By this end of this year some 7 million children will have died.
That's almost 600,000 a month,
Which is about 145,000 a week,
More than 20,000 a day,
Just under 900 an hour,
Closing out to about 14 every minute.
This means by the time I compose this statement, quite a few children will have died in between when I start and submit it. These children will have no doubt prayed themselves, and their parents begged and pleaded for their loved ones to be spared.
However, no relief will come for these families.
To think that prayer works, in all of the situations that would have simply been prevented if prayer was legitimate is not only a violation of common sense, but a violation of humanity.
By simply offering well wishes and thoughts when we could be preventing a life from being lost isn't necessarily wrong. But insisting that it does work, and forcing the idea upon others who truly need help and only giving them prayer as a substitute is immoral, (sometimes to the point of criminal).
So, as for the 98 children and their families who are no longer together as I submit this statement, among many other factors, we can also thank those who would simply *pray* for something to change instead of physically taking initiative to make a difference.
It's a matter of religion. But I don't put to much stock in religion. Frankly, if hoping away a disaster was an effective method, than I should think the disaster would never have occurred. God the almighty, as his name is often put, either caused this, or neglected to stop it. Religious or not that can't sit right with you. I say prayer does nothing, as an atheist, and if I were starving, yes please, send something over with which I can feed myself.
Empathy doesn't help someone who's home was destroyed. It can't help give back the things they lost because of the the disaster. Maybe if your a religious person, you think it helps. Let's assume a prayer would work. Why would god make the disaster happen in the first place? Does he want to see people pray for the people that get hurt? Or does he want to see his people in pain?
Charity money, granted fruitfully to the right trustworthy sources, is incredibly useful, and more importantly, does not require one to really care about the issue. I can appreciate praying as a symbolic act, but prayer not only also requires no emotional connection, but solves no problems. Prayer seems inherently lazy to me, as no real sacrifice is made, and yet it seems to alleviate the guilt felt for people's inaction.
To sum up, donating and prayer both needn't have kindness or caring attached. The difference is, charity actually does something.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that if God wanted to help those people He wouldn't have sent them a disaster in the first place. In my short time on earth, I've never bottled water, clean clothes, food, or new homes fall out of heaven and into the laps of the needy. Those things are provided by humans and they require money. Lots of money. Praying to God to fix a disaster is like asking an arsonist to rebuild your house. If they wanted you to be happy and enjoy what you had, they wouldn't have taken it away from you.
Many people who says "I will pray for you" does exactly that. And ONLY that. Sure, it is nice to hear that someone prays for you, but still talk is cheap and easy. Actions matter more than words. And even the believers have to know that actions ARE a form of prayer too; believers or non-believers, one must admit that actions speak louder volumes than words - words of prayer included.
Many people who says "I will pray for you" does exactly that. And only that. Talk is cheap. Actions matter more. Prayers may be answered; but even the faithful should know that actions are a form of prayer, and simply talking won't change much. Believer or non-believer, one must get this; actions speak louder volumes than words - words of prayer included.
Saying prayers to a god will absolutely not help victims of disasters and murders. You can pray all day, get a group together, go to mass, but in reality you are being tricked into wasting 5 minutes of your life saying words that will not help. Save your time, and just donate to the cause of disaster relief. Money goes a lot further in this world than prayer.
Whenever there's a hurricane or a flood or an earthquake, or even a car accident that threatens or claims the life of one or more victims, giving gifts of money or blood or even supplies to the family is far superior and effective in the real world than sitting in a dark room talking to yourself. Even if all you can give to a secular charity, like UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and the Red Cross (which, despite the cross, is in fact a secular organization) is a single dollar, I promise you it will do more good, and will go further, than reciting ancient desert incantations to your candle or your statue or your painting ever will.
That's, of course, the non-theist worldview, and if it's correct, then it's obvious that the proposition is true. However, let's look at it from the theist side.
