Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer for the George Sodini’s Victims and Family

posted by nsymmonds

Yesterday, George Sodini entered a Pittsburgh L.A. Fitness gym aerobic’s class, turned off the lights and opened fire. The 50 rounds of bullets killed three women and injured 10 other people. Sodini then turned the gun on himself and killed himself. Sources say that Sodini left behind a diary that documented his plans for yesterday’s event and detailed his desire for female companionship, his loneliness, and his discouragement with women.

It’s heartbreaking that one man’s inability to find love, led him to take lives instead. I beseech anyone who reads this to not only pray for the family of the victims and Sodini’s family, but pray for those people who you know–and even those you don’t–who are living alone and feeling lonely. Please join me in prayer and add your own.

Heavenly Father,

I am praying for the family and friends of the victims of last night’s L.A. Fitness Club shooting. These victims were innocent bystanders whose lives were taken too soon and I pray that your comfort would be with each family member, each friend, and the L.A. Fitness Club staff and members who had an opportunity to interact with these people. Healing will take time as they are confronting with the days to come without their loved ones. Help them to seek solace and understanding from you. For George Sodini’s family and friends, I pray Lord that you would comfort them and that you would allow them to have an opportunity to understand what was going on with him during the last days of his life. Protect his family and friends from the people who may try to lash out at them and seek vengeance upon them for what he did to their loved ones. I know that at this time it is hard for anyone to imagine interceding in prayer of behalf of a killer’s family, but Lord, help people to recognize that this is a moment for compassion to be extended to his family and friends. There are needs that I haven’t even addressed in this prayer, but you are a God who addresses the concerns of your people’s hearts. You know their concerns before they are even voiced, so Lord, attend to your children. Let each one of us turn our hearts toward prayer and when we run out of words to say, intercede for us.

In Jesus’ Name,


  • Juana

    Thank you Nicole for leading us in this awesome prayer and reminding us of our call to extend compassion and continue to show the ways of Christ.

  • Your Name

    I saw this on the news last night, and I felt really bad for the innocent people who were killed. Although the man who shot them was lonely and depressed, it doesn’t excuse what he did. I always wonder why god would allow these people’s lives to taken in such a senseless way, even though I know he had his reasons.

  • A rational person

    To repeat a behavior, yet expect a different result, is one definition of insanity.
    It is not superstition that is needed at times like this. What WOULD help, though, would be to step away from that bubble of delusion and see clearly that god beliefs ADD to these sorts of behaviors.
    Despite the propaganda against outsiders/non-believers (such as the whole “Atheists = Communists” thing), recognize that the statistics on violent crime, prison population, substance abuse, molestation, and even divorce do not favor the Christian over the Atheist, as you may have been sold.
    These are George Sodini’s OWN WORDS from his website:
    “Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.”

  • Your Name

    I always find it odd that Atheists think Christians are perfect, or that they think that Christians think they are perfect. They are not. We are taught that we are born to sin. We are all sinners and will make mistakes over and over again.
    Rather than being “lemmings” that non-believers accuse Christians of being, God built us with Free Will. Which means we can and will do what ever we want. This includes murder, rape, adultary, divorce, what ever. And it means our victims could be other Christians. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have some secret invisible cloak that protects you from bad things happening.
    Sometimes I think non-believers start of as Christians and somehow, along the way, get the mistaken notion that if there is a God in the world then everything should be rainbows and flowers and when it’s not, “AHA! Proof that God doesn’t exist!!!” (man what a boring life that would be.).
    See, God could have built us as Robots. Programmed to love and follow Him. But what good is an “I love you” from someone if they are forced to say it?
    I mean, I’m not pointing to Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot or Kim Jung Il and saying “SEE! These men were Atheists, which prooves that all Atheists are murderous tyrants”.
    That would be a bit silly. But somehow, Atheists tend to not see the silliness in that and when some mentally unstable person quotes the bible, it must mean that Christianity is the cause of their acts. (Which is kinda strange since Atheists claim to be super-enlightented intelligent people who know so much more than we stupid Christians….but what ever.)
    I leave you with a question:
    When the universe hands out really dark moments of despair, I have the complete and comforting solace of prayer to turn to.
    What do you have?

  • A rational person

    I think you have missed my point…
    George Sodini apparently was taught “that we are born to sin,” that “we are all sinners,” etc. He also had an interpretation as to how he could justify his actions. Such an interpretation STARTS with the belief in the first place. You can’t have one without the other.
    What I’m saying is, there seems to be a clear (to anyone able to see it) cause and effect here.
    As I pre-called it, there would be no cause and effect to pointing to dictators who MAY also have been Atheists (btw, Hitler was clearly Catholic, despite the propaganda to disown him). Ruthless dictators have had problems sharing their authority with anyone, including organized religion. It does not reflect how they may personally believe, and I don’t think the examples you mentioned (even the Christian Hitler) could be accused of being “rational.” Which is all a position free from god beliefs is anyway.
    If I name ruthless dictators that were also mustache wearers, should we be reasonable to suggest mustache wearing had an effect on their behavior?
    Not one person in human history has been killed IN THE NAME OF not believing in a god (Atheism). But, what is the number one reason for war, genocide, crusade, etc? People imagine that the creator of our vast, vast universe is distress over what name humans call it. It’s insane, but the norm. I just don’t see sanity in numbers.
    There are good people with god beliefs, and (despite what you may be told from the pulpit) good people without them. It is said, “Good people will do good things, and evil people will do evil things. But, to get good people to do evil things, THAT takes religion.
    George Sodini is a product of a primitive, fatalist mindset, trying to keep a market in modern societies. He created a reality that he liked (killing others, and still getting into paradise), and justified his actions by it.
    Look at your own example. You write: “man what a boring life that would be.” Sorry, but whether or not something is interesting to believe, is not a reason to believe it. And reality remains stubbornly unaffected by popular vote.
    You ask: “When the universe hands out really dark moments of despair, I have the complete and comforting solace of prayer to turn to.
    What do you have?”
    I’m a grown up. I don’t need delusion or an imaginary friend to get me through the tough times. In fact, rationality seems to work much, much better during life’s tough times. I always recommend that people like yourself try it.
    George Sodini is the latest example of what happens when something ELSE is tried. While the media is focused on his secondary problems (his lack of a love life), the mainstream (which, in this nation is predominantly superstitious) is mostly unable to see the biggest determining factor. George Sodini directed his actions from a bubble of delusion. In learning more about this news story, I stumbled upon this site that actually asks for MORE bubble! I felt compelled to interject.
    You asked me a question. Let me ask you. What is your take on this short video about the b.o.d. of OTHER beliefs, that you might not want compared to YOUR b.o.d.? The language is blunt. But perhaps you’ll allow yourself to get through it:

