Freethought NOW!

Saying prayers don’t work is the truth, not “prayer shaming”

By now you’ve all seen this sad, yet somehow refreshing headline: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.”

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The NY Daily News front page on December 3, 2015, the morning after the San Bernadino massacre.

Refreshing is perhaps a controversial word to apply to this situation, but I’m only applying it to the headline. It’s nice to see the media state the obvious. Nothing fails like prayer. This headline is not “prayer shaming,” but a simple statement of fact. Prayers do not work.

“The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray,” as Ingersoll said. Prayers do nothing. And actually, praying may be worse than doing nothing because prayers allow a person to feel like they are doing something, when they aren’t. Prayers assuage negative emotions that give us the drive and motivation to change the world before we’ve actually done anything to foster that change. So it’s not just that prayer doesn’t work; prayer can actually hurt.

Yes, of course, prayer makes people feel better. But that’s the point. People get to feel better–feel like they are doing something–when they are not doing anything. If those who call for prayer in the wake of tragedy are doing so because they simply want to feel better, they ought to say so.

The NY Daily News is absolutely right: god isn’t going to fix this, or anything else. That’s because god does not exist. As always, it’s up to us to change the world. And as always, religion is standing in the way. When people with power to change the world offer prayers instead of action, such as our senators and representatives, shame on them. We’re thrilled the NY Daily News called the pious politicians out. We at FFRF would add: “Get off your knees and get to work.” Stop talking to yourself and do something.

To help counter the nonsensical backlash about “prayer shaming,” please send your thanks to the NY Daily News for their cover page:

voicers@nydailynews.com

New York Daily News
4 New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004

Or tweet your support to @NYDailyNews

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