An Atheist’s Open Letter to Those Praying for His Son

As many of my readers have noticed, I haven’t posted anything in about a month.  That’s because on April 27, my life got exponentially busier, when my wife went into preterm labor and delivered our son 12 weeks early.  Grayson now lays in the local neonatal intensive care unit, where he’s been since he was born.  He’s doing well and continues to grow and gain weight, but the experience has been draining — physically, emotionally, and financially.  As things normalize and he comes home, activity on DividedUnderGod.com will resume and most likely increase, since the field of GOP presidential hopefuls is an ever-expanding source of church/state separation editorial fodder.  I don’t normally post personal stories such as this, but since I’ve found myself in a situation that has caused monumental frustration — with my only true sympathetic outlet being my wife (who is probably tired of hearing my rants by now) — I’ve decided to turn to the loyal audience of my blog.  I hope that you’ll read this, and more importantly, share it with believers, so they better understand what goes through an atheist’s mind when we hear, “Sending you prayers,” or something similar.

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Exhausted parents on the day Grayson was born

The following open letter may upset you.  You may feel insulted because when it comes to matters of faith, people are more apt to take criticism personally and react defensively when their religious beliefs are brought into question.  Please know it is not my intent to offend, because as I said earlier, I am truly grateful for the offers of support and kind words from family and friends.  But sometimes we’re faced with emotional situations that escalate to a boiling point.  I’m at that point, and it’s time to open a vent.

I’d like to open this letter by acknowledging and thanking those who have shared that they’re praying for my son, who was born prematurely and since then has resided in our local neonatal intensive care unit.  I realize your intentions are good and that you believe your prayers are helping him grow stronger.  By appealing to a deity that you believe exists and listens to your pleas, you feel you’re offering your support and contributing to my son’s cause in some way.  Because I realize you believe you’re helping, I thank you for doing what you feel will help my son get healthy and strong.

However, my wife and I are atheists.  We don’t believe in the supernatural, and we have good reasons for that, but that’s a topic for another day.  We have placed our trust in science and modern medicine, and we are absolutely amazed at what is possible, thanks to medical research and man’s advanced understanding of biological sciences.  In fact, if we had not placed our trust in medicine, or lived in different times, or belonged to a religion that frowns upon fertility treatments or medically assisted conception, we would not have any children at all.

If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-year-old son, Ryan, would not exist.  He would not have been conceived without modern science and fertility doctors.  And if we had become pregnant on our own, he very well could have died in childbirth without the intervention of doctors and nurses, as my wife had to have an emergency c-section after a difficult attempt at childbirth that put Ryan at risk.  If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-week-old, Grayson would not exist.  He also would not have been conceived without modern science and an IVF procedure.  And if we had become pregnant on our own that time, he would have died shortly after being born prematurely, without the intervention and constant care of doctors and nurses.  Thanks to medical breakthroughs, not miracles, we have two children and get to experience all of the joy, pride, love, and everything else that comes with raising children — all of which would have been replaced with sorrow and heartache had we left it to a god to decide.  We would have had no children, and like many of the religious, would have attempted to rationalize this in an attempt at comforting ourselves by saying it was god’s plan, or that everything happens for a reason.

So should you be appealing to that same supernatural entity to help protect my son — a child that he never wanted to exist?  Does that make sense to you?

There’s a reason that the sick go to hospitals full of doctors and nurses when they need healing, instead of seeking out faith healers or priests, or staying home to pray as their only means of treatment.  It’s because most believers realize that prayer isn’t an effective cure for anything.  Even so, the religious are so quick to thank their god when they or loved ones recover from illnesses rather than show their gratitude to the men and women who made it their life’s work to treat the sick.  Let’s be honest, if an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving god wants to heal the sick or let them die, what’s your prayer going to do?  Aren’t you just telling him something he already knows?  Aren’t you asking him for something he already knows you want?  Isn’t your god going to do what he wants despite your pleas?  Isn’t that your rationale when your prayers aren’t “answered”… that it was “God’s will”?  So really, what’s the point?  And that’s IF (a monumental IF) a deity exists and you’re praying to the right one, out of the >2000 that have been worshipped throughout human history.

So now you’re thinking, “So what?  What does it hurt that I want to pray for you?”  It’s not that it hurts anything or anyone directly.  Your prayers are your prerogative.  By telling us you’re praying, you’re saying to us that you want to do something to help, and that’s appreciated.  But the avenue of assistance that you’ve chosen is one that we feel is an ineffective one.  You’re telling us, “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you.  I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping.”  If you want to help a religious person who believes that prayer actually does something, then by all means, pray until you’re hoarse.  But if you want to do something in your power to help a family who places their trust in the doctors, nurses, medicine, and technology that heals the sick and is the reason my son is alive and sleeping in my arms as I type this in the NICU, then do something tangible. Donate to families in need or medical research.  Contact your representatives when a vote comes up that might inhibit scientific advancement.  Call a friend or family member who’s in crisis and be a compassionate ear.  Volunteer with a local group without an underlying agenda (like preaching to those benefiting from their good deeds).  There are so many things you can do that are infinitely more effective than talking to a god who already knows what you’re going to say and will do what he wants anyway.

So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you.  But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.  Everything does not happen for a reason, and my two children are anything but god’s plan.  I feel grateful every single day for mankind’s scientific and medical advancements.

Thank you for allowing me to blow off some steam.  If you’d like to help, I’ve set up a GoFundMe page to help offset Grayson’s hospital costs and any applicable extra care he may need when he finally comes home.

[Edit: Now that Grayson is home and doing very well, I’ve closed the campaign. $10,000 was raised in total and the money was used to pay medical bills and household expenses while we reduced our hours to care for Grayson, and some was given back to local charities that help families in similar situations.  We’d like to thank the amazing secular community (and some of the religious as well) that helped to support us during a very trying, emotional, and stressful time.  We’re happy to report that Grayson is thriving, thanks to modern medical advancements and the amazing care he received.]

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Grayson in his bed at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

View all posts by Kevin Davis →

807 thoughts on “An Atheist’s Open Letter to Those Praying for His Son

  1. I cannot imagine how much pain you are in right now as your son and family goes through this. You made some good points in this post. I feel as though you perhaps do not realize the true nature of prayer. As a follower of Christ, when I pray I am completely lifting up a the request into the hands of Christ. I do not “feel” better about myself. I feel more better that I know there’s an all-loving, beautiful God who can comfort me and was willing to take on this pain with me. In fact, I typically feel very humbled and powerless as I give my troubles that I cannot solve on my own, to the one that can. Sometimes I do not want to pray. Sometimes I do not trust in God enough to take care of situations. However, He has never failed me. He is always walking with me. It is more about a relationship and conversation with Him rather than some magic power. I know it’s hard to believe in. I’ve been there, but He is on your side. He is on your son’s side. Some Christians can come off as superficial. It still pisses me off. Yet, Jesus reveals Himself to us through prayer. I wouldn’t give up on Jesus just like He isn’t giving up on your son. The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus. I completely agree that as Christians in general, we need to not only pray, but donate money and time towards these very good causes. So, I have to say that I am praying for you and your family. But not in some cute self-serving, way. I lift up Grayson and all the doctors in His care. I ask for Jesus’s peace, mercy, comfort, and grace to be poured out on every being involved in this situation. I also feel very inspired to give to you all as well as I can imagine it may be very expensive. I admire you for sharing your thoughts. May His peace be with you and your family.

      1. God does not exist. Jesus Christ lived more than two thousand years ago and has no power. Your prayers mean nothing. If they make you happy, fine. But realize they don’t have any real meaning.

      2. I Pray to the Great and Holy GOP to give your son…. BS. I’m going to http://www.gofundme.com/GraysonFund and hopefully make a difference. Great thoughts and wishes are with you, your wife and most importantly Grayson. We’re all in this together (with the exception of this “god” being others speak of. Shared on Facebook so that other “human beings” can identify with your situation. Best of luck with Grayson’s future, with as wonderful a father as he has I expect he will have a great future.

      3. I agree with most of what amygrace44 said, but would like to add something- there is no reason that we have to separate God and science. It has always been my opinion, that God created science and technology, guiding us. And because he cannot stand to see any of His children suffer… Kiss that beautiful baby for me, you don’t know me, or I you, but babies are the best thing we have. And I do feel for you and your precious family. <3

      4. Michelle, if you truly believe that “god “does not allow “his” children to suffer, then you’ve never been outside your house. Children are raped, set on fire, & thrown off buildings many times, every day. Just like with the Holocaust, god is sound asleep or else concerned with who’s having sexy ith who. Religion is the polar opposite of science and cannot claim credit for the hard work and intelligence that scientists have committed to modern medicine. You and Amy Grace are simply parroting what you been told to think.

    1. Amy, thank you for your monetary donation. It’s very much appreciated. However, as a former Christian, all of the apologist rationalization about prayer you just added is not new to me. I used to say all of that myself. It sounds nice but is complete nonsense, to be frank. If you can answer the questions in my post about what you think you’re telling your deity that it doesn’t already know, I’d be glad to hear it. Do you think he’s like “Oh yeah, that Grayson kid, thanks for the reminder”? Next time you need a doctor, go ahead and “give the troubles you cannot solve on your own” to God and let me know how that works out. As bri65 said, you’ve totally missed the point.

      1. Kevin,

        I hear you. I totally do. Last year, my mother was in the hospital in a coma for 12 days. she died multiple times, but world-class doctors and the 24 hour vigilance of her nurses saved her life. It was increasingly frustrating to be in that situation and hear every other person in my very large Christian family “pour out their hearts in prayer.” It came off as something akin to begging an almighty god for her life — if God is great and he’s some loving spiritual father, why does he make you get on your knees and BEG for the lives of your loved ones?? Sounds like one narcissistic asshole to me.

        Only relating that because I COMPLETELY understand that under normal circumstances, some passerby saying they’ll pray for you is fine, but in dire straits (like a 12 week preemie!) and purely exhausted days and nights, yeah, a place to vent is entirely necessary and I think you did it justice.

      2. Well, in your expertise on religionGod, you apparently all missed the parts about Him helping those who help themselves and trials and tribulations.
        While I do believe that the help of people in the medical profession are absolutely necessary, don’t you think it’s a little selfish of you to make the decision for your son that he wouldn’t want people to pray for him and that you aren’t going to allow him, if possible in the future, to make his own decision about his faith?
        I know this must seem like an uncaring post, but let’s get this straight, I don’t and will never be apologetic or make excuses for the well being of another person. I don’t pray for others to make myself feel better about myself and if that’s all you got out of it when you did it you were doing it wrong.

        With all that being said, whether you want it or not, my prayers will be there for your son and your family.

        1. “God helps those who help themselves”–the last refuge & lamest dodge of the credulous masses who believe in the God Who is Never There.

      3. I really feel your focus is misdirected , you should be more focused on being supportive to your wife and your son. To have something like people saying, ” are prayers are with you” or anything along that means to cause such an upset to you, sounds like you are dealing with some kind of internal struggle over the issue. When you believe something, its what you believe and what anyone else has to say about it doesn’t matter. As you believe in your post your being gracious to those that are trying to show some kind of support in essence your really not. You are slapping them in the face. Alot of religions encourage, giving and helping, so basically you are taking money from someone who is giving money to you because in their religion it is the right thing to do , and you take the money!!!( forget religion and talk about your character).

        You are atheist not your sons! That is a huge personal choice and they are not of age to decide that on their own. As a parent of a sick child, you should be accepting of ANYTHING that could possibly help your son , Well wishes, Healing Powers, Prayers, or Science whatever it is! You are basically dictating to the world, don’t pray for my son because I don’t believe in prayer, WTF!!!!!! and if you do, PLEASE don’t tell us about it… Seriously. This is an ill attempt to try to shove your beliefs down peoples throats.

        1. In no way am I pushing my beliefs down anyone’s throats. In fact, I graciously thanked everyone for their prayers as I continue to do in person. I guess you skipped over that part in an effort to try to find something to make you feel persecuted. Typical. And if my son is not an atheist, then what is he? Everyone is born an atheist until someone who thinks they know better shoves religion in their face. When he is old enough to make his own decisions, he will be able to choose any religion he wants, or none at all. That’s called offering choices — something religious indoctrinators know nothing about.

      4. Victor, Kevin is asking that believers don’t tell him about it. He never asked anyone to not pray, at all. Read it again, please, and be fair.

      5. I love how theists come to an atheist’s blog and complain how you are “forcing your views” down their throat. They should remember a few things before they post.

        1. This is a personal blog about a person’s thoughts.
        2. This is explicitly an atheist’s blog page, and that has been made very clear.
        3. Those of us understand the first 2 points are here BECAUSE we are interested in the author’s views.
        4. No one forced you to come here and read this post.

        If you don’t like what has been said here, then don’t come troll an atheist blog, act butthurt and then complain about having their views “forced” upon you. Unlike most atheists who know exactly what that is like. If you don’t like what he has to say, then leave here and take your “views” with. I think I can say with some confidence that most people here are not interested in your opinion. We didn’t come here for that, since we get more than enough of that sortinformation view in real life.

        Sorry to everyone else here. That was a pet peeve of mine. Rant ov

      6. Just because you think it is nonsense, doesn’t mean we all do. Everyone believes differently and that is ok. As soon as everyone realizes that(which will never happen) this world will be a better place. I for one believe in God as I believe in medical science. Without Dr;s and nurses we wouldn’t have the knowledge that we do. But I believe that God gave them that talent. I have no problem with what you believe, so please give me the same.

      7. Just say thank you Kevin. Going through a sad time in your life does not give you an excuse to be rude and ill mannered . You’re an atheist, good on you, you’re entitled to your beliefs but so are others. Last time I checked, there’s freedom to engage in any religion of your choice. Just say “thank you” and leave it at that. Manners cost nothing.

      8. Why are theists unable to read. Im guessing that of Ebie. He clearly states he says thank you to everyone who says it to him.
        I love how in one breath Ebie says he should just say thank you to the bible thumper, IE accept that person shoving his religion down your throat. Then in the next breath says “You’re an atheist, good on you, you’re entitled to your beliefs but so are others.”
        So effectively this douche is saying “hey be a good boy and just take his religious crap, because hes entitled to have it, but how dare you try and stay strong to your views”.

        EBIE YOU ARE A HYPOCRITE LIKE EVERY OTHER RELIGIOUS PERSON IVE MET..

        1. Michael J LaGrange, did any part of my text mention anything about me being religious ? Or you just assumed i was, because i have not supported kevin’s stance. And yet we accuse religious people of imposing their thoughts , what we have in the world today is aggressive forms of atheism where people become rude and abusive to anyone who expressed their opinion against ”so called” atheists. You’re a moron and you can’t read because if you could, you would have understood what my reply was referring to. But you have not made any sense in your text, no sense at all. I repeat what i said earlier, ”someone makes a donation to your cause, you just say thank you. It is not the time and place to be discussing your feelings about your beliefs. It is not right to say; thank you for your donation but ………. ”
          You don’t need to be religious to have morals and manners. If my child were sick, and a muslim came up to me and said ”May Allah bless you” and gives me a donation, i would just say thank you for your kindness. Not ”thank you but i’m not muslim so dont mention the name of Allah ………..bla bla bla”. Same would apply to any other beliefs, jews, hindu, scientology, pagans, whatever, we’re all humans and we are different and we need to tolerate each other’s differences whether you agree or not, I do. I think it’s strange that Kevin should use his grief about his son’s condition as a chance to express his atheistic views. This has become more about atheists and their aggressive views and not about a sick child that needs help. Nothing about my texts so far, says anything about my faith, or religious beliefs, if any. I just dont think you should accept someone’s donation and then with the same breathe, chastise them for mentioning their beliefs cos that’s what it sounds like whether you agree or not, i’m not going to argue with you . There’s a better time and place for that.

          1. I don’t really care what you believe because you call people names like “moron”. You may not be religious but calling people names shows what type of person you are.
            Who gives a flying F if people take $ for a sick child….Religion doesn’t even pay taxes!!!!!
            I’ve seen many religious people on here that claim to go to church yet pretend to be holy!!!
            Religion legally robs millions of people every Sunday on a weekly basis. Don’t see them donating to sick children.
            Religion is the root of all evil and should be banned…..

          2. Mel B , i dont care what you believe either, but you dont go around calling people ”Douche” for believing in a different approach to issues. So as Michael thinks i’m douche, i think he’s a moron. And once again, nothing about my text says anything about me being religious. Also nothing about my text says i’m a saint and holy and purified. Dont preach to me. You can have your point of view and i can have mine. WE JUST HAVE TO AGREE TO DISAGREE. Pretty Simple. This should be about a sick boy , not about atheistic views

          3. The world would be a better place if the world was less horrible to one and other and religious people kept their opinions to them self…..just sayin’

          4. Not only religious people, everyone including atheists need to keep their opinions to themselves. But then its a free world, which means opinions are expressed and people have to agree to disagree at some point. Not become abusive to people who have a different point of view. Atheists judge as much as the blind christians they criticise, FACT. I’ve read through all the comments on here and find most of the comments from ”atheists” very very aggressive.

          5. Just to add, if people feel they can throw abuse at anyone who expresses their views, then they should be open to receiving abuse back in return. Mel B, its interesting how you pick up my calling Michael a ‘moron’ but did not pick up on his abusive text to me. One law for atheists and another law for everybody else. You’re just as bad as the blind christians you criticise, because you’re so closed in your thinking and never willing to think about the rationality of your actions. The fact that we are here , discussing the importance of saying ”thank you” to a gift, shows the way you think.

      9. This comment is to Lizzy: No one is “shoving” any beliefs down your throat, you melodramatic idiot. You came to his blog where he poured out his feelings about a difficult situation. You had to specifically seek out his opinion. You could have just as easily avoided it, or closed the page.

        However, you are in fact trying to foist your inane beliefs on others, by coming to this blog and ranting at this poor man with a sick child. You should be ashamed of your behavior.

        Also, in response to the claim that he should be accepting of ANY help: If some manner of witch-doctor came and offered to heal your child by rubbing raw chicken on them, would you accept that help? Not that prayer would cause harm to the child, but he is under no obligation to accept whatever voodoo, magical prayer, spell-casting, superstitious horseshit that someone thinks will help his child. Religious prayer is just another inane ritual, the same as casting spells, or poking pins in a doll. It’s a way for people to do nothing while feeling as if they have. A very easy way to not be obligated to expend time, effort, or money.

        Faith is belief without need of evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence. This is also a very good working definition of delusion.

      10. “In no way am I pushing my beliefs down anyone’s throats”. Kevin, as a pedantic twat, which I am, I feel that it is my duty to point out that, if you are pushing anything down anyones’ throats, it is you your lack of beliefs. 🙂

      11. Your intolerant position is now better explained. Ex-Christians are often like ex-alcoholics or ex-smokers and more fundamental in their positions than they might otherwise be because they have fled to the opposite end of a spectrum and still live in fear of that which they have left, i.e. that from which they have escaped.

        I am sure if you belonged to one of the more fundamentalist religions or were brought up in one, this reaction is more common and would be powerful at an unconscious level.

        Just bear in mind that atheists can be or become as ‘religious’ and as fundamentalist in their approach as anyone belonging to any religion. The shadow effect can be powerful.

        For what it is worth my position, having explored and studied quite a few religions out of spiritual interest, but not having been brought up as anything in particular, I now reject all religion, having cherry-picked from any of them that which is of worth and I stick with what I call God which is an intelligent consciousness at work in his world.

        I can’t see the point in atheism since it is as ridiculous to be categorical that there is no God as it is to claim that there is. There is no doubt that the ‘God’ of most religions, particularly those of the fundamentalist kind, are nothing like any God which could exist might be, but are made rather in the image of men and deeply flawed, if not a bit silly as a result. If you were a former fundamentalist Christian you would have been exposed to the worst of it and no doubt have good reason to flee to the other end of the spectrum.

        But, perhaps remember that this God and these versions of God are human inventions, mostly male human inventions, derived from a deep desire to have certainty in an uncertain world and no doubt from fear.

        There are many other religious/spiritual practices which do not involve smiting, smoting, fearing, judging, damning etc. etc. and which bring a spiritual compassion and awe to this wonderful, frustrating, frightening, inspiring, ever-changing world.

        Take care and best of luck to you and your babe. Life is an adventure and at the end of the day all any of us can do is come up with a set of beliefs which work for us and which make the worst of life tolerable through enabling us to find meaning and purpose. We all do that in different ways and to each their own I think, given that any God who might exist is going to have a great sense of humour and I am sure S/He reacts with compassion and grace to each and every one of us, atheist, agnostic, religious or any of the ‘not sure,’ ‘don’t care,’ ‘why bother?’ mindsets which make up the rest of his roiling mass of humanity.

      12. First, I am sorry that you and your family are experiencing such a difficult situation, and I wish you all the best. I will certainly be glad to make a contribution as soon as possible, as I cannot even imagine going through this with my own children. It is unfortunate that so many felt the need to come on here and somehow take on the role of the victim. Apparently, they are unable to make the connection that they are the ones constantly attempting to force their religion on others, and that you merely expressed your feelings–during a very emotional time–in a very articulate and well thought out manner… on your own page.
        Had you gone to the pages of the faithful and said “I’m an atheist, and you should be too. Stop offering me useless prayers,” that would be close to the equivalent of what these people are doing. I do not think you could have done a better job of expressing your appreciation, while not “attacking” anyone. For those of you you coming here with your condescending remarks, you are the absolute worst. To Victor in particular, yes, thank your god for giving the doctors and nurses the skills necessary to perform such procedures… if only he/she/it hadn’t waited 2,000 years to do so, think of all the unnecessary pain and suffering that could have been avoided. Also, people would have no idea what prayer, Jesus, Christianity, or any religion is without people “forcing their views” on them, as the ignorant folks here have so rudely accused Kevin of doing. This is a personal page, titled “dividedundergod.com;” nothing was forced on anyone, and if you feel that way then I am sorry for you and your clearly lacking ability to reason. If he cannot vent his emotions here, what is he to do? Oh, of course… You would have him keep silent, because if he doesn’t live your way, then he is living the wrong way. You are not persecuted, if anything, Christianity has enjoyed a very undeserved status of privilege.
        Again, Kevin, I offer my condolences. Your patience with such people is admirable, and as I click on your gofundme page, I hope to see a staggering number. All the best.

      13. As a “former Christian” you’d know God (names are supposed to be capitalized whether you believe in them or not) hears the prayers of many.
        I’ve never heard that believers are supposed to shy away from medical technology. A vague claim you’ve made, but still a completely inaccurate one. Many believers seek fertility treatments. They seek medical help because they know God has assisted in the knowledge given to man, so utilize it. It has nothing at all to do with thinking prayer doesn’t work.
        I find it hard to believe that if you were a Christian at some point, it was anything more than a mediocre fair weather fan.
        Just be greatful people see your family as something important enough to stop what they’re doing and pray for you. You don’t have to mock people or believe what they believe but this blog shows how ungrateful you are. You claim you’re appreciative but you’re clearly not.

      14. *let me apologize in advance for typos and run on’s my phone has a mind of its on.

        Hello. Of course you do not know me, we’re all just passing through, but your story caught my attention and grabbed my heart. I NEVER respond to posts on sites such as these, but, here I go. And I’ll try not to be long.
        My husband and also struggled for many years with infertility (8 years to be exact) I was told that I’d NEVER be able to have children EVER! (Oh yeah I guess if I have to claim a religion, it’d be Christianity) *I believe in prayer, but I also wholeheartedly believe and LOVE science.
        We saw fertility specialists and spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to get pregnant, we did a round of artificial insemination(one canceled due to too many eggs and the other time none of the eggs *all 6 got fertilized. we were DEVASTATED!!!
        I’m not here to make you change your mind, I have MANY friends who are just as you, atheist and we co-exist and love one another. All of that said we have two beautiful children now….how it happened. I wrote a book, and a body of musical work. It was as if my womb was full, and it needed to have room for my children(too deep huh? Spoke cookey? Lol I know) what I’m trying to say is, there IS a plan for all of us, and yes God does know all..when, where, why. But he chooses to LET US reap the benefits of figuring it out, not as a puppet master or unkind practical jokes ter, but as a Father wanting his child to grow, learn, build up faith for even more difficult life challenges. To have a story like you and I and to be able share your outcome..one that will help someone else go through the journey THIS journey of life.
        I digress *sigh so long, I know.
        I won’t say I’m praying for you, because that’s already been done, and I will not offend. But I will say, your family is beautiful and I’m glad you and wife have been able to bring to beautiful children into this world. I’m sure your great parents.

      15. I don’t always get to choose how others wish me well, but I for one am sure glad that they do it anyway. Sure, I’ve gotten questionable words of encouragement and received gifts I hate in my lifetime; that doesn’t mean the bearer had any ill will or in any way meant to disparage my way of thinking. Most may not even KNOW my way of thinking and they are gifting as they’ve been taught, how they feel it will help. And every gift has merit, whether it’s through generating positivity, paying it forward, or a monetary resale value on craigslist. It’s all in how you choose to receive and perceive it. May the force be with you.