  • another opinion

    I think you are ALL missing the point here.
    The sad truth is that all of us may have experienced loneliness at different times in our lives, and it sucks!
    I have experienced devastating loneliness and know how it feels. You get really down, sometimes it paralyzes you with fear and depression. The point here, I think, is that all of us, Christians, Atheists, or whatever can and should reach out to those people who are alone and try to show them some human kindness to ease their loneliness. Try to involve them in some group so they can begin to not be so lonely.

  • Your Name

    Up till about a year ago I was a “super enlightened” Atheist who thought Christians were silly for believing in something they couldn’t see.
    Then I realized, like most people who claim to be atheist, I just didn’t like following a set of rules. I wanted to make the rules up as I go along. If it didn’t feel good today, i didn’t do it. If it felt good tomorrow, I did it. (Could you imagine a world made 100% of people like that?)
    I don’t have to convince you of my point of view. Nothing I could say would do it. I know that because nothing my Christian friends said to me could do it, and I would just end up looking like an ass in the attempt.
    That being said, do you honestly think this guy had a good connection to anything, much less religion?
    You’ll have to forive me, I work for a company that turns off streaming audio/video during the summer (“Summer surge”, frees up server space) and I’m not sure what b.o.d stands for. So I can’t watch nor comment on your video.
    Anyway, suffice it to say, much like your “mustache” analogy, just because someone reads the bible and quotes the bible and then goes in and shoots up a gym, doesn’t mean the bible made them do it. Do you know how many MILLIONS, scratch that, BILLIONS of Christians there are in this world? Surely they’re not all shooting gyms up, right? I mean, heck, 65% of the people who died last week at peas. Did peas kill them?
    And LOTS of people have been killed, maimed and jailed in the name of Atheism. Just ask anyone living in China.

  • A rational person

    Dear AnotherOpinion,
    Very well said. Perhaps we could also say that Sodini dealt with that in a completely counterproductive way. In fact, he did NOT reach out for help (at least not to any real person).
    My point, when I stumbled onto this site, was that it is insanity to see such a situation and call for MORE OF THE SAME.
    I think this is why the statistics on violent crime and prison population (just to name two examples) are so shockingly low for Atheists, compared to the same sample of believers. Perhaps if Sodini had not had his ability to think rationally compartmentalized as a child (as in, “donkeys and snakes don’t talk, but in The Bible…..”) he may have behaved more rationally, and reached out to a REAL being for help, such as a therapist.

