Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – prayers and theist claims, or “again, why believe such claims?”

Prayer-vs_-DeedsIn a delightful coincidence (no gods needed), w have another Billy Graham bit of nonsense about prayer,  prayers for water in the American west, our current TrueChristian, KD, claims about how his prayer was answered, and his claims on how dare anyone bring that up, complete with indignant words on why it’s the atheist’s fault for not doing anything to help those who need help.

In Nevada, home of Las Vegas, and Utah, ground zero for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons, they are praying for rain.  The snow pack in the Rocky Mountains is very small and that means very bad times for farmers who need water.  Similar prayers have been offered for Texas, for the Southeast, etc, and unsurprisingly, they haven’t been answered.  Rain has indeed come to some parts but weather patterns, not gods, do this, and the drought in the southwest and west has not gone away with some divine deluge.

In Nevada,  it was a  multi-faith service, which seems to mean that they’re appealing to any god at all to get some relief.  This of course is a little odd since Judeo-Christo-Islamic religions generally insist that their god and theirs alone is real and is the one to be beseeched.  At this event, there were Buddhists, Hindus, Bah’ai, Muslims, and the various sects of Christianity doing their best to get their gods’ attention.   The one fellow, Rajan Zed,  who started this says “”When God sees (all these) leaders sitting together in unity and harmony and praying in diverse traditions and seeking common good for the entire community, God will be naturally moved to provide the devotees relief from drought so that it will not affect their quality of life, livelihood and health,”.   Mr. Zed is a Hindu believer. In that the Hindu religion can be presented as all of their gods as aspects of one god, it is not surprising that Mr. Zed invokes God and not Indra, the appropriate aspect.  It certainly does make it much easier to gloss over that “God” is not the same to all people.

According to some Christians, daring to be with non-TrueChristians  is a big no-no.  Can’t get the big guy jealous, you know.   Even Mr. Zed was a target for this, when he was the first person to be a guest chaplain in the US Senate and to offer a Hindu prayer.  The TrueChristians were horrified!  I guess when you are desperate to save your way of life, any port in a storm. It’s a shame that it’s a lot of effort for nothing.  Perhaps they’ll realize that and, in addition, that none of their gods do anything, it’s up to them.

The latest Billy Graham column in the local paper also mentions prayer.  This one is titled “Those in positions of power need prayers.”  The querent asks why nothing seems to get “better” even though their pastor prays for “our nation’s leaders” and their local government leaders.  Considering that prayer is to get what one wants, it’s not hard to make an informed guess that the querent wants their way when it comes to laws, etc and since it’s Billy, being beseeched, the querent is not happy with the current folks in power.

Billy (aka his staff) says that we should imagine how much worse things would be without those prayers.   Which begs the question, just how “omnipotent” is this being if it can’t make things supposedly so much better than *this*? Of course, BG says that God’s ways are mysterious, and that it must be intentional that we don’t see this god doing anything at all, or at least only making a half-assed effort.   We also have a bible verse quoted, 1 Timothy 2:1, where Paul says that one should pray for everyone so that “we” can have peaceful quiet lives.  This doesn’t make much sense if one also believes the bible’s claim that this god put all of these leaders into power in the first place (Romans 13 and Titus 3 which says submit to the authorities, not pray that they change), .  If that is true, why the continued need for prayers?   Incidentally, this bit in Timothy is also the chapter that has Paul insisting that no women ever have power over a man, including teach them (Christian interpreters can’t quite decide if this says man, men, or husband.).  Makes a lot of elementary school teachers quite the sinners, eh?  Also, women are only saved by childbearing, which is quite a bummer for those who can’t have children at all.

These two instances regarding prayer underline why prayer is such an odd concept, especially with the assumption of a omniscient god.  Omniscient is Latin for “all knowing”, knowing everything ever without regard for time or place.  It’s also a problem with the claim that a god has everything happening according to some master plan.  A prayer is worthless: the god already knows what the person wants and has already decided not to do it or it would have occurred without any effort at all.   If a god *needs* a prayer,  it blows those other attributes out of the water.  It needs reminded?  It needs its ego fluffed?  I’ve seen arguments that gods require prayers but don’t “need” them, which seems to be splitting more than a few hairs and seems like “do this pointless task just to make me happy”, a divine “on the truck, off the truck” exercise (a reference to the military tendency to have soldiers to do busy work).

Finally, an update on the claims of KD, my frequent TrueChristian commenter, and his wedding ring miracle.  He did answer my question on why should one believe such a claim and would he believe the claim if used to support the existence of another god than  his own, the Christian one.  He has stated that he believes that other gods exist, a fair answer since the bible supports that, as well as supporting the claims that there is only one god.  His answer isn’t a typical one but as has been noted, Christians don’t always agree on much.

He was asked why we should believe this god answered his prayer about a ring and at the same time, this god ignores the desperate prayers of the starving, dying, etc.  I noted that when I was young, I wondered why this god did not help the hungry in Sahel region in Africa. I wondered why there was no manna, no quail, no loaves and fishes.   KD answered by asking why I did nothing to help, still no explanation of why his god was a no show.  It seems that one young gal in the US was expected to figure things out and help everyone.  What can I say? No one told me that this god couldn’t do anything in some of the most Christian countries in the world so it was up to me and my Halloween UNICEF box.

