Why Christians don’t have to pray for atheists?

Today the planet has over 7 billion people. At some point in life, depending on residency and cultural traditions, each of us makes a decision about what kind of faith he will confess and will confess at all. The right to freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed in our country by the Constitution. Moreover, Russia is a multinational country. This means that your relatives, friends, colleagues or neighbors may be Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics or atheists. At the same time, in Russia, as in other European countries, the majority profess Christianity. So often we hear the phrase “I’ll pray for you.” Recently, scientists conducted a study whose results say that this phrase, said atheists in a time of tragedy, may cause them moral suffering.

Prayer can bring atheists moral suffering

Who are the atheists?

The most widespread religion in the world today is Christianity — it is practiced by 32% of inhabitants of our planet. The second most common religion is Islam — the number of its followers is 24% of the population. A large proportion of the world’s 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 specialists at 15%. However, some sociologists say that the number of atheists and agnostics in the world exceeds 15%. The fact that in many countries for their beliefs, atheists are subjected to persecution and even the death penalty. So many unbelievers are afraid to speak openly about their beliefs.

Atheists considered to be people who don’t believe in any of the existing gods. Note that agnostics, as a rule, referred to those who think that the existence of God, nor in his absence. British scientist, evolutionary biologist, atheist and science popularizer Richard Dawkins says about atheism:

We are all atheists towards most gods ever believed in humanity. Some of us are just excluded yet one God.

Also known scientist suggests that being an atheist doesn’t make him a bad person. According to the biologist, atheists, just as believers are not devoid of compassion and are highly moral people.

In the photo, the British scientist and science popularizer Richard Dawkins

Atheists are willing to pay to them for not praying

Recently published research suggests that the familiar to most people offer to pray for them, atheists unpleasant to hear. According to scientists, it is better not to say anything. Note that we are talking about the tragedies faced by people who do not consider themselves to any of the existing faiths. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). At the same time, Christian believers have welcomed the offer to pray for them, especially if it comes from a representative of the clergy. But agnostics and atheists prefer to avoid any religious references in the period of the tragedy.

In the study, researchers divided a group of participants of Christians, agnostics and atheists. No other religious group was not considered in the study. About one third of the subjects suffered from hurricane Florence, which devastated North Carolina (USA) in September 2018. The rest of the subjects were asked to justify their answers with other difficulties they had to face.

It looked like hurricane Florence from the International space station

Each participant was given $ 5 and asked how much they are willing to pay for prayers from Christian or non-religious person to support them in difficult situations. While Christians were willing to pay for prayers from a priest no less 7.17 dollars, and for prayers from other Christians 4.36 dollars, most atheists and agnostics prefer to pay the priests and unfamiliar to Christians, to pray for them. In particular, the atheists were willing to pay 1.66 dollars to the priest pray for them and 3.54 dollars to avoid prayers from the casual believer.

Are prayers?

According to the study authors, these results may reflect the political situation in the country. At the same time, earlier studies show that people often find comfort in the condolences — especially Christians, who often asked others to pray for them as we believe in the healing power of prayer.

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