According to you theists, where exactly to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other naturally occurring calamities come from? The answer, of course, is god, usually followed by a citation, and an endorsement, of his "mysterious ways." But never mind for a moment that his so-called 'divine plan' resembles no plan at all, at best, or a plan that requires the deaths of countless innocents, a veritable human sacrifice, at worst; IF it's all part of his perfect plan, what exactly is the point of praying to him? Do you really think he doesn't know what he's doing? Do you really believe that you have a say in the matter? And that's if he's a careless or indifferent god, one who couldn't be bothered to prevent the senseless loss of life in the first place. What if, in keeping with the second notion, he's actually malevolent, a tyrant who purposefully sent the disaster to harvest the souls of the innocent? What kind of abject slave could DARE justify praising and glorifying and thanking such a disgusting despot? Why would you thank him? How could you? When HE sent Typhoon Heian to the Phillippines, he killed 3000 people and wiped entire towns from the map. Would you thank a human who just randomly killed thousands of people and destroyed entire towns? I hope you wouldn't, but I can't know since you apparently praise and honor an invisible space giant when he does it.
So even if you're not with me in my atheism, you still lose. You can't justify praying by itself as any kind of real help. You are of course entitled to do so, but I urge you, please, once you're done, get your ass up and write a check.
There's been plenty of times my prayers have been answered and others as well. When you see enough of them happen, it becomes harder to believe that it is just a coincidence. That's not to say all of them get answered, or if they do, it won't necessarily be right away(though I've had one that was answered right after which was really cool). So praying does work and it most certainly does have an effect.
Sending money is a salve that can accomplish little if anything. Money can be easily sucked of by the corrupt, and does little if anything if supplies are short. Its why when there is a legitimate disaster, its far better to donate TIME and expertise. Volunteering does a hell of lot more than simply giving money.
Prayer, in contrast, is an expression of empathy. It is no way precludes donating time or money, but for many people, especially those with faith, taking the time to pray with them can be a centering action that reminds them that others have been through bad times and made it through - an appeal to faith rather than hopelessness.
The last thing people need in such a time, is someone coming out and saying, "Here's money," screw the physiological aspects of this situation! Feel bad, don't pray, here's another $20." One can very clearly see where money does and does not help.
Simply put, you cannot buy genuine concern and empathy, and those who think money is a replacement for that are not nearly as wise as they believe.
I see where you're coming from but some people believe that praying can bring them a reward that money can't. And for every atheist out there who says it's 100% pointless, and for every religious person out there that says it definitely does help, none of you actually know anything for sure so prayer could actually help or it could be complete rubbish. If some people would rather pray then that's up to them but in a time of disaster, some people find praying to be the best thing possible.
This is a trick question/statement. In James 2:17-26(KJV) it says: "Faith without works is dead...By works was faith made perfect." You need both. So, technically, the answer is no- sending money is not better. They are equally necessary to effectively solve the problem. For all those of the LDS faith reading this, you can also refer to the story of the brother of Jared and the sixteen stones in Ether.
If a person is going to send help, he will send help. If a person wants to pray and send help, then praying did not hurt anything. If a person just prays, he wasn't going to send help anyway. Like the title indicated, it is not either pray or send help. If it makes the person who is praying feel better, then what's the harm? In cases where someone near you needs help now, as in you just seen a car accident, the best thing to do would be to help first, pray later. The only exception to this is if the person lacks the courage to run over to a burning car then maybe prayer could help him get the courage. Keep the prayer short though, a life may be in the balance. By the way, I'm atheist.
Prayer is not exactly ineffective. I am especially pleased to see mission trips which people will assist victims of natural disasters. Prayer is more than thought. Prayer is also action, so when a group of ten or twenty serve on a mission, they can change the lives of ten or twenty thousand.
Millions of people die each day, and only a select few are chosen. How messed up is that? The children in Africa aren't getting their prayers answered. Neither are the people in depression who commit suicide. Praying to hope someone recovers from an injury instead of donating is like not studying for a test and hoping you ace it. Who's going to see your prayer? Not the kids in Africa that's for sure. Not your relative that's diagnosed with a terminal disease and has fallen in a coma. Only some figment of your imagination.