      16. As a Parent of a child who i almost lost due to a unforeseen health condition i can say this with 100% certainty.

        When your child is sick to the point of them being on deaths doorstep.. ” ANY PORT IN A STORM”.
        When i walked in and saw my child laying there hooked to all those machines and no one having a answer to any question i know i prayed.. begged.. wished.. and cried for anyone to make her better.
        In the end does it really matter if someone else prayed for her or someone donated a dollar ( in her case a organ ) ? focus on the most important thing.. the child becoming well.

        If you dont agree with someone elses personal views how does it effect yours in the end? Say thanks and move on. If someone said ” i hope your child gets better fast ” and doesnt really mean it, will your child not get well? Same thing for someone saying ” i will pray that the Lord protects and comforts your child ” If you dont beleive that there prayer does any good will your child fail to get well?

        last thought here.. are you asking all your doctors and nurses caring for your child not to pray? Are you screening them for religious preference before letting them care for your child? Didnt think so. So your belief in no higher power only goes so far.. you will allow someone who does have that belief do the job that they have worked and prayed so hard for. so again in the end say Thank yo for the support they are willing to offer and focus on your baby getting well by whatever means possible.

      17. I have never understood the oppressive need to tell people you are praying for them. If it is really about you, your beliefs, YOUR HUMILITY, and your “conversation with God” then those are all private things you keep private (cuz they’re about YOU). I am a critical care nurse and I have absolutely seen prayer comfort families, though in my heart I think this is less about God and more about surrendering to being human. But I have also seen countless believers look increasingly burdened as people stop by their mom/dad/daughter/husband/etc’s hospital room and say “We’re praying for you” when a HUG would have helped so much more because even the strongest believers are angry at God when they are at an ICU bedside. Give yourself, pray privately (or with the person you’re praying for if they consent), and stop seeking credit.

      18. Wow. I am an atheist with a 2 year old daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult this experience is for you, and I fully sympathize.
        I also cannot understand how you are not only willing, but eager to pick a fight with people sending you well wishes and good thoughts in the form of prayer.
        I don’t believe these prayers will have an impact, but I don’t understand the purpose of slapping these people in the face. Is it to guilt them in to giving you money?
        You are not just an atheist, you are anti religion. Your disdain and superiority are no different than what you apparently perceive is fostered against you.
        You are setting atheism back decades. You need to come to grips with what made you so anti God, for your sake and your children.

      19. There is this story in the bible where God is about to kill all of the Isrealites ( ironic because they are his people) but Moses pleads for them, in a nutshell hey prays to God and Says i know they’re dumb annoying people but let them live… and so forth God listens to this man. yes this might sound like a fairy tail, considering i grew up most of my life in church never believing a thing i heard…I understand where most of your points come from. but know i cant un-see God’s favor

    2. And yet you will accept money from anyone, religious or not. Hypocrisy at its best, the other side of the religious hypocrisy you rail against. I am not religious, have been through a situation where I had an ill child who eventually died, and still said thanks gracefully, to all those well wishers, and people who prayed, although I don’t pray. What has happened to just accepting humans caring for each other, no matter how they express it to you, especially when it comes to your child? Personally, I would have told you that I would keep you and your family in my thoughts. But to me, thoughts, wishes, prayers….are all the same; it’s attempt of another person trying to say they hope all goes well. Your lecture (yes, that’s what it read like), on relying on Science, well, duh! A lot of people who believe in God don’t believe we should just pray and everything will get better. I think your non belief in God clouds your perspective of why most people say they will pray for your baby….it is because they HOPE everything will go well, that the Doctors will be successful, and that you will soon bring your baby home. They aren’t trying to convert or save you.

      1. Yes, Tammy, I’ll accept tangible contributions from anyone — whether that’s monetary or in any of the other forms I mentioned in the piece. It appears that you’ve missed the entire point of the post, especially the parts where I said thank you to the people who have expressed their support in the form of prayer. I’m sorry you had a negative reaction to this, but I won’t let that bother me. I realize it’s because you obviously didn’t understand the intent behind this piece.

      2. No I didn’t miss the point, as I read it as a “thanks but….” kind of statement. However, I appreciate your response back to me, and again, best thoughts to you and your family! (My thoughts, not God’s).

      3. To me, thoughts, wishes, and prayers are completely different things. They have become comfortable ways to express concern for others, but as Kevin eluded to, it becomes ad nausiam to people of different faiths or non-religious. Sending prayers has become a mindless reaction to sympathy. Unless you know 100% that the receiver of that prayer is religious, it reverts to a self-serving act of kindness. To an atheist, those comments stand out as much as someone saying ‘praise allah’ or something to that affect. Religious people seem to relish in how their god has become infused in our society, literally inescapable and bias. When some of us ‘push back’ and point this out, we are often accused of being ‘too politically correct’. It is a small space between the rock and hard place.

      4. If someone wants to say that they hope everything goes well and that the baby will come home soon, then they should say that. Saying you’ll pray for an atheist’s kid is asinine and is only ever about you, not about them. I had a baby son who died, and the people who were there for me, who actually helped me through it, were by and large the less religious ones. The devout Catholics on one side of my family did jack all except pray and tell me God loved my son so much he took him from me for himself. Believe me when I tell you, praying for an atheist annoys us. A lot.

      5. I had a daughter that died, and I had many people, the religious and the non religious, tell me they were sending good thoughts, wishes, prayers, and other advice. Honestly, none of that did diddley squat, because unless you are going through or have gone through having a sick child or losing one, then all of the well wishes and prayers don’t do anything. My daughter still died. But in the end, I was comforted by the thought that at least there were humans that cared and were trying to say or do something nice. I am tired of trying to be PC all the time and way too old at this point. That includes saying something non PC to someone religious as well, or from a different faith, or an athiest. If I am a caring human being, and am being nice, overlook the “ignorance” at your particular situation and get on with your life. I am not religious, nor do I pray, but I am smart enough to know that if someone says they are praying for me, that they are just trying to do something caring. My best friend, who died 18 months ago, was a deeply religious person. She knew where I stood on that subject, and I knew where she stood. I meditate, listen to the wind, go over my problems. She called it windtalking, and would ask me, in her times of trouble to windtalk for her. When she told me she was praying for me, I didn’t get all hurt about it, or take offense. Life is way too short to take offense to someone offering care or kindness.

      6. how does accepting money make him a hypocrite, in fact it reinforces the man’s point, having someone send him money is actually helping vs someone who says they’ll pray for him, what a stupid comment, oy vey

      7. Tammy – your response is right on the money! I don’t understand why anyone feels the need to write a post that basically says, “Thanks for the prayers but I don’t believe in prayer.” Just say thank you and move on. Kevin – vocalizing your non-beliefs in such a public forum is just as bad as being a religious zealot, in my opinion. Tammy stated it perfectly when she wrote, “Thoughts, wishes, prayers….are all the same; it’s the attempt of another person trying to say they hope all goes well.”

      8. So many people say “I’m praying for you” as a way to move on from a difficult/awkward situation. It’s the same as Facebook activism where people simply “like” or “share” something to show support, but won’t actually go out in the worlds and make a difference for that cause. It’s nice to feel that people care, but the amount of people who truly “care” enough to do something seem to be dwindling. Kevin’s point was not even about helping him, but helping period. Being a good person shouldn’t require faith. If you follow Christianity, i’m pretty sure everything boils down to loving AND helping those in need, but people seem to forget that part.

      9. In the spirit of understanding, I read your entire letter, leaving my ego and sensitivity out of the experience as much as possible. I also read the comments. In the spirit of understanding, I hope you will read with an open heart as to WHY a believer would pray for you and I will address the points echoing the structure of your letter.

        We don’t pray for YOU to make ourselves feel better about OURSELVES (“your gesture does more to make you feel better…”). We do it because we are called to it for everything and everyone. We do it because we are CONCERNED and BROKENHEARTED for YOUR pain, not our own.

        I don’t think everyone who says “I’m praying for you” is pushing their beliefs down your throat. Unless I had read your piece or knew you personally, I would not know you were an atheist. But, *please check your heart condition*. Why do you feel that way (that we are shoving our beliefs down your throat)? Might you feel the same way about a yogi? A Jew? Why are you antagonistic? (I do get part of it. You’re in a stressful situation and you’re venting.)

        Also, please understand, though, that just because we pray, does not mean all believers don’t use science or medicine.

        NONE OF US can PRESUME to know what God intends for Grayson (“a child that he never wanted to exist?”). We are not at liberty to judge or know. We are called to hope in FAITH and stand by you. *Would you turn away a person who supports you?* If you would, then it behooves you not to deceive yourself in a double-minded “thank you, but no thank you.” Be upfront about it, and let your “no” be a “no”.

        Just because we pray does not mean we don’t help financially. If money is your king, then that is your prerogative. But as @ Lizzy mentioned, do you see the inherent hypocrisy of taking money from a believer in that case? It’s the same as thanking us for prayers, and then writing this piece. Let your “yes” be a “yes” and your “no” a “no”.

        To those who don’t believe, we respect your right to believe that. We understand some will not see things our way. God does not need believers to DEFEND Him.

        To the believers in God, keep praying – it is our calling. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. (Matthew 10:14)

      10. Angels’ Armada, you might want to take a look at your Bible to see what your god REALLY thinks about children. This is only one example of very many: Leviticus 26:22 “I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children , and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.”

        The Pew research Centre (sorry, “Center”) has proven that “Atheists/Agnostics” have a greater knowledge of “religion” than any other group in the US. It’s probably best not to throw out random “cuddly” Bible quotes if you don’t know about the very many descriptions of your god as being a homicidal, psychotic, sociopathic, genocidal maniac… which is why, even he did exist, as an ethical, moral, empathetic human being, I would not worship him/her.

      11. Believe me, Jon, I examine my own heart, motivations, and my words before I post. I apologize if I offended you or antagonized you in any way as I was addressing Kevin’s points. That’s how I’m receiving your comment. As for my quoted reference, that was actually directed at believers.

        It’s great you have biblical knowledge. I suppose we differ in the lessons and principles we draw from it both spiritually, historically and culturally. I would ask if you also discount the principles of kindness, love, helping, gentleness, self-disciple, teaching one another, correcting one another, helping the needy, encouraging one another. Independent of the Bible, do you discount these too simply because THEY ARE present in the bible? (These are all heart conditions, rather than brain/knowledge conditions)

        And I would ask the same questions of you that I did of Kevin, rhetorically even…of your heart motivation. Why do you feel that way (that believers are shoving things down your throat)? Might you feel the same way about a yogi? A Jew? Why are you antagonistic in your approach? Is it frustration? Would you turn away a person who supports you because they are a believer? If you would, then it behooves you not to deceive yourself in a double-minded and be upfront.

        Remember, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I can only go by the fruit of your words and your approach at this point. All that being said, I wish you well as as Kevin’s family the best.

      12. Jon Pierson: you try to post saying aethiests know more about the bible then make a fool of yourself trying to prove a point with misquoted information.

        “Punishments for Disobedience
        …21’If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins. 22’I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted. 23’And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me,…”

        here is some cross references for you Jon

        Leviticus 26:6
        “‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.

        when you pluck only 1 line you can make it seem to mean anything jon.. what was really being talked about here was a warning. i beleive it was not to make idols .. to keep the sabbath .. ect ect

        so basically if your good doog things will happen. if your bad bad things will happen.

      1. I’m not a theist, but neither am I atheist. To spiritual to be agnostic, not spiritual enough to have the gall to anthropomorphize.

        That all being said, I found your article rude.

        What’s wrong with believing that the human spirit was given the ability to learn and create and innovate?

        *something* gave humans abilities possessed by no other animal species on earth, ever, in all of history. What’s wrong with calling that something a “god”, for lack of a better term? Without that wondrous ability, your children would never have been conceived and would never have survived.

        Something made life start on earth – what’s wrong with describing it as a god breathing life into clay? Without that breath, your son’s heart would never have started beating.

        Reducing life to nothing but a system of 1s and zeros completely strips the wonder out of the unknown. Just because we now know they’re giant bolts of static electricity instead of Zeus in a mantrum lobbing a few bolts doesn’t change the fact that for millennia, we used a different term for precisely the same phenomenon.

      2. threenorns3, I just want to say that stripping the supernatural out of life does not take away the awe and wonder in the unknown. That is what scientists feel all the time and the reason they strive to make the unknown known. I used to be deist, however I learned that I could be comfortable without a god of the gaps and just know that science will explain more in time. Just like you said, we know now it wasn’t Zeus.

    3. Woosh!!! Did you hear that, Amy? That was the entire point of OPs post, going over your head. Are you serious?

      Kevin Davis, I was born and raised Mormon, but am now atheist. That’s a cute little fighter you’ve got there. I hope he can pull through, with the assistance of all the hospital staff.

      Stay strong, all 3 of you!

    4. ” when I pray I am completely lifting up a the request into the hands of Christ”
      The same Christ who knows all in advance, right? This is like encouraging your children to keep asking you for something nicely, when you have already made up your mind that the answer is no. Why do you not see the sadism in your “Christ’s” plan?

      1. If there is a god, he is either malicious, or not omnipresent/omnipotent.
        One child starving to death, one dead baby, shows that, let alone the millions every year.

    5. You may say you read his post, but you didn’t READ his post. You just proceeded do do everything he and his wife are sincerely requesting that you NOT do. He was bravely speaking for many of us who endure this same behavior as we internally cringe, roll our eyes, and shake our heads. He put a lot of effort into delicately explaining a different point of view, choosing his words carefully, and respecting oposing opinions. For you to insult him further with your post is just sad.

    6. Amy, dear, you are squandering your life on an invisible friend who even by the words of your own holy book, is a sadistic monster. Please do some reading and studying outside of your comfort zone and embrace reality.

    7. So your god had it all planned, and your are asking your god to change the divine plan??? Wouldn’t that be blasphemy? If your god have it all perfectly planned, and always follow through, then what is the point of praying for whatever that will happen anyways?

      1. God has a plan..and that plan includes prayer..if you went to church you would know this..

      2. I’m very happy for you & your family! As a Christian, I also believe that we should be thankful for doctor’s, nurse’s & medical science. The Lord blessed those people w / the knowledge that they need to go to any lengths to provide for the human race. As far as invetro, those doctor’s were also blessed w/ the knowledge to help those that cannot conceive on their own. Every person is entitled to their own beliefs, you & your wife have chosen yours & others have chosen a different belief. You may think that when someone says that they are praying for you & your family it’s to make themselves feel better. Believe what you will, but sir w / all do respect this is not the case! We pray because it’s our belief that the Lord will make a way! No matter the circumstances, it’s called FAITH! If there is no GOD in Heaven as some may think, I’ll take my chances on praying, asking for prayers & putting my faith in Him. & “IF”, there is no God in Heaven I am out nothing. “IF”, there is a God in Heaven, which I believe to be true. I will have an everlasting life w / Him! I will be praying for you, your family & all hospital staff!

      3. Is “god” like the Artilleryman in Jeff Waynes The War of the Worlds, moreannoying?

        “I’ve got a plaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

    8. amygrace44
      You are welcome to believe in what you like however Kevin has already told you how he feels and does not believe in GOD. After reading the circumstances that Kevin and his wife are in I feel that you are not respecting their beliefs.
      I wish them lots of love and best wishes.
      Please reflect on this before posting on a similar situation

    9. //The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus.//
      Yes, the whipping and crucifiction of Jesus is so similar to what the writer is talking about.
      derp!!

    10. I feel more better when I wipe before I dismount from the porcelain, much like when you dismount from the prayer cushion.

    11. If god has a “plan” for Grayson (or anyone) and that plan is to live or die (we don’t know) no amount of prayer is going to change that “plan.” God cannot control the doctors because of this “plan” so praying that the doctors do their job is moot. Sorry Amygrace. You can pray all you want but you can’t change god’s “plan.” Everything that has happened to you; all the good is because of YOU. Maybe you reached out to people for help and they provided for you…that’s because of them doing good on their own, not because a god told them to do it. The bad stuff happens just because that’s life. If god has let it happen, I have ask why would he do that if he loves you? Because of his “plan” for you? Maybe the bad has happened because of bad choices you have made? Maybe because some people are unloving for whatever reason? You can be good without God. But if it helps YOU, by all means, pray, put your troubles in his hands but your practice defies logic. Just saying. The interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part blesses you.

    12. “I feel more better that I know there’s an all-loving, beautiful God who can comfort me and was willing to take on this pain with me. In fact, I typically feel very humbled and powerless as I give my troubles that I cannot solve on my own, to the one that can.”

      “However, He has never failed me. He is always walking with me. It is more about a relationship and conversation with Him rather than some magic power.”

      Read what you wrote, then re-read the article. Notice any correlation? You use “I” and “me,” in what you wrote A LOT, which is exactly the writer’s point. The prayer serves the function to make YOU feel better, like you contributed to help a cause. But you didn’t help with prayer, you just made yourself feel better. You just proved the writer’s entire point…

      1. She’s using “I” and “Me” and “My” because she’s speaking from her own personal experience , dah
        From what I’ve read here you atheist peoples nonbelievers only know how to point your fingers and blame.
        God gave the Doctors , Nurses , Scientist their brains with the knowledge to do the great work they do.
        Now I can say that because of my own personal experience. In the last days there will be those that see and those that don’t see. period, unfortunately. (I wish the best for this beautiful baby and family.)

    13. […I wouldn’t give up on Jesus just like He isn’t giving up on your son…]

      You mean Jesus won’t give up on his fight against his father who wants to take the baby up there? Or against some kind of evil that is obssesed with having that baby in his little hell? … And, in the other hand, you won’t give up on Jesus, who is god made flesh, consequently somehow he’s the creator, the one who at the end of the day decide if a little puppy lives or not.. Give up on asking for mercy? This is confusing…

      And for those who are saying that he is an atheist not his son… Go and ask a jewish baby if he wants to be circumcised, a christian batized, ask a jehova witness baby if he want’s to refuse a blood transfusion… This guy isn’t taking off his son’s right of receiving the life or death prayer chain supplied by the good Christ followers, you can still pray for this son of the devil if you wat to feel merciful…

    14. “The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion God had for His son, Jesus”, uh, so much passion that he let his son, who is also himself, be killed in the most slow way to die, so that we all could sin? THAT makes sense! What a great and passionate dad!!!! NOT! GROSS.

    15. “The passion you have for your son reminds me a lot of the passion god had for his son…….” Really? He had so much passion he sent his son to die a horrible death because he had to die for everyone else’s sins? Really? How twisted. You can’t make this stuff up folks.

      1. You are right John Eastan. “God” sending “His Son” to die a horrible, humiliating, torturous death is humanly unimaginable, incomprehensible to the human in his right mind. And it IS true. NO ONE could have made this stuff up . . . precisely because it goes so far beyond any human understanding. If we could see eternity, if we could see multiple dimensions all at once, if we could be outside of time, if we could know that that death would not be permanent and would be broken of its power . . . . then perhaps, but because we can’t there is no way to assimilate this information into our knowledge base. The only way anyone in their right mind could believe this “Salvation Theory” is if “God” himself revealed himself and this knowledge personally to an individual. And when that person believes the revelation to be real, others without that revelation will believe that person to have gone madd.

    16. If you don’t have anything comforting to say, say nothing. You’re comforting yourself DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    17. When you tell a non believer that you’ll pray for them, you make it about you. You’re basically disregarding them and their beliefs to do something that only serves your belifes. if you had cancer and I told you I’d cast a spell with herbs and candles and do a full moon pagan chant in your honor, that action is all about me. Do you see how that works? Keep your god to yourself.

      1. Don’t forget that if you offered to do that, as a pagan might, that the Christian would be mortified and offended by the offer. I’ve seen it hahave.

    18. You are a selfish and insensitive person to preach this nonsense in response to a letter asking you not to preach this nonsense.

      1. I so totally agree, I have read Kevin’s blog and have scrolled through all the idiotic comments pertaining to the belief in their god and I truly feel for Kevin. He laid his heart on the alter of public opinion and has had it trampled on. His explaining his time away was just that, explaining his wife had given birth 12 weeks early. It was already knowledge at the front that he and his wife did not believe in a deity, yet all the worms crawled out of the woodwork to demean him. To Kevin, be strong, may your little one have a full and happy life unbridled by religious constraints. .

    19. As a Christian myself, let me say that Amy has completely missed the point. How is telling an atheist that you are praying for him going to give him any comfort? As a Christian yourself, PRAY if you believe it, but don’t think that telling him that you’re praying for him does any good. Like, so what? As a Christian, I do believe in prayer, I don’t necessarily understand how it works, because you’re right, Kevin, why does an all-knowing God need me to tell Him anything? I don’t know, I’ve stopped trying to know, but I believe in it because I believe I have seen power in it (beside the point). ANYWAYS, the point I think that Kevin is making was not that when you pray for him you are doing it to make yourself feel good, but TELLING him that you are praying for him? Yes, that is a purely selfish move completely used to make you feel like 1. You are doing something for him, and 2. You are trying to prove a point that we as Christian’s are willing to pray for even the ATHEISTS. LOOK AT ME, I AM SUCH A GOOD CHRISTIAN, I AM PRAYING FOR AN ATHEIST EVEN THOUGH HE KNOCKS MY GOD! As a Christian myself, I am embarrassed of what Amy is saying.

      Love to you, Kevin.

    20. Amygrace44, you appear to mean well and seem sincere. If you really do have a personal relationship and actually converse with the creator of the Universe, could you ask in one of your chats for the cure to childhood cancer or ask him to make an appearance to all of mankind? Then we can all be on the same page, save the lives of countless children and stop killing each other in His name? That would really be helpful and super fantastic. Bunch of Love Com’n Your Way
      Drewski

    21. I say “On the mark!!” amygrace44. Thank you for putting in words that which I was thinking while reading this letter. I would like to add….his children are here because of God…it is God that has created us and in turn we have created all these technologies to make our lives better. If they were not meant to be here, there would be nothing, no medicine, technology or procedures that would save them. It is God’s will.

      1. Wendy!
        You seriously are a very disrespectful person
        Kevin has told people what he believes in yet you are still preaching this religious crap.
        There is no GOD cos if there was he would never had allowed children to be sexually abused in his place of worship.
        Religion pays NO taxes or contributes to the worldwide economy.
        What you believe is up to you however you need to respect others beliefs as well

        1. Mel B, I will pray for you too. I will pray for your peace, comfort and well being in this life. I will include that I hope you find the way, as well. I will pray for relief of the hatred you behold. And, that you not have fear. We all have free will…to believe the way we want.

    22. Hey Amy, if you look up into the night sky and see a bright light moving steadily along, that is the ISS – something else created by the ingenuity of man. If you look beyond that you’ll see… space. That is how far over your head the original point went. Okay, enough of the trademarked British snark, on with my actual point:

      It is my experience that “prayers” are more often than not offered up as an easy ‘out’ of an uncomfortable situation. Don’t know what to say when someone has lost a loved one? “You’re in my prayers.” Unsure how to respond to the news that a dear friends family member is fighting cancer for the third time? “I’ll pray for them!”. It’s a ‘nothing’ response, a way of sounding sympathetic and caring when the person truly has no way of expressing their feelings.

      I get that the intention is noble (as does the author) and well meaning, but if you truly felt such concern you would do something. Donate to a charity (not necessarily monetarily, but time or items you no longer need: I sometimes help out at the local British Heart Foundation shop) in some way. Or if you meet a doctor who specialises in these kinds of cases shake their hand and say something like “Thank you so, so much for what you do. You’ve never helped me, but what you do is so important I think you deserve all the thanks in the world!”. These things are so much more effective than prayer. A kind word to a doctor, letting them know that they are appreciated, could be just the thing they need after seeing a patient die two days before, despite everything they tried.

      Ultimately, though you deny it, prayer is about you. You may not even realise that. But it is. It’s easy sympathy. Anyone can offer easy sympathy. Don’t be anyone, get out there. Sort through a donation bag. Re-stock the DVD and book shelves. Thank a doctor or nurse. Do something with real, tangible results. Please.

      1. I’ll be honest, I went back and forth whilst writing it for quite a while. The arrogance of the believers, that their chosen beliefs trump the polite wishes of the author – expressed during what must be an emotionally exhausting time but sill done so with incredible sensitivity and politeness – is really offensive. It’s as if they are saying “balls to you, I want feel a little better by offering you meaningless words and I’m going to do it, damnit!”. So disrespectful it almost hurts.

    23. Amen and praise God for this child’s life ! He is innocent and will make his own decisions in this life ! I pray there will be ppl in his life to show him you do exist !

      1. Dude politely asks people not to offer prayer but to do something meaningful. Selfish people still offer prayers to appease themselves. SMH

      2. If your god were as all-powerful as you say he is, why would would he need other people to show him to this kid? And why is it any of your business?

      3. nlj_ does not have to accommodate Kevin’s atheism since Kevin made an open letter in which he discussed not only his troubles but his disbelief in God. There is no excuse for disbelief in God and no need for those who believe to not proclaim it. and it is as much nlj’s business to comment as it is for Mel B and Kerry and others. As for Kerry, God’s omnipotence is not “deus ex machina.” God is not accountable to you for how He wills to love the world and to save His beloved.

        1. If you want to control a group of people…..Give them a GOD to worship!!!!!
          I’m sure your imaginary GOD loves all the abused and starving kids in the world.
          You say he soooo powerful yet allows these things to happen…..
          Dont blame humans cos your apparent GOD created them…..

