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Trouble is most theists don’t directly blame god for the bad things that happen. He only gets credit for the good stuff. They ignore the bad with their usual empty platitudes of “god’s will” or “mysterious ways” or “can’t know god’s mind”, even though he created eveything in the universe, good or bad.

        [“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”

    • atheistsaremoreannoying

      Thats Satan dear. Learn the difference

      • ThisGuy…

        We have an angry church lady here

      • Nikki

        Go play with your imagination

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Don’t you just love it when theists appear to troll an atheist blog. Especially during a trying time for the person writing the blog. It’s still all about them. Just like this idiot who comes here with a deliberately provocative username. Trouble with them is that they don’t realize that most atheists aren’t as easily provoked as theists are. Grow up and get over yourself already. No one here cares.

  • Judy Hansen

    Congratulations on the birth of your son. There are some great doctors and major advances in medical science out there and I know they are working very diligently in Grayson’s behalf.
    I am a life long Atheist but when someone says they are praying for me, I simply say, thank you for your thoughts and for caring. I know that in their minds they are doing something they believe will help. If they want to have me pray with them and get pushy about it after I have said “no thanks”, then it is a different story. I tell them that I know they mean well, but I do not pray to something that doesn’t exist.

    • Tammy Bevins

      Well said. I just say thanks as well. Unless, as you said, they try to pray with me. I think just saying “thanks” and getting on with it is the nice thing to do. I know most people are just trying to say something or don’t know what else to say or do to help.

      • Rainlover

        I am generally in agreement, Tammy. But think about what you’re asking of a person who is already using all of his or her emotional resources to deal with a difficult situation. On top of that they should be responsible for attending the feelings of folks who openly ignore their wishes? I’m not sure that’s particularly kind to the person most in need.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10204523156702478/ Stephanie A. Brown

      This is similar to me. I recently experienced the death of a beloved family member, and I posted on a support group, stating at the end to please avoid religious stuff as I was an Atheist. I did not mind when someone (despite that) said they were praying, but I found the “You need to pray and find your faith in Christ” stuff particularly offensive.

  • belle517

    Congratulations on the addition to your family, I hope Grayson continues to thrive! Thank you for the wonderful perspective, like Holly, I’ve always had a bit of trouble articulating a response to people that say they are”praying for me” or for someone I know to be a non believer. Coming from a family of evangelicals, I hear it a lot! Your insight is truly appreciated! No prayers from here, just warm wishes and happy thoughts…

  • M.E.

    Thank you for writing this Kevin. I was too frightened to lose support, so I didn’t admit much while my own daughter was dying of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I stopped believing 5 years before she was born thankfully or I cannot imagine the confusion and anger I would have had against a god that would do such a thing to children. I hope Grayson grows strong with the best minds and care humans can give him. Many hugs and commiseration. Praise science! — and cheers to all hurdles that block rational cures crumbling to the ground as more of us wake up and start to think for themselves. We too went through IVF and had our embryos screened for the disease that killed our daughter. This was not an option even 10 years ago. We now have a rambunctious 20 month old that never would have existed without research and the human ingenuity. Human morality is far greater than anything in the bible, if only we realize what WE would do if we were gods instead. I would save your son.

    • scott

      if you are all so atheist, then why do you sit there saying god wanted your child to die? do you simply turn a blind eye to the fact that science has caused more of these defects and premature births, because you want too or just fail to do your research? the sad truth is sure science may help achieve things you yourself alone could not, but it also is responsible 75%+ of birth defects autism and so on and so forth. unfortunately while you all banter back and forth about a weather there is a god or not, none of you seem to realize your soul has to go somewhere, science has proven that each human body has a soul, its composed of energy, and energy can not be destroyed only displaced, so in the end the energy that coalesces to form your soul in the end goes elsewhere, banter back and forth weather god is real or not, but in the end what ever conclusion you come to you cant deny your soul exists and the fact that it has to go somewhere.

      • Carl

        You really haven’t read the posts properly, have you Scott? That or you don’t understand the basic concept of logical extrapolation. Atheists don’t believe ‘god’ wants kids to die, what they are doing (in the original post) is presenting the logical conclusion of various religious statements, such as the “it’s gods will” nonsense, as evidence as to why they don’t believe.

        For instance, in a case like Kevin’s, many will say that it was “gods will” that his son be born early to make the family stronger. But if Kevin and his wife were to truly trust in “gods will” they would eschew all modern medicine and leave the fate of their family to “gods will”. In such a case then they either would have no children at all (thanks to issues with conceiving that he discussed) or his son would now be dead after being born so prematurely.

        So the logical conclusion of the position pushed by believers that events like this are “gods will” is that young Grayson shouldn’t be here in this world at all. Faced with that cold hard logic, the idea of a “god” that would behave like that is ludicrous and frankly offensive.

      • Kevin Dail

        Science has never proved a “soul” exists. It is NOT responsible for causing birth defects or autism. If you believe those things, then I have no support for your insane unproven religious beliefs. You seem to be very under educated, another reason not to believe in your version of god.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        You sir are a raving lunatic.

  • Jackie

    As a parent of IVF conceived, 29 week preemie twins, I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for the well articulated letter, we felt the same way when our girls were in the NICU.

  • Danica

    I saw the pic of the baby Grayson. Being an atheist and a premie myself (28 weeks, 35 years ago!), let me just say that: the “miracle” comes from medicine, doctors and NICU’s care; the willpower of the baby (and as preemie we are stronger than anyone would ever expect: be prepared to his temper!) and another ingredient: the love from parents. So far, Grayson has everything he needs to bloom! Cheers from Switzerland, keep us updated on his progresses! You’ll be amazed! :)

  • http://novacaineforthesoul.wordpress.com atheistinacrazyplace

    Hi! I just wanted to share with you my experience. My daughter was born 12 weeks early as well. She started out at 2lbs 9 oz and is now a beautiful, healthy 22 year old. We did have some hurdles to traverse. She had severe reflux that required surgery on her stomach and a few developmental delays, but looking at her now, there is no evidence of her previous struggles.

    I applaud your reliance on medical science. The Drs and nurses are the ones who will pull him through this, not a non existent deity.

  • Allie

    Hi Kevin,
    I loved your post and appreciate your honesty. I think your post was well said and well written.

    Good luck with your son.

    Nurse Practitioner – fellow atheist

  • David

    I know that my God is a healer! I’ll be praying for that child anyway. I’d love to see God use His creation to further His Kingdom, perhaps a Pastor or something in the five fold ministry.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Apparently you skipped over the part where I explained that Grayson was conceived in a lab. He is not the creation of any god. He is a testament to the success of scientific research. If anything, he was created in spite of your deity.

      • Colleen

        Neutral note: Sometimes healthy eggs and healthy sperm are conceived in the lab and no healthy embryos grow. Sometimes they grow and they are transferred and should take, but never do. All the ingredients were right. No identifiable reason why it doesn’t work. Sometimes people who shouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of conceiving do indeed, and naturally, as I’m sure you’ve been reminded of dozens of times.. again by people who don’t know what to say but are well meaning. Why do these phenomenons occur? We don’t know. Could it be scientific information we are unaware of? Sure. But is it possible that it could be part of a plan? It could. Children’s conception through IVF and critical care interventions in early life does not *disprove* the existence of a God. I am a believer in science, but science is so vastly intricate, it’s a design of true amazement, and therefore…you see where this is going. Science claims we can figure out why things work and reproduce means and outcomes; it does not claim there is no supreme being.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Apparently you skipped over the part that God created science and labs..

      • Laura

        I understand how you could find the “I’ll be praying for you” frustrating if you do not believe any god exists based upon the direct conflict it creates with your personal beliefs and values. Your argument doesn’t only apply to “I’ll be praying for you” though; saying “Get well soon, I’m keeping you in my thoughts, I hope your situation improves, etc.” is essentially the same type of gesture. It lets the family know you care and makes the one saying it feel better, but is an ineffective avenue of assistance when it comes to physically helping the family or solving the problem.

        Therefore, I’m kind of afraid to say anything about your situation at all.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        I have to agree with Laura. I’m afraid to say anything, but if the sentiment is well intentioned, Kevin, is it possible to soften the heart and mind and accept it as a show of support from people who may not know you’re atheist????

    • http://prototypeatheist.wordpress.com prototypeatheist

      You people just can’t resist, can you? You know God is a healer? I know your God doesn’t exist because it is irreconcilable with the evidence. Next time you get sick, don’t see a doctor, let your healing God take care of it. Or is your faith too weak?

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        But He created science and Doctors. Your tiny little point is invalid

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        The delusion, strong in this one it is, yes.

    • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

      Yeah, right. Your god is a healer when he feels like it. When you pray just right. when you believe just right.
      If you really open your eyes, you will see that the god you describe is an asshole.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Ouch..front row seat to hell

      • Joanne W.

        Please don’t call our Savior names. All He ever did was good. He NEVER causes bad things to happen—–He allows them to happen. Why? I don’t know. All I know is that in my heart, I believe in the One True God. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, whether they believe in God or not. A true CHRISTian is not someone who belittles others for what they believe. I have a hard time believing in atheism, because those who claim to be one seem to work hard in convincing others. To say you don’t believe in God is basically admitting there is one. You just don’t believe in His awesome power! I will not insult any of you by saying I will pray for you; I will just believe that you will find it in your hearts to realize the truth before it’s too late. The unpardonable sin, after all, is dying in your unbelief! I’m thinking of the baby; the innocent one in all this!

      • Carl

        moreannoying, how can anyone have a front seat to a place that exists only in the minds of the foolish and/or gullible?

      • Carl

        “To say you don’t believe in God is basically admitting there is one.”

        Wow, talk about idiotic statements. So let me get this right – if someone believes there is a ‘god’ then they’re right and it exists, if they say that they *don’t* believe they’re actually still saying that he exists? How the blazes does that “logic” (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) work?

        Also, if your “god” is so petty that some people saying that they don’t believe in it upsets said fictional deity, then it’s not very god-like at all.

        I am curious, would you graciously accept the heartfelt prayers of a follower of Islam? How about a Pagan who said that in their next ritual circle they would ask Diana/Zeus/deity of choice to watch over you? Would you accept these prayers or would you object because they are of a different faith than yours?

        You made a choice to follow the Cult that you do – do not force it upon others.

      • Stephanie Bolton

        Perhaps some people adhere to this idea of a God…but most don’t.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Savior? What were we saved from? Rational thought?

        If you don’t like it Joanne, then don’t come here. Your god delusion was not requested to make an appearance with you. We can call your god the raging asshole, jerk, pinhead or retard he really is if we like. We are entitled to believe that your god is a Mother Goose tale for adults if we like, since it is. Also, you don’t BELIEVE in atheism. It is no more a belief than bald is a hair color. Being an atheist is a simple statement of fact, not an all encompassing belief system. Not all atheists believe the same things, they just share the conviction that god does NOT exist. There is absolutely NO empirical evidence to prove otherwise. We are all born atheists until someone brainwashes us into believing fairy tales.

    • Carl

      Translation: “screw your polite request, I’m gonna ram my religion down your throat anyway and hope your innocent child gets brainwashed into my cult at the same time!”

      It’s cute that you believe, but please, keep it where it belongs – in your home, your heart and your church. Paraphrasing here – Religion is like a penis: it’s fine to have and be proud of one, but please don’t get it out and wave it around for all to see.

      Also, “moreannoying”, are you saying that your deity reached down and laid the bricks of the lab where young Grayson was conceived? Weird that he’d do that whilst leaving innocent youngsters to drown, starve and be plagued by deadly diseases in some countries. I don’t like the sound of that ‘god’ at all.

    • Kevin Dail

      You are clearly being willfully ignorant of the authors atheism and his wishes. Keep your god and your insulting wish for his son’s future.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      Way to NOT get the point David. Instead you take the unwelcome opportunity to be a cheerleader for god instead of making a useful comment. So glad to see that you know how to respect other people’s boundaries. Solipsist much?

  • Libby

    Congratulations on the birth of your son. I hope that he continues to gain strength and ultimately thrive.
    At age 6 my son was injured and was hospitalized, unconscious some of the time for 6 weeks. People told me they would pray for him. I didn’t mind, as long as they weren’t forcing me to pray to “their” god. But after a bit I felt good that there were people I didn’t know, all over the country, all over the world actually, praying for a sick little boy. To me it had nothing to do about god and everything to do with humanity. I wasn’t comforted by the prayers of these people, each to their own definition of god, it was the fact that there were untold numbers of people in a prayer chain all over who took the effort and the energy to think about a sick little boy they didn’t even know and send their thoughts of recovery and good health out to him. I didn’t expect to feel comfort from these “prayers” but it was the combined efforts of Humanity that I gained comfort from. I never tell people I will pray for them but I do say that my thoughts are with you as I know that was something that did end up comforting me.
    My son is a healthy adult now but I still do remember the fear when he was sick.

    • Erin

      This.

      I think this may be the happy medium between being overzealous and oppressive with one’s religious beliefs and being obnoxious as a non-believer by dismissively shooing away the good intentions of others.

      • Erin

        Lol @ people down voting my comment when I simply agreed with a comment that got up voted.

        Baaaaaaah.

      • spookiewon

        Yeah, Erin, you didn’t “simply agree.” That seems to have gone right past you.

  • Linda Jendras

    Thank you!!! I will be sharing and making a donation.

  • Caryn

    Reading your post, I know where you’re coming from. It’s hard to go through a horrible situation and just be delt with “I’m praying for you” so I really do know where you’re coming from. Also you’re atheist so obviously you don’t believe in a higher power, so why would those words mean anything to you? I’m not going to try to convert you by any means because I totally respect your own choices but maybe I can shed some light on the other side of that coin. When people say “I’m praying for you” it’s a way of saying you’re in their thoughts, your troubles weigh on them and like you said, this is the way they think they can help. And wether you believe in that or not, you SHOULD feel at least a tiny bit grateful that total strangers, who have their own problems, take the time to not only care about your situation, but to send kind thoughts and prayers for your family. I believe in God. And I believe in science. Yes that’s possible. When I’m sick I go to the doctor, AND I pray. I don’t know why people think all “religious” people just like sit at home with their families, crowded around the sick praying for a miracle or something. This isn’t the Middle Ages. I know a doctor and modern medicine help people, but also (from my minds eye) I believe God has an active role in everything and it is ultimately his will. So yeah, if I have cancer of course I’m gonna seek treatment, but only God will decide if I live or not. You can get the best treatment in the world but that doesn’t assure you you will live. (To me, once again) only God can do that. Also, I know you don’t believe in god, but I’m sure you believe in nature. And naturally, you and your wife would not have conceived your beautiful baby boys. Yes you used science… But there’s also people who use all the science and still can’t conceive. (To me) that’s gods hand gifting you that you where able to use science to conceive not one but two babies. Personally, I believe in god. But I do not consider myself “religious” but I do pray. And no, my prayers don’t consist of “dear god please do this..” Because you’re right, if God wanted to take your son, he would. And my prayers wouldn’t change the will of God. BUT if you would accept my prayers, it would go like this “if you decide to take this precious baby from this world, I pray he goes without pain. That he will know how much he was loved even for a short amount of time. For his mother and father who already loved him from his first heartbeat, who will no doubt grieve him. For his mother who carried him so long, for his father who dreamt him. For all the lives that will be effected. That they will, over time heal. Slowly and maybe not all the way, but that one day they will be okay. Amen” I truly hope that your son recovers. I hope modern medicine can save him. And I hope your family can find whatever small comforts you can in this difficult time. I also hope maybe you can see the other said of “sending prayers” that it’s not just this saying some people say to feel like they’re doing anything about it. Just so ya know, not all of us are crazies. Hoping your boy pulls through!

    • Donielle

      All my thoughts exactly. I will add that God tends to like giving us purpose which means He often uses us to do His work. So, to me, yes, I will go to the doctor believing that God may use those doctors as His tools to help me or a loved one. I just moved and don’t have a job nor do I know you personally (otherwise I like to give meals, especially once baby is home and be there as much as I can), so my prayers are all that I can offer. Science and religion are not complete opposites and can co-exist. You don’t have to be anti-science to believe in God. As for your son, I hope that he pulls through and that you have a strong support system to get you through emotionally.

  • Murphy

    Ive been taught God believes in helping yourself, and gives you the tools to do so. Just because you do IVF doesn’t mean God want support you!

  • http://www.leavingthefaith.com Andre

    Awesome article! I had a very similar experience which was actually the cause of me completely abandoning my faith:

    http://www.leavingthefaith.com/why-i-am-not-a-christian-anymore/

    Wishing you two amazing peeps all the best with the recovery of your little one – hang in there!

  • http://theatheistbrony.wordpress.com theatheistbrony

    I went through a similar time when my baby was hospitalized for RSV. I had people saying they were praying and I respected them and would simply say ‘thank you’, but it got aggravating. It wore on my nerves and eventually I exploded from not being honest about my feelings. They were praying to a god that killed innocent babies constantly because the parents of the children offended him. We’re atheist, we offend this imaginary being so if he did exist you would not be helping anyway! It was offensive, I seen it as people just trying to make me feel better and not actually trying to help, I just couldn’t stand the idea of a baby killing deity being prayed to to save a baby. Science saved my baby and my constant badgering of doctors till I found the right one.

  • http://gravatar.com/betsb68 betsb68

    I once had a friend ask me what I did when I had a tough decision to make or s difficult situation to deal with because she couldn’t think of a single thing to do other than pray. I’m like “seriously? like getting up and doing something to make it better never crossed your mind?”
    I understand the need to vent, I feel it every time I hear people asking for prayers, prayer chains or saying I’ll pray for you.
    Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

    • http://ukechick.wordpress.com ukechick

      I know what you mean. I actually had a boss say to me, “When I find reason and faith colliding, I always chose the side of faith.”
      I’m like, “Dude, you CAN’T be serious! If something makes no sense but your book says it is so, you go with the fairy tale?”

  • http://alwaysatwarwithmyself.wordpress.com alwaysatwarwithmyself

    As a mother and an atheist, my heart breaks for you both and I hope the little guy gets stronger every day. This blog is brilliantly written and I hope people take note and provide practical and useful support for you guys or someone else in need, rather than wasting their breath on pointless mutterings to an imaginary friend.
    Thank goodness for medical professionals, scientists and all those who contributed to the birth and survival of your sons.
    All the best to you and your family.

  • Erica

    I hope your son does well. I had my daughter last year when I was 29 weeks pregnant. She spent most of her life in the NICU. I know how tough it can be. Remember to take time for yourselves. Everyone needs a break.

  • Len

    Kevin – we’ve been there and have a good idea of what you’re going through. Our twins were born at 24 weeks. Our son is now 20, and has no lingering problems — he’s now a junior in college and doing great.

    We also got a lot of noise from god-botherers in NICU, which we ignored as best we could.

    Stay strong, brother.

  • Brandon

    Religious people should realize that their way of thinking is archaic, out-dated, and plain wrong. The bible is 2,000 years behind the innovations of science. There is no god. Never was. Never will be. I’m sure someone named Jesus Christ existed in our distant past, but he did not perform magic tricks like that fairy tale claims. The bible is nothing but a kids story and god is something people made up in an attempt to explain things that couldn’t be explained at that time. 2,000 years ago people saw lightning and said “GOD IS ANGRY” but now we see lightning and any intelligent person knows that it is caused by electric discharge in the atmosphere.

    Grow up. Stop believing in fairy tales. Think for yourself. Fucking sheep.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      As a matter of fact, the wind is beginning to change on that point. More scholars are starting to come to the conclusion that Jesus as a person never really existed. He came about as collection of ideas came together and coalesced into the person.

  • Brianna

    If I had the funds I would love to donate to your little guy! Our daughter just got out of PICU though leaving us with a $25,000 bill from a lapse in our insurance we didn’t know about. As a fellow atheist we got a lot of the same comments from well-meaning family and friends while she was in the hospital. My feelings were much like your own in slightly different context. I look forward to following your story and seeing Grayson leave the hospital! You’ve got a strong little boy with a huge wealth of science and his wonderful parents backing him up!

  • Kirby

    I agree with the author. And he seems to be gracious to those who offer prayers. But he’s not going to just be silent about how he feels and I’m glad he takes the time to explain how he feels. I don’t have issues with people that follow faith based religion as a way to make their lives better and I can usually endure a lengthy conversation, even if a person is reverting back to their faith, often. The one thing I can’t tolerate is having someone try to force religion on me or even to keep trying to convince me I’m wrong. I don’t think the author is doing that in reverse. He is just taking the time to explain his feelings.

  • Danielle Wilkins

    Praying for both your sons and your family. I won’t pretend to understand or try to determine your motives for your blog just as you should not try to determine people’s motives. Motives are a matter of the heart, and since you can’t read minds or hearts you cannot determine why someone would say they are praying for you. I hope you are open to your sons’ beliefs should they choose something different than yours. Especially since you want people who believe there is a God to leave you alone with their opinions. I pray you let them determine what they believe, and I pray God saves them. So Christians pray and they can’t use medicine? Because that says they don’t believe in God? Of course God knows the prayer requests before they are made but he asks us to come to him as our Father. He is our comforter. My husband knows many things before I tell him should I shut down communication with him? I’m sure you will respond that I missed the point because that seems to be your go to statement, but I feel that you have missed many points people are trying to make with hearts in the right place.

    • rosiemama

      Do you not see that this is rude and aggressive? Yes, often people are just well-wishing and saying things from the goodness of their hearts — and he said he accepts those graciously. But you? Saying you’re praying for him when you’ve been specifically asked not to?

      Why is your heart “in the right place” when you say you’re praying, but someone else’s heart is somehow wrong and dirty and not okay because they’d like people to respect their beliefs and not force them to endure a constant barrage of your feelings and beliefs.

      Believe in whatever fairy tales you want. But don’t call your heart in the right place when you’re intentionally being disrespectful and rude.

      Jesus said not to make your prayers public anyway. If they were real, and your heart was actually in the right place, I’d think you’d follow Jesus’s directions on the topic.

    • A rational being

      How incredibly rude and pejorative of you. How would you feel, Danielle, if during a time of need I approached you and said I was making a sacrifice to the Lord Satan on your behalf?

  • Doug

    Our son was born 13 weeks early, 515g. I’m atheist, wife Christian. Pesonally, I had to make up the belief that he was gonna make it and then base all of my actions off that result. Because for me, that outcome was the only one that would allow me to function effectively, and deal with the ups and downs until he did make it.
    Make it, he did. He is 3 1/2 now, and made it with flying colors, no real residual problems, not to mention being an absolute delight of a kid. I hope you and yours have a similar outcome.
    My faith is in modern medicine, doctors and nurses, not some made up thing.
    Thank you for sharing exactly what I was thinking. I will make another local donation as you requested.

    … one tiny bonus: once he got home, he always slept through the night: shift change is still bed time.

    By the way, if you want to chat personally, you are welcome to drop me a line.

  • RachelElaine

    Reading this, as a Christian, gave me mixed emotions. While I realize the author will probably not read this, I hope somebody with a similar opinion does. For starters, i come from a very strong Christian family and have twin brothers as a result of IVF, and couldn’t love them more. I’m telling you that just because someone does believe in God, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in science. In fact, we (as in my family) believe God uses that, and uses people as tools to do His work on Earth. Not that God couldn’t “magically” fix everything, but that He has reasons for doing as He does. For example, if he did impossible-to-explain miracles all the time 1, they’d no longer be miracles, and 2, there would be no faith. Plenty of proof…. but then no faith. You may ask, “Why doesnt He just prove Himself?” Well, I truly believe He wants us to have faith. And I don’t know His ways, so i can’t tell you WHY God does what He does, but i trust Him. I have faith. And if we are faithful, even in the worst of times, taking it to Him, through prayer perhaps, He will answer. Now the answer may not always be yes, but He will answer. I’m not saying you have to believe or anything, not that you would if i said so. But I’m just trying to give YOU some insight on how we feel when we are praying. And some insight on what we believe. While i realize you probably won’t change your perspective, i have to have faith that you’ll at least consider that God isn’t some “predeciding power-wielding bully” who does whatever He wants. He does what is best. And while we may not understand it, He does. Just to give some insight, you mentioned that you had a young son. Now if your boy was about to walk out in the street and be hit by a car, would you not yank him back? It may hurt him, and he may get upset, but you’d be willing to let that happen because you know best right? While this may be a poor analogy compared to the premature labor of your son, my point stands. So please don’t take this as “Yes. We are right. Prayer works. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I just wanted to give you some perspective since you gave me some. And on behalf of Christians, i appreciate your courtesy towards something you feel is useless. It really is great that you have that level of maturity. But as well, i assure you we aren’t praying for our own gain. We really are doing so out of concern for you. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen some awful news on TV and gone “oh that’s terrible” and went about my day. It truly is for you. So please, take that under consideration. Lastly, 3 of my siblings wouldn’t be here without modern medicine. And I truly believe it was all orchestrated by the hand of God. But that’s just my belief. And for what it’s worth, I will be praying for your son.

    • ThisGuy…

      Is all the childhood cancer orchestrated by your god as well?

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        I think it’s fair to say that you can and should be at liberty to have your thought and beliefs and so should believers. If someone doesn’t know your religion is atheism, they still want to wish you well and they were they are accustomed to is by praying.

    • spookiewon

      Why do you assume we haven’t considered, and discarded, all of this? And why do you insist on doing exactly what your god, in the book you consider his word, told you not to do? You god told you to keep your prayers private. Why could you not resist telling someone you were praying “for them?”

      “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” Matt. 6:6

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

        https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/should-christians-pray-in-public-or-not/

        If you’re so inclined to read a different perspective with an open heart and *in context* – contrasting the ways in which people prayed in historical context (those who pray to be heard compared to those who have a genuine heart set in their prayer.). This still applies today, both in the Christian and atheist perspectives – both can utter empty words.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Because, as usual, it’s all about them and the beliefs they feel justified to push upon you. Actually they are being selfish and rude. They are also arrogant enough to believe that since they “right” and you are “misguided” they should push their beliefs where they are not wanted. Typical.

  • Neal S

    Kevin… I have been in the same spot as you on both sides of that coin.. My daughters were born 2 month early and I spent many a sleepless night in the NICU. I also am an atheist that grew up in a very religious family. I respect all your thoughts, and understand your statements completely. People whom follow religion are always quick to judge those of us who dont. And always feel compelled to tell us how we are suppose to feel and how we are suppose to live.

    I wish your son all the best, while my daughters were in the NICU I kept a journal for each of them… Daily keeping track of all the little thing, whether that be they gained an ounce, or I got to hold their hand, give them a bath, or even change a diaper. Be strong for your son and don’t forget to be strong for Momma… Best wishes to you and your family!!!!

  • Anne

    This blog is so very sad to me.. I see a comment below written in love and trying to help you understand what prayer really is. I never pray to make myself feel better, God is not a crutch through life or something to make me feel better about all the bad I shamefully do because I am not perfect.

    Some sisters of Christ have had trouble conceiving and they too had medical staff intervene to get pregnant. That doesn’t mean God didn’t want their children to exist God made those doctors and made those scientists there purpose is to save lives, help bring life, help keep people healthy. God has predestined everyone who exists on this planet, he knows every hair on your head and the head of your precious sons. There is a huge reason for him to be here even if for only for you to write this blog in anger one day causing a riff of opinions, bringing you to read while so tired from everything you’ve been going through just waiting for that one bible thumping Christian to come parading in and belittling everything you said, that’s not me and I hope and pray it won’t be any of my fellow believers either. I feel for you & I am also praying for your family. I’m sorry that those words sting to you, I’m sorry that you’ve reached this point in your life and have not opened your heart to feel the immense love our father has for you. He’s waiting, just call his name at any second I promise he will be there!

    • sybilmg

      Your insistence on saying words you know sting is a form of sadism. It is sick.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Prayers sting? GOD help you

        • sybil

          Anne wrote “I feel for you & I am also praying for your family. I’m sorry that those words sting to you,” She acknowledge that he didn’t want her do something and did it anyway.
          Prayers do not sting me personally what stings is the complete and utter disregard for the authors feeling I have witnessed here.

    • http://recreationistme.wordpress.com recreationistme

      You feel HIS immense love? Really? Or is that just loving the idea of his warm love? The idea of being comforted by Him? People like you are lost without some kind of a guidance and that is what God is to you. Your belief in Him helps you cope with your life. Atheists are confident enough to be self-sufficient, self-actualized, self-dependent – you get the idea. And we do get annoyed that whatever we do is God’s will told to us by religious people because we don’t turn to Him for His guidance. We turn to ourselves or our own loved ones or people we trust. You put your faith and trust in an invisible being – that’s your prerogative. Just don’t go around and tell people it is God’s will unless you know they share your values.

    • Carl

      Wow, the arrogance and disrespect you display is staggering. No one cares about your Cult, stop trying to ram it down the throats of those who decide not to believe in fairy tales.

      You responded to a polite, caring and compassionate open letter with hostility, rudeness, arrogance and incredible disrespect – it seems that all the anger you see is coming from yourself. Anger that people dare not to believe in the Cult that has brainwashed you. You have my deepest sympathies and the heartfelt hope that, one say, you will open your eyes to the truth and cast aside the shackles of the Cult that clouds your mind!

      • Mel B

        Carl ….
        I totally agree with you

  • Bob

    “I hope that you’ll read this, and more importantly, share it with believers, so they better understand what goes through an atheist’s mind when we hear, “Sending you prayers,” or something similar.”

    Here’s what goes through this atheist’s head: “they’re wishing me good luck in their own way. That’s nice of them.” See, I’m not autistic, so I don’t take offense.

    • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

      Except, as evidenced by any number of commenters on this thread, many of them ACTUALLY ARE being aggressive with their “I’ll pray for you.” You must accept it, you absolutely have to. If you are anything but what they term as “gracious” then you are mean and heartless. And by “gracious” they mean let them say whatever they want to say while your own beliefs and feelings are discarded and run over.

      If someone TRULY only wished someone well by “praying” for them, they wouldn’t be “saddened” and “offended” and “concerned” about this post.

    • Atheist Mama

      Not autistic? WTF? As if THAT is not offensive!

      • spookiewon

        I agree. I AM autistic, and using it as an insult is pretty offensive.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

      Bob, I noticed a number of atheists say the same thing. I see that your heart and spirit try to believe the best in people’s comments. :) I like that.

  • AnnRenee

    I believe in modern medicine and I am a Christian. I believe that God chooses certain people to be doctors.,just as some are lawyers or teachers or whatever.

    • Reason Rules

      Just as God chooses some people to be rapists and some to be greedy politicians, and some to be worthless, hypocritical “reality” TV stars who molest their young sisters while railing against homosexuals as “child predators”.
      You’re really going to go with “God chooses certain people to be doctors”? Really?

  • Sybil Windsor

    As an atheist in rural Texas I totally understand the need to vent.
    I gave what I could and was happy to notice you are nearly at half your goal in the first day! Excellent! I wish you and yours the best science and medicine have to offer. :)

  • Amanda

    As an agnostic, I find your self aggrandizing thoughts offensive. If people want to pray for your child or send positive thoughts, by all means let them. Your little blog is self serving. You’re just as bad as the extreme religious right. People like you won’t get the agenda across cause it’s deemed ugly. Au to set it back.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Amanda, I never said I’m not going to let people pray. In fact, I said multiple times that I appreciated it. The point of this letter is lost on you unfortunately.

      • lorib

        Those with truly closed minds often fail to open their ears, choosing instead to open their mouths first.

        It was a good article and a well thought out explanation.

        I wonder if a Wiccan offered to do a moon dance for a Christians sick child if the Christian also wouldn’t feel about the same as you do with all the prayers.

    • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

      How is he stopping people from praying for him? He’s not. He even said he appreciates their well wishes. But how is it actually kind to force someone to listen to your beliefs ALL THE TIME and never even take a moment of consideration for theirs?

    • Mark

      hey to break it to you but if you’re an agnostic, by definition you’re an atheist.

    • spookiewon

      Amanda, there is no agenda.

      And “agnostic” says nothing about your beliefs, simply about what you claim you know or can know. I’m also agnostic–I don’t claim I know if a god exists or not, or even that it’s possible to know.

      But I see no evidence that there is a god, and as with fairies, and gremlins, and unicorns, the default position is to disbelieve until there is some evidence of existence. That is, atheism is the default position for agnostics.

  • Liz

    I really don’t understand WHY it is so hard for people to respect each other’s beliefs and opinions. I am of Christian faith but completely respect how you feel and am glad you shared your thoughts on the subject. Nobody should force their beliefs on anybody else, ever, and now I will know how to better comfort a friend in need, who does not share in my belief. What a lot of Christians don’t understand is, if there WAS a person that decided they DID want to change (or believe), it would most likely be based on the ACTIONS of such called “Christian”, and not their words. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. We’re supposed to be an example by what we DO, not by what we say.

    Kevin, sending positive thoughts to you and your family. I hope all goes well and you can enjoy your baby boy at home very soon.

  • atheistsaremoreannoying

    On the flip side..since there is a God..the prayers do help whether you want them to or not..and a lot of you are in for a rude awakening when you are at hells doorstep for denying Him..as far as our prayers annoying non believers..it goes both ways..non believers rants are equally annoying..and you are annoying one judge who will not give you a pass..im not here to change minds..i could care less about those who deny going to hell..i am here to say if i pray for your kid just accept it..maybe the kid will accept Him and be welcomed to paradise instead of you

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      What a Christian comment! “I could care less (sic) about those who deny going to hell.” Let me know what verse of Jesus’s teachings that gem is from.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Lol..another atheist (sic) typical..oh..but i thought you didnt believe

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        The difference? I will ask forgiveness on Sunday for my comment..you will never ask for it..i do hope (pray) this boy can live a full healthy life and choose a better path than his folks.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Yes, because with religion everything is permissible. You just have to pray the mistakes away and you can start over. The rest of us have to be decent for humanity’s sake.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Good luck to your boy..thats what you want to hear, thats what ill say

      • Atheist Mama

        Oh, “atheistsaremoreannoying” – you finally get the point! About time.

        BTW, if you already know you are going to ask God for forgiveness on Sunday, why don’t you apologize to the person IRL you actually offended! He’s obviously reading your comments. (There’s no way he could miss them, there are so many.) So, why not apologize now for all the spiteful things you’ve said – to him and others here?!

        I always find it so funny how the atheist are usually the ones who take the time to construct sensitive, non-judgemental, open-minded statements while the so-called religious reply with mean, disrespectful and hate-filled comments. Writing that maybe his son will get into heaven but he won’t? That doesn’t seem very Christian to me!

        Atheists don’t need to be accountable to a God because we are accountable to ourselves. We know right from wrong and that we only have one shot at life, so we try to make the most of it as best we can. We try to be better people NOW because it is the right thing to do. That IS our reward – the good feeling we get inside. And when we make mistakes, we don’t need to wait until Sunday to apologize, we just do it.

        YOU are the Christian that a bad name to others of your faith who do have respect for different viewpoints. You wasted all of your energy preaching to an audience who is not buying what you are trying to sell. Wouldn’t your talents be put to use preaching somewhere else? 😉

      • Cindy

        Kevin,
        I could be wrong, but I think the guy is saying that he could care less . . . . about arguing with you or anyone who disbelieves in a hell. . . . “since he is not here to change minds.” There is no since in “throwing pearls before swine.” (a biblical quote) In other words to try to reason regarding spiritual things with those who have no desire to know.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Well since this guy has attempted to start a handful of arguments with nonbelievers on here, I’d have to say you’re wrong. I believe he’s actually saying he doesn’t care about those who don’t believe. If he couldn’t care less about arguing with nonbelievers he wouldn’t have left 18 comments, mostly directed at atheists.

    • RL

      Why would we go to hell for not believing in God when it is obviously God’s plan that we are following by not believing? Hypocrite!

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Nice try buddy. You didnt help yourself there at all

      • Cindy

        Why do you think it is God’s plan that you NOT believe? If God gives freewill to humans of course.

    • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

      I’m not sure the outcome of your blind hatred is going to be quite what you imagined it to be… but I’m sure that in the dark parts of yourself you already know that.

      Hell is a real state that exists in some people.

    • Jorge Soruco

      And what happens if you’re wriong and the big man is Odin, Zeuz or another of the thousands of gods in many mor religions?. Sir or madam you’re a troll than came to the wrong bridge.

      • Ray Clark

        Jorge, you have serious logical errors in your reply. Odin and Zeus or any of the thousands of gods are not GOD, as reason itself dictates there can only be ONE GOD and that GOD not any THING or being like Zeus or Odin myths. But I will spare you a course in logic, a course in theology or philosophy and just let you know that all your comment was, was nothing. Go back to school and study how to think.

        • Mel B

          You need to go back and read the bible and start being a bit kinder….God would not be happy with your behaviour….

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Well Ray Clark, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is NO difference between god, Jesus, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter or the rest. They are all mythological constructs made by Bronze Age people who had no other way to describe the world they lived in, so they created stories that could explain it. There ARE some logical errors being made here, sure enough. But NOT by Jorge.

  • Myra

    The last 6 years of my husband’s life he was in and out of hospitals. There were several times he was near death and he was on the edge of life and death. Many people came to me and offered me comfort with their prayers. Both my husband and myself were atheists. We took their kind words and thanked them politely. It gave them comfort. I didn’t mind the people who were clueless about my husband and my beliefs. They were reciting the polite thing to say no different then please and thank you. It was good manners. I highly doubt more than a handful actually prayed. They just said it, like you say god bless you when somebody sneezes. But the people that knew me and knew our beliefs, each time they offered a prayer I felt it was a slap in the face. An insult to who my husband was. As if you refused to respect what you know is our beliefs. They just felt they knew better.

    When he died 2 ministers came to be with me in the hospital. I told the nurse we were without faith, but they sent them just the same. I explained to the ministers that we were without faith, and they didn’t go. In the end I let them pray, and that got them to leave me in peace.

    I am making an assumption here but most of you believers are Christians. That seems to be the group that feels it is their duty to pray for us non-believers. Would you be polite if I showed up when your husband died and performed a Wiccan prayer over your loved one’s body. Because I would do that to make you feel better. I don’t believe in your god, but to make you feel good I could do the Wiccan thing. Maybe a Satanic mass in honor of your dead.

    No I am not crazy. Nor woul I dream of actually doing this. That would disrespect your beliefs and your grief. Why do you feel you have the right to disrespect my beliefs. If you know me, don’t pray for me. But please throw $2.00 into charity box for some medical research. That is what I believe in.

    • Donielle

      The difference with a Wiccan prayer is that it isn’t just about not believing in witchcraft, it’s about the spiritual repercussions we believe come from that. You don’t believe anything will change or be affected by our prayers, but we believe there are demons involved in Wicca that could cause issues and spiritual warfare around us if it were allowed. Same with the Satanic mass. Now if it were maybe a muslim prayer or Jewish prayer, that would be a better analogy.

      • MsRosyBrown

        You are missing point. :(

      • spookiewon

        You totally miss the point. You do just as much harm when you disregard our feelings about your prayers. Right or wrong, when you say “I’ll pray for you,” we hear “I am literally too lazy to do what would actually comfort you, so I’m just spitting out what comes into my mind first.” Myra and Kevin both made it clear that the theists who were offensive were the ones who KNOW we don’t believe in your god, but still feel the need to tell us you’re praying for us. Even though you KNOW we are not comforted by it, and would prefer you not tell us. You’re saying “I’m not interested in comforting you, I just want to appear to be interested in comforting you.”

        When someone doesn’t know we don’t believe, it’s a little presumptuous to assume we believe as you do, but we’re not generally offended. We can even appreciate that you’re doing what you think we’ll find comforting. But if you KNOW we don’t believe, it cannot be to comfort us, it HAS to be to comfort you.

        You are being as harmful to us in that instance as we would be by telling we would would say the “prayers” of a DIFFERENT imaginary god or gods for you or your loved ones. Wiccans don’t believe in any demons, BTW, only minor gods and mostly goddesses. And satanists don’t believe in anything supernatural–including Satan and/or any demons. You might do other religions the courtesy of at least knowing the basics of their beliefs.

        Pray to whatever being you choose. Pray for us or don’t. TELLING us you’ll pray for us when you KNOW we don’t believe will be taken as the selfish act that it is. And you know what? Wiccans never do tell us they’ll pray for us. They may. And they may make offerings to one of their goddesses for us. It doesn’t bother us, because they don’t make an issue of telling us about it. Satanists don’t pray, since they don’t believe in anything one might pray to.

      • Carl

        So in others Donielle, you’re saying that we should respect *your* beliefs whilst YOU disrespect what others believe? Typical hypocritical christian cultist mindset.