  • A rational person

    Your Name,
    You’d be surprised how often I hear that claim (“I was recently an Atheist until _______”). It has never once held up to inspection. This isn’t the place for such inspection, but normally I would point out that “Atheist” means without (“A”) god belief (“theist”). Christians usually seem to think that whenever they have been less demonstrative, or less concerned with a god that they believe in, that it means they were an Atheist. But just like “asexual” means to reproduce without sex, a human is not “asexual” whenever they’re just going through a dry spell.
    Look at your misconception about those without god beliefs in your statement of what you “realized.” No, not wanting to follow rules is not a reason to not believe in the claims of a religion. Is your only reason for not beliving in the multi-armed, Hindu god Ghenish ONLY because you “don’t want to follow [Hindu] rules?”
    See how silly that sort of thinking is, when we look at it outside of a bubble of delusion that niether of us share (assuming you are not both Hindu and Christian)?
    And it is also not a reason to suddenly believe in a god, because of your perception (a bad one) about others who don’t. If THAT is the only reason you became more demonstrative about your belief, it is clear you already had it in the first place. The only reason to believe something is real, is that you believe something is real…not because you want to fit in to a group better.
    Besides, this propaganda from the pulpit that non-believers are only pretending not to believe so they can “sin” and do what “feels good” is just childlike. It is also NOT reflected in the statistics that we could relate to social health or morality. Look them up! Look up crime, molestation, substance abuse, spouse abuse, divorce (which I, personally, don’t equate with “morality,” but marital health IS one of the claims of religion…yet the percentage of divorce is lowest amoung non-believers, even over Catholics).
    Christians make up 75% of the general population, and about 75% of our prison population. Atheist/Agnostics/non-believers make up about 24% of our general population, but only 0.2% of our prison population.
    The reason your religious leaders don’t back up what they tell you to believe about “outsiders” (non-believers), is that they are lying to you, whether they know they are or not. Look at the evidence. Learn. Think freely for yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are “weak” or “wicked” or influenced by a devil to think for yourself or ask any question.
    You write: “I don’t have to convince you of my point of view. Nothing I could say would do it.” Wrong, and another misconception. Atheists are not simply “resistant” to the concept. If the facts were not what they are, I’d believe in whatever god there was evidence for. Present your evidence, and there would not be a single Atheist on the planet tomorrow.
    Atheists are simply people that think such questions (of our very existence, no less) are far too important to just go along with the first thing one hears about as a child, having been born to a Christian region of the earth, or a Muslim nieghborhood, or a Hindu state, or a Mbombist villiage….etc, etc, x thousands.
    Your Christian friends did not NEED to convince you of anything, because you already believed in their mythology/god, despite whether or not you considered yourself a “Christian.” And, if you were honest with yourself, I bet you’d already know that instead of claiming you were an Atheist when you were “less Christian.”
    You ask: “That being said, do you honestly think this guy had a good connection to anything, much less religion?”
    Yes, I think that his OWN WORDS (something difficult to spin) demonstrate a clear connection to a god belief, and a clear vehicle of justification.
    Here is what is a bit frustrating about the fact that beliefs are still the mainstream at this point in our development…. Almost all of the things that you and I complain about in the human condition; every horrible news story; about every suffering not caused by the whether, is directly and negatively affected by the mindset of maintaining superstition. Sodini is a good, but common, example.
    We agree that there is no evidence that his god belief MADE him kill people (in fact, it seems clear that there were some obvious factors of family, relationship, abuse, etc). But, unlike my mustache analogy, it would be foolish to think that there was no influence at all from a lifetime of being taught to compartmentalize ones common sense, suppress ones rational thought, and even that you have no privacy from even your own thoughts.
    Clearly, from his own words, Sodini was just one of many people in the mainstream that were taught that dying is no big deal, because when you do you’ll just go live somewhere else (this cheapening of life, btw, makes war possible). In fact, he even spelled out how he believed he would still get to go to the pie in the sky paradise after he did this.
    Not a factor?… Sorry, no sale on that one.

  • A rational person

    Look, this site is about prayer. Prayer has been around since before the Bronze Age. There is absolutely no reason that we could not test a claim that prayer is or is not an effective thing to do (Is there?).
    If it helps, great. But, if not, isn’t calling for MORE of the same ole, same old deluding of ourselves that we have done for thousands of years truly nuts?
    Again, to repeat a behavior, and yet expect a different result, is one definition of insanity. That’s all I was ever saying in the first place.
    Many people, even in this country…the developed nation with the second highest level of religiocity in population in the world (Ireland saves us from being the MOST superstitious)….people are learning to think freely, and not FEAR the asking of simple questions on ancient, UN-questioned claims. Perhaps someday we won’t be such a blindly religious people. Perhaps THAT different approach will lead to us NOT being the nation that imprisons more of its citizens than any other (a powerful statement of religion’s effect on morality…or lack thereof).
    Thinking for yourself, I recommend it.

  • Your Name

    You want to talk about insanity? YOU came to a thread that was about prayer and you want to hit us over the head with how stupid we are for praying. Why not spend your time in threads debating the existence of God, or in threads where you and all your “grasp on reality, enlightened ones” can laugh at all us dolts for praying.
    Here’s what secular scientists have to say about prayer. It’s a lengthy article using lots of polysyllabic words, but give it a try.,8599,1879016,00.html

  • A rational person

    Your Name,
    I’ve already explained how I stumbled upon this site, and why I felt compelled to comment. What we are seeing now is a typical pattern. If you HAD looked at that short video clip, you would have easily been able to identify patterns like this in the Muslim bubble of delusion, or in the Mormon b.o.d., but not in any that you reside within. It goes like this:
    1. You should be silent. The effort is not to engage, but to STOP any inspection of claims or STOP any questioning or thought. Today, it is simply in suggesting that I do not belong here. In the past, Christians like yourself would have simply burned me alive. But the motivation is the same, to silence anyone who might shine a light of inspection on the claim.
    I have no doubt that if I had not come across this site in the way I described, you’d have been perfectly sheltered from any heterogeneous points of view. That’s how religions survive.
    2. Declare persecution. I don’t remember where it is that I called you “stupid” or “laughed at [you] dolts.” Could you point that out to me? Indeed, some very smart people believe in your god (or Allah, or Vishnu, or on and on and on). Although there IS an inverse correlation between intelligence and religiosity, low intellect is not a prerequisite for cult mentality. Further, by example, the most intelligent people on this planet were once SURE that it was flat, and that one could sail off of it, if they traveled far enough.
    3. Present straw man points. Your link is interesting. Yes, the ACT OF PRAYING might have some profound effects on your thinking, the way you feel, or how comforted you are by it. And that has nothing at all to do with the validity of prayer as having ANY effect on reality outside of your perception of it.
    If a person feels good (to simplify it) about praying to Mbombo or Thor or Zeus, does that mean THOSE gods are real, and that the act of praying to them does something?
    Would you be at all interested in ANY study that looks at a cause/effect of the act of praying? You could even choose the study. Any you can find. Keep in mind though, any study is open to scrutiny. My experience is that in trying to find one that will lie to you and tell you what you want to hear, you might just expose my other point of propaganda. But, as I said, I’m willing to discuss anything you present.
    Perhaps you and I could agree on one thing. Perhaps we could agree that either prayer is a complete delusion, or that it is real and we ALL should be doing it. Sounds like a pretty important thing to discover (IMHO).
    If you are right, then people who don’t believe in your god (the majority of humans on this planet, btw) are in need of being shown some evidence.
    If I am right, then the millions who believe in this stuff are deluding themselves, and doing things that are responsible for the bulk of human suffering (retarding Science/Medicine, selecting leaders based on religious exploitation, and generally passing off responsibility onto imaginary magical scapegoats) all because of this delusion.
    It sounds like a pretty important thing to investigate to me. I mean, I wouldn’t buy a used car on “faith.” While marketed as a GOOD thing, that’s pretty much just a copout to not need to hold up to investigation. Perhaps you see that with all those other religions you WEREN’T born to (each, just as sure as you, that THEY have the “one true god/gods”).
    This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged or commented on this stuff. Imagine what it would be like, if nearly everyone around you were walking around with a nail in their foot, and, at the same time, complaining about the horrible foot pain in the human condition, and looking at many, many factors, none of which is the nail in their foot, which they seem not to know about.