    24. The whole thing just breezed over your head, Amy….. I will plant a cabbage in your honor tomorrow to help you get closer to god….. At least you can eventually eat the cabbage….Won’t help you at all, but it makes me feel better….

    25. Wow! Did you really read the post? I’m amazed at your lack of understanding of another point of view. On top of that your comment was all “I” — 21 of them, along with 9 or 10 me, my, myself.

      1. I can’t believe how a lot of nonbelievers here don’t understand when someone uses “I” or “Me” in a sentence how they (the “I” and “Me”) are being used. It’s not selfish you dingbats it’s because they are speaking from their own personal experience. Wise up atheist. In the last days there will be those that see and those that don’t see. And that’s not a fairy tale either. I wish the best for this new beautiful baby and family.

    26. Seriously. You are kind to offer your thoughts as the author mentioned, but didn’t you realize that his central message was NOT to be preached to???

    27. Dear Kevin, wife and son- I am so sorry for the hard times you all must be dealing with. I can’t imagine how scared you all must be. I hope everything works out well for you and your family. And Kevin, I believe in the same views as you and your wife do, and I consider myself a pretty damn good writer, but let me tell you,…you blew me away. I couldn’t of said what you said more perfectly than you did. You said it with such eloquence, honesty, strength, talent and skill. You gave me hope in general, although I know it wasn’t what you intended, and I wanted to thank you for giving me the pleasure of reading it. I’ve never read anything as intelligent, unbiased, competent and of value as what you have written. Much less writing such worthy literature while under the stress and circumstances you and your family must be under. I don’t know any of you, but can tell right off the bat that you are all very strong individuals. I wish you all the best of luck and health!

    28. You have spectacularly missed the point as someone else has said in another reply. Haven’t you read the blog?

    29. “Sometimes I do not trust in God enough to take care of situations. However, He has never failed me”?
      Really, then you must have a PERFECT LIFE? Cool no prob’s . Sounds ridiculous.!!!!
      However if it means that you accept and deal with whatever comes you may as well be Buddhist, Atheist or any way of life which is NOT dependent on deity. Either god FIXES things for you or there is no god. We ALL deal with reality as it is.

  2. Right On!! I totally agree, Kevin. There´s a fine line between faith and reason, sadly most people who are believers take GOD to a fanatical endless road . I believe the same things you do as my daughter was also born prematurely and was also in neonatal care. Nevertheless, im not agreeing with you just because we had premature babies, but because your point of view on atheism hits the spot. Never give up! Im proud of being an atheist and Im the happiest man ever whether rich or poor. Can you imagine how advanced science could have been if it weren’t for all these blasphemous knuckleheads? We probably could have prevented premature babies.

    1. Not every religious believer is a knucklehead. How many of the great discoveries in science were made by complete atheists? I’m pretty sure quite a number were made by agnostics and people dissatisfied with the religion of their upbringing, but the majority medical advances and scientific breakthroughs were brought about by people that either believed in God as they developed their ideas or believed in him at some point in their life. Who is to say that many of the inventions given to man were not developed through inspiration from God? Why were there so few scientific advances during the dark ages? Why was there a blossoming of knowledge in politics, religion, science, agriculture and music from about 1400 on? Why was a nation formed that allowed for freedoms unheard of in any history books before 1776? No, our country is not perfect, but I believe it was God inspired and if you doubt, then why is there a speech by an unknown man that fired up the signers of the declaration of independence to all sign and then disappear? The freedoms we were given by those signers and then the politicians that wrote and passed the constitution allowed for us to have the scientific advances and religious freedoms we now enjoy.

      No, science cannot prevent premature babies. We lost our first pregnancy at 22 weeks and our second was born at 29 weeks. She is a healthy and happy 6 yr old now. Our two later children were both full term and are healthy and happy.

      Science cannot fix the heart. Science does not often teach compassion nor empathy. Science can work on the mechanics and biology of how things work, but it can’t talk to why very often.

      That’s just my two cents. As long as someone is generally respectful and tolerant of other belief systems, I have no problem. I worry when we start hating each other because of our religious beliefs. Atheism is fine for you. It doesn’t work for me personally. But I can still appreciate science. I believe God is bound by natural laws just like you and me. He just knows more laws than we have discovered yet. We will one day discover a way to build worlds from raw materials and move faster than light. God already knows how to do that. We don’t yet.

      1. James,

        Thanks for the diatribe about how our country was founded. It doesn’t at all relate to Kevin’s post.

        “Science cannot fix the heart.” That’s factually untrue. I’ve been through multiple heart surgeries, and here I am. I didn’t need any help from any god. My family and friends made sure to let me know they were praying for me, even though I had requested them not to, and to not even tell me about it. I had complete faith in the surgeons and staff that were handling my care, and they came through.

        “…but it can’t talk to why very often. ” Actually it does, very often. Google the “scientific method.”

      2. Actually, science can fix the heart, and it has done so on countless occasions. As for compassion and empathy, we certainly didn’t get animal rights from the Bible, or the near universal repudiation of slavery for that matter. We don’t get compassion or empathy from the Bible; if it was up to biblical morality we’d be stoning our children to death for being rebellious and murdering people for working on the Sabbath. We’d still have slaves and women would be second-class citizens.

      3. “I believe God is bound by natural laws” … Really ??? You can actually say that with a straight face after all the supernatural drivel you just spouted ???? That the same god who created everything, including the universe, etc. in 6 days ??? How can you say that ? Do you not understand the implications of such a statement ? You know, you can worship your toaster for all I care, not my business…. at least it is responsible for a tangible result, toast… ( sans prayer ) When you expect me to worship your toaster, too, that’s where the rub comes in….Especially when the law starts making toasters exempt from current laws & provides ALL toaster manufacturers with a tax exempt status & favorable legislation that condones toasters….You REALLY wanna impress me with religion ? Simple, all churches start paying their fair share of public taxes… If god gets perturbed over the development, let him reimburse you for the difference…. If he is truly all powerful, he will.. If not, you will have to face reality…. We all do it daily, not so hard if you are sincere… You sounded sincere, please, by all means, give it a try. Please tell us how you fare. I, for one, cannot wait to hear the results….

      4. Derek, Tony,

        Sorry you misunderstood my purpose. I meandered from my original idea. Let me go back to what I was originally intending before I for caught up in the moment. Religion is like a road map and science is like an owners manual or a repair manual. Both are useful when used the right way. The owners manual probably won’t help you find a 3 star restaurant, and the map won’t tell you where to find the jack and lug wrench so you could change a tire.

        By saying I believe God is bound by natural laws I’m saying scientific evidence points to the fact that the earth and solar system are millions or billions of years old. The creation story is more of an allegory or a reason for our existence. Science gives us theories on how it all happened via evolution.

        You can be justifiably angry at many religions for their deceitful ways of using the tax code for their own selfish desires. Read James Mitchner’s “Space,” if you haven’t yet. It has quite a lengthy discussion on how many of the televangelist were originally fear mongerers warning us of impending alien invasion.

        Anyway, I thought this would be an open minded place for discussion. My mistake. I was merely pointing out that there are numerous things science cannot explain. And that religion does not preclude science nor should science completely preclude religion even though many zealots from both sides still want to fight that holy war in the name of their science or their God.

      5. Where to start. First of all statistics show that 93% of all scientists ARE atheists. It has also been shown that generally the better educated you are, the more likely it is that you will not profess a belief in a god.

        The Dark Ages occurred as a direct result of religion. You were not allowed to question anything the church said. Science, investigation or inquiry of any kind was not to be tolerated. The church attempted to stamp out as much ancient knowledge as they could find and they did a masterful job of it. We can thank the Arabic peoples for preserving much of it, but not all. One of the biggest tragedies for the knowledge of the ancient world was the destruction of the Library of Alexandria but a Christian mob. The same mob that murdered Hypatia of Alexandria.

        The irony of the Dark Ages is that many of the leaders in the church hierarchy knew that what they were peddling was bogus, but it made it easier to control people. The stranglehold that the church had on society didn’t change until the Reformation and Renaissance that occurred after 1400. That is when society began to throw off the shackles that religion had placed upon it for far too long!

        As for the primary founders of the USA, they were not Christians. They might have believed in a God, but it wasn’t the same one the Christians bowed down to. They were Deists, while Paine was something unique unto himself. Their god was deaf to prayer. Look up what a Deist believes to see the difference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism). Most of them despised what Christianity represented and what it had done to the world. Read their comments, private correspondence and what their friends said about them.

        Since the country’s founding, it’s been a constant struggle to push the religious away from control of the government and scientific discovery. You need look no farther than what we see religious doing to our country today as proof. That is part of the reason you see non-theists starting to become vocal. We don’t want to start backsliding from the progress we’ve made.

        As far as science and scientists being being without compassion or empathy, you couldn’t be more wrong. The ones I know are have a great deal of heart and are very strong in their humanist beliefs. They are passionate about science and the beauty of our planet and universe. In my experience they have more moral fiber than most of the Christians I know. That’s the difference between having a set of values you actually follow because they come from within, and taking your values from outside from of an ancient text that has been heavily edited and altered.

      6. As an addendum to what I’ve already said it is also true that religion has generally been on the wrong side of nearly every advance the human race has made. Whether the advance has been moral or scientific, religion has fought tooth and nail against change. The only reason the world has advanced so far was due to people beginning to adopt a more humanist view of the world. Slavery, women’s rights, Nazism, equal rights, discrimination, evolution, global climate, scientific research, etc. I could go on, but I think I made my point.

        Religion promotes ignorance and magical thinking. It may be just my belief, but I think that a person never fully matures until they throw off the shackles of faith. Until they do they gullible and therefore susceptible to believing in all manner of crap. That last has been demonstrated to be true. Compassion and empathy are not to be found in the pages of the bible or in the hearts of most fundamentalists.

        1. I am not making a case for religion and rejected all of it long ago after studying a few and cherry-picking that which was of value. I stick with what I call God and leave religion alone these days.

          However, the point needs to be made that all religions are not equal and the best of religion is a crucial part of our spiritual nature and the need to express that nature. Sadly, little of any religion falls into the ‘best’ but religions are not all bad.

          History also reveals that while a majority of scientists in this age of materialist-reductionism may be atheists, although I think your figure is too high for atheism and many are agnostic and quite a few also hold religious beliefs, the fact is our greatest scientists in the past were religious. Both Newton and Descartes for instance held strong religious beliefs and also practised astrology and alchemy.

          Einstein was a deeply spiritual person even when he put aside his religion of Judaism. Reading his history makes that clear.

          He said something along the lines of religious science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind. The other historical reality is that in the early days of materialist-reductionist science, religion was not the enemy. The further science has detoured, and it is a detour, into the realms of the material and the mechanical, the more it has set itself up as the opposite of the worst of religion.

          Science without philosophy is dangerous. Science with philosophy and spirituality is healthy. Religion is best kept out of everything except, well, religion. It has no place in the State that is for certain.

          But the fact remains that the rejection of religion, including the best of religion by science has turned science itself into some sort of God, with atheists its acolytes and the realms of science, medicine, cosmology, physics, variations on the theme of religion.

          Science has in essence become what it decries. Therein lies the power of the shadow at work.

      7. You are correct in one thing. The 93% applies specifically to the members of the National Academies of Science (http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/does-it-matter-that-many-scientists-are-atheists).
        The figure for scientists in general was 41% are atheists, 33% are theists, 18% hold Deist/Pantheist beliefs, 7% didn’t know. (http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/).
        Pantheism vs. Deism vs. Atheism (https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120513150252AAAckPX)

        That Newton and Descartes were both theists is hardly surprising considering the time in which they lived. It also explains why they believed in something as silly as astrology and alchemy.

        Einstein’s quote about religion and science related to people seeing something larger than themselves about the universe. He was an agnostic and he said that flat out. He even complained about the people who tried to make out his beliefs to be something other than what he believed. Quotes of his follow:

        “… I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections. It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely personal,’ from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings. Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it. (Einstein, Albert (1979). Autobiographical Notes. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, pp. 3-5.)
        –and–
        Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order… This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as “pantheistic” (Spinoza). (https://books.google.com/books?id=fjR0zUxu5rQC&pg=PT289&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false)
        (Pantheist definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism)
        –and–
        It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
        (Dukas, Helen (1981). Albert Einstein the Human Side. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 43.)

        Science itself is not religion or belief. It requires no faith. I don’t BELIEVE in science, I agree with its evidence-based conclusions. I understand how the scientific process works and I trust its ability to arrive at rational explanations about how the universe operates. I find it to be a good thing that scientists admit that they don’t know everything. It means that are still engaged in productive inquiry. Only religion claims to have all the answers, which is an arrogant stance to take. Atheists are NOT acolytes of science. But we do like, respect and trust its ability to get to the truth. At least scientists can admit where they are wrong. It may be hard for them sometimes, but they can, and often will, change their views if the evidence warrants it.

        I may be wrong, but your comments seem to indicate that you don’t understand science that well. Contrary to what you may believe, the scientist who ignores all philosophy and ethics in a blind rush to explore is generally a straw man. I don’t know of any scientists who think that way. They might exist, but if they do, they are in the minority. Scientists are not blind to the effect their research has upon the world, but many don’t hold a religious view of morality, but a humanist one and that is why many theists accuse them of being soulless. But science carries a humanist philosophy in its core. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism)

        The majority of the world’s religion are poisonous. They are mind viruses that ruin nearly everything they touch. There are some good elements to them, but those elements are far outweighed by the negative ones. Buddhism is the best of them and if followed as the Buddha suggested, not harmful to the world. But it is more of a life philosophy than it is a religion. Buddha never claimed divinity and discouraged people from worshiping him as one.

        1. ” I find it to be a good thing that scientists admit that they don’t know everything. It means that are still engaged in productive inquiry. Only religion claims to have all the answers, which is an arrogant stance to take. Atheists are NOT acolytes of science”
          Styxraven you’re not quite right there .As a matter of fact, religious people are very good at admitting they dont have all the answers.
          You said it yourself, in quote ”They ignore the bad with their usual empty platitudes of “god’s will” or “mysterious ways” or “can’t know god’s mind”, even though he created eveything in the universe, good or bad”.
          Science does NOT have all the answers. Religion does NOT have all the answers too. We all admit that there are things we do not understand. Difference is; Atheists believe that science would one day provide the missing pieces but religious people believe that the missing pieces is known by God and they have FAITH in that belief. Science finds a convenient explanation when they do not have the answers and it is something along the lines of ” a series of random occurence or coincidence and that the universe is complex enough without making it more complex by making assumptions………” . And religious people also find a convenient explanation when they do not have the answers along the lines of ” God knows and God is a mystery and faith is believing without seeing, faith can move mountains……”

          So NOBODY knows it all. Lets all admit that and move on and believe whatever gives you peace of mind. Stop trying to convince religious people that their faith is idiotic. Religious people should stop trying to pretend like they don’t understand why athiesm is growing. Nobody has all the answers , i think that is what most people with different beliefs have in common at least.

      8. Styx, I’m not going to attempt to debate your commentary. If they are your views, then I respect that. The only things I take issue with, as a believer in Science, and a Catholic, is your assertion that the more educated a person is, the more likely they are to not profess a belief in God.

        The reason is, that it implies that those that are proud of their faith, despite never attempting to push their beliefs onto others, are somehow less intelligent.

        Being firm in your faith, especially in todays day and age, is actually much harder to do than to pretend as though you don’t believe in something greater than yourself. This is absolutely not a dig at Atheists, because they are not pretending. At least not the ones I’ve met. If you don’t believe in a greater power, that’s perfectly ok. I mentioned in an earlier post, that my faith is my own, and no one has the power to affect it, and I respect other people’s beliefs with the same sincerity.

        The thing I found interesting about your post though is that while you were intent on making a point about the “enlightened-ness” of the Scientific community, you contradicted your original point by highlighting that 41% of the world’s scientists are Atheists. While 33% are Theists, and another 18% hold Deist/Pantheist beliefs, and the last 7% were unsure.

        While laid out like that, yes it seems that the majority of Scientists are Atheists, but that’s not at all the case. Atheism, as I understand it is, requires a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. It’s not a religion, or a non-religion. Neither is it some sort of weird, cult-like belief in Science. It’s a fact based perspective on the world beyond our existence. Or rather the lack of anything beyond our existence.

        So therefore, that 58% of the World’s scientists don’t necessarily believe in a specific God or Supernatural being, does not mean that they do not believe in something greater than themselves (which by definition can not be an Atheist).

        Is your position specifically opposed to Christianity on the whole? Because that seems like an entirely different argument. One that I’ve never seen an Atheist profess. The entirety of their philosophy is that there is nothing greater than us, and religious people (of any faith) believe that there is something greater than us. Though admittedly, they’ll likely never be able to agree on what exactly that is. 🙂

      9. As for the education part, I didn’t say it, others better educated in the subject than I did.
        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201402/why-are-educated-people-more-likely-be-atheists
        I try NOT to make statements that are NOT factual. If I make a mistake, I will correct that I soon as I realize I have. I made no reference to smarter or better. Just better educated. Because along with an education comes the ability to reason more critically and not believe everything you see.

        Pantheists, atheists and Deists can often get along because in general their views do not conflict in any major degree. Pantheism and Deism reject even the idea of a god as conventional religions describe. Generally the primary difference they have with atheism is how we all saw the universe come into being. They don’t believe in a god that you can pray to or thank and have no dogma. We see no problem with that. So they are actually closer to being like us in how they view the world rather than anyone who adheres to the Abrahamic religions or any other dogmatic religion.

        I find organized, dogmatic religion to be poisonous to society as a whole. It does the world little good by promoting non-critical thinking. I don’t believe that everyone who is part of the mainstream religious whole is a bad person, but I do see their religion as harmful. I also feel that some of the fundamentalists professing it to be promoting evil.

        I never said science was necessarily more enlightened. Just that it was not the demon that religion tries to make it out be. But I do believe that humanists are much more in tune with the world and so more enlightened than religious morality is. You should also please notice that i try to use the word theist whenever possible, because that is what I mean. I may occasionally slip and say Christian, because that is what I encounter 95% of the time, but I usually, but not always mean theists. I will try to be more careful of my wording in the future. Sorry for any confusion that it might have caused.

    2. No worries at all, Styx. I didn’t think that you had “a bone to pick” with Christians. I just thought it curious that your position hinged so heavily on one philosophy in general.

      I can always respect when a person can acknowledge that they were wrong. In any regard. It’s something that seems to be in short supply these days.

      As for the “educated” topic, quoting someone else’s work without crediting them in the first place usually just leads to confusion. I mean, I could say a whole lot of things that are open to interpretation, and they’d be seen as my perspective. At which point, I can choose to play the cited source card if the situation gets dicey.

      Not saying that you had some ill-intent, just that a statement like that holds little value to all of us. I’m more interested in what YOU think. What the other people on this forum think. For themselves. Because otherwise, we end up in debate that starts looking like a legal preceding rather than a non-hostile discussion amongst civilized, and intelligent people.

      I do not know why so many religious people try to make people agree with their beliefs. I also don’t know why so many Atheists feel compelled to do the same.

      You don’t believe in a God? Cool. I do. I’m not going to try and convince you to suddenly believe in the bible. I’m happy to share with anyone why I believe what I believe, but what bothers me is that both Atheists and Religious people so often seem to have an agenda when they ask the other why they believe what they believe. An agenda to disprove their belief. Be that in one God, 2000 Gods, no Gods.

      That’s why, I think, there’s always so much tension between our respective groups. Atheists tend to have a bit of arrogance about them when faced with a person that believes in a God or many Gods. Why? Why should you judge me because I choose to believe in a power greater than myself? In the same vein, why would I ever look down or up at you for not believing? Can we all just look at each other in the eyes and really listen to what the other is saying? I mean, it’s only right when someone asks someone else what their view on religion is. It’s an extremely personal topic, but we hardly ever give it the respect it deserves.

      🙂

      1. I didn’t cite the site the source here, because it usually isn’t necessary. It is also what I have found to be true. Better educated people generally tend to be less superstitious and more skeptical to unverifiable claims. But I did finally end up citing the source because that is one the many I found that let me know I wasn’t imagining the correlation. The subject came up in the first place when the poster I was responding to mentioned “knuckleheads” in reference to theists. No denigration meant towards you, but knuckleheads is a polite way of describing most of the theists I have had to deal with.

        I do find the claims of theists to be quite arrogant To claim that a god created a universe of full of billions of galaxies and which formed billions of years before we arrived, just for us? Then to say that he is concerned with the minutiae of our lives over all else is to me the height of arrogance. Most atheists claim that in the scheme of all things in the universe, we are less than nothing. As far as the universe is concerned, we are only a vanishingly small part of a much greater whole. We never claimed to know everything, but we do require evidence before we will believe fantastical claims, like the existence of any god.

        I don’t find most atheists to be arrogant, so much as frustrated. We are constantly bombarded with theistic nonsense, theistic proselytizing and theist intrusions into our lives from their trying to legislate their morality into law. We put up with them trying to change our public schools by trying to force religion into the curriculum disguised as “science”. We get lorded over by the superior attitudes of the theistic by being treated as some poor retarded relation. Theists invade our forums, meeting places, events, etc. preaching the “good news”. They blame us for all the problems of society, when in reality people of our stripe are rarely a problem for law enforcement or the moral fiber of others. If anything, I find most atheists to more ethical than nearly any theist I know.

        With all of this, Is it any wonder that we are starting to become more vocal and militant than before. We have no desire to backslide into the past and we are tired of theists trying to hold back beneficial scientific discovery just because they don’t agree with it. Besides the fact that many theists have said that we should be forced to leave the country or just be killed outright. We are tired of just sitting back and taking the abuse. So we are beginning to fight back.

      2. I also want to add that I have no problem with someone who believes, so long as they keep it to themselves. It is the ones who want to force it upon others, try to legislate their morality into law, muddy scientific theories with nonsense and who attempt to get their “version” of the “truth” taught as science in education that I have a problem with. This ongoing religious argument would be unnecessary if they would just stop doing those things, but they won’t. So they have made it needful for atheists to draw a line in the sand and say “no further. We hold the line here”. If you don’t like something is society, that’s your business. Stay away from it if you don’t like it, but don’t try to force others to comply with your morality or as I see it, lack of it.

        Also to repeat, not all believers are stupid, but many of them are woefully undereducated and misinformed about far too many subjects. Then in their ignorance they try to force their views on others, some of which are very offensive to others. But since they are “right” they feel that it’s OK for them to do that so we can see the “truth”. No matter how much they try to dress it up, what they are doing is wrong.

  3. Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece, Kevin. Now I’ll know exactly what to say when people say they are praying for me or someone else — “Thank you. I’m sure that makes you feel better.” I have never been able to articulate what I’ve felt whenever I’ve heard that phrase, but I’ve always known it was for the benefit of the person who is praying, and not helpful to the one being prayed over. You said it perfectly, and I thank you.

    1. You do realize that comes off just as obnoxious as saying, “I’ll pray for you,” right?

      What ever happened to being graceful?

      1. I think the point is “JUST AS obnoxious.” It wouldn’t need to be said if people weren’t insisting on forcing their beliefs on other people in the first place.

        Why aren’t Christians ALSO supposed to “be graceful” and keep their prayers a private matter (as, in fact, Jesus instructs them to do?)

  4. Congratulations on your new addition! He is adorable and I hope he is continuing to get stronger and healthier. As a NICU nurse and an atheist, I thank you for this post. You stated everything I’ve ever thought throughout my career. I don’t understand how families can watch their newborn struggle to live and call that “god’s plan” and still have faith in him. Any entity that could do something like that to an innocent baby is nothing but cruel. You have definitely found yourself a new follower, and I hope you keep us updated on Grayson’s progress. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    1. Excellent choice of words. “You and your family are in my THOUGHTS” instead of “You and your family are in my PRAYERS”. That’s because you and I both know that prayers are completely meaningless.

    2. God plan was The Garden of Eden. Man rejected the Garden Of Eden and accepted the lie of Satan the deceptor.. We live with the consequences. Fortunately that’s not the end.

  5. You made some good points. Not all denominations are against fertility treatments or birth control (I think that’s really just catholics) and walk around saying that it’s God’s plan. I think that is a cop out saying. Also, you can believe in science, modern medicine and doctors and still believe in a higher power and spirituality. You can’t put all Christians in a box just like you can’t put all atheists in a box.

  6. I donate blood, food, time and money on the rare occasion I have some. I do not offer prayer to anyone because I do not believe it does anything and while it might make believers feel better to hear it I could not say it and be honest, so I don’t. That does not mean that I am not genuinely hoping they receive the expert care or comfort they need, It just means the compassion comes from me, not some disconnected ‘higher’ source. So I send you and your family my sincere love and hope.

  7. I am also a NICU nurse and an atheist. When my daughter died, the most common thing that I heard was that it was God’s plan. Screw you people!! If you want to believe in a god that kills children, allows them to be raped and tortured and starve to death, Go for it. I want nothing to do with any god like that.