      • Carl

        Sorry, that should read “In other words”

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Sorry for being so OCD about this spookiewan, but most Wiccans do believe in a male and female aspect of deity. They are the incarnations that they offer thanks to during the Sabbats and other days. The Lord and the Lady feature in the story of the passing of the seasons. Different traditions may put more emphasis on one or the other, or both equally. But they do not offer any religious sort of comfort unless they are asked for it.

        But Wiccans don’t pray in the way that Christian do. They offer thanks, but most feel that deities do not answer or even listen to entreaties from us. What we do makes us feel better by showing our gratitude and during the performance of ceremony. Ceremony itself is more about raising energy than praying to deity.

        Wiccans are do not proselytize to others. If someone wants to know more about the way, or requests help, they find assistance. But not unless they ask first. How do I know all this? 30+ years as a Pagan Atheist. I like the philosophy and find some of the other elements interesting, but I don’t believe in the supernatural aspects of the philosophy. Think this is a contradiction in terms? It’s really not. For an explanation, just read the following links.

        http://semrys.blogspot.com/2012/12/pagan-atheists-yes-we-exist.html
        http://www.paganpathways-sheffield.co.uk/?Articles:Pagan_Atheism_%96_is_it_a_Contradiction_in_Terms%3F
        http://humanisticpaganism.com/2014/02/23/what-atheists-believe-too-by-trent-fowler/

    • Melissa

      Dear Myra, I’ve been reading these posts and it’s been making me pretty darn sad. So many people slamming each other for their belieffs. I wasn’t going to comment and add to the chaos, preferring to just red and learn, and then I read your post.

      I am so unbelievably sorry you had to go through that. I am a complete believer but I can’t imagine anyone imposing and hurting you like that. (I can imagine it – I just can’t imagine what must go through someone’s mind to do such hurtful and disrespectful things). You spoke to my heart and I just felt the need to express my sorrow that you had to experience that.

      Kevin, I hope your son does well as he is adjusting to life outside his Momma just a little too early. Thank you for sharing your thoughts during this difficult time for you and your family

    • Wendy

      Myra I am so sorry that you had to go through that at such a time as loosing your husband. I assure you that not all Christians are the same. Like I wrote in my post here, I am one who would rather honor the person who died and the ones left behind in the manor they prefer. However, not all Christians see it this way. I just hope you can see that we are not all out to convert ya. I hope that your healing journey is going well after your loss and you are finding some peace.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

      I think it’s reasonable that if someone knows you and how strong your belief is that you don’t believe, that they should not pray. But not everyone knows that. Is it possible to give people the benefit of the doubt in those cases?

      As Donielle pointed out, that atheist simply *don’t believe* in a spiritual power, right (ineffectiveness / futility of prayer)? Whereas a Wiccan or Satanist *believe* in SOMETHING, or SOME spiritual power (spiritual repercussion of that). If that’s the case, the analogy just doesn’t fit. :/

      But then the point is well taken – if you don’t want prayers, ask people not to pray. Sometimes it’s not about WHAT people say, but HOW they say it. In the case of Kevin, I will believe he has the best intention to express himself like you did and that the manner in which he chose to voice that was colored by the frustration of his current situation.

  • Nancy

    Congratulations and good wishes to you as parents of a preemie who is fighting to survive and thrive. I trust you have solid ethics, emotional strength, and physical fortitude to raise your boy to be a caring and loving person. I hope that you have a wonderful future watching your son grow into an amazing individual and fine citizen of the world. I know you’ll struggle, suffer, and worry cuz that’s what parenting is some days, entwined in among the amazing, fulfilling and fun days. I truly hope you don’t experience a negative outcome such as death or extreme deficit and disability.

    I will pray for you and your family because I believe in God and this mysterious, weird, wacky, wild, wonderful world He gave to us [and I thinks He’s prob done the same elsewhere in the universe]. And I do believe prayers works. Pax.

    • Atheist Mama

      No, you will pray because you are rude and disrespectful of this man’s wishes and his intentions writing this blog. If you truly understood what he was trying to say yet still felt compelled to respond, a simple “Best wishes” would have been fine. Instead, you and others feel it is your “Christian duty” to let this man know that not only do you disagree with him about prayer, you are going to protest by praying for him. You could have done that anyway without having to let him know. It’s the same as a slap in the face. “I know you said not to but I’m doing it anyway. And you can’t stop me! Na na na nah nah nah!”

      Yep, childish. I defy you to tell me it is anything but. It is what a child does when they are trying to push a parent’s buttons. I will do this right in front of you. I’ll show you, trying to tell me not to pray for your son.

      Yet again, you cannot see that this is pushy? This is what stop meaningful conversations dead in their place? This insistence, this privilege you feel that you don’t have to respect someone’s polite request?

      No, you are not doing it for Kevin. Be honest for once in your life. This man wrote this blog for support. He has fans here on his personal page. If he wanted a debate he would have posted an op-ed on Buzzfeed. You have only succeeded in wasting his time that could be focussed on reading only positive, supportive words. I feel bad for people who cannot see past their own selfishness and self-righteousness. ::sigh::

      • Nancy

        Atheist Mama, why are you SO intolerant and angry with me? You don’t have an clue who I am, inside or out, but just a few words on the ‘puter screen have blown you off into some angry b*tch sphere. Get a grip. I was 100% truthful in everything I said. Your response is angry, judgmental, and rude. Take your harsh and self righteous attitude elsewhere, lest I pray for you too! ;-).

      • Atheist Mama

        Nancy, looks like YOU are the one people see as the “self-righteous” and “judgemental” one. You’re the one in “angry bitch sphere!” Hahaha. You should “get a grip” and stop being “angry,” “harsh,” “judgemental” and “rude.” 😉

        I am being 100% truthful in what I wrote as well. My comments were in response to the words you did share. You didn’t have to share a lot to show how disrespectful you were to the author’s simple request that you not pray for him or his baby.

        Wodering why YOU got all the thumbs down? Maybe you should start praying for your God to help YOU see the error in your ways. You are the arrogant and self-righteous one in your insistence to pray for someone eho asked not to be prayed for… and your refusal to see the bigger picture here. I feel sorry for you. You must feel hurt and disappointed a lot. And surprised and confused too!

    • Nancy

      I have to ask…why the thumbs down, peeps? Just cuz I said I will do what I believe in? I offered congrats and good wishes to the new parents. I didn’t try to force anything on these stressed out parents who love and care for their child and face big $$ burden..

      I didn’t offer $$ cuz I can’t – I don’t have any to share at this time. So I offered what I have – my good thoughts in the form of prayer. What’s wrong with that? Are you ‘thumbs downers’ the type who thumbs down any and all who claim a belief in Deity? If your answer to my question is YES, then I ask you: Is that a kind or useful response to someone who has done you no harm?

      I have a few ahteist friends; we get along pretty well. I’m not praying specifically for their salvation. I include them in global prayers for peace, comfort, good health and happy lives for everyone around the world. Is that a ‘no no’ for you? Please don’t flame me – I’m truly just curious about the thumbs down responses.

      • Philip Atkinson

        You get downrated because the man opened his heart and said he finds people telling him they’re praying for him offensive. You’ve gone out of your way to do just that.

      • Nancy

        I’ve re-read Kevin’s open letter several times. He did not once use the word offend nor specifically say he is offended by someone’s offer to pray. He said several times he appreciates people’s desire to help, however inappropriate or ineffective that action may be to him and his family. I believe this is as close as he comes to saying he is ‘offended’.

        “By telling us you’re praying, you’re saying to us that you want to do something to help, and that’s appreciated. But the avenue of assistance that you’ve chosen is one that we feel is an ineffective one.”

        Philip Atkinson and Atheist Mama, you assert that I’ve offended Kevin. Don’t put words into his mouth; eat your own.

      • PatientJB

        I would assume, as Atheist Mama pointed out, it’s because you did exactly what Kevin asked people not to do. You said you don’t have money to offer at this time, so you offered what you have even though he said he didn’t want it, which is the entire point of his article. So, my question to you would be why offer him something he doesn’t want and feels is no help to him and his family in any way? If you feel praying to God is going to help then say the prayer to God and let that be it. Telling Kevin the thing he specifically said he doesn’t want to be told just seems disrespectful of his wishes, which is why I would assume the thumbs down.

      • spookiewon

        The reason for the thumbs down is that Kevin said very clearly that it was hurtful to him to tell him you’re praying for him and his son, and you actually went to the trouble to do what he just said was hurtful to him.

      • Atheist Mama

        No, Nancy, you completely missed the point. The thumbs down are not because you didn’t offer money or because you believe in a deity. You forced your “good thoughts in the form of prayer” on a man who specifically wrote this asking for people to NOT do that. Did you read his letter, or just skim it? If you had read the entire letter or any of his replies after that, you would see that this was a “no no” for him. I also think it is funny how you ask people not to flame you but you had no problem flaming me and using harsh, mean words in response to my reply. Works both ways! It’s amazing that you can blatantly disregard this man’s request, then be seriously upset and confused when people express their disapproval. Wake up and smell the coffee, Nancy! The world doesn’t revolve around you.

      • Atheist Mama

        Wow, Nancy, you really are thick. You re-read his letter several times but still missed the point completely. “Eat your words…” really mature. Go back and read it again, plus his other responses and he says the same thing repeatedly. He could not be any more specific. Not only does he find your form of prayer ineffective, he doesn’t want it. Plain and simple. If you want to be specific, I did not say he was “offended,” I said you were disrespectful to him. If you want to pick bones and say that he did not specifically say he was “offended,” go ahead and waste your time. It doesn’t take much to make the connection that HE was trying to be as respectful as possible in his statement. You are the disrespectful one for dragging this out.

    • Carl

      And you were going so well until that last paragraph. You went from kind, compassionate and understanding to “I don’t give a shit about your beliefs and I’m going to ram my cult down your throat to make me feel better” in the blink of an eye. Congratulations on being a part of the problem.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        I truly believe that most Christians are so blinded by their own beliefs, and the idea that only they are right, that they can’t see the bigger picture and understand that what they are doing is so wrong. That’s why when you debate them, you will often see them running in logical circles and are genuinely perplexed when you don’t accept the bible as proof that their statements are true. They really can’t grasp how anyone could ever doubt it as being all the evidence you ever need.

  • Jarrod C

    As a father of a daughter who was also born 12 weeks premature and spent 12 weeks in the NICU, I can empathise. It was this event that actually caused my wife and I to give up religion for good as we could see that it wasn’t a fictitious magical being that healed our daughter, but dozens of nurses and doctors that attended to her around the clock. She is now 5 years old, smart, healthy and loves science! Hang in there.

  • Tammy chartrand

    Every one has a right to there own believes I personally am just extremely happy your son is doing good and hope he continues to do so and get stronger every day

  • jbdean

    First, I hope you and your family continue to be healthy and happy! :::HUGS TO YOU ALL:::

    Second, AWESOME letter and so true! Prayers are like wakes and funerals. They’re done for the living, for those doing it and not for those that it’s being done for. I used to be religious … very much so and I learned that good and bad happen to both. if there is a god and he/she wants us to know they exist, then help the believers only. Otherwise what’s the point?

  • Jim

    I respect your choice to be an Atheiest – completely. I respect every living human on the planet, in fact. Unless they have personally wronged me in a significant manner. Yet you have completely BASHED my choice to be a Christian with your “Open Letter”. EXTREMELY one-sided and prejudiced don’t you think??

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      You have every right to be a Christian. I’m not “bashing” your choice to believe. And yes, it’s one-sided, because it’s MY side. It’s a letter FROM ME. Who else’s side would I be talking about?

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        He is lying..this is all about atheism and not his little boy

    • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

      How is it bashing? All he’s done is state that he doesn’t believe and ask for respect.

      If anything, you’re bashing.

      • Tammy bevins

        I don’t think either are bashing, just stating their opinions.

    • Atheist Mama

      Stating an opinion and making a personal request in a respectful manner is bashing your religion
      …. how exactly? I think he was being very open minded by acknowledging that he appreciates the well wishes, etc.

      As for “Mr more annoying…” do you actually have a life? You have stated your opinion repeatedly. You don’t agree with the writer. Is it necessary for you to continue to bash him every other post? Yes, you are bashing him. Who gives you the right to judge his intentions? Who the f&#k are YOU doing this for? What is your agenda? If you have been compelled to insult him in such an un-Christian-like manner repeatedly you must have an agenda of your own. Are you a clergy person? I highly doubt it because the Jesus I read about would never condone your way of treating people. Instead of wasting space, why don’t you go see a preist or pastor and examine your own conscience? Seems like you’ve got something to prove, buddy! 😉

  • Meghan

    I’m a religious person but not as religious as alot of people are (if that makes any sense). I understand what you mean though. It is because of modern medicine and doctors that I am still alive today. I won’t pretend to even have an idea of the pain you’re going through but I know people that have. I know that it takes alot of strength and faith (in the medical sense) to get through something like this. I hope that everything turns out well for you and I’ll say that I’ll keep you in my thoughts(cause I suck at the whole praying thing). I hope he can come home soon completely healthy.

  • LCspalding

    I’m trying to figure out when did being a Christian mean you don’t believe in modern medicine???

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for sharing. This is exactly how my husband and I felt during the 4 years between our infant daughter being diagnosed with a heart condition and her heart transplant at 4 years old. We are so thankful to science, her organ donor, and medical professionals for her life.

  • Ash

    I personally can’t give a donation, but I do hope everything goes well for you and your family. I was born 2 months premature and am still going strong 24 years later. Whenever I have some money, I will donate to March of Dimes or another organization or something while thinking of your family. I’m sorry that I can’t help now. I always feel emotional when I hear about another preemie.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10206711429201492/ Katrina Schulz

    You realize, of course, that there are Christians who do not shun medical science and see it as a tool.
    Not all religious people believe that you should not seek medical intervention to conceive. There are some of that opinion but you are making grand assumptions about Christians as if, they would be just generally ignorant and would refuse medical treatment or an emergency c-section because “I gave it all to God and he will get me through this”. Painting an entire group of people with such a negative light when they just wanted to show you love and support is awful. I am a humanitarian at heart and find your jaded perspective on this matter completely disheartening. It’s ok to take donations from someone you totally abhor just to lessen your burden as long as you patronize them first?! I wish you well. I also wish you could just be at peace rather than choosing to be combative.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      I never said all religious people shun medical science. I’m not an idiot. Maybe you should read the letter again without the preconceived notion that you’re about to be persecuted, and you might actually understand the sentiment behind it.

  • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

    I find the comments from the “praying Christians” both disturbing and fascinating. Basically, it sounds like the only thing acceptable for an atheist to do, ever, is allow Christians to run roughshod over them and say whatever they want whenever they want. It’s apparently never, ever, ever, offensive for a Christian to (no matter how aggressively) speak down to an atheist with a smug “I’ll pray for you”, but it’s ALWAYS offensive for an atheist to see that gesture as anything but sweet and wonderful and well-meaning and from a “heart in the right place”. Rejecting this supposition means one is asking to be preached to and is “ungracious” and “zealous”.

    I’m incredibly sorry that so many Christians are taking it upon themselves to add to your emotional burdens and take responsibility for their feelings and beliefs while disrespecting theirs. Congratulations on your incredible new addition. Humans and science are amazing.

    • Motherunit420

      I wish I could up-vote this comment more than once.

  • http://sunnshyneone.wordpress.com sunnshyneone

    I wish your son, and your family well. I am glad he continues to improve every day. I am equally glad that you have very talented and knowledgeable medical professionals caring for him and your wife. Be well.

  • http://angryathena.wordpress.com Athena

    Hey Kevin,
    Congrats on the addition to the family. Little Grayson is adorable and I’m sure will grow to be just as strong as his Daddy. I wish I could “tithe my 10%” (lol, see what I did there?), but alas, I am poor… at least I know you’ll forgive me for it.

    That said, I just want to point out to others. As atheists, it is not our job to belittle others for having faith in something we very clearly do not have faith in. If they want to believe in something that we choose not to, it is not our place to tell them they are wrong and tell them to “get with reality” and various belittling comments. I’ll give you all the same statement my father gave me when I told him I was no longer a Christian, “Someday, [they] will open [their] eyes and see the truth in front of [them].” And if not, NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Kevin said his piece. Not every Tom, Dick, and Mary needs to come in behind him like an angry mob and beat down those who see it differently.

  • http://angryathena.wordpress.com Athena

    Reblogged this on Namiland and commented:
    I agree with Mr. Davis’s stance on sending prayers to an Atheist in their times of need.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1463442715 Lori Alayne Weber Miller

    Not praying for you. Because if your son is healed and lives you will credit science and medicine and money. mustn’t forget the go fund me account. You have chosen your gods You have credited your son’s very existence to science and medicine. But science and medicine only exist at the permission of God and the very breath in his lungs was given to him by his creator and no science or medicine called his soul into being. You just flipped God the bird . You do not even know to be afraid. I pity you , but there is no point praying for you.

    • Atheist Mama

      Hahaha! So, “screw your baby because you don’t believe.” Soooo Christian of you. God would be proud!

    • ThisGuy…

      You are an awful person.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1396989853963571/ Angels Armada

      @Lori – “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

    • Kevin Dail

      I cannot fear that in which I do not believe.

    • Omar

      You see, those types of statements are what make people shy away from acknowledging their faith in a public forum. I’m Catholic, have been since I was a boy, and and as a believer in the same God as you, you disappoint me. Frankly, you disappoint him.

      To say that you will not pray for someone because they do not believe in what you believe in is absolutely opposed to what the Bible (and any interpretation of the texts say). Kevin said he did not welcome expressions of Prayers, and while people still continued to do so, at least they were doing it from a somewhat pious place.

      To tell a man, whose son has been born prematurely and is in the NICU, that you will explictly NOT pray for him is just plain cruelty. Not that it phases him. That’s not even the point. It’s that you are poisoning God’s word. You are “weaponizing” it against a fellow human. And for that you should really take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you’d say those things in the presence of God himself.

      That is what so many fanatics on both sides of the argument miss. You do not need to be mean, cruel, vicious to another person simply because you don’t believe in the same things.

      *Atheists plug your ears here* :)
      Jesus taught us that strength does not come from exerting your will over another. Nor from being able to hurt other people. He taught us to be HUMBLE. To turn the other cheek, whether in defiance, or to demonstrate the strength of our faith. In that no act of aggression could bring us to retaliate in kind. We must strengthen our faith by holding firm in our faith, in spite of all the challenges that we are faced with. And we should share our knowledge with those that welcome it, whenever they choose to receive it. You are missing the point of religion entirely if you think you have any right to condemn another person. I understand that you’re passionate about your faith, but when will people realize that the thoughts and actions of another person can never collapse your faith unless you allow it?

      *Atheists you can unplug your ears now* :)

  • Awaken The Soul

    If we are all connected in the universe, then there is nothing wrong with prayer. I’ve actually started saying “sending positive vibes” because I got tired of atheists telling me my prayers meant nothing. Wrong. Positive thought has so much power. So what if the Yahweh God is a myth? People are still taking time to think of you in your moment of need and ask the universe to give back positive things.

    Christians like me don’t shun medical science. We pray for the doctors, we pray for the nurses, we pray for good things. Good vibes in the universe. But I know that the doctors are skilled, educated and most are well versed in the latest treatments. That doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days, and sometimes, the Universe needs to give a little so they have a successful moment. If that’s God or just the soul of the world, who knows? I don’t and you don’t. We’ll find out when we die.

    Just so you know. If my parents had not prayed for a miracle, I would not be here. Because medically, there is no reason I should exist as my father was declared sterile due to a lot of medical issues. But both my brother and I were conceived….and we are my father’s kid…

    • Motherunit420

      Just because science does not yet have an explanation for something, that doesn’t mean that a god has caused it. Back when the bible was written, people didn’t know where the sun went at night. People didn’t understand chemical imbalances in the brain, so aberrant behaviour was blamed on demonic possession. They filled in the blanks with god. As time goes on, we are able to fill in more and more blanks.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      We won’t find when we die. Either of us. You can’t know anything when you don’t exist. Death is utter oblivion. This is the only life you will ever get. Don’t waste it.

  • http://gravatar.com/recreationistme Cynthia

    You know what the religious people will say to your atheist beliefs – that God allowed your son to be conceived in the lab, granted the gifts of medicine to the people who assisted in your son’s conception and saving his life. God gives gifts to these people to assist HIM with HIS work. Really, you simply couldn’t shake their beliefs – they think up all kinds of answers to explain why miracles happen and why some do not – which may be because of some kind of sin was committed and a punishment had to be delivered. My Mormon grandmother told my deaf parents that they were deaf because of some kind of sin they committed in their childhood….my mother turned deaf at age of 4 and my father at 5. That was the kind of nutty thinking that turned my father off on Mormonism and eventually religion altogether. As for myself, I’ve always doubted the whole idea of religion since I was quite young when my parents took me to church just to expose me to that world and at age of ten, I told my parents no more church. I never took my sons to church but they learned plenty from religious family members and people in general and decided for themselves that they don’t believe in religion either. Logical thinking tells us religion is full of loopholes with weak attempts to be filled up with lame explanations. All I can say is “God” definitely did not gift them with logical thinking skills – just faith in the idea of HIM.

  • http://www.jesuslovesyou.com Sinner

    Science cannot fix a heart, nope it cannot – physical yes – but it cannot fix a broken heart of a man who needs help with it’s pain, that’s what he meant – YOU MISSED THE POINT!!! Next time you do not believe in a GOD – just remember how perfect the WORLD is, not humans – the world – The sun is at a perfect distance and cannot fry us to death, the most perfect food for our bodies grows from the ground and not made by man, like apples, oranges, bananas and etc – and everybody is missing the point about prayers, prayers are not meant for a quick dialogue with GOD – it is done with fasting and continues prayers for hours. One more thing, just remember “Nothing can come from nothing” – maybe GOD is a sadistic dickhead to some people, but he owned US until Christ came, so he can do what he wishes to people, but since Christ died for our sins, there is now a choice – and your life will continue to go the way it goes. The choice is now in your hands for your sins, either die with sin, or choose to accept Christ and let him take care of your sins from the past. I would hate to think ALL this life and earth and universe is just here to fuck with our minds and there is nothing to it in the end, if that is the case – why go through all the BS of life, jobs, fights, bills, despair, problems, diseases, health problems, divorce and other shit – do you love that life enough to endure all the crap this life has to give us. There is a reason why our minds are so attached to this world and afraid to die when the time comes. When the time comes – you’ll know what I mean…

    • spookiewon

      The world is far from perfect. We are here and not elsewhere not because someone made this place perfect for us, but because we evolved to fit the niche in the universe we’re in. As to something coming from nothing, there is no evidence there ever existed “nothing.”

      Atheism is the reason we cling to life. We know there isn’t anything else.

    • Kevin Dail

      A good psychologist and proper medication can heal your “broken heart”. Try again :)

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      You may like the idea of being merely a plaything of a capricious supernatural being, but I don’t. Since there is NO evidence to prove otherwise, you can keep your fables away from me. No thank you!

  • http://www.jesuslovesyou.com Sinner

    Sorry one more thing – I always find it funny that atheists are so strong to disagree about something that is not real to them. Your doing exactly the polar opposite of what Christians are doing and it’s just as strong argument. If believe in nothing? Why even come to a site like this to argue about something is not real, that seems pretty crazy to me “Think about it for a moment” your coming to this site and telling people you do not believe in a GOD that is not there. It goes both ways too… And to the person with the premature baby – I will just say and respect your wishes and say “Good Luck”

    • http://rosiemama.wordpress.com rosiemama

      God is not real. “Christians” who shove their weird beliefs on other people and insist upon praying ARE real. Nobody is arguing about God — they’re asking REAL PEOPLE to stop being self-righteous jerks.

    • ThisGuy…

      Christians, or any type of theist, just don’t get it. You see, if there were grown ups who still believed in Santa Clause and wanted to enact legislature based on this belief in Santa, or teach Santa in schools, or have Santa on the currency stating the belief that Santa does exist and the country is founded on this belief, I think the only responsible thing to do would be to point out that Santa is not real. When this group of people continue to insist on this ridiculous claim it might require a more direct approach. Maybe websites and open forums will help to address these ridiculous claims and will keep others from being misinformed. It might help people realize the difference between fantasy and reality. Maybe this will eventually help society evolve away from these ancient superstitions that ultimately cause more harm than good. Maybe we would see a society that begins to excel because these superstitious ideas no longer get in the way, just maybe. If however, we allow ridiculous ideas like Santa to go unchecked we will never get past them and will always be stuck with those few who continue to insist that Santa Clause is real.

      Even though Christians could never equate their belief with the belief in Santa, much of the world does. Meaning that Santa is as real to them as the Jesus/God Bible story is. Then they are surprised when those who see their belief as the equivalent of a belief in Santa try to help them out of the mess they were most likely born into. My thoughts are with you all.

    • Kevin Dail

      Only to defend the atheist author from all the xtians attacking his post.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      For one thing, we did not come to this site to get into an argument about religion, you did. We came here to read the comments from the person runs this site, not yours. No one asked you to come here start an argument. You did that all on your own. This is not a theist site, it is an atheist one. You showed that the reason you’re here is to start a fight. The author didn’t come here. It’s his site and the rest of us his fans. You are the one who came here to get sh*t started.

      As for the other point you made, we would be happy to never have to say another word about religion. But since you folks won’t shut up about god this, god that and let’s put god here where he doesn’t belong, we don’t have much choice, now do we. If you theists would just quit trying to force your god into every nook and cranny of our lives and the internet, you wouldn’t have to hear from us anymore.

  • Wendy

    Kevin I want to thank you and wish you and your family well. I am a Christian and I do pray, but that is not what I am here to thank you for. I am a Chaplain for a local fire department and what your blog taught me today is a new way of helping those who do not believe in God as I do. I am quite good at what I do, but please know that I do not go in preaching. I do not believe that is the time or place for that. I am there to help with the next steps after a death has occurred and this is not always an easy task. What you have allowed me to see in this post I will take with me on my journey. Thank you. I hope that your sweet baby will be home soon and you and your family can get on with your everyday dealings. I hope that your 4 year old has many years of playing with this sweet gift you have the responsibility of raising and caring for. Thank you for your honesty and for having a heart caring enough to thank those who think differently than you. Keep strong. Wendy

    • http://www.facebook.com/585313670 Anneke Steyn Barnard

      Thank you Wendy….. tolerance, respect and acceptance. That is how we should live.

  • Rebecca79

    This is my first ever comment on a blog post. Your post hit a note with me. My husband and I grew up in a very christian (some would say fundamental) homes, but as adults no longer believe. Many of our friends and families are still believers. I am currently on bed rest after a serious bleed that very nearly led to an preterm emergency csection. This is also my second child (both conceived through IVF). I feel your frustration. I see so many, “God is good, he healed our baby” (by that logic did he not also then make the baby sick??) and have received many similar comments about my situation and how good God is for letting the baby stay inside longer. Some of these comments come from the same people who said they do not agree with IVF and therefore think my baby should not exist in the first place.

    I find the praising of God for healing someone strange. If the person is healed, “God is good”. If a person is not healed, I never see, “God is bad”, but rather some form of, “everything happens for a reason”.

    Over many years in a church, I have seen numerous situations where many many people have come together to pray for an individual to be healed. Sometimes they get better, sometimes they don’t. So as you say, what is the point of prayer? Hypothetically, if God does exist, and his decision regarding who will be healed or not is not already made, then what do christians logically think sways the choice? The number of people praying? (I’ve seen thousands praying for “miracles” that haven’t occurred), does it just depend on God’s current mood? Or is it pre-decided and therefore, prayer is pointless? I have had many such discussions with my Christian family members and friends, but unable to answer, I am given the standard Christian response, “God works in mysterious ways”.

    My toddler and baby exist due to the modern medicine and science. It was also medicine and science that stopped my bleeding. It will be medicine and science that will be utilized for my high-risk csection. I would like to give credit, where credit is due.

  • Daphne

    To the family!
    Both my sons were born 12 weeks premature and they are grown men wth their own families. And this was back in the 70s. Doctors, medicine and science has really advance.
    Now my question is are they able to cure all diseases l, bring back our love one from their graves, stop our love ones from dying, put an end to mental illness, stop the spread of diseases, stop people from aging, keep food and water plentiful and clean without chemical use, without cloning our animals, stop starvation, stop peopl from killing each other which has to do with the way they think. Are scientists able to create a world free from all disasters, diseases, pestilence, Death, Aging, stop earthquakes, disaster’s weather, cure people blindness, the Deaf, the Cripple, Mental illness.
    Can they create a world where people lives perfectly Healthy where we never Die? Is that Possible from Scientists? Because if you stand back and take a good look at whats happening it seems to be getting Worst! I want to live forever! Is that possible from Scientist’s? Just asking.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      Not… yet…

  • Cecilia

    Thank you for your honest and kind explanation regarding your feelings. As a Christian I would like to say that God works in many ways and one of the most important ways are through other people. I am not going to pertonise you with my thoughts on that regarding your family situation. You are hurting enough, but keep on relying to all those around you, may they keep you strong and give you hope.

  • http://www.facebook.com/religionlost Brandon

    Some of these comments are truly unbelievable. I’m pretty sure this was the first time that I literally face-palmed. No joke. I involuntarily covered my eyes/forehead after a comment.

    Anyways, good luck Grayson!

    • ThisGuy…

      Several times myself. LOL

  • yahweh son

    All i can say to you kevin is that the worst you can ever be is an atheist, this is probably some atheist site promoting to confuse people. Lets not forget that almost every single soul on here has not read the bible from front to back, however with that being said, how can you say that there isnt such thing as god then? You wouldnt say you did not like the taste of something if you havent tryed it?. The strongest belivers know that there is science in the bible and where there is good there is evil. Science came from god a ‘supernatural’ spirt/frequency, when he said let there be light science took place and formed life in the universe. You can take the easy route to not belive or research, just know that there has been many trials and tribulations where people have seen good and bad spirits here on earth. I am one of them.the fact remains in vice versa, to belive that there is god you have to know the devil exist. In conclusion
    , Good and evil will forever be at war and its been like this always.we are devided in two: life and death, good and evil, light and dark. Evil spelled backwards is life etc. The point is you have to pick your side as god picked his. Im not here to insult you just here to give you clarification and my blessings to you and your family . Thank you and may god the deliverer deliver you out of your situation. Ps. Im not amused that they’re more likes from nonbeliveres then belivers on here because the bible already stated that there will be as many as there is grain of sand on the beach , that will not be saved.

    • http://www.facebook.com/585313670 Anneke Steyn Barnard

      Hey son of Yahweh……. you are talking about something you don’t even close know enough about to allow you to comment. You are clearly one of the brainwashed children of the Israel vision. There is no god, the sooner you catch a wake-up and realize this, the better for you. I hope you are still young and stupid so that there may still be a possibility to learn more in life.

      Oh and just to scare you even more….. there also is no such thing as a devil.. All these deities have been created in the minds of sick old men wearing dresses and smoking Opium pipes. The hallucinated from the drugs and thought up all these wonderful stories you today know as your one and only holy script.

      My best advise as always….. Try and think for yourself, don’t leave that job to others or pay a priest or family member or friend to do the thinking for you. You got to think for yourself. You owe it to yourself.

      I rest my case

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks for your idiotic and presumptive comment. FYI, I’m a former born-again Christian. And then I got educated.

    • spookiewon

      Have YOU read your bible from cover to cover? Because I have, and a good number of other atheists have as well, It’s the CAUSE of many atheists becoming atheists.

      Feel free to believe as you like. But don’t tell us what we do or should believe.

      • Cindy

        Anyone can read a book about someone, even a million times. It doesn’t mean they understand the person they read about nor does it mean they knew them. , , ,

    • Kevin Dail

      yahweh son: All I manage to read here is… “blah blah blah up yours.” So, the same to you :)

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      Don’ bet on it… http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/

      “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” ―Isaac Asimov
      “The best cure for Christianity is reading the bible.” ―Mark Twain

  • Satans Son

    Satan or whomever be with you , if thats your cup of tea, please drink. To each his own, our world has to many wars transpiring for centuries due to religious belief, everyone should have their belief and be left alone.

    • Atheist Mama

      Why do so many religious people automatically assume that if someone says they are atheist they probably worship Satan? It’s so hilarious. Atheists believe in neither, they don’t deny the existence of God to worship the devil! Get real, people! You don’t need to say “….or whomever be with you.” It doesn’t need to be said at all. It’s not a complicated thing, really!

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Noone says you worship Satan..of course you dont believe in either..however Satan is in you whether you believe or not..thats what we are saying..its not that complicated. .really

      • ThisGuy…

        Well Atheistsareannoying, despite your belief that Satan exists I must let you know that there is no Satan, because Moloch has deceived you. Moloch is in you whether you believe it or not. You would not say the things you do if Moloch did not possess you. Repent now.

      • spookiewon

        Even satanists don’t believe in or worship Satan, FFS. Why would atheists?

      • Anne

        Because most Christians are uneducated & ignorant, at least in this country.

      • Kevin Dail

        Once again, I cannot fear that in which I do not believe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/585313670 Anneke Steyn Barnard

    To Tammy Bevins,

    Tammy, you clearly have a lot of comment to offer. First i want to tell you how very sorry i am that you had to go through the experience of losing a child. No parent should ever go through that.

    Then i seriously need to ask you a question as a response to a comment you made:

    You mentioned that during the time your child was ill lots of people sent prayers and good wishes. None of those made a difference you said, because your child died anyway.

    Question: If your child survived, would you be thanking your god and telling everyone what a great god he is?

  • Mike

    I never understood the fight between believers and nonbelievers? Why does there have to be a choice? Science explains so much about our everyday life and our struggles to survive in this world, but a belief is a belief – it´s not about knowing. That is the point! When life hands us situations that really complicates our reasons to love and maybe to live, the point of believing is to hand those questions over to something outside of us. So we won´t hate ourselves or each other for doing mistakes. It´s been done for thousands of years all over the world ( almost to the point of being a part of the science of homo sapiens) I see believing as a necessary tool in a world gone mad. yes beliefs has caused a lot of suffering, but everything that will set off power struggles will – money, power, politics and religion. That is the way of the human race. I am glad that the doctors, nurses and equipments saved your child – this is worth all the thanks in the world for contributing to mankind. But if your child would have died, instead of blaming yourselves for not understanding the signs in time or blaming the doctors for doing something wrong I would have no problem if you “survived” by avoiding the harsh reality by “handing it over to god”. I actually think this is a normal tried and true response within the human mind. Belief acting as a belief when science fails is as natural as blaming science – whether it is Luke Skywalker, God or dead relatives you believe in.
    And when people say they are praying for you, why can´t you find comfort in a community coming together showing that they care for you? Or would you rather they gave money and not verbalizing their support?
    It sounds to me that you have old issues with religion, wanting people to take you seriously and adapt to your way of living. As if by mentioning God and Prayers they are personally trying to insult you. Sometimes you just gotta let people be who they are and receive their love.

    • Kevin Dail

      It is not healthy to believe in nonsense. And they often are trying to insult us.

  • gurucat

    I really only have one thought about this offensive post. The astonishing negativity in response to positive offerings of care and love is heartbreaking to me. And to justify it by *deciding* to be offended at those offerings of care and love? Guess what – you get to choose how people affect you. You get to decide to focus on the positive feelings that are being sent your way, rather than choosing to respond with negativity. No one else gets to make that choice for you but you. How sad that you choose ill feelings in response to expressions of love – a decision that has nothing to do with religious leaning. I’m actually with Tammy on this: “Life is way too short to take offense to someone offering care or kindness.”

  • http://jessdennand4.wordpress.com dennandjess6

    So sorry your family is dealing with this. But congrats on your new baby! my husband was born at 28 weeks 45 years ago and is a strapping 6’2″ surfs 20 foofoot waves and still hasn’t beat his high school track record! we have a few little fighters of our own too. our oldest has had type 1 diabetes for 11 years and our 5 year old suffered a stroke when I was 36 weeks pregnant and we also lost 2 babies to miscarriages. as a parent it’s the hardest thing we will ever do, watching o ur children suffer. I am so thankful every day f or mygirls and for the modern medicine that has saved them everyday! I personally belive in god but not a bit in religion. i refuse to stuff it down people’s throats. But il the article did make me think about how much I hate hearing those stupid sayings. to me, God’s plan is for us all to grown and be healthy and live forever. HOWEVER, that is not the world we live in. We are born into a broken world where people get sick and evil lurks. I could totally be wrong that there is a god. but when I sat by my daughters bed while she was slipping away I didn’t feel alone. when I see her beautiful spirit, I can’t imagine that it’s only sci ence. I don’t believe God is a magical being with a wand to fix us. for me it just who picks me up. I HATE when people interject themselves and say it’s gods plan. or the baby would have been sick. or y add a y add a yadda! what crap! I try to make sure o am being respectful of others beliefs when they tell me something like this is happening in their life. yes I will pray for them, as I have been in their shoes. will I tell them that I am? not if I don’t know their faith.i will tell them we will be thinking and hoping good things for them. so I totally get where you came from. just thought I’d let you know that not all Christians buy some of that legalistic sela serving crap. some of us belive simply I’m grace and loving one another the way we feel we have been loved by our God. I personally can totally agree and understand your position and hope for the very very best for your baby boy and family. we don’t have to be love in the same things to believe in each other and believing that good things are possible! the n ur see and the docs that care for these babies are the best! they are our soldiers fighting with us in the trenches. what you are going to find is that this is the strongest kid you will ever meet. these special kids are made of steel and snuggles ; D♡so with that, good night and many healthy hopes and a quick recovery for your little man!

    • http://jessdennand4.wordpress.com dennandjess6

      omg. typed on my phone.lol. major typos from sucks auto correct! please don’t grammar crucify me!

  • Atheist Mama

    Kevin, first of all, CONGRATS on the birth of your son. Second, you have just found yourself a new “convert” – to your blog, that is! I happened to stumble upon this post last night and I felt compelled to read all of the comments – something I rarely do and which I know my body is going to regret in a few hours! LOL.

    I’ve commented under several replies already. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your post. You summed up perfectly things I wish I had been able to say as succinctly in the past. One of my children was born premature and spent quite awhile in the NICU. It was a life changing event that we managed to make our way through and came out stronger for it in the end. But, throughout that time we had to endure the same as you and your wife when it came to not only offers of prayer but explanations as to how this was all part of God’s plan and how my deceased mother was looking down on us and assisting our baby somehow, and how we should be grateful for God’s goodness… blah blah blah. “Religious privilege” makes people assume we all must believe in SOME kind of higher power and that we should all find comfort or at least be appreciative of their religious sentiment. When they find out otherwise, we are offered their prayers of pity for our souls and hopes that we will eventually see the light and be saved.

    When my first child was born healthy despite a long and complicated labor, we were told my recently deceased mother was looking out for her. When my second child was born healthy after my nearly hemorrhaging, we were told God was looking out for us. Then we had to endure the preaching and posturing times 10 when I went into early labor and all throughout the weeks of NICU hell. Most of the time I bit my tongue and gritted my teeth because it was difficult enough for my husband and to handle lack of sleep and living at the Ronald McDonald House away from our other children, racking up debt and worrying about every precious ounce and temperature reading of our baby. However, no one should have to be subject to religious lecturing at time when they just need support. What does that look like if you don’t pray? If you can’t be there in person to help out or if you have gifts of food, childcare, housework or money to donate…? Simple – validation and moral support. Be an ear to listen when they need to vent, without judgement or unsolicited advice. Validate them and empathize with their feelings if you can. Not everyone wants a solution when they vent, just listen. Respect if they say they need space and time. Offer to be there when they are ready. Send a gift card! 😉

    Kevin, your suggestions for helping are excellent. I know we couldn’t be more grateful for the foundation who donated the family and relaxation rooms at rhe hospital, plus the Ronald McDonald House. We donated to them when we were able.

    There are many ups and downs when your baby is in the NICU. Many sleepless nights. I hope you and your wife can find some moments of rest. Enjoy the little moments that happen each day as your baby gets stronger and hang on to those. Our baby just lost her first tooth but it doesn’t seem that long ago that she was just 2lbs and we couldn’t wait till the day we could bring her home.

    I will be looking forward to your future posts on other topics too! 😉

    • Atheist Mama

      PS: Sorry that my reply seems to be missing random words throughout! Must. Get. Sleep. 😉

  • Sarah

    Yawn. So you’re saying “I believe differently from you. When you say you’re praying, I don’t think it works.” Well… big revelation? There’s nothing offensive about you believing your own thing.

    Now if you were one of those dicks that gets all pissy just because someone else believes prayer works then you’d be a dick. But you’re saying you’re not. The people who get offended that you believe prayer doesn’t are the same kind of dick – people who get offended over meaningless stuff like that aren’t worth your time.

