Friday, December 15, 2017

Atheist prayers

Kevin Baldeosingh logo6

Donstan Bonn

 In a 2006 study on the effect of prayer on heart patients, scientists found patients were more likely to die when a group of believers prayed for their recovery. Which proves that prayers get God vexed. 

This, of course, does not concern the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO), even though its last Day of Prayer was followed by two days of floods in western Trinidad. In similar fashion, the IRO along with Government believers prayed for the family on Monday; on that day, a 34-year-old woman pregnant with twins died. On Tuesday, they prayed for the environment; on that day, Port of Spain was smoked out by fires from the Beetham landfill; and on Wednesday, they prayed for children “as part of the environment”; on that day, schoolchildren in Port of Spain had to be sent home because of the landfill fumes.

Now God couldn’t have sent clearer signs than those, if you believe in God and signs. I believe in neither, but I can understand God’s position. After all, even when babies are killed in fires or homes with stepfathers, believers always say “God has a plan”. Of course, they never say what kind of plan involves dead babies, but in any case it is paradoxical to state God has a plan and in the next breath argue that people should pray. After all, isn’t the purpose of prayer to ask God to take action? But if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then not taking action is an action. Ergo, if God has a plan in which allowing babies to die is a good thing, then prayer is against God’s will. So no wonder She gets pissed.

This is why, even if I believed in God, I would not pray to It. And, according to Government Minister “Dr” Rodger Samuel, this means I am not a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. I know this because Minister Samuel has spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on TV and radio ads calling on “each and every citizen” to join in his Week of Prayer: so I can reasonably infer that when he took his ministerial oath to “do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill will”, he didn’t categorise non-believers as people.

So I have decided to pray, too, if only to ensure I am allowed to hold a passport, vote in the next general election and wine down low. However, if God exists, then I think it logical to pray to those outstanding individuals whose life and work have affected the world more for good than for evil: which cannot be said of the founders of any major religion.

Here, then, are my prayers to those people who, empirically speaking, were sent by God to save the world:

Almighty Einstein

I pray every human being on this planet will gain the wisdom to understand e=mc2. Yea, so didst thou show that matter is not destroyed nor its energy dissipated, but that space-time is verily one continuum.

O supreme Albert, I call on thy prophets—Bohr, Dirac, Heisenberg, Hawking—who revealed unto all humanity (or at least those who read about quantum physics) that the universe is balanced between the positive energy of matter and the negative energy of gravity, and so has zero energy and hence no need for a Creator. 

Lastly, I pray thou wouldst teach Stephan Gift to wire an electrical circuit.

Lord Bertrand Russell

We pray men might obey thy laws of induction and women would be impressed by this. Let a priori reasoning support, but not transcend, empirical data. Let all men become wise in the ways of propositional functions, so they would not conflate words with facts, such as “God” or “skettel”.

We entreat thee, O brilliant Bertrand, that all human beings shall come to see uncertainty as a virtue and contradiction as an abomination, such as a Creator who lets women have multiple orgasms and men only one.

Supreme Adam Smith

We pray the invisible hand of the market shall become visible to socialist policy-makers, that capitalism shall not be corrupted by the rentier economy of an oil- and gas- and narco-juice State. 

Divine Darwin

I pray to thee that natural and sexual selection produce human beings whose neurons are more densely connected—ie, smarter. 

O mighty Darwin, we pay homage to thy saints, from Pasteur to Salk to Hilleman, who saved millions more lives than Jesus or Muhammad or Sai Baba put together. Let the words of thy immortal prophets Crick and Watson, Hamilton, Trivers and Dawkins spread throughout the land, that the leaders may use DNA, the handicap principle, mate and kin selection to take rational action, rather than consulting men in gowns who prefer fairy tales to facts and see no irony there at all.

Lastly, O most knowing Darwin, we pray the forces of evolution favour genes for intelligence, tolerance and naturally curly hair.