    1. I had a child that died too, and I hated all that crap as well. That was until I got a little older and realized most people are just wishing you well. That, and there were a lot of non believers who said the same stupid thing, that when one door closes…blah, blah, blah. The real trick, the real intelligent thing to do is to accept all well wishes, and understand it’s just one person trying to say or do something to help, because they don’t know what to do. I am not religious, I don’t pray. But during dark times, when people tell me they are praying for me, I understand that they are wishing me well. I am sorry for your loss. My daughter died 31 years ago and there’s not a day that I do not remember.

      1. Tammy, I am so sorry for your loss, but I do believe that you missed the point he was trying to make. It wasn’t that he doesn’t appreciate the well wishes, or that he hasn’t accepted them gracefully…he just needed a platform to vent with like minded people. We all know that “prayers” are not meant to be anything other than a hope that everything will turn out the way we wish…the same as anyone would give. This post wasn’t meant to be hateful, but you definitely took it to the next level. You seem to have a lot of misguided anger maybe justifiably so, but sometimes it helps to remember that we are all in this world together…and sometimes it helps to get stuff off of our chest with people that might understand where we are coming from. We all accept the “prayers” with a smile and a nod, but you also know the feeling you get and the little person in the back of your head that you have to tune out. He was tired of tuning it out. Now he can take a deep breath, put his smile back on, and continue to agree to disagree.

      2. No, I think everybody here missed my point, and that is, sometimes it is just nice to be nice. I understand that the “I will pray for you” gets really, really tiring, as does all the “when one door closes another opens”, or “everything happens for a reason” anthems as well. Sometimes, it’s just nice to stop, like you said, put a smile on, like you said, and remember that we are all in this world together, and not everyone is trying to shove their beliefs down your throat, they might just not know what else to say or do. I understood his point and everyone else’s here as well….I am not religious either, do not pray, and do not want to. However, I am glad when someone just acknowledges me as a another human being, no matter if I agree with their beliefs. As for me, you would have to know me to know there is no anger, or pain pent up anywhere. I always have a smile on my face, and I always agree to disagree! There is no way I would want to live in a world where everyone agreed all the time. How boring would that be!

      3. At some point, just being nice takes more ” spoons” than you have. Always focusing on being nice is going to unnecessarily exhaust the person. That’s putting unnecessary burden on the minority for normalizing very specific behaviors in dealing with grief or medical scares, etc. I will lay my boundaries for a reason. Those who ignore it are just being rude. Period. If I know and care about said line crosser, I will then address it nicely, but I am not obliged, nor should I be. If they’re truly wanting to be comforting to someone other than themselves, dismissing the request of “don’t say you’ll pray for me” is dismissive of that person’s religious choices. It would be considered I’ll conceived and purposeful if tables were flipped, and always playing nice is ridiculous expectation at that point. But each must set their own boundaries, which the Author just did. It should be respected. Rather than being rude by ignoring the request, they can simply say sorry and give condolences (literally just say that). If they can do more, do more. Boundary respected, help received. So simple. I believe that is what the whole letter is trying to say: “Look, this is not the time, please respect that.”

      4. Tammy what you say is THE MOST beautiful sentiment here. I applaud you! Maybe, like you said, the next step is for the mind to be gracious and accept it all well wishes regardless of the ACTUAL words. It’s the energy and the heart that matters.(I’m still confused as to how your comments keep receiving thumbs down…maybe they just chose to not understand the sentiment behind your posts.)

      5. I understand that they may mean well. However, when you’re raw with grief, you lose patience pretty fast. Why is this so hard to understand? Most people say I’ll pray for you & then get as far away from the problem as possible. I find it better to believe that there is no god than to try to rationalize a way to give her credit for the good things while ignoring the bad.

      6. Jen, I did not interpret Tammy having “a lot of misguided anger” at all (and now I read she addressed it again as well). She had a tragedy in her family, she’s neither a believer nor a prayer, but she vented then came to realize those who approached her were wishing her well in the best way they knew how.

        Anne, I think you might be on to something – the way that grief (or really any emotion) colors people’s responses to things says a lot about them. It’s the way they are processing these emotions. I do see that in the way Kevin is expressing himself in the situation.

        However, we can’t presume everyone (or most, even) people who pray then get away as far as possible. It’s an individual thing – non-believers/atheists do it too. We can’t blanket everyone or most with one statement, can we? Should we do that?

        At the end of the day, I liked Tammy’s approach that we should believe the best of people that when they say something, they wish you well. Would you agree? Kevin has decided to say, “thanks no thanks”, which reads like a disregard to those who are wishing him well in the best way they know how. :/

    2. If there is not a God like so many seem to believe, then why blame rape, injustice, killings.. on Him. Psychiatrists, doctors, .. have all these ways they are trying to figure out how to make people better- blame them if you are gonna blame someone. It seems people want a dumping ground and try to blame God for all the bad.
      I am a Christian. I once was “lost, but now I’m found”, and my life is a testimony that only God can make the changes that happened in my life. I tried for years on my own and it didn’t help.

      1. We don’t blame him.. We blame the offender for their crimes and hold them accountable.

        We are simply demonstrating that, IF it is all God’s plan, then it is his plan for rapists and injustice as well.

      2. They are not blaming a “god”, they are illustrating to the deluded that their “god” is a fragile, pathetic thing.

      3. There is a Satan too..and atheists belong to him as well as rapists and all the others..that is who to blame..

      4. We don’t blame him, and Kevin isn’t blaming him. We are, to some extent, blaming you. You say there is a god with a plan. If that’s so, then you must believe this god’s plan includes torturing and killing children, and we’re a bit confused as to why you’d worship someone who did that. He seems perfectly hateful. None of you seems to want to explain why you’d worship someone like that.

        Here’s the thing. To paraphrase Tracie Harris of the Atheist Experience, if I saw someone abusing a child, I’d do something to stop it. That’s the difference between me and your god. I am more moral than your god.

      5. BTW, the Satan described in your holy book doesn’t seem like a bad guy. Just as unlikely as your god, but certainly a better and more moral creature than your god, and responsible for a lot less suffering and death.

        Even the satanists don’t believe in a real Satan, BTW.

      6. I haven’t met a single non-christian who blames ‘god’ for rape, murder etc – most people blame the person who carried out the crime, not some mythical deity or devil. Some people are, sadly, just arseholes and they need no higher power to help in that.

      7. Then why are you on an atheist blog leave this man is trying to find solace in like minded individuals we not on your holy rollers shit telling you delusional shits that you need to follow the evidence leave Kevin be and either donate or talk amongst your own. U.S. Here are here to support Kevin and his wife! Kevin my husband and I will be donating to the babies fund Wednesday we also had preemies and we know the cost from the taking off work the procedures and the mental stress. We support you fully and if there is anything else we may be able to do to promote the cause of premature infants or help to help other parents please post. You thesis go back to your holy than thou sites and leave us alone!!!!!!!!

      8. Trouble is most theists don’t directly blame god for the bad things that happen. He only gets credit for the good stuff. They ignore the bad with their usual empty platitudes of “god’s will” or “mysterious ways” or “can’t know god’s mind”, even though he created eveything in the universe, good or bad.

        [“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”

      1. Don’t you just love it when theists appear to troll an atheist blog. Especially during a trying time for the person writing the blog. It’s still all about them. Just like this idiot who comes here with a deliberately provocative username. Trouble with them is that they don’t realize that most atheists aren’t as easily provoked as theists are. Grow up and get over yourself already. No one here cares.

  8. Congratulations on the birth of your son. There are some great doctors and major advances in medical science out there and I know they are working very diligently in Grayson’s behalf.
    I am a life long Atheist but when someone says they are praying for me, I simply say, thank you for your thoughts and for caring. I know that in their minds they are doing something they believe will help. If they want to have me pray with them and get pushy about it after I have said “no thanks”, then it is a different story. I tell them that I know they mean well, but I do not pray to something that doesn’t exist.

    1. Well said. I just say thanks as well. Unless, as you said, they try to pray with me. I think just saying “thanks” and getting on with it is the nice thing to do. I know most people are just trying to say something or don’t know what else to say or do to help.

      1. I am generally in agreement, Tammy. But think about what you’re asking of a person who is already using all of his or her emotional resources to deal with a difficult situation. On top of that they should be responsible for attending the feelings of folks who openly ignore their wishes? I’m not sure that’s particularly kind to the person most in need.

    2. This is similar to me. I recently experienced the death of a beloved family member, and I posted on a support group, stating at the end to please avoid religious stuff as I was an Atheist. I did not mind when someone (despite that) said they were praying, but I found the “You need to pray and find your faith in Christ” stuff particularly offensive.

  9. Congratulations on the addition to your family, I hope Grayson continues to thrive! Thank you for the wonderful perspective, like Holly, I’ve always had a bit of trouble articulating a response to people that say they are”praying for me” or for someone I know to be a non believer. Coming from a family of evangelicals, I hear it a lot! Your insight is truly appreciated! No prayers from here, just warm wishes and happy thoughts…

  10. Thank you for writing this Kevin. I was too frightened to lose support, so I didn’t admit much while my own daughter was dying of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I stopped believing 5 years before she was born thankfully or I cannot imagine the confusion and anger I would have had against a god that would do such a thing to children. I hope Grayson grows strong with the best minds and care humans can give him. Many hugs and commiseration. Praise science! — and cheers to all hurdles that block rational cures crumbling to the ground as more of us wake up and start to think for themselves. We too went through IVF and had our embryos screened for the disease that killed our daughter. This was not an option even 10 years ago. We now have a rambunctious 20 month old that never would have existed without research and the human ingenuity. Human morality is far greater than anything in the bible, if only we realize what WE would do if we were gods instead. I would save your son.

    1. if you are all so atheist, then why do you sit there saying god wanted your child to die? do you simply turn a blind eye to the fact that science has caused more of these defects and premature births, because you want too or just fail to do your research? the sad truth is sure science may help achieve things you yourself alone could not, but it also is responsible 75%+ of birth defects autism and so on and so forth. unfortunately while you all banter back and forth about a weather there is a god or not, none of you seem to realize your soul has to go somewhere, science has proven that each human body has a soul, its composed of energy, and energy can not be destroyed only displaced, so in the end the energy that coalesces to form your soul in the end goes elsewhere, banter back and forth weather god is real or not, but in the end what ever conclusion you come to you cant deny your soul exists and the fact that it has to go somewhere.

      1. You really haven’t read the posts properly, have you Scott? That or you don’t understand the basic concept of logical extrapolation. Atheists don’t believe ‘god’ wants kids to die, what they are doing (in the original post) is presenting the logical conclusion of various religious statements, such as the “it’s gods will” nonsense, as evidence as to why they don’t believe.

        For instance, in a case like Kevin’s, many will say that it was “gods will” that his son be born early to make the family stronger. But if Kevin and his wife were to truly trust in “gods will” they would eschew all modern medicine and leave the fate of their family to “gods will”. In such a case then they either would have no children at all (thanks to issues with conceiving that he discussed) or his son would now be dead after being born so prematurely.

        So the logical conclusion of the position pushed by believers that events like this are “gods will” is that young Grayson shouldn’t be here in this world at all. Faced with that cold hard logic, the idea of a “god” that would behave like that is ludicrous and frankly offensive.

      2. Science has never proved a “soul” exists. It is NOT responsible for causing birth defects or autism. If you believe those things, then I have no support for your insane unproven religious beliefs. You seem to be very under educated, another reason not to believe in your version of god.

  11. As a parent of IVF conceived, 29 week preemie twins, I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for the well articulated letter, we felt the same way when our girls were in the NICU.

  12. I saw the pic of the baby Grayson. Being an atheist and a premie myself (28 weeks, 35 years ago!), let me just say that: the “miracle” comes from medicine, doctors and NICU’s care; the willpower of the baby (and as preemie we are stronger than anyone would ever expect: be prepared to his temper!) and another ingredient: the love from parents. So far, Grayson has everything he needs to bloom! Cheers from Switzerland, keep us updated on his progresses! You’ll be amazed! 🙂

  13. Hi! I just wanted to share with you my experience. My daughter was born 12 weeks early as well. She started out at 2lbs 9 oz and is now a beautiful, healthy 22 year old. We did have some hurdles to traverse. She had severe reflux that required surgery on her stomach and a few developmental delays, but looking at her now, there is no evidence of her previous struggles.

    I applaud your reliance on medical science. The Drs and nurses are the ones who will pull him through this, not a non existent deity.

  14. Hi Kevin,
    I loved your post and appreciate your honesty. I think your post was well said and well written.

    Good luck with your son.

    Nurse Practitioner – fellow atheist

  15. I know that my God is a healer! I’ll be praying for that child anyway. I’d love to see God use His creation to further His Kingdom, perhaps a Pastor or something in the five fold ministry.

    1. Apparently you skipped over the part where I explained that Grayson was conceived in a lab. He is not the creation of any god. He is a testament to the success of scientific research. If anything, he was created in spite of your deity.

      1. Neutral note: Sometimes healthy eggs and healthy sperm are conceived in the lab and no healthy embryos grow. Sometimes they grow and they are transferred and should take, but never do. All the ingredients were right. No identifiable reason why it doesn’t work. Sometimes people who shouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of conceiving do indeed, and naturally, as I’m sure you’ve been reminded of dozens of times.. again by people who don’t know what to say but are well meaning. Why do these phenomenons occur? We don’t know. Could it be scientific information we are unaware of? Sure. But is it possible that it could be part of a plan? It could. Children’s conception through IVF and critical care interventions in early life does not *disprove* the existence of a God. I am a believer in science, but science is so vastly intricate, it’s a design of true amazement, and therefore…you see where this is going. Science claims we can figure out why things work and reproduce means and outcomes; it does not claim there is no supreme being.

      2. I understand how you could find the “I’ll be praying for you” frustrating if you do not believe any god exists based upon the direct conflict it creates with your personal beliefs and values. Your argument doesn’t only apply to “I’ll be praying for you” though; saying “Get well soon, I’m keeping you in my thoughts, I hope your situation improves, etc.” is essentially the same type of gesture. It lets the family know you care and makes the one saying it feel better, but is an ineffective avenue of assistance when it comes to physically helping the family or solving the problem.

        Therefore, I’m kind of afraid to say anything about your situation at all.

      3. I have to agree with Laura. I’m afraid to say anything, but if the sentiment is well intentioned, Kevin, is it possible to soften the heart and mind and accept it as a show of support from people who may not know you’re atheist????

    2. You people just can’t resist, can you? You know God is a healer? I know your God doesn’t exist because it is irreconcilable with the evidence. Next time you get sick, don’t see a doctor, let your healing God take care of it. Or is your faith too weak?

    3. Yeah, right. Your god is a healer when he feels like it. When you pray just right. when you believe just right.
      If you really open your eyes, you will see that the god you describe is an asshole.

      1. Please don’t call our Savior names. All He ever did was good. He NEVER causes bad things to happen—–He allows them to happen. Why? I don’t know. All I know is that in my heart, I believe in the One True God. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, whether they believe in God or not. A true CHRISTian is not someone who belittles others for what they believe. I have a hard time believing in atheism, because those who claim to be one seem to work hard in convincing others. To say you don’t believe in God is basically admitting there is one. You just don’t believe in His awesome power! I will not insult any of you by saying I will pray for you; I will just believe that you will find it in your hearts to realize the truth before it’s too late. The unpardonable sin, after all, is dying in your unbelief! I’m thinking of the baby; the innocent one in all this!

      2. moreannoying, how can anyone have a front seat to a place that exists only in the minds of the foolish and/or gullible?

      3. “To say you don’t believe in God is basically admitting there is one.”

        Wow, talk about idiotic statements. So let me get this right – if someone believes there is a ‘god’ then they’re right and it exists, if they say that they *don’t* believe they’re actually still saying that he exists? How the blazes does that “logic” (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) work?

        Also, if your “god” is so petty that some people saying that they don’t believe in it upsets said fictional deity, then it’s not very god-like at all.

        I am curious, would you graciously accept the heartfelt prayers of a follower of Islam? How about a Pagan who said that in their next ritual circle they would ask Diana/Zeus/deity of choice to watch over you? Would you accept these prayers or would you object because they are of a different faith than yours?

        You made a choice to follow the Cult that you do – do not force it upon others.

      4. Savior? What were we saved from? Rational thought?

        If you don’t like it Joanne, then don’t come here. Your god delusion was not requested to make an appearance with you. We can call your god the raging asshole, jerk, pinhead or retard he really is if we like. We are entitled to believe that your god is a Mother Goose tale for adults if we like, since it is. Also, you don’t BELIEVE in atheism. It is no more a belief than bald is a hair color. Being an atheist is a simple statement of fact, not an all encompassing belief system. Not all atheists believe the same things, they just share the conviction that god does NOT exist. There is absolutely NO empirical evidence to prove otherwise. We are all born atheists until someone brainwashes us into believing fairy tales.

    4. Translation: “screw your polite request, I’m gonna ram my religion down your throat anyway and hope your innocent child gets brainwashed into my cult at the same time!”

      It’s cute that you believe, but please, keep it where it belongs – in your home, your heart and your church. Paraphrasing here – Religion is like a penis: it’s fine to have and be proud of one, but please don’t get it out and wave it around for all to see.

      Also, “moreannoying”, are you saying that your deity reached down and laid the bricks of the lab where young Grayson was conceived? Weird that he’d do that whilst leaving innocent youngsters to drown, starve and be plagued by deadly diseases in some countries. I don’t like the sound of that ‘god’ at all.

    5. You are clearly being willfully ignorant of the authors atheism and his wishes. Keep your god and your insulting wish for his son’s future.

    6. Way to NOT get the point David. Instead you take the unwelcome opportunity to be a cheerleader for god instead of making a useful comment. So glad to see that you know how to respect other people’s boundaries. Solipsist much?

  16. Congratulations on the birth of your son. I hope that he continues to gain strength and ultimately thrive.
    At age 6 my son was injured and was hospitalized, unconscious some of the time for 6 weeks. People told me they would pray for him. I didn’t mind, as long as they weren’t forcing me to pray to “their” god. But after a bit I felt good that there were people I didn’t know, all over the country, all over the world actually, praying for a sick little boy. To me it had nothing to do about god and everything to do with humanity. I wasn’t comforted by the prayers of these people, each to their own definition of god, it was the fact that there were untold numbers of people in a prayer chain all over who took the effort and the energy to think about a sick little boy they didn’t even know and send their thoughts of recovery and good health out to him. I didn’t expect to feel comfort from these “prayers” but it was the combined efforts of Humanity that I gained comfort from. I never tell people I will pray for them but I do say that my thoughts are with you as I know that was something that did end up comforting me.
    My son is a healthy adult now but I still do remember the fear when he was sick.

    1. This.

      I think this may be the happy medium between being overzealous and oppressive with one’s religious beliefs and being obnoxious as a non-believer by dismissively shooing away the good intentions of others.

  17. Reading your post, I know where you’re coming from. It’s hard to go through a horrible situation and just be delt with “I’m praying for you” so I really do know where you’re coming from. Also you’re atheist so obviously you don’t believe in a higher power, so why would those words mean anything to you? I’m not going to try to convert you by any means because I totally respect your own choices but maybe I can shed some light on the other side of that coin. When people say “I’m praying for you” it’s a way of saying you’re in their thoughts, your troubles weigh on them and like you said, this is the way they think they can help. And wether you believe in that or not, you SHOULD feel at least a tiny bit grateful that total strangers, who have their own problems, take the time to not only care about your situation, but to send kind thoughts and prayers for your family. I believe in God. And I believe in science. Yes that’s possible. When I’m sick I go to the doctor, AND I pray. I don’t know why people think all “religious” people just like sit at home with their families, crowded around the sick praying for a miracle or something. This isn’t the Middle Ages. I know a doctor and modern medicine help people, but also (from my minds eye) I believe God has an active role in everything and it is ultimately his will. So yeah, if I have cancer of course I’m gonna seek treatment, but only God will decide if I live or not. You can get the best treatment in the world but that doesn’t assure you you will live. (To me, once again) only God can do that. Also, I know you don’t believe in god, but I’m sure you believe in nature. And naturally, you and your wife would not have conceived your beautiful baby boys. Yes you used science… But there’s also people who use all the science and still can’t conceive. (To me) that’s gods hand gifting you that you where able to use science to conceive not one but two babies. Personally, I believe in god. But I do not consider myself “religious” but I do pray. And no, my prayers don’t consist of “dear god please do this..” Because you’re right, if God wanted to take your son, he would. And my prayers wouldn’t change the will of God. BUT if you would accept my prayers, it would go like this “if you decide to take this precious baby from this world, I pray he goes without pain. That he will know how much he was loved even for a short amount of time. For his mother and father who already loved him from his first heartbeat, who will no doubt grieve him. For his mother who carried him so long, for his father who dreamt him. For all the lives that will be effected. That they will, over time heal. Slowly and maybe not all the way, but that one day they will be okay. Amen” I truly hope that your son recovers. I hope modern medicine can save him. And I hope your family can find whatever small comforts you can in this difficult time. I also hope maybe you can see the other said of “sending prayers” that it’s not just this saying some people say to feel like they’re doing anything about it. Just so ya know, not all of us are crazies. Hoping your boy pulls through!

    1. All my thoughts exactly. I will add that God tends to like giving us purpose which means He often uses us to do His work. So, to me, yes, I will go to the doctor believing that God may use those doctors as His tools to help me or a loved one. I just moved and don’t have a job nor do I know you personally (otherwise I like to give meals, especially once baby is home and be there as much as I can), so my prayers are all that I can offer. Science and religion are not complete opposites and can co-exist. You don’t have to be anti-science to believe in God. As for your son, I hope that he pulls through and that you have a strong support system to get you through emotionally.

  18. Ive been taught God believes in helping yourself, and gives you the tools to do so. Just because you do IVF doesn’t mean God want support you!

  19. I went through a similar time when my baby was hospitalized for RSV. I had people saying they were praying and I respected them and would simply say ‘thank you’, but it got aggravating. It wore on my nerves and eventually I exploded from not being honest about my feelings. They were praying to a god that killed innocent babies constantly because the parents of the children offended him. We’re atheist, we offend this imaginary being so if he did exist you would not be helping anyway! It was offensive, I seen it as people just trying to make me feel better and not actually trying to help, I just couldn’t stand the idea of a baby killing deity being prayed to to save a baby. Science saved my baby and my constant badgering of doctors till I found the right one.

  20. I once had a friend ask me what I did when I had a tough decision to make or s difficult situation to deal with because she couldn’t think of a single thing to do other than pray. I’m like “seriously? like getting up and doing something to make it better never crossed your mind?”
    I understand the need to vent, I feel it every time I hear people asking for prayers, prayer chains or saying I’ll pray for you.
    Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

    1. I know what you mean. I actually had a boss say to me, “When I find reason and faith colliding, I always chose the side of faith.”
      I’m like, “Dude, you CAN’T be serious! If something makes no sense but your book says it is so, you go with the fairy tale?”

  21. As a mother and an atheist, my heart breaks for you both and I hope the little guy gets stronger every day. This blog is brilliantly written and I hope people take note and provide practical and useful support for you guys or someone else in need, rather than wasting their breath on pointless mutterings to an imaginary friend.
    Thank goodness for medical professionals, scientists and all those who contributed to the birth and survival of your sons.
    All the best to you and your family.

  22. I hope your son does well. I had my daughter last year when I was 29 weeks pregnant. She spent most of her life in the NICU. I know how tough it can be. Remember to take time for yourselves. Everyone needs a break.

  23. Kevin – we’ve been there and have a good idea of what you’re going through. Our twins were born at 24 weeks. Our son is now 20, and has no lingering problems — he’s now a junior in college and doing great.

    We also got a lot of noise from god-botherers in NICU, which we ignored as best we could.

    Stay strong, brother.

  24. Religious people should realize that their way of thinking is archaic, out-dated, and plain wrong. The bible is 2,000 years behind the innovations of science. There is no god. Never was. Never will be. I’m sure someone named Jesus Christ existed in our distant past, but he did not perform magic tricks like that fairy tale claims. The bible is nothing but a kids story and god is something people made up in an attempt to explain things that couldn’t be explained at that time. 2,000 years ago people saw lightning and said “GOD IS ANGRY” but now we see lightning and any intelligent person knows that it is caused by electric discharge in the atmosphere.

    Grow up. Stop believing in fairy tales. Think for yourself. Fucking sheep.

    1. As a matter of fact, the wind is beginning to change on that point. More scholars are starting to come to the conclusion that Jesus as a person never really existed. He came about as collection of ideas came together and coalesced into the person.

  25. If I had the funds I would love to donate to your little guy! Our daughter just got out of PICU though leaving us with a $25,000 bill from a lapse in our insurance we didn’t know about. As a fellow atheist we got a lot of the same comments from well-meaning family and friends while she was in the hospital. My feelings were much like your own in slightly different context. I look forward to following your story and seeing Grayson leave the hospital! You’ve got a strong little boy with a huge wealth of science and his wonderful parents backing him up!

  26. I agree with the author. And he seems to be gracious to those who offer prayers. But he’s not going to just be silent about how he feels and I’m glad he takes the time to explain how he feels. I don’t have issues with people that follow faith based religion as a way to make their lives better and I can usually endure a lengthy conversation, even if a person is reverting back to their faith, often. The one thing I can’t tolerate is having someone try to force religion on me or even to keep trying to convince me I’m wrong. I don’t think the author is doing that in reverse. He is just taking the time to explain his feelings.