    “If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-year-old son, Ryan, would not exist.”

    Yeah. If you’re right. If you’re wrong, God did decide, provided the physical laws, the science and the human ability to comprehend them and encouraged learning through the church. All you’re doing is stating your beliefs again (though disguising it as fact)

    “So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you. But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.”

    Again, if you’re right. You can keep stating your opinions as facts but that doesn’t make you right (or evidenced). If you’re wrong, it does a lot to help him. So… again, big whoop? This is like a Muslim saying to a Christian:

    “So when you tell me you’re praying to the Christian God for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you. But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.”

    Yeah, no shit Sherlock, but what exactly is the point of talking about this. Clearly you don’t think it works and they do. So… what people have never heard of a Muslim/Atheist before? This kind of self-revalatory masturbation is a waste of everyone’s time.

    “my two children are anything but god’s plan”

    Citation needed. Assuming facts not in evidence. Your belief, that shouldn’t surprise anyone given you don’t believe in a God. I mean come on, are all your friends drongos?

    • Kevin Dail

      Please prove your silly god exists. Your argument fails.

  • Joe

    Yet another reason why this “morally corrupt” (according to the hypocrytical christian) athiest gives blood like clockwork. Your son might not have needed blood, but someone out there gets my blood. And that actual gift does more than all the prayers in the world.

    Kevin is dead to rights when he says prayer does nothing and it is an insulting way of saying a person empathizes with you but doesn’t want to do anything more than try to make themselves feel like they are helping…. in fact research has show that prayer either does nothing or makes the situation worse.

    A person would do more good coming to the hospital with lunch for Kevin & his wife than by praying.

    Different circumstances but my daughter was in the hospital with a respitory infection when she was a month old. I can understand a bit of what you guys are going through. If we were in the same city would ask if there was anything you guys need.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks, Joe. And thank you for giving blood. Grayson has has multiple transfusions because he’s too young to make the blood cells he needs fast enough to keep up. In fact, he’s getting a transfusion in the picture shown in the post.

      • yahweh son

        All it takes is faith as big as a mustard seed. Thats all!

    • Cindy

      Joe what makes you think Christians do nothing but pray?

  • Summer

    I am not a devoutly religious person. However I do know that there are many different belief systems. You are clumping all faiths into the fundamentalist category and arguing that God doesn’t want you to have kids because medicine made it possible. That statement is about as short sided as they come. Yes some religions do not believe in modern medical introvention. But many others believe you should use, to your greatest ability, everything you have to help your fellow man. And if what you have is intelligence, and you use it to help people through medicine, you are doing right. And honestly if my child was in danger and someone was offering some kind of comfort I’d be less argumentative, and more greatful. I don’t care if someone said they pray to a magic rainbow unicorn, I’d say thanks. Because when it is your child you will do or try anything to get them better. And I’d take all the help I could get. If you do not you believe that there is some greater form of collective conscience, that is fine, it is a free country, and your prerogative. But before you lump all faiths into one giant fundamentalist category do some research. I hope your child has a speedy recovery.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1676524071 Francine Valentina Arrington

    I am a minister who does not believe in a deity, it’s just a fairytale to make people feel better about their situations. I do believe in science and I do believe we create our world through are thoughts and actions. So if a prayer is a thought, an a thought is pure energy, as so many quantum physicist are now saying and proving, then stop looking at a prayer as a plea to a deity. Maybe it is just a form of creative ideas that we have as a collective labeled prayer. If all thoughts are prayers and all prayers are thoughts and thoughts create action, then a prayer is nothing more than energy being released to create our reality.

    • spookiewon

      You’ve read too much Deepak Chopra. No scientist ever has said anything like that.

    • Kevin Dail

      There is no proof that thought is “pure energy.” People without proper science education seem to think magical “energies” rerunning the universe. Not so. Do some study on real science, not pseudoscience.

      • Kevin Dail

        oops, are running the universe I meant :)

  • http://Www.anabellewilson.blogspot.com Alex Wilson

    Hi Kevin,
    It’s obvious you’ve made your mind up about “us” but I just want to offer my two cents. My objective is not to convert you or try to make you see things my way but more to help you understand that there are Christians who fully believe in the awesomeness that is modern medicine. My 4 year old daughter Anabelle was diagnosed with a rare terminal brain disease about two years ago and I have watched her go from full of life to having nearly none at all (her cognition is almost normal but she has no control over her peripheral muscles) . I don’t fully know God’s purpose for taking my daughter’s life away, but that’s a topic for another time. The only reason my daughter has the quality of life that she does have is because of modern medicine. She is on 9 different prescription medications in an effort to keep her as comfortable as possible. I believe that God gave those scientists and doctors the ability to create such advances for such a purpose. My husband and I have seriously considered PGD IVF as a form of conception for our next child because we would have a 25% chance of having another child like Anabelle if we did it the old fashioned way. I believe God has given us these tools to help us create and sustain life, not to “stay home and pray as their only means of treatment.” I guess all I’m trying to say is thank you for appreciating our attempt to lift you up in the best way we know possible. I don’t believe prayer reminds God of anything. I know He already knows it. I think prayers stirs hearts and minds to do something more. Like you said we’re just doing the best we think we can do for your child. What I am trying to convey is that there are some and probably many Christians that do rely on the advances of modern medicine. We are not all against it. In fact if I was to slice my hand open cutting vegetables I would go straight to the ER where I would be greeted by my mom (an ER triage nurse and a Christian) and I would let modern medicine help me put my hand back together. And I would ask the Lord for peace and a smooth recovery, not to remind Him or that I think He will change His plan to suit mine, but if I believe He is all knowing then I believe He knew I was going to pray in that moment and maybe my path was already to have peace and a smooth recovery. But if I don’t have a smooth recovery it’s not God’s fault for not heeding my prayers, it’s not anyone’s fault. My prayers are just my way of expressing what my hope is, and a reminder of what I want to choose to do in the meantime, which is seek peace. I hope this makes sense. Whenever we talk about religion and deities there will always be holes and answers I cannot provide. God tells me that in the Bible, and I’m okay with that.

    I truly pray Grayson gets to come home soon. Keep doing what your doing because it is obviously working for him ❤️

  • JuliaThePerson

    What I don’t understand is why all of the Christian people paying here can’t say to themselves, “Oh, this person finds being told that I’m praying for them to be emotionally trying in a time that is already emotionally exhausting. Perhaps, because I care about him and his mental stamina in a time when his family needs him to be strong, I will not tell him that I’m praying for his family. I can still actually pray, but I don’t have to tell him that, because he doesn’t want to hear it. My prayer will not be any less meaningful nor will the sentiment behind it be any less sincere. I will have done the act as required by my faith, but I will also have demonstrated a respect for his wishes.”

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Look at that, someone who gets it. Thanks Julia!

    • Danny

      Great Point Julia!

    • Liz

      exactly, Julia. it’s not hard. I don’t understand why people can’t comprehend it? you can still be a “good Christian” and show you care by asking how you can help this individual, specifically, and then do that. and then, yes, still pray for them if you wish but don’t have to mention it. why are people so adamant about forcing their beliefs on others? it’s very frustrating. personally, I would prefer- if you can’t or are not willing to offer what I am asking then don’t offer anything at all. if it has to be given under the terms of the giver, then it’s not freely given.

      • Carl

        Sadly it is my experience that people like that do it because their ego demands it – they desire some recognition of their “good deed”, to be praised for it. Having others acknowledge what they did and thank them for it makes them feel better. They may offer the prayer selflessly and with all the best intentions, but the moment they start saying “I prayed for you!” the act has become about them.

  • Heather

    Seems the point of this is to get money for medical care. Science can be a great thing, but It can makes things worse, as well. Be grateful EVERY day for your child because the outcome is never guarenteed. Try not to take offense as others try to wish you and your family well. Wishing you and your family the best during this trying time. Focus on what needs focusing on. Love while you can love, it is the greatest gift you can give!

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      If you think the point of this is to get money for medical care, you’ve missed the point. I added a donation link at the very bottom of this, knowing full well most people won’t even get that far. If it was about money, I would have led in with that. So insulting.

      • atheistsaremoreannoying

        Finally..someone who gets it..it IS all about the money..

    • Anne

      So what if it is to get money?? (It’s not). His child is gravely ill & he is frantic. Raising money for medical care is a whole lot better than keeping pastors in mansions. These posts from so-called christians who are admonishing him are cruel and off-base. Naturally they can’t see that because they are convinced of their own holiness. Give tangible help, or shut up. Or just be there, and still shut up. There is no need to announce your prayers! “I’m going to pray now! Watch me people!”

      • Cindy

        Most pastors are not rich living in mansions Anne. You are right that if a believer knows that someone is atheist then the kind thing to do is pray silently and go ahead and do those things if you are able that will comfort them. But sometimes what is natural for people comes so rapidly that it is said or done before they have thought about it. So kindness needs to go both directions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/100000281736203 Ann Carlisle

    My best wishes to you and your family Kevin. Your post was compelling and gracious, and I am sorry I am not in a position to aid you financially. To those of you who were offended, HE THANKED YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS which is the polite and positive thing to do even if he doesn’t believe those prayers will work. If you are a believer and it gives you comfort, more power to you. After being thanked, all a true believer need say is “you’re welcome.”

  • sybil

    Reading some of these comments is making my head spin. The impulse of some (not all) believers to completely ignore and/or criticize the request and feelings of the author is freaking mind boggling.

    If you happened across this man in real life at or near a hospital and saw that he was distraught with worry and concern and felt compelled to offer him kind words and a hug to comfort him only to have him recoil from your touch, express gratitude for you words then explain he is uncomfortable with physical contact from strangers. Would you react similarly? Would you tell him that he should accept your hug as the act of comfort you intended it to be regardless of the fact it actually makes him uncomfortable? Or if you happened to walk by and witness this occurrence would you tell him that he is rude for not accepting the hug gracefully? That he should allow himself to be hugged because the other person’s “heart is in the right place?” That they are only trying to be helpful and how dare he not accept it because they mean well? I doubt you would because you likely understand and respect personal boundaries in reference to physical contact. I cannot fathom why that understanding does not extend to words for some (not all) of you.

    When someone says “I do not like *random action.* It does not comfort me and at times it makes me uncomfortable,” your reaction should NOT be “I do not care one iota for your feelings; I am going to do it anyway because I do not think it should bother you and if you do not graciously accept this action I CHOOSE to disrespectfully FORCE upon you KNOWING you do not like it then you are rude, not me.” Seriously, WTF???

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      This might be my favorite comment so far. Thanks Sybil, you totally get it.

    • missmara21

      Sybil- Wow, right on! Best explanation I’ve seen.

      • sybil

        Thank you :)

  • Lizzy

    I do not feel persecuted, I in no way put any of my religious views in my point, saying thank you, in person or not is not being gracious, it being polite, so I did not miss that in your point. Its not religion or science. you can believe in both. I respect your beliefs. BUT you really want to support your “CAUSE” then do not accept money from people who are giving to you on behalf of what they believe! Just like your are not accepting them giving you their prayers! I had a daughter die 3 weeks before her high school graduation and she was ill many years prior. ! I was not even thinking of where peoples kindness was coming from, I just saw the face and the act and held it dear to my heart. Atheist tend to be so HELL bent on what they believe and proving to everyone else their believe. that most tend to act like Jahova’s Witnesses knocking at your door.

    • Lizzy

      I would just like to further explain , before I inadvertently offend anyone, My intention in mentioning Jehovah’s witnesses and their expressions of faith are in no way meant to degrade or diminish their beliefs. I was merely attempting to use an example that is commonly used to negatively describe the actions of certain religious groups. the point I was really trying to make is that the atheists have a belief system as you have also previously eluded to. the atheist believes not to believe but the need to believe in an innate quality that you also have inherited. This is the one in phenomenon that even Albert Einstein has conceded as being inexplicable and inescapable aspect of the human condition.

      The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
      ( Albert Einstein – The Merging of Spirit and Science)

      Science is also an expression and admiration for the miracles of existence .. Well Wishes to you and your family.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10203070458789578/ James Apperson

      It’s a bit of an overstatement to say that he asked them for money.
      It didnt read that way.
      He also never asked anyone to consider donating “on behalf of what they believe (about a deity)”.

      And do you know why most Christians have slowed wayyy down on how much they proselytize publicly
      (aka: “(being) HELL bent on what they believe and proving to everyone else their believe”)?

      It’s because non-Christians kept giving them shit about it. Because just like you … we (also) don’t want to hear it.
      So here you are … posting as a member of a larger collective
      bragging about how tame that collective is …
      when we are the ones that tamed it.

      In that very same way,
      we (the secular community) are to credit for WHY most Christians no longer go around
      hunting, persecuting, capturing, torturing, and killing non-believers, wrong-believers, witches, etc..

      You should learn to be more thankful for what you have
      that ~we~ have given you.

      PS>
      I’m super sad to hear what happened to your daughter.
      May you find a lasting peace.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        That is an awesome run down of the situation to date. But they still try to pat themselves on the back that they aren’t as violent anymore. Of course they’re not. Secular society will no longer tolerate it. They sure as hell would never voluntarily done it on their own. They proved that for 1800 years. But they would love to go back to it if they could. You can tell that by reading some “loving” christian posts on the internet. They say that the Muslims are worse than they are, but it wasn’t all that long ago when they behaved the exact same way.

  • sarah

    I don’t really agree with you, but I think you said your piece eloquently. I admire people who can voice differing opinions with reason, intellect, thought and respect for others. You’re certainly more respectful than some of those commenting on your post. I hope your beautiful baby continues to get strong and healthy. My thoughts are with you!

  • http://paperloon.wordpress.com Liz

    Four years ago last week my ex-one and a half pound 24 weeker finally came home after 114 days in the NICU. Unbeknownst to us (because my Catholic mother knew it would creep us out) we were added to prayer lists and referred to at Sunday Masses. That added to the usual comments on Facebook and in emails and we apparently drowning in prayers. Still, at two weeks old my son suffered a 15 minute cardiac arrest that caused extensive damage to his brain and left him with spastic, quaraplegic cerebral palsy. In my estimation, God would be the one responsible for the cardiac arrest, whereas the nurses and doctor who were there that day and administered all the shots of adrenaline and chest compressions are the ones responsible for him sitting at the breakfast table with me today as I type this. Reading this post, my husband and I were both nodding our heads the whole time. Thank you for expressing our point of view so perfectly.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10203070458789578/ James Apperson

    Dear “Victor”,
    Here are your words
    and
    my responses to your words.
    -just for lulz. I mean, no one is going to learn from this, right?
    ———————————————————————————
    “Well, in your expertise on religionGod,…”

    First, the term “God” is a count noun. It’s a common mistake. But you should be saying “my God” or “a God” etc.. “God” is not a self explanatory term. There are many alleged Gods.
    Pick one.
    And don’t say “The Christian God” either, because Christians around the world can’t agree on any of the defining characteristic of the “God” they have in mind when they use the term.
    -which means that you may only (in all fairness) refer to reports of divine interventions …
    in the lives of people whom define “the Christian God” exactly as you do.
    Good luck with that. You’ll never be able to truly verify a single other person that this is true of.
    So yea; ya best stick with the expression “my God”, from now on.
    -which means … there are no “those” for you to site as examples. There is only you.
    —————————————

    ” you apparently all missed the parts about Him …”

    Unless your deity has male genitals (are these the “parts” we missed?)…
    cut it out with the “He”, ok?

    And no; I don’t want a lecture on how your predecessors rationalized it.
    If it’s a literal being, it either does or doesn’t have a literal gender.
    Pick a position; and then honor it with your words; always.
    —————————————–

    “While I do believe that the help of people in the medical profession are absolutely necessary, ”

    What? Your God can’t do it on its own?
    (~shocked face~)

    ——————————————————————————————————
    “don’t you think it’s a little selfish of you to make the decision for your son (?)”

    Did that sound better in your head, before you typed it out?
    You know, there is a handy backspace key, for when that happens.

    ————————————————————————————————————–
    “(who are you to say) that he wouldn’t want people to pray for him (?)”

    First,
    All babies, infants, toddlers, and somewhere far beyond that …
    are atheists.
    They are “a” (without) … “theism” (a belief in a deity).
    And when’s the last time (or even the first time) that you met an atheist that wanted you to pray for them?

    Their baby doesn’t even know what “people” are yet; nor deities; nor prayers.
    Try forming your question using only words that represent concepts that the baby is even capable of thinking about.
    Your corrected question should sound something like this:
    “Waaaaaaaa”.

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    “…you aren’t going to allow him, if possible in the future, to make his own decision about his faith?”

    Are you aware that you just created a whole new reality and then asked a question about it?
    This isn’t even CLOSE to on-topic.
    Hell, it’s not even a fair stand-alone question.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “I know this must seem like an uncaring post, ”

    Nah. It just seems like you might be a moron. But I prefer to assume you’re faking that;
    or having a stroke.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “but let’s get this straight,”

    This should be good.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    “I don’t and will never be apologetic ”

    no doubt.

    ————————————————————————————————————————
    “or make excuses for the well being of another person. ”

    uhm…
    ok.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “I don’t pray for others to make myself feel better about myself ”

    Well that would be a shame; because it’s the only possible benefit to be gained from it.

    But what you need to realize is that any-and-all feelings you get
    that resemble some connection to your God … is entirely internally generated.
    Feels good, doesn’t it?
    Of course it does; or you wouldn’t keep doing it.
    And don’t try to convince anyone that you don’t feel better about yourself for doing it.
    Feeling blessed, approved-of, righteous, justified, vindicated, enlightened, empowered, etc etc etc
    all translated to feeling “better” about one’s self.
    You just don’t understand yourself very well;
    -which is ok. We all learn at our own pace;
    -or not at all; “God willing”.

    —————————————————————————————————————————

    “and if that’s all you got out of it when you did it you were doing it wrong.”

    We all know there is more to get out of it.
    In Christian circles, it’s a great way to peer-bond.
    And for the sake of keeping the theistic illusion going,
    many people find prayers to be absolutely essential.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    “With all that being said,”

    Good thing, too. We all feel so enriched.

    ———————————————————————————————————————
    “whether you want it or not, my prayers will be there for your son and your family.”

    Translation: “Go F yourself. I’m doing it anyways.”

  • Tish-H

    I can say been there, done that and completely understand! My first son was born 13 weeks early, spent 8weeks in NICU and is now 19 yrs old. It is a very draining and fascinating experience all at the same time. I wish the 3 of you the best.

  • http://www.facebook.com/643946185 Jodie Fraser

    I write this and direct it to many of the “unbeliever” commenters who don’t seem to understand how faith works.
    How does God help? He may give a boost of energy to the doctor at the right moment, or quietly whisper to his subconscious, assisting him to find the right course of treatment. I’m a great believer in science but I believe God is the one who guided humans to seek out this knowledge, cause the accidental discoveries to happen. “Miracles” don’t necessarily mean a big magical “poof” and everything’s ok. Many people reason that God doesn’t exist because He lets bad things happen. God doesn’t control every aspect of our lives. He gave us our own will, our own thoughts and allowed us to make our own mistakes. He is terrible and fearsome and could squash us all at any moment. People make the mistake of thinking he is all about fluffy goodness and rainbows.. don’t forget he also created piranhas and plague. Sometimes bad things just happen.

    • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

      We have an excellent idea of how faith works since many of us are apostate for one reason or another. What a very presumptuous thing for you to say. Just because we don’t agree with you, we don’t understand. Kevin for one was very religious at one time.

      Hate to burst your bubble here, but you are the one who doesn’t seem to understand how reason works. We rejected faith because eventually our reason asked to many questions of it and “poof” it was gone. Don’t presume to lecture us about a subject that we likely know as well, or better, than you do. God, and the belief thereof, is an offense to reason.

      • Omar

        See, that is exactly the sort of arrogance I referenced. You interpret my comment as some sort of lecture. As though I’m telling you that you do not understand religion. I never said anything even remotely close to that.

        My comment was an inquiry as to why two people of opposing philosophy’s so frequently end up at odds with each case with each other.

        It’s a massive lack of empathy that fuels the fires of arguementive engagement.

        If you take a few minutes to read my other comments, you’d quickly ascertain that I make no attempts to impose the belief that one philosophy is more “right” than another. And you’re right about Kevin being well aware of the multitude of fallacious arguements touted by some religious people. He and I have yet to be at odds with each other because we do not feel compelled to objectify the philosophy of the other. Which is another additive to argumentative engagement that I also mentioned in my comment.

        But you gloss over those why? Because I’m actively not arguing with you?

        I did not once state that Atheists have little no understanding of Religion. I will however state, now, that you absolutely do not understand *my* philosophy. Because outside of these exchanges we’ve never spoke and we know nothing of each other. And you don’t have to. I’m not trying to “enlighten” you. Enlighten yourself. In whatever way you feel to be right. And no matter what, I’ll respect you. Because you don’t need my “blessing” to do as you wish. Your life is yours to navigate. And mine is, well, mine.

        My attempt to engage with you was out of a sheer curiousity to understand your perspective as you seemed to have a lot to say but it’s seems as though you’re more interested in “fighting the good fight” rather than just exchanging ideas.

        No harm, no foul. You take it easy, man. :)

      • Omar

        Wow, Styx. I totally read this reply as a continuation of our last commentary which I just noticed it absolutely is not. And has nothing to do with my last reply to you.

        My apologies. I definitely did not get why you were interpreting my comment in a very different way than I wrote it, but my comment and the one you were actually replying to were both based on the topic of understanding. Though mine was not wasn’t making any assertions that people couldn’t understand, rather that I didn’t understand why they ask about the faith of a religious person and the actively try to avoid understanding.

        Either way, my apologies again, man. :)

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Great. Because I was totally confused by your answer. I’m glad you posted a retraction because I had no idea why you were so angry with my reply to Jodie. I don’t agree with your theism, but I won’t attack you for it. My comments on the subject are more of a general nature and don’t address specifics unless required. I believe that I understand your position and I won’t berate you for it. I understand why people are religious, but I don’t like the cognitive dissonance it takes to be a believer. I’m too logical for that. In essence, I can respect the believer, but not the belief system itself.

        My wife was Catholic until she deconverted to atheism, so along with extensive reading on the subject, I believe I know a good bit about that sect of Christianity. I generally found fewer qualms with it over some of the others, but only because most of the Catholics I knew were much less strident about their religion than most others. They generally kept themselves to themselves and left me out of it.

        My wife tells me that I am good with empathizing with other people’s positions, even if I don’t agree. In other words, I try to be a good devil’s advocate. I’m glad she said it. I do try to understand what makes other people tick, even if I do end up sometimes not liking them for it. It helps to understand where others are coming from if you want to have any kind of discussion. But that doesn’t mean that I’m above sarcasm when I feel it is appropriate.

  • http://travelingwithjesusandbandaids.wordpress.com Mommyx2

    Your recent post was shared on a friend’s page and I replied to it so I decided I would just paste it here as well if you wanted to hear another perspective.

    Facebook
    I’ll try to go back and read it.
    I wish I could just sit and chat with him just to talk together on his beliefs and my own, not to be all evangelist on him.

    This is the first article I have ever read from him and have never heard of his website until now.

    I stopped reading because I felt pigeonholed. (Not I, but my beliefs).

    I am a Christian.
    I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
    I believe IF there was Big Bang, it is how God wanted creation to appear and those with Faith would believe He created everything and those without would believe in the Science.
    I believe in modern medicine. I believe God and medical intervention saved my Daughter.

    I don’t like the blogger consistently stating “If I left it up to God…..” and rattling off things like modern medicine, IVF, etc

    I believe in modern medicine. (as does my church)
    I don’t believe modern medicine just saved my daughter, but it also had a hand in CONCEIVING my daughter!

    So, I guess like I was saying, I don’t like being pigeonholed because he is singling out a specific belief system of a few specific faiths and broadstroking it upon EVERY person of faith.

    I do understand that he doesn’t need to hear “I am praying for you.”
    I have friends that our Christian, Non-christian and Atheist. I pray for each of their hardships and heartaches the same. I may say to a Christian friend, “I am praying for you”. I am say to the non-Christian “I am praying for you” so that they know and that they might start recognizing God’s work in their life.

    To the atheist? I don’t. There is no need. I have many oppurtunites to talk about my faith with them. I don’t have to wait for things to be hanging in a balance to do so. I pray for them and I don’t tell them because they know I am a Christian, they know that I am a PRAYING Christian and they know I am going to pray for them. I don’t need to tell them for my prayers to be anymore meaningful. It is between me and God.

    If the blogger was my friend, I would pray for him and have no need to say it, no need to push my agenda on him as I would not want his agenda pushed on me.

    Should we be the Evangelist and bringing our faith to those that have none? OF COURSE! But we have to be selective and concise when we do it. I think his so called “friends” need to respect his belief system just as much as I would like mine to be respected and pray in private but other than that, for the next few weeks at least, not shove it down his throat.

  • Nicole Brown

    I understand your need to rant. I feel this way every time I see those words. Stay strong and trust in the care of the professionals. I’m sure they are doing everything in their power to help your son. And as a fellow parent and atheist I’m so sorry you have to go through such a terrible ordeal!

  • Kayla

    I am a first time mom of a now 15 month old little boy. He had to stay in the NICU for two weeks before we could take him home. He almost died at birth and was the scariest time of my life. I know the anger, fear, apprehension, sadness, etc you and your wife are feeling. For that, I send thoughts and prayers yalls way.
    I believe a person can be a good person and not believe in God. As a Christian, I do hope that the truth is revealed to yall. But your choice doesn’t make you or any other athiest bad people. Just like being gay doesn’t make a person bad. People have to stop worrying about everyone else’s choices and worry about themselves. Pray that they choose Christianity before death, but Christians have to stop judging and turning their noses up at people that are different than them. That is what gives Christians bad reputations.
    With all of that said, I truly hope yall go home soon, and congratulations on yalls new miracle.

  • Big Jerm

    Maybe you never had any children without medicine because you do not believe in a higher power. Perhaps in the eyes of God were unfit to raise a child. Please those of faith do not pray for this man or his child, it may offend them. Leave it to science.

    • Danielle

      You are an idiot. I am an atheist and my husband believes in god…Guess what?!? He is the one who has fertility issues (the believer) not me (the atheist). So you are saying that “your god” made sure his believer and follower should not conceive but the heathen (me) and non believer is fertile?

  • Jaqen H’ghar

    I understand where you’re coming from. It’s like telling a Muslim “Jesus loves your child.”

    I know it can get annoying, especially since you already have your hands full. I see your case more as a cultural issue. People are self-centered. Learning about another person’s misfortune, one tends to sympathize (relate a negative experience to oneself). One then often feels the need to say something “nice.” It’s human nature. If you think about it, there are meaner things to say than “Jesus loves your child.”

    These days, it’s hard not to offend anyone. If you say “I hope your child gets better,” what if the person is a pessimist and doesn’t believe in hope? “I know how you feel…”–or maybe you don’t because it’s hasn’t happened to you. “This must be really hard on your family…”–OK, Captain Obvious!!

    Rest assured that being a non-spiritual agnostic, I will not pray for your child. And since I really don’t know what to else say, I’m just gonna end it here.

  • Kara

    Thank you for so eloquently stating how I have felt. When my mother died unexpectedly, I had many people tell me that she was peaceful with “the man upstairs.” I never lost my temper, or said a peep, but it made me nuts after awhile. I have been an atheist for two decades. The idea that I should have felt better because they thought my mother was in “a better place” made me want to spit nails and scream. The better place for her was with her family. A better place for her was being able to meet her two grandchildren that were born after she died.

    • Cindy

      Kara, even Christians often feel this way when people say those things. When someone we love dies it really is no longer about the dead person, they are no longer here. It’s about us the ones left behind. We are the ones suffering who will no longer or ever know that person’s presence and life force. Still it isn’t because people mean badly. They just don’t know what to do. There are many courses on how to deal with people who are going through grief, whether it’s the grief of divorce, death or impending possible death , irreversible severe handicap it all involves grieving. Often no words are even needed. But each of us although we may all have a similar process, and this process is known through science, still we all bring with it our own beliefs values and experiences as well as different relationships with the grief situation, Understanding and accepting that is really what it’s about. And it IS difficult for most people to be able to do this because OUR reality is all we know.

  • Sarah

    As a person who believes in God with all my heart. I do understand what you’re saying to a point. I work in Healthcare so I see sick all the time. When I pray for these people I of course want them to get better but more so I pray that the Doctors, nurses, radiology, lab, respiratory, would all make the right decisions to help save or prolong this persons life.
    As a Christian if I became ill with disease, would I just pray about it and say God has control? Um no. I would go get medical treatment but also pray that I and the doctors make the right decisions that are best for me.
    I am so happy your son is doing well for that is not always the case. And hope that he is able to go home soon if he’s not already.

  • JB

    I am a nurse and I pray. I pray when I can’t find heart tones on a patient with decreased fetal movement. I pray when my patient starts to hemorrhage. I pray when a baby is born with a tight nucal and appears lifeless. I pray when I’m running down the hall prepping for a stat c-section. I pray with my coworkers when we have a fetal demise. Some of your nurses have probably prayed for you, for your wife and for your son. Prayed for the ability to nurture him and help him grow. Prayed that they might have a positive impact on your childs life. Just out of curiosity, have you ever told anyone at the hospital not to pray for you or your family? I doubt that would be an issue because we usually avoid bringing up anything religious in the hospital unless it’s at a patients request. However, I’m sure there are some nurses who speak more freely than others. My second question is this, if the outcome had been different…if your son had not survived. Who or what would be to blame? The doctors? Bad luck? -L&D RN

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks for your comment JB. I don’t have any problem with you or anyone else praying. I just believe it to be worthless, so I’d prefer it not be shared with me or not be the only method you use to help. Based on your occupation, I know that it isn’t the only method you use to help people. I applaud you for taking on a very difficult and emotional career. I hope the good moments outweigh the bad. To answer your questions, like I said in my post, if someone tells me they’re praying, I’m gracious about it and thank them. I’ve not asked anyone not to pray, and I haven’t in this post. I’m simply asking people to do something more tangible alongside prayer or in its place. And if my son had not survived, I wouldn’t have blamed anyone (unless it was due to negligence). Sometimes life is cruel. That’s just the way it is.

  • Keith Braun

    Your Grayson was me 39 years ago. Thanks to the best care my parents (and help from the March of Dimes) could provide, their love and nuturing care, and a will to live, I’m here today, tears in my eyes for what you are going through. I hope it calms your nerves a bit to know that the last 39 years have made lengthy strides in medical progress in the treatment of premature birth. No lingering health effects, no developmental issues. Be there for him and his mom, emotional rock duty is our job as dads. You’re kicking ass there so far mate. Hang in there, it only gets easier from here. Until they turn three, then they turn into little jerks :)

  • Nancy

    QUOTE “…You’re telling us, “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you. I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping.”
    Dear Kevin, I’m not so proud as to think My prayers are the magical medicine for your son. I pray because I feel certain that GOD is helping. It’s my comfort zone, but I respect your reluctance to hear about it so I won’t say more on that.

    My heart goes out to you, Kevin, and to your beloved wife, and for your dear son Grayson. I hope he continues to do well in the skilled hands of doctors and nurses and specialists, so that one day soon they can give him over to your loving caring hands. I said in another post that I can’t contribute to your aid at this time, but I hope your gofundme site draws in bazinga bullion to cover the extraordinary expense of NICU and follow-on treatment/s.

    I’ve read and re-read your open letter, and all the comments and responses thereto. Did you ever anticipate such a long, drawn out, hashing and bashing, back-and-forth, twist and shout? Whew, it’s exhausting. Very emotional on both sides. But I don’t think a single person has changed their mindset through the words of another. Nor even been enlightened very much. I do appreciate hearing your perspective – you weren’t rude or mean about it, just matter of fact. Can’t say the same for all the respondents.

    The respectful dialogue should continue; let all the angry shouters be silenced.

    Pax, NKF

  • Awaiting100

    I do not have children but my little sister has been on a vent since Thanksgiving and as her medical POA I’ve had to make some tough decisions and ask the horrible questions, I get it. This week I was told to get my last good byes in because they don’t know how long she’ll last. If her or I hear “I’ll pray for you again we will scream, both of us being atheists and we are the only two in a very Christian family.
    I get it, I so get, this post was much needed and if it offends someone then they needed to know this. If only people would please help each other out in a tangible way we would be do much better off.
    Thank you for this post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/506374699 Amanda O

    When I clicked your link I thought this seems like it may be tastefully written. By the time I finished reading it all I could think was you come off like a self involved narcissist with no concept of human empathy. There are scientific benefits to compassion and empathy. As a mother of a child who did not get to come home from the neonatal unit despite the best efforts of modern medicine I wonder if you have taken a moment to be thankful not only for medicine (as a person who was also preterm 13 weeks and here because of modern medicine I get that) but thankful for the support. That’s what empathy and compassion are a form of emotional support which is expressed in a variety of ways, kind words, physical touch, and positive thoughts. So when a person tells you they will pray for your son essentially they are saying I will keep him in my thoughts and offering you a gesture of kindness. Many parents who have sick children have no support system. I am a very liberal individual but as a survivor of many serious medical issues I do believe in the power of positive thinking and being thankful. You don’t at all seem thankful. I wish your son the best and I hope you come to view your interactions with people in a more positive light. It really angers me that you feel the need to dishearten those trying to show you support. It makes you seem undeserving of compassion.

    • RealLife

      Yup, she seems like a real piece of work.

    • spookiewon

      What he was actually doing was telling you what would actually be supportive. If you want to help, you want to know this.

  • missm1985

    While I do understand those moments of frustration with the things people say that seem to never be right or enough I hope things brighten for the 3 of you.

  • Danielle

    GREAT Letter! I am an atheist as well and my husband I had to use IVF to conceive our son (we are so grateful for modern medicine and scientific advancement) He spent 10 days in the NICU so I understand what you are going through! It seems so long when they are in the hospital but once they are home it goes by so quick! Congrats on your newest addition and thank you again for posting this. It is so difficult with so many friends and family thinking that their “prayers” (aka them talking to themselves) is helpful. The people that were actually helpful brought us food, took care of our dogs, made sure we were never alone in the hospital, and etc.

  • bryan

    A god that never wanted him to live? Yet he gave him life in your wife’s womb, watched over him until said problems arrived. At which point he made it a task to save his life, not to make it difficulty but to make the doctors sovle the problem at hand because more than likely they will deal with those problems in the future. Your son was a learning experience so those doctors had the knowledge to do the same in the future. Just because you are confronted with and problem doesn’t mean its a problem, maybe its an eye opening experience for all to learn from. We are the only species on earth capable of feeling such intense emotional struggle, only species to evolve as much as we had. You think that’s an accident? Its like saying you don’t believe in ghost, yet their is evidence of such things. World renown scientists have even acknowledged their presence, not to mention that half the worlds population is not bat shit crazy. Same for UFO sightings, our government admits were not alone so all this alien believers are not bat shit crazy either. Don’t you think its possible about god as well…..only human beings experience these truly wonderful things…..maybe its for a reason Kevin.

  • eve

    8 years ago, I had twins born 10 weeks early. They were each well under 3 lbs at birth. They were also conceived with science and technology. Now both are healthy happy wonderful big kids. My husband and I are atheists as well…and even without a “god” I reflect everyday and actively feel thankful for my kids and how amazingly well they surpassed their scary months in the NICU. I’m hoping you are able to soon look back with the same feeling of pride and wonder watching your son grow into a healthy, happy, amazing big kid. But I won’t be praying for you 😉

  • Diana ( Becky’s Mom)

    WOW! You have no idea how much your words have meant to me. I have felt exactly these emotions and thoughts over the last 32 years, but was never able to articulate them as fully as you have here. I just lost my middle daughter, Becky to a congenital heart defect November 2014, just 10 days shy of her 32 birthday. I am an Atheist. Over the course of those years, there were many heart operations, medical procedures, life threatening events, 911 calls, etc. She was under my care in her last few years, so the majority of the outpouring of support and concern over most of her short life have been direct to me. Most sending prayers. I, too appreciated, that these folks were trying to express some kind of support, and I was grateful for their kindness, but as you so graciously put.. not really cutting it for us. I believe it was her inner strength, will to live and the devoted care and intervention of the medical community that contributed to her surviving as long as she did, not prayer to a non existent deity. It didn’t get easier after her death, having to listen to the ” she is in a better place with god”, “she is now a heavenly angel”… I’m sure you know the platitudes, without me listing them all. But I was gracious, accepted these words, with a quick “thanks for your caring”… but to me they were empty words. I do sometime wish I had the luxury of believing she was in a better place.. but as much as I try, it just is not there. She was here, she lived, she suffered, she died. End of story. That is the cycle of life. Having gone through the rigors of having an ill baby, I know the challenges you are facing. I know the kind of support you need. I hope you get what you need. I am so happy I came upon your posting. Thank you. I am going to share your posting with my husband, as he finds it harder to cope with the prayers.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Diana, thank you for your kind words and I’m sorry to hear about Becky. I’m glad my letter is resonating with so many people!

  • loganbacon

    Kevin, I am also an atheist. But one of my “commandments” is “don’t be a d*ck.” The people sending prayers aren’t doing so to make themselves feel better. They believe their prayers will help, even if we don’t. I think in situations like these we should rise above the behavior that so many religious folk engage in – turning every situation into a debate over religious issues – and gracefully thank them for their good wishes. Preserve your energy for dealing with the stressful situation you have in front of you and don’t get sidetracked by things that don’t matter.

    I hope your son continues to improve and goes on to live a happy and normal life. I wish you and your family the best.

  • Kellie Sparks

    While I am so very thankful that your child is improving, I would like to clarify a couple of things. One, with your many attempts to state that you are trying to be gracious, you then immediately turn around and slap the face of every believer by clarifying exactly how idiotic they are to believe what they do. As a Christian, I don’t, for one second, believe we should all just sit back and wait for miracles to happen. I believe God enabled many brilliant minds to advance medicine to where it is today. As a nurse of 15 years, I have seen deaths that by medical standards should not have occurred and lives that were saved when medicine had nothing left to offer. I have seen people who have had devastating blows, lie death or dismemberment, that have gone on to help encourage those who suffer the same. Second, when you claim that people pray to make themselves feel better, let me correct you there. Since you are an atheist I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you truly don’t understand prayer. When I pray for someone it is because my heart is truly breaking for them and I truly believe God can offer them comfort. For you, that comfort comes in a form you understand: competent medical staff. God will always meet you where you are. You may not believe or accept that because you can’t see, taste, or feel it, but I do believe.
    I say all of this not to convince you that there is a God, but to give you a better understanding from a Christian perspective what we believe and why we pray. Hopefully you will at least understand that your attempt at showing grace was a little off the mark. I wish your entire family health and wellness.
    Sincerely,
    Kelli

  • http://helensadornmentsblog.wordpress.com helensadornmentsblog

    I so hope that your new bundle of joy continues to thrive. I just wanted to throw out some words your way because being from the deep South, I understand your predicament. I’m a Christian in that I believe in Christ’s teachings but don’t believe the hocus pocus part. I think much of the meaning is meant to be metaphor. Anyway, often when people say I will pray for your son, what they are really saying is that since I can’t really help, I feel powerless and this is all I can do. They know they are not doctors and can’t help with your son’s medical protocol and practically speaking there is really little they can do to make the situation better. Try to look at the comment “I will pray for your son” as a gift. When you receive birthday gifts they are often in the wrong size, wrong color or the wrong item altogether. However, when you receive it you say “Thank You” because you are focusing on the spirit the gift was given, not the actual gift.

  • Brian Bourgeois

    In honesty, it’s probably foolish for me to post a response to this blog.

    I’m a Mormon, and therefore, I believe very differently than most religious people, just to start off.

    I believe that God inspired all of those medical advances that both allowed you to have children, and keep your children alive.

    Secondly, I believe that this life is a test, and that we all had spirits before this life. That we were in the presence of God, and that he asked us if we would be willing to endure this blind test. There is a reason for the test, but I’m not going to go into great detail, and I ask that everyone show me the same respect that I show them.

    I am not attacking anyone, prodding, poking, or attempting to hurt, and I expect the same respect. If I don’t get it, don’t expect a response. I’ve been involved in way too much painful conversation where neither side understands the other. Or only I understand my “opponent”, who I see as a close minded relation of mine.

    God allows us to suffer because we have decided to suffer. That is my opinion, and it is not meant to hurt. It is actually meant to give comfort. Why would we decide to suffer? A lot of people, especially atheists would ask.

