Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Existential Surrender: Avoiding Responsibility & Reality

I've often heard about the power of prayer. It's the thing to do in times of need, suffering, advice, direction and can be done at any moment. The exercise is encouraged by many in the clergy and used as a way to gain political credit and capital by politicians and even touted as fruitful in local barbershops. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer I was counseled by a number of nice people to pray for her. I thought the idea of petitioning a deity who allowed her to get cancer and based on it's own omniscience, knew that would happen, does not need me to speak on it's terrible plan in such a way to ask for it to be changed. It needs to have a more intelligent plan. In fact, fuck it's plan and we will deal with the circumstance. The best method was to find her the appropriate set of physicians, deal with tight ass insurance companies and get her the necessary radiation treatments she needed. I could have prayed and I know she did, but I do not think her prayers had any impact at all with her current status.(surgery was successful and she is in remission).

If prayer has any kind of power or effect then it ought to be tested to see if it has any kind of real efficacy. A number of large, well designed scientific studies have REPEATEDLY FAILED to find any evidence that suggests sick people who are prayed for recover much faster or more completely than those who aren't. Some have argued prayer is not meant to be something which has specific effects in the natural world and is just something used to bolster faith. Those apologetics are utterly useless. Faith is a parasite. It's not something befitting of thinking, knowledgeable people. It's the refuge for the bombastically ignorant, the pious pompous assholes, and people who don't want their prejudices/biases shred to pieces. (Prayer is the placebo for the self)

Prayer is nothing more than a psychological escape from responsibility and reality. It's a temporary/false paradise, and a petition to a specific deity (no matter how it's semantically defined) to have reality bend in such a way to comfort us and or gain what we want. Prayer isn't work. Prayer does not feed starving children, heal people of diseases, create an environment which fosters critical thinking and healthy skepticism, nor is it a virtuous exercise. Many people pray for others or at least they claim they do. If they found out their prayers caused any harm at all, I wonder would they reconsider the exercise. Or someone who prays to gain a specific job because they want it or need it. I think we can be moderately certain other people have also applied for that job and need/want it for their own set(s) of reasons. You would also be praying that THEY DO NOT GET THAT JOB. You would be petitioning your deity to show favoritism and perhaps may negotiate with the deity by offering more money in the collection plate if you obtain the position.

If you want the job, then you need to know people or do a damn good job in the interview process. If you want to do well on a test, then you must study vigorously for it. You want a better car? Go out and earn it. Get off of your knees and do real work which has demonstrable effects. You have to take responsibility for the life you have and stop worrying or wishing for another one. The time spent praying for family members who may be dying is time you do not spend with them. Praying to gain a specific position is time not spent working on your resume or ironing your damn clothes. Take the reigns of your own life and stop petitioning something in the sky to shine it's light on you and your interests. Doing so is terribly arrogant and wreaks of fantasy and intentional blindness to reality.

Prayer is unnecessary. Surrendering personal responsibility and avoiding real action in your own life is a massive disservice to yourself. It's the willful deigning of your own abilities. I do not care how many clergy, celebrities or whomever yap incessantly about the power of prayer. It's useless. In order to maximize your own potential you must do work and do it well. No more petitioning and negotiating with god(s). Get to work. Help other people by doing work and not by clasping your own hands together or holding prayer revivals. Face reality on it's own terms. It may not be the most ideal thing you want to do but it's certainly better than creating a fantasy world. It's your life and you ought to own and act responsibly with every aspect of it. Ditch prayer as the fruitless exercise that it is and embrace your own humanity, ingenuity, goals, and interests. This is your only shot so do it well.

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