  • Your name (btw, it’s Lisa)

    Oh Pullleeeze with this “victim at the hands of evil christians” role you’ve effected for yourself. Where to begin….
    Point 1. is simply a comment of message board logistics. There is a thread (or proably many threads) to discuss the validity of prayer and the existance of god. Praying for a family that lost someone (even if he’s an a-hole that took the lives of innocent people) is not the thread for that discussion.
    Point 2. Really? You didn’t snidely tell me to “think for myself” or tell me how insane I am for praying when it has no effect. You haven’t made several allusions to Christians being mindless lemmings?? You didn’t snidely refer to my religion as a superstition? You didn’t call my religious leaders liars?
    Point 3. The act of praying in this very isntance IS for the people left behind. Be it praying, chanting a budhist mantra or circling a tree and lighting a candle to the earth god, these are all acts that bring people comfort. One might pray (or chant or circle a tree) in hopes that someone won’t walk into a building and mow them down with a gun, but unfortunately, murder IS part of the human condition. So my “Strawman” argument wasn’t so straw-y. It was simply to illustrate that the act of praying might not save your mom from dying of cancer, but it might bring you some solace in the mean time.
    I can’t disagree with you about the fight between science and religion. I believe both have retarded each other. However, people chose their political leaders for all sorts of reasons. Many women went nuts and voted for Hilary simply b/c she was a woman. Many blacks voted for Obama simply because he was black. You might vote for someone because they grew up in the same town as you or simply because they are the candidate of the party you belong. I guess those reasons are all ok, so long as you don’t vote for someone because they have the same religious beliefs as you. (Horrors!!!!)
    As for the nail in their foot, a take this to mean your analogy for a hardship one is going through. Perhaps their is no way to taket he nail out of their foot and prayer is a way for that person to deal with the pain.
    As for cheapening life, I think walking around thinking that we’re just accidental globs of molecules that one day turn out light a light far more cheapens LIFE. But that’s just my opinion. YOu can go on thinking that you’re worth that little.
    Back to point number one, I believe you and I have hijacked this topic enough, don’t you?

