Saturday, March 12, 2011

Help Japan. Donate and....

I see quite a bit of complaining on Facebook and Twitter about atheists daring to post that they don't think prayer will help Japan. The objections are that by saying "Your prayers aren't helping Japan," atheists are pushing their beliefs on believers, they're insensitive to believers, they're attacking believers, and/or they're proselytizing for atheism.

Surprisingly, not one of the complaining "Pray for Japan" posters/tweeters ever considered that by telling atheists in thousands of posts and tweets, "Pray for Japan," that they were doing exactly what they are accusing atheists of doing. Were any of you "Pray for Japan" posters/tweeters concerned about how I'd feel receiving all those "Pray for Japan" posts and tweets?

And, yeah, saying "Prayer isn't going to help" is so much more mean-spirited than your tweets saying, "God is going to burn you for eternity in hell." (Ooo, your mythology really scares me. [That's sarcasm.] The fact that a rational, thinking person believes in mythology and acts accordingly, now that scares me. [That's not sarcasm.]

How is stating that I think prayer isn't going to help Japan attacking you or persecuting you?

I've also heard some whining comments asking "What's wrong with donating and praying?" If it makes you feel better than donating alone, have at it. Because the praying is ultimately all about you and how it makes you feel, not Japan.

But you could also:
  • Donate and dance naked in the moonlight, or
  • Donate and wear socks that don't match, or
  • Donate and read Green Eggs and Ham to your pet, or
  • Donate and rub a lucky rabbit's foot, or
  • Donate and consult with Punxsutawney Phil, or
  • Donate and sacrifice sausages to Offler, or
  • Donate and talk to the pixies in your garden, or
  • Donate and toss pennies in a wishing well, or
  • Donate and tweet how awful atheists are, or...any number of things that won't help Japan more than donating alone would.
Next, you'll be posting and tweeting how awful I am for ridiculing you.


  1. Hrm...

    Donate and sacrifice a chicken...

    Donate and kiss the Blarney Stone...

    Donate and mumble necromantic chants intro The Old Ones whilst sitting in a lotus position in the middle of a pentagram...

  2. Thanks for posting this. I am feeling the sting from such attitudes quite sharply right now. I have gotten a lot of flack from posting my thoughts on religion (and politics, but that doesn't seem to arouse such ire) and I am going to try to live vicariously through you today...

    A friend posted this quote from Dan Barker and I reposted it on my wall:
    "I know what love is, and that's why I can't be a Christian. Love's not self denial. Love's not blood & suffering. Love's not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love's not a wrath consigning billions to eternal torture because they offended your ego or broke your rules. Love's not obedience or submission. True love is respect, compassion & kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being."

    It caused 50 comments and a few private emails. One of which was from an old friend who I thought knew me well. I was in her wedding, even. Well, she unfriended me. I emailed her and asked her why. She said my post was "hate speech." HATE SPEECH! I am still staggering from the charge.

    Then, my very best friend called me CRYING. BAWLING. Because she wasn't going to be with me in heaven.

    I guess I should put it in perspective, but it's been 12 days and I am still upset and people are still taking about it!

    On the positive side, a new friend posted that he was amazed at how "brave" I was for posting it and that it expressed his new found questioning, which is causing struggle in his marriage.

    Maybe hanging out online with fellow free thinkers has numbed me to how shocking some people find the fact we don't "buy" it is...I don't know.

    Again, thank you for calling out stupid fb shit here. It helps me...

  3. I know!! DON'T donate AND pray! That will REALLY help! From there, we can move on to naturopathic medicines....

    Denise, it's sad, but all too common. Hang in there. My son has a friend across the street taht had, a few years ago, a similar "We won't be friends in heaven" guilt-trip. My son, at about 12 and much to his credit, basically said "Whatever...." and just stopped hanging out with him. Lately, now that they are both 15, the other kid is starting to come around to Reality a little and has knocked that stuff off. With time, maybe Full Reality will set in and the world will be short one more Irrationalist.

    Love the Barker quote - may just have to steal that. It will go in my list of quotes in any event.

  4. Denise, I commiserate with you. Please don't feel bad about all this. It is very difficult for religious people to even start questioning their delusions, and when quotes such as the one you placed on your FB status message put the reality starkly in perspective, these people are wreaked by internal doubt - which, being irrational, they don't handle very well. As a result they tend to seek comfort in their insularity and in their non-existent deity who, even they know in their heart of hearts, is never going to answer back.

  5. Denise, I'm so glad you found some solace in my post.

    Your all-too-common experience with your friends is why the Net and the growing number of sites written by "out" atheists, or at least sites where atheists can feel comfortable expressing themselves about their non-belief, are so valuable. You can find support, understanding, and a place to rant.

  6. Thanks for the kind thoughts everyone and especially you, Sass, for allowing me to highjack your post with my experience. I do feel better both from the original post and from your comments.

    These sites are valuable, and I do appreciate it.

  7. Come to Pharyngula and soon you'll be surprised that anyone still believes that old waffle. And The Friendly Atheist. But Pharyngula has an Endless Thread where you can drop by and vent.