I’ll Pray For You

The last gasp of a person who finds themselves on the losing side of a debate is usually an awkward, pathetic attempt to salvage some sense of respectability. It almost always fails, miserably.

Such is the case whenever a Christian fundamentalist attempts to engage someone whose world view is based on scientific facts, and peer reviewed evidence, and who tries to interject fairy tales as if they were written as a reliable first person account of history rather than a series of metaphors. In any rational venue, a person who tries to introduce magic as credible subject matter and speak of it as if it’s proven fact would get laughed out of the discussion. That is, unless the magic was performed by an omnipotent deity who only performed miracles before there was YouTube. Yet when their counterpoint inevitably crumbles in the face of truth derived from perky facts, their final reply is sadly predictable:

“I’ll pray for you”.

Well, that’s just terrific. Thanks a diaper load for the passive aggressive flip off. And while you’re having a chat with your invisible deity, and asking him to take time out of his busy day so that he can have yet another excuse to allow fifty thousand people per day to starve to death, and to see if he can’t force me to lose my sense of reason and capitulate to believing in unsubstantiated nonsense… I’ll try to make the world a better place. While you are on your knees muttering like a homeless person, asking god to deviate from his plan because it’s not quite meeting up to your expectations, I’ll support scientists who cure diseases, engineers who build things, and academics who impart knowledge.

But I’m not so naive to believe that when a frustrated fundamentalist offers prayers, that they are truly concerned with my immortal soul. I know they are not actually “praying” for me. What they really mean to say –but won’t because it is unbecoming to their alleged faith– is that they are going to tell on me. It’s as if we’re both six years old and I’ve said a bad word. “Just wait until daddy gets home, you’re gonna be in trouble!” It’s a futile, last attempt to sign off with a “zinger”… an ethereal raspberry blown as a parting shot.

Here is what the words “I’ll pray for you” truly mean: “Hey, maybe my all powerful, omnipotent super wonderful god hasn’t noticed yet that you don’t believe in him, so I’ll just point that out so that he’ll be sure to put you on the goin’ straight to hell list”. Oh how I would squeal with delight if any such condescending, indignant, imbecile would fall face first into a deep fryer.

It’s not that I give a damn if you talk to yourself like some Prozac laden mental patient, or waste as much of your own time as you want. By all means, clasp your hands and ask the almighty for a better job, for your spouse to not be such a loser, or even for my soul. While you’re at it, deny the hypocrisy of doing this from the comfort of your suburban middle class home with all the comforts that your local Walmart can provide. Just understand that while you’re doing so, nine year old girls are getting raped all over the Sub Sahara.

The vitriol it takes to offer such a cavalier disregard for human suffering all over the world as retribution for me speaking reason to you is the exact opposite of what the Christian faith pretends to convey. It does little more than exposes these cross-wearing, murmuring dolts –who are silly enough to believe that there is a celestial being in the sky who is listening to their vapid complaints– for the self centered, narcissistic, intellectually attenuated, hateful asshats that they are. Sure, people have cancer, and live in horrible poverty, but surely god will listen to *YOU* as you rat on non-believers because you and he have such a wonderful, personal relationship. Shoot, god just helped you get new curtains.

The reality is, prayer does nothing. Only what can happen, does happen. When prayers coincide with a lost limb growing back, then maybe I’ll consider their validity. But god apparently doesn’t know that trick… but you know who does? SCIENCE.

If you want to help someone, then help them. Talking to an imaginary friend is psychotic. “Dear God, do you know that Cancer that you allowed little Billy to have?… well, could you change your mind about that?… He’s a nice boy.” All Prayer accomplishes is feigning that you care, when you really don’t. “Oh, I’ll Pray for you… as soon as there is a commercial, just please don’t ask me to actually do anything.”

So the next time some dunce who believes that the world is six thousand years old despite the myriad of scientific evidence to the contrary –and in a frustrated, demeaning reply offers a conciliatory prayer on your behalf– rather than thank them, you should respond as you would any other time anyone purposefully insults you…

“You’ll pray for me? Good. I’ll not be an idiot for you.”


About Rich Woods

Rich Woods is the author of the critically acclaimed books, UnLearn Vanilla Marriage, and Yahweh to Hell. He is also a columnist, sociologist, and satirist who has performed seminars around the country. He's also made several TV and radio appearances. Transitioning from a blue-collar background has given Mr. Woods a unique perspective --and an even more unique elocution--among his peers. Raised Catholic, Mr. Woods is now a very public atheist who champions the separation of church and state. He's an advocate for non-traditional relationships, including --but not limited to-- negotiating non-monogamy, as well as being a vocal opponent of political correctness. Throughout his career, Woods has had colorful metaphors hurled in his direction from both liberals, and conservatives. To be honest, most of the vitriol comes from the Tea Party. However, he considers one of his greatest accomplishments having been called "Harry Reid's Lapdog" , and referred to as being "just like Rush Limbaugh" from two different sources within minutes of one another. Originally from Queens, New York, and presently residing in central New Jersey, Rich Woods is madly, and hopelessly in love with his wife Jane since before they were wed in 2002, and is the proud father of two successful, brilliantly creative, young adult children. Try as he might, he can't juggle.

Posted on April 23, 2013, in Recent Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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