There in a nutshell, we have why prayer is worthless, it makes you think you are doing something when in reality you are doing nothing but abdicating responsibility.  Do something, even if it is that UNICEF box from a girl who lived on a farm where we didn’t have much money but we were lucky enough to have food.   It’s worth vastly more than hoping your imaginary friend will do something.

As an aside,  we have even more stupidity here in the US.  Coca-Cola did a lovely, if mildly jingoistic and goddy, ad(auto launches with sound) that dared to have a patriotic song sung in languages other than American English and a gay couple celebrating with their child.  The usual suspects are being the expected twits about it.  No surprise there at all.  Sigh.

PS – the current snowy weather here:

The current Snowmaggeddon
The current Snowmaggeddon

22 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – prayers and theist claims, or “again, why believe such claims?”

  1. It must have been an interesting show, seeing everyone imploring their god to deliver rain. That is a must watch event. Now, how do they know which god answered?


    1. He did indeed, on his blog where he’s made various false claims about atheists.
      ““As for your question regarding whether I would believe theist of a different god theory claiming the same story. The answer is YES. If someone claimed they prayed to Allah or the Wican Goddess and that god answered their prayer, I would believe them. I would not have any reason to assume that they are lying to me. I would accept that they do in fact believe their god answered their prayer.

      Would their claim change my convictions regarding my beliefs? Unlikely.

      Would I believe those gods exist? Yes.

      Would I put my faith and trust in those gods? No.

      You see, you seem to think that your question is simple and to the point. What did you expect me to say? No, I wouldn’t believe those gods exist.

      Any number of hundreds of thousands of gods could exist. That doesn’t mean all of them exist. That doesn’t mean that they are all to be trusted. And it doesn’t rule out the possibility that no gods exist. Your questions are like the 1% thing, you are trying to oversimplify to get an anticipated result with your questions.

      I’ll give you that they are very pointed questions but they are based off of your assumptions. You feel that by asking them you can show why your opponent is “wrong” thinking that by doing so makes you “right.” That is irrational and illogical. I will be surprised if you actually learn something from our conversation. As you’ve demonstrated that you haven’t yet.”

      and confirmed it here on my blog:

      I asked him whom should we believe him, or other TrueChristians like those at CARM and other places and how should we determine who was telling the truth. Still no answer on that.


      1. Fascinating! He seems so desperate to maintain the delusion that he’ll actually side with any other faith system (and their gods) simply because they’re delusional too. He’s admitting he’s more comfortable with the deluded than with the rational. Sad, but frightfully interesting.


      2. I think this is a manifestation of the “circle the wagons” effect I’ve noted in Christians. They will claim that each others’ sects are wrong and that they are going to hell, but as soon as any non-Christian questions their nonsense, they suddenly forget their internal fights. Everyone becomes one non-disputing family.

        KD seems to think, and I could be wrong, that accepting that other gods exist diffuses the problems with his god. How could mean ol’ Vel doubt so many different ones? 🙂


      3. Great. I have a very special (especially annoying) apologist (wannabe Christian philosopher to be exact) who’ll require some careful attention. Presently i’m trying to educate him on Retrocausality as ruinous to the KCA, yet he, of course, rolled out Vilenkin (ho hum) and has promised a post based only on cosmology since 2006 to present to prove the universe had a beginning. Tall order, but when it comes it could be fun 🙂


      4. it’s always fun when they trot out Vilenkin who has said directly that theists are wrong in how they abuse his work.

        in any case, the universe’s having a beginning still does not support that any god did it or that it was done like the bible says. Then we get into the wriggling of the theist in what should be considered literal and metaphor in their ball of nonsense.


  2. Wait a minute…you mean that all these years I have been doing rain dances to the gods out in the yard, to induce rain when we needed it, were…futile? But…it rained, eventually. Doesn’t that count for something? Answer that one you clever atheists.

    /end stupid theist mode


  3. Heh, indeed. It’s all a big game of charades. Play the part, do some ooga booga B.S. Put on a front. Then when you get rain, praise the dogs. If you don’t get it, blame the gays, atheists, liberals, neighboring tribe etc. Wash, rinse, repeat. Nothing new under the sun. Same game, different players for thousands of years.

    Religion has evolved from the travelling tent road show for the most part, but it is still no more refined than the gypsies coming to town….or “professional wrestling”
    Gullible rubes soon part with their money, or sign up for a lifetime of servitude and manipulation. Happily I might add. P.T. Barnum was right.


  4. Ha, the Bay Area received rain mere hours after Muslims held a prayer vigil to end the drought in California. Coincidence? I think not. We now know whose god is the true god, and its certainly not the false god that Governor Rick Perry worships. Allah Ackbar! Submit, you godless infidels.


      1. Thirteen years ago, eh? Anyone can say that. Where’s your proof? And what’s this goddess done for anyone lately? Neener neener. :p

        Too bad the KC Star uses Facebook for their commenting system. I wanted to post a slightly-toned-down version of my comment to see how the “TrueChristian” god-breathers handle this strange act of Providence.


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