    Progression requires pain, and sacrifice; it requires suffering. I’m sure that you believe your child will be more grateful, and happy, because they have gone through this difficult time in their life. You will always tell them, “Without modern science, you would not be alive.”, right?

    To reiterate my main points. I believe that God inspired those medical advances, whether they were from Christians or not, more than likely, because of prayers. I believe that we have all decided to come to earth to go through tribulation.

    So, if I were to tell you that I’m praying for your baby, which I generally wouldn’t do, because I don’t usually tell people when I pray for them, I mean I’m praying for God to inspire your Doctors and Nurses to be able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This is not for me, because for me, prayer is effort. I don’t like to exert myself when I don’t feel it’s necessary.

    In this case, I won’t be praying for you, or your child. Not that I don’t want to do something. I care. I obviously care enough to write a response to your blog, something I would not normally do. An effort that I normally would not take. I do care, and I hope that your child makes it through, because I care.

    The only reason I’m not praying, though, is because I feel that there are more than enough other people who have it covered. I don’t really feel like I need to. You’ve obviously got people closer and more invested praying for your child. Cool.

    I was once an Atheist, and I would have never gotten mad at someone, or a group of people who wanted to pray because, in the end, what does it matter whether they pray or not? It doesn’t, does it? So why would it bother me? You obviously hold some ill placed resentment in people who pray. I’m not sure why…

    In the end, nothing matters, if there is no God, or no afterlife, or anything like that. Our meager fights for life, never matter. Eventually, no matter what we do, the universe will collapse, and everything we ever did will not matter anymore, so, why even bother to fight? One day we’ll not remember anything. We simply won’t exist anymore.

    Medical advances mean nothing, because, yes, the human race will continue on for another 100-10,000 years, maybe longer, depending on if we clean up our act or not, but eventually… eventually, no matter what, the universe is going to take itself out, or the sun, is going to take us out. Eventually, something is going to end it all, no matter what.

    So, yeah. You really shouldn’t worry about whether someone is going to pray for your kid or not… you really should just take solace in the fact that one day you won’t remember anything. All of your pains will be gone, and all of your child’s pains will be gone, because nothing, no fight, no success, no failure, has any impact on the long run. It doesn’t matter if you’re an angel or a total monster. Nothing matters. Everything will eventually cease to exist, as far as we know.

    Anyway, have a good day. I hope that I have touched you in some way. I hope that I have not hurt, or offended. That was not my intent. I hope that I’ve somehow made an impact, and not in a bad way. If you want to hurt me, please don’t comment. I won’t be responding. Actually, pretty much don’t comment in any way, unless it’s positive, otherwise, I won’t be responding.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      To be honest, I agree with your first sentence. Especially after I read your second sentence.

      • Traci J.

        Kevin – you wrote on the “About” page, “This is not a place to present closed-minded views,” but that’s exactly what you are doing with your reply to Brian’s response. Hypocritical, if you ask me. I have found in my experience that people who believe one extreme or the other are usually hypocritical along the way. Kinda funny, if you ask me.

      • http://Website Eric Poling

        So many people seem to be missing the point of what you are saying. First, if you really want to show your concern, actually do something more than just pray. Donate to you or some other worthy cause, give blood, give time to a charity, but don’t just say you will pray. Secondly, continuing to tell an atheist you will pray for them becomes really grating. If you want to pray, fine, but don’t blather on to you about it. It sounds like you try to be gracious about it but it gets on your nerves just as it would to Christians if you consistently sought them out to tell them Christianity means nothing. (A blog is something people choose to seek out. People reading this didn’t have to come here and therefore have no right to be offended.)

      • http://gravatar.com/sartereekj sartereekj

        LOL! :)

  • Nancy

    I would rather live my life as if God exists and then find out he doesn’t, than to live my life denying Him and find out He does.
    Stolen from a facebook post, author unknown.

    BTW, I use HE cuz it’s easy. I really don’t think the Deity has gender, but saying IT sounds kinda freaky to me.

    Somebody [atheist] in one of these posts said there are >2000 Gods? Do you have a citation or source for that number? Really curious what’s included in that number. Thanx.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Here’s a decent reference, Nancy. Your odds are very poor, which makes the Pascal’s Wager argument you’ve noted very weak. http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Gods-Over-Deities-World/dp/0816029091

      • Nancy

        Kevin, thanks for your reply and link to the book. I also Googled Pascal’s Wager and now have more to read. I’m not a betting person, and I don’t believe out of fear but in confidence. The phrase appeals to me on a very simple face value level.

        My odds and your odds – let’s just agree to disagree. Neither of us will know with 100% certainty until after we’ve taken our last breath. In the meantime, it’s good to be good to everyone, and to be a good citizen of the world.

        I do hope your family fares well thru life. Parenting ain’t for sissies. It’s the most incredible, exhausting, demanding, delightful vocation you’ll ever have! Pax, NKF

    • Kevin Dail

      It’s called Pascals Wager and it is a fools bet. As for multiple gods, check this link: http://www.godfinder.org/

  • dave

    Science and education are on your side. Anybody can kneel and put their hands together.

  • stacey

    I really do hope that your son gets better and i understand in a situation like this that words mean little to nothing. I dont want to try and change your mind, however i feel i must speak up because the discription of my lord is wrong. Im not here to start a debate and ill most likely not reply to any responses to my comment…But if it wasn’t for God that doctor and modern medicine wouldn’t exist. I believe in both. Yes praying alone won’t cure the sick but God wants you to help yourself so God placed those resources for us to help ourselves. He is there for guidance not to make choices for you. God has a plan for this world and when he matched your soul with your body he also inbeded thought process and choices that he KNOWS your going to make but YOU are the one to make it. He knows what will happen before it happens because he knows YOU and what kind of PERSON YOU are. He isn’t stringing us like puppets.. So praying is asking for guidance and strength for YOU to make the right choice. So no it’s not pointless. God doesn’t make choices for you. He points you to the right path when YOUR choices guide you wrong. He is not to blame for the bad in your life. He gives you options and then encourages for you to make the right one. As far as God not wanting your children: if he didn’t WANT your children, no matter how skilled the doctor or IG it was IVF, if God didn’t want that soul on earth then even IVF wouldn’t of worked. Yes science fertilized that egg but once that egg implanted it was Gods call to allow that life to be born. Your children ARE miracles. If it took that much to conceive and birth a child who is still living its a MIRACLE. I wish your family the best. May God continue to bless you with skilled doctors.

  • Nomorefairytales

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy.
    I agree with you entirely – I have spent years at hospitals fighting for my children’s lives. We are non-believers. .. and only a vanishing tiny portion of our “believer” friends and family have ever respected our needs and wishes.

    My question to the pushy belivers is this – who matters here? Are the child and his parents the priority – or is this all about you?
    If you claim to care about the child and parents and that you are here to support them – then do what THEY need. Respect THEIR beliefs. Honour THEIR polite request.

    Believers, what YOU want has no place here – this is not about YOU.

    Using someone else’s crisis for your own public peity performance instead of offering respectful comfort is all about the believer – that does not serve the family in any way.
    It takes same number of keystrokes to say “I am thinking of you” rather than “I am praying for you”. There is no additional effort required to be respectful.
    An honestly caring heart would place the wishes and needs of the family far above their own ego – and the supporter would say, and DO, what the family needed.

    I am shocked at the believer entitlement here – that the outsider’s beliefs MUST be respected, but the family’s beliefs are free for trampling when the family is in ACTIVE CRISIS.

    Our openly non-believer family also gets public “prayers”. They’ve always come from those who have never made any effort to help beyond public piety.

    If you talk to most families with a sick child we ALL get innundated with excessive public piety posts and comments, while our pleas for practical, real world support are ignored.
    It seems many people think a “prayer” is an easy excuse for not helping. Plus you gain “points” while avoiding guilt for ignoring the real needs of others.

    All this praying is very ironic from a crowd that claims to emulate a man who hated public prayer and demonstrated meaningful, practical, real-life service for those in need.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Well said. Too bad those who are spouting self-absorbed apologetic arguments will not get it. Thank you for trying though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/1241342990 Melissa Leet

      Practical help is so appreciated, and unfortunately it is rarely offered by friends, or others. Also, while going through a crisis isn’t really the time for religious debate. Hopefully your words will hit home with some who find this blog. I hope this family receives offers of help long after the first couple of weeks home. Depending on their son’s needs they could potentially need support for at least several months, and maybe longer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1241342990 Melissa Leet

    My son spent his first 10 days in the NICU, eleven years ago. It is a traumatic experience, all around. You and your wife will need some time, after you’re done with the NICU, to deal with the emotions. I wish you all the best during this time. May healing be especially swift, and thorough.

  • sam

    What if your son grows up to be christian???

    • http://www.facebook.com/1241342990 Melissa Leet

      Why does that matter, while a family is in crisis?

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      He’s welcome to make faith decisions for himself, since we’re all born atheists until someone indoctrinates us. My children will be free to make their own life decisions when they’re mature enough to do so.

  • Nickg

    There are not two choices, God or Science. There is God, and there is man having developed science to try and understand what’s going on in the shitstorm he cause by turning from God in the first place.

    Science are simply man made frameworks that don’t save anyone. Having been in your situation, best of luck. Warmest regards.

  • Kim Strazis

    Kevin – I hope your son is progressing well. Six years ago I had a heart transplant with many complications and was touch and go for months. My husband wrote beautiful poetic letters about my progress each day, and I believe there were many people and religious groups following my progress. Jews, Baha’i Buddhists, and Christians of many sorts were all praying for me. And I was grateful (and a little embarrassed about it). I am not a theist, but I am open to the possibility of spiritual realities beyond my perceptions, and I appreciated the positive energy people were sending my way. Although I would love to credit my heroic will to live and my amazing doctors, I cannot say for certain that the prayers and positive energy did not help.

  • David

    Everyone operates based on faith. You had no means to verify the doctor who saved your son’s skill level, you just believed in the system that’s in place which declares his credibility, a system held together by those who apply themselves to the precise and immutable law which seems to be governing the intangible. Let’s take honesty for example. Had the doctor cheated on his tests, fudged paper work, tried to perform an operation when he was physically incapable(pride, another intangible) God knows what type of man would have been holding the knife. Seriously though. God knows. You don’t. The flawed, and in my opinion, outdated patriarchal structure of ancient and some modern religions can be taxing to view. 3000 year wars generated over a story in a book seems a trifle bit foolish to me and yet… There’s those intangibles which seem to produce consistent results over and over again. They seem to accompany emotion and thought rather then be them and yet have no definitive source. Patience. Kindness. Self control… You have faith your brake lines were made properly, that trees produce oxygen. You don’t KNOW that.

    That said. I agree with some of your notion of prayer. I believe in a creative intelligence that can be spoken to, but petitioning It for specific results seems entirely stupid. If of course there is something infinite Governing Infinity, whether or not it hears me, even my assumption that I may somehow know better than it is vain and moderately pathetic.

    • Cindy

      David,
      Actually there are ways to verify health professional’s skill levels. But it is very exhausting and time consuming work which most of us avoid. However, we can not know his behavior at any given moment. But you are right that we all live by faith, its just a matter or what we put our faith in. In this case the poster of this blog apparently puts it in the scientific knowledge skills and equipment that we have.

      • bobtheaxolotl

        No, Cindy, we don’t all live by faith. Faith (religious faith in particular, as that’s what we’re discussing), is belief in something without need of evidence, or despite contradictory evidence. Nothing of the sort is required to think that science or technology will work. Do you know why we think science works? Because it’s been shown, time and time again, to produce results that are A.) congruent with reality, and B.) can be used to make accurate predictions about the natural world. It is not faith to think that something works when it has been demonstrably shown to work, time and time again.

        The proof, in the end, is in the pudding. We know science works, because we get results. We’ve doubled human lifespans, cured countless diseases, learned to prevent others, how to replace joints, and how to take a part of one person who is dead, and use it to prevent someone else from acquiring the same condition. We can travel to the bottoms of the sea, to the top of the atmosphere, and break free of it. We’ve landed on the moon, hurled robots at Mars and had them land and beam back pictures, and built space stations and satellites. When you don’t know how to get somewhere, you can ask a supercomputer that you carry in your pocket to decode signals from outer space to triangulate your position, and tell you how to get to Starbucks.

        Nearly everything we do every day is powered by the successes that science has had. The fact that we can argue right here, right now, happens because people took scientific knowledge, and applied it to create technology. You can’t possibly tell me, honestly, that this requires faith.

        With religion, there is no such evidence confirming its reality. It cannot make accurate predictions, it can’t advance the human condition, and it can’t be shown to be anything other than a creation of humanity, to assuage fears of death and convince us that we have some divine place in the shape of things. People feel smaller, more frightened, and more alone without it, so we cling to it like an existential security blanket. Faith is required to believe in it, and dissent damages faith, so the faithful, in order to protect their fragmenting comfort, try to drown out and suppress dissent. They claim everything is faith, to convince others, and themselves, that it’s just as rational to believe in superstition as it is to believe in what’s real.

        There’s a huge, and very real world out there. Yes, it can be dangerous or frightening at times, but it is also absolutely magnificent in its variety, it’s wonder, and it’s staggering spectacle. There are no established limits to what can be achieved if you’re not afraid to try. I hope you’ll join us there some day.

  • Sisters

    Kevin,

    As an atheist I think writing essays like this is important, to be visible and participating. Despite the fact that you knew you would and will forever be harassed by “believers” or as I like to call them, the mentally ill. Hang in there and just know there is an army of rational, critical thinkers who support you and your family. Yes, atheists have families, we live productive lives and contribute to the well being of humans and animals and are sick of religious cults, organized religion, fundamentalist creeps who corrode and undermine society with their ridiculous misogynistic iron-age doctrines. We need to speak up more and not be so respectful of dangerous “beliefs”, time to deal with facts and reality to make the world a better place. Hope your little guy pulls through!

  • msmiy@yahoo.com

    Someone posted a link to this article on my news feed and it caught my eye. I’m sorry to hear about your son and your family’s struggles during this difficult time. I am a physician at one of the top medical institutions in the country and a Christian. I definitely applaud the advancements that science has made over the decades and know it saves lives every single day. My beliefs and what I do clinically are not separated, yet I feel my faith adds to my practice. I do believe that God can perform miracles, but cannot guess when or why they happen.

    If my non-Christian friends are going through a tough time, I pray for them, but I tell them “sending good thoughts your way.” For those who don’t believe in God, have experienced a tragedy, and been told “it was God’s plan”– I think this is really insensitive, rather than reflecting on having a faith. Just wanted to separate that notion.

    Hope you find the support you need during this time and wishing you all well.

  • David

    Everyone operates based on faith. You had no means to definitively verify the skill level of the doctor who saved your son’s life, you just believed in the system that’s in place which declares his credibility, a system held together by those who apply themselves to the precise and immutable law which seem to be governing the intangible. Let’s take honesty for example. Had the doctor cheated on his tests, fudged paper work, tried to perform an operation when he was physically incapable(pride, another intangible) God knows what type of man would have been holding the knife. Seriously though. God knows. You don’t. The flawed, and in my opinion, outdated patriarchal structure of ancient and some modern religions can be taxing to view. 3000 year wars generated over a story in a book seems a trifle bit foolish to me and yet… There’s those intangibles which seem to produce consistent results over and over again. They seem to accompany emotion and thought rather then BE them and yet have no definitive source. Patience. Kindness. Self control… You have faith your brake lines were made properly, that trees produce oxygen. You don’t KNOW that.

    That said. I agree with some of your notion of prayer. I believe in a creative intelligence that can be spoken to, but petitioning It for specific results seems entirely stupid. If of course there is something infinite Governing Infinity, whether or not it hears me, even my assumption that I may somehow know better than it is vain and moderately pathetic.

  • MicheleG

    Kevin, As a Christian I think what you have written here is beautifully said. You spoke from the heart and it truly comes through. I understand the pain of infertility having cried myself to sleep for the better part of the first 5 years of my marriage. Then moving away from friends and family so we weren’t invited to yet another baby shower. I get it.

    I also have friends of many different beliefs or lack their of. In the last year or so I have really begun examining how I communicate with them, especially during times of great stress and turmoil, like you are experiencing. Many take the same approach as you, being gracious and saying thank you. Realizing the intent behind “We’re praying for you” isn’t malicious, it’s meant with care and love, while internalizing the indifference to the statement itself. I am realizing that I don’t want to give that extra burden to them as it counteracts any good I was attempting to do. It should not have to get to where people feel the need to vent as you felt you did. Although I will admit I am selfishly glad for yet another reminder that we need to respect all people at all times.

    I wish my family could help Grayson, your wife, and yourself in the ways that you requested but unfortunately at this point we cannot. I do believe that you are all in good hands with the hospital staff, and am very thankful for the knowledge and skills which have gotten you all to this point. There is no doubt in my mind that they are wonderfully caring people.

    For obvious reasons I do take a different view and approach regarding prayer, but I don’t think now is the time to delve into those. Maybe when Grayson comes home and things settle more into a routine we could discuss it then. Until then I am wishing you all the best life has to offer.

    Sincerely,
    Michele

  • Ray Huang

    i have never made any donation to anyone on the internet but Kevin i will be making one to Grayson (it is not going to be much because my self is kind of broke too.). Thank you for your article and i agree with everything yu said.

  • SNC

    My hope for an easier path for Grayson and your family as the days go on.

    Please consider the idea that science/medicine and faith are not mutually exclusive. The false argument here is in believing those of faith do not use, need, know the need, lean on modern medicine and science.

    Here’s to a quick exit for Grayson from the NICU, and a wonderful, active, invigorating childhood ahead.

  • Pookie

    I have seen things that were considered medical miracles and religious miracles. I do not preech religion or science but I do have MY OWN BELIEFS. which everyone is entitled to.
    I hope science or religion will help you all at this difficult time.

  • Jessica Chauvin

    I wonder if when your child is healed, will you doubt the power of prayer or will you whole heartedly believe it was medical intervention? I will pray for you and your wife as you both need to believe in all that you can being “Your child’s life” is at risk.

    • Josh

      I will pray to Thor that you will realize the folly in your ways, turn away from your false god, and come to know true power! LOVE LIVE THE GOD OF THUNDER!!

      • spookiewon

        Heathen! There is no god but the goddess Eris!

      • http://Website Eric Poling

        Sorry, even Thor must bow to Odin. LONG LIVE ODIN!!! *smile*

      • sybil

        Ra will scorch you all where stand for worship of false gods!

      • Jorge Soruco

        Hear Hear!

  • David

    Thanks for posting. I have gone through the same situation with my daughter born 19 weeks early. And my thoughts mirror yours. If there were a god, clearly his will to kill my daughter was thwarted by medical science.

    I’ll share a story with you – one day we discovered that someone had taped a little cross made out of plastic beads on her pod. Thinking it a nice gesture (if perhaps a little presumptuous) we took it down and kept it nearby along with her other effects. My wife replaced it with a little jade figurine I had brought back from China. The next day the cross was back up and the jade figurine was gone. We never found it. This was in a secured NICU. I urge any of the Christians who were offended to try rereading what Kevin wrote and at least attempt for the moment to consider it from his mindset. If your are unable to empathize with what he is trying to say to you, if you are still somehow offended, then I’m afraid you are missing the point completely. And this is due in no small part to the fact that you aren’t being honest with yourselves. Take it from someone who used to think like you did and now thinks like Kevin does.

    Kevin, I hope you’re getting good support from your loved ones. I hope you and your wife are getting enough time to be in the NICU and close to your son. I hope you two are getting enough time on top of that to get out every so often and enjoy something diversionary. I hope there is a good Ronald McDonald house or room nearby to serve you. Most of all I hope everything works out for your son. I know what you’re going through and what you still have to face and I trust that you and your wife will find the strength to make it through. Best wishes.

    • Cindy

      HOw awful David, that is certainly NOT a “Christian” act. I’m so sorry you had to experience that.

  • Jack Saiken

    If you are a true Christian the next time you or yours get sick go to church and pray, don’t go to a doctor or hospital. Pray away the illness. If you use science you are going against god’s will. I have known so many of god’ chosen who fight death with every tool know to science even though it may be god’s will that you come home. I don’t understand if god’s kingdom is such a great place why don’t embrace your illness and succumb? Why do you offer sympathy to the friend and family to those who die or are murdered? Aren’t hey in a better place? Show your true convictions, as the muslims do who you make fun of. The muslims will kill themselves to be with there god.

    • http://www.facebook.com/1241342990 Melissa Leet

      Jack, I respect your anger, because obviously you have been hurt. Your response would be to a very particular type of Christian. There are many of us who have Belief, but also recognize we are given free will. There are also many with Belief who respect, completely, our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as all humanity. There are many of us who recognize that prayer, alone, is not an adequate medical bag. We are grateful for the gifts and talents of those in the medical fields, and have respect for their choice to share those with us, when we are ill, or need their advice. Please remember; Fundamentalist Christians are not even close to all Christians. They are, in actuality, a minority. Peace.

    • Stephanie Bolton

      I have no understanding of what the heck you are saying….very few people (I mean a very few) have this weird relationship to their idea of spirt as the one you are describing above. That’s just odd….but hey..

    • Gwen

      I don’t understand why people think that you have to choose between God and science. Like, I literally don’t understand where this comes from. I don’t think even the most fundamentalist Christians (or Muslims or whatever) believe this (and the exceptions are really quite small groups in the grand scheme of things). Believing in God doesn’t mean you believe that things happen magically with no physical explanation, just that there is a mysterious presence bigger than us that is somehow involved in it. Not necessarily pulling strings or directing traffic, just there and caring for us. I am a Christian and a research scientist by training, and work in a hospital setting, and never once have I heard a patient say ‘I’m not going to do this treatment because God will heal me.’ It’s a very childish view of religion.

      • shana

        I have never understood that conflict myself.

  • Rainlover

    If you’re a Christian and you believe praying is help, by all means pray. Let it be your secret act of kindness. If you’re a Christian and you cannot stop yourself from ‘sharing’ that you’re praying with someone who is an atheist, then you’re proselytizing. In such a situation, the need to say the words, “I’m praying for you,” is disrespectful even if the words are received graciously. It’s a sort of coercion designed to make the receiver uncomfortable with their differing viewpoint. Acting with love doesn’t mean forcing your views and insisting on the righteousness of them. It means putting your needs behind that of another. According to your own belief system, isn’t up to you to ‘reveal’ god to someone else, it is up to god. It is your job to act with kindness and caring no matter what.

    The best gifts are those that take into account the recipient. Giving you a new motorcycle when I know that you prefer mountain bikes but I prefer motorcycles isn’t a gift, it’s a self-serving gesture. The same goes with prayer. The truly Christian thing to do in this situation is to ask, “How can I help?” Keep your motives to yourself unless you are asked.

    • shana

      Well said…and ‘I wish you well’ is always a welcome and nondenominational kindness.

  • http://thisismygenerationbaby.wordpress.com ThisIsMyGenerationBaby

    Kevin,

    I’m so sorry that your family is facing this enormous struggle. I can’t begin to pretend to imagine the pain you must be in as parents, not being a parent myself.

    Being an atheist at these times is so hard because you want something REAL from others, not empty wishes. Those who believe, regardless of their reasoning abilities, just don’t seem to understand. They get MAD at us for the way WE cope.

    Years ago, my (now ex) boyfriend’s father (whom I was close with) was fighting cancer for a long time, and was MISERABLE. It came to a point where fighting simply wasn’t worth it any more. He (the father) was not at all a religious man -agnostic/a closet atheist from what I gathered in our conversations as he grew more ill. Dad was tired of the pain in this world, but wasn’t looking to the next. He never indicated a wish for the afterlife, he was merely searching for a nothingness, sure to be better than the pain.

    My boyfriend was sort of a Christian agnostic, but too immature to reason through this, and his father’s wish to die. And embroiled in perhaps a bit too much latent dogma. When dad passed, he was so angry that his dad “decided” to die and “abandon” him. He was mad “god” did this. Playing devils advocate to perhaps help him forgive his dad, I said “maybe he wasn’t selfish. He was tired of the pain, he was tired of dragging his family through the mud, and tired of being a burden on himself and the world. Maybe he did it for all the right and loving reasons. And, dear, “god” had nothing to do with it. If there was a just god, he wouldn’t be such a bastard and pull this shit on good people. You’re not mad at dad, you’re not mad at god, and you’re not mad at the world. You’re mad at yourself for not seeing it through dad’s eyes.”

    Long story short, boyfriend started in the anger phase of mourning for two years. When we split, he said to me “I stopped loving you two years ago when you told me you thought Dad was right.”

    Meanwhile, for two years, I did everything I could, in non-religious ways to help him and his family. Help arranging the funeral, cooking for them on the bad days, being a figurative punching bag for all of his anger… But that’s how I see love. Not in prayers, wishes, thoughts, or being a yes-man. My love, like most atheists, comes in the form of truly DOING, helping, sacrificing.

    People don’t understand out view to the point where they CANT LOVE US ANYMORE. I cannot think of anything less holy than that self-absorbed righteousness.

    I’m so sorry you’re experiencing backlash from those who cannot find the love in their hearts to help you in the way you need right now. Tell those “praying”: “If you get down on your knees, instead of praying, maybe come over to my house and clean the floors! That’s what we NEED now: help taking care of our home and child while we take care of our baby and own mental health. It’s free, you do t have to spend a dime. I need your time, dear.”

    I hope you get the love, understanding, and help you need. I’ll be donating on pay day.

  • deanacavan

    I’m not religious, but I felt a strong need to be spiritual after losing my 10 month old son to cancer 3 months ago. I had to believe in a life after death or else I’d be miserable right now. And instead, I see signs of him everywhere and believe they are real, even though I can’t prove them with science. I wonder what would have happened if this little boy, born on the same day as my son actually (a very inauspicious day astrologically with a chart full of suffering), did not make it. I wonder how you would feel right now. No, I don’t think prayers from afar can work, and I certainly don’t think the Bible or Jesus has anything to do with your son’s healing. But I do believe that some things in life happen for a reason and that you are going through this experience to grow into a better person. If you think it’s all shit-luck, you will live a very narrow-minded, superficial life and death will always be full of fear because to you, it’s just the end.

  • Diana

    It’s always enjoyable to see someone else express the exact same thoughts you’ve had on more than one occasion. I’ve said the exact same thing to my husband who for whatever reasons finds himself a believer. He’s not deeply religious, I couldn’t live with that, but at some point it seems he felt he needed religion to deal with his directionless life. I of course hope your son continues to thrive and gets to go home soon as possible.

  • http://lifeinthetail.wordpress.com tslynne

    I’m thinking this is somewhat similar to people telling you they’re sorry when something horrific happens. When my son (now an adult, and a wonderful person, and also a person with very severe disabilities) was a baby, I belonged to a support group where we were talking about how to respond when people tell you they’re “sorry’.

    The facilitator said that she thought that what people mean when they say they’re sorry is really “I’m glad this happened to you and not to me.” That idea has stayed with me always. And has felt very close to the many times over the past quarter century that people have said they’ll pray for my son (or for me). I still tend to just say “Thank you” to the prayers. The “sorry” is harder — I now know that there is a lot to be sorry about but none of it has to do with the existence of my son. There’s no short reply that works. Mostly I say, “I appreciate that”, which really means that I understand that you’re glad you’re not me.

    • Cindy

      I think, “I’m sorry” often means that they acknowledge the situation is difficult and they wish that things weren’t so difficult for you. It probably also just means I don’t know what to say or do now. People may also feel relieved that they don’t have that situation, but I don’t think that’s all or primarily what most people think when they say that. I don’t think your group leader was very accurate and am saddened that you feel you must lie to people who say that to you.

  • Amy

    An atheist isn’t someone who believes god doesn’t exist, it’s someone who doesn’t believe god exists.
    Small distinction. Hope your little one will be healthy soon so he can come home.

  • Ken Lord

    Wow, my family experienced exactly this situation. Our daughter was born at week 29 and just 1.5 lbs, by emergency c section, and spent 5 months in a NICU with various problems. She’s 2.5 years old now and doing great.

    Thanks for writing your message so eloquently. I felt the same way about the constant prayer messages… An insult to the dozens of trained specialists that actually kept her alive.

    I think there was a big difference for us. Here in British Columbia, we have all that evil socialised medicine. So even as the estimated cost of caring for my daughter shot up over $1 million, we didn’t have to worry about paying the bills, or losing our house. We’re very grateful to the taxpayers of our province, and do our best to contribute to the children’s hospital fund raisers.

  • Stephanie Bolton

    Nothing that about 5 grams of Psilocybe cubensis wouldn’t help. I’m a member of the Christian left (we also have a facebook group)….we are all connected….I beg you to watch this wonderful video from a key-note address from Nassim Haramein, a physicist. This is a physics video not a religious video….but it explains how infinity interacts with our finite world. This is our idea of prayer….you mentioned that folks are welcome to pray until they are hoarse. Wow…I’m scratching my noggin at your ability to scoff at others and to be so smug when you have a child in the intensive care unit. God is a word we use for lack of a better word and I understand that many people have acted horribly while claiming to be connected to God….many people have also acted horribly who claim to have no connection with the idea of God. We are unified and when we take the time to explore our inner/soul world we are often guided to make the best choices in our marriages, our careers the raising of our children etc. Prayer is a way to stop and turn inward. We do have a whole inner world…and as I started off by saying…if you are in doubt…try about 5 grams of psilocybe cubensis. You said “Please know it is not my intent to offend, because as I said earlier, I am truly grateful for the offers of support and kind words from family and friends” and then you go on to say “However…basically…if you are praying for my son, my wife and I feel that it is a bunch of bull crap” Oh, and can you send us some money”. That is exactly how it comes off. I saw an article about 3 men who had purposely gone off the path at a ski resort and had ignored many signs saying “DANGER/AVALANCHE”. They were swept up in an avalanche and it became necessary for a small town to spend a lot of time, energy and money in order to save their lives. You mentioned that you and your wife believe in science and technology and that you are grateful for those things because not only could your wife not conceive but twice, the actual births of the children that you created with the help of science and technology have been mired in complications. I’m not sure but I think that the process of in vitro fertilization is amazingly expensive. I have known folks who couldn’t conceive but also lacked the resources needed to artificially create a child. Oh, how they longed for a child. You have been blessed to have 2 children….I think financial donations would better allocated to assist couples who have no children and no money for IVF. As you know…premature births come with loads of uncertainty. I have had a friend give birth at 24 weeks and watched just this year as that child graduated high-school (1 year late…but I have a son that graduated a year late). We also know a couple that had a child around 24 weeks who will never be able to use a fork or tie their own shoes……for goodness sakes….take all the prayers that can be loaded up on that baby boy. Prayers don’t hurt. If you have the time please watch this video…..it shows how we are interconnected and how prayer could work. Sending Prayers your way….S. (video link below..Nassim Haramein Geometry And Unified Fields)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFTMiVs4VhY

    • spookiewon

      Holy woo, Batman!

    • spookiewon

      You seriously think the way to help someone in his position is to “recommend” a 90 minute video on Chopra-esque nonsense?

      • Stephanie Bolton

        You obviously didn’t watch the video because there is no chopra-esque nonsense…this is just Geometry….uhhhh, it’s freakin’ hard to change basic geometry. Yes…it’s a perfect time to watch videos. Most people here seem to have some idea about God based on fundamentalist Christian theology…..God exists at the very center of me….it is the part of me that is the same as you…it’s the spark of life and the point where we all are connected. I exist…I’m not a fairy tale.

      • Kevin Dail

        The video is nonsense. I mean, what the hell is “sacred” geometry? Just nonsense. Try a real physicist for your info, not this quack.

  • Eileah Phinnessee

    Kevin, I enjoyed reading your post. This is a conversation that my husband and I have had recently. With all of that aside, I’d like to say that I was born at 27 weeks in 1983. I’ve more than survived with every one of my faculties. Your son has the benefit of medicine more modern than what kept me alive. He’ll continue to improve in leaps and bounds, and I hope the day you get to bring him home is very soon. Your commitment to him is obvious, so he’s a lucky little boy!

  • MSR

    Dear Kevin, I do think you are the one who missed the point here… This is not about you and how you feel, this is about your son and how people care about him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/598197329 Paul Bovis

    I have been where you are holding my daughter in my hand and no bigger, six weeks in an incubator, all that struggle to have her commit suicide when she was eighteen. My faith was tested and I walked away from the church and all the religious mayhem. I then asked questions and saw a different truth and it is amazing how many feel the same, but no one talks about it.

    I still pray at times and here is why.

    God or what ever the spiritual power (which there is) is in us, not some entity sitting upstairs looking down on a chosen few. We are all bonded by what we call spirit and I have seen healing in combined prayer because of that. We are all driven by a spiritual power which aids doctors and physicians, it helps us in hope and times of anguish in your given situation atheist or not.

    The failings of mankind is not due to an uncaring God, it is due to the lack of humanities ability to unite and pull together through the spirit we all share. We are so wrapped up in self and our opinion that we forget our brothers and sisters, we miss signs that are crying for help.

    Atheism and religion are two sides of a fence that no one really understands and as a result each side has only have half of the truth, we are destroying one another through war and other mediums trying to enforce our point of view and yet if we came together, dumped our prejudice and bias at the door and opened our minds, we would experience a level playing field.

    I missed signs with my daughter when she passed away, but I also feel that maybe that was her life’s destiny to experience and those left behind needed to experience that pain for their personal growth.

    Who really knows? But I am comfortable in what I have found.and wish you all well.

  • http://www.mylittleparish.blogspot.com Gwen

    I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this right now. I don’t say this by way of critiquing your beliefs–my theology is such that I believe it doesn’t really matter what people believe. However, the idea that God is at odds with science or modern medicine is somewhat silly. I am a hospital chaplain. I work with families every day who are struggling to make decisions about how to proceed, and all of those decisions are based around our trust in medicine and the people who use it. Religiousness is not about a choice between science and supernatural, but a way of adding a layer of meaning to our lives. I work at a quaternary care teaching hospital where we see the worst of the worst cases, and many of the patients that I pray with will die. Many of the people on my units (mental health and chemical dependency) will never get better. Prayer is not about asking for something, but about beseeching a God we believe walks with us to reveal his/her presence in some way–through comfort, guidance, care, or peace. Those things happen through medicine, doctors, nurses, social workers, staff, and yes, occasionally, a “feeling” of some sort. I respect your right to hold any beliefs you like, but just wanted you to know that the God I believe in does not oppose fertility treatments, does not will hardship on people for funsies, and does not answer us like a magic gumball machine. The God I know says ‘hey, this sucks, but you are not alone.’ I will not pray for you, but I will hope you will find the connection and support you need.

  • carrie

    Born an atheist, get real. To be an atheist you have have the ability to deny or disbelieve there is a God. Your son can’t do that therefore not an atheist. It would be like saying a rock or trees are atheists. Don’t get me wrong I understand the frustration because when my parents died and everyone kept telling me I’m sorry it frustrated me to no end. But I accepted it because it was well meaning. Let people pray for your son, I mean what could it hurt? Why get all bent out of shape because of others beliefs? They are helping the only way they know how. And as I said what and who are their prayers hurting? Is it going to fundamentally change your son? Will it harm the way he is being treated by doctors and nurses? Will he die because someone was kind enough to ask God for health and healing for your son?

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Show me one child who was born believing in a deity. All humans are born atheists, which means lack of belief in a deity. You can’t believe in something no one has told you about.

    • spookiewon

      You confuse implicit and explicit atheism. Kevin and I are explicit atheists. We have been presented with ideas about gods and rejected them for lack of evidence. His son, and all babies, are implicit atheists. They also lack a belief in gods, but have not been presented with any to reject yet.

      • http://dreamnosmalldreams.wordpress.com antigravity23

        Who has been able to communicate with a non-verbal baby or toddler and ask them what they believe or feel or think to be true about the world? Not saying anything about God existing one way or another but you cannot really assume knowledge of something like this. Perhaps if newborns could speak they would have the answer one way or another.

    • Josh Shank

      many Christians would appreciate someone flooding their facebook page with praises to Odin, the All-father for good reports on how their sick child was doing? I dont think they would take it lightly and would most likely ask for it to cease.

    • Kevin Dail

      An infant cannot believe in a god. Simply Impossible. I only ever hear this from theists who are desperate to make some kind of point against atheism.

  • Susan Richie

    You and your wife may be atheists, doesn’t mean your son is!

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      All children are born atheists until someone indoctrinates them with religious fairy tales. Show me one child that was born Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.

  • Danielle

    I think your post is the one of the saddest things I have read, not because your son was born so premature and fighting for his life,not because you and your wife hard such a difficult time conceiving and she had a difficult birth, but because God blessed you with two children when it seemed impossible,spared your wife through two very difficult births, spared your premature son born weeks to early, and you STILL say you receive NO MIRACLES? (What do you need Thomas to stick you fingers in the holes where the nails went in?)

  • http://www.masksbyjen.com Jensequitur

    From a scientific viewpoint, if you believe in the power of prayer, it’s actually bad for you. People who think that prayer will solve problems are less likely to adhere to the recommendations of their doctors. They don’t take their medicine, don’t exercise, and think that prayer will solve everything. Sadly, this has a negative effect on recovery. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, you don’t have to believe in science for it to work for you.

    • Stephanie Bolton

      What the hell? People who believe in prayer are less likely to adhere to the recommendations of their doctors? You just made something up.

  • Mel B

    Kevin
    Sadly people will come onto your page and pretend to be holy.
    Why can people just respect Kevin’s wishes here.
    Kevin and his wife are going through a lot right now.
    Please be respectful.
    Xox

  • http://ayietim.wordpress.com ayietim1

    Hello,

    You must be going through a very challenging period, nothing, not even money would restore happiness to you, except the sight of your son, back home in good health, as a father, this is my sincere desire for you. I respect your belief, it’s your choice, I respect men and women who are using their talents to make human existence pleasant, I believe in science and technology but above all, I believe in God, who has made existence possible and without existence, there would be no us.

    • Kevin Dail

      Please prove your deity exists. And which deity is it?

  • Donna McKenzie

    I would just like to say that my thoughts are with you and your family and I’m glad you lil baby is doing well and getting stronger.

    Now to the so called Christians preaching you crap on this mans blog, you should be ashamed of yourselves, how dare you preach your crap using this mans child as a reason to spew your hipocrasy and fairy story nonsense he was polite and respectable towards you in his open letter, least you could do is comment on his post respectably ….. I’m an atheist and I find it totally bang out of order that you would use a child in this way

    • sybil

      They should be ashamed but sadly they do not see anything wrong with their horrific actions.

  • Red

    I believe in God and I respect the choice others have to think and believe in different things. We all believe in something; whether that something is God, or nothing. I wish I had enough faith to believe that nothing is in supreme power over all and this is just a pointless cycle of life we are experiencing. God bless..

    • LibB

      I sense a little snark there, Red. Being an atheist does not remove meaning from life. It just means we don’t believe/need a supernatural power intercedes in our lives or the lives of others and we don’t believe there’s a second act – so all the more reason to truly appreciate the life we have now. My life is infinitely less complicated and more serene since I ditched religion. I am a decent human being because it’s the right thing to do. And in fact, with the exception of a few, I find atheists who identify as humanists are far more empathetic and caring than any Christian I know. We reach out because our empathy comes from a place within us – not because some book told us to so we can get to some magical place in the sky. Our actions are guided by justice. Not fear.

  • http://gravatar.com/el el

    Call it prayer or collective consciousness, but one of my preemie twins had a lump on his leg and was scheduled for surgery. The Dr. had just removed a lump off another kid’s leg, plus amputated the whole leg, as it was cancer. Within a week, the golf ball sized tumor on my son was gone after I undoubtedly instructed his dad take him to a pentecostal church and have hands laid on him in prayer by the elders. It was just a mother’s intuition and the power of faith something bigger than myself.
    I don’t underestimate whatever that energy out there is, but there is something to it. Even the Dr. had other Drs come in the room a week later to double check the miracle, saying: “Someone up there is looking out for you.”
    I have studied several religions around the world and there are more than 200+ deities you mentioned… more like tens of thousands. Plus delved into other things like astronomy and yoga. Some say Jesus lived in India and was a yogi and that was how he survived the crucification, etc. This universe is so vast, we don’t know what is what; not even science. We can pretend to be almighty, but who really knows.
    Limited thinking is man’s biggest downfall and uses religion, atheism, ______ (fill in the blank), etc., to justify his own life process. Give SOMETHING a chance, you just never know…
    In the meantime, good luck with your family, expenses and health of your wee ones.

