Praying Hands Do No Work

Between the Uvalde, TX and Buffalo, NY incidents nearly 30 people have been shot dead in a period of just two weeks. The Buffalo shooting occurred in a supermarket. But as we know, the Uvalde shooting was at a school full of young children.

At last count 19 people were dead in Uvalde. There is nothing else in this world as sad as the death of an innocent child. Social media is flooded with “thoughts and prayers” as we move forward from the incident. Not to be an asshole, but your prayers are not accomplishing anything. They never have. I’m sure that loving and well-meaning parents prayed for the safety of their kids every day when sending them off to school. Did it help? Obviously not.

I’m not trying to be mean. I am not immune to the pain felt by the friends and families who’ve suffered a terrible loss. But hiding behind “the power of prayer” is a false comfort. It does nothing to prevent such tragedies in the future. Every time something like this happens, Christians fall down and start praying. And yet those incidents just keep happening. When are you people going to realize that if we’re going to protect the most vulnerable among us we have to do it ourselves? Proper security, not prayer is what protects kids at school.

What’s the solution?

Just adding tall fences and locking doors isn’t enough. America needs a change of culture. And it isn’t about guns. It’s about some of the people using them. I own a gun. Ever seen me on the news after wiping out a dozen people? No you haven’t. You won’t. Why? Because I choose not to hate. I choose not to ignore the well-being of others. I choose to be a better person. And yeah a few of you might point out that I wasn’t always a good guy. I wasn’t. But I changed. Did it have anything to do with religion? Yes it did. I left it behind and embraced reality. I came to realize that my choices affected others. Now I live without a net. Scary at times, but it’s worth it to not lean on the false crutch of religion.

We need a return to respect. Young people are not being taught to respect the lives and well-being of others. They don’t respect authority. They lack empathy. Their families and schools do little to teach them the importance of having direction and purpose in their lives. We’re seeing a generation of feral strays growing up before our eyes. And you won’t change that by blabbering to your favorite deity or by teaching young minds to do likewise. Religion fosters ignorance, and ignorance doesn’t solve anything.

But Wait! I prayed for my (fill in the blank) and it helped…
Prayer can be a form of meditation. When you’re alone and go inside yourself and pray to whatever deity you believe in, it can have a salubrious effect on your mental / emotional state. This can, and sometimes does, lead to physical benefits during an illness or after an injury. The fact that religious people mistakenly believe they’re communicating with an all-powerful being might even help in this regard. But that doesn’t mean prayer can influence outside events. Oh and when someone stands up before a crowd and starts praying for all to see and hear (like at church), that shit doesn’t help anyone.

“Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. — Matthew 6:5-8

See? The author of Matthew (whomever he was) knew how to make prayer / meditation work. He knew that just standing up and making a show of it benefited no one. Too bad he wasn’t honest enough to describe it for what it is. He might have changed the world for the better.

Stop leaving it all in God’s hands. Stop expecting miracles when common sense should tell you there will be none. The world isn’t in God’s hands. It’s in ours. Right now as you read this, someone somewhere is planning the next mass murder. It might be a month away or it might be tomorrow. The killer might use a gun. Or a knife. Or a bomb. Or a vehicle. Do you really think you can stop it with prayer? Did prayer stop 18 year-old Salvador Romas from opening fire in Uvalde? Did prayer stop 18 year-old Payton Gendron from opening fire in Buffalo? What about Satoshi Uematsu, who killed 19 people in Japan with a knife? Did prayer stop James Alex Fields from using his vehicle as a weapon in Virginia? You know the answer.

Prayer doesn’t work. Miracles don’t happen. And there is no reason to believe otherwise. It’s time to face reality and stop placing the welfare of the world in the hands of a nonexistent god. It’s our world. What are we going to do with it?

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