In the discussion thread: Atheist Prayer: Religious Activity Not Uncommon Among Nonbelievers [View all]
Response to longship (Reply #3)
Wed Jun 26, 2013, 08:25 PM
On the Road (20,761 posts)
23. I Don't Doubt You When You Say
"I am an atheist. I do not believe that there are gods of any kind. I do not pray. Ever."
On the other hand, the phenomenon is old enough and frequent enough to have become a commonplace: "there are no atheists in foxholes." I don't think you can infer that atheists do not pray either from your personal experience or from the observation that praying is inconsistent with an intellectual position of atheism.
How behavior can coexist with incompatible belief systems is another matter. It may seem trivial, but it is these are the kind of questions that lead to greater understanding. It could be that many younger atheists are uncomforable with this kind of analysis, since it moves the discussion from the realm of science and reason to the irrational world of psychology, emotions, and behavior. However, being able to deal with it in those terms will ultimately provide modern atheists with a more sophisticated version of human belief sytems.
But atheists do pray -- I have done so myself on a few occasions, usually under stress of some kind. The questions is whether that is dealt with by dismissal or by attempt to understand how people's belief systems interact with their behavior.
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I Don't Doubt You When You Say
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