  • Johnny

    Hey man, I really do hope the best for Grayson. My sister is pregnant right now (I’m gonna be an uncle!!!!) and I couldn’t imagine if this were to happen to her. You’re a strong dude, and your wife is incredibly strong, too (although you don’t need me to tell you that). I’m atheist as well, and I really enjoyed this post because you refrained from condescension and hate, and instead graciously accepted all views and beliefs while still pointing out the flaws of mass societal reactions to events like this. I’ma head over to the GoFundMe page and help how I can. Thanks for your story, man- keep on keepin’ on.

  • dan

    Why not accept the benign statement “you are in our prayers” as what they truly are, it is a nicety which you could easily “interpret as we are thinking of you”. At least you are gracious enough to thank them but you too must feed your need to feed your religion just as some others do. You get on your high horse of science and try to belittle those that have a different view of live. Believe what you believe and shut up!

    • Kevin Dail

      Atheism is in no way a religion. Only theists make that claim to try and insult atheists.

  • Ray Clark

    This argument has been going on for thousands of years. It often boils down to name-calling, lacking of understanding, presumption of “knowledge” about what and who is. Words, words, words. The unbelievers and the believers largely both misunderstand the issues of this interminable yakking. Kevin Davis doesn’t “know” that there is NO GOD. He doesn’t “know” that prayer is unhelpful etc. Kevin, like the rest of our species knows very little in the whole scheme of things. Brandon gives an immediate example to Amy’s kind words (which she accompanied with something most atheists find effective: Money). Brandon wrote, hatefully and gratuitously: “God does not exist. Jesus Christ lived more than two thousand years ago and has no power. Your prayers mean nothing. If they make you happy, fine. But realize they don’t have any real meaning..” Who the **** is Brandon? What did he contribute with his meanness? Brandon doesn’t “know” anything of what he stated. He stated his “belief.” Amy stated her belief. I’ll state mine: May God have mercy on all of us and deliver each of us from our ignorance and may we all live in expectation of the Good. One last thing: God is not a ‘deus ex machina’ who fixes every ill and defect in our universe (yet); nor is God moved by prayers as the ancients imagined. God is Wholly Other, not any THING and if we believers pray it is not because God wants sycophants but God wants us to know that when He gives what He Eternally intended, we might praise Him and this, not because He has a big Ego but, because HE IS. As for the baby. I don’t know what will happen. But the child’s death, if it eventuates, in the final analysis will be for the Good. Or visa versa. Good is the only Reality. Evil is nothing but the absence of Good.

    • sybil

      Your word salad made me hungry…

    • Kevin Dail

      Fortunately, religion is slowly dying away. Check the stats and you will see that nonbeliever is climbing quickly worldwide. The internet has allowed theist youths to learn that their religion is not all encompassing and with a little study, they can get over this foible.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin Dail, you can ‘rejoice’ over the great apostasy from faith in God. There is no guarantee that Faith will endure widely among the people of the earth. Your imaginary world ‘without God,’ should be quite a spectacle. Your belief in man and science alone makes what kind of sense? What of unintended consequences? What of the dissolution of our planet, solar system, galaxy, universe that your cosmology suggests? Your fantasy of this brave new world depends on man’s wisdom to use science to its best; There is history that man also uses it for the worst. Can you think of some examples, intended and/or unintended. Don’t tax your brain, brother. Even Jesus (and we aren’t debating Jesus or the truth of Scripture etc., so don’t get sidetracked) even Jesus said: “But when the Son of man comes, shall he indeed find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. God has made an offer and whosoever accepts, gets, be it however many, however few. You can deny this; that the offer is even extended, but, you can not deny that you may choose to believe or choose not to believe.

      • Cindy

        The internet is not an end all of knowledge. If fact there is a lot of falseness and nonsense on it. You can’t believe everything you read regardless of where you find it.

  • Bethanie J

    I feel your pain my brother just lost his 3 month old daughter because of a muscular issue his girlfriend’s family didn’t tell anyone they carried, they insisted on a baptism and a catholic mass after she passed. Between praying to god and drinking nothing actually helped my niece or my brother cope with the pain of losing his daughter.My heart goes out to you, keep faith in the doctors and nurses and thank them.

  • LibB

    Kevin,

    Congrats on Grayson. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I just wanted to drop a note that my daughter and nephew were both born at 29 weeks. It’s a long stretch, but you will likely look back on this time in a couple years and think, WOW! We weren’t really in the NICU that long – but while you’re there, it feels like an eternity. My daughter is now 8 and ‘diagnosed’ ADHD and exceptionally gifted (IQ over 145). The doctors will always give you the worst case scenarios. Just know that there is a huge spectrum of outcomes and they aren’t all bad — although I don’t know if dealing with an 8 year old who is far more intelligent than you is a ‘good’ thing. :) I wish I could help you out financially because I know the burden first hand. We just aren’t in the position at this time.

    On a very practical note – the biggest lesson I learned having a preemie was regarding insurance. When claims are denied, call your insurance company and ask why claims were denied. Ask them to point out specifically in your policy the exclusion clause. Then call your provider and demand they resubmit the claims to your insurer. I have a good friend who is a claims adjuster for a health insurer (Wellmark) and they deny 20% of claims without any real reason – hoping you’ll do what we did – not question it and just pay the bill. Our total out-of-pocket costs were about $40,000. (Out of pocket max only applies to covered services). I wish GoFundMe existed 8 years ago. :) At any rate, it took us 3 years to pay it off – just in time to get pregnant with #2. In the end, as you know, it’s all worth it.

    Best to you and your family. I hope all goes well and little guy gets to come home soon. Finally, regarding the religious set, I feel your pain. They mean well, but they just don’t realize it means nothing to us. They may as well tell us they wrote a letter to Santa asking if he could lend a hand. It’s not that it’s offensive, it’s just hollow.

    • Ray Clark

      Kevin, I want you to think about this sentence you wrote: “They mean well, but they just don’t realize it means nothing to us. They may as well tell us they wrote a letter to Santa asking if he could lend a hand. It’s not that it’s offensive, it’s just hollow.” Now, let me ask you a question. If there is no all loving Creator etc. etc. and final Judge of the Living and dead, if there is no God, then ISN’T life itself mere fantasy or worse, to use your word, “hollow.” At best it is sentimentalism and nonsense. You KNOW and I know that we shall dissolve into the elements of which we consist as will the entire earth and all its inhabitants and its history. The whole galaxy will be forgotten and the Universe itself will be naught, at least not what it is now. You KNOW the scientific scenarios. Your view doesn’t even beat Santa Claus let alone God. Think about it. In ever so short of time you will be gone and forgotten. So where is there meaning worthy of the name? You deny God as a myth and embrace the myth of Sisyphus.

      • http://Website Eric Poling

        And that, Mr. Clark, is why people invented gods. Because we are often too weak to accept that it is all random and need some kind of religious mythology to help us feel like there is a point to everything. I am strong enough mentally to not need that. I understand that the Earth is rotating with billions of people on it. Since there is no mythical sky man to insure everything gets fixed if we mess it up, it is up to each one of us to try and make it a better place before we decay into nothingness.

      • Kevin Dail

        Ok, Mr. Know, Prove your god exists.

  • LL

    I absolutely respect your views and opinions here, although they differ from my own. I am a neonatologist and have my own strongly held views about God in medicine (and in the nicu) but I understand that may be irrelevant to you and that’s okay with me.
    A point of curiosity: Are you aware that there have been several studies done (well done, at the level of randomised controlled trials) that have shown that people who are being prayed for during hospitalizations or procedures have better outcomes than those who weren’t? (I’m not going to bother with linking anything here because my point for writing is more theoretical than anything.)

    I’m curious if that impacts you in any way. Not trying to prove any point about god or religion- I wouldn’t be able to if I wanted, as none of them addressed a question of why that might be- other than to ask if it were truly a scientifically proven fact that intercessory prayer improves outcomes for patients, would that change your mind or perspective about having people pray for your child?

    I wish you and your wife and baby all the best. I know exactly what you’re going through and it’s not easy.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Hi Laura, I’m aware. My own hypothesis is that it has more to do with morale than anything else. From what I understand, those studies also have pretty small sample sizes. Being a neonatologist, why not initiate a study on NICU babies and see if prayer works for them, since they wouldn’t be aware of the prayer, hence their morale wouldn’t be a factor? I’d be interested to know the results of that.

      • LL

        You’re right; that would be a very interesting study. I will say some of the studies I looked at were done without the patients knowing it was happening, which would technically take out the morale question as well. However, I’m also very aware that it’s difficult to have any real idea of all the possible confounding factors that might be involved.

        Again, I really do wish you and your whole family all the best. This has been an interesting and thought-provoking read for me. Thank you.

    • Kevin Dail

      There are also studies that show that prayer doesn’t work and statistically can have worse outcomes. Your turn.

  • sheena

    DANG PEOPLE! Back off! The man is stressed. He’s in a hard situation. I had a son in nicu premie too. Be kind. Be generous. But if your prayers are nails on a chalk board to an already stressed out Dad then keep them in your head and pray on your own time. It won’t make them any less real if they are kept private.

  • Krista

    As a believer, I came upon this post because a friend ‘shared’ it on Facebook. I am constantly yearning to try to understand people who have different beliefs than myself. Thank you for helping me see what an atheist feels and thinks when I offer my prayers of healing and safety to them. My sister(an atheist) just had a baby last week and he is also in the NICU. I hope others can have an open mind when reading your well thought out words.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10205319869090845/ Judi Lynn

    Kevin, I am there with you. Nearly 20 years ago my daughter spent almost a month in NICU. Five surgeries in nine years. She will be 20 in September. What tough troopers our kids are! Hang in there. Your beautiful boy will be home soon.

  • Michelle

    Yes thank you to the doctors and nurses but how did they have the knowledge to be able to do all this God gave them that knowledge and if my child were sick I would do whatever I could to try to make them well so whether or not I prayed I would give it a try in hopes to help my child praying never hurt anyone

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      God doesn’t give out medical degrees. These people went to college.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin, you have a matter of great concern to you but I can not address that. I can only address your arrogance when you speak about God. You seem to have a decent mind but are unable or unwilling to see the absurdity of atheism or even agnosticism. The only rational stance is openness to the Unknown which, by ‘His’ very Nature God is. I have nothing but compassion for your son. But you, however much you grieve, are a proud and arrogant man. You owe it to yourself and the rest of us to THINK and talk less.

      • http://Website Eric Poling

        Mr. Clark, please understand. A big part of the reason people constructed the notion of “gods” is that many are just too weak to accept that everything is a big series of random events. It gives you comfort to believe because you don’t have the strength to understand that the universe is a big wonderful place that doesn’t need a mythical sky man controlling it to proceed. People talk about the faith it takes to believe in these contrived myths but the real leap of faith is being able to understand that you don’t need them to see the beauty and wonder of the universe. Being mean to people who are strong enough to get on with life without the crutch of religion really shows how unprepared you are for the realities of the universe.

        • james j

          “Being mean to people who are strong enough to get on without the crutch of religion.”

          Is an attempted insult and by definition doesn’t that make you the mean one?

    • Mel B

      Seriously…
      You have no respect do you….There is no GOD outside of your mind

    • Kevin Dail

      Proof please.

  • killzalots

    See, the funny part about all of this, for me personally, is that we are but a tiny spec in the universe yet everyone seems to know it all regardless of which side of the fence you’re on. Our tiny minds cannot even begin to fathom what might possibly exists out there. With that being said I respect your opinion on the matter and hope the best for you and your family.

  • Lepidolite

    I don’t have the patience to read through all of these comments. My husband and I went through the same thing last January. Our daughter was born 11 weeks early and was is in the NICU for 65 days. After 4 days she was transferred to a hospital over an hour away for a procedure, and then was kept there for another month. We finally were able to transfer her back to our local hospital. All the time we drove back and forth between home and the hospital. We had a room at the Ronald McDonald House. I went back to work for a bit to save my maternity leave for when she was finally discharged. All the time I got very little sleep and the stress piled up. So I can truly empathize with what you are experiencing. My husband and I are also atheists, but passive. I was in too much of a surreal daze to let everyone’s prayers bother me. I appreciated the kind thoughts, but noticed many of them did not contribute to our GoFundMe page. The most donations were made by our more secular friends and family – those who understood what support we truly needed.

    Anyway, over a year later our daughter is doing fantastic! She has no complications or observable delays (keeping adjusted age in mind). She smiles and laughs and babbles (still working on words) and crawling and getting into crap she shouldn’t and fussing over the most inane things…she fills my heart with such joy! She’s almost 10 times her birth weight (2 lb 12 oz) now and still growing like a weed. It makes up for all of the stress from the hospital. So keep giving your son gentle hugs and kisses, sing softly, and ignore the monitor noises. It’s a tough time, but totally worth it. If you need any advice or suggestions, or just want to chat with another atheist parent that went through the same thing, send me a message. :)

  • Jeff

    Your open letter was addressed to believers in a format that allows comments. You knew you would get responses. I’m sorry that prayers for you and your family cause such distress. I’m surprised that you are willing to say Thank You to those that cause that distress.

    God and science can coexist. Many believers see the Bible as telling what happened and science forever attempting to explain how. Many hospitals and institutions of higher learning were founded by and still supported by churches and believers.

    Believers find comfort in prayer during troubling times and don’t immediately see that others may not.

    If you can accept that people, well meaning people, will continue to offer prayers on your behalf, maybe you will be able to just see the good and let it go at that. You have a son.

    Maybe you are concentrating way too much on something you don’t believe in anyway.

    I truly hope that you can find peace and enjoy your time on earth.

  • shana

    I hope that Grayson continues to gain weight and that there are no long term consequences from this abrupt and rocky start.
    I was a preemie, too, so these circumstances are pretty personal to me.
    Please, you and your wife, while struggling through this difficult and scary time, please take time to care for yourselves and one another. Even if it is nothing more than sitting under a tree for ten minutes with your bare feet touching the grass….please.
    And please tell Grayson for me ” Welcome to a very odd place, Sweetheart, you’re going to find all sorts of things- some good, some bad and some that are indescribably wonderful.
    Get strong and well and drink it all in.”

    I wish all of you long years, great joy and small troubles in days to come.

    With love,
    Shana

  • Pax

    I agree with you on that point : “But if you want to do something in your power to help, then do something tangible. Donate to families in need or medical research. Contact your representatives when a vote comes up that might inhibit scientific advancement. Call a friend or family member who’s in crisis and be a compassionate ear. Volunteer with a local group without an underlying agenda (like preaching to those benefiting from their good deeds). There are so many things you can do that are infinitely more effective”

    Praying is good, but being more effective and translating words (prayers) into actions is better ! Praying isn’t enough for someone who really wants to help. I think it’s not a faith issue, the real matter is that some believers tend to be passive helpers, they settle for sympathy/prayers, they just keep their fingers crossed, they wait until something comes along, hoping it works that way without realizing they are doing/understanding it wrong !!!
    Praying & offering tangible help, as much as possible, will make a bigger difference !

    Best regards !

  • http://www.facebook.com/100001351521493 Jon Pierson

    Kevin,

    What a great story, especially the “We have placed our trust in science and modern medicine, and we are absolutely amazed at what is possible, thanks to medical research and man’s advanced understanding of biological sciences” bit. It’s funny but, when the science works, the “pray-ers” say “God did it” but, when it doesn’t, the “pray-ers” say “it’s God’s will, he works in mysterious ways”.

    I am lucky – I live in Ireland where the sort of treatment that your family is receiving is funded by general taxes – unlucky – I’m 62, I’m out of work – and lucky – I live in Ireland where we have reasonable social welfare benefits that allow people like me to have the dignity of a reasonable existence in such circumstances.

    Whilst, clearly, I am not flush with cash, I feel that a $100.00 donation to the fund to help offset Grayson’s medical costs is of considerably more benefit to his wellbeing than praying to a non-existent deity will ever be. I shall, therefore, be clicking into gofundme.com/GraysonFund, in the next few moments, to do just that.

    (P.S. As an old man, myself, I’m sure your mummy and daddy have already told you that, whilst your wife – and son – look just gorgeous, that fucking hat and hoodie do absolutely nothing for you. 😉 )

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks Jon for the kind words and donation. But hey man, that picture was after a full day of rushing to one hospital, being transferred to another, waiting out premature labor, tests, more tests, rush to an operating room for premature delivery, birth in the wee hours of the morning, and then physical and emotional exhaustion set in! Give a guy a break for not looking his best!! :-)

  • beck

    I appreciated this very much. And, I understand it to be a rant because you’ve reached your level of polite “thank you” & need a place to vent. I’m good with that.

    I am a former fundamental christian, former science of mind spiritualist, & current I don’t know what. (lol) Logic, reason, critical thought are vital to me. But, so is a sense that we’re all connected… there’s meaning to this life & the ups & downs. I’ve suspended enough of my disbelief to hold on to what makes life a bit more beautiful FOR ME because no belief, for me, was not a good headspace to be in.

    That being said – I also relate to this vent on a personal level. I am someone with chronic serious health issues & I am VERY tired of folks offering their prayers when action is what’s needed. DO something. BE here. Extend yourself to me in a way that I have, time & time again, expressed as meaningful. Offer to get meals when I’m in a flare, run errands, come & visit me when I’m sitting for 4 hours getting infusion therapy, be there on chemo day – just because, and the list goes on.

    I’ve begun saying to people, in a respectful way (as much as it can be perceived as such), that I think their god’s got a lot on its plate – maybe they need to DO something themselves, rather than lay it on their god again. Some things simply wouldn’t require prayer anyhow. What are you praying – that your god will get someone else to come help?

    It’s, all too often, a mindless / programmed response meant to alleviate any need to DO one’s self.

    I am on SSDI and this is the end of the month. I have no tangible anything to offer you – but I give of my time & talents regularly. I am wishing you, your wife, & children the very best of love, the very best of life, & the very best of everything!

  • Melissa

    This is EXACTLY how I feel all the time! My son was born early and has cerebral dysgenesis, chronic lung disease, and many complications from those two. He is FREQUENTLY hospitalized and was in the NICU for two months. We get all the time “praying for you”, “prayers for your family”, “prayers you’ll come home soon”, “God only gives children like Carter to people who can handle them”. While I appreciate their thoughts, when I read or hear something like that, I brush it off like it didn’t even happen. It’s like getting a birthday card with no personalized note.
    If they really wanted to help, they could donate $1 to our GoFundMe, let me do laundry at their house while he’s hospitalized (because his PICU is 2.5 hours and two toll booths away from our house), babysit my other child for me while I’m there with my sick one and my husband is at work, this list could go on.
    Our child is so immunodeficient that we couldn’t even go to church if we wanted to and that was one of the first things we were told before going home. We also can’t take him to Walmart.

  • Jeff

    You can believe it think what ever you want. The only thing that bothers me, is pretending that he wouldn’t have any children if he was religious. I consider myself a strong believer. I was born with CF like Grayson. I spent my 1st two months in the NICU. I have relied on science and medicine my whole life. I had a liver transplant at age 27 and me and my wife used IVF for the birth our daughter. It is possible to rely on both and millions do

    • Kevin Dail

      No, he said he wouldn’t have any children if your god was real. Read it again. Misquoting him is not very christian :)

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/993003600730312/ Guido Cossio

    Kevin sir ..i feel for your son .but you sir are so full of shit. ..your “thank you but no thanks” letter is hilarious. Saying “Thank you for your prayers…. I have no use for them… but I will take your money though” is like taking a starving homeless person out of the street and take him into a restaurant to buy him some food, only to get your face crashed by seeing the homeless person rejecting what you offering to buy, But instead he will pick up something he only wants from the menu. Oh and by the way lots of people have been saved thru a kind word or story of God, its not only science and medical advances saving lives.

    • Kevin Dail

      What a sad, insulting reply. Such xtian love :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/1273763631 Julie Borkowski

    I feel bad for the man’s situation, but it is unfortunate that he has taken to the airwaves to mock Christianity in his letter. However there is an incredible amount of irony in his mocking. This man proceeds to make it sound like those who believe in God do not believe in medical science. Which is just not true.

    I find it incredibly ironic that this man puts so much faith in medical science, but he does acknowledge a miracle that I cannot even fathom.

    He believes that his child is alive only because the medical science we have today.

    But yet he believes in the massive miracle of epic proportions that life originally began from nothing accidentally.

    • Kevin Dail

      And your insulting “christian” reaction is one of the many reasons there are more atheists every day.

  • Jody L Miller

    I had a similar experience. My daughter wad born at 26 weeks due to toxemia. She was 1 lb 10 oz. She was kept alive on machines and medicine. She was in nicu for 15 weeks. She can home at 5lbs 5 oz. My son was also born early at 28 weeks at 3lbs 5oz….. he was big for gestational age. I had placenta previa and placenta acreta. He was in nicu for 6 weeks. No machines. He can home at 5 lbs 5 oz. They are 11 and 9 now. She has epilepsy and a memory and language imparment and he is fine.

  • Shari

    So you don’t believe that the medical advances that saved your son are a gift from God? It’s just a random, lucky chance that everything happened the way it did? I’m just curious as to how you even rationalize that.

    • Kevin Dail

      He believes in reality, you believe in fantasy.

  • Nina

    This boils down to a very simple practice. Ask people what they need/ tell people what you need as actions speak louder than words.

    If I knew you were hungry and I give you a pencil it wouldn’t do much good would it!

  • Vince

    My thoughts are with you and your family. Might I offer my opinion that medical breakthroughs, modern medecine, and advances in fertility are the miracles that God provides to us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1273763631 Julie Borkowski

    I think there is more examining to be done here because some of these statements just seem really sad…

    “So should you be appealing to that same supernatural entity to help protect my son — a child that he never wanted to exist? Does that make sense to you?”

    I believe that it sounds like he believes that God did not want his son to exist so that is why he does not believe in God? I get being angry at God. I believe it someone with a fairly healthy amount of faith that can be angry at God.

    But if you are an Atheist than you believe in survival of the fittest and natural selection. That humans evolve. That belief system does not allow for children to be born if they are not going to be born healthy. So there is some contradiction on both sides of the fence.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Julie, you’re just dead wrong. I’ve been an atheist since I was 19. That was almost 20 years ago. I’m not angry at a god I don’t believe exists, and my being an atheist is completely independent of this situation. Also, natural selection and evolution are not belief systems. They’re scientific facts. Regardless of whether or not you “believe” in them, they’re still true. And your statement about evolution not allowing for unhealthy children to be born shows your lack of understanding in the topic you’re going on about. Not surprising though, since it sounds like you’ve received your science education from your pastor or Ken Ham.

    • http://survivingsuicideblog@wordpress.com kristijrn

      Julie…..your comments are a prime example of the ignorance of many so called “Christians.”

      Let me clarify…..the definition of atheist: “without a god/gods/goddesses.” Atheists are NOT Christians who are “mad at god.”

      I am going to assume that you consider yourself a “Christian”….please correct me if I am wrong. So do you believe in unicorns? If not, what happened in your life that made you so angry with unicorns? Are you an a-unicornist? Can you PROVE that unicorns don’t exist? Maybe they really DO exist and you will go to unicorn hell for not believing in them?

      How about Zeus? Do you believe in Zeus? Do you pray to Zeus? If not, why are you so angry with Zeus?

      Let’s not forget about Thor. Do you believe in Thor? If not, what did Thor ever do to you to make you so mad?

      Atheists do not believe in a god/gods/goddesses because there is NO evidence that any exist. Ancient texts are NOT evidence of a supernatural being…..especially ancient texts that encourage rape, torture, mass murder, and human sacrifice.

      As Kevin stated below, your comments about evolution, “survival of the fittest,” and “natural selection” prove your ignorance. The Old Testament is NOT a science book.

      Atheists are not “lost little lambs.” This may shock you, but I was BORN an atheist. I was never indoctrinated with religious superstition. Threats of hellfire do not phase me because hell is as “real” to me as “The Land of Oz” is to you.

      Your fairy tales do not support this family. I hear that the Duggars are having a rough time…..why don’t you go to their forums and preach?

      • Mel B

        Your response to Julie was priceless…love it ☺

  • cynthia

    My friend pointed me to this page. I find myself nodding my head to everything. We are currently going to a similar situation. My daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma April 20, 2015. We are still in the hospital as well. While I appreciate all the well meaning prayers, like you, I feel as though it doesn’t help. My husband also made a point similar to yours, that it helps the prayer more than it helps us.

    My mantra since admission has been, “I have faith in modern medicine. I have faith in science. I have faith in her oncologist and medical.”. Also the chorus from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem.

    Thank you for your post. I hope that it is well received and that it sheds some light for the religious folk. And good luck to you and your family.

  • lindseyl

    All i will say i hope all goes well for you and your family. I send you my thoughts and…prayers because that’s what i believe and i don’t think it hurts. If it would make your baby better faster i would pray to Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, Yahweh, Jehovah or who ever else. I appreciate your views and i wish you all the best :) if there is no god than this means nothing but if there is a god i hope he helps the doctors work fast .

  • dogwanderer

    Kevin, I feel for you. The immaturity, self-obsession, stubbornness, and idiocy of the evangelicals that post their opinions on your comments section is exhausting and sad for me to read, so I can’t imagine the emotional burden these grown children might cause you. Minds like yours make the world a better place, and I want you to know that there are many more who agree with you and appreciate your effort to share your intelligence with the interwebs. Cheers.

    • Christine Hardy

      I just want to say…. NOT all Christians are evangelicals. Please don’t lump them together. Evangelicals are just the loudest and most obnoxious cuz their taught they must “evangelize.”

  • http://faithfulmomof9.com Sylvia

    I am a Christian and even I get sick of my fellow Christians telling me they are praying for my daughter when all we really need is some real live practical help!! I also get tired of people telling me that my daughter’s brain cancer, debilitating seizures, and other disabilities are all part of God’s plan and that someday we’ll understand it or that her illness was a blessing in disguise. Trust me, brain cancer is NOT a blessing. My daughter suffering is NOT a blessing! Yet somehow, I have managed to hold onto my faith. I’m not going to preach it to you, try to convince you of a God, or tell you I’m praying for your son, but I personally just have to believe that someday, even if just in heaven, my daughter will have a pain free, disability free life. I am sorry that your precious little one is having troubles and hope he continues to make progress and get well! P.S. We’ve spent a lot of time at Strong Memorial and the Rochester Ronald McDonald house!

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks Sylvia. I understand your desire to believe that your daughter will someday be pain-free. I’m sorry to hear of her health issues. Thank you for sharing your point of view. It’s nice to hear from rational Christians who aren’t here to tell me how wrong I am or to proselytize.

  • Kimmie

    My comment is for those that keep pushing with the prayers and their beliefs …. Look I’m not an atheist nor am I religious I believe in God and I’m more spiritual than religious

    If you chose to pray for this beautiful gift then do it without recognition no one needs to know what your praying for

    Respect this man, his family, and his beliefs

    Pushing what you believe isn’t the Christian way a Christian will pray to the lord and ask that on judgment day he be seen for being a good man rather then not believing

    I hope your baby makes an amazingly quick recovery and every blessing that science has to offer helps him come home

  • Christine

    I, as an atheist, believe the following; Think good things and good things will happen. I believe that putting out positive energy in the world is powerful. It is why smiles are contagious and misery loves company. Therefore, genuine prayer is more positive energy. It may not be as effective as being in the medical profession, and i am all for donating money, time and energy to a cause, but giving the red cross 20 bucks will not help your family any more than the positive energy someone is trying to direct at you. Take it, use it, let it help sustain you! It doesn’t matter how its worded, whether it is spoken to god or allah Or joe down the street, it is still meant for you.

    Peace be with you.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      That’s not “as an atheist”. That’s “as a superstitious person”. Being an atheist doesn’t prevent you from taking in silly superstitions, and it certainly doesn’t verify them as being effective, or being a product of well-reasoned skepticism.

      Putting out “positive energy” doesn’t do shit. How you treat others, to a certain extent, can help (or hurt). But there is no physical mechanism by which “positive energy” affects people who are unaware of your supposed energies.

      Studies have been done on the effectiveness of prayer on people who are sick, by the way. If someone has no idea the prayer is happening, there is no statistically significant effect either way. If they are made aware others are praying for them, they in fact tend to do very slightly more poorly. Perhaps they go “People are praying for me. I must be doing worse than I thought.”

      Either way, prayer, good wishes, etc, have no impact on people who are unaware of them. It’s a way to pat yourself on the back for doing nothing. Instead, take action that actually affects a person positively, like donating money, or helping with childcare, etc.

      • beck

        I simply have no need to be well reasoned skeptic in every single solitary facet of my life. If you do & it works for you – have at it.

        Many atheists refer to those who have any form of belief as weak. Sobeit. Call me whatever you like. I don’t know you & I don’t care. Being 100% reasoned & logical & skeptical & needing to critically think through every solitary thing in my life was NOT productive FOR ME.

        I chose to suspend a degree of my disbelief or, more accurately, just “let it go” when it came to questioning what made life brighter. “We’re all connected”, “there’s meaning to this madness” (without applying further thought to it), “every goddamn thing isn’t just random bullshit that means nothing”. Me? I NEED this small degree of belief with no questioning applied to it & I am okay with that.

        I don’t believe in a person in the sky or heaven or hell (except to the degree that we choose those states of mind right here & now and can choose differently at any point – at least in theory). I don’t live by religion or religious books.

        We all live this life with strengths & “weaknesses”. We all have our abilities & our disabilities or disadvantages or blindspots or whatever. My sensitivities that cause me to “need” some degree of belief is something that’s both a beautiful asset &, at times, a detrimental liability. No one has the right to deny me a comfort that hurts NO ONE. This is an area where some atheists are as heinous as some religious people – rather than allowing people to BE when they are not hurting themselves or anyone else.

        I really BELIEVE sometimes there are just people, regardless of belief or disbelief, who just LOVE to shit upon everyone else by shoving their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, knowledge, or insights in the faces of others – just because they can.

    • beck

      I agree about energy. Completely. It’s how I live my life. That being said, sometimes it is exhausting to grin and thank when someone offers prayer, when it isn’t even necessary even if you are a believer. If you truly care, DO, when there’s something to do AND send your positive energy as well.

      • beck

        Now. I have a dear dear friend who is a fundamental christian. She’s a woman to be admired & respected. When SHE tells me she’ll be praying for me – I accept it fully, completely, without reservation, knowing she is sending the most loving kind genuine beautiful hopeful energy out into the universe on my behalf.

        She lives all the way around the world in a place where back & forth communication is not easy. But, in her many travels she finds innumerable ways of showing me she cares & gives evidence that, indeed, she’s been thinking of me… Because, as she travels, she picks up small somethings everywhere she goes – just for me – knowing traveling the world & meeting people from all over has always been a fire burning inside me.

        And, recently, when I was going through both physical & serious legal issues involving my health insurance – which left me with none… when I was at my darkest point & darkest hours of my life – via telephone – she was there.

        She uses religious words that I do not subscribe to – but the love & energy behind them we agree upon. She pulled me up from the darkness. Five hours on the phone. She SAW me, she understood the darkness & terror within the many layers of my situation, she heard me, & she never told me I needed to calm down, relax, quit taking things so seriously & deeply. She met me where I was at & she was the very first bit of comfort & hope i had experienced in months.

        I was barely holding on & she came into my darkness to remind me of my light. I will never ever turn away her prayers. She is one of the few people who DOES and prays & when she prays – you can almost literally feel her love being sent your way.

        It is powerful & I defer any disbelief because no amount of logic, reason, critical thought, facts, or legal stance in my defense could console the life trauma I was in.That’s what love & friendship & this particular friend’s prayer can do for us.

        And, for the record, I am not a christian nor religious or indoctrinated person of any sort. I have no label that fittingly describes where I am on the fact/fiction scale. I accept the belief that we are all connected, that energy matters, that we come from one source & go back to it upon our physical death. Further than that, I believe nothing. I usually say that love IS my religion & that’s good enough for me.

      • Kevin Dail

        What energy? From what? Energy is not magic…

  • Sarah

    Awesome! You nailed it! I’m sharing this for sure. I know most people who pray for you think they’re doing something good, but to me it’s empty and almost insulting. I hope medicine and science see you all head home ASAP! Cheers

  • http://gomezenrique.wordpress.com gomezenrique

    Kevin,
    I work as a respiratory therapist in a NICU. I am a Christian. So it goes without saying what I will do. Plus I am going to your site to donate. Nice looking family btw!
    In Him,
    enrique

  • Mark Ferris

    Kevin, I don’t know you or your wife, but as a fellow atheist with a healthy child I wish you and your family well, and know that it was very meaningful to read your ‘open vent’. Eloquent, perfectly to the point, and IMO much needed in this suffocating environment of ‘God wants this’ and ‘God cares about that’.

    My main comment is that, yes, everything does happen for a reason, but some of those reasons are terrible and tragic for those who have to suffer through them. Our difficulties are things we must learn to deal with, and as atheists we do not, we cannot, rely on the religious reassurances of believers. In turn they should try to be more aware of the non-believers in our societies and show appropriate respect.

    All the best!

  • http://rosross.wordpress.com rosross

    Kevin, you have every right to express yourself but being an atheist does not mean one must be without grace, compassion, kindness, courtesy and consideration.

    You have no idea how people are praying and whether or not it is to some deity. You have no idea why they are praying, beyond, one presumes, health for your son. I suspect most are not thinking of you or your wife, or intending to comfort you, but are instead, doing the one thing they feel they can do, praying for your small son.

    You have absolutely no way of knowing, any more than they do, whether or not there is an intelligence which hears prayers and that means mutual respect for belief is important. My view of prayer is that it is thoughts as energy which can reach beyond and bring help and healing to others. And there have been studies demonstrating that effect so perhaps your son has been helped more than you know.

    Your ‘faith’ in science/medicine is understandable but the simple reality is that science/medicine has taken the place of religion for many and perhaps, who can say, your need of it in the first place is because science/medicine has so compromised health and fertility that there are more and more people like yourself.

    I am sure everyone wishes you well and I would simply add, the world is a better place when we come from a place of mutual respect, imputing the best motives to others and understanding that while one may choose to call themselves an atheist, another an agnostic which is really the most sensible position, and yet others religious, none of us really know how this world works and what sort of intelligence is at work in it. No doubt when we leave this world we will either find out or never know anything more. In the meantime, being gracious with each other is what matters.

    Since you have made your situation public and also asked people to give you money, and since you are American, the most religious country in the developed world with legions of fundamentalist Christians out there, it is pretty likely that by making your problems public you are going to get lots of people praying for you. It seems a given, in such a religious country that if you share your concerns, and particularly when you ask for money, that you would accept the rest as a given.

    Thankyou in such circumstances is more than enough. A gracious appreciation that people are doing that in which they believe in order to help you, a stranger, and your small son.

    • Christine Hardy

      He DID thank them. Read the article in its entirety.

      • http://rosross.wordpress.com rosross

        I did, and if you read my post in entirety you will see that I was cognizant of that. It was a mean-spirited, half-hearted thankyou.

  • Laura

    This really hits home to me. My niece died after a 14 month battle with leukemia. I got to the point that I wanted to scream at the people who told me that they were praying for her. Aside from the points this author brought up, I kept thinking “you’re praying to a god who would torture, or allow the torture of, a 2 year old for over a year before letting her die.” I kept thinking that all these people were telling me they were praying to a sadist. I knew they were good intentions, but they just destroyed me instead.

    • Christine Hardy

      Yup

  • http://akinkydichotomy.wordpress.com Lady Dreyanan

    I agrre with all of your suggestions for helping in a tan gible way and I actually practice all of them including donating to Children’s hospitals, Fischer Houses, disaster relief, and more and I also pray. Praying is not about making myself feel good and i often never tell people I am praying for them or theirs because they may like you be an atheist and my prayers are not meant to antagonize. I know what it is like to sit next to a hospital bed, and need more than prayer, often those hospitals were far from my home and I need a roof over my head a shoulder to lean on, money for food and compassion. I have had these needs met by believers and non-believers and appreciate whatever assistance they could offer.

  • Karla

    Believing in God does not mean you do not trust or use modern science or medicine… Best wishes for your family. …are wishes ok? What about positive vibes…

  • attila vajda

    the “science delusion”? follow up rupert sheldrake, stan grof, michel odent, frederick leboyer

    “Remember this, for it is as true as true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic.” Ina May Gaskin

  • mensajohn

    Thank Philo Farnsworth (posthumously) for the predecessor to the incubator..another thing that he didn’t make much money on.

  • cayla

    Is a religious argument really something anyone should be having when their child is in the NICU? Just be appreciative for what your child is getting and that you have them. Religious arguments start wars, none of which any parent needs be concerned with when they have a child in the hospital( speaking from experience).
    Not every premature infant gets great NICU care so be greatfull and not concern yourself with who believes in what. It’s the individuals perogative.

  • keri Luallen

    Well As A God Believer and A Faithful Christian Person. Did U Ever Think because u and your wife’s Choice to be athiest, is in fact the reason you and your wife are goin through this difficult time? The Baby Is In Great Hands Both God’s and I am sure the hospital staff. But with that being said God may just be teaching You That He (God) Is In Control. Modern Medicine is Great. I Dont Argue That, We Must Progress or We Also would be a 3rd World Country. And Yes Us Humans Are in Fact Very Intelligent, almost Scary in fact. But When we have Gone too far He will Come Back and Let Us All Know He Is Real! Good Luck To You And I Will Pray for All Of You.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      There have been a handful of comments from people who are total assholes. This is one of them. To insist that our struggles to conceive and then carry a child to full term are somehow a punishment from your god is heartless and cruel. You’re a terrible person.

      • Christine Hardy

        Wow. Yeah. Wow….. What an ass.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin, your blog has a good many adulators. I think the comment by the believer above was unnecessary and quite difficult, but the writer wasn’t deserving of your condemnation as an “asshole” and as “a terrible person.” On what grounds do you make such judgments? Wherein is your ethical/moral/whatever system grounded to pass judgment and call names. You must have some values that you think are self-evident and ways of believing and behaving that are just clear as the rising sun, right? Where did they come from? Certainly not from a deity. So, in the final analysis, just according to the implications of your assertions about God and prayer and the like; in the final analysis, you are without grounds and are a god-of-your-own-making, declaring right from wrong, and doing as you please. IVF is repugnant to life because of the destruction of other lives that is involved and that is just one reason. In itself it is wrong. But God did not will any evil upon you or yours because of your assumption of divine prerogatives. He lets His rain fall upon the just and the unjust and He desires not the death of anyone. I’m not preaching anymore than you were when you called your fellow human being an asshole and a terrible person.

        • Mel B

          Yet its ok to tell someone to go back to school to think….Typical double standards of a bible basher with no human compassion…

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Ray, please understand this. Based on all of your long-winded attempts at presenting yourself as an intelligent, philosophical, and well-thought-out individual, all of which have failed miserably due to your incessant rambling and talking down to others, I’ve come to this conclusion — I don’t know you, don’t ever care to, and couldn’t give a shit what you think about IVF, my life decisions, or anything else. Your comments to other readers on my blog have been rude, disrespectful, and ultimately self-serving. You’ve presented yourself as a crass know-it-all, not the humble, compassionate type of Christian that Jesus advises people of your faith to be. It seems to me there are far more atheists in these comments acting more “Christ-like” than the Christians, and suffice it to say, I’m not surprised. If someone tells me that their god (that I don’t even believe in) is punishing me by handing down fertility issues because I’m an atheist and therefore an unfit parent (at a time in my life that I’m dealing with a premature baby in the NICU and all of the struggle that goes along with that), then yes, that person lacks any sort of compassion. That person in my estimation is an asshole and a terrible person. That’s my opinion (a justified one in my opinion and many others’) and I’m entitled to it, especially on my own website. Do I come to your site and preach to you? No. You’re in my kitchen and I can kick you out any time I want to. That said, this will be my final reply to you. If I see any further disrespectful comments from you to other readers who have not picked a fight with you in the first place, they will be deleted, and you may be ultimately banned. Good day.

          • Ebie

            ”You’ve presented yourself as a crass know-it-all, not the humble, compassionate type of Christian that Jesus advises people of your faith to be”. You’re full of contradictions mate. One minute you’re bashing the hell out the compassionate type of Christians that sent goodwill your way and then another minute you’re accusing one of not being the humble compassionate type of Christian. I dont even think you know what you believe or what you want out of life. I seriously doubt you’re atheist, i think you’re angry at God for something that happened in your past and you’re lashing out. But you really dont sound like a true atheist cos you’re full of contradictions. Dont bother replying anyone, not in the mood to argue :)

          • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

            “You’re this, you’re that, you’re…” “I’m not in the mood to argue.” But I’m the one with contradictions. Thanks for your input. Very valuable.

          • Mel B

            Another twisted and spiteful religious freak who pretends to be holy…..

            you need to get your head out of your own ass and look at the pedophile religion you chose to support and condone before harassing a person who has a sick baby.