  • A rational person

    Lisa (I’m Steph,btw),
    Re: Point 1, Despite the fact that this is still a call from me to be silent/be gone, I came to a site that says (two paragraphs at the top) that we should pray for people. Upon reading it, I only interject “Should we?”
    Re: Point 2, I’m really not interested in the Straw Man changes. Did I called you “stupid” or “laughed at [you] dolts.” Or were you wrong about these persecution claims? Could you point out to me where I have said these things?
    But, onto the Straw Man switches anyway….
    I did suggest that you (anyone) “think for [themselves].” Are you going to make the claim that this is the SAME as your “calling you stupid dolts and laughing at you” claim?
    I did mention the insanity of repeating behavior, yet expecting a different result (not even my quote, btw). Also not the same as your original persecution claims.
    I suppose I can see how you would feel that I have made several allusions to Christians being mindless lemmings?? I can’t be responsible for your feelings or your opinons. Did I make any such comment though?
    And no, I didn’t “snidely” refer to your religion as a superstition? There is nothing snide about that. I don’t share your attitude of amnesty toward the claims of religion (anyone’s), and just used the word in it’s accurate meaning. I’m sure you may not like the connotation that comes with that accuracy. Feel free to look it up (you may also want to look up the meanings of words like “cult,” “supernatural,” “brainwashing,” or “mythology”). Would you think yourself “snide” to use the word “superstition” in reference to Astrology (assuming you also don’t believe in that too)? Well, same difference for me, when it comes to prayer or god beliefs, along with Astrology.
    You ask: “You didn’t call my religious leaders liars?” No, I did not. I pointed out (from the descrepancy of what you MAY be told from them about non-believers, and the actual facts about non-believers) that, “The reason your religious leaders don’t back up what they tell you to believe about “outsiders” (non-believers), is that they are lying to you, whether they know they are or not.”
    If they don’t KNOW they are lying to you, they are not “liars,” just wrong. But yes, if any of them look at the evidence, and THEN tell you something they know is not true anyway, then they are “liars,” and I’ll call people like that “liars” (for the first time on here though, despite your question). I’m curious, what would YOU call them, in THAT situation?
    Re: Point 3, Yes, I’m sure (as I’ve already said) that the act of praying can bring people comfort, make them feel good, etc. So can alcohol. So can crack. So too can ANY escape from reality, whether it is a chemical delusion or a cult delusion. Are any of these things GOOD to do, just because they may make one FEEL good? I don’t think so.
    My “nail in the foot” analogy is a good one here. People like yourself (perhaps even many non-believers) have been convinced that, even if untrue, religion does no harm. I think this fails any close inspection. And I don’t need to see a plane flown into a building, a women’s health doctor gunned down, or George Sodini passing off personal responsibility for his actions in a blog in order to see the horrible price we all pay for a few praying people to “feel good.”
    You write: “I can’t disagree with you about the fight between science and religion. I believe both have retarded each other.”
    You realize (I hope) that I’m talking about people holding back Science due to their superstitious beliefs. It’s not like religion has ever disproven or altered a single thing…ever…that anyone has discovered via Scientific method. Conversely, what you call “retarding religion” is a long serious of shedding light that NEVER goes the other way.
    For example, we now know more about lightening, than those who attributed it to Zeus. Christians no longer fight against round (spherical) earth theory (though Galileo DID die under house arrest from the Catholic Church), but they once did. Christians no longer fight against heliocentric theory of the solar system (though Capernicus was deemed a heritic for saying the Sun, not the Earth, was at the center of our solar system), but they once did. Christians and Muslims no longer fight against germ theory of disease (though many were charged with heracy over that one too), but they once did.
    Rather than learning, Christians repeat these behaviors, and expect a different result. The current one in this age, is to fight against evolutionary theory of development. And THAT is an example of one retarding the progress of the other. Nothing in the way of contradictory evidence or new information is offered, just an effort to hold back unpopular findings.
    Re: Different factors for voting for people. Yes, there is more than one reason. Now, George W. Bush. I think it is safe to say that he was an example of a man that would NOT have been elected, if not for a religion to exploit, and people who base their decisions on the claims of that worldview. This is an example of the heart of the daily harm I speak of about not questioning religion.
    Incidentally, Bush Jr. said during his 2000 campaign that Jesus Christ had chosen him to be president of the United States. I wonder what influence this had on people who believe in prayer, who might also believe they are praying to a god-being that has a preference in who runs our various nations (or, for that matter, which team wins the NFL).
    You write: “As for the nail in their foot, a take this to mean your analogy for a hardship one is going through. Perhaps their is no way to taket he nail out of their foot and prayer is a way for that person to deal with the pain.”
    Not at all. People are removing these nails more and more each day. But the first (and perhaps most difficult) thing to do first, is to freely ask the question, “Hmm, is it possible that I have a nail in my foot.” Unfortunately, people who perpetuate the nail, encourage those they insert it into (usually as young, trusting, pre-intellectually-capable-of-defending-themselves children) not to ask that question. Those people then grow up to do the same to other trusting children. It is tough to break (which is why nails have been in feet so long in the human condition), but that cycle is breaking more and more with each generation, as we learn and grow from our primitive infancy.
    You write: “As for cheapening life, I think walking around thinking that we’re just accidental globs of molecules that one day turn out light a light far more cheapens LIFE.” Yes, that would be the propaganda I’ve heard about what non-believers must think.
    But, even if that were true, is something MORE true if it is MORE comforting to believe? Is THAT a reason to believe something is real? In my experience, it is the stuff that is comforting to believe that usually turns out to be bogus (diet pills, Nigerian lotto emails, ponzy investment schemes, and every religion man has imagined and promoted come to mind).
    Meanwhile, we send people to die in war, and even go ourselves, and even do things like a murder/suicide in an LA Fitness club, and we are told that after we die we’ll just leave this dress rehearsal of a meaningless 100 years (compared to ETERNITY) to go and have a whole other life somewhere else.
    And you think there’s not cost to that mindset?

  • Lisa

    Tomato tomahto I suppose. I can feel sorry for you (and I do) and you can feel sorry for me and I guess that’s it. No one’s mind is going to be changed in a message board. I came here to pray for a family that probably could have used some help a long time ago. You came to argue and spew anger. Personally, I’ll take what’s in my heart any day of the week than what’s in yours.

  • Lisa

    oh and by the way, Galileo never spent one day in jail at the hands of anyone, includng the Catholic CHurch. He was kept under house arrest during his trial, in the horrible conditions of a luxury palace and had, amongst his close friends cardinals and priests. It was during this horrible horrible oppression from the church that he was able to continue his work in science and even wrote one of his greatest books ever “Dialogs Concerning Two New Sciences”.
    But why let facts get in the way of any argument.
    Think for yourself, indeed.

  • BigMama

    Just here to express my sympathy to the victims, including the family of George. I have already prayed for all of you. Only God knows George and I will leave it to him for judgment. Mental illness is not usually requested by people. May all of you pray and search and find peace again in your life. I wish I could help each of you, but this journey today is all yours. There really are alot of people standing beside you. You just can’t see us. Know we are there praying and loving you. The world lost again when God took these three wonderful loving women to the next level.

