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January 20, 2009

On your knees, atheists!

By Spear's

What is it with atheists? Why are they so angry all the time that others believe in God?

What is it with atheists? Why are they so angry all the time that others believe in God? Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and co. have made it their lives’ mission to evangelize against God, and now we can all see their latest endeavour plastered across London buses with giant posters that read: ‘There’s probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.’

First of all, I didn’t realize ‘lack of enjoyment’ was the major problem with modern life. Surely, it has been spoilt overindulgence in the material here and now that has gotten us into our economic troubles of the credit crunch: why wait and save when you can get a loan or charge it and fool your friends into thinking you’re richer than you are?

Second of all… ‘probably?’ Apparently, Dr. Dawkins didn’t want the word ‘probably’ in the advertisement, but organisers insisted on including it not to be dogmatic ‘in the way that so many religious leaders are.’

Not only is the advert ineffective, it is grossly naïve and even ignorant. Have none of these people heard of Pascal’s Wager?

About 400 years ago, Blaise Pascal argued that regardless of one’s religious belief, because we cannot be absolutely certain that God does not exist, it behoves us to pray. The argument is based on rational choice theory and the simplest possible payoff matrix.

Let’s say God does not exist. Then if we don’t pray, nothing happens; if we do pray, then all we have done is wasted a bit of time – and frankly a little time spent meditating on our foibles and our values is no bad thing.

If, however, God does exist and we don’t pray then we will suffer eternal damnation; while if we do pray, then eternal salvation is our reward. So prayer is possibly unquantifiably positive while non-prayer is possibly unquantifiably negative. So given even the minutest uncertainty, we should pray.

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There’s something else Dawkins and his little posse of proselytizing atheists have ignored: scientific evidence is against them. Slews of recent studies have shown that religious people have less stress, fewer suicides and divorces, and are generally better emotionally adjusted than non-religious people.

Some have even demonstrated that sick people recover faster when others pray for them, even when the patient does not know she is being prayed for – in other words, prayer does work and there might be a God after all. So come on: on your knees!

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