            Why not donate the $ you would give the church to this man for his sick child instead of giving it to the churches tax free billion $ bank account for your down payment into heaven????

            Yes I’m pissed off that people like you think you are 1 better because you believe in a book written over 2,000 years ago and a GOD that allows children to be sexually abused in his place of worship….

            I’m not angry with a deity that doesn’t exist

            God does not exist outside of your delusional mind…..

            Please remember that next time you eat shell fish and iron your mixed fabric clothing

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin, you are full of yourself. I’ll pray for you. In between time, ban me. Your blog is a useless self-celebratory paean to Kevin and his woes and to, in this case, a poor little human, whom you manipulated into being for your own desire to be a parent. You want a whole healthy child and you bet on modern science. I think it is pitiable. None of my harsh words mean that I don’t love you, the baby ….I’m just not going to humor your grandiose madness about Kevin. Ban me. We will talk in eternity. Love, Ray.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Interesting… my blog is useless to you but you’ve posted no less than 26 comments, most of which were ridiculously long. Good luck elsewhere. Maybe someone will bite.

    • Christine Hardy

      You are one of the reasons I’m not a Christian anymore. I hope you have your own bigotry cast back at you one day. Shame on you.

    • MicheleG

      I thought I had said my peace yesterday; I purposely wasn’t going to get into a theological discussion here out of respect for Kevin. This is neither the time nor the place. But in all honesty this comment right here pissed me off.

      “Did U Ever Think because u and your wife’s Choice to be atheist, is in fact the reason you and your wife are goin through this difficult time?” “….Got may just be teaching You That He (God) Is In Control.”

      What an unkind and ultimately un-Christian thing to say to someone in the mist of trying times. I am Christian and I will hold onto my faith in Jesus, but more and more these days I am disappointed in His representatives here on Earth. I do believe if we listen God can teach us things through all circumstances but I do not believe for a second that God orchestrates those situations in order for us to learn or as some punishment for our actions / behaviors. What would you say to my husband and I who suffered through five years of infertility? Were we not Christian enough? Were not doing it right? It’s legalistic bull as far as I am concerned.

      And what Kevin said here, whether he realizes it or not, is actually biblical principle. While offering prayers is kind in word it does naught in deed. As Christians we are supposed to be there for others in their time of need. Giving as we can – be it our shoulders to cry on, our ear to listen, our time, our resources including money if need be. Our prayers should be but a small part of what we do.

      Maybe if more Christians got up out of the pews and started giving, doing and serving their communities we wouldn’t get so much backlash from those that don’t believe. Maybe if more Christians weren’t so self absorbed and put themselves out there others would be able to see His light shining within us.

      Sometimes I just want to scream.

      @Kevin – again I am so sorry that my husband and I are not in a position where we can financially help your family. I won’t deny that I will pray about your situation but my prayer will be focused around what I can do to help. That maybe I can have some clarity of mind to show where I can rearrange my budget for this month in order to help. If I do find that I certainly will give. If we lived close I would see if there were anything I could do such as babysitting or cooking or whatever. I do hope that you are finding help in all those areas with ease.

      May little Grayson continue to grow and get strong, and may you and your wife find the strength you need to make it through this exhausting ordeal.

      Much respect to you,
      Michele

    • Kevin Dail

      The English Language Is Not Printed In All Caps. You are just insulting him more.

  • Pingback: A message from a closet atheist |()

  • Meg

    I wish your family the best of luck!!! Here’s a different way to think about prayers: regardless of the existence or nonexistence of the being to whom the prayers are addressed, praying for your baby focuses the supplicant’s mind on the well-being of another person, thereby increasing the world’s supply of empathy and kindness.

  • dr.science

    With this same argument, evolution was also telling you that you should not reproduce.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1594690030773104/ Ralph Oscar

    This is the first article of yours that I’ve read, and it is profoundly insightful. Yes, that “we’re praying for you” is truly annoying – look up any of the “Prayer: How to do nothing and still think you’re helping” demotivational posters. And we all know that two hands at work accomplish more than a thousand clasped in prayer. And on and on. When there is so much real need, that people are satisfied with sitting on their asses and thinking special thoughts, well, yeah – that’s annoying. And per your comments on what Christians are supposed to believe about prayer:

    “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Matt. 6:31-32

    “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matt. 6:8

    See? Jesus acknowledges that God already knows. God *wanted* things to be like this – and if you don’t like it, tough O_O

    Problem is, Jesus also says that Christians should have the power to work his “miracles” and more, AND that EVERY prayer will be done:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14

    So, yeah. If your prayers aren’t accomplishing anything, if you can’t heal that child with a thought – instantly – then it’s time to do something REAL. That said, I certainly wish you all the best, and congratulations on your new son!

    • Kevin Dail

      So you have absolute proof that everything in your magic book is real? Commenting with bible quotes is not helping anybody.

      • Kevin Dail

        I cannot find the post I was commenting on, so please disregard the above.

  • Christine Hardy

    I think the point atheists miss is that most people of faith don’t have an either/or belief in God vs Science the way atheists do. Only extremists say “rely on God alone.” Those are the nut jobs that make the news, whose kids die of pneumonia because the parents won’t give them medicine.

    The vast majority of people of faith recognize that science and medicine are crucial to our survival. They pray for God to work through the doctors and the science. I always would pray, back when I used to pray, that God would guide the surgeon’s hands, that the doctors and nurses would be well rested and think clearly, that test results would be interpreted correctly, and that whatever was there would show up on the scan or the xray so that the doctors would know what to do and make the correct diagnosis. I would pray for the patient to have a sense of peace and calmness, rather than panic and fear that would aggravate their condition, and for minimal pain and discomfort. Because I used to work at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and did a study about community-acquired pneumonia, I would also pray for them to be protected from germs in the hospital. I’d also pray against medication errors.

    Ultimately, medicine and technology and God are all entwined. It is because God gave us the ability to think and reason that we have technology and medicine. Or so the thinking goes. I’m sensing a false dichotomy in the article, though I respect and understand the author’s viewpoint.

  • Christine Hardy

    I’m at a similar juncture right now… not sure where I stand or what I believe other than that I believe in “something.” Thanks for putting it so well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/523280517 Becky Shelton Young

    I personally didn’t read all the replies but I think I got the idea. I’m so sorry your baby is sick! If I were a scientist or a pediatrician, I would do what I could to help your son. If I were closer to you, I’d be cooking a meal for you, running errands if I could. In short, I’d do anything to help you.

    Praying is in my power. I have friends who are atheist and I get it. I am Methodist. :) I’ve been one all my life. I happen to believe that science and God are in this together – but I do realize that this does not have to be YOUR reality, and I would not push my religion on you. If I say “I’ll pray for you” that is not to make you feel like I am usurping your rights. That’s just what I do – whether I tell you or not – when somebody is having trouble. It’s as natural to me as scratching my nose.

    Maybe the problem here is in the telling, but Christians don’t mean a thing by praying for you and your family. We’re trying to “hailp” as the old Shake-n-Bake commercial used to say.

    I hope that your baby does well and I wish you all the best.

  • Jeff

    Sometimes Christians just have to stomp the dust off their feet and move on. It’s clear that this is what this man and his family would prefer. Otherwise the letter is just a provocation for argument and publicity.

    Let him be.

  • http://withabandon13.com allforhim02

    I am so sorry for your pain. I can’t even imagine what you and your family are going through/have been through. I do want to say that I am a Christian, and while I often offer prayers and my intentions are good, I understand your frustration. I don’t think I have ever considered how an atheist may feel about hearing those words. It is my sincerest hope that your son will be healed and that you and your wife would enjoy your children, and life together, as you so clearly do.
    I appreciate your thoughts, as they are so eloquently stated, and I think I have learned how to serve and love others better from them. Thank you. =)

  • I get it

    Hating to hear things like “It’s all in God’s plan” is not the sole province of nonbelievers. I was raised Christian. I was also raised with a great deal of physical and emotional abuse at home, and bullying at school. These were *not* connected; I in no way blame my religion for what happened to me. But I was given, by countless well-intentioned people, all the usual nostrums: “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” “God works in mysterious ways,” “This won’t matter when God grants you eternal life,” ad nauseam.

    All the prayers in the world, including my own (and even those of my abusers), did nothing to stop the abuse. I know how Mr. Davis feels. All but a couple of the people praying for me did nothing else to intervene even when they knew what was happening (one even confessed this to me on her deathbed as something she was profoundly ashamed of). The ones who added action to their prayers arguably saved my life. These were people who practiced the religion *of* Christ, not the religion *about* Christ. What they did for me was precisely what Christ exhorts his followers to do for the sick and downtrodden. They knew that magic words and platitudes did nothing, that an open door to warm bed and a hot meal were what really helped. It was the correct answer to WWJD.

    Mr. Davis and his family are going through what I hope they’ll look back on as the worst ordeal of their lives (i.e., nothing this bad ever happens to them again). When he tells you what you can do to help, and what not to do to avoid making the situation worse, do not tell him he is wrong, or arrogant, or closed-minded, even if you are convinced he is. *Especially* don’t do this on his own blog where, more than any other place online, he should have the freedom to say what he wants. How can criticizing him possibly make their situation better in any way?

  • Leigh

    My heart breaks for you knowing that you will never feel the true love of God. I’m not against medical interventions, as a matter of fact I believe that medical intervention is necessary in certain situations because God can only answer your prayers if you are willing to do something to help yourself as well. There is a story about a gentleman in a flood. Two boats came by to rescue him but he turned down each one saying, “My God will save me.” Then a helicopter came by and he turned them down with the same excuse. Then he drowned. When he got to heaven he asked God why he didn’t save him and God said, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter. Why didn’t you get on?”

    My twins died because of a medical intervention. Can you tell me why if medical interventions are so amazing all the time? If I hadn’t had that procedure done, I would have twin boys right now, but instead I have a broken heart because they will never be in my arms. Medical interventions aren’t always the best thing, but as I’ve said before, God gives you what you need to answer your prayers. Medical interventions being one of those things when necessary.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      I’m aware of your ridiculous flood story, as I was once a born-again Christian. I’m quite familiar with all of your apologetic arguments. Please don’t assume you’re educating me about Christianity, and please know that your heart doesn’t need to break for me, as my life is much happier since leaving religion. I find joy and meaning in the world around me every day. I don’t need the promise of eternal life and paradise. I’ve come to terms with my, and everyone else’s, mortality. I could turn your story around and ask you then, why would your god send the flood to begin with, just to send the helicopter? It’s nonsense. I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

  • Jenn

    When my first round of ivf failed, I was left heart broken, empty and spent. I was spent emotionally, physically and financially.

    You know what helped me? My people who hugged me so tightly in hopes of keeping the little pieces of me from completely crumbling. My people who cried rivers along side of me. My people who were just there, there and not saying a word.
    You know what didn’t help? Telling me everything happens for a reason. I believe this, but only in a sense of cause and effect. Not in the sense of God having a bigger plan for me. Telling me it’s god’s will doesn’t help. Telling me that what’s meant to be will be doesn’t help. I know with everything that I am, I was meant to be a mother. But because of who I fell in love with, that was no easy task. Science and modern medicine has given us our amazing 6 month old son.
    I would thank people for their prayers, truly and deeply. While the prayer itself doesn’t do anything for me, the positive thoughts and energy on my behalf did. Sending me meals or vacuuming my house when I was in severe emotional and physical pain would have been more helpful, though. Laying with me after I injected numerous needles daily would have helped. Laying with me, comforting me after all of those needles and drugs didn’t work, would have been helpful. Even more than that, would have helping put a dent in our $30000 bill though I would never expect or ask.

    So, for this family watching over their tiny little babe, hoping that everything will work out, I send you hope and love. Hope that you have an amazing support system and wonderful medical staff. Love for you, as a mother who would do absolutely anything for her child. Oh, and popping by http://gofundme.com/GraysonFund might help, too.

  • Josh Shank

    Thank you for this. I too am an atheist coming from a christian family whose son was born with a complex heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. He is now 15 months old and has undergone 3 open heart surgeries, several heart catheters, a throat surgery and quite a few other lesser procedures. At 3 weeks old he was flown to a more capable hospital 4 hours from our home for his first emergency operation and has spent a total of around 6 months in the hospital. He is home now and doing very well. If you didn’t see the scars, you would never know he had any issues (besides a slight delay in speech). Many times I wanted to lash out at friends and family, knowing they didn’t truly understand what we were going through, and praising god every time we had a good report. I continually bit my tongue, not wanting to cause unnecessary strife during already troubling times. You have said what I wanted to say in a more acceptable way than I wanted to. I am very glad that your children are alive and well. It is a relief hearing a story similar to my own. I wish I could donate to your family, but we ourselves are having some trouble, as I was laid off just 2 weeks after our son Aedyn’s first surgery, and it has been a battle ever since.if you don’t mind, I would like to include our gofundme link. http://www.gofundme.com/d9dnx0
    Again, I’m glad things are going better for your family, you will be in my thoughts.

  • Marucha

    Thank you for an excellent and eloquent piece. Please tell your wife she looks amazingly beautiful in that birth-day photo, calm and glowing and just lovely — like a movie version of a new mother!
    I hope that your precious new son continues to grow and thrive. And I wonder, is that expression too close to saying “I pray that…”? Like you, I am an atheist, but such expressions, and the emotions behind them, come so naturally, and I sometimes wish I believed in “the power of prayer”.
    But I agree that prayer and superstitious propitiation of unseen powers surely developed among humans as a way to comfort OURSELVES about all the fears of the future that our great, unique human brains had become capable of imagining. And the stronger the irrational belief, the greater the comfort derived, I’m sure.

    A couple of years ago I was in the somewhat opposite situation of yours that an atheist sometimes finds herself in — that of trying to comfort a longtime (Christian) friend whose fear and desperation to save her desperately-ill mother caused her to fixate on “the number of churches we need to get praying for her to save her”.

    The poor old woman kept having near-death bouts of pneumonia (among other problems and surgery), in which her survival was truly in doubt, and at some point in one of the earlier crises, her body/the massive amount of antibiotics given finally gained the edge on the deadly infection, along about the same time that an eleventh church had put Mrs. Dear Friend’s Mother’s name on their prayer list. So, alas, my friend then concluded that 11 (congregations) was the “magic number” — the probable “tipping point” that would prod God into action.

    With each successive dire bout of pneumonia, and finally, with the discovery of lung cancer and what I knew was ill-advised surgical intervention dooming the poor, obviously-dying woman to spending her remaining months in pointless medical misery (my own far-more-robust mother having died of lung cancer herself a decade earlier), my girlfriend repeatedly drove herself crazy worrying about getting “enough churches praying for Mom”. Eleven was a minimum; a more serious situation might theoretically require even more…

    This, to me, is the considerable downside to the much-vaunted comfort that religious belief brings — the utter anguish of pointless fear of personal inadequacy that the focus on superstitious equations and impossible standards brings.

    Since she actually asked me, during one of the final crises, what I thought, knowing full well that I didn’t believe in any of it, I told her very gently that it seemed to me she was in fact falling into a superstitious mind trap of believing temporal correlation MUST equal causation; that I didn’t think a kind, caring, all-knowing God would need X number of churches/people shouting at him to get his attention or motivate him to act — ‘if he exists, he’s not a politician, after all,’ I joked to this childhood friend, who had literally followed me into newspaper writing as a career, taking over my first reporter job as I vacated it.
    I told her I hated to see her filling herself with anguish and sleepless nights over this. “I think you should do whatever makes you feel better — ask more churches, if you think it helps — but I don’t think you should ever blame YOURSELF if your mother doesn’t improve”.

    Then I did what made me feel like both a hypocrite and a true friend — I went online and found two large Christian organizations that take prayer requests (no donation requested, let alone required!) and added her mother to their lists myself, then passed along the pertinent details to my friend, in hopes that she might find peace of mind in her belief that now thousands of people worldwide were ‘petitioning the Lord with prayer’ on her mother’s behalf — presumably far beyond the “magic number” my friend thought was needed.

    Was this the right thing for a rationalist/atheist to do? Or was it exactly the wrong thing to do? I don’t know, but it was appreciated, so I believed it was a good thing at the time. I never pretended to her that I believed in it myself — rather the opposite — but my beliefs were beside the point. That gesture, plus the dozens of cards and notes and very occasional assortments of homemade cookies I sent to her mother during her final, horrible years, showed them both that I cared, and, I have to admit, in some way comforted me as much as prayer might comfort a believer. At least I did what little I could, including making the long, expensive trip back for the funeral, as my friend requested I do.

    And now, since I have obviously written this long piece mostly for my own self-gratification, I shall go to GoFundMe and make a small, humble penance/donation to your fund, to “pay for” my self-indulgence in your forum. (And, admitting that the donation itself will also be somewhat self-gratifying, therefore should I “give until it hurts”? How much is enough?….) And I will also “have little Grayson in my thoughts”, for a little while anyway, even though I know THAT won’t matter one damned bit in his life.

    Best regards, MC
    (whose donation will show up under a different name than my mom-de-plume of “Marucha”)

  • Bryce Braganza

    The bible explains medicine dear friend.
    Sirach 38:1-2. “Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do. Their skill came from the most high & kings reward them for it.
    The Lord created medicines from the earth & a sensible man wont hesitate to use them. He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for his miracles.”

    Never the one to discuss further, if it weren’t for God above, I would not be alive to write this. As have spent many hours on topics like these, I will leave you with just 1 thought: Whether you accept it or not, God loves you more than you will ever imagine. Jesus bless You & your family. . :-)

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Ahh yes, the bible is true because the bible says it’s true. I love that line of “logic”. By that regard, Harry Potter should be flying by by house any minute now. By the way, you’re quoting scripture (and cherry picking) from a chapter that also says that those who sin will need a physician, and pray to god and he will heal you. So by that account, my premature baby must be one hell of a sinner, but if I just pray he’ll be all set. Make up your mind.

    • Kevin Dail

      The Bible is full of nonsense and myths. It is not a reliable source for anything, not even the early christian cults.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin Dail, are you able to reason or can you only post apodictic ad hominems as if they made any rational sense beyond mere name-calling. I know, it takes effort to actually deal with philosophical problems but, really, your name-calling is very immature.

        • bobtheaxolotl

          Saying the bible is full of myths isn’t an ad hominem. An ad hominem is attacking a person’s character, instead of their argument. The bible isn’t a person, it’s a book of religious mythology. You can’t make an ad hominem against an inanimate object.

          I think before you say more things, you should learn more things than you do now. It would make the things you say be less stupid. Before you gets your knickers in a twist, this also isn’t an ad hominem attack, as I pointed out the things you said are stupid. In order for it to be an ad hominem, I would have to be calling you stupid, instead of addressing what you said.

          You are, of course, incredibly stupid. This also isn’t an ad hominem attack, as I previously addressed what you said. It’s just an insult.

          Got the difference? Good.

      • Ray Clark

        bobtheaxolotl , that cut me to the quick. You hurt my feelings, o be so precise in defining an ad hominem. Seemed to me that persons wrote the various books of the Bible and that Kevin was saying that they wrote nonsense and myths and that what they wrote wasn’t reliable and that the early Christian groups were cults and it just seemed to my stupid mind that, mutans mutatis, Kevin Dail, in this and in innumerable other such posts, was attacking people and things rather than offering an substantial argument. That you fixated on my lamentable inaccurate use of the term ad hominem is a distinction without a difference as far as my point was intended. Kevin Dail, read him, hardly if ever says anything more than apodictic proclamations laced with insult. Make all the fine distinctions you want, bobtheaxolotl, but maybe get the point that Kevin says nothing that he substantiates.

  • Hendrik

    Hi everybody.

    I am neither an atheist nor I am religious, but I have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. My background: I am a Chemical Engineer. We are very analytical and test everything to the bone. We are not gullible nor easily convinced by reasoning, without proof and definable facts and results.

    This was actually my very question for many years about my faith. I have read the entire bible and grew up religious, but found my religion to be dead and powerless. The things that were written in the bible where either fables or people missed something big time!!!

    In my search for the truth I one day decided to ask ‘God’ a question? If He REALLY is out there and He is ‘God’ then He should be able to answer for Himself, without the need of any human being. My simple question was: “Do you still speak to us today?” I asked this question, because He, according to the bible, used to speak to prophets and apostles in the Old and New Testament.

    While I asked this a very clear and distinct knowing came up in my being. It was not an audible voice, but it was clear and He said to me: “Within 3 days you will get a job and before the end of the month you will start working!” I live in South Africa and by that time I have stopped looking for a position as a Chemical Engineer, after I graduated, for a period of 4 years. I did not even have a CV out applying for vacancies anymore and neither was I planning on doing it! So it was impossible to get a job in my specific field on expertise, because I have being out of it for so long.

    Two days later, while I was driving on one of the freeways in Pretoria – South Africa, suddenly as another vehicle passed me on the freeway, both of us travelling, that same voice spoke to me and said: “That guy in that car is going to give you a job!” I was amazed and was also reminded of what I was told 2 days ago. So I decided to trust this voice and tried to draw the attention of the guy, who was looking strait ahead of him, while driving. By then I passed the guy and had to leave the freeway, because I had to get off on the next offramp. I got off and saw how the same guy came off on the same offramp. At the traffic light I was able to draw the man’s attention. Then I recognised this man from nearly 20 years ago in primary school. I briefly was able to speak to him and ask him, while standing at the traffic light, whether he has a job for me? He then told me that his brother was a Chemical Engineer! We stopped at the nearest place and exchanged numbers.

    By 4 PM that evening I phoned him and he confirmed that he had spoken to his brother who asked that I should phone him a.s.a.p! I immediately phoned him and he set up an interview with me for the next day! The rest is history! On the 3rd day I found employment as a process engineer!

    This was my introduction to the voice of God. BUT this was just the beginning! Since then He had not only spoken to me, but appeared to me in several ways, which included signs in the clouds, dream and many visions and revealed my future and the future of the world to me.

    Since 2010 He revealed to me why Christians do not get success in healing and showed me how because of tradition, religion had watered down and twisted His words, misrepresenting Him to the world, just as was written by the apostle John: “10 He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him]. 11 He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own–His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. (John 1:10-11 Ampl) Since then I had prayed for more than 20 people who were healed, one which included a woman who had MS for 13 years.

    He showed me how the apostle Paul prophesied “BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. 3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. 4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. 5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. (2Tim 3:1-5 Ampl)

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      For someone who’s “not religious” you sure quote the bible a lot. Your dishonesty is showing.

  • Tessa

    Athiest or not, this article is tacky and self righteous. If your child is in NICU and you can still find time to post a lengthy article on your disbelief towards the power of prayer, maybe you should check your priorities. And for the record, I actually agree with almost everything you posted- except the GoFundMe link at the bottom. This world is magnificent and full of different opinions on God and religion. Setting out to disprove someone else’s way of showing you support is as obnoxious as the bible thumpers that ring my doorbell on Saturday morning. Be grateful for any and all positive energy sent your way- not just the monetary support from your GoFundMe page.

    Best of luck to your family.

    • Ebie

      Right on point Tessa.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      He didn’t set out to disprove anyone’s beliefs. What’s tacky and disrespectful is trying to softly foist beliefs upon someone when they’re in a time of crisis, which is what everyone who knows they aren’t religious does when they say “I’ll pray for you”.

      And no, commenting on his own blog isn’t obnoxious in the slightest. It certainly isn’t comparable to someone knocking on your door to preach at you. He didn’t knock on your door. He didn’t come to preach to you. You chose to visit his blog and shout at him for being “obnoxious” for saying things that you never had to read.

      In fact, the person who is more like the religious door-knockers, in this case, is you, showing up to his personal blog and being angry at him for not agreeing with your views on things. All while his son is very sick, and he’s having to deal with that.

      You’re the one being profoundly obnoxious, and also a bit of a judgmental asshole.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Tessa, your comment is tacky and self righteous, so let’s not call the kettle black, ok? I don’t need anyone to tell me where my priorities lie while my 3-pound child lies in an incubator. In fact, like I said in the letter, Grayson was sleeping in my arms as I wrote it. I challenge you to walk into a NICU and start telling parents to their faces what their feelings and priorities should be, and who they should be grateful to. I don’t think you’ll fare very well.

      • Ebie

        well she was kinda right, be grateful for positive messages. You’re lucky they’re not trolls, they are well wishers so have an open mind. It doesnt mean you have to convert to religion, it just simply means you have to be more tolerant of people with different ideologies. Nothing wrong with that.

      • Tessa

        Taking the time/energy to criticize the way that anyone expresses love and support to you is sad. I don’t necessarily think Kevin is wrong for feeling the way he does, everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, taking the extra steps to verbalize his discontent with the (harmless) ways that support is shown by others, is just in bad taste. I didn’t attack anyone. I disagree with the message this blog post portrays. If I had a child in NICU, I would absorb as much positive energy and/or juju and/or prayer and/or thoughts and/or meditation with as much grace as possible.

    • cka83

      So why are you reading this post? Where are your priorities? Don’t you have kids to take care of or a fish to feed?

    • sybil

      Maybe you should ease up on judging him for not handling his grief in a time of crisis exactly the way you think he should. This is HIS website where he posts his opinions for those who follow his site. While he welcomes everyone, we are all still his guests. You came to his domain and snarked at him for writing a letter venting his frustration (likely so he didn’t lash out at someone in person) during a VERY difficult time in his life in a manner that you claim isn’t up to your standards. Standards, according to your rude comment, you do not hold yourself to.

    • Kevin Dail

      What a pompous ass you are.

      • Kevin Dail

        That was to Tessa :)

      • Tessa

        Classy. I did my best to express my opinion and validate yours. I am going to assume that you have a public blog to initiate conversation and viewpoints. Clearly, I was misunderstood. Good luck with your family.
        P.s. I had twins in NICU five years ago. Born at 30 weeks, both got RSV in the NICU and were on a vent for two weeks of the 49 days they were there. Both girls are happy and healthy now. I wish the same for you. I don’t ever remember feeling a moment of angst towards all the prayers thrown my way. I also consider myself an atheist. Again, best of luck.
        Sincerely,
        Pompous Ass.

        • Mel B

          Tessa
          If religious people were as loving as they claim the would respect Kevin’s point of few.
          From the posts I have read here it seems 95% of the people who claim to follow the bible only go to church and pretend to be holy.
          Prayers may not hurt anyone however its still disrespectful after Kevin has said he does not believe in God.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Tessa, it appears you’re lashing out at me undeservedly. I believe you meant to direct that response to someone else. You might want to take another look at who’s addressing you before you react.

    • http://pearlosibu.wordpress.com pearlosibu

      The author tried very hard to explain himself, he apologized in advance, then he maintained his stance. You find that tacky and self righteous? You my friend are psychotic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/625329520 Debbie Walker

    I’ll have to add this blog to my reading list. What a very nice post on a difficult subject. What astounds me is the comments from religious people who come to YOUR blog and proceed to berate you. But then again religious people as a group can’t read what is written. They scan and then parrot what they’ve been told to say. Ignore them, hang in there and feel free to vent whenever you need to. It’s your blog.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks Debbie. It amazes me how many people feel it’s righteous to act like assholes in the name of their chosen deity. I’m especially dumbfounded to read comments of people telling me I’m “forcing” my views on people ON MY OWN WEBSITE. Really?!!?

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Yeah that is what grabbed me at first as well. This is your site, but you are the one forcing your beliefs down their throats. What did you do Kevin? Did your disembodied spirit visit them with a psychic gun and make them come here to read it? 😉 They are too busy being self-involved in their own persecution complex to understand what you are saying.

        BTW, I must admit that through all of my comments I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten to say that I sympathize with your plight and wish the best for you. I realize that I took more time to respond to theist’s ignorant comments than I did to show support for you. It is there, for what it is worth. I wish that I could do more for you right now, but I find myself somewhat insolvent due to medical bills as well. My wife’s single trip to the hospital took care of that. I know how dedicated and professional most NICU individuals are, since my son started his life the same way, so I know that Grayson is in good hands.

        Best of luck to you and yours. I will try to put my money where my mouth is and donate some money to your GoFundMe when I can, but I’m sorry that it won’t be much. I wish that I could do more, but I do firmly believe that actions speak louder than words.

  • Lori

    Congrats on the birth of your son and may his NICU journey be a short one. On 1-19-04 I gave birth to my son Owen – also born 12 weeks early. My husband is an atheist and I’m agnostic and we align ourselves with Unitarian Universalism. Your post brought back memories of the piles of cards sent to us during our NICU ride. Many contained “we’re praying for you and Owen” sentiments. I felt comforters by those and my husband’s reaction was “they can’t hurt.” I do think you are right that these prayers make the senders of the prayers feel better. I learned that most people in our lives had no idea what to do when Owen was born at 28 weeks. They were cautious, scared, anxious. They didn’t want to do or say the wrong thing. I didn’t get baby clothes for the baby and received few flowers in the hospital ( in comparison to what I got in the hospital after my 2nd child was born healthy and full term). People – smart, loving people – didn’t know what was appropriate. “I’m praying for you” is safe territory for most. We also got a lot of “I’m thinking about you all” from our UU friends. I know the trauma of a premature birth and hope you and your family are faring well with a strong support system!

  • Marie

    I commend you for being strong in your time of need. I have my beliefs not all of which are strictly one way or another. I will say that I hope your son continues to improve and may one day grow to be a strong young man. I will also say that just because you feel it is counter productive to pray to a god for healing him, what if people were to instead pray for the medical professionals that they keep a steady hand and administer the proper treatment? I’m sure not all of them believe as you do. I hope all is well. You may email me in return if you choose to reply to my comment as I do not follow your blog.

  • Rachel

    You do realize there would be no science without God tho right ? The technology they’ve created, only happened because God said so. He made the earth and humans and animals knowing we’d all learn and grow. Unfortuntely bad things are allowed to but that’s a topic for a different day. I get what your saying , science is amazing but it wouldn’t exsist without God and neither would you

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Well that was convincing.

  • Elaine

    I find it amazing that you think that Christians oppose real science. I believe God created this earth through science. When I pray for your son, it has nothing to do with making me feel better. I do so because I believe God loves both of your sons and how they were conceived does not mean that God did not want them as your children.

    Am I offended by your comments? No I am not. I don’t see why I should be offended. I think you must have been cruelly hurt by people who used God as an excuse for their actions.

  • Amanda

    My heart goes out to you.. you’re at Strong in Rochester, NY so little Grayson is in great hands. As an Atheist parent I know a little of how you feel. Don’t let the anger and sadness get to you, and know the you have some top notch doctors on your side.

  • Leash

    I’m sorry but I’m a nurse & I believe that both God & science work hand & hand. Why would any believe that just because you have faith in God that you don’t agree with science & how it contributes to our lives? That’s being closed minded to think that just because you have faith you “don’t trust in medicine or doctors.” I’ve never heard of that before. Some people maybe lead to believe that way & that’s their choice but I know for me personally I’ve seen both God & science work together every single day. If it weren’t for God in my life I would have never become a registered nurse & if people don’t thank me personally for my service it’s fine by me because I do it to help others achieve health not for praises. I’d rather that go to God. But hey it is what it is these days.

  • cka83

    UGH!!! I’m just going to say it! Everyone’s beliefs are valid and warranted…..but those who are still offering prayers and their rationale for the existence of their ever merciful and omnipotent God, didn’t any of you read this man’s letter specifically addressed to YOU? No amount of bible thumping or overzealous preaching is going to covert someone who chooses not believe in your god or the Good Lord Jesus Christ! This man and many like him are entitled to their beliefs or lack of for that matter, just as all who are religious are entitled to theirs!!!! I was raised Catholic….went to Catholic school for 12 years……in all honestly I don’t know where my beliefs lie right now 32 years into my life! No….please don’t give me your “God loves you anyway” speech. I’ve been through shit times in life and I’ve been through great times! I choose to attribute circumstances to the way of the world for now! Please… please…..please…..say your prayers, but say them in private if you honestly don’t want to offend! It is close minded and frankly offensive to continue your Jehova’s Witness type of conversion non sense? Oh I’m sorry, was my rant offensive?? It seems like the more certain people express that they have no interest in organized religious beliefs, the more those who are insanely religious will preach and preach. We should all just keep our mouths shut.

    • Ray Clark

      I don’t know cka83. Jesus preached to those who would not listen and walked away from Him. Paul says to preach in season and OUT of season; to reprove and to rebuke. Of the spiritual works of mercy are correcting the sinner and instructing the ignorant. It is also written and true that one ought not to cast pearls before swine.

      • Tammy Bevins

        Can you please explain to me what you mean by the statement, “…it is also written and true that one ought not to cast pearls before swine…” I really am curious, and this is not a trick to get you to write something so I can make fun of you. I just want to know honestly, what that sentence means to you, and where is it located in your bible. I am unaware of such a saying except as a comeback (comical) which I won’t post here.

        • bobtheaxolotl

          It’s Matthew 7:6, if you want to see it in context. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

          In general, when a Christian uses it in an argument, it’s a cop out to avoid having to present evidence or make an argument. They label you as the swine, stick their fingers in their ears, and go “la la la I can’t hear you”. If it’s been used against you, you can be sure that person has nothing left of value to add to the conversation, as they’re resorting to biblical ad hominems.

      • Tammy Bevins

        Thanks bobtheaxolotl! Great explanation!

  • Pingback: An Atheist’s Open Letter to Those Praying for His Son | Jason's Opinion()

  • Ray Clark

    What is in parentheses are your words; what are outside the parentheses are my words.

    “But sometimes we’re faced with emotional situations that escalate to a boiling point. I’m at that point, and it’s time to open a vent.”

    Sounds like a personal absence of serenity and no excuse for a lot of your assumptions that follow. Even yielding to your view of existence, there may or may not be something available to extend the life of your child, so why the “boiling point?” Qué será, será. Now, of course, you are a human being with emotions, among which you speak of love and certainly, while not hoping in any deity, you have hope as well and even a kind of faith in the ingenuity of science. Scientific progress may pull your son through so that these aching trials that you experience in your emotional, physical and financial life might ease and your son grow healthy and strong. But, to be blunt, you are not talking about anything terribly substantial which ever way things turn out. No deity, just a material universe, that doesn’t give a wit about you and yours. In the finale of your scenario, sans Dieu, you are well aware that you and your loved ones are heading for the recycling bin and who knows whether the universe will end in fire or in ice? Not you. But in any event, you do know that you are presently immersed in your emotional life which is not even a noticeable spasm in the grand scheme of ‘things,’ and finally ages and ages hence what makes up your physicality will be unintelligibly dispersed in what form we have no clue. So my hypothesis is that atheism is just a view that subsists in human emotional sentimentality accompanied by vague notions of the supremacy of the human mind(s) to accomplish over time wonders we can hardly imagine now but which, in any event, will all dissolve into whatever combination or lack thereof determined by the way things behave. Qué será, será. Atheists are fond of making fun of theists by ridiculing what they think theists’ beliefs are OR what in fact some of the naïve believers believe. More on that later. But for now, being honest, and following through on your belief in science, follow it all the way through as to what science knows now; let’s not just make science another of the multiplicities of deities you decry. Science is an educated guessing game of trial and error and whopping successes and horrific failures. Science describes the material world as it is observed directly or though effects that can be measured by extraordinary machines. Take some time and think about some of the products of science: (nuclear reactors: Chernobyl, Fukushima (no pun intended); thalidomide, fossil fuel development, the list would be very long indeed, the horrors difficult to comprehend, the “unintended consequences” of scientific development. Think of the oceans and their dying; the extinction of species; the disruption of habitats; all made possible because of the scientific method. The latter is a tool and its use requires wisdom. From whence is this wisdom? Humans, more science, trial and error? And then, in this world without God, you have every reason to believe in mankind’s continued disruption of the environment and the final destruction of our home planet. Who will reign in man’s greed; his lust for power and domination of others; his love of money, of buying and selling what is, surely you realize, mostly trinkets of ephemeral value. The atheists’ bright vision of the future is a mirage, a make believe world that abandons belief in God and has nothing to put in place but human ingenuity. History shows us that the unintended consequences of human ingenuity have resulted in genocidal warfare. Blame that on God; but man will have to face up to the fact that it is he who is the villain in this tale of woe. The atheists’ love is sentimentality because it has no Parousia only a seeming reward that passes as the morning mist. Sure the atheist can get all ‘chunked-up’ emoting over this or that, but finally to no end. Reality without a consummation is a fly-by-night dream.

    “By appealing to a deity that you believe exists and listens to your pleas, you feel you’re offering your support and contributing to my son’s cause in some way.
    However, my wife and I are atheists. We don’t believe in the supernatural, and we have good reasons for that, but that’s a topic for another day. (there is no reason not to believe, let alone ‘reasons’)
    We have placed our trust in science and modern medicine, and we are absolutely amazed at what is possible, thanks to medical research and man’s advanced understanding of biological sciences.”

    (God bless Gregor Mendel)

    “In fact, if we had not placed our trust in medicine, or lived in different times, or belonged to a religion that frowns upon fertility treatments or medically assisted conception, we would not have any children at all.”

    (You assume that you should, right?)
    Let’s examine, just briefly, this scientific fertility business. IVF and artificial insemination, surrogacy, etc. etc. to “produce” a human being, a commodity that people believe they are entitled to “have.” In procuring one or more, we know that numerous other viable fertilized ova are produced and have various ends: long years in liquid nitrogen, sold, disposed of, certainly in some places experimented with. How many siblings do your surviving sons have? Why weren’t they chosen. Why did you or your doctor “want” this one and “that” one; depreciating the remaining ones as something not human? There are some serious ethical questions here for later talk.

    “If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-year-old son, Ryan, would not exist. He would not have been conceived without modern science and fertility doctors.”
    (Does Ryan have frozen siblings you don’t care about?)
    “And if we had become pregnant on our own, he very well could have died in childbirth without the intervention of doctors and nurses, as my wife had to have an emergency c-section after a difficult attempt at childbirth that put Ryan at risk. If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-week-old, Grayson would not exist. He also would not have been conceived without modern science and an IVF procedure. And if we had become pregnant on our own that time, he would have died shortly after being born prematurely, without the intervention and constant care of doctors and nurses. Thanks to medical breakthroughs, not miracles, we have two children …”
    (You have no others on ice?)
    “and get to experience all of the joy, pride, love, and everything else that comes with raising children — all of which would have been replaced with sorrow and heartache had we left it to a god to decide.”

    It’s all about your experience is it? and the selected embryos modern science implanted?

    “We would have had no children, and like many of the religious, would have attempted to rationalize this in an attempt at comforting ourselves by saying it was god’s plan, or that everything happens for a reason.”

    What are we talking about? Your bliss regardless of the miss?

    “So should you be appealing to that same supernatural entity to help protect my son — a child that he never wanted to exist? Does that make sense to you?”

    No, what you just wrote makes no sense to me because it assumes God does not will your son. Your son is here, your actions that brought him here are your actions. God wills him since in fact he is. Did God will your acts? God allowed your acts by His permissive will. The later is the only way to account for evil and freedom and breathtaking love. You can dismiss these words as unintelligible or you can engage me in a painstaking conversation about these matters. But surely, so far, you have not made a case of substance but only of passing sentimentality.

    “Let’s be honest, if an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving god wants to heal the sick or let them die, what’s your prayer going to do? Aren’t you just telling him something he already knows? Aren’t you asking him for something he already knows you want? Isn’t your god going to do what he wants despite your pleas? Isn’t that your rationale when your prayers aren’t “answered”… that it was “God’s will”? So really, what’s the point? And that’s IF (a monumental IF) a deity exists and you’re praying to the right one, out of the >2000 that have been worshipped throughout human history…”

    You say “Let’s be honest…” well, let’s be: Prayer is not words or aspirations to God to persuade the Deity to make a decision amenable to you; that idea of God is one widely believed by simple folk. Here is the true meaning: Prayer is prayer when it is persevering prayer moved by God in us so that when we receive what God has from eternity intended to give, our hearts will be filled with thanksgiving to Him, to Whom alone belongs glory and honor and adoration, not because God is an egoist, but because God is Love and to love Love is the right course of life.
    “But the avenue of assistance that you’ve chosen is one that we feel is an ineffective one.”

    Your feelings again! Feelings, feelings, feelings. Now judgment:

    “You’re telling us, “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you. I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping.”

    Amazing cynicism and judgment. You not only do away with belief in God, you assume His omniscient power to judge the heart and intent of Amy. Your feelings have nothing to do with this. We have already discussed the lack of substance of feelings because of your ontological musings. Don’t, as you do following, direct the speech of another:

    “If you want to help a religious person who believes that prayer actually does something, then by all means, pray until you’re hoarse. But if you want to do something in your power to help a family who places their trust in the doctors, nurses, medicine, and technology that heals the sick and is the reason my son is alive and sleeping in my arms as I type this in the NICU, then do something tangible.”

