Research

Why don't Christians pray for atheists?

Today, more than 7 billion people live on the planetperson. At some point in our life, depending on our place of residence and cultural traditions, each of us decides what kind of faith he will profess and whether he will profess at all. The right to freedom of conscience and religion in our country is guaranteed by the constitution. Moreover, Russia is a multinational country. This means that your relatives, friends, colleagues or neighbors can be Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics or atheists. Moreover, in Russia, as in other European countries, the majority profess Christianity. Therefore, you can often hear the phrase "I pray for you." Recently, scientists conducted a study whose results state that similar phrases said to atheists at the time of the tragedy can cause them moral suffering.

Prayers can bring moral suffering to atheists

Who are atheists?

The most common religion in the world onChristianity is considered today - 32% of the inhabitants of our planet profess it. The second most common religion is Islam - the number of its followers is 24% of the population. A large proportion of the world population are Hindus (15%), Buddhists (7%) and supporters of traditional religions.

The map shows the distribution of world religions

The number of unbelievers is estimated by experts infifteen%. At the same time, some sociologists note that the number of atheists and agnostics in the world exceeds 15%. The fact is that in many countries atheists are persecuted and even executed for their beliefs. Therefore, many unbelievers are afraid to speak openly about their beliefs.

People who do not believe are considered atheists.in any of the existing gods. Note that, as a rule, agnostics are those who are not sure of the existence of God, or in his absence. Richard Dawkins, a British scientist, evolutionary biologist, atheist and popularizer of science, speaks of atheism as follows:

We are all atheists of most gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just ruled out another god.

Also a famous scientist says that to bean atheist does not mean to be a bad person. According to the biologist, atheists, just like believers, are not without sympathy and are highly moral people.

Pictured British scientist and science popularizer Richard Dawkins

Atheists are willing to pay so that they do not pray

A recently published study suggeststhat the habitual offer for most people to pray for them is unpleasant for atheists to hear. According to scientists, it’s better not to say anything at all. Note that the work deals directly with the tragedies faced by people who do not consider themselves to be one of the existing faiths. The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). At the same time, believing Christians welcome the offer to pray for them, especially if it comes from a representative of the clergy. But agnostics and atheists prefer in every possible way to avoid any religious references during the tragedy.

During the study, scientists divided the groupparticipants on Christians, agnostics and atheists. No other religious groups were considered in the study. About a third of the subjects were affected by Hurricane Florence, which devastated North Carolina (USA) in September 2018. The remaining subjects were asked to substantiate their answers with other difficulties that they had to face.

You can read about other hurricanes and about whether it is possible to deal with hurricanes with a nuclear bomb on our channel in Yandex.Zen.

This is what Hurricane Florence looked like on board the International Space Station.

Each participant was given $ 5, and askedhow much they are willing to pay for prayers from a Christian or non-religious person to support them in difficult life situations. While Christians were willing to pay at least $ 7.17 for prayers from a priest, and $ 4.36 for prayers from other Christians, most atheists and agnostics chose to pay priests and unfamiliar Christians so that they would not pray for them. In particular, atheists were ready to give 1.66 dollars so that the priest would not pray for them and 3.54 dollars to avoid prayer from an accidental believer.

Do prayers work?

According to the authors of the study, similarThe results may reflect the political situation in the country. Moreover, previous studies show that people often find solace in condolences - especially Christians, who often ask others to pray for them, because they believe in the healing power of prayer.

How do you feel about people who do not profess any of the existing religions? You can talk about this hot topic with the participants of our Telegram chat.

The experts who conducted the study came toto the conclusion that it’s better not to pray for non-religious people. Despite the frequent and sincere offer of Christians to pray for those in distress, the value of prayers to the recipients remains unknown. Due to the fact that religious views are an acute and controversial topic, public debate about the effectiveness and value of prayers can become acute and cause widespread public rejection in many countries of the world.