Proof #31 - Understand that religion is superstition

Let's say that you were to create a far-flung news network, and you somehow had the capacity to observe all of the inexplicable tragedy that occurs on Earth each day:

  • all of the murders,
  • all of the car wrecks
  • all of the rapes
  • all of the mutilations
  • all of the torture
  • all the miscarriages and stillbirths
  • all of the disease
  • all of the starvation
  • all of the destruction
  • all of the terrorism
Let's say you had a news feed that delivered this all to you in real time.

Just ten minutes with this news feed would be unbearable. Thousands of tragic, heartwrenching events would impinge themselves upon you every minute. It would make you vomit over and over and over again until you passed out in exhaustion and despair.

In other words, the amount of gut-wrenching, anguished tragedy in our world is unspeakable.

Meanwhile, there is a housewife in Pasadena who firmly believes that God answered her prayer this morning to remove the mustard stain from her favorite blouse. She prayed to God to help with the stain, and after she washed it the stain was gone. Praise Jesus! There are tens of millions of people in the United States who firmly believe that God is personally helping them each day with their trivial prayers like this. They believe that they have a personal relationship with God, that God hears their prayers each day, and that God has time to reach down and remove the mustard molecules one by one. They believe it with all of their hearts.

It makes you wonder: If God has the time and the will to answer these trivial prayers, then why does he have no time for the millions of other massively serious problems that arise on earth every day?

Simply look at the world we live in. All around us we have murderers, rapists, robbers, child molesters, terrorists, etc... How do they do their deeds? If God is all-knowing and God answers prayers, then we have to believe that:

  • God watches them as they murder, rape, molest and terrorize other people millions of times a day, but he does nothing to stop them.
  • God watches the victims as they are being murdered, raped, molested and terrorized, but he does nothing to help them.
  • God completely ignores the prayers of the planet to eliminate murder, rape, child molestation and terrorism and allows these atrocities to continue unabated.
According to the Standard Model of God, God is an omniscient, all-powerful, all-loving being who answers prayers. Imagine God sitting on his magnificent throne in heaven looking down upon Earth, seeing every detail. God speaks:
    "Look at all of those praying people getting tortured in that death camp. Excellent! I won't do anything to stop that. And look at that little girl down there being raped and murdered. Perfect! She is praying like mad, and so is her mother, but I won't do anything to stop that. And there are three terrorists preparing to blow up a church and kill 1,500 people who are saying the Lord's Prayer to me right now. Outstanding! I won't do anything to stop that. How wonderful it is that 1,000 prayerful people will die of starvation today in Ethiopia. I love it! I won't do anything to stop that. Oh… and there's little Suzy Jankins praying that I remove that pimple from her nose for her big date with Chad tomorrow. Let me go help Suzy right now…"
Do you believe in a God who acts like this? Of course not. If you believe that God is specifically reaching down from heaven to answer your trivial prayer to remove a zit or to wash out a mustard stain or to help you find your lost keys, while at the same time God is allowing 27,000 children to die of starvation each day by specifically ignoring their prayers, then your God is insane. Look at Proof #6 and Proof #22 to see just how insane your god is.

If you are a typical Christian, however, you are just like our Pasadena housewife. You say dozens of little prayers every day. You may pray for 20 trivial things today:

  1. Pray for your car to start in the morning.
  2. Pray for traffic to be light so you get to work on time.
  3. Pray that you don't get fired for the mistake you made yesterday.
  4. Pray that the coffee stain on your purse comes out.
  5. Pray that it doesn't rain.
  6. Pray that the price of a stock has gone up.
  7. Pray that your computer doesn't crash.
  8. Pray that your son got a decent grade on his math test.
  9. Pray that there's enough money in your checking account.
  10. Pray that the guy you went out with on Saturday calls you.
  11. Pray that your mother in law cancels her trip for the weekend.
  12. Pray for there to be an available washing machine at the Laundromat when you get there.
  13. Pray that your car passes inspection.
  14. Pray that they have your size in the shoes you are thinking about buying at the mall.
  15. Pray that the envelope you are opening contains a check rather than a bill.
  16. Pray that your cat didn't pee on the new sofa.
  17. Pray for your baby not to wake you up tonight screaming so you can get some sleep.
  18. Pray that you have the winning bid for that camera on EBay.
  19. Pray that they have the video you want at the video store tonight.
  20. Pray that your team wins the game on Sunday.
What happens? Some of your prayers would get "answered," some would not. If you are a believer, you handle each little prayer in the following way:
  • If something nice happens, you attribute that to God -- he answered your prayer and is "looking out" for you.

  • If you pray for something and it does not happen, or if something bad happens, you rationalize that it is part of "God's plan" . It is "his will" that this bad event happens.
In Proof #6 we demonstrated that God's Plan is ridiculous. So what is actually happening? An unbiased observer looks at the same good and bad events and sees them for what they are -- random events. God has nothing to do with them. To an unbiased observer, it is obvious that religion is nothing but superstition.

If you are a believer, you can prove to yourself that they are random events. Tomorrow, instead of praying about everything, simply watch 20 trivial things happen without praying. Some will work out, some will not. There will be no difference. The act of praying about them does not change the outcome in any way. If you were to statisically analyse your prayers, it would become obvious to you that every "answered prayer" is a coincidence.

The belief in prayer is just like any superstition. Walking under a ladder is not "bad luck". Neither is breaking a mirror. Neither is seeing a black cat. Statistics prove that a broken mirror has zero effect on your life. In the same way, statistics prove that God never answers prayers.

The dictionary defines the word "superstition" in this way:

    An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. [ref]
Prayer is rank superstition, nothing more. People who believe in the power of prayer are no different than people who believe in the power of crystal balls, horoscopes or lucky rabbits feet. Prayer is scientifically proven to be meaningless.

The reason why there is so much suffering in this world, and the reason why a statistical analysis of your trivial prayers always shows them to be complete coincidences, is because God is imaginary. The belief in God is pure superstition.

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by Marshall Brain

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