    Amy can pray and tell you she is praying; she does not have to apologize for her faith or accommodate your lack of faith in God. Just be gracious and may God have mercy and enlighten you, who by your Baptism, were claimed for Him.

    “So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you.”

    But you were not gracious and you ignore that; rather you ranted and I am ranting back at you. Mea culpa.

    “But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator. Everything does not happen for a reason, and my two children are anything but god’s plan. I feel grateful every single day for mankind’s scientific and medical advancements.”

    As pointed out in previous comments, these kinds of sentiments you express are vacuous and without any substance; pure emotionalism. misplaced confidence in man, in science; a denial that will not see nor deal with the horrors that humans have wrought through science and only trumpets what makes you feel ‘good.’ I am for science; the greatest scientists were also some of the greatest Christians and real believers. Many scientists today and doctors and nurses have seen the works of God and believe. You can discount what I have said; you can refuse to read it; you can continue your efforts to make a world without a reason to be and you, sowing the wind can reap the whirlwind of unintended consequences and of the sheer inability to see that the wickedness in the world is not from God but dwells in the human beings consumed with consuming the earth.

    • sybil

      Feel better now? Have you judged, condemned and proselytized enough? Is it of of your system yet? Or do you plan on returning with more long winded inane ramblings full of condescension and beliefs stated as fact that you seem to consider “enlightening?” <- look I used quotation marks there (not parentheses.)

      • sybil

        Oops! Should read “Is it *out of your system…”

      • Ray Clark

        I found it funny that in your reply you corrected my mistake “…” versus (…), and you yourself erred and corrected your error. That seems to be the way of life. It is humorous in this case. By the way, you wrote:
        “… long winded inane ramblings full of condescension and beliefs stated as fact that you seem to consider ‘enlightening?’ ” <—just name calling. Actually I said a number of things that are important to consider in this quagmire of a discussion which is less a discussion than short, terse, insults. You're just too lazy to think; to argue. You have your belief system set and you shall not be moved. I expect that. I hope for more than that. You say my words are 'rambling" meaning that they go on and on without meaning and you say they are 'inane' that is without merit; but you challenge and explain nothing. You call me judgmental, condescending and yet you in fact judged and were so condescending as not even to take up any questions my comments raised, Liberals, like yourself, call "proselytizing" anything that argues against your ultimately nihilistic fantasy of existence. Boo.

        • Mel B

          Id rather be an atheist and spend my life in hell than share heaven with child molesters who think they have been forgiven by GOD for the worst crimes against children and people who are lemmings that follow that same belief system Religion is the biggest child molesting institution of all time and have covered it up for centuries and still denies it in 2015….Anybody who thinks god forgives these unspeakable crimes to me condones such behaviour and GOD must be really piss weak to allow it to happen in the 1st place…..

      • Ray Clark

        Mel B, sorry you are so angry and so ignorant. It is hard to call a man ignorant. It means one who lacks knowledge. Your view of sin and God, of forgiveness and necessary repentance, etc. etc. is just askew and if I believed as you believe that we believe what you believe we believe, I’d join you in Hell and rage against such a god. But reason itself vitiates your opinion of the nature you have assigned to God, to sin and to judgment. Love is not easy or sentimental. It is stronger than death. The answer to all these matters (why sin, why child molestations, why horrors beyond imagination that take place among us) the answer is found in freedom, in truth, in Love. You can’t have those and not risk the abominations. God is not a machine that straightens everything out so everything is nice and neat and clean and pure. That would be a puppet show.
        Here there is freedom and some misuse it. Here there is truth and some deny it. Here there is Love and some forsake it. Voila: evil: the absence of the good that ought to be. And yet God could not, would not, will not, does not permit any evil except, in the Final Analysis, He brings forth good for those who Love. Believe it or not.

        • Mel B

          Haha
          Your opinion of me is irrelevant….I am female not male. Have you met GOD in person…When you do please tell him to pop over to my place…cheers..
          Bible Boy

    • Kevin Dail

      What an asshole! You are pompous and condescending. This is not YOUR blog.

      • Ray Clark

        Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Give up the ad hominems and THINK, Kevin Dail.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      In hundreds of words, you said absolutely nothing that addressed anything. You should be a politician.

  • http://gravatar.com/krivett1 krivett1

    Wow I cannot actually believe some of the vitriolic rants that have followed your blog post, who would’ve thought?! Atheists and Christians behaving as badly as one another actually…

    Anyway, my only comment to you is this – I hope that your sons grow up to be wonderful men. They have parents who desperately wanted them and have sacrificed much to have them. I hope that they come to have broad minds, filled with possibilities and curiosity. And I hope that your wee son who is struggling to be in this world now, brings you great joy throughout a long life.

    My beliefs, my opinions and my thoughts beyond this do not belong here. I only hope that the very best comes for you and your family and that others simply read your blog post, consider your thoughts and wish you well also.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/993003600730312/ Guido Cossio

      If only he would’ve applied your common sense and words and simply just thank everyone who pray for his son’s well being instead of posting his feelings, opinions and judgments on the same people who was trying to help. Don’t know if you’re a believer or a non-believer but well said, Sir.

  • Gary

    There’s more Science behind the existence of “God” than in any of the sciences that man will ever master. Just because there a lot of idiots practicing something in a wrong way, it doesn’t mean that “God” does not exist. God could be anything. When it comes to Astronomy and the Universe, the probability of “God” existing is way greater than “God” not existing. It’s Mathematically impossible for the Universe to be a work of Nature. There are Questions that Man’s brain simply cannot understand. That is also a fact. I simply appreciate and highly admire and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I think about the Universe and whatever “It” is that made that possible.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      You speak of science, probability and mathematics but where is your substance? You quote no evidence, calculations or proof. If people actually had these things, there would be one religion and no nonbelievers.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin, where is your substance ( a derived word that means ‘what stands under’)? After all, if your faith and hope are in man and the scientific method man employs using his mind, don’t you think you will be heading for a moment of inexplicable nothingness, where your days have cracked and gone up in smoke,
        Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
        Yea, faileth then even dream
        The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
        Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
        You swung the earth a trinket at your wrist,
        Will yield; cords of all too weak account
        For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      Please show the science behind the existence of God. Please show the evidence, when it comes to astronomy, that shows that God is more likely to exist than not. Please show the mathematical proof that demonstrates the universe cannot be a work of nature. You have only made claims, without providing any evidence of these claims being true. If you cannot show them to be true, stop claiming them to be true.

      Yes, there are things we cannot understand. This means that we don’t currently understand everything. It doesn’t demonstrate a God to exist.

      Your comments ring hollow.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1597106477212751/ D L Jensen Caldwell

    I for one will not force nor have I ever forced my believes which are a combination of American Indian and Christianity. It is sad that your child was born early, but my youngest was premature and I prayed for her to live everyday. I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t ask for funds to help but I did have friends who did on my child’s behalf and mine. People give blood for her open heart surgery and again I did not ask. It was friends and people I didn’t even know and you know what their must have been something or someone greater then myself who did. I was heart strike by so many comments of unbelieveth in a greater power it made me sick.
    My greater power has never given me anything I could not handle and each and every day I say thank you. As my father has told me (He was a Marine) let a soldier say he is Atheist, but let the battle of a fight come to terms and he watches his fellow soldiers die around him you will hear him say “Lord please don’t let me die”. I heard myself say those words for my child ” God please take me and let her live. My life I HAVE lived now let her live.” As for doctors, hospitals, nurses I believe it was a Higher Power that give them the desire to be who they are. For those of you who have adopted children or have given birth in other forms. They are mircles no matter how you look at it!

  • Omar

    As a man of the modern age we all live in today, I have a lot of opinions on this post. As a Catholic, I have a lot of opinions. As a believer in science, I have a lot of opinions on this post. But they’re mostly irrelevant to you. However, I also have many opinions on this post as a fellow NICU-Dad of a now happy and healthy 3 and a half year old boy who is the absolute light of my life. And those I will share here.

    I do know what it is to be where you were now. Being a NICU-Dad is akin to joining a fraternity, save that it’s a fraternity that none of us ever want to join.

    To be frank, the hardship you and your family are enduring right now is not something I’d ever wish on anyone.

    And I just want to say that I’m here for you. In whatever capacity I can be. Yes, I’m catholic and its a given that I will pray for you and your family, because it’s what I believe can help. But I’m also a logical person. If not for the miracles of science, my son would not be here today either.

    Religion at its best is a personal experience/revelation. Put whatever phrase you’d like to it so I’d never expect what drives my faith to be what creates or drives yours.

    All that said, from one dad to another, if you just need someone to talk to, to shout at, to sit on the phone silently with, reach out to me and I’ll be that person. When my son was in the NICU I had a lot of moments where I just needed to know that there was someone I could talk to entirely free of judgement and bias. That may not be at all what you need, but it’s just as plausible that it might. If it is, then I’m here.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks Omar. Thanks for your offers of support, and thanks for “getting it.” Unfortunately too many have decided this is a forum to explain their versions of spirituality to me and instigate arguments than to be supportive of another human being.

      • beck

        Kevin – there are many of us on here who GET IT, who accept & embrace you, who support you exactly as you are. Arguing with those who come to an atheist blog to assert their religious beliefs or dare mention their sensibilities being offended is futile & so much a waste of your precious energies.

        You clearly are reading the comments – focus on those who support you or those who may have constructive critiques & release the rest. You, afterall, get to choose where your energies go on this matter & fueling the fire of the religious is a definite choice that goes absolutely nowhere except to keep this blog alive & controversial. I’m not a blogger – so that may be part of the intention – I’m not certain.

        I definitely just felt like you needed to release what you were holding inside & you did so in a forum that you could safely presume you’d have support. Mine is here as is that of others. You decide where to put your focus.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Thanks for that. Yes, I read the comments when I can, but only because I enjoy when people offer their support and/or share their own stories of when they were in a similar position. Unfortunately I’ve had to delete some, where people threatened me physically or just resorted to childish name calling. The negative or proselytizing comments get skipped over for the most part. They’re all the same brainwashed rubbish I used to say to people when I was a born-again Christian. I know better now, but in that culture you’re encouraged to impose your will on people. It’s absurd and actually works against them. They’re the reason moderate Christians shy away from calling themselves Christians. Anyway, thanks again and I appreciate the several comments you’ve shared.

      • Ray Clark

        Kevin, you ARE the pot calling the kettle black. You instigate, insult, demean, deny, fail to engage, beg the question. You are on a fool’s errand. Supportive of another human being? Boy, given your cosmological and ontological musings, who cares and what could it possibly matter supporting you or anyone; for what? To have a nice time for the very short time you exist, cause shortly, according to your view, we shall all be gone, no memory left. and eventually the universe, science says will end in a desolation of near absolute zero K or a hot fiery point after a catastrophic collapse. What is all this sentimental slop about yourself? Man up and deal with the problems of holding to an atheistic belief. And if you do, you will know the only reasonable position you can take is to be silent in the face of mystery…yes because you don’t know what IS, or do you claim to know what IS and if the latter, you are in need of a physician. You can run, delete, ban but ultimately you can not and will not be able to hide from your failure to apply your mind, to apply logic and reason to this problem of existence. Perhaps all you want is the accolades of fellow non-believers to puff you up. That course is doomed to failure. In your system the only finale is decrepitude and decay.

      • Nancy

        Kevin, this fellow Omar said what I was feeling and thinking far better than I did. I’m sorry if my first post hurt you. I wish your family the best.

      • Tammy Bevins

        Kevin Davis, although I sort of disagreed with you on one small point only, I forever wish you and your family well, and hope that Grayson is doing well. I have and do continue to donate to anything having to do with children (I had 6 of my own), and I have to say, I am sorry that you do have to read through some vile messages from so called Christians. I am with Omar….if you ever need to just share your frustrations with someone, I will be here as well. As a mother and grandmother of children who have been in the NICU and who have had serious illnesses, I understand. I really like your blog, by the way!

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Thanks Tammy. I appreciate the well wishes.

    • Ray Clark

      I’m a Catholic also. I am harsh on atheists. I will not buy into their denial of God on the one hand and their feelings et al on the other hand since without the former the latter makes no sense ultimately. Yet, Omar, you move me to consider that your approach is far better than mine. I want Kevin to believe in God because I know how God loves him, and his soul, redeemed in his Baptism in the Catholic Faith was purchased at a great price. But again, maybe I am just shooting off my mouth and “the perfect is destroying the good.” Many atheists commenting on Kevin’s blog distress me with their inability to do anything but insult and this goes for Kevin too (sometimes) however much he denies it. And I have returned ‘evil for evil’ perhaps. Omar, your kindness, sincerity and genuineness to seek to touch Kevin’s hurting heart moves me. Has Kevin called you, I wonder.

      • Omar

        Hi Ray,
        You know, I read your comment and was about to reply, but thought better to think on it for a few days. Firstly, let me say that I’m glad that my comment stirred even the slightest sense of reflection in you. As a religious man, the power of living by example is clearly not wasted on you. :)

        Now, as for your comment. I understand the passion with which you “battle” Atheists that are, by your own description, harsh. To that I ask, why? Not in the literal sense, because I know how challenging it can be to maintain your composure, and an open-mind when discussing something so personal such as religion.

        As a matter of fact, for many years, my closest friend was an Atheist. He’s still an Atheist. We’re just no longer friends. But that’s not at all to do with our religious positions.

        I mention it because, while I did not agree with the way in which he positioned many of his points, one of them was very true. He always said that religion should not be the sole motivator in what drives a person to be kind to others. Being kind to others, is what should drive people to be kind. In and of itself.

        Too often religious folks feel compelled to try and “convert” Atheists to their religion. And though their motivations are often selfless, they usually go about it all the wrong way.

        What I mean is, You say that you will “buy in” to their denial of God. Ok. That’s fine. But true devotion comes from within. There is nothing, and no one, that could ever affect my relationship with God. Because it is mine. And only mine. How I choose to praise or worship, is entirely up to me. And I find that Atheists, often feel the very same about their relationship with themselves and their belief that no God exists.

        And guess what? That’s ok! :)

        No, really. It really really is ok. Remember that God is of the perspective that we should spread his word to the best of our ability with the goal of helping as many people as possible discover him. But it pisses me off so intensely when I see religious people “weaponizing” his word. Neither devout Catholic, or devout Atheist, should feel they have the right to judge a single other person in the world. We are all equal. Every single one of us.

        Let’s also try to remember that God is a merciful God, and remaining conscious that I am on an Atheist blog, let’s not get into the carousel of insanity where we debate the scientific validity of my beliefs. Because I won’t attempt to convince anyone here to believe what I believe. For those that do, great! For those that don’t, great!

        No matter which side of the table one may sit, we can still discuss things like mature adults. Too many folks approach these topics from the perspective of a debate. Where you only “win” if the other person acknowledges your boundless wisdom as the one true truth.

        Let’s all be better than that. I believe that we “win” just by even talking about it all together. It’s an exchange of ideas. Free from anger, fear, and venom.

        Atheists and Religious people of every denomination, always remember that another persons faith does not determine, nor undermine, your own.

        And it is that mercy that I believe in that gives me confidence that God will not punish any of us for being ignorant. Not in the modern sense of the word, but in the actual sense. Ignorant of the actual truth. It’s entirely impossible for us to “know” which of the >2000 descriptions of God is the one that exists, and it’s just as impossible for any Atheist to “know” that one doesn’t.

        Be good people. For the sake of being a good person, and no matter what awaits us in that final moment, it will have been the right thing to do.

        • Ebie

          The voice of reason.

      • Omar

        meant “You say that you will **NOT** “buy in” to their denial of God

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10206741812844836/ Doug Wiese

    If god was all powerful and created the doctors and nurses, why not fill the world with wizards instead of doctors. Just have Harry Potter show up and fix it with a wave of a wand instead of a long painful medical processes. Or some sort of Cleric from dungeons and dragons.

    Long ago when I was dying in the hospital, the priest came and gave me my last rites, I refused to give up. I believed in my self and just kept on fighting. I have no well meaning advice for this guy, no positive empty words. Just don’t give up, it will not be easy, it is not fun. A trapped dog will bite it’s own foot off to escape and live, that is where you are at. Good luck.

    • Ray Clark

      Doug, why not? Cause God is Love and when you understand Love you will get it; you will marvel; you will adore. You won’t query why this or why that. The priest gave you three Sacraments, if he gave you the so-called last rites: the anointing of the sick to make you well, the forgiveness of your sins to make you spiritually well, the Blessed Eucharist (Viaticum) to accompany you. Receiving the “last rites” is not a death knell, but healing and I have received them numerous times and never thought they signaled my demise but rather my recovery. Peace.

      • Kevin Dail

        Wow. You clearly have not paid attention to the gist of his article. Shame on you and your ugly opinions. They only represent your fears that he might be right.

      • Ray Clark

        Zzzzz, did you say something, Kevin Dail?

      • Mel B

        S its ok for you to be a spiteful and judgement piece of work but others cant believe what they want.
        You claim GOD is real yet he couldn’t even protect children from being abused in his own places of worship so I doubt praying is helpful.
        Religion is nothing but a billion dollar buisness that doesn’t even contribute to worldwide economies with a very unfair tax free status….
        Even if GOD does exist isn’t it up to him to judge not you…..
        I didn’t realize god was hiring

  • Sherry

    When I say I’m praying for you I mean I’m praying for you. Just know that as a nurse, I use Gods strength to care for your child. And he leads many of the research teams that develop new medical break throughs and medicines that help your child. You may not realize it but God is helping others to care for your child. You certainly have the right to believe what you want, but so do all the ones praying that the doctors and nurses do the right thing. I truly wish the best for your baby!

  • Ryan

    First off, I’d like to send you my own good thought/vibe/whatever you want to call it for the continued health of your son. I know that it isn’t an easy thing to go through. I think you’re missing what prayer actually is or what it means to many of us. Now, I can’t speak for everybody, but for me prayer isn’t wishing some supernatural magician to throw some healing dust on your child. A prayer is a good thought, a reflection on what you’re going through (or what little I know of it), or a self reminder to think of others daily. That may not be of much utility to you in itself, but I’m sure if the attending staff is caring enough to offer prayers for your wellbeing, it is going to reflect in the quality of care you receive. I would humbly request that you don’t let the (in many cases deserved) cynicism towards organized religion come between you and people who genuinely want this to work out for you.

    • Ray Clark

      in response to Bryce Braganza:

      The bible explains medicine dear friend. Sirach 38:1-2. “Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do. Their skill came from the most high & kings reward them for it. The Lord created medicines from the earth & a sensible man wont hesitate to use them. He gave medical […]

      I see your following response to Bryce:

      Ahh yes, the bible is true because the bible says it’s true. I love that line of “logic”.
      Kevin, this comment is not in any context of the above quote from Bryce. Non-sequitur.
      By that regard, Harry Potter should be flying by by house any minute now.

      Sarcasm is not a virtue.

      By the way, you’re quoting scripture (and cherry picking) from a chapter that also says that those who sin will need a physician, and pray to god and he will heal you. So by that account, my premature baby must be one hell of a sinner, but if I just pray he’ll be all set. Make up your mind.

      Did you, Kevin, even look up Sirach 38:1-2 to be able to make the above statement. You have distorted the Scripture to fit your bias. You wrote: ” a chapter that also says that those who sin will need a physician” Perhaps you conclude that those who are sick are so because they sin. Sirach doesn’t say that at all. You are playing games. Your view of the Christian (Catholic) Faith is one that, if I thought it taught what you think it does, I’d reject it too. You simplify the teachings and then amplify your bias and you do this by not knowing what you are talking about. You are “guilty” of numerous logical errors: reduction ad absurdum, non-sequiturs and ad hominems. Get a real education and then write books and blogs. :-)

      • Kevin Dail

        Wow. You have proven yourself to be one to make up reality as you go along. Sarcasm can be a virtue even though you don’t like it.
        Prove your “god” is real. Prove that the bible is only truth. Good luck.

      • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

        Sirach 38:15 He that sinneth in the sight of his Maker, shall fall into the hands of the physician.

        • Ray Clark

          Kevin, in response to me you quote from “Sirach 38:15 He that sinneth in the sight of his Maker, shall fall into the hands of the physician.”
          My point is that that scripture does not say what you said/implied it said, to wit: that the need for a physician is ‘because of the person’s sin’ and you add a sarcasm about your son must be quite the sinner etc. The scripture doesn’t say that all sickness is due to the sinfulness of the person who is sick. Anyway, if you ponder Sirach 38, I think you will understand the meaning better. Clearly ancient Jews thought sin and illness are related, the former casing the latter. And while this is true, it is not always true in a direct causal sense; as in the NT where the man born blind was healed. It is far easier to junk belief in God as revealed in Christ than to live the life that God in Christ commands from us. It is just easier not to think and battle out these questions and to just insult the believer with ad hominems. You can preach unsubstantiated nonsense about God not being and science being that in which man’s hope ought to be placed; but far be it for you to take on the reality of the nature of man who is both scientist and insane. Science is a kind of knowledge; what man has done with it is astounding; what horrors have resulted from scientific knowledge is foreboding. Look at the latter problem.

          • Mel B

            Please stop going to church and pretending to be Holy…..
            There is no god….outside of your mind

      • sybil

        Ray, your words (all over this comment section) show that you are very cruel, have an over inflated ego, and are incapable of empathy for anyone not like you. Please let this man be, go away and let him be.

        And no one distorted scripture to fit their bias more than the men who wrote, compiled and/or translated it in the first place. It was designed, by men, to be a tool of manipulation to oppress the masses.

  • D.

    Guys, for real – he mentioned that he thanks people for their prayers at least 3 times in the article. He then goes on to rationally and calmly explain why, as an atheist, he doesn’t find their well-intentioned prayers comforting.

    Are you really so insecure in your beliefs – or so sensitive to the stigma of questioning religious belief whether you’re religious or not – that you can’t handle someone honestly expressing how an oft repeated sentiment in Western society makes him feel, as an extreme minority within that society?

    Aren’t you thankful for the knowledge that if you want to comfort an atheist, you would probably be more successful if you kept your language secular? Maybe those of you who found this person’s personal opinion personally insulting or rude should “just say thank you.” You’re welcome! Now you’re much more likely to be successful in comforting your friends who are atheists!

    It’s just like “Happy Holidays.” “Happy Holidays” and “Our thoughts are with you” are egalitarian statements, equally applicable to Muslims or Christians as it is to atheists or circus clowns. Why not just go with those options, if you want to be sure no one is shoving any beliefs down anyone’s throats?

    Remember, this article in particular is less about what he believes, and more about what he feels. It’s about how he, as an individual, feels when people communicate that they are praying for his family. And, to those of you who are religious, know that many secular people feel the same way. There’s two parts to communication – what you say, and what people hear. You can’t just absolve yourself from taking responsibility for the latter because it’s more convenient for you to express yourself in a particular way to which you are accustomed.

    Think of it this way, let’s take religious belief out of it – if someone says that what you are saying is hurting their feelings, for instance, that is not them shoving their opinions or beliefs down your throat. It is simply them stating how your statements, regardless of intention, made them feel. That’s simple enough, right? Even if what you said was originally intended to be a compliment, or a joke, or whatever, if they express to you that it hurts their feelings, then it hurts their feelings, and they have every right to express that. Might you feel a little momentarily hurt or taken aback when an intended compliment turns out to not be taken as such? Of course. But take a breath, be an adult about it, and move past it – after all, it’s better they tell you than you just keep on accidentally hurting their feelings, right?

    Especially if they say “thank you for the compliment” 3 times before rationally and calmly explaining why it actually hurts their feelings, despite being well-intentioned.

    • Ray Clark

      Ohhh, hurts their feeelings, hurts their feelings; ooooohhh. hurts their feelings. Grow up atheists! Feelings are just sentimentalities. You don’t believe in God or therefore “meaning” because there is no Judge of Good or Evil; there is nothing but what is that passes away and ever so soon will not be at all as it is. No one will remember you or Kevin, his wife or baby son, or feelings, feelings, feelings. An atheist’s feelings are like what? Froth on a life without meaning because there is no One to Love it eternally, therefore it is just a huge soap opera and it is now time for a commercial. Boo Hoo Boo Hoo. Feelings, indeed! If you don’t believe in God, stop using our language; think of honest words that you can use like: pretence. make-believe. fantasy; words you apply to theistic assertions concerning God’s Being but, in reality, must, by your very assertions, describe atheism which is grounded in all that is passing away from ANY consciousness. Respice ad finem!

      • Cindy

        Ray, you may be right on many things and speak with tongues of angels, but you are sounding like a noisy gong. This is not the time & place for you to preach. ” There is a time and place for everything under heaven.” This isn’t it. Save your breath and time . . . . and fingers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1068635058 David Hendrickson

    Praying doesn’t help, and it often leads to a worse outcome for the person being prayed for:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060403133554.htm

    • Kevin Dail

      I guarantee that the theists won’t read it or if they do, they will deny it.

  • Kevin Dail

    Hang in there Kev. As a fellow Kevin and atheist, I fully support your position. I am sure the fact that my 19 year old son is also an atheist, will disturb many theists :)

  • http://pearlosibu.wordpress.com pearlosibu

    Reblogged this on Fifty Shades Of Me and commented:
    This is beautiful and mirrors exactly stuff i’ve said before. My analogy was if you wanted to give me a gift, would you choose your favorite colour/perfume/food or mine? Are you doing it for me or for you, to make yourself feel useful or better?

  • http://ourpreemiefamily.wordpress.com PreemieMama

    I understand all your emotions, from being scared for your beautiful little boy, to hearing that people are praying for you. My husband and I are atheists as well, well he more so than I. Anyways, our son was born 16 weeks early and the stress, the ups and downs the connections you make with your child and your childs care team matters. As well as making sure that you give yourselves a night off. Thats my advice. Dont be afraid to go home soak in the tube for an hour and read a book and pretend its 100% A-OK. I know its still early and you wont want to but thats something that I had to learn the hard way after having a huge emotional break after 4 straight weeks of not leaving my sons side except to use the bathroom. I do understand the stress and heart ache and hope in the advancements of modern medicine. I am open to talk if you would like.

    I do hope you have more good days than bad.

  • http://allthingsbabya.wordpress.com mrsanderson88

    I would love to hear your story as to how you converted from a Christian to atheist. As a Christian I believe in miracles and modern science is one of those miracles.

  • Debbie

    Not judging here in anyway, but just curious……how do you explain the creation of the human body, or the balance that exists in nature, or how scientists have worked for centuries to dispel the theory of a God, but have yet to prove that one does not exist? I am a Catholic school teacher and teach science. I’m always telling my class that I don’t understand how an atheist can say that there is no God….what proves that to you? Also, you seem to focus on the fundamentalist religions, which scare me quite honestly. Have you studied other religions to compare? Religion is simply the way you choose to worship and follow God, not how you’ve come to know God spiritually. And just one more curiosity…….how do you explain doctors who have scientific knowledge, power, and tools to heal, yet have patients they say they should be dead? In my life, I’ve heard doctors use the term miracle quite a few times. Again, not judging….just looking for answers that can help in my teaching. Thanks.

    • Jey R

      Why does it always have to fall on the people who don’t claim there’s something?

      In a court setting, if a person claims someone else is a murderer, it’s upon them to provide ample evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person is a murderer. And scientists regularly provide more information on natural happenings of evolution instead of relying on “Because God did it.”

      Also, what about the many centuries of people trying to prove a God exists? To many religious people I ask, they don’t speak of real proof, it’s always “I can feel him” or, they get accusing again “How do you explain ____ (insert something complicated)”
      Regardless, it’s impossible to prove/disprove a deity, and no matter what facts are dropped in front of someone religious, they always have a fall back on whatever they can think of.

      This post stated that he puts his trust in science, not beliefs, and one of the many fall backs of Christian/science folk were, “God gave us the talent to have this medical equipment.”

      My personal proof in no God? (I know you weren’t actually asking me, but I figure I may as well answer if I’ve gone this far already) My family is mostly non-religious, we were swayed to seek out religion but we didn’t buy into it. That being said, we’ve suffered many hardships, going through one right now. And in the end when it comes to trying to pull things back together, it’s always us who do it. I don’t feel a God guiding us back to goodness, we don’t pray, and people don’t pray for us. But we’ve managed to bounce back each time so it’s only a matter of time before this hardship is over.

      Doubt I provided any real answers for your teachings, but hopefully it gave an insight on some non-believers. Have a good day

  • John Coumerilh

    He has great faith and much hope in science (as many of us do) and hopes to evangelize others to his strong convictions. Such is man’s nature, to worship something greater than himself and to find a solid foundation on which to place his hope in life. Even being an atheist requires faith and conviction in something that cannot be truly seen or proved, that there is no God. But until he finds himself in the hands of the Living God, he will never know real peace. I’ll be praying for him, and as an ex atheist myself, I completely understand his letter.

  • mark

    Not sure what to say. Personally I feel that this young man who does not believe in God makes himself out to play God. In knowing up front the possible complications that could arise endangering his own childrens lives.How damn selfish. Then to boot wanting others to help. All this while children out in the world need loving homes. Seems like he only has excuses and lacks real compassion and personal responsibility.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      He didn’t endanger any child’s life. He and his wife wanted a child, and something bad happened. Are you saying that anyone who wants a child of their own is selfish, and everyone should just adopt? If not, it doesn’t seem that you’re saying much of anything. Also, how is he avoiding responsibility? It just sounds like you’re pulling random insults out of your rectum to hurl at this man, because you’re cranky that not everyone believes in your particular superstition.

      It seems like you’re kind of a judgmental asshole, to be honest, with no redeeming characteristics.

    • Ray Clark

      Of course IVF is not only a risky procedure but also result in the termination of more than one human zygote or embryo or the freezing of same for periods of time, or disposal, and one or more are implanted and this is science and ok with many people who think it is a human right to have a child of their own and any opposition to these hideous ventures to produce human beings is ok as long as they get one of their very own. I agree with Mark. I disagree with bobtheaxolotl. Having a child of one’s own, so to speak, is not a mere matter of wanting. But we live in a culture where people want what they want when they want it. And the death of humans that they deny have humanity is no obstacle in their quest for a child of their own. To suppose that the union of the human male and female gametes establishes a human being is called superstition and we are suppose to buy into this horror of “manufacturing” our very own children because science has proven it can be done is a road you can travel, bobtheaxolotl, but not a road that leads to life. Call me stupid, but the manipulation of scientific knowledge has limits and what I ‘fear’ is that humans like bobtheaxolotl don’t or won’t see those limits.

  • mark

    Now to say least I do hope the child fares well and becomes an awsome bundle of joy for his family.

  • marakitteh

    I have to say, this post supports the belief many Christians have that atheists are actually angry with God and that’s why it offends them so much to be reminded of Christianity.

    Saying “You’re in my thoughts” or “Wishing you the best” are equally as useless as prayer is for changing a situation. If those are acceptable things to say to someone who is in a rough situation, and saying “You’re in my prayers” is not, then it’s not about the utility of prayer, is it?

    Instead, this writer clearly states that the reason they’re offended by people praying for them is their assumption that if God existed, he wouldn’t have wanted them to have had babies, or for their baby to not get medical care. That the idea of praying to a deity who didn’t want their son to live makes no sense to them.

    Yes, some Christians believe these things, but they are far from the majority, and just because they believe it doesn’t make it so. In fact, if God existed and really was omnipotent and all that jazz, if he didn’t want this couple to have babies he wouldn’t have let scientists develop IVF technology. He wouldn’t have given us minds that were able to come up with all of these scientific advances that have made life so much better if He didn’t intend for us to use them. Therefore, the Christians who reject science are the ones rejecting God, not the people who use IVF or modern medicine. (Criticisms of misusing IVF is different — I think we can all agree having octuplets by choice is a misuse of the technology.)

    Such an assumption, that God would really not want their child to exist, speaks far more to the state of the person making it than it does about any deity, or any worshiper of those deities.

    It’s also awfully tacky to bitch at people for praying for you, calling them insensitive and guilt-tripping them for not doing anything more tangible, and then in the next breath ask them to give you money. It’s like being pissed someone got you a card and guilt-tripping them for not giving you a gift too.

  • Knmteach

    I find this whole diatribe ironic: “So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you” then …
    “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you. I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping”….By explaining to you why your gesture offends me and why you are wasting your time and then listing some of the…”many things you can do that are infinitely more effective than talking to a god who already knows what you’re going to say and will do what he wants anyway.”

  • Dok

    Well written and thank you for eloquently voicing my stance about offers of prayer in a time of need. I realize that theists don’t know what to say when, for example, my father was terminally ill. I found myself distracted from supporting him to take the time to politely explain that, although I appreciate your support, don’t waste your time in prayer because I don’t believe that activity is helpful whatsoever. I was surprised how many of my friends – knowing I am an atheist – still reverted to their almost colloquial response of “I’m praying for you and your family.” I mean, I get it – that’s how they show their support – but you’re right – the activity itself is futile.

  • D.

    Yeah, I forgot to mention that in a double-blind study, prayer was actually found to be harmful.

    So the way a double-blind study works is there is three groups of people, with one group acting as a control, instead of just two groups, with one acting as a control. That way, you can measure the difference between people who know they are receiving a treatment and those who do not know, both against a group of people who are not receiving a treatment – it is essentially a way to measure the placebo effect.

    So in this case, the study involved three groups of similarly sick people. One group was the control, and was not being prayed for. The other two groups were being prayed for; of the other two groups of people, one group of people KNEW they were being prayed for, and the other group did not.

    The group of people who weren’t being prayed for and the group of people who DIDN’T know they were being prayed for recovered at the same rate, HOWEVER, the group that KNEW they were being prayed for actually did slightly WORSE. The idea being that, powerful as the human brain is, it is capable of making you sick, or sicker, if you think you are sick – and having a bunch of people telling you they’re praying for you is a damn good way to feel like you’re on death’s door.

    Luckily the author’s son is too young to be aware of being prayed for, otherwise all of those prayers that you insist the author should “just say thank you” about could very well harm his child.

  • eddie

    Totally appreciate your view, firstly.

    As a Christian, I have no scientific proof of the existence of God. But sometimes, even for us believers, there is no one for us to vent to. Not all of us have a blog. So we hope that when we pray (and prayer has the tendency to resemble venting when we go through a very trying situation such as yours… If you’re curious, read Job in the bible simply as a parable for your own enjoyment) there is one other than ourselves listening. We call it faith because we don’t know for sure. You have faith in the doctors, because they know more than you… You have faith in your wife because you have learned her abilities and determination to do what is within your beliefs and values, you have faith in family embers based on all you know about them… And that kind of faith comes easier because they are there to answer you when you call them or visit or whatever. Faith in God, resisting sin, and everything else that goes with being Christian comes at a higher challenge than living like there is no consequences or rewards for the life we live. If we believe that this life is there is, and then nothing after it, life is pointless. All the effort we put into the next generation would seem moot… after , if we aren’t going to at LEAST exist beyond the mortal, what do we care what goes on once we’re gone? We’ll just blink out of existance and not even know we’ve gone. It’s very grim… If I didn’t believe that there is a heaven or hell, if I believed that this is all there is for me is this one life, I’d be unhinged. If there is, at least, the hope of life everlasting, we try harder… We try to live more morally… We think more before we act… Even if it’s for a totally selfish reason like “I just wanna get to heaven…” Well, you still tend to treat others with more kindness and compassion than if there was no other real estate on the timeline than this.
    Just fyi, I don’t speak for all Christians… Only for myself… I wish you and your family the best… And really, what else is a wish but an empty prayer to no one? Nah, I can’t just WISH you the best… I’ll pray for you too… You know, just in case God is real. In any case… Somehow I think the baby will be just fine… You don’t seem like a bad person and you preach atheism as if you were its founding pastor… It’s funny if you think about it. You preach so hard against something you believe doesn’t exist. If it don’t exist, why fight or so hard? If it don’t exist, why does it seem the idea of God, to you, is a threat you have to fight against at all? It would seem it’s a waste of time disproving something that doesn’t exist. Anyway, enough of that. Be well. All of you.

  • Souzan

    Personally I’m not religious but I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to their own beliefs (albiet those beliefs are not harmful to others or infringe on someone else’s human rights). I find it very odd that you chose this opportunity to criticize people. Be thankful that people are even thinking of you and your family in the first place. If someone were to wish me good luck and I don’t believe in luck, I certainly would not take to an angry internet rant on how illogical and useless that is- I would recognize it for what it is- a humane gesture- and be thankful. Also, you point out that there over 2000 religious dieties -true- there are also several million differing views/beliefs regarding those dieties so it’s very odd that you conclude that all of them are against modern medicine but I digress. My point is we’re all human and we’re all different, you should respect that and be thankful that people are reaching out to you in your time of need.

  • http://averieelyse@yahoo.com tay M

    I fully agree with Souzan. Just because you don’t believe in what your Christian or other religious friends believe in, doesn’t mean you should put their good thoughts and wishes for you down. You are being exactly what you say is wrong to be. A hypocrite. Im not Christian yet I appreciate when my religious family or friends send me their prayers or good wishes because its the MEANING behind them that matters. Science wise, energy is real right? Our bodies, thoughts and intentions are all made of energy. When we put energy out into the world it effects things. In my opinion, prayer is just a form of putting positive energy into the universe. That is a lovely and caring thing. Being hateful and down putting towards those who express their care differently than you just demonstrates intolerance.

  • Ccsimpkin

    Praying for all the non-believers. Whether we like it or not or believe or not, we’re all going to die someday and at judgement are going stand before the Almighty God. Also science only goes so far, then comes God. The machines, medicine, everything they’re doing to your child could of not worked. It’s God who is allowing your son to continue to breath, He gives life, and He takes life, only He has the power to do that not mankind. I do thank God for doctors, for designing our brains to have the capability to be trained and increase in knowledge to help people. God is the Creator of life! No matter what. God Bless you and your family!

  • Ali

    I can’t stand it when people think prsyers saved someone. No, the burses and doctors that went through years and years of incredibly hard school that are probably in debt just to save your ungrateful ass are the reason you’re cured. And to those saying that babies aren’t born atheist, they certainly aren’t born religious! Your religion ends where another non-consenting body begins.

  • Christy. B

    This open letter is him being honest expressing his feelings and opinions on his experience while co-exsisting in a world with others beliefs. At no time did he down or belittle anyone because they offered their prayers. He was appreciative, and understand the love and compassion that was meant. Its simply a window into how someone else feels on the subject. Every christian post I’ve seen has been attacking this gentleman because of his honesty. No one knows this mans reasons for his own personally beliefs. Christians always call foul when they are approached in this same way and how they are being attacked, but jump at the bit on a piece like this. And still dont even address the true topic of the story. You pick and choose what you want to see, and thats blind following. Religion (and i mean every religion)has been good for the people through the centuries because the masses need rules, and religion enforced this(through peace and violence mind you).we are no longer barbarians that need to be frightened by an almighty to be a civilized human. People please, stop just seeing only what you want amd not what you should. All these comments are unsympathetic,unempathic, and show no genuine concern for anything other than to feed your self righteous ego. The world needs less of condeming and judgement and more coexisting. He’s not asked one person to convert or change their minds. Why is your opinion on the matter anymore valuable than his own.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thank you Christy. It makes me wonder if most of the Christians shouting from their soap boxes even read the letter. So many “Christians” going on and on about how their version of prayer is different from the next, and how horrible I am for voicing my opinion on my own website. None of what they’re saying is going anywhere with me. I’m a former Catholic and former born-again Christian. I’ve heard it all before, said it all before, and know every single one of these backwards apologetic arguments. The fact that they even see this as an opportunity to try to “educate” someone they’ve never met about religion while hiding behind a keyboard is evidence of their narcissism and self-righteousness.

  • Heather lotempio

    My baby brother was conceived using fertility doctors and medical science treatments since my step mom found herself to be infertile. In the 3rd trimester we found that he had trisomy 18. It’s a chromosomal disorder deemed incompatible with life. 90% of cases don’t live past their first birthday. My brother is 8 months old as of yesterday and the doctors aren’t even worried about his health, he’s doing fantastically . I don’t practice any religion but because of him, I believe in miracles.
    Take it for what you will.

  • missmara21

    Hello there!
    I am so glad to have found your blog Kevin. Reading this letter was simply amazing. I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. I have always had the same reaction to people saying that they would pray…either for me or for someone/something else. And when it came to medical situations…goodness, I would get so annoyed! Your letter was very well written. Not rude, condescending or irrational.