  • A rational person

    You write: “I came here to pray for a family that probably could have used some help a long time ago. You came to argue and spew anger.”
    Why do you suppose you have been taught to think anyone thinking differently (an “outsider” to your religion) is “spewing anger?”
    You came here, as you say, to engage in an ancient ritual that every objective study shows has no cause / effect (in any religion to any of the many gods that man has developed a belief in), and I came here to point out that a REAL action could be taken to help this not happen as much in the future….rational thought.
    As for the misconceptions you’ve been fed about “what’s in my heart,” I have no doubt (being familiar with the propaganda) that what you think in my heart is sad and horrific and depressing. Sorry, reality does not respond to your propaganda. And while you think that men like Pol Pot are great examples of rationality simply because their cruel regimes did not want to compete with religion, I’ll bet from experience that you’ll never consider Atheists like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (constantly trading places as most philanthropic people on the planet), or Lance Armstrong (Armstrong Foundation), or Christopher Reeves (Reeves Foundation), or people from the past like Mark Twain, Clara Barton (Red Cross), or a host of Scientists and Educators (all Atheists) as being worth mentioning like Pol Pot or Stalin. And it is THAT sort of prejudice/propaganda that, ironically, really IS “spewing argument and anger.”
    Re: Galileo… I didn’t say jail, I DID say house arrest. It seems like you were prepared to argue (again, while claiming it is ME who is just being argumentative) a point that was never made. But I DID say house arrest, and you Christian spin is that it shouldn’t have counted or something?…because it was a gilded cage?…THAT is your argument? SERIOUSLY?!?! That it was somehow OKAY that someone lived out his life under house arrest for saying that the world was not as flat as the Christian bible says it is? Wow. Unbelievable (literally).
    And, unlike you, having busted you in this situation, I really DON’T go around the facts. This was a good example. You BELIEVED I said “jail,” and argued against something that was not a fact (“house arrest”…what I actually said). You then made an accuzation that I was guilty of something (circumventing the facts) that I was not.
    I think we have a great microcosm example of “belief” vs “reality” there?

  • Your Name

    Well, I guess we just leave it at that. I’m not ashamed to admit I spent a good amount of time thinking about our exchange this weekend. (I don’t know how I managed that, seeings how I can’t think for myself, but, alas…) and then it all left me, and what was left was this amazing peace and relaxation.
    We can point to what ever facts we use to forumlate our opinions, but in the long run people are who they are and the believe what they believe.
    I’m not going to, nor have I ever denied alot of bad things have been done…by HUMANS….in the name of religion. The messengers do not change the Message for me.
    My strongest moments of my life have been on my knees, handing it all over to God and from that I have gained my strongest, most fullfilled moments of solitude, peace and grace.
    In your mind that may make me weak, needing to rely upon a Jimminy Cricket for my wellbeing.
    But what I have is so good that really, why do I care what you think. There have always been “yous” and there will always be “yous” in the world. God created it that way and I don’t need to know why right now. His wisdom is to be sought over a life time. It’s not a childish, simplistic, “If there is a God, why do bad things happen” nursury rhyme.
    All I need is the immense amount of peace I feel in my heart about who I am and who my husband and child are.
    And that is enough for me.

  • A rational person

    Let me speak to you as a fellow human being…as a sister in this journey that our whole species is on.
    Never be “ashamed” of thinking, as you say you did this weekend. What is actually shameful is when you squelch that in favor of some “peace and relaxation.” That’s the easy way out. To ignore something uncomfortable is not a way to deal with it, which is why religion survives. What you described after you continued to ignore what you could have continued thinking about was that “ignorance is bliss.” This is nothing new. The media ignored (engaged in ignoring/ignorance) the uncomfortable factor (due to its mainstream presence) of George Sodini’s actions. Imagine what it would be like for the news source that addressed it!
    Yes, there will continue to be people who try to interject some critical thinking into cult mentality. Fewer of us “yous” were around in the more primitive past, and, logically, more of us “yous” will be around in the future. That is, of course, if mankind is not first wiped out in a holy war, a virus from some religious terrorist attack, or simply die out from a planet that we are making more and more uninhabitable, due to people who think there is no need to worry about the environment because Jesus is coming back (people such as Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the interior, who cemented us on this path in the 80s, with that very statement)…and that’s just three examples off the top of my head.
    You and I both seem to agree that “bad things have been done…by HUMANS….in the name of religion.” But it does not seem to occur to you that “HUMANS” may be the only character involved. I’m guessing that you think the actions of these humans are just calateral damage in a belief in a real thing.
    But what if your god is no more real than the ones you WEREN’T born into…Allah, Zeus, Raal, Vishnu, Thor, or any of thousands of others you and I are BOTH Atheists about? If this is true, than it isn’t the “extremists” who keep these bad things happening (clinic bombings, planes into buildings, homosexuals beaten to death because people imagine the creator of the universe is distressed by what humans do while naked). No, if it turns out that there really are no magical beings floating around out there, then (and this was my point all along) the people that are making all the harm to mankind possible are the people that pass along this delusion, not as a belief, but as FACT to defenseless children who trust them, and then grow up to do the same. People who call for things like this website…prayer, as a real action. People like yourself…HUMANS…make this possible, because they’d rather feel peaceful, relaxed, and comforted by their delusions, than to think.
    And then the same outcomes will happen from the same behavior. And, for some reason beyond my understanding, you will seem surprised by that.
    I’d rather think, and take my “relaxation and peace” from the satisfaction that, in thinking and encouraging other humans to do so too, I might just leave the world a better place than before I was born. Not one single person will ever be murdered due to a belief/position that comforts me, thus, making me an accessory to it by complacency. So, THAT is enough for me.

