Have you run into this little gem? A theist, when they find out you’re an atheist and don’t pray, will tell you that as soon as things get bad, as soon as things don’t go your way, you’re going to be on your knees, praying to God, because you have no choice.
Well, over the summer, doctors thought my sister might have ovarian cancer. She’d been having problems and when she went for a check up, they found a growth on her ovary. They removed it and sent it for biopsy and even though it ultimately came back as benign, it was a pretty hectic week where nobody knew anything. I didn’t pray.
Back in 2002, my father was in the hospital with stage 4 cancer that had spread throughout his entire body. There was nothing that medical science could do for him. He spent 2 weeks on life support in excruciating pain before he passed away. I never once prayed.
A long time ago, I had a good friend who, one night, took a dump on a motorcycle at 70mph. He wasn’t wearing any padding, although he was wearing a helmet. He got road rash over 80% of his body. He lost fingers and toes. They didn’t think he was going to make it. Not a single prayer crossed my mind.
There are all kinds of things that have happened in my life, bad things, or potentially bad things, and I never even considered praying, not even for a second, for any of them, at least not once I got a clue and got rid of religion. Before that, sure. After, not a single time. I was never even tempted. I didn’t even consider the possibility because I don’t believe there’s anything out there worth praying to. I mean, when you don’t believe in gods and other magical imaginary critters, who are you going to direct your prayers at? Trees? Your cat? At least those are real, although they are utterly powerless to actually grant your prayers, so why bother?
I think that demonstrates a fundamental disconnect that many theists have, that you really do believe that there’s some god out there that you will turn to in your hour of need, even though you deny having any faith whatsoever. They just can’t imagine anyone not buying into their silly beliefs, the idea that someone really doesn’t think God exists is a foreign concept that they can’t wrap their minds around. I’m sure you’ve found those people as well, the ones that tell you that you really do believe in God, you’re just being defiant. These people are nuts, but if they weren’t nuts, they wouldn’t believe in imaginary friends in the sky, would they?
Suffice it to say, I’m not going to pray. To anyone. Or anything. Ever. What’s the point? It accomplishes nothing and just wastes my time. I’ve got too much to do to actually waste it on my knees. Too bad theists don’t realize the same thing.