The National Day of Solemn Monologues
Well, the National Day of Prayer is almost upon us. That sacred day begins, as I type this, just five hours from now. According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s official website, the infantile holiday “was established in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.” It seems that the National Day of Prayer is just another unfortunate product of the anti-Communist hysteria of the ’50s; you see, we had to distinguish ourselves from godless Communists by rolling around in Christianity, like a pig in the mud. After all, it was also the mid ’50s when the words “under God” were wedged into the Pledge of Allegiance.
I have nothing but scorn and mockery for the National Day of Prayer. Only in a country fully infected with religiosity would the government choose to legitimize prayer: An activity that can be defined as dropping to one’s knees and talking to oneself, pretending to speak to a higher being. Mental institutions are full of people who were institutionalized because they spoke to “people” who didn’t actually exist; why are they more irrational than those who speak to a logically contradictory deity for which there is no hard evidence? At least, in most cases, the mentally ill pretend to communicate with other people; those who pray are pretending to communicate with a Supreme Being who snapped the universe into existence.
I am very confident that the people who read this blog already know what I’m about to say is true, but I’ll make the point in any case: Prayer does nothing. It is precisely analogous to crossing one’s fingers, knocking on wood, wishing upon a star, saying “God forbid” or “God willing,” or hoping really, really hard. Not only that, it’s pathetic in the most literal sense of the word. When people pray for their goals to be achieved, they are pleading with a non-existent deity to do it for them; can one possibly engage in a more disempowering activity? A truly empowered individual goes out and strives to achieve his/her goals; he/she doesn’t whine at the feet of an alleged higher power, begging for a handout. And prayer for the recovery of a sick or injured loved one is a similar waste of time. Besides, should one really be spending time talking to oneself during what might be the last days of a loved one?
I know, in a major scientific study, prayer’s mythic power already has been disproved. But, I have a suggestion that, hopefully, will cement this. In honor of the National Day of Prayer, the
I wonder if the members of the National Day of Prayer Task Force are brainwashed enough to agree to suspend all hospital care for a loved one on that day, replacing traditional medicine with prayer. I wonder if they’d be willing to fly from, say, New York to Los Angeles on an airplane filled with passengers who hadn’t gone through security checks of any kind—with only the "Power of Prayer" to keep them safe. In these (admittedly extreme) examples, would the Task Force still allege that praying delivers more tangible results than crossing one’s fingers or knocking on wood?
But maybe I’m misinterpreting this. Maybe the Prayer Mafia doesn’t think praying has an actual effect on the real world; maybe they simply believe it’s a method by which to come closer to God. Of course, the atheist question is “What God?” I’ve seen no hard evidence for any God, let alone the God of a particular religion (let alone the logically contradictory Christian God). That being true, isn’t the National Day of Prayer simply a case of the federal government legitimizing via holiday a one-way conversation with an entity for which there is no evidence? And if such a characterization, indeed, is accurate…how scary is that?
I’d sooner support a National Day of Knocking on Wood; you see, there's actual hard evidence that wood exists.