  • Your Name

    I could say I prayed for an answer and got it, you will say I’m just not using my brain and thinking for myself.
    What I received peace on is that I will never convince you of my beliefs, and I feel pretty peacefull with the fact that I don’t need to. I didn’t “quelch any thinking” in order to feel peace and relaxation.
    You think you’re pretty tricky debating symantics. You keep saying “where did I call you “stupid”” as if one does a word search and can’t find the word “stupid” it must mean you didn’t call me stupid. But it’s exactly what you mean when you say some one isn’t thinking for themselves, is comforted by their dellusions, being happy with “ignorance is bliss” etc.
    There really is no need for a pointless back and forth with you. You can feel all the pitty in the world for me, and I you. (And I do.) It must suck to never wish on a star, never make a wish before blowing out candles on a birthday cake, never put up a Christmas tree…must suck for your kids too. Wonder what that life lesson is like. “Hey little Johnny, you’re not here for any purpose at all, you’re just a random conglomeration of cells and when it’s time for lights out, that’s it.”
    Wow. Cool.

  • A rational person

    It is hardly just “semantics” when you accuse me of saying “jail” when I had said “house arrest” all along, is it? But, when it is uncomfortable for you, you will claim it is only semantics.
    I’ve learned not to get upset with the arrogance of Christians telling me they feel sorry for me, or when they attack my life or my children. I know from experience that you only THINK you know what you are talking about.
    For example…. Tell me, since you claim that you already think for yourself:
    1. Have you studied the Christian bible? (It surprises me how many believers have never even taken the time to read the dang thing. So I ask.)
    2. Assuming that you have at least done that… What OTHER religions (non-Christian) bibles have you read?
    3. What books about the option to NOT maintain a belief in god/gods(such as those currently on best seller lists by authors like Dr. Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, or Dan Barker) have you ever read?
    While experience tells me from the way that you speak about outsiders that I can already guess what the answers to numbers 2 & 3 are, let me just point something out…
    If you were born into an area that was prodominantly a particular worldview, and have grown to stick to that first thing you heard about as a child (which is what statistically happens with religious people all over the world of all religions), then how exactly does that demonstrate “thinking for yourself?”
    Here is the cold, hard truth of it. You have not thought seriously about this stuff. That is evident, though you may think that you have, the programming will always hold you back until such a time that you are able to step outside of it. You have most likely never investigated anything else, while feeling confident to pass judgment on anything else even though you have not investigated it (this is basically believing in comfortable stereotypes, like your thoughts on my family, which is happier and more functional than any superstitious family I’ve ever seen (again, repeating a behavior and yet expecting a different result….yet religion is rarely identified as a problem in families).
    If someone outside of your bubble of delusion (such as in the Heaven’s Gate cult, for example, or one of the bigger ones like the Muslims or Mormons from the video) were to tell you the preposterous claims of THEIR religion, and also tell you about legends demonstrating that they are told they are weak/wicked/disobedient if they question the claims at all (such as anything from the story of doubting Thomas, to the tree of knowledge, to even the unforgivable sentence of ETERNAL torture for ever denying the holy spirit….a dead give-a-way to a red flag), then I bet you could see exactly what is going on with THEIR cult, how it survived, and why so few escape it.
    You can make the typical persecution claims about what you think I think of you (and even accuse me of things I haven’t done and put words like “stupid” in my mouth that I have not used), all while simultaneously calling me “tricky,” or telling me how much you feel sorry for me, or telling me how bad a life I’ve made for my children. It only demonstrates…whether you are free enough to see it or not… the merit of your position vs mine.
    And, for the record…. Atheist parents (including my husband and me) generally expose their children to all points of view, including Christianity. The biggest difference is that WE do it honestly. We tell our children the truth: “These are beliefs that many people have, and many others do not. You should investigate these things for yourself.”
    If my children wanted to attend a church (or temple or mosque) I would drive them, as long as it was a safe environment. I am teaching my children HOW to think, not WHAT to think.
    If we needed to lie to them, we would do what almost all religionist parents do (and had done to them), which is generally to tell their children that their god (whichever one it is of the thousands) is a FACT and real, and they are wrong to doubt it.
    What we see, generation after generation, is that if mythology is not presented to children dishonestly (as fact, and not just belief) while the children are pre-capable of abstract thought (thus intellectually able to defend themselves from brainwashing), then the child, free to REALLY think for themselves and grow to investigate their OWN beliefs, seldom has the beliefs of Bronze Age men.
    Humans will not suppress their critical thinking skills unless taught to do so. When you hear about a god floating around beyond the stars that is judging your every thought…no though being private or unjudged… you have been conditioned to suppress thinking in ways that you imagine will bring a harsh judgment. When you hear one of the legends (like a man living inside a great fish, or the “logic” behind how the human sacrifice of Jesus undoes the crimes you are guilty of because of what Eve did before you were born), you are suppressing your critical thinking skills (and common sense).
    Again, it is the only reason religions (all of them, not just the 34,000 versions of Christianity) survive.

  • A rational person

    Sorry…typo in third to last paragraph. It should point out that “mythology is not presented honestly.”

  • A rational person

    Okay, busy workday and lack of proofreading….
    There was no typo afterall.

