An Atheist’s Endorsement of Prayer

“Did you really pray?” Y asks B, when he finally opens his eyes and rises to lead Y, his guest, to the fellowship hall long after his wife’s organ postlude. Yielding to B’s arm-twisting to come to their church’s Thanksgiving Sunday luncheon, Nov 24, 2019, an extravaganza, Y wants to resolve the enigma of B, well known as an atheist among their Korean American high school alums (Gyunggi 1956), living in conjugal harmony with a devout Christian that his wife is, bar none, and driving her to church every Thursday for choir rehearsal and Sunday for the service and choir singing.

“Yeah, it’s good therapy,” B answers airily. “Wishing something and fantasizing about it releases dopamine as quickly as meth with none of the latter’s awful side effects. Hence the longevity of those in habitual prayer. “

“But don’t you have to believe in God you pray to?”

“Not necessarily. Intent contemplation of the object prayed for is by definition pleasing and therapeutic with or without a bystander like God who probably is yawning, bored, having heard them all.”

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