I’ve noticed that believers/followers/practioners of religion/partners in a personal relationship (did I cover all the bases and loopholes?) tell atheists that they became atheists because: (a) they did not pray right, and that’s why their prayers went unanswered (b) they were confused and did not understand the bible (c) they just went to church and learned nothing.
Let us discuss these three statements made:
(a) Which prayer is the correct one? The bible (Jesus) told us that the “correct” way to pray is basically the “Lord’s Prayer”. Everything you want or need is encapsulated in this prayer.
Catholics have their own set of prayers, one for every set of problems and/or needs. Apparently there is 3 532 different prayers for all of a catholic’s needs. Don’t believe me? Check out www.catholicdoors.com/prayers.
Protestants decided they did not like formula prayers and will pray whatever and however they want, even in groups in public. So never mind what Jesus said about the Lord’s Prayer and praying in public. I do believe he said that you should not pray out loud so that others can hear you, but go to a private room and pray in silence, so that the conversation can be between you and god.
The pentacostals (which is in essence an offshoot of the more traditional protestant faith) have their own ideas regarding prayer – they are also the ones who will tell you have been praying wrong and will offer to teach you how to pray. And I thought Jesus taught his followers how to pray. They will pray (long winded affairs, with a “Hallelujah” here and an “Amen” there thrown into the mix), pray in tongues (with a handy translation ready as to what was said), receiving prophetic words for others and more, depending on what kind of spiritual gifts the person has or wishes to develop. But with all their singing, dancing, shouting, hand clapping and speaking in tongues they are also the first to tell someone that they are possessed by the devil. Faith-healers also tend to come from their ranks, of which there is no proof that it works. They cannot pray an amputated limb grow back, but their tents are always filled to the brim with very desperate people looking for help. Those that the healers do help? There really is no tangible evidence that they were really afflicted in the way and manner they claimed to be.
(b) Apparently we are confused. Maybe so, but not in the way you would like to believe. I was confused about why prayer seem to work for some and not others. Prayers of some were apparently answered, but those with real need they weren’t worthy enough? Apparently we did not understand the bible. You claim to know each and every atheist out there, personally? How do you know how much any given atheist knows and understands of the bible? How do you know how big their belief and faith was? You fail to understand is that none of the formers believers just woke up one morning and decided, “today I feel like being an atheist and not believe in god anymore”. I can’t speak for others, but I know for me it was a long and painful decision. It hurts when you begin to understand that everything you believed in, hoped for and prayed to was but a fart in the wind.
(c) It is also claimed that atheists are those poor lost idiotic souls who went to church every Sunday and did not learn anything. See my answer above.
I know some very devout christians who absolutely follow their religion and seriously believe they have a personal relationship with god. Who will tell all and sundry that they will go to heaven (hallelujah!) after they die, but what the practice and what they preach are two very different things. They will proclaim with utmost sincerity that they received a dream/vision from god telling them that they must never speak English, since it’s the language of the anit-christ. Somehow I think that the English and some other cultural groups in South Africa will differ and say that Afrikaans must be the language of the anti-christ. They will condemn a non-believer, a woman who had an abortion, anybody not believing what they do to the fiery pits of hell where their corrupt souls will burn and suffer for all eternity (and we just can’t wait for that to happen so we can gloat a little more and proclaim our superiority), but will forgive and embrace a murderer, a rapist and a child molester, because “everybody makes a mistake”, those sinners don’t even have to apologize.
Every religion tries to claim superiority over the others, all claim to be the correct one, so which one (if any at all) is correct? What if everybody today is wrong and the only true faith is the one paying homage to the old Egyptian gods (Ra, Bastet, etc.), what if every religion, alive or dead, is wrong and there is nothing after death, what if those ufo nuts are correct and god is an alien and humanity was developed by aliens seeing the potential in the species, or we just could be a laboratory mistake gone wrong?
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.