  27. Praying for both your sons and your family. I won’t pretend to understand or try to determine your motives for your blog just as you should not try to determine people’s motives. Motives are a matter of the heart, and since you can’t read minds or hearts you cannot determine why someone would say they are praying for you. I hope you are open to your sons’ beliefs should they choose something different than yours. Especially since you want people who believe there is a God to leave you alone with their opinions. I pray you let them determine what they believe, and I pray God saves them. So Christians pray and they can’t use medicine? Because that says they don’t believe in God? Of course God knows the prayer requests before they are made but he asks us to come to him as our Father. He is our comforter. My husband knows many things before I tell him should I shut down communication with him? I’m sure you will respond that I missed the point because that seems to be your go to statement, but I feel that you have missed many points people are trying to make with hearts in the right place.

    1. Do you not see that this is rude and aggressive? Yes, often people are just well-wishing and saying things from the goodness of their hearts — and he said he accepts those graciously. But you? Saying you’re praying for him when you’ve been specifically asked not to?

      Why is your heart “in the right place” when you say you’re praying, but someone else’s heart is somehow wrong and dirty and not okay because they’d like people to respect their beliefs and not force them to endure a constant barrage of your feelings and beliefs.

      Believe in whatever fairy tales you want. But don’t call your heart in the right place when you’re intentionally being disrespectful and rude.

      Jesus said not to make your prayers public anyway. If they were real, and your heart was actually in the right place, I’d think you’d follow Jesus’s directions on the topic.

    2. How incredibly rude and pejorative of you. How would you feel, Danielle, if during a time of need I approached you and said I was making a sacrifice to the Lord Satan on your behalf?

  28. Our son was born 13 weeks early, 515g. I’m atheist, wife Christian. Pesonally, I had to make up the belief that he was gonna make it and then base all of my actions off that result. Because for me, that outcome was the only one that would allow me to function effectively, and deal with the ups and downs until he did make it.
    Make it, he did. He is 3 1/2 now, and made it with flying colors, no real residual problems, not to mention being an absolute delight of a kid. I hope you and yours have a similar outcome.
    My faith is in modern medicine, doctors and nurses, not some made up thing.
    Thank you for sharing exactly what I was thinking. I will make another local donation as you requested.

    … one tiny bonus: once he got home, he always slept through the night: shift change is still bed time.

    By the way, if you want to chat personally, you are welcome to drop me a line.

  29. Reading this, as a Christian, gave me mixed emotions. While I realize the author will probably not read this, I hope somebody with a similar opinion does. For starters, i come from a very strong Christian family and have twin brothers as a result of IVF, and couldn’t love them more. I’m telling you that just because someone does believe in God, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in science. In fact, we (as in my family) believe God uses that, and uses people as tools to do His work on Earth. Not that God couldn’t “magically” fix everything, but that He has reasons for doing as He does. For example, if he did impossible-to-explain miracles all the time 1, they’d no longer be miracles, and 2, there would be no faith. Plenty of proof…. but then no faith. You may ask, “Why doesnt He just prove Himself?” Well, I truly believe He wants us to have faith. And I don’t know His ways, so i can’t tell you WHY God does what He does, but i trust Him. I have faith. And if we are faithful, even in the worst of times, taking it to Him, through prayer perhaps, He will answer. Now the answer may not always be yes, but He will answer. I’m not saying you have to believe or anything, not that you would if i said so. But I’m just trying to give YOU some insight on how we feel when we are praying. And some insight on what we believe. While i realize you probably won’t change your perspective, i have to have faith that you’ll at least consider that God isn’t some “predeciding power-wielding bully” who does whatever He wants. He does what is best. And while we may not understand it, He does. Just to give some insight, you mentioned that you had a young son. Now if your boy was about to walk out in the street and be hit by a car, would you not yank him back? It may hurt him, and he may get upset, but you’d be willing to let that happen because you know best right? While this may be a poor analogy compared to the premature labor of your son, my point stands. So please don’t take this as “Yes. We are right. Prayer works. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I just wanted to give you some perspective since you gave me some. And on behalf of Christians, i appreciate your courtesy towards something you feel is useless. It really is great that you have that level of maturity. But as well, i assure you we aren’t praying for our own gain. We really are doing so out of concern for you. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen some awful news on TV and gone “oh that’s terrible” and went about my day. It truly is for you. So please, take that under consideration. Lastly, 3 of my siblings wouldn’t be here without modern medicine. And I truly believe it was all orchestrated by the hand of God. But that’s just my belief. And for what it’s worth, I will be praying for your son.

      1. I think it’s fair to say that you can and should be at liberty to have your thought and beliefs and so should believers. If someone doesn’t know your religion is atheism, they still want to wish you well and they were they are accustomed to is by praying.

    1. Why do you assume we haven’t considered, and discarded, all of this? And why do you insist on doing exactly what your god, in the book you consider his word, told you not to do? You god told you to keep your prayers private. Why could you not resist telling someone you were praying “for them?”

      “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” Matt. 6:6

      1. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/should-christians-pray-in-public-or-not/

        If you’re so inclined to read a different perspective with an open heart and *in context* – contrasting the ways in which people prayed in historical context (those who pray to be heard compared to those who have a genuine heart set in their prayer.). This still applies today, both in the Christian and atheist perspectives – both can utter empty words.

      2. Because, as usual, it’s all about them and the beliefs they feel justified to push upon you. Actually they are being selfish and rude. They are also arrogant enough to believe that since they “right” and you are “misguided” they should push their beliefs where they are not wanted. Typical.

  30. Kevin… I have been in the same spot as you on both sides of that coin.. My daughters were born 2 month early and I spent many a sleepless night in the NICU. I also am an atheist that grew up in a very religious family. I respect all your thoughts, and understand your statements completely. People whom follow religion are always quick to judge those of us who dont. And always feel compelled to tell us how we are suppose to feel and how we are suppose to live.

    I wish your son all the best, while my daughters were in the NICU I kept a journal for each of them… Daily keeping track of all the little thing, whether that be they gained an ounce, or I got to hold their hand, give them a bath, or even change a diaper. Be strong for your son and don’t forget to be strong for Momma… Best wishes to you and your family!!!!

  31. This blog is so very sad to me.. I see a comment below written in love and trying to help you understand what prayer really is. I never pray to make myself feel better, God is not a crutch through life or something to make me feel better about all the bad I shamefully do because I am not perfect.

    Some sisters of Christ have had trouble conceiving and they too had medical staff intervene to get pregnant. That doesn’t mean God didn’t want their children to exist God made those doctors and made those scientists there purpose is to save lives, help bring life, help keep people healthy. God has predestined everyone who exists on this planet, he knows every hair on your head and the head of your precious sons. There is a huge reason for him to be here even if for only for you to write this blog in anger one day causing a riff of opinions, bringing you to read while so tired from everything you’ve been going through just waiting for that one bible thumping Christian to come parading in and belittling everything you said, that’s not me and I hope and pray it won’t be any of my fellow believers either. I feel for you & I am also praying for your family. I’m sorry that those words sting to you, I’m sorry that you’ve reached this point in your life and have not opened your heart to feel the immense love our father has for you. He’s waiting, just call his name at any second I promise he will be there!

        1. Anne wrote “I feel for you & I am also praying for your family. I’m sorry that those words sting to you,” She acknowledge that he didn’t want her do something and did it anyway.
          Prayers do not sting me personally what stings is the complete and utter disregard for the authors feeling I have witnessed here.

    1. You feel HIS immense love? Really? Or is that just loving the idea of his warm love? The idea of being comforted by Him? People like you are lost without some kind of a guidance and that is what God is to you. Your belief in Him helps you cope with your life. Atheists are confident enough to be self-sufficient, self-actualized, self-dependent – you get the idea. And we do get annoyed that whatever we do is God’s will told to us by religious people because we don’t turn to Him for His guidance. We turn to ourselves or our own loved ones or people we trust. You put your faith and trust in an invisible being – that’s your prerogative. Just don’t go around and tell people it is God’s will unless you know they share your values.

    2. Wow, the arrogance and disrespect you display is staggering. No one cares about your Cult, stop trying to ram it down the throats of those who decide not to believe in fairy tales.

      You responded to a polite, caring and compassionate open letter with hostility, rudeness, arrogance and incredible disrespect – it seems that all the anger you see is coming from yourself. Anger that people dare not to believe in the Cult that has brainwashed you. You have my deepest sympathies and the heartfelt hope that, one say, you will open your eyes to the truth and cast aside the shackles of the Cult that clouds your mind!

  32. “I hope that you’ll read this, and more importantly, share it with believers, so they better understand what goes through an atheist’s mind when we hear, “Sending you prayers,” or something similar.”

    Here’s what goes through this atheist’s head: “they’re wishing me good luck in their own way. That’s nice of them.” See, I’m not autistic, so I don’t take offense.

    1. Except, as evidenced by any number of commenters on this thread, many of them ACTUALLY ARE being aggressive with their “I’ll pray for you.” You must accept it, you absolutely have to. If you are anything but what they term as “gracious” then you are mean and heartless. And by “gracious” they mean let them say whatever they want to say while your own beliefs and feelings are discarded and run over.

      If someone TRULY only wished someone well by “praying” for them, they wouldn’t be “saddened” and “offended” and “concerned” about this post.

  33. I believe in modern medicine and I am a Christian. I believe that God chooses certain people to be doctors.,just as some are lawyers or teachers or whatever.

    1. Just as God chooses some people to be rapists and some to be greedy politicians, and some to be worthless, hypocritical “reality” TV stars who molest their young sisters while railing against homosexuals as “child predators”.
      You’re really going to go with “God chooses certain people to be doctors”? Really?

  34. As an atheist in rural Texas I totally understand the need to vent.
    I gave what I could and was happy to notice you are nearly at half your goal in the first day! Excellent! I wish you and yours the best science and medicine have to offer. 🙂

  35. As an agnostic, I find your self aggrandizing thoughts offensive. If people want to pray for your child or send positive thoughts, by all means let them. Your little blog is self serving. You’re just as bad as the extreme religious right. People like you won’t get the agenda across cause it’s deemed ugly. Au to set it back.

    1. Amanda, I never said I’m not going to let people pray. In fact, I said multiple times that I appreciated it. The point of this letter is lost on you unfortunately.

      1. Those with truly closed minds often fail to open their ears, choosing instead to open their mouths first.

        It was a good article and a well thought out explanation.

        I wonder if a Wiccan offered to do a moon dance for a Christians sick child if the Christian also wouldn’t feel about the same as you do with all the prayers.

    2. How is he stopping people from praying for him? He’s not. He even said he appreciates their well wishes. But how is it actually kind to force someone to listen to your beliefs ALL THE TIME and never even take a moment of consideration for theirs?

    3. Amanda, there is no agenda.

      And “agnostic” says nothing about your beliefs, simply about what you claim you know or can know. I’m also agnostic–I don’t claim I know if a god exists or not, or even that it’s possible to know.

      But I see no evidence that there is a god, and as with fairies, and gremlins, and unicorns, the default position is to disbelieve until there is some evidence of existence. That is, atheism is the default position for agnostics.

  36. I really don’t understand WHY it is so hard for people to respect each other’s beliefs and opinions. I am of Christian faith but completely respect how you feel and am glad you shared your thoughts on the subject. Nobody should force their beliefs on anybody else, ever, and now I will know how to better comfort a friend in need, who does not share in my belief. What a lot of Christians don’t understand is, if there WAS a person that decided they DID want to change (or believe), it would most likely be based on the ACTIONS of such called “Christian”, and not their words. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians that talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. We’re supposed to be an example by what we DO, not by what we say.

    Kevin, sending positive thoughts to you and your family. I hope all goes well and you can enjoy your baby boy at home very soon.

  37. On the flip side..since there is a God..the prayers do help whether you want them to or not..and a lot of you are in for a rude awakening when you are at hells doorstep for denying Him..as far as our prayers annoying non believers..it goes both ways..non believers rants are equally annoying..and you are annoying one judge who will not give you a pass..im not here to change minds..i could care less about those who deny going to hell..i am here to say if i pray for your kid just accept it..maybe the kid will accept Him and be welcomed to paradise instead of you

      1. The difference? I will ask forgiveness on Sunday for my comment..you will never ask for it..i do hope (pray) this boy can live a full healthy life and choose a better path than his folks.

        1. Yes, because with religion everything is permissible. You just have to pray the mistakes away and you can start over. The rest of us have to be decent for humanity’s sake.

      2. Oh, “atheistsaremoreannoying” – you finally get the point! About time.

        BTW, if you already know you are going to ask God for forgiveness on Sunday, why don’t you apologize to the person IRL you actually offended! He’s obviously reading your comments. (There’s no way he could miss them, there are so many.) So, why not apologize now for all the spiteful things you’ve said – to him and others here?!

        I always find it so funny how the atheist are usually the ones who take the time to construct sensitive, non-judgemental, open-minded statements while the so-called religious reply with mean, disrespectful and hate-filled comments. Writing that maybe his son will get into heaven but he won’t? That doesn’t seem very Christian to me!

        Atheists don’t need to be accountable to a God because we are accountable to ourselves. We know right from wrong and that we only have one shot at life, so we try to make the most of it as best we can. We try to be better people NOW because it is the right thing to do. That IS our reward – the good feeling we get inside. And when we make mistakes, we don’t need to wait until Sunday to apologize, we just do it.

        YOU are the Christian that a bad name to others of your faith who do have respect for different viewpoints. You wasted all of your energy preaching to an audience who is not buying what you are trying to sell. Wouldn’t your talents be put to use preaching somewhere else? 😉

      3. Kevin,
        I could be wrong, but I think the guy is saying that he could care less . . . . about arguing with you or anyone who disbelieves in a hell. . . . “since he is not here to change minds.” There is no since in “throwing pearls before swine.” (a biblical quote) In other words to try to reason regarding spiritual things with those who have no desire to know.

        1. Well since this guy has attempted to start a handful of arguments with nonbelievers on here, I’d have to say you’re wrong. I believe he’s actually saying he doesn’t care about those who don’t believe. If he couldn’t care less about arguing with nonbelievers he wouldn’t have left 18 comments, mostly directed at atheists.

    1. Why would we go to hell for not believing in God when it is obviously God’s plan that we are following by not believing? Hypocrite!

    2. I’m not sure the outcome of your blind hatred is going to be quite what you imagined it to be… but I’m sure that in the dark parts of yourself you already know that.

      Hell is a real state that exists in some people.

    3. And what happens if you’re wriong and the big man is Odin, Zeuz or another of the thousands of gods in many mor religions?. Sir or madam you’re a troll than came to the wrong bridge.

      1. Jorge, you have serious logical errors in your reply. Odin and Zeus or any of the thousands of gods are not GOD, as reason itself dictates there can only be ONE GOD and that GOD not any THING or being like Zeus or Odin myths. But I will spare you a course in logic, a course in theology or philosophy and just let you know that all your comment was, was nothing. Go back to school and study how to think.

        1. You need to go back and read the bible and start being a bit kinder….God would not be happy with your behaviour….

      2. Well Ray Clark, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is NO difference between god, Jesus, Odin, Zeus, Jupiter or the rest. They are all mythological constructs made by Bronze Age people who had no other way to describe the world they lived in, so they created stories that could explain it. There ARE some logical errors being made here, sure enough. But NOT by Jorge.

  38. The last 6 years of my husband’s life he was in and out of hospitals. There were several times he was near death and he was on the edge of life and death. Many people came to me and offered me comfort with their prayers. Both my husband and myself were atheists. We took their kind words and thanked them politely. It gave them comfort. I didn’t mind the people who were clueless about my husband and my beliefs. They were reciting the polite thing to say no different then please and thank you. It was good manners. I highly doubt more than a handful actually prayed. They just said it, like you say god bless you when somebody sneezes. But the people that knew me and knew our beliefs, each time they offered a prayer I felt it was a slap in the face. An insult to who my husband was. As if you refused to respect what you know is our beliefs. They just felt they knew better.

    When he died 2 ministers came to be with me in the hospital. I told the nurse we were without faith, but they sent them just the same. I explained to the ministers that we were without faith, and they didn’t go. In the end I let them pray, and that got them to leave me in peace.

    I am making an assumption here but most of you believers are Christians. That seems to be the group that feels it is their duty to pray for us non-believers. Would you be polite if I showed up when your husband died and performed a Wiccan prayer over your loved one’s body. Because I would do that to make you feel better. I don’t believe in your god, but to make you feel good I could do the Wiccan thing. Maybe a Satanic mass in honor of your dead.

    No I am not crazy. Nor woul I dream of actually doing this. That would disrespect your beliefs and your grief. Why do you feel you have the right to disrespect my beliefs. If you know me, don’t pray for me. But please throw $2.00 into charity box for some medical research. That is what I believe in.

    1. The difference with a Wiccan prayer is that it isn’t just about not believing in witchcraft, it’s about the spiritual repercussions we believe come from that. You don’t believe anything will change or be affected by our prayers, but we believe there are demons involved in Wicca that could cause issues and spiritual warfare around us if it were allowed. Same with the Satanic mass. Now if it were maybe a muslim prayer or Jewish prayer, that would be a better analogy.

      1. You totally miss the point. You do just as much harm when you disregard our feelings about your prayers. Right or wrong, when you say “I’ll pray for you,” we hear “I am literally too lazy to do what would actually comfort you, so I’m just spitting out what comes into my mind first.” Myra and Kevin both made it clear that the theists who were offensive were the ones who KNOW we don’t believe in your god, but still feel the need to tell us you’re praying for us. Even though you KNOW we are not comforted by it, and would prefer you not tell us. You’re saying “I’m not interested in comforting you, I just want to appear to be interested in comforting you.”

        When someone doesn’t know we don’t believe, it’s a little presumptuous to assume we believe as you do, but we’re not generally offended. We can even appreciate that you’re doing what you think we’ll find comforting. But if you KNOW we don’t believe, it cannot be to comfort us, it HAS to be to comfort you.

        You are being as harmful to us in that instance as we would be by telling we would would say the “prayers” of a DIFFERENT imaginary god or gods for you or your loved ones. Wiccans don’t believe in any demons, BTW, only minor gods and mostly goddesses. And satanists don’t believe in anything supernatural–including Satan and/or any demons. You might do other religions the courtesy of at least knowing the basics of their beliefs.

        Pray to whatever being you choose. Pray for us or don’t. TELLING us you’ll pray for us when you KNOW we don’t believe will be taken as the selfish act that it is. And you know what? Wiccans never do tell us they’ll pray for us. They may. And they may make offerings to one of their goddesses for us. It doesn’t bother us, because they don’t make an issue of telling us about it. Satanists don’t pray, since they don’t believe in anything one might pray to.

      2. So in others Donielle, you’re saying that we should respect *your* beliefs whilst YOU disrespect what others believe? Typical hypocritical christian cultist mindset.

      3. Sorry for being so OCD about this spookiewan, but most Wiccans do believe in a male and female aspect of deity. They are the incarnations that they offer thanks to during the Sabbats and other days. The Lord and the Lady feature in the story of the passing of the seasons. Different traditions may put more emphasis on one or the other, or both equally. But they do not offer any religious sort of comfort unless they are asked for it.

        But Wiccans don’t pray in the way that Christian do. They offer thanks, but most feel that deities do not answer or even listen to entreaties from us. What we do makes us feel better by showing our gratitude and during the performance of ceremony. Ceremony itself is more about raising energy than praying to deity.

        Wiccans are do not proselytize to others. If someone wants to know more about the way, or requests help, they find assistance. But not unless they ask first. How do I know all this? 30+ years as a Pagan Atheist. I like the philosophy and find some of the other elements interesting, but I don’t believe in the supernatural aspects of the philosophy. Think this is a contradiction in terms? It’s really not. For an explanation, just read the following links.

        http://semrys.blogspot.com/2012/12/pagan-atheists-yes-we-exist.html
        http://www.paganpathways-sheffield.co.uk/?Articles:Pagan_Atheism_%96_is_it_a_Contradiction_in_Terms%3F
        http://humanisticpaganism.com/2014/02/23/what-atheists-believe-too-by-trent-fowler/

    2. Dear Myra, I’ve been reading these posts and it’s been making me pretty darn sad. So many people slamming each other for their belieffs. I wasn’t going to comment and add to the chaos, preferring to just red and learn, and then I read your post.

      I am so unbelievably sorry you had to go through that. I am a complete believer but I can’t imagine anyone imposing and hurting you like that. (I can imagine it – I just can’t imagine what must go through someone’s mind to do such hurtful and disrespectful things). You spoke to my heart and I just felt the need to express my sorrow that you had to experience that.

      Kevin, I hope your son does well as he is adjusting to life outside his Momma just a little too early. Thank you for sharing your thoughts during this difficult time for you and your family

    3. Myra I am so sorry that you had to go through that at such a time as loosing your husband. I assure you that not all Christians are the same. Like I wrote in my post here, I am one who would rather honor the person who died and the ones left behind in the manor they prefer. However, not all Christians see it this way. I just hope you can see that we are not all out to convert ya. I hope that your healing journey is going well after your loss and you are finding some peace.

    4. I think it’s reasonable that if someone knows you and how strong your belief is that you don’t believe, that they should not pray. But not everyone knows that. Is it possible to give people the benefit of the doubt in those cases?

      As Donielle pointed out, that atheist simply *don’t believe* in a spiritual power, right (ineffectiveness / futility of prayer)? Whereas a Wiccan or Satanist *believe* in SOMETHING, or SOME spiritual power (spiritual repercussion of that). If that’s the case, the analogy just doesn’t fit. :/

      But then the point is well taken – if you don’t want prayers, ask people not to pray. Sometimes it’s not about WHAT people say, but HOW they say it. In the case of Kevin, I will believe he has the best intention to express himself like you did and that the manner in which he chose to voice that was colored by the frustration of his current situation.

  39. Congratulations and good wishes to you as parents of a preemie who is fighting to survive and thrive. I trust you have solid ethics, emotional strength, and physical fortitude to raise your boy to be a caring and loving person. I hope that you have a wonderful future watching your son grow into an amazing individual and fine citizen of the world. I know you’ll struggle, suffer, and worry cuz that’s what parenting is some days, entwined in among the amazing, fulfilling and fun days. I truly hope you don’t experience a negative outcome such as death or extreme deficit and disability.

    I will pray for you and your family because I believe in God and this mysterious, weird, wacky, wild, wonderful world He gave to us [and I thinks He’s prob done the same elsewhere in the universe]. And I do believe prayers works. Pax.

    1. No, you will pray because you are rude and disrespectful of this man’s wishes and his intentions writing this blog. If you truly understood what he was trying to say yet still felt compelled to respond, a simple “Best wishes” would have been fine. Instead, you and others feel it is your “Christian duty” to let this man know that not only do you disagree with him about prayer, you are going to protest by praying for him. You could have done that anyway without having to let him know. It’s the same as a slap in the face. “I know you said not to but I’m doing it anyway. And you can’t stop me! Na na na nah nah nah!”

      Yep, childish. I defy you to tell me it is anything but. It is what a child does when they are trying to push a parent’s buttons. I will do this right in front of you. I’ll show you, trying to tell me not to pray for your son.

      Yet again, you cannot see that this is pushy? This is what stop meaningful conversations dead in their place? This insistence, this privilege you feel that you don’t have to respect someone’s polite request?

      No, you are not doing it for Kevin. Be honest for once in your life. This man wrote this blog for support. He has fans here on his personal page. If he wanted a debate he would have posted an op-ed on Buzzfeed. You have only succeeded in wasting his time that could be focussed on reading only positive, supportive words. I feel bad for people who cannot see past their own selfishness and self-righteousness. ::sigh::

      1. Atheist Mama, why are you SO intolerant and angry with me? You don’t have an clue who I am, inside or out, but just a few words on the ‘puter screen have blown you off into some angry b*tch sphere. Get a grip. I was 100% truthful in everything I said. Your response is angry, judgmental, and rude. Take your harsh and self righteous attitude elsewhere, lest I pray for you too! ;-).

      2. Nancy, looks like YOU are the one people see as the “self-righteous” and “judgemental” one. You’re the one in “angry bitch sphere!” Hahaha. You should “get a grip” and stop being “angry,” “harsh,” “judgemental” and “rude.” 😉

        I am being 100% truthful in what I wrote as well. My comments were in response to the words you did share. You didn’t have to share a lot to show how disrespectful you were to the author’s simple request that you not pray for him or his baby.

        Wodering why YOU got all the thumbs down? Maybe you should start praying for your God to help YOU see the error in your ways. You are the arrogant and self-righteous one in your insistence to pray for someone eho asked not to be prayed for… and your refusal to see the bigger picture here. I feel sorry for you. You must feel hurt and disappointed a lot. And surprised and confused too!

    2. I have to ask…why the thumbs down, peeps? Just cuz I said I will do what I believe in? I offered congrats and good wishes to the new parents. I didn’t try to force anything on these stressed out parents who love and care for their child and face big $$ burden..

      I didn’t offer $$ cuz I can’t – I don’t have any to share at this time. So I offered what I have – my good thoughts in the form of prayer. What’s wrong with that? Are you ‘thumbs downers’ the type who thumbs down any and all who claim a belief in Deity? If your answer to my question is YES, then I ask you: Is that a kind or useful response to someone who has done you no harm?