  • Lisa

    I belonged to a reading group called “Our Daily Bread”. We read the entire King James version of the Holy Bible in 1 year. We met bi-weekly to discuss our readings, reflections and thoughts. The group was headed up by catholic and protestant scholars, and we would layer what we read with historical context of what was happening in the world, which interested the history major in me. We’d often match up what we read with other religious texts such as the koran, budhist writings and jewish text. We’d often had muslim, jewish, wiccan, budhist, scholars as guest speakers to juxatopose, historically, our religion with theirs. Was very interesting and fun.
    I have read alot of the Koran, and of course, the Torah/Talmud/Midrash. My parents, Methodist, baptised me as methodist and I attended methodist church, however, starting at about age 10, they allowed me to go to church with friends and neighbors. I’ve been to a jewish temple, muslim mosque, pentecostal, baptist, chatholic, presbytarian, mormon (was married, for a time, to a mormon…yikes) churches. For a good number of years, 6 or 7, I worked for an Indian-owned company and flew back and forth to Mumbai for business. I’ve celebrated more than a few (whose names I don’t remember) hindu holidays and was lucky enough to be in Mumbai for Diwali once. My husband’s master’s degree is in middle eastern studies. My mother, fluent in a few different dialects of Vietnamese exposed me a culture VERY different than my own. For you to assume I’ve led some tiny little life lead by the nose with blinders on is laughable, at best. It’s silly for you to assume you *know* anything about me, tho I’ve made some pretty grand assumptions about you. Message boards, especially ones about sports or religion (one and the same in Wisconsin….sorry – lame attempt at humor) tend to turn people into assholes. I’m no exception.
    Anyway, I’ve been around the block and spent….a litle time……..(lol) in thought and prayer about my path. There is no “conclusion” to my thinking and praying. It’s a constant journey of wisdom that I am on. I don’t look for the nice, easy, pat answers. In none of the Christian churches I have been in (except for the Mormon one) did I ever find an atmosphere where “questioning” was not allowed. The idea that you are not allowed to question a church’s teachings is a canard often thrown out by atheists –you know….”repeat a lie often enough…..”.
    I part ways with common Christian thinking in several areas: gay marriage, abortion, embryonic stem cell research to name some of the biggies. Fortunately, my church, The United Methodists, are very open minded, even having a LGBT ministry. “Open hearts, open minds”, ya know. I’ve very much “re-found” my home there and am happy to bring my husband – very new to Christianity and full of doubts and questions – and my son there.
    Interestingly enough, despite what you say, you, yourself are not without faith. Outside of what lives inside a Christian heart, there really isn’t empiracle proof of the existance of God. Belief in Him does take “faith”. But really, there isn’t empiracle proof that he He DOESN’T exist. Belief in that concept also takes faith. So you and I have both taken leaps of faith, just in different directions. And my own immature outbursts here notwithstanding, really no one of our paths are any better or worse than the other. It’s just our path. My “truth” has lead me in this direction, your “truth” has led you in yours. I’ve walked a mile in your shoes, having been an atheist….eh…probably agnostic, at best, for a good number of years. The events in my life lead me where they have and through deep thoughts, reflection and prayer I know I am headed in the right direction.
    I’ve read some of Dr. Hawkins. Found him about as boorish and obnoxious as the Fallwells and Dobsons of the world.
    If I may, a couple of books I’d recommend for you are:
    “What’s So Great About Christianity” by Dinesh D’Souza and “The Reason for God” by….first name escapes me….Keller….Tom? Timothy? Too late and too tired for Google search right now.
    I’ve probably not answered any of your questions, and I’m sure I’m taking the easy, unenlightened way out of this, but our conversation has bored the hell out of me. I’m sure in real life, you and I could have very interesting conversations, but…really….has message board debates ever changed your mind on anything? You’re coming off as a jerk, I’m coming off as an asshole…has anything been accomplished?

  • CC

    I felt so compeled to send a card of sympathy to this shooters family. I have never done this, but I can relate to how he felt. I hope we can learn the lessons from this, but I fear, as usual, we will not. He was feeling abondoned by all. I found more posts by this man online, He was very intelligent but a person where he tanned at had yet yet again turned him down for a date.

  • cc

    i do not think Sodini will go to hell. Why. well he was right when he said jesus died for our sins. Plus, if he had a disablity of some kind, which he says he is crazy, maybe bipolar, God will not punish him. He had no control in what he did or how he was born.

  • Your Name

    I have done some research on this man, I know fully understand his feeling of rejection. We was not demanding, he wrote elsewhere how he actually preferred women to not be all made up. Simpler. Amazing. Since he was physically fit he liked that in women to, but he had tried what some had asked why he did not. From therapy to a life coach helping postivie reaffirmation, he had been thrown out by his church by the man he held in high estee, who then denied he knew him well. when Sodinis pics tell a different story. Kind of like the apoostles turning on Jesus. He had in fact tried to date and indeed he ketp getting turned down. The pic of him he had online was from an org from a women he met online, the post has since been taken down, by her apparenty. that even though they dated she did not want to continue, not sure why, but he participated in a series of charities this women had for cancer and aids. Like he said, they rejected him but ne newer knew why. I have spoken with two men who knew him and they say he was very nice, polite and friendly but two women said they found him off, but never said he was mean or rude but always polite. So, is being nice and polite so disgusting these days>
    The more I learn the more I realize what he siad was 100 accurate. I mean why lie when you are going to die. That said, he dug and tried so many self helps things and tried to find a new church or another good strong community connection but it seemed to be failing. That in the end is what drove him to the end. He had been going to one state to another and as he noted money was not an issue but finding the right help. The other night I saw a health program where even a dr who dealt with his own depression took him 2 yrs of every therapy there was to get the right combo of shock therapy, and meds and cogno therapy to help. This man had a wive who could see when he needed help, and had Sodini had a good friend, even one, that person may have seen his downward spiral. Despite his years of bullying by others in school he preserved but the years of rejection by his church, women and family all combined and he could not see a way out of the sadness that had enveloped him.

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