My son prayed once. It was five years ago and he feels terrible about it. So terrible he had to break down and confess to me last night about this horrible transgression:
I was five Mom. And I wanted Bolt to be real so bad. And I didn’t know what to do. So I got down on my knees and I did that thing they do with their hands so it’s like a triangle, but not really a triangle, but you know what I mean…and I said ‘Please God let Bolt be real and come to my house.’
And I feel so stupid. And I thought I had to tell you because it’s been bothering me all this time that I did it.
I had to hold in the giggle and take him very seriously.
Honey, sometimes I say prayers in my head that I learned when I was a kid just because I think I might as well do anything that could help. I doesn’t hurt. Even if we don’t believe in God.
And he turned and looked at me, every wide-eyed, like I had told him my innermost secret.
But Mom, that’s so dumb. I’m sorry I said ‘dumb’ but it is. We know there is probably no God. And if there is a God it’s certainly not going to make a cartoon come alive or give you what you asked for- so praying is stupid.
I took a deep breath and tried to explain.
No, prayers may not change the outcome of something. But they might make you feel better. It’s like meditating. Or breathing deeply to calm yourself. Sometimes saying things over and over can calm you and then you feel better about the situation you are praying about.
A light bulb went off.
Oh, so really they are just making themselves feel better when they pray, even though they know there isn’t a God who will answer them. I get it. I just don’t understand talking to something that doesn’t exist. Don’t they put people on medicines and in the hospital for that?
I stifled the giggles again.
Yes, they do. But for some reason our society thinks it’s normal and acceptable to believe in God. So they don’t think believing in God requires medicine or a stay in the hospital.
Well that’s dumb. Oh, I said ‘dumb’ again, I’m sorry Mom.
It’s ok honey. And it’s ok if you want to pray.
No! I only did it that ONE TIME because I was little and I wanted Bolt to come live with us. And I know there isn’t a God who is listening and even if aliens or something else is listening, they don’t care if we want Bolt to come alive and they should care about those people in Oklahoma but they didn’t care about them either. So that just means there is REALLY no one listening that can help us.
What do you think about that? Us being alone in the universe?
I think we have to help each other if we really want to get stuff done. Not pray. I mean I guess it’s ok if it makes you feel better, but you should do something for real too, not just talk to yourself and think something magical might happen. Because it won’t. You need to give them shoes and new houses. And you need to not be on your knees, because that is dumb. Oh, I did it again. I’m sorry Mom.