    I posted your letter onto my Facebook page. I have always been very OPEN about being an atheist and love sharing the thoughts of other like minded individuals. Needless to say, I have gotten a lot of negative responses from both complete strangers and those who are close to me (friends and family). I’ve even lost a few friends over my frank openness about being an atheist. This letter of yours was no different.

    A friend of mine read and immediately went on the offensive. Here is her response: “Believers aren’t saying that prayer does the healing. They are praying that God help put the right people in your path, that you have peace of mind, that you have support you need…etc. It’s not magical. Its faith. I think the letter is silly and he’s upset for no reason. If you only believe in science then there is something to be said for positive energy and the connection between us. So even if my belief is God. Why would you put negativity on the positive energy I’m holding for and pushing toward your family. Just say thank you and be grateful…taking issue with the fact that I believe in God, takes away your ability to fully appreciate all the support you have.”

    I would love your thoughts on this. In fact I would love anyone’s thoughts on my friends response.

    Once again. Your letter was heartfelt and wonderful to read. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    A fellow atheist

    • Ray Clark

      @missmara21 “goodness, I would get so annoyed!”

      If you get annoyed, there is something amiss with you.

      • Calicolombiana

        Ray Clark,
        There is nothing amiss with me. I have had several health issues in my life. Over and over again I’ve had people tell me to thank God for all he has to done to help me. Quite frankly I’m annoyed because it has nothing to do with God. It has to do with the hard working individuals who went to universities to get their medical degrees. Their hard work is what keeps me going despite chronic pain. In my PERSONAL experience, very rarely do people tell me to thank the doctors, nurses, specialists, and surgeons who have helped me. So, yeah…after years of getting told that I’m in their prayers, that I should pray and be thankful to God, I’m annoyed. I’m not quiet about my atheism. These people know that I don’t believe. Either way…I’m never rude about it. I simply nod and say thank you. But my feelings on the matter do not make me amiss as a human being. I have a right to my opinions and feelings. This blog is for those of like mind to share these thoughts. It’s open…so anyone can come in. You have your belief/opinion, I have my lack of belief and opinion. I see nothing wrong with the author of this blog..or anyone for that matter…to voice their frustrations about prayers in a medical setting. Religious individuals choose to take this opinion as an attack. Well, I don’t see it that way. I PERSONALLY don’t see it that way. You want to “counter” attack my words…go ahead. But don’t you dare put me down as a human being. I’m an atheist. But I have strong morals and truly care about others. I care about the author, his wife, and little son. I put my thoughts down into words in response and encouragement to him. To show him that I understand in some degree where he’s coming from. There is NOTHING amiss with that.

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          It’s best to ignore this guy. He’s trolling to get reactions from people. I’ve decided to ignore him as well. He’s one of those people that will never see anyone else’s side of the story, but will instead try to put people down (while telling others to stop attacking him personally) and make every attempt to sound like the smartest guy in the room. It’s transparent and pathetic. I’m quite certain he spends way too much time on the internet picking fights with those who hold different views from him. Thanks for your positive comments, and know that I’m reading them thought I don’t have time to respond to them all.

      • Ray Clark

        @Calicolombiana
        I didn’t say a lot, just a sentence. The idea comes from the AA Big Book that if we are bothered by something, we need to examine our own selves. I wasn’t calling your humanity into question. I was calling your being ‘so annoyed’ into question. Seems to me, and many others, that atheists being annoyed about what they hear as a weakness in theists’ ideas ought not to be a cause of annoyance to them. Aren’t they taking themselves too seriously? Kevin doesn’t bother reading what I write; dismisses me as a troll; characterizes my behavior and intent and then has nothing but praise for himself. Kevin can’t, not just won’t, but can not deal with the questions raised by his unbelief. I add this to this response just to vent :-) since Kevin doesn’t have the brains to defend his archaic denial of God and his devotion to a science and the humans that employ it while he hasn’t a clue what hidden errors man’s scientific endeavors will yield. That’s a good question I raised with him, but the poor lad is so self-absorbed that he is unable to see there are real problems with the abandonment of the theistic view. You mentioned, for instance, that you have morals. What do you base them on? What is their foundation? What gives you the idea that most people, when God is moved off stage (so to speak) , that most people will be moral. If 1% of the population controls 99% of the wealth of the world, are those people moral? Is it moral to live in a fine house while others live without shelter? Is war moral. What is the record of human warfare in the last hundred years? Was it religious views that caused these wars? Wasn’t it a grab for power, human ego-mania, and other such things? Why won’t human resort to “power = right” when they have disposed of any belief in God. And will the power=right people be wrong and how it t that wrong can even be discussed if there is no judgment of any human action? Atheism presents evolutionary problems. Perhaps that is why religion developed along with human development, not just as a matter of control but as a means to self-control. Sorry to have gone on. Sorry that Kevin is too immature to see the legitimacy of some at least of my remarks. Sorry that he seems only to what to hear approval of his views and not be obliged to defend his views. Sorry he thinks nothing of messing with human gametes to produce children even though many fertilized ova are frozen and/or destroyed to make him content as a father. Daddy, did my siblings really freeze to death and only I survived. Yes, son. they weren’t human. You weren’t human then either but we chose, well the doctor chose to implant you in mama and throw the others away. Blah. Kevin, you need a troll; but I will shake the dust from my feet. You keep playing like you are god and see how that works for you. Thanks for the space, Calicolombiana . No response necessary.,

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Hey Ray, for your information, no embryos were frozen OR destroyed in our IVF procedure. Your assumptions are poor and empty despite your repeated attempts to make them true. You’ve been warned. Save your future carpal tunnel syndrome for another website. You keep complaining to other people that I won’t debate with you about my atheism. I don’t need to. It’s not your business. If you want to know about me, buy my book. 😉 Do you just sit around hoping I’ll address you? How sad. I don’t ask you why you’re Catholic, do I? It’s because… wait for it… I don’t care. You’re a blowhard who says absolutely nothing conversational and tries to cut down anyone who disagrees with you. You’re no longer welcome here. I, and many others, find no value in your self-serving diatribes.

        • Mel B

          Ray Clarke

          You really are a heartless piece of work who really is SATAN dressed in GODS clothing
          how dare you say such inhumane things about how Grayson was conceived….Are you cooked….

          You have the human compassion of a rock.
          So many priests raped women for centuries and that created life you moron…..which is the most inhumane way a life can be created yet I don’t see fanatic bible bashers banging on about that to often

          Have you stopped to think that this was Kevin and his wife only hopes in having children????

          Here you are supporting the biggest pedophile paradise known as religion yet you want to be a judgemental asshole.

          Google George Pell the cardinal of the Catholic Church of Australia and how he moved pedo priests and covered up their filthy dealings with children.

          Australia is doing a Royal Commision into these crimes for all religions that have done the most inhumane crimes to innocent children!!!!!

          Yet their are millions of lemming followers just like you who emotionally and finacially support religion….smh

          I’d rather help a family with $ for IVF than give $ to a religion full of child molesters…..

          Studies show that people who don’t believe in religion are smarter than ones who do.

          Just because you go to church DOES NOT make you a GOOD person and just because you DON’T doesn’t make you a bad one either.

          I doubt you follow your cult bible 100%
          Do you wear mixed fabric and eat shell fish???
          Please remember this next time you go to church and pretend to be holy….
          Polyester boy.

          why don’t you go help a charity or help the homeless

          I hope once Kevin sees your pathetic un christian post he bans your sorry ass….

          FYI we were created by extra-terrestrial beings.

          There is no GOD outside of your own dilution!!!!!!!!!!

          • Ebie

            What about you, aren’t judgemental as well ? Didn’t your country enslave people centuries ago , so why dont you denounce your citizenship of your country for all the atrocities they commited in the past ?. Same way you want Christians to denounce their faith for the atrocities commited by peadophile priests. I’m judging you using your own standards. 2 kinds of poeple i can’t stand in life are; 1) Extremist christians and muslims who follow blindly and refuse to question wrong messages from authorities and 2) Fanatical atheists who are so judgemental but yet point the fingers at everybody else and accuse everyone else of being intolerant of their beliefs whereas, they are also very intolerant of everyone else that holds a different ideology. You see, people like me are in the middle, watching you throw sticks at each other , we blend in with the crowd and try to understand the world is full of multiculturalism and multiple beliefs and ideologies and would be a better place if we just appreciated and loved each other for who and what we are. Your arrogance is mind blowing

          • Mel B

            And which country do you think I’m from????

            I don’t have issues with muslims because they don’t come onto an atheist blog a mouth off and lie about being holy….however any person that is delusional like yourself and wants to believe in fairytale would be told the same thing if they were saying the same shot you are

            Religious freaks claim to follow the bible then treat people totally opposite to how its taught
            Typical double standards
            I’m an atheist mainly because of people like you but I cant believe in a God that didn’t believe in protecting child from sex abuse in churches

            And before you start saying it was humans not GODS fault why didn’t he get off of his ass and come down and stop.it then???? What good is he then.

            Yet the same GOD states gay people will go to hell for having consensual adult sex….right.

            I don’t give a flying F what you chose to believe in until it affects another person and in this case its Kevin, who has more important things to worry about than spiteful religious people who wouldn’t know what unconditional love was if it slapped them in the face…because their religion is based on love that comes with terms and conditions.

            I actually feel.sorry for you

          • Ebie

            The problem with you is i dont think you even read before you respond. You’re just so keen to throw your aggressive point of view accross that you dont even read. I have a feeling you just read the first line just to check whether it is from a fellow supportive atheist or not and if you sense it’s not, you stop at that point and then write your usual long winded angry lullaby which is crashing my computer. READ READ READ READ AND READ AGAIN TILL THE END and understand where the response is going before you put anything down again. Because if you could read, then you would have seen that the people you have described in your rant above, are same people i listed as the number 1 people i cannot stand in life. Your type, are the number 2.
            Do you even read your texts back to see how aggressive and verbally abusive you have been on here ?. It does my head in when you keep accusing people of being rude and insulting and horrible, and yet you have gone as low as possible in your verbal abuse. It’s time to get off that chair behind your computer and actually find something useful to do with your life, you have sent the highest number of messages on here. I think even your supporters are beginning to get bored now. Cheerio.

          • Mel B

            I see where your coming from Ebie to a point however what you stated was really double standards and I read it twice to make sure

            You say “I cant read” and label me with “people like you” it may not be aggressive however its still putting someone down no matter how you word it and makes you no better than me. Not very kind now

            If you read Kevin’s blog to begin with he explained that he was an atheist yet it was you who made the assumption that he was angry with GOD just because he no longer believed it one which is not very respectful.

            Religion has double standards as I see it all the time…..I say this about all religions so I’m not attacking yours.

            I have friends that believe in god however we respect our beliefs. They don’t come into my home and talk to me about God and nor do I go to their churches telling them they are wrong here.

            Several people of faith said some really cruel things to Kevin about his children being conceived By IVF here. I guess you overlooked that though and think because I’m an atheist I’m the only 1 being unkind here.

            You have also used your computer to say things that are not exactly kind here so you need to reflect on that before judging me or others here.

            I think its time we agree to disagree here.
            like your self I am far from perfect.

            I think the world would be a better place if we were less horrible to one and other

          • Ebie

            Yes Mel, THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE IF WE WERE LESS HORRIBLE TO ONE ANOTHER.
            Practise what you preach then. Let other people have their views while you hold yours.

            Stop attacking others who have a different belief. Start this change you preach, from within yourself first.

            I am not unkind by referring to ”your type”.
            ”Your type” simply means judgemental and intolerant people who think everyone else is the problem except themselves.

            You judge, so people judge you too. And when they do, you dont like it. Is it one rule for yourself, and another rule for the rest of the world ?. Treat people the way you expect them to treat you. Which means, i respect your views ( and i truly do because i have members of my family who feel exactly the way you do about religion), and you respect mine. WE AGREE TO DISAGREE.

            Stop putting everyone in the same box and referring to everyone who believes in God, as though they are all child molesters and tax dodgers.
            Some religious people have been so good to me, some have been horrible.
            Some have made a huge impact in my life, some have been hypocrites.
            But i am not going to condemn all religious people the way you do.
            You are not the only one who gives to charity. So many religious people i know, live a normal humble life just like you, and use all their resources to help people just like you do.

            So stop being so judgemental of every single person of faith you speak to, i think you’re probably directing your anger at the wrong people. Direct it to those at the top who manipulate those at the bottom. So many of them have been brainwashed and they dont even see it, those are the fanatics i referred to earlier. You sound so angry , you have the freedom to feel the way you do but you DO NOT have the freedom to attack people and prevent them from airing their point of view ( This does not mean that i have condoned some of the spiteful comments from religious people on here ). Having a different point of view from yours, does not always mean you’re being attacked. Just tone it down a little bit, its a bit much.

          • Mel B

            Ebie

            I replied to your posts earlier today in a very assertive way I tried not to be mean. No matter how I reply it seems I can not win here
            Yet here you are the one who is now replying with a very angry response so maybe its you that is unhappy here

            I said I seen where you were coming from and I also I made points that you have double standards too I then said lets agree to disagree thinking that it would end the tennis match here and assumed by saying this that our conversation was finished yet it here we are???

            Your response to mine and others post are no better than things I have said Ebie so maybe we both need to reflect on how we treat others you are not innocent of the things you accuse me of yet you pick and chose what part of my post that you read and respond to. Please go back and re read my post from earlier today in regards to my friends who are religious.( we must live in different countries as you seem to get my posts more that 12 hours after I have sent it)

            I never said you are a child molester or avoid paying taxes. I said that religion condones and covers up child abuse yet condemns gay people and yes a lot of people hide behind religion as an excuse to treat people badly yet religion is flawed and God is unproven.

            I have worked for 20 years (since I was 17) yet it was you who said I need to leave my computer chair and do something more meaningful with my life.
            yet its you who is keeping a tally of who’s written the most posts here. I wouldn’t call that a compliment. Also using block letters is like yelling at people….just FYI

            You want to.experience tolerance you 1st must project it. You must remember this is an Atheist blog not a religious one.

            If I went onto a religious page with my views I’m sure I’d never hear the end of it.

            We are all imperfect humans Ebie myself included.

            I really don’t have the energy to argue with you anymore as I’m fighting a losing battle

            I wish you well on your lifes journey and send you best wishes ☺

  • http://canadianbuddhism.wordpress.com joeythebuddhist

    Hi there, Hopefully you can ignore the username as I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I was just scrolling wordpress and kinda stumbled upon your blog. Just from person to person I want to wish you and your family the best. Hope the future is bright :)

  • Sarah

    I don’t believe in God or Jesus or any other religious figure, but I can’t understand how you can find the time whining and nagging about other people’s believes and their mental support while your newborn child needs intensive care? Be glad he’s alive and take care of your family instead. People who call themselves atheists all the time are often more fanatic than most religious people I know. Why do you care about their believes as long as they don’t hurt you? You’ll never know the ultimate truth, what life’s all about, sience is still far from it and so are religions. So calm down and let people have their believes and hopefully all of your friends who sent their support through prayers will unfriend you when they read this. Congrats to the sweet baby, I hope he will have a fantastic life!

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks for letting someone you’ve never met know what his priorities should be. Feel free to walk into your local NICU and tell all the parents how they should be coping and what they should be grateful for. Get off your high horse.

  • Mel B

    Well aren’t you just a twisted and spiteful piece of work.
    Reflect on your own behaviour and flaws before judging others because your behaviour is far from perfect.

  • knmteach

    If I told a person of faith “Hey, I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow, hope it goes well” and they responded “If you can’t pray for me, then don’t think of me at all”. I would think,”What an ass!” (And so would you.) Recently someone told me that they would say a novena for my suffering loved one. I don’t really know what that entails, but I can recognize kindness in the human spirit. I responded “Thank you so much, I appreciate that”.

    No need for a diatribe because their prayers/thoughts are different than my prayers/thoughts. It’s a sad day when there is so much division between cultures, ethnicity, etc that one would be risking being admonished by trying to be kind.

    For many people (sadly in my opinion) saying ” praying for you” is just a phrase. You can lighten your load of personal angst by knowing that most won’t remember to pray for you. It’s used as a kinder alternative to “That’s a shame” the dismissive sentiment made universal by Jerry Seinfeld.

    Others will pray for you, and remember your difficult times with concern. You will just have to endure the consequences of this because they have a right to be concerned in their own way. The good news is, you will not suffer as a result any more than you choose too.

  • Pingback: An Atheist’s Open Letter Leaves Christians Feeling Persecuted | Words()

  • http://jcoates33.wordpress.com jcoates33

    Thank you for sharing this us and I hope the medical staff is able to get your son better. After reading many of these comments, I feel much better about leaving the church.

  • Mel B

    Religion makes billion of $ and does not contribute to the world wide economy by having a tax free status….just saying

    • Cindy

      I find that odd since many believers support people with AIDS in Africa, supply food and supplies to homeless shelters, build wells in drought areas for people who have no skills or money for one, supply mosquito netting to prevent malaria, build and support orphanages and help those who want to adopt, giving supplies and helping those who are pregnant and without support for education, supplies and whatever they need, they build schools and provide for the supplies and equipment they need to operate, they help people by donating animals for others to raise to support life, giving business financial support in areas where there is non for poor people who need a help to start their own businesses. providing free medical care at home and abroad, One could go on for pages. To say these acts do nothing for the economy either local or abroad is a big misunderstanding. Tax dollars are not the only method of contributing to the world economy . . . . just saying. And really this isn’t even the issue here Mel.

      • Mel B

        Cindy
        They may help communites ect however religion can use that as a tax deduction like every other billion $ buisness that makes the same amount of $.
        If religion really helped the poor they would be broke not have billions
        I made 20K last year and donated to charities yet I still had to pay taxes.
        It just seems to me that religion is greedy. I don’t see the Vatican going without anything in there elaborate building.

      • http://shadowraven.net styxraven

        Yes they do many of these things… for a price. They often use their “charity” as a chance to proselytize to non-believers and that is the churches who do engage in “charity”. What about the mega-churches? To me they seem to exist merely for the self-aggrandizement of their believers. What about the vile pastors who become rich at these churches? Or the churches that use that money for political influence? If they were really trying to follow the message of Jesus then they shouldn’t need all of this wealth. That money should be going to where is truly needed instead. How they are actually using it speaks volumes as to what they really believe. If they truly believed in the message, then they shouldn’t need all the ostentatious trappings they are so in love with.

        If all of the money that was wasted on churches actually did the job it was supposed to, then poverty, disease, ignorance and homelessness wouldn’t stand much of a chance would they? Just sayin’…

  • Nobody Nowhere

    As a fellow atheist I am sorry to hear about your son’s medical dilemma, I do hope for a positive outcome and I’m glad that you are grateful to the source of your child’s miraculous survival (that miricle being modern science, not some disembodied-mind sky-man) the scientists who pioneered the technology, and the staff of doctors, nurses, and technicians with the experience, training, and knowledge to implement it at a critical time. As a currently unemployed atheist, I wish I could contribute to help with your expenses, but unfortunately, I cannot, so the best I can give is my best wishes.

    May science bless you, your son, and your family!

  • Stephanie

    It would appear your concept of ‘God’… Is male and a diety wholly separate from you. A God who doesn’t live, breath and and create within it’s creations. God not experiencing itself wholly and fully in and through the doctors, nurses, and scientists bringing mortal life to your son. Science has more than proven our interconnectedness. Genetically it’s freaky…less than 1% difference. Explore the composition of an atom and reality as we know it comes into question. My point is this… I think your description of God sucks. And I would be an athiest if I saw God in the same light. If ‘faith’ didn’t manifest itself in very real and tangible ways – I wouldn’t bother. I don’t subscribe to the whole fear God factor nor do I believe In man made religion. All of which are ultimately used as a means for guilt and control. I’ll end by telling you that I was born prematurely, blue, they said I’d suffered brain damage. My lungs weren’t fully developed- they told my mother I wouldn’t survive the night. Medical science gave me a death sentence. The incubator failed, they moved me to an ambulance, every pothole- my heart stopped. I was so tiny. Small enough to be held in one hand. Once we arrived at a better hospital, they were able to get me stabilized. I didn’t suffer brain damage- how is that possible? It defies medical science.

  • http://theatheistbrony.wordpress.com theatheistbrony

    Reblogged this on The Atheist Brony and commented:
    I went through a similar time when my baby was hospitalized for RSV. I had people saying they were praying and I respected them and would simply say ‘thank you’, but it got aggravating. It wore on my nerves and eventually I exploded from not being honest about my feelings. They were praying to a god that killed innocent babies constantly because the parents of the children offended him. We’re atheist, we offend this imaginary being so if he did exist you would not be helping anyway! It was offensive, I seen it as people just trying to make me feel better and not actually trying to help, I just couldn’t stand the idea of a baby killing deity being prayed to to save a baby. Science saved my baby and my constant badgering of doctors till I found the right one.

  • Adjel

    This is a great article about how saying “I’ll pray for you” (or whomever) is pointless. http://www.examiner.com/article/please-don-t-pray-for-me

  • Adjel

    I wish Christians would *ask* first, and not just assume that everyone feels the same as they do in matters of religion. “Would you like me to pray for you?” is much preferable to “I’ll pray for you (with the implied “whether you like it or not”).” Then the response could be, “Thank you, but no.” Better yet, just say something like “I am so sorry you are going through this. Is there anything I can do to help?” Saying, “I’ll pray for you” is arrogant, at best. You are saying that you think you can influence (what you believe is) god’s plan. Also, saying “I’ll pray for you” is showy. “Look at me! I’m religious! See how good I am that I will open my personal line to God to ask him to help you?” You are advertising what shouldn’t be. Matthew 6:5-6 I think Kevin showed great restraint, thanked people because it is polite, and wrote his true feelings on the subject here. Nothing more. Agree or not, but to chastise him for how he feels and voicing it is absolutely not acceptable. You can disagree, question him, and have discourse, but scolding him is disrespectful, as is “I’ll pray for you” without asking. “I don’t know what else to do, so I’ll do *this* (pray for you).” “But, it doesn’t help me.” “Tough. I’m doing it anyway.” “Why not ask what I really *need or want* you to do instead of telling me you’re going to do something that is of no help to me?” Why is it wrong for him to feel that way?

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Great comment, Adjel. Thank you for your support!

  • ReligiousAthiest

    You guys seem to be pretty confident in your conclusions. Where is your proof for God not existing, Brandon? Is it the philosophical argument of if God is God, then He’s omniscient, therefore He knows our prayers, even the one’s we will pray, so what’s the point of all of it? Also, tell me what it was like walking with the dinosaurs firsthand. I’ve only watched the Discovery Channel special. That’s the only experience I have with dinosaurs.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1614991898782126/ Jeff Rice

    I hope that, when Kevin grows older and, presumably, wiser, he will realize that he should have ended the blog after the first paragraph. No one cares that we are atheists; they pray for us anyway. I thank them and go on my way. Prayer doesn’t affect me, and my ranting against them is not going to change their beliefs. It is a waste of time and energy and, frankly, betrays a lack of maturity that Kevin cannot simply accept the good graces of the believers around him and forget it. As an atheist, I still respect other people’s faith (unfounded though I find it to be) just as, as a liberal, I respect the opinions of conservatives (illogical though I find that to be.)

    Meanwhile, my best wishes and hopes are with Kevin and his family.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks for your comment Jeff. And thanks for bestowing your great wisdom upon me, just a 38-year-old youngster who is way too immature to formulate his own opinions. I hope I’ll be wiser when I grow up, like you suggest. As someone who claims to respect the opinions of others, you fail to extend that respect to me and the opinions I’ve shared in my letter. So while you go about telling us how tolerant and inclusive you are, maybe you should really examine that and, you may discover you’re not the exact person you claim to be. While you insult me and claim that my viewpoint is immature, at the same time you’re also insulting the hundreds who have voiced their support (of all ages and assumably all maturity levels) and the thousands who have shared this post — ultimately calling their similar opinions immature. In the end, you’ve obviously missed the point of this letter, and that’s ok. You’re not the only one. Maybe if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you might develop the maturity to understand it.

  • Omar

    So, curiosity struck and I decided to create a visualization of the most frequently used words across all these comments.
    http://i.imgur.com/2o640gD.png

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Not surprised, considering how many people commented, insisting on educating me about their god (as if I had never heard of him or been religious previously). Interesting how close “just” is to the top of the list too, as the same folks have been directing me to “just thank people for praying” or saying that the religious are “just showing support.” Unfortunately these people couldn’t “just sympathize” with a parent venting his frustrations. They needed to tell me how they felt I was wrong instead.

      • Mel B

        Morning Kevin
        Its sad that people that have faith are always asking for tolerance however to experience tolerance they first must project it.

        You are not rude or ill mannered as people have stated here.

        Why cant people just show empathy of your situation and send best wishes.

        You are an atheist and this is an atheist blog so I don’t understand why they feel they have to comment with prayers after you have politely asked them not to. It seems they are not being respectful or tolerant them selves

        I hope baby Grayson is improving and yourself and your wife are doing ok ☺

        • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

          Thanks Mel. Grayson is improving every day and we’re looking forward to the day we can bring him home (although we don’t know when that will be yet).

  • Dave T

    Kevin…I hope your little son is doing well. Your post made me think back to the day each one of my children were born. Scared, awed, appreciative, exhausted, proud, love, anxious…I am sure you’re dealing with a lot and I hope for all I am worth everything will be okay. I empathize with your being worried over this little guy and the realization of some real financial obligation. You seem to be a strong man and I am sure your family is the same…I’d say cling to that strength and all will be fine.

    I think there’s a lot of judging of people going on here based simply on written words…which in my opinion is not the best means of doing so. And that will be argued too. For me it’s not important what your belief is. My concern is for your family and that little guy who’s come into this world fighting.

    To me it’s sad so many people focus their attention on what an individual believes in rather than the hardship that burdens one. I’m inspired by a person’s gift…whatever that may be. The ability to smile, care, love, share, be kind, all of the things that should be the nature of people and promote humanness amongst us.

    Religions are indeed human made. As you proclaim to be Atheist I proclaim to be a believer in God and Jesus as my Savior. Having said that I absolutely do not feel or view you as a person any differently than I do myself or anyone else. We’re all brothers and sisters inhabiting this rock. Science cannot disprove or prove the existence of a supreme being because by its very definition it only studies the behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. It does not delve into the metaphysical or supernatural world. Who we are, what we aspire to be and how we see ourselves is OUR business alone.

    I will do what I can to help with some of your financial burden because I hope you can get that little guy the best chance he has to enjoy life with his dad and mom. Take care and hope to read soon how well you and your family are doing.

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thanks for the kind words, Dave. Much appreciated!

  • Angie

    I read this wonderfully written testimonial, and was very moved by how gracious the new father regarded all other people with kindness, and understanding. Treating the people fairly, who would treat you unfairly, is a very noble thing to do, especially during trying times, as was mentioned in the blog. Congratulations on the arrival of your new family member, btw.

    And then I read the first response from a person who disregarded your wishes, and committed the very thing you asked people not to do. There used to be a time when I would get very angry at such closed-minded people. But, now, it just saddens me.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings with us, and I plan on coming back here to get a good feel for what you are all about. And I will share interesting thoughts with my friends on fb.

    Here’s to being glad for you and your wife that modern medicine was able to make it possible for your children to be conceived. :)

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      Thank you Angie. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the site!

  • JJ

    God had a hand in the conception. He sent you for fertility treatments. He brought this little boy into the world. God has a hand in everything. Even your go fund me page. I choose to pray for your little boy’s health.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      Does he? Can you show that to be true, or is it just a thing you’re saying? Words are just words.

  • Justin

    There is no proof that God exist.

    Neither is there proof that God does NOT exist.

    Religious Theist will be lying to say that they know for a fact that God exists.

    Atheist will by lying to say for a fact that God does NOT exists.

    Religious Theist who say they believe that God exists are telling the truth in their statements because they did NOT say “I know God exists” but “I believe God exists” and Faith is not equal to knowing-for-sure

    Atheist who say they do NOT believe that God exists are actual NOT Atheist but Agnostic and an Agnostic basically states that he does not know for sure whether God exists.

    If you say “We don’t believe…” you are just being an Agnostic. There is a difference.

    To be an true Atheist you will have to say things like, “I know…” as in… “I know God does not exist”.

    A true Atheist use words like, “I believe” or “I don’t believe”.

    So basically for me, an Atheist is a liar to claim that God does NOT exist because he will not be able to prove it.

    • bobtheaxolotl

      No, Justin. Atheism means you do not hold a believe in any gods, not that you believe they don’t exist. If you do not know if any gods exist, you don’t hold a belief in them. In actual matter of fact, people who describe themselves as agnostics are generally atheists. An agnostic would say it’s impossible to know if there’s a god or not, as the root word, gnostic, is about knowledge.

      If you assert that there is no god, you’re a hard atheist.

      • Ebie

        Too many words, but still saying the same thing. Having no belief in any god and not believing any god exists mean the same thing to me.

        • bobthexolotl

          Then you fail at basic reading comprehension.

          • Ebie

            yes Bob , people usually say that when they have nothing more to add and starting to loose the point and make no sense and even confuse themselves and everyone else. Justin and Omar explained it in greater detail and perfectly. You have made no sense

      • Omar

        These are both wrong.

        Theist: Believes in a God or Gods.
        Atheist: Does not believe that God or Gods exist. (Therefore does not believe in them.)
        Agnostic: A person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

        Basically, a Theist believes that God exists, while some claim to know he does. While an Atheist does not believe in the existence of any God(s) at all, some also claim to know that he does not.
        The major difference of Agnosticism is that they believe that it is impossible to know whether God exists or not. By being unable to outright refute Gods existence they, by definition, cannot be Atheists.

        In actuality though, their stance comes from a belief that it is impossible to know either way. Often times they tend to be unable to deny the existence of some power higher than ourselves. Not necessarily a God, but something greater. Which again, by definition, disqualifies them from being an Atheist.

        And as they neither explicitly believe in a God or Gods, they can neither be classified as Theists. Therefore, they are Agnostic.

        Interestingly enough, I find them to be the most receptive to fair, and unbiased, conversation. Because they do not know one way or the other, they tend to be more open to considering all the sides in earnest. It’s why so many Scientists identify as Agnostic.

  • http://gravatar.com/librarian50 Hope

    Kevin, most of them are unwilling to take you at your word when you thank them for their prayers, but also explain your beliefs.

    I’m appalled that anyone, believer or not, would inflict on you nasty claims of your selfishness, arrogance, intolerance, and more, when you explain what you think. The sense of entitlement is incredible, yet like all entitled people, they just don’t see it. They’re so accustomed to being able to say anything they want to non-believers without any reply, they start to feel persecuted when they’re told, “No more, please.” When you least need people to shower you with what I feel are religious assaults, they do so, anyway. Even though it’s obviously an atheist’s private blog, maybe they didn’t read where they were posting: although they read enough of it post to argue with and claim offense.

    The charge of “militant atheist” is leveled at people who speak out. If hundreds of atheists went to a believer’s page – a believer who was afraid, shedding tears regularly, and suffering from his/her child’s grave condition – believers would find that to be appalling behavior. They might even remove those posts and ban those posters, neither of which you did. If those atheists then argued with the believer’s post, calling it rude, aggressive, unkind, disgusting, and so forth, the atheists would be thought cruel. And guess what? – those atheists WOULD be cruel. To burden a believer with their atheism when it clearly wasn’t wanted, would be cruel.

    Kevin, I’m sorry the believers here (I’ve known many who aren’t like this) can’t understand it from your point of view. I’m sorry they can’t see how burdensome it would be if it happened to them. They can’t even recognize the superb medical procedures/medicines on your baby as the sheer work, persistence, and skills the medical teams earned. No, instead they even attribute all those skills and knowledge to a talent God gave them. They don’t see how that undercuts and diminishes those professionals’ diligence.

    After all of that willful refusal to sympathize with your thinking, they worry about how they’ve been insulted and offended. They don’t sit back and really think about what they might be doing to add to your suffering. They don’t try to understand how hearing their prayers all through an atheist’s life, and eating irritation at their disrespect day after day, can become exhausting, especially when what you need is compassion, not what they think is the right way to help you.

    I’m sorry this was so long, but I was slightly optimistic it might cause one or two of the believers to empathize with you (us). That’s all I want – one or two.

    I sure wish I could have donated more, since you don’t need to suffer financial problems, too, on top of it all. It sounds as though he’s gaining weight and strength every day. I suppose he’s home by now, and some of the stress on your wife and you has been reduced. I’ll check back regularly to keep up with your blog.

    Thanks for your bravery, particularly at a time when you should least have to be brave to unsympathetic and self-righteous strangers.

  • Ruins

    I found your page because it came up on a google search about people who pray for things for themselves. I’m an atheist too and am struggling in life. I wish I were religious so I could have that thing that (real) Christians have to prop themselves up, ’cause I don’t have that right now. I had someone offer to pray for me today and it was sweet. I go to a free clinic and they pray for me if I let them – sometimes I feel charitable and sometimes I don’t. Anyways, all my worries aside, and you’ll probably never see this post because it’s at the bottom of a two month old thread..but I was premature too. In 1967. I don’t know how early I was but it was somewhere between 2 and 3 months based on my birth weight (dead parents and all that). Anyways, you sound like people who love your children but I would say (science based and personal based) give the little one a little extra TLC -the touchy stuff. Not to the detriment of your other child but I think it broke a little bit of me not getting the whole nurturing thing as a baby and I was a very well loved child.

  • Shaun spriggs

    This is exactly how I feel about this and many other situations. Thank you.

  • http://hooperrenovation.wordpress.com hooperrenovation

    Ok…I admit I was a tad confused after reading your post and everyone’s comments on the right thing to do here given I’m a Christian and praying is, after all, sorta one of those things we do…but fear not…I think I’ve tackled this one… okay so I’m NOT going to pray for you or your wife since you are atheists… however, should I accidentally pray for you …say for peace to be with you or somerhing along those lines i just wont tell you (although I totally get you’d rather I compliment the makers of Valium or any other pharmaceutical which offers rest and relief of anxiety with limited side effects ) Now, as far your son goes, I am going to pray for him because I don’t he’s decided whether or not he is an atheist yet. I’ll most likely pray he heals completely and lives a long, meaningful happy life and, since as I said I’m a Christian, I will more than likely pray he doesn’t become an atheist just for fun. He won’t be able to read this post for a.few years so it will be a while before he realizes either 1. He should be offended and get all hot and bothered because some stranger expressed their care and concern through a medium they believe in or 2. He should be happy some stranger prayed for him…. kinda a spiritual crap shoot but I’ll take the odds (since I believe in the power of prayer and I’m throwing the “doesn’t become an Atheist” thing in I guess I’m stacking the deck there a bit…right?) As to the money thing I will go check it out and we will see what the wallet offers…I do.agree that along with all our praying and well wishes we have to take an active role in helping anyway we can with the resources with which we’ve “blessed.” Not praying for you!

    • http://dividedundergod.com Kevin Davis

      WWJD? Probably not leave a reply full of sarcasm and passive aggression. “Christians” like you give other Christians a bad name. For the record, everyone is born an atheist. It’s not a conscious decision we make. You’re not born believing in a deity. Atheism is the default position. We only make a decision to follow a religion or remain an atheist by rejecting the supernatural nonsense that you and your ilk don’t have the critical thinking skills to cast aside. It may be a benefit to you to practice some reading comprehension exercises since this letter went directly over your head.

      • http://hooperrenovation.wordpress.com hooperrenovation

        Thanks so much for your words of wisdom? I will truly enjoy not praying for you as well. Sincerely, a mindless non-critically thinking autotomiton who was brainwashed by her agnostic mother to apparently become a Christian. Thanks for enlightening me.

  • Nick B

    Let me preface this with saying that I’m not one to usually opine on such matters, but there’s a lot of tension and misplaced aggression with what you take offense to. I’m sorry to say that, and I recognize it is not my place to, but I’ll explain myself. People should have choices and free will. Imposing upon them restriction from an action which does not violate your own personal rights is overstepping your grounds. Sure, it sucks when someone asks or does something that makes you uncomfortable, and you should ask them to stop unless of course you are the one in the wrong location (in which case you should leave), but here they’re doing something on their own which they see as fulfilling a purpose in some way or another, on their on own time, not in front of you or your family, and to the end of either making themselves feel better, or G-d take action.
    When it comes down to it, your frustration seems to be based on a few things: your son not being better yet, how your wife is handling it, how your family is handling it, and of course, you feeling like you should be doing more. When something is wrong, it needs to be fixed, and exactly how much energy or money or medical services are needed seems to be what it comes down to. And you see people around you pledging something you see as non-valuable in achieving that goal as their support. You’re a man who needs a dollar to get home and having many wishing you get there soon instead of fixing the problem. And I’m glad you see that and that you want people to get involved. But not everyone can give material possessions or greater amounts of time to strangers, or friends for that matter.
    What I can say, is that if everyone took time to pray for others, or to involve themselves in helping others, or to just wish people well in conversation it would do much more good then not thinking about what could be done to make things better. Or even what they could do when next they came across a means to help materially.
    I’ll also add in here that science and religion are not opposed, so you have to stop stressing a belief in science as your alternative here. Nothing against you, but it’s not a valid point. You can like scientific advancements, and rest easy in the fact that they are great tools for all of us to enjoy. If you’re an atheist you believe there is no G-d. That’s all. It’s not that you believe in science. It’s not that you believe in Platonic Realism, or Structuralism, or Fictionalism, or Scientology. It’s that you don’t believe in a G-d. And that’s okay. I’m a Jew and I have a PhD in elementary fields and particles (physics). That’s fine, I can be both. Just like you can be an atheist and one who likes science, I can be a theist who does science. We can talk about and agree on anything and everything except when I attribute things to G-d. But as any believer should know, some things go without saying. When I get stuck teaching astrophysics, I don’t say “this planet that G-d made”, and “this galaxy He made for us” – if they believe as I do, they don’t need to be told it, and if they don’t, they don’t want to hear it. Either way it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Let’s talk about the details; about how it was formed, and let’s use our knowledge to do so.
    I came across this post late, and I’m not sure if any help is needed anymore, not to say I can give much at the moment, but I am working on making things better for people by helping us to understand more about the world around us. Good people choose to work where they can make the most difference, and I’m in a place where I can do just that.
    To summarize, I’d just like to say that you should enjoy hearing from people that they’re rooting for your son, and offering support. And that there are people who still want to do good in the world or for others. I hope you took no offense to any of this, and I wish you all the best with your spouse and your family throughout your lives as I clearly do not frequent your posts.

    -Nick

    P.S. – Nothing wrong with making use of the currently “useless” folks . Be kind, be gracious, and accept that they may be useless now, but they may be useful later. No shame in networking, letting them feel like they’ve a part in all of this and hitting them up for jobs for your kids or graduation gifts in the future or as golf buddies when you’re older… thank you cards come much cheaper than any of that! Maybe you’ll even get a few to join the dark side.

  • Wings

    Mr. Davis – first, I just want to say that I’ve often felt as you do when someone tells me they’re praying for me. I can usually tell when such an “offering” is self-serving versus when someone genuinely believes they’re doing ME some good. The latter is rare.

    What prompted me to post, however, is some similarities in our experience. My youngest was born 12 weeks early… that was on the tail end of his next oldest brother being born six weeks early. He had so much stacked against him… I don’t give birth to small babies, so the hospital actually discharged him after about a week because he was “of acceptable weight.” Notice the utter lack of concern for his lung development? Yeah… we had him home about a week before he developed bi-lateral pneumonia and RSV. While he was being airlifted to the nearest neonatal unit an hours drive away, he coded 19 times. He spent the next month and a half hooked up to every medical monitor known to science, or so it seemed. At one point during his stay, they disconnected him from as much as they possibly could so I could “hold him and say (my) goodbyes”.

    I remember that evening like it was yesterday, but it’s been 22 years, Mr. Davis. My baby boy is 6’4… beautiful… healthy… strong. He works hard, he’s smart as a whip, and he is the kindest and most gentle young man. As a mom, I am proud of all of my sons… but there’s always going to be a little bit of extra pride in him because I KNOW how hard that baby fought to live, to survive, to thrive. And now he’s an adult that any parent would be proud of and love, just like his older brothers.

    So take heart, Mr. Davis… as scary as this all has been, it soon gets taken over with all the joys and excitement of watching your child grow up. And maybe in 22 years, you can be sharing your story with a parent facing those same difficulties… and you can talk about how big and strong your grown son is. I wish that for you and yours more than anything.

  • Buck Hondo

    Very well said Kevin, and I am so glad that Grayson is doing well at home with you and his mother. I will share the heartfelt words of your letter with others.