      I have a few ahteist friends; we get along pretty well. I’m not praying specifically for their salvation. I include them in global prayers for peace, comfort, good health and happy lives for everyone around the world. Is that a ‘no no’ for you? Please don’t flame me – I’m truly just curious about the thumbs down responses.

      1. You get downrated because the man opened his heart and said he finds people telling him they’re praying for him offensive. You’ve gone out of your way to do just that.

      2. I’ve re-read Kevin’s open letter several times. He did not once use the word offend nor specifically say he is offended by someone’s offer to pray. He said several times he appreciates people’s desire to help, however inappropriate or ineffective that action may be to him and his family. I believe this is as close as he comes to saying he is ‘offended’.

        “By telling us you’re praying, you’re saying to us that you want to do something to help, and that’s appreciated. But the avenue of assistance that you’ve chosen is one that we feel is an ineffective one.”

        Philip Atkinson and Atheist Mama, you assert that I’ve offended Kevin. Don’t put words into his mouth; eat your own.

      3. I would assume, as Atheist Mama pointed out, it’s because you did exactly what Kevin asked people not to do. You said you don’t have money to offer at this time, so you offered what you have even though he said he didn’t want it, which is the entire point of his article. So, my question to you would be why offer him something he doesn’t want and feels is no help to him and his family in any way? If you feel praying to God is going to help then say the prayer to God and let that be it. Telling Kevin the thing he specifically said he doesn’t want to be told just seems disrespectful of his wishes, which is why I would assume the thumbs down.

      4. The reason for the thumbs down is that Kevin said very clearly that it was hurtful to him to tell him you’re praying for him and his son, and you actually went to the trouble to do what he just said was hurtful to him.

      5. No, Nancy, you completely missed the point. The thumbs down are not because you didn’t offer money or because you believe in a deity. You forced your “good thoughts in the form of prayer” on a man who specifically wrote this asking for people to NOT do that. Did you read his letter, or just skim it? If you had read the entire letter or any of his replies after that, you would see that this was a “no no” for him. I also think it is funny how you ask people not to flame you but you had no problem flaming me and using harsh, mean words in response to my reply. Works both ways! It’s amazing that you can blatantly disregard this man’s request, then be seriously upset and confused when people express their disapproval. Wake up and smell the coffee, Nancy! The world doesn’t revolve around you.

      6. Wow, Nancy, you really are thick. You re-read his letter several times but still missed the point completely. “Eat your words…” really mature. Go back and read it again, plus his other responses and he says the same thing repeatedly. He could not be any more specific. Not only does he find your form of prayer ineffective, he doesn’t want it. Plain and simple. If you want to be specific, I did not say he was “offended,” I said you were disrespectful to him. If you want to pick bones and say that he did not specifically say he was “offended,” go ahead and waste your time. It doesn’t take much to make the connection that HE was trying to be as respectful as possible in his statement. You are the disrespectful one for dragging this out.

    3. And you were going so well until that last paragraph. You went from kind, compassionate and understanding to “I don’t give a shit about your beliefs and I’m going to ram my cult down your throat to make me feel better” in the blink of an eye. Congratulations on being a part of the problem.

      1. I truly believe that most Christians are so blinded by their own beliefs, and the idea that only they are right, that they can’t see the bigger picture and understand that what they are doing is so wrong. That’s why when you debate them, you will often see them running in logical circles and are genuinely perplexed when you don’t accept the bible as proof that their statements are true. They really can’t grasp how anyone could ever doubt it as being all the evidence you ever need.

  40. As a father of a daughter who was also born 12 weeks premature and spent 12 weeks in the NICU, I can empathise. It was this event that actually caused my wife and I to give up religion for good as we could see that it wasn’t a fictitious magical being that healed our daughter, but dozens of nurses and doctors that attended to her around the clock. She is now 5 years old, smart, healthy and loves science! Hang in there.

  41. Every one has a right to there own believes I personally am just extremely happy your son is doing good and hope he continues to do so and get stronger every day

  42. First, I hope you and your family continue to be healthy and happy! :::HUGS TO YOU ALL:::

    Second, AWESOME letter and so true! Prayers are like wakes and funerals. They’re done for the living, for those doing it and not for those that it’s being done for. I used to be religious … very much so and I learned that good and bad happen to both. if there is a god and he/she wants us to know they exist, then help the believers only. Otherwise what’s the point?

  43. I respect your choice to be an Atheiest – completely. I respect every living human on the planet, in fact. Unless they have personally wronged me in a significant manner. Yet you have completely BASHED my choice to be a Christian with your “Open Letter”. EXTREMELY one-sided and prejudiced don’t you think??

    1. You have every right to be a Christian. I’m not “bashing” your choice to believe. And yes, it’s one-sided, because it’s MY side. It’s a letter FROM ME. Who else’s side would I be talking about?

    2. Stating an opinion and making a personal request in a respectful manner is bashing your religion
      …. how exactly? I think he was being very open minded by acknowledging that he appreciates the well wishes, etc.

      As for “Mr more annoying…” do you actually have a life? You have stated your opinion repeatedly. You don’t agree with the writer. Is it necessary for you to continue to bash him every other post? Yes, you are bashing him. Who gives you the right to judge his intentions? Who the f&#k are YOU doing this for? What is your agenda? If you have been compelled to insult him in such an un-Christian-like manner repeatedly you must have an agenda of your own. Are you a clergy person? I highly doubt it because the Jesus I read about would never condone your way of treating people. Instead of wasting space, why don’t you go see a preist or pastor and examine your own conscience? Seems like you’ve got something to prove, buddy! 😉

  44. I’m a religious person but not as religious as alot of people are (if that makes any sense). I understand what you mean though. It is because of modern medicine and doctors that I am still alive today. I won’t pretend to even have an idea of the pain you’re going through but I know people that have. I know that it takes alot of strength and faith (in the medical sense) to get through something like this. I hope that everything turns out well for you and I’ll say that I’ll keep you in my thoughts(cause I suck at the whole praying thing). I hope he can come home soon completely healthy.

  45. Thank you for sharing. This is exactly how my husband and I felt during the 4 years between our infant daughter being diagnosed with a heart condition and her heart transplant at 4 years old. We are so thankful to science, her organ donor, and medical professionals for her life.

  46. I personally can’t give a donation, but I do hope everything goes well for you and your family. I was born 2 months premature and am still going strong 24 years later. Whenever I have some money, I will donate to March of Dimes or another organization or something while thinking of your family. I’m sorry that I can’t help now. I always feel emotional when I hear about another preemie.

  47. You realize, of course, that there are Christians who do not shun medical science and see it as a tool.
    Not all religious people believe that you should not seek medical intervention to conceive. There are some of that opinion but you are making grand assumptions about Christians as if, they would be just generally ignorant and would refuse medical treatment or an emergency c-section because “I gave it all to God and he will get me through this”. Painting an entire group of people with such a negative light when they just wanted to show you love and support is awful. I am a humanitarian at heart and find your jaded perspective on this matter completely disheartening. It’s ok to take donations from someone you totally abhor just to lessen your burden as long as you patronize them first?! I wish you well. I also wish you could just be at peace rather than choosing to be combative.

    1. I never said all religious people shun medical science. I’m not an idiot. Maybe you should read the letter again without the preconceived notion that you’re about to be persecuted, and you might actually understand the sentiment behind it.

  48. I find the comments from the “praying Christians” both disturbing and fascinating. Basically, it sounds like the only thing acceptable for an atheist to do, ever, is allow Christians to run roughshod over them and say whatever they want whenever they want. It’s apparently never, ever, ever, offensive for a Christian to (no matter how aggressively) speak down to an atheist with a smug “I’ll pray for you”, but it’s ALWAYS offensive for an atheist to see that gesture as anything but sweet and wonderful and well-meaning and from a “heart in the right place”. Rejecting this supposition means one is asking to be preached to and is “ungracious” and “zealous”.

    I’m incredibly sorry that so many Christians are taking it upon themselves to add to your emotional burdens and take responsibility for their feelings and beliefs while disrespecting theirs. Congratulations on your incredible new addition. Humans and science are amazing.

  49. I wish your son, and your family well. I am glad he continues to improve every day. I am equally glad that you have very talented and knowledgeable medical professionals caring for him and your wife. Be well.

  50. Hey Kevin,
    Congrats on the addition to the family. Little Grayson is adorable and I’m sure will grow to be just as strong as his Daddy. I wish I could “tithe my 10%” (lol, see what I did there?), but alas, I am poor… at least I know you’ll forgive me for it.

    That said, I just want to point out to others. As atheists, it is not our job to belittle others for having faith in something we very clearly do not have faith in. If they want to believe in something that we choose not to, it is not our place to tell them they are wrong and tell them to “get with reality” and various belittling comments. I’ll give you all the same statement my father gave me when I told him I was no longer a Christian, “Someday, [they] will open [their] eyes and see the truth in front of [them].” And if not, NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Kevin said his piece. Not every Tom, Dick, and Mary needs to come in behind him like an angry mob and beat down those who see it differently.

  51. Not praying for you. Because if your son is healed and lives you will credit science and medicine and money. mustn’t forget the go fund me account. You have chosen your gods You have credited your son’s very existence to science and medicine. But science and medicine only exist at the permission of God and the very breath in his lungs was given to him by his creator and no science or medicine called his soul into being. You just flipped God the bird . You do not even know to be afraid. I pity you , but there is no point praying for you.

    1. Hahaha! So, “screw your baby because you don’t believe.” Soooo Christian of you. God would be proud!

    2. @Lori – “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

    3. You see, those types of statements are what make people shy away from acknowledging their faith in a public forum. I’m Catholic, have been since I was a boy, and and as a believer in the same God as you, you disappoint me. Frankly, you disappoint him.

      To say that you will not pray for someone because they do not believe in what you believe in is absolutely opposed to what the Bible (and any interpretation of the texts say). Kevin said he did not welcome expressions of Prayers, and while people still continued to do so, at least they were doing it from a somewhat pious place.

      To tell a man, whose son has been born prematurely and is in the NICU, that you will explictly NOT pray for him is just plain cruelty. Not that it phases him. That’s not even the point. It’s that you are poisoning God’s word. You are “weaponizing” it against a fellow human. And for that you should really take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you’d say those things in the presence of God himself.

      That is what so many fanatics on both sides of the argument miss. You do not need to be mean, cruel, vicious to another person simply because you don’t believe in the same things.

      *Atheists plug your ears here* 🙂
      Jesus taught us that strength does not come from exerting your will over another. Nor from being able to hurt other people. He taught us to be HUMBLE. To turn the other cheek, whether in defiance, or to demonstrate the strength of our faith. In that no act of aggression could bring us to retaliate in kind. We must strengthen our faith by holding firm in our faith, in spite of all the challenges that we are faced with. And we should share our knowledge with those that welcome it, whenever they choose to receive it. You are missing the point of religion entirely if you think you have any right to condemn another person. I understand that you’re passionate about your faith, but when will people realize that the thoughts and actions of another person can never collapse your faith unless you allow it?

      *Atheists you can unplug your ears now* 🙂

  52. If we are all connected in the universe, then there is nothing wrong with prayer. I’ve actually started saying “sending positive vibes” because I got tired of atheists telling me my prayers meant nothing. Wrong. Positive thought has so much power. So what if the Yahweh God is a myth? People are still taking time to think of you in your moment of need and ask the universe to give back positive things.

    Christians like me don’t shun medical science. We pray for the doctors, we pray for the nurses, we pray for good things. Good vibes in the universe. But I know that the doctors are skilled, educated and most are well versed in the latest treatments. That doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days, and sometimes, the Universe needs to give a little so they have a successful moment. If that’s God or just the soul of the world, who knows? I don’t and you don’t. We’ll find out when we die.

    Just so you know. If my parents had not prayed for a miracle, I would not be here. Because medically, there is no reason I should exist as my father was declared sterile due to a lot of medical issues. But both my brother and I were conceived….and we are my father’s kid…

    1. Just because science does not yet have an explanation for something, that doesn’t mean that a god has caused it. Back when the bible was written, people didn’t know where the sun went at night. People didn’t understand chemical imbalances in the brain, so aberrant behaviour was blamed on demonic possession. They filled in the blanks with god. As time goes on, we are able to fill in more and more blanks.

    2. We won’t find when we die. Either of us. You can’t know anything when you don’t exist. Death is utter oblivion. This is the only life you will ever get. Don’t waste it.

  53. You know what the religious people will say to your atheist beliefs – that God allowed your son to be conceived in the lab, granted the gifts of medicine to the people who assisted in your son’s conception and saving his life. God gives gifts to these people to assist HIM with HIS work. Really, you simply couldn’t shake their beliefs – they think up all kinds of answers to explain why miracles happen and why some do not – which may be because of some kind of sin was committed and a punishment had to be delivered. My Mormon grandmother told my deaf parents that they were deaf because of some kind of sin they committed in their childhood….my mother turned deaf at age of 4 and my father at 5. That was the kind of nutty thinking that turned my father off on Mormonism and eventually religion altogether. As for myself, I’ve always doubted the whole idea of religion since I was quite young when my parents took me to church just to expose me to that world and at age of ten, I told my parents no more church. I never took my sons to church but they learned plenty from religious family members and people in general and decided for themselves that they don’t believe in religion either. Logical thinking tells us religion is full of loopholes with weak attempts to be filled up with lame explanations. All I can say is “God” definitely did not gift them with logical thinking skills – just faith in the idea of HIM.

  54. Science cannot fix a heart, nope it cannot – physical yes – but it cannot fix a broken heart of a man who needs help with it’s pain, that’s what he meant – YOU MISSED THE POINT!!! Next time you do not believe in a GOD – just remember how perfect the WORLD is, not humans – the world – The sun is at a perfect distance and cannot fry us to death, the most perfect food for our bodies grows from the ground and not made by man, like apples, oranges, bananas and etc – and everybody is missing the point about prayers, prayers are not meant for a quick dialogue with GOD – it is done with fasting and continues prayers for hours. One more thing, just remember “Nothing can come from nothing” – maybe GOD is a sadistic dickhead to some people, but he owned US until Christ came, so he can do what he wishes to people, but since Christ died for our sins, there is now a choice – and your life will continue to go the way it goes. The choice is now in your hands for your sins, either die with sin, or choose to accept Christ and let him take care of your sins from the past. I would hate to think ALL this life and earth and universe is just here to fuck with our minds and there is nothing to it in the end, if that is the case – why go through all the BS of life, jobs, fights, bills, despair, problems, diseases, health problems, divorce and other shit – do you love that life enough to endure all the crap this life has to give us. There is a reason why our minds are so attached to this world and afraid to die when the time comes. When the time comes – you’ll know what I mean…

    1. The world is far from perfect. We are here and not elsewhere not because someone made this place perfect for us, but because we evolved to fit the niche in the universe we’re in. As to something coming from nothing, there is no evidence there ever existed “nothing.”

      Atheism is the reason we cling to life. We know there isn’t anything else.

    2. You may like the idea of being merely a plaything of a capricious supernatural being, but I don’t. Since there is NO evidence to prove otherwise, you can keep your fables away from me. No thank you!

  55. Sorry one more thing – I always find it funny that atheists are so strong to disagree about something that is not real to them. Your doing exactly the polar opposite of what Christians are doing and it’s just as strong argument. If believe in nothing? Why even come to a site like this to argue about something is not real, that seems pretty crazy to me “Think about it for a moment” your coming to this site and telling people you do not believe in a GOD that is not there. It goes both ways too… And to the person with the premature baby – I will just say and respect your wishes and say “Good Luck”

    1. God is not real. “Christians” who shove their weird beliefs on other people and insist upon praying ARE real. Nobody is arguing about God — they’re asking REAL PEOPLE to stop being self-righteous jerks.

    2. Christians, or any type of theist, just don’t get it. You see, if there were grown ups who still believed in Santa Clause and wanted to enact legislature based on this belief in Santa, or teach Santa in schools, or have Santa on the currency stating the belief that Santa does exist and the country is founded on this belief, I think the only responsible thing to do would be to point out that Santa is not real. When this group of people continue to insist on this ridiculous claim it might require a more direct approach. Maybe websites and open forums will help to address these ridiculous claims and will keep others from being misinformed. It might help people realize the difference between fantasy and reality. Maybe this will eventually help society evolve away from these ancient superstitions that ultimately cause more harm than good. Maybe we would see a society that begins to excel because these superstitious ideas no longer get in the way, just maybe. If however, we allow ridiculous ideas like Santa to go unchecked we will never get past them and will always be stuck with those few who continue to insist that Santa Clause is real.

      Even though Christians could never equate their belief with the belief in Santa, much of the world does. Meaning that Santa is as real to them as the Jesus/God Bible story is. Then they are surprised when those who see their belief as the equivalent of a belief in Santa try to help them out of the mess they were most likely born into. My thoughts are with you all.

    3. For one thing, we did not come to this site to get into an argument about religion, you did. We came here to read the comments from the person runs this site, not yours. No one asked you to come here start an argument. You did that all on your own. This is not a theist site, it is an atheist one. You showed that the reason you’re here is to start a fight. The author didn’t come here. It’s his site and the rest of us his fans. You are the one who came here to get sh*t started.

      As for the other point you made, we would be happy to never have to say another word about religion. But since you folks won’t shut up about god this, god that and let’s put god here where he doesn’t belong, we don’t have much choice, now do we. If you theists would just quit trying to force your god into every nook and cranny of our lives and the internet, you wouldn’t have to hear from us anymore.

  56. Kevin I want to thank you and wish you and your family well. I am a Christian and I do pray, but that is not what I am here to thank you for. I am a Chaplain for a local fire department and what your blog taught me today is a new way of helping those who do not believe in God as I do. I am quite good at what I do, but please know that I do not go in preaching. I do not believe that is the time or place for that. I am there to help with the next steps after a death has occurred and this is not always an easy task. What you have allowed me to see in this post I will take with me on my journey. Thank you. I hope that your sweet baby will be home soon and you and your family can get on with your everyday dealings. I hope that your 4 year old has many years of playing with this sweet gift you have the responsibility of raising and caring for. Thank you for your honesty and for having a heart caring enough to thank those who think differently than you. Keep strong. Wendy

  57. This is my first ever comment on a blog post. Your post hit a note with me. My husband and I grew up in a very christian (some would say fundamental) homes, but as adults no longer believe. Many of our friends and families are still believers. I am currently on bed rest after a serious bleed that very nearly led to an preterm emergency csection. This is also my second child (both conceived through IVF). I feel your frustration. I see so many, “God is good, he healed our baby” (by that logic did he not also then make the baby sick??) and have received many similar comments about my situation and how good God is for letting the baby stay inside longer. Some of these comments come from the same people who said they do not agree with IVF and therefore think my baby should not exist in the first place.

    I find the praising of God for healing someone strange. If the person is healed, “God is good”. If a person is not healed, I never see, “God is bad”, but rather some form of, “everything happens for a reason”.

    Over many years in a church, I have seen numerous situations where many many people have come together to pray for an individual to be healed. Sometimes they get better, sometimes they don’t. So as you say, what is the point of prayer? Hypothetically, if God does exist, and his decision regarding who will be healed or not is not already made, then what do christians logically think sways the choice? The number of people praying? (I’ve seen thousands praying for “miracles” that haven’t occurred), does it just depend on God’s current mood? Or is it pre-decided and therefore, prayer is pointless? I have had many such discussions with my Christian family members and friends, but unable to answer, I am given the standard Christian response, “God works in mysterious ways”.

    My toddler and baby exist due to the modern medicine and science. It was also medicine and science that stopped my bleeding. It will be medicine and science that will be utilized for my high-risk csection. I would like to give credit, where credit is due.

  58. To the family!
    Both my sons were born 12 weeks premature and they are grown men wth their own families. And this was back in the 70s. Doctors, medicine and science has really advance.
    Now my question is are they able to cure all diseases l, bring back our love one from their graves, stop our love ones from dying, put an end to mental illness, stop the spread of diseases, stop people from aging, keep food and water plentiful and clean without chemical use, without cloning our animals, stop starvation, stop peopl from killing each other which has to do with the way they think. Are scientists able to create a world free from all disasters, diseases, pestilence, Death, Aging, stop earthquakes, disaster’s weather, cure people blindness, the Deaf, the Cripple, Mental illness.
    Can they create a world where people lives perfectly Healthy where we never Die? Is that Possible from Scientists? Because if you stand back and take a good look at whats happening it seems to be getting Worst! I want to live forever! Is that possible from Scientist’s? Just asking.

  59. Thank you for your honest and kind explanation regarding your feelings. As a Christian I would like to say that God works in many ways and one of the most important ways are through other people. I am not going to pertonise you with my thoughts on that regarding your family situation. You are hurting enough, but keep on relying to all those around you, may they keep you strong and give you hope.

  60. Some of these comments are truly unbelievable. I’m pretty sure this was the first time that I literally face-palmed. No joke. I involuntarily covered my eyes/forehead after a comment.

    Anyways, good luck Grayson!

  61. All i can say to you kevin is that the worst you can ever be is an atheist, this is probably some atheist site promoting to confuse people. Lets not forget that almost every single soul on here has not read the bible from front to back, however with that being said, how can you say that there isnt such thing as god then? You wouldnt say you did not like the taste of something if you havent tryed it?. The strongest belivers know that there is science in the bible and where there is good there is evil. Science came from god a ‘supernatural’ spirt/frequency, when he said let there be light science took place and formed life in the universe. You can take the easy route to not belive or research, just know that there has been many trials and tribulations where people have seen good and bad spirits here on earth. I am one of them.the fact remains in vice versa, to belive that there is god you have to know the devil exist. In conclusion
    , Good and evil will forever be at war and its been like this always.we are devided in two: life and death, good and evil, light and dark. Evil spelled backwards is life etc. The point is you have to pick your side as god picked his. Im not here to insult you just here to give you clarification and my blessings to you and your family . Thank you and may god the deliverer deliver you out of your situation. Ps. Im not amused that they’re more likes from nonbeliveres then belivers on here because the bible already stated that there will be as many as there is grain of sand on the beach , that will not be saved.

    1. Hey son of Yahweh……. you are talking about something you don’t even close know enough about to allow you to comment. You are clearly one of the brainwashed children of the Israel vision. There is no god, the sooner you catch a wake-up and realize this, the better for you. I hope you are still young and stupid so that there may still be a possibility to learn more in life.

      Oh and just to scare you even more….. there also is no such thing as a devil.. All these deities have been created in the minds of sick old men wearing dresses and smoking Opium pipes. The hallucinated from the drugs and thought up all these wonderful stories you today know as your one and only holy script.

      My best advise as always….. Try and think for yourself, don’t leave that job to others or pay a priest or family member or friend to do the thinking for you. You got to think for yourself. You owe it to yourself.

      I rest my case

    2. Have YOU read your bible from cover to cover? Because I have, and a good number of other atheists have as well, It’s the CAUSE of many atheists becoming atheists.

      Feel free to believe as you like. But don’t tell us what we do or should believe.

      1. Anyone can read a book about someone, even a million times. It doesn’t mean they understand the person they read about nor does it mean they knew them. , , ,

  62. Satan or whomever be with you , if thats your cup of tea, please drink. To each his own, our world has to many wars transpiring for centuries due to religious belief, everyone should have their belief and be left alone.

    1. Why do so many religious people automatically assume that if someone says they are atheist they probably worship Satan? It’s so hilarious. Atheists believe in neither, they don’t deny the existence of God to worship the devil! Get real, people! You don’t need to say “….or whomever be with you.” It doesn’t need to be said at all. It’s not a complicated thing, really!

      1. Noone says you worship Satan..of course you dont believe in either..however Satan is in you whether you believe or not..thats what we are saying..its not that complicated. .really

      2. Well Atheistsareannoying, despite your belief that Satan exists I must let you know that there is no Satan, because Moloch has deceived you. Moloch is in you whether you believe it or not. You would not say the things you do if Moloch did not possess you. Repent now.

  63. To Tammy Bevins,

    Tammy, you clearly have a lot of comment to offer. First i want to tell you how very sorry i am that you had to go through the experience of losing a child. No parent should ever go through that.

    Then i seriously need to ask you a question as a response to a comment you made:

    You mentioned that during the time your child was ill lots of people sent prayers and good wishes. None of those made a difference you said, because your child died anyway.

    Question: If your child survived, would you be thanking your god and telling everyone what a great god he is?

  64. I never understood the fight between believers and nonbelievers? Why does there have to be a choice? Science explains so much about our everyday life and our struggles to survive in this world, but a belief is a belief – it´s not about knowing. That is the point! When life hands us situations that really complicates our reasons to love and maybe to live, the point of believing is to hand those questions over to something outside of us. So we won´t hate ourselves or each other for doing mistakes. It´s been done for thousands of years all over the world ( almost to the point of being a part of the science of homo sapiens) I see believing as a necessary tool in a world gone mad. yes beliefs has caused a lot of suffering, but everything that will set off power struggles will – money, power, politics and religion. That is the way of the human race. I am glad that the doctors, nurses and equipments saved your child – this is worth all the thanks in the world for contributing to mankind. But if your child would have died, instead of blaming yourselves for not understanding the signs in time or blaming the doctors for doing something wrong I would have no problem if you “survived” by avoiding the harsh reality by “handing it over to god”. I actually think this is a normal tried and true response within the human mind. Belief acting as a belief when science fails is as natural as blaming science – whether it is Luke Skywalker, God or dead relatives you believe in.
    And when people say they are praying for you, why can´t you find comfort in a community coming together showing that they care for you? Or would you rather they gave money and not verbalizing their support?
    It sounds to me that you have old issues with religion, wanting people to take you seriously and adapt to your way of living. As if by mentioning God and Prayers they are personally trying to insult you. Sometimes you just gotta let people be who they are and receive their love.

  65. I really only have one thought about this offensive post. The astonishing negativity in response to positive offerings of care and love is heartbreaking to me. And to justify it by *deciding* to be offended at those offerings of care and love? Guess what – you get to choose how people affect you. You get to decide to focus on the positive feelings that are being sent your way, rather than choosing to respond with negativity. No one else gets to make that choice for you but you. How sad that you choose ill feelings in response to expressions of love – a decision that has nothing to do with religious leaning. I’m actually with Tammy on this: “Life is way too short to take offense to someone offering care or kindness.”

  66. So sorry your family is dealing with this. But congrats on your new baby! my husband was born at 28 weeks 45 years ago and is a strapping 6’2″ surfs 20 foofoot waves and still hasn’t beat his high school track record! we have a few little fighters of our own too. our oldest has had type 1 diabetes for 11 years and our 5 year old suffered a stroke when I was 36 weeks pregnant and we also lost 2 babies to miscarriages. as a parent it’s the hardest thing we will ever do, watching o ur children suffer. I am so thankful every day f or mygirls and for the modern medicine that has saved them everyday! I personally belive in god but not a bit in religion. i refuse to stuff it down people’s throats. But il the article did make me think about how much I hate hearing those stupid sayings. to me, God’s plan is for us all to grown and be healthy and live forever. HOWEVER, that is not the world we live in. We are born into a broken world where people get sick and evil lurks. I could totally be wrong that there is a god. but when I sat by my daughters bed while she was slipping away I didn’t feel alone. when I see her beautiful spirit, I can’t imagine that it’s only sci ence. I don’t believe God is a magical being with a wand to fix us. for me it just who picks me up. I HATE when people interject themselves and say it’s gods plan. or the baby would have been sick. or y add a y add a yadda! what crap! I try to make sure o am being respectful of others beliefs when they tell me something like this is happening in their life. yes I will pray for them, as I have been in their shoes. will I tell them that I am? not if I don’t know their faith.i will tell them we will be thinking and hoping good things for them. so I totally get where you came from. just thought I’d let you know that not all Christians buy some of that legalistic sela serving crap. some of us belive simply I’m grace and loving one another the way we feel we have been loved by our God. I personally can totally agree and understand your position and hope for the very very best for your baby boy and family. we don’t have to be love in the same things to believe in each other and believing that good things are possible! the n ur see and the docs that care for these babies are the best! they are our soldiers fighting with us in the trenches. what you are going to find is that this is the strongest kid you will ever meet. these special kids are made of steel and snuggles ; D♡so with that, good night and many healthy hopes and a quick recovery for your little man!

  67. Kevin, first of all, CONGRATS on the birth of your son. Second, you have just found yourself a new “convert” – to your blog, that is! I happened to stumble upon this post last night and I felt compelled to read all of the comments – something I rarely do and which I know my body is going to regret in a few hours! LOL.

    I’ve commented under several replies already. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your post. You summed up perfectly things I wish I had been able to say as succinctly in the past. One of my children was born premature and spent quite awhile in the NICU. It was a life changing event that we managed to make our way through and came out stronger for it in the end. But, throughout that time we had to endure the same as you and your wife when it came to not only offers of prayer but explanations as to how this was all part of God’s plan and how my deceased mother was looking down on us and assisting our baby somehow, and how we should be grateful for God’s goodness… blah blah blah. “Religious privilege” makes people assume we all must believe in SOME kind of higher power and that we should all find comfort or at least be appreciative of their religious sentiment. When they find out otherwise, we are offered their prayers of pity for our souls and hopes that we will eventually see the light and be saved.

    When my first child was born healthy despite a long and complicated labor, we were told my recently deceased mother was looking out for her. When my second child was born healthy after my nearly hemorrhaging, we were told God was looking out for us. Then we had to endure the preaching and posturing times 10 when I went into early labor and all throughout the weeks of NICU hell. Most of the time I bit my tongue and gritted my teeth because it was difficult enough for my husband and to handle lack of sleep and living at the Ronald McDonald House away from our other children, racking up debt and worrying about every precious ounce and temperature reading of our baby. However, no one should have to be subject to religious lecturing at time when they just need support. What does that look like if you don’t pray? If you can’t be there in person to help out or if you have gifts of food, childcare, housework or money to donate…? Simple – validation and moral support. Be an ear to listen when they need to vent, without judgement or unsolicited advice. Validate them and empathize with their feelings if you can. Not everyone wants a solution when they vent, just listen. Respect if they say they need space and time. Offer to be there when they are ready. Send a gift card! 😉

    Kevin, your suggestions for helping are excellent. I know we couldn’t be more grateful for the foundation who donated the family and relaxation rooms at rhe hospital, plus the Ronald McDonald House. We donated to them when we were able.

    There are many ups and downs when your baby is in the NICU. Many sleepless nights. I hope you and your wife can find some moments of rest. Enjoy the little moments that happen each day as your baby gets stronger and hang on to those. Our baby just lost her first tooth but it doesn’t seem that long ago that she was just 2lbs and we couldn’t wait till the day we could bring her home.

    I will be looking forward to your future posts on other topics too! 😉

  68. Yawn. So you’re saying “I believe differently from you. When you say you’re praying, I don’t think it works.” Well… big revelation? There’s nothing offensive about you believing your own thing.

    Now if you were one of those dicks that gets all pissy just because someone else believes prayer works then you’d be a dick. But you’re saying you’re not. The people who get offended that you believe prayer doesn’t are the same kind of dick – people who get offended over meaningless stuff like that aren’t worth your time.

    “If we left it to a god to decide, our 4-year-old son, Ryan, would not exist.”

    Yeah. If you’re right. If you’re wrong, God did decide, provided the physical laws, the science and the human ability to comprehend them and encouraged learning through the church. All you’re doing is stating your beliefs again (though disguising it as fact)

    “So when you tell me you’re praying for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you. But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.”

    Again, if you’re right. You can keep stating your opinions as facts but that doesn’t make you right (or evidenced). If you’re wrong, it does a lot to help him. So… again, big whoop? This is like a Muslim saying to a Christian:

    “So when you tell me you’re praying to the Christian God for Grayson, I’m going to be gracious and say thank you. But know this — your gesture does more to make you feel better than it does to comfort me or help my son fight for his life in his incubator.”

    Yeah, no shit Sherlock, but what exactly is the point of talking about this. Clearly you don’t think it works and they do. So… what people have never heard of a Muslim/Atheist before? This kind of self-revalatory masturbation is a waste of everyone’s time.

    “my two children are anything but god’s plan”

    Citation needed. Assuming facts not in evidence. Your belief, that shouldn’t surprise anyone given you don’t believe in a God. I mean come on, are all your friends drongos?

  69. Yet another reason why this “morally corrupt” (according to the hypocrytical christian) athiest gives blood like clockwork. Your son might not have needed blood, but someone out there gets my blood. And that actual gift does more than all the prayers in the world.

    Kevin is dead to rights when he says prayer does nothing and it is an insulting way of saying a person empathizes with you but doesn’t want to do anything more than try to make themselves feel like they are helping…. in fact research has show that prayer either does nothing or makes the situation worse.

    A person would do more good coming to the hospital with lunch for Kevin & his wife than by praying.

    Different circumstances but my daughter was in the hospital with a respitory infection when she was a month old. I can understand a bit of what you guys are going through. If we were in the same city would ask if there was anything you guys need.

    1. Thanks, Joe. And thank you for giving blood. Grayson has has multiple transfusions because he’s too young to make the blood cells he needs fast enough to keep up. In fact, he’s getting a transfusion in the picture shown in the post.

  70. I am not a devoutly religious person. However I do know that there are many different belief systems. You are clumping all faiths into the fundamentalist category and arguing that God doesn’t want you to have kids because medicine made it possible. That statement is about as short sided as they come. Yes some religions do not believe in modern medical introvention. But many others believe you should use, to your greatest ability, everything you have to help your fellow man. And if what you have is intelligence, and you use it to help people through medicine, you are doing right. And honestly if my child was in danger and someone was offering some kind of comfort I’d be less argumentative, and more greatful. I don’t care if someone said they pray to a magic rainbow unicorn, I’d say thanks. Because when it is your child you will do or try anything to get them better. And I’d take all the help I could get. If you do not you believe that there is some greater form of collective conscience, that is fine, it is a free country, and your prerogative. But before you lump all faiths into one giant fundamentalist category do some research. I hope your child has a speedy recovery.

  71. I am a minister who does not believe in a deity, it’s just a fairytale to make people feel better about their situations. I do believe in science and I do believe we create our world through are thoughts and actions. So if a prayer is a thought, an a thought is pure energy, as so many quantum physicist are now saying and proving, then stop looking at a prayer as a plea to a deity. Maybe it is just a form of creative ideas that we have as a collective labeled prayer. If all thoughts are prayers and all prayers are thoughts and thoughts create action, then a prayer is nothing more than energy being released to create our reality.

    1. There is no proof that thought is “pure energy.” People without proper science education seem to think magical “energies” rerunning the universe. Not so. Do some study on real science, not pseudoscience.

  72. Hi Kevin,
    It’s obvious you’ve made your mind up about “us” but I just want to offer my two cents. My objective is not to convert you or try to make you see things my way but more to help you understand that there are Christians who fully believe in the awesomeness that is modern medicine. My 4 year old daughter Anabelle was diagnosed with a rare terminal brain disease about two years ago and I have watched her go from full of life to having nearly none at all (her cognition is almost normal but she has no control over her peripheral muscles) . I don’t fully know God’s purpose for taking my daughter’s life away, but that’s a topic for another time. The only reason my daughter has the quality of life that she does have is because of modern medicine. She is on 9 different prescription medications in an effort to keep her as comfortable as possible. I believe that God gave those scientists and doctors the ability to create such advances for such a purpose. My husband and I have seriously considered PGD IVF as a form of conception for our next child because we would have a 25% chance of having another child like Anabelle if we did it the old fashioned way. I believe God has given us these tools to help us create and sustain life, not to “stay home and pray as their only means of treatment.” I guess all I’m trying to say is thank you for appreciating our attempt to lift you up in the best way we know possible. I don’t believe prayer reminds God of anything. I know He already knows it. I think prayers stirs hearts and minds to do something more. Like you said we’re just doing the best we think we can do for your child. What I am trying to convey is that there are some and probably many Christians that do rely on the advances of modern medicine. We are not all against it. In fact if I was to slice my hand open cutting vegetables I would go straight to the ER where I would be greeted by my mom (an ER triage nurse and a Christian) and I would let modern medicine help me put my hand back together. And I would ask the Lord for peace and a smooth recovery, not to remind Him or that I think He will change His plan to suit mine, but if I believe He is all knowing then I believe He knew I was going to pray in that moment and maybe my path was already to have peace and a smooth recovery. But if I don’t have a smooth recovery it’s not God’s fault for not heeding my prayers, it’s not anyone’s fault. My prayers are just my way of expressing what my hope is, and a reminder of what I want to choose to do in the meantime, which is seek peace. I hope this makes sense. Whenever we talk about religion and deities there will always be holes and answers I cannot provide. God tells me that in the Bible, and I’m okay with that.

    I truly pray Grayson gets to come home soon. Keep doing what your doing because it is obviously working for him ❤️

  73. What I don’t understand is why all of the Christian people paying here can’t say to themselves, “Oh, this person finds being told that I’m praying for them to be emotionally trying in a time that is already emotionally exhausting. Perhaps, because I care about him and his mental stamina in a time when his family needs him to be strong, I will not tell him that I’m praying for his family. I can still actually pray, but I don’t have to tell him that, because he doesn’t want to hear it. My prayer will not be any less meaningful nor will the sentiment behind it be any less sincere. I will have done the act as required by my faith, but I will also have demonstrated a respect for his wishes.”

    1. exactly, Julia. it’s not hard. I don’t understand why people can’t comprehend it? you can still be a “good Christian” and show you care by asking how you can help this individual, specifically, and then do that. and then, yes, still pray for them if you wish but don’t have to mention it. why are people so adamant about forcing their beliefs on others? it’s very frustrating. personally, I would prefer- if you can’t or are not willing to offer what I am asking then don’t offer anything at all. if it has to be given under the terms of the giver, then it’s not freely given.

      1. Sadly it is my experience that people like that do it because their ego demands it – they desire some recognition of their “good deed”, to be praised for it. Having others acknowledge what they did and thank them for it makes them feel better. They may offer the prayer selflessly and with all the best intentions, but the moment they start saying “I prayed for you!” the act has become about them.

  74. Seems the point of this is to get money for medical care. Science can be a great thing, but It can makes things worse, as well. Be grateful EVERY day for your child because the outcome is never guarenteed. Try not to take offense as others try to wish you and your family well. Wishing you and your family the best during this trying time. Focus on what needs focusing on. Love while you can love, it is the greatest gift you can give!

    1. If you think the point of this is to get money for medical care, you’ve missed the point. I added a donation link at the very bottom of this, knowing full well most people won’t even get that far. If it was about money, I would have led in with that. So insulting.

    2. So what if it is to get money?? (It’s not). His child is gravely ill & he is frantic. Raising money for medical care is a whole lot better than keeping pastors in mansions. These posts from so-called christians who are admonishing him are cruel and off-base. Naturally they can’t see that because they are convinced of their own holiness. Give tangible help, or shut up. Or just be there, and still shut up. There is no need to announce your prayers! “I’m going to pray now! Watch me people!”

      1. Most pastors are not rich living in mansions Anne. You are right that if a believer knows that someone is atheist then the kind thing to do is pray silently and go ahead and do those things if you are able that will comfort them. But sometimes what is natural for people comes so rapidly that it is said or done before they have thought about it. So kindness needs to go both directions.

  75. My best wishes to you and your family Kevin. Your post was compelling and gracious, and I am sorry I am not in a position to aid you financially. To those of you who were offended, HE THANKED YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS which is the polite and positive thing to do even if he doesn’t believe those prayers will work. If you are a believer and it gives you comfort, more power to you. After being thanked, all a true believer need say is “you’re welcome.”

  76. Reading some of these comments is making my head spin. The impulse of some (not all) believers to completely ignore and/or criticize the request and feelings of the author is freaking mind boggling.

    If you happened across this man in real life at or near a hospital and saw that he was distraught with worry and concern and felt compelled to offer him kind words and a hug to comfort him only to have him recoil from your touch, express gratitude for you words then explain he is uncomfortable with physical contact from strangers. Would you react similarly? Would you tell him that he should accept your hug as the act of comfort you intended it to be regardless of the fact it actually makes him uncomfortable? Or if you happened to walk by and witness this occurrence would you tell him that he is rude for not accepting the hug gracefully? That he should allow himself to be hugged because the other person’s “heart is in the right place?” That they are only trying to be helpful and how dare he not accept it because they mean well? I doubt you would because you likely understand and respect personal boundaries in reference to physical contact. I cannot fathom why that understanding does not extend to words for some (not all) of you.

    When someone says “I do not like *random action.* It does not comfort me and at times it makes me uncomfortable,” your reaction should NOT be “I do not care one iota for your feelings; I am going to do it anyway because I do not think it should bother you and if you do not graciously accept this action I CHOOSE to disrespectfully FORCE upon you KNOWING you do not like it then you are rude, not me.” Seriously, WTF???

  77. I do not feel persecuted, I in no way put any of my religious views in my point, saying thank you, in person or not is not being gracious, it being polite, so I did not miss that in your point. Its not religion or science. you can believe in both. I respect your beliefs. BUT you really want to support your “CAUSE” then do not accept money from people who are giving to you on behalf of what they believe! Just like your are not accepting them giving you their prayers! I had a daughter die 3 weeks before her high school graduation and she was ill many years prior. ! I was not even thinking of where peoples kindness was coming from, I just saw the face and the act and held it dear to my heart. Atheist tend to be so HELL bent on what they believe and proving to everyone else their believe. that most tend to act like Jahova’s Witnesses knocking at your door.

    1. I would just like to further explain , before I inadvertently offend anyone, My intention in mentioning Jehovah’s witnesses and their expressions of faith are in no way meant to degrade or diminish their beliefs. I was merely attempting to use an example that is commonly used to negatively describe the actions of certain religious groups. the point I was really trying to make is that the atheists have a belief system as you have also previously eluded to. the atheist believes not to believe but the need to believe in an innate quality that you also have inherited. This is the one in phenomenon that even Albert Einstein has conceded as being inexplicable and inescapable aspect of the human condition.

      The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
      ( Albert Einstein – The Merging of Spirit and Science)

      Science is also an expression and admiration for the miracles of existence .. Well Wishes to you and your family.

    2. It’s a bit of an overstatement to say that he asked them for money.
      It didnt read that way.
      He also never asked anyone to consider donating “on behalf of what they believe (about a deity)”.

      And do you know why most Christians have slowed wayyy down on how much they proselytize publicly
      (aka: “(being) HELL bent on what they believe and proving to everyone else their believe”)?

      It’s because non-Christians kept giving them shit about it. Because just like you … we (also) don’t want to hear it.
      So here you are … posting as a member of a larger collective
      bragging about how tame that collective is …
      when we are the ones that tamed it.

      In that very same way,
      we (the secular community) are to credit for WHY most Christians no longer go around
      hunting, persecuting, capturing, torturing, and killing non-believers, wrong-believers, witches, etc..

      You should learn to be more thankful for what you have
      that ~we~ have given you.

      PS>
      I’m super sad to hear what happened to your daughter.
      May you find a lasting peace.

      1. That is an awesome run down of the situation to date. But they still try to pat themselves on the back that they aren’t as violent anymore. Of course they’re not. Secular society will no longer tolerate it. They sure as hell would never voluntarily done it on their own. They proved that for 1800 years. But they would love to go back to it if they could. You can tell that by reading some “loving” christian posts on the internet. They say that the Muslims are worse than they are, but it wasn’t all that long ago when they behaved the exact same way.

  78. I don’t really agree with you, but I think you said your piece eloquently. I admire people who can voice differing opinions with reason, intellect, thought and respect for others. You’re certainly more respectful than some of those commenting on your post. I hope your beautiful baby continues to get strong and healthy. My thoughts are with you!

  79. Four years ago last week my ex-one and a half pound 24 weeker finally came home after 114 days in the NICU. Unbeknownst to us (because my Catholic mother knew it would creep us out) we were added to prayer lists and referred to at Sunday Masses. That added to the usual comments on Facebook and in emails and we apparently drowning in prayers. Still, at two weeks old my son suffered a 15 minute cardiac arrest that caused extensive damage to his brain and left him with spastic, quaraplegic cerebral palsy. In my estimation, God would be the one responsible for the cardiac arrest, whereas the nurses and doctor who were there that day and administered all the shots of adrenaline and chest compressions are the ones responsible for him sitting at the breakfast table with me today as I type this. Reading this post, my husband and I were both nodding our heads the whole time. Thank you for expressing our point of view so perfectly.

  80. Dear “Victor”,
    Here are your words
    and
    my responses to your words.
    -just for lulz. I mean, no one is going to learn from this, right?
    ———————————————————————————
    “Well, in your expertise on religionGod,…”

    First, the term “God” is a count noun. It’s a common mistake. But you should be saying “my God” or “a God” etc.. “God” is not a self explanatory term. There are many alleged Gods.
    Pick one.
    And don’t say “The Christian God” either, because Christians around the world can’t agree on any of the defining characteristic of the “God” they have in mind when they use the term.
    -which means that you may only (in all fairness) refer to reports of divine interventions …
    in the lives of people whom define “the Christian God” exactly as you do.
    Good luck with that. You’ll never be able to truly verify a single other person that this is true of.
    So yea; ya best stick with the expression “my God”, from now on.
    -which means … there are no “those” for you to site as examples. There is only you.
    —————————————

    ” you apparently all missed the parts about Him …”

    Unless your deity has male genitals (are these the “parts” we missed?)…
    cut it out with the “He”, ok?

    And no; I don’t want a lecture on how your predecessors rationalized it.
    If it’s a literal being, it either does or doesn’t have a literal gender.
    Pick a position; and then honor it with your words; always.
    —————————————–

    “While I do believe that the help of people in the medical profession are absolutely necessary, ”

    What? Your God can’t do it on its own?
    (~shocked face~)

    ——————————————————————————————————
    “don’t you think it’s a little selfish of you to make the decision for your son (?)”

    Did that sound better in your head, before you typed it out?
    You know, there is a handy backspace key, for when that happens.

    ————————————————————————————————————–
    “(who are you to say) that he wouldn’t want people to pray for him (?)”

    First,
    All babies, infants, toddlers, and somewhere far beyond that …
    are atheists.
    They are “a” (without) … “theism” (a belief in a deity).
    And when’s the last time (or even the first time) that you met an atheist that wanted you to pray for them?

    Their baby doesn’t even know what “people” are yet; nor deities; nor prayers.
    Try forming your question using only words that represent concepts that the baby is even capable of thinking about.
    Your corrected question should sound something like this:
    “Waaaaaaaa”.

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    “…you aren’t going to allow him, if possible in the future, to make his own decision about his faith?”

    Are you aware that you just created a whole new reality and then asked a question about it?
    This isn’t even CLOSE to on-topic.
    Hell, it’s not even a fair stand-alone question.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “I know this must seem like an uncaring post, ”

    Nah. It just seems like you might be a moron. But I prefer to assume you’re faking that;
    or having a stroke.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “but let’s get this straight,”

    This should be good.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    “I don’t and will never be apologetic ”

    no doubt.

    ————————————————————————————————————————
    “or make excuses for the well being of another person. ”

    uhm…
    ok.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    “I don’t pray for others to make myself feel better about myself ”

    Well that would be a shame; because it’s the only possible benefit to be gained from it.

    But what you need to realize is that any-and-all feelings you get
    that resemble some connection to your God … is entirely internally generated.
    Feels good, doesn’t it?
    Of course it does; or you wouldn’t keep doing it.
    And don’t try to convince anyone that you don’t feel better about yourself for doing it.
    Feeling blessed, approved-of, righteous, justified, vindicated, enlightened, empowered, etc etc etc
    all translated to feeling “better” about one’s self.
    You just don’t understand yourself very well;
    -which is ok. We all learn at our own pace;
    -or not at all; “God willing”.

    —————————————————————————————————————————

    “and if that’s all you got out of it when you did it you were doing it wrong.”

    We all know there is more to get out of it.
    In Christian circles, it’s a great way to peer-bond.
    And for the sake of keeping the theistic illusion going,
    many people find prayers to be absolutely essential.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    “With all that being said,”

    Good thing, too. We all feel so enriched.

    ———————————————————————————————————————
    “whether you want it or not, my prayers will be there for your son and your family.”

    Translation: “Go F yourself. I’m doing it anyways.”

  81. I can say been there, done that and completely understand! My first son was born 13 weeks early, spent 8weeks in NICU and is now 19 yrs old. It is a very draining and fascinating experience all at the same time. I wish the 3 of you the best.

  82. I write this and direct it to many of the “unbeliever” commenters who don’t seem to understand how faith works.
    How does God help? He may give a boost of energy to the doctor at the right moment, or quietly whisper to his subconscious, assisting him to find the right course of treatment. I’m a great believer in science but I believe God is the one who guided humans to seek out this knowledge, cause the accidental discoveries to happen. “Miracles” don’t necessarily mean a big magical “poof” and everything’s ok. Many people reason that God doesn’t exist because He lets bad things happen. God doesn’t control every aspect of our lives. He gave us our own will, our own thoughts and allowed us to make our own mistakes. He is terrible and fearsome and could squash us all at any moment. People make the mistake of thinking he is all about fluffy goodness and rainbows.. don’t forget he also created piranhas and plague. Sometimes bad things just happen.

    1. We have an excellent idea of how faith works since many of us are apostate for one reason or another. What a very presumptuous thing for you to say. Just because we don’t agree with you, we don’t understand. Kevin for one was very religious at one time.

      Hate to burst your bubble here, but you are the one who doesn’t seem to understand how reason works. We rejected faith because eventually our reason asked to many questions of it and “poof” it was gone. Don’t presume to lecture us about a subject that we likely know as well, or better, than you do. God, and the belief thereof, is an offense to reason.

      1. See, that is exactly the sort of arrogance I referenced. You interpret my comment as some sort of lecture. As though I’m telling you that you do not understand religion. I never said anything even remotely close to that.

        My comment was an inquiry as to why two people of opposing philosophy’s so frequently end up at odds with each case with each other.

        It’s a massive lack of empathy that fuels the fires of arguementive engagement.

        If you take a few minutes to read my other comments, you’d quickly ascertain that I make no attempts to impose the belief that one philosophy is more “right” than another. And you’re right about Kevin being well aware of the multitude of fallacious arguements touted by some religious people. He and I have yet to be at odds with each other because we do not feel compelled to objectify the philosophy of the other. Which is another additive to argumentative engagement that I also mentioned in my comment.

        But you gloss over those why? Because I’m actively not arguing with you?

        I did not once state that Atheists have little no understanding of Religion. I will however state, now, that you absolutely do not understand *my* philosophy. Because outside of these exchanges we’ve never spoke and we know nothing of each other. And you don’t have to. I’m not trying to “enlighten” you. Enlighten yourself. In whatever way you feel to be right. And no matter what, I’ll respect you. Because you don’t need my “blessing” to do as you wish. Your life is yours to navigate. And mine is, well, mine.

        My attempt to engage with you was out of a sheer curiousity to understand your perspective as you seemed to have a lot to say but it’s seems as though you’re more interested in “fighting the good fight” rather than just exchanging ideas.

        No harm, no foul. You take it easy, man. 🙂

      2. Wow, Styx. I totally read this reply as a continuation of our last commentary which I just noticed it absolutely is not. And has nothing to do with my last reply to you.

        My apologies. I definitely did not get why you were interpreting my comment in a very different way than I wrote it, but my comment and the one you were actually replying to were both based on the topic of understanding. Though mine was not wasn’t making any assertions that people couldn’t understand, rather that I didn’t understand why they ask about the faith of a religious person and the actively try to avoid understanding.

        Either way, my apologies again, man. 🙂

      3. Great. Because I was totally confused by your answer. I’m glad you posted a retraction because I had no idea why you were so angry with my reply to Jodie. I don’t agree with your theism, but I won’t attack you for it. My comments on the subject are more of a general nature and don’t address specifics unless required. I believe that I understand your position and I won’t berate you for it. I understand why people are religious, but I don’t like the cognitive dissonance it takes to be a believer. I’m too logical for that. In essence, I can respect the believer, but not the belief system itself.

        My wife was Catholic until she deconverted to atheism, so along with extensive reading on the subject, I believe I know a good bit about that sect of Christianity. I generally found fewer qualms with it over some of the others, but only because most of the Catholics I knew were much less strident about their religion than most others. They generally kept themselves to themselves and left me out of it.

        My wife tells me that I am good with empathizing with other people’s positions, even if I don’t agree. In other words, I try to be a good devil’s advocate. I’m glad she said it. I do try to understand what makes other people tick, even if I do end up sometimes not liking them for it. It helps to understand where others are coming from if you want to have any kind of discussion. But that doesn’t mean that I’m above sarcasm when I feel it is appropriate.

  83. Your recent post was shared on a friend’s page and I replied to it so I decided I would just paste it here as well if you wanted to hear another perspective.

    Facebook
    I’ll try to go back and read it.
    I wish I could just sit and chat with him just to talk together on his beliefs and my own, not to be all evangelist on him.

    This is the first article I have ever read from him and have never heard of his website until now.

    I stopped reading because I felt pigeonholed. (Not I, but my beliefs).

    I am a Christian.
    I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
    I believe IF there was Big Bang, it is how God wanted creation to appear and those with Faith would believe He created everything and those without would believe in the Science.
    I believe in modern medicine. I believe God and medical intervention saved my Daughter.

    I don’t like the blogger consistently stating “If I left it up to God…..” and rattling off things like modern medicine, IVF, etc

    I believe in modern medicine. (as does my church)
    I don’t believe modern medicine just saved my daughter, but it also had a hand in CONCEIVING my daughter!

    So, I guess like I was saying, I don’t like being pigeonholed because he is singling out a specific belief system of a few specific faiths and broadstroking it upon EVERY person of faith.

    I do understand that he doesn’t need to hear “I am praying for you.”
    I have friends that our Christian, Non-christian and Atheist. I pray for each of their hardships and heartaches the same. I may say to a Christian friend, “I am praying for you”. I am say to the non-Christian “I am praying for you” so that they know and that they might start recognizing God’s work in their life.

    To the atheist? I don’t. There is no need. I have many oppurtunites to talk about my faith with them. I don’t have to wait for things to be hanging in a balance to do so. I pray for them and I don’t tell them because they know I am a Christian, they know that I am a PRAYING Christian and they know I am going to pray for them. I don’t need to tell them for my prayers to be anymore meaningful. It is between me and God.

    If the blogger was my friend, I would pray for him and have no need to say it, no need to push my agenda on him as I would not want his agenda pushed on me.

    Should we be the Evangelist and bringing our faith to those that have none? OF COURSE! But we have to be selective and concise when we do it. I think his so called “friends” need to respect his belief system just as much as I would like mine to be respected and pray in private but other than that, for the next few weeks at least, not shove it down his throat.

  84. I understand your need to rant. I feel this way every time I see those words. Stay strong and trust in the care of the professionals. I’m sure they are doing everything in their power to help your son. And as a fellow parent and atheist I’m so sorry you have to go through such a terrible ordeal!

  85. I am a first time mom of a now 15 month old little boy. He had to stay in the NICU for two weeks before we could take him home. He almost died at birth and was the scariest time of my life. I know the anger, fear, apprehension, sadness, etc you and your wife are feeling. For that, I send thoughts and prayers yalls way.
    I believe a person can be a good person and not believe in God. As a Christian, I do hope that the truth is revealed to yall. But your choice doesn’t make you or any other athiest bad people. Just like being gay doesn’t make a person bad. People have to stop worrying about everyone else’s choices and worry about themselves. Pray that they choose Christianity before death, but Christians have to stop judging and turning their noses up at people that are different than them. That is what gives Christians bad reputations.
    With all of that said, I truly hope yall go home soon, and congratulations on yalls new miracle.

  86. Maybe you never had any children without medicine because you do not believe in a higher power. Perhaps in the eyes of God were unfit to raise a child. Please those of faith do not pray for this man or his child, it may offend them. Leave it to science.

    1. You are an idiot. I am an atheist and my husband believes in god…Guess what?!? He is the one who has fertility issues (the believer) not me (the atheist). So you are saying that “your god” made sure his believer and follower should not conceive but the heathen (me) and non believer is fertile?

  87. I understand where you’re coming from. It’s like telling a Muslim “Jesus loves your child.”

    I know it can get annoying, especially since you already have your hands full. I see your case more as a cultural issue. People are self-centered. Learning about another person’s misfortune, one tends to sympathize (relate a negative experience to oneself). One then often feels the need to say something “nice.” It’s human nature. If you think about it, there are meaner things to say than “Jesus loves your child.”

    These days, it’s hard not to offend anyone. If you say “I hope your child gets better,” what if the person is a pessimist and doesn’t believe in hope? “I know how you feel…”–or maybe you don’t because it’s hasn’t happened to you. “This must be really hard on your family…”–OK, Captain Obvious!!

    Rest assured that being a non-spiritual agnostic, I will not pray for your child. And since I really don’t know what to else say, I’m just gonna end it here.

  88. Thank you for so eloquently stating how I have felt. When my mother died unexpectedly, I had many people tell me that she was peaceful with “the man upstairs.” I never lost my temper, or said a peep, but it made me nuts after awhile. I have been an atheist for two decades. The idea that I should have felt better because they thought my mother was in “a better place” made me want to spit nails and scream. The better place for her was with her family. A better place for her was being able to meet her two grandchildren that were born after she died.

    1. Kara, even Christians often feel this way when people say those things. When someone we love dies it really is no longer about the dead person, they are no longer here. It’s about us the ones left behind. We are the ones suffering who will no longer or ever know that person’s presence and life force. Still it isn’t because people mean badly. They just don’t know what to do. There are many courses on how to deal with people who are going through grief, whether it’s the grief of divorce, death or impending possible death , irreversible severe handicap it all involves grieving. Often no words are even needed. But each of us although we may all have a similar process, and this process is known through science, still we all bring with it our own beliefs values and experiences as well as different relationships with the grief situation, Understanding and accepting that is really what it’s about. And it IS difficult for most people to be able to do this because OUR reality is all we know.

  89. As a person who believes in God with all my heart. I do understand what you’re saying to a point. I work in Healthcare so I see sick all the time. When I pray for these people I of course want them to get better but more so I pray that the Doctors, nurses, radiology, lab, respiratory, would all make the right decisions to help save or prolong this persons life.
    As a Christian if I became ill with disease, would I just pray about it and say God has control? Um no. I would go get medical treatment but also pray that I and the doctors make the right decisions that are best for me.
    I am so happy your son is doing well for that is not always the case. And hope that he is able to go home soon if he’s not already.

  90. I am a nurse and I pray. I pray when I can’t find heart tones on a patient with decreased fetal movement. I pray when my patient starts to hemorrhage. I pray when a baby is born with a tight nucal and appears lifeless. I pray when I’m running down the hall prepping for a stat c-section. I pray with my coworkers when we have a fetal demise. Some of your nurses have probably prayed for you, for your wife and for your son. Prayed for the ability to nurture him and help him grow. Prayed that they might have a positive impact on your childs life. Just out of curiosity, have you ever told anyone at the hospital not to pray for you or your family? I doubt that would be an issue because we usually avoid bringing up anything religious in the hospital unless it’s at a patients request. However, I’m sure there are some nurses who speak more freely than others. My second question is this, if the outcome had been different…if your son had not survived. Who or what would be to blame? The doctors? Bad luck? -L&D RN

    1. Thanks for your comment JB. I don’t have any problem with you or anyone else praying. I just believe it to be worthless, so I’d prefer it not be shared with me or not be the only method you use to help. Based on your occupation, I know that it isn’t the only method you use to help people. I applaud you for taking on a very difficult and emotional career. I hope the good moments outweigh the bad. To answer your questions, like I said in my post, if someone tells me they’re praying, I’m gracious about it and thank them. I’ve not asked anyone not to pray, and I haven’t in this post. I’m simply asking people to do something more tangible alongside prayer or in its place. And if my son had not survived, I wouldn’t have blamed anyone (unless it was due to negligence). Sometimes life is cruel. That’s just the way it is.

  91. Your Grayson was me 39 years ago. Thanks to the best care my parents (and help from the March of Dimes) could provide, their love and nuturing care, and a will to live, I’m here today, tears in my eyes for what you are going through. I hope it calms your nerves a bit to know that the last 39 years have made lengthy strides in medical progress in the treatment of premature birth. No lingering health effects, no developmental issues. Be there for him and his mom, emotional rock duty is our job as dads. You’re kicking ass there so far mate. Hang in there, it only gets easier from here. Until they turn three, then they turn into little jerks 🙂

  92. QUOTE “…You’re telling us, “I’m going to do something for you that has no value to you. I’m really doing it to make me feel like I’m helping.”
    Dear Kevin, I’m not so proud as to think My prayers are the magical medicine for your son. I pray because I feel certain that GOD is helping. It’s my comfort zone, but I respect your reluctance to hear about it so I won’t say more on that.

    My heart goes out to you, Kevin, and to your beloved wife, and for your dear son Grayson. I hope he continues to do well in the skilled hands of doctors and nurses and specialists, so that one day soon they can give him over to your loving caring hands. I said in another post that I can’t contribute to your aid at this time, but I hope your gofundme site draws in bazinga bullion to cover the extraordinary expense of NICU and follow-on treatment/s.

    I’ve read and re-read your open letter, and all the comments and responses thereto. Did you ever anticipate such a long, drawn out, hashing and bashing, back-and-forth, twist and shout? Whew, it’s exhausting. Very emotional on both sides. But I don’t think a single person has changed their mindset through the words of another. Nor even been enlightened very much. I do appreciate hearing your perspective – you weren’t rude or mean about it, just matter of fact. Can’t say the same for all the respondents.

    The respectful dialogue should continue; let all the angry shouters be silenced.

    Pax, NKF

  93. I do not have children but my little sister has been on a vent since Thanksgiving and as her medical POA I’ve had to make some tough decisions and ask the horrible questions, I get it. This week I was told to get my last good byes in because they don’t know how long she’ll last. If her or I hear “I’ll pray for you again we will scream, both of us being atheists and we are the only two in a very Christian family.
    I get it, I so get, this post was much needed and if it offends someone then they needed to know this. If only people would please help each other out in a tangible way we would be do much better off.
    Thank you for this post.

  94. When I clicked your link I thought this seems like it may be tastefully written. By the time I finished reading it all I could think was you come off like a self involved narcissist with no concept of human empathy. There are scientific benefits to compassion and empathy. As a mother of a child who did not get to come home from the neonatal unit despite the best efforts of modern medicine I wonder if you have taken a moment to be thankful not only for medicine (as a person who was also preterm 13 weeks and here because of modern medicine I get that) but thankful for the support. That’s what empathy and compassion are a form of emotional support which is expressed in a variety of ways, kind words, physical touch, and positive thoughts. So when a person tells you they will pray for your son essentially they are saying I will keep him in my thoughts and offering you a gesture of kindness. Many parents who have sick children have no support system. I am a very liberal individual but as a survivor of many serious medical issues I do believe in the power of positive thinking and being thankful. You don’t at all seem thankful. I wish your son the best and I hope you come to view your interactions with people in a more positive light. It really angers me that you feel the need to dishearten those trying to show you support. It makes you seem undeserving of compassion.

    1. What he was actually doing was telling you what would actually be supportive. If you want to help, you want to know this.

  95. While I do understand those moments of frustration with the things people say that seem to never be right or enough I hope things brighten for the 3 of you.

  96. GREAT Letter! I am an atheist as well and my husband I had to use IVF to conceive our son (we are so grateful for modern medicine and scientific advancement) He spent 10 days in the NICU so I understand what you are going through! It seems so long when they are in the hospital but once they are home it goes by so quick! Congrats on your newest addition and thank you again for posting this. It is so difficult with so many friends and family thinking that their “prayers” (aka them talking to themselves) is helpful. The people that were actually helpful brought us food, took care of our dogs, made sure we were never alone in the hospital, and etc.

  97. A god that never wanted him to live? Yet he gave him life in your wife’s womb, watched over him until said problems arrived. At which point he made it a task to save his life, not to make it difficulty but to make the doctors sovle the problem at hand because more than likely they will deal with those problems in the future. Your son was a learning experience so those doctors had the knowledge to do the same in the future. Just because you are confronted with and problem doesn’t mean its a problem, maybe its an eye opening experience for all to learn from. We are the only species on earth capable of feeling such intense emotional struggle, only species to evolve as much as we had. You think that’s an accident? Its like saying you don’t believe in ghost, yet their is evidence of such things. World renown scientists have even acknowledged their presence, not to mention that half the worlds population is not bat shit crazy. Same for UFO sightings, our government admits were not alone so all this alien believers are not bat shit crazy either. Don’t you think its possible about god as well…..only human beings experience these truly wonderful things…..maybe its for a reason Kevin.

  98. 8 years ago, I had twins born 10 weeks early. They were each well under 3 lbs at birth. They were also conceived with science and technology. Now both are healthy happy wonderful big kids. My husband and I are atheists as well…and even without a “god” I reflect everyday and actively feel thankful for my kids and how amazingly well they surpassed their scary months in the NICU. I’m hoping you are able to soon look back with the same feeling of pride and wonder watching your son grow into a healthy, happy, amazing big kid. But I won’t be praying for you 😉

  99. WOW! You have no idea how much your words have meant to me. I have felt exactly these emotions and thoughts over the last 32 years, but was never able to articulate them as fully as you have here. I just lost my middle daughter, Becky to a congenital heart defect November 2014, just 10 days shy of her 32 birthday. I am an Atheist. Over the course of those years, there were many heart operations, medical procedures, life threatening events, 911 calls, etc. She was under my care in her last few years, so the majority of the outpouring of support and concern over most of her short life have been direct to me. Most sending prayers. I, too appreciated, that these folks were trying to express some kind of support, and I was grateful for their kindness, but as you so graciously put.. not really cutting it for us. I believe it was her inner strength, will to live and the devoted care and intervention of the medical community that contributed to her surviving as long as she did, not prayer to a non existent deity. It didn’t get easier after her death, having to listen to the ” she is in a better place with god”, “she is now a heavenly angel”… I’m sure you know the platitudes, without me listing them all. But I was gracious, accepted these words, with a quick “thanks for your caring”… but to me they were empty words. I do sometime wish I had the luxury of believing she was in a better place.. but as much as I try, it just is not there. She was here, she lived, she suffered, she died. End of story. That is the cycle of life. Having gone through the rigors of having an ill baby, I know the challenges you are facing. I know the kind of support you need. I hope you get what you need. I am so happy I came upon your posting. Thank you. I am going to share your posting with my husband, as he finds it harder to cope with the prayers.

  100. Kevin, I am also an atheist. But one of my “commandments” is “don’t be a d*ck.” The people sending prayers aren’t doing so to make themselves feel better. They believe their prayers will help, even if we don’t. I think in situations like these we should rise above the behavior that so many religious folk engage in – turning every situation into a debate over religious issues – and gracefully thank them for their good wishes. Preserve your energy for dealing with the stressful situation you have in front of you and don’t get sidetracked by things that don’t matter.

    I hope your son continues to improve and goes on to live a happy and normal life. I wish you and your family the best.

  101. While I am so very thankful that your child is improving, I would like to clarify a couple of things. One, with your many attempts to state that you are trying to be gracious, you then immediately turn around and slap the face of every believer by clarifying exactly how idiotic they are to believe what they do. As a Christian, I don’t, for one second, believe we should all just sit back and wait for miracles to happen. I believe God enabled many brilliant minds to advance medicine to where it is today. As a nurse of 15 years, I have seen deaths that by medical standards should not have occurred and lives that were saved when medicine had nothing left to offer. I have seen people who have had devastating blows, lie death or dismemberment, that have gone on to help encourage those who suffer the same. Second, when you claim that people pray to make themselves feel better, let me correct you there. Since you are an atheist I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you truly don’t understand prayer. When I pray for someone it is because my heart is truly breaking for them and I truly believe God can offer them comfort. For you, that comfort comes in a form you understand: competent medical staff. God will always meet you where you are. You may not believe or accept that because you can’t see, taste, or feel it, but I do believe.
    I say all of this not to convince you that there is a God, but to give you a better understanding from a Christian perspective what we believe and why we pray. Hopefully you will at least understand that your attempt at showing grace was a little off the mark. I wish your entire family health and wellness.
    Sincerely,
    Kelli

  102. I so hope that your new bundle of joy continues to thrive. I just wanted to throw out some words your way because being from the deep South, I understand your predicament. I’m a Christian in that I believe in Christ’s teachings but don’t believe the hocus pocus part. I think much of the meaning is meant to be metaphor. Anyway, often when people say I will pray for your son, what they are really saying is that since I can’t really help, I feel powerless and this is all I can do. They know they are not doctors and can’t help with your son’s medical protocol and practically speaking there is really little they can do to make the situation better. Try to look at the comment “I will pray for your son” as a gift. When you receive birthday gifts they are often in the wrong size, wrong color or the wrong item altogether. However, when you receive it you say “Thank You” because you are focusing on the spirit the gift was given, not the actual gift.

  103. In honesty, it’s probably foolish for me to post a response to this blog.

    I’m a Mormon, and therefore, I believe very differently than most religious people, just to start off.

    I believe that God inspired all of those medical advances that both allowed you to have children, and keep your children alive.

    Secondly, I believe that this life is a test, and that we all had spirits before this life. That we were in the presence of God, and that he asked us if we would be willing to endure this blind test. There is a reason for the test, but I’m not going to go into great detail, and I ask that everyone show me the same respect that I show them.

    I am not attacking anyone, prodding, poking, or attempting to hurt, and I expect the same respect. If I don’t get it, don’t expect a response. I’ve been involved in way too much painful conversation where neither side understands the other. Or only I understand my “opponent”, who I see as a close minded relation of mine.

    God allows us to suffer because we have decided to suffer. That is my opinion, and it is not meant to hurt. It is actually meant to give comfort. Why would we decide to suffer? A lot of people, especially atheists would ask.

    Progression requires pain, and sacrifice; it requires suffering. I’m sure that you believe your child will be more grateful, and happy, because they have gone through this difficult time in their life. You will always tell them, “Without modern science, you would not be alive.”, right?

    To reiterate my main points. I believe that God inspired those medical advances, whether they were from Christians or not, more than likely, because of prayers. I believe that we have all decided to come to earth to go through tribulation.

    So, if I were to tell you that I’m praying for your baby, which I generally wouldn’t do, because I don’t usually tell people when I pray for them, I mean I’m praying for God to inspire your Doctors and Nurses to be able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This is not for me, because for me, prayer is effort. I don’t like to exert myself when I don’t feel it’s necessary.

    In this case, I won’t be praying for you, or your child. Not that I don’t want to do something. I care. I obviously care enough to write a response to your blog, something I would not normally do. An effort that I normally would not take. I do care, and I hope that your child makes it through, because I care.

    The only reason I’m not praying, though, is because I feel that there are more than enough other people who have it covered. I don’t really feel like I need to. You’ve obviously got people closer and more invested praying for your child. Cool.

    I was once an Atheist, and I would have never gotten mad at someone, or a group of people who wanted to pray because, in the end, what does it matter whether they pray or not? It doesn’t, does it? So why would it bother me? You obviously hold some ill placed resentment in people who pray. I’m not sure why…

    In the end, nothing matters, if there is no God, or no afterlife, or anything like that. Our meager fights for life, never matter. Eventually, no matter what we do, the universe will collapse, and everything we ever did will not matter anymore, so, why even bother to fight? One day we’ll not remember anything. We simply won’t exist anymore.

    Medical advances mean nothing, because, yes, the human race will continue on for another 100-10,000 years, maybe longer, depending on if we clean up our act or not, but eventually… eventually, no matter what, the universe is going to take itself out, or the sun, is going to take us out. Eventually, something is going to end it all, no matter what.

    So, yeah. You really shouldn’t worry about whether someone is going to pray for your kid or not… you really should just take solace in the fact that one day you won’t remember anything. All of your pains will be gone, and all of your child’s pains will be gone, because nothing, no fight, no success, no failure, has any impact on the long run. It doesn’t matter if you’re an angel or a total monster. Nothing matters. Everything will eventually cease to exist, as far as we know.

    Anyway, have a good day. I hope that I have touched you in some way. I hope that I have not hurt, or offended. That was not my intent. I hope that I’ve somehow made an impact, and not in a bad way. If you want to hurt me, please don’t comment. I won’t be responding. Actually, pretty much don’t comment in any way, unless it’s positive, otherwise, I won’t be responding.

      1. Kevin – you wrote on the “About” page, “This is not a place to present closed-minded views,” but that’s exactly what you are doing with your reply to Brian’s response. Hypocritical, if you ask me. I have found in my experience that people who believe one extreme or the other are usually hypocritical along the way. Kinda funny, if you ask me.

      2. So many people seem to be missing the point of what you are saying. First, if you really want to show your concern, actually do something more than just pray. Donate to you or some other worthy cause, give blood, give time to a charity, but don’t just say you will pray. Secondly, continuing to tell an atheist you will pray for them becomes really grating. If you want to pray, fine, but don’t blather on to you about it. It sounds like you try to be gracious about it but it gets on your nerves just as it would to Christians if you consistently sought them out to tell them Christianity means nothing. (A blog is something people choose to seek out. People reading this didn’t have to come here and therefore have no right to be offended.)

  104. I would rather live my life as if God exists and then find out he doesn’t, than to live my life denying Him and find out He does.
    Stolen from a facebook post, author unknown.

    BTW, I use HE cuz it’s easy. I really don’t think the Deity has gender, but saying IT sounds kinda freaky to me.

    Somebody [atheist] in one of these posts said there are >2000 Gods? Do you have a citation or source for that number? Really curious what’s included in that number. Thanx.

      1. Kevin, thanks for your reply and link to the book. I also Googled Pascal’s Wager and now have more to read. I’m not a betting person, and I don’t believe out of fear but in confidence. The phrase appeals to me on a very simple face value level.

        My odds and your odds – let’s just agree to disagree. Neither of us will know with 100% certainty until after we’ve taken our last breath. In the meantime, it’s good to be good to everyone, and to be a good citizen of the world.

        I do hope your family fares well thru life. Parenting ain’t for sissies. It’s the most incredible, exhausting, demanding, delightful vocation you’ll ever have! Pax, NKF

  105. I really do hope that your son gets better and i understand in a situation like this that words mean little to nothing. I dont want to try and change your mind, however i feel i must speak up because the discription of my lord is wrong. Im not here to start a debate and ill most likely not reply to any responses to my comment…But if it wasn’t for God that doctor and modern medicine wouldn’t exist. I believe in both. Yes praying alone won’t cure the sick but God wants you to help yourself so God placed those resources for us to help ourselves. He is there for guidance not to make choices for you. God has a plan for this world and when he matched your soul with your body he also inbeded thought process and choices that he KNOWS your going to make but YOU are the one to make it. He knows what will happen before it happens because he knows YOU and what kind of PERSON YOU are. He isn’t stringing us like puppets.. So praying is asking for guidance and strength for YOU to make the right choice. So no it’s not pointless. God doesn’t make choices for you. He points you to the right path when YOUR choices guide you wrong. He is not to blame for the bad in your life. He gives you options and then encourages for you to make the right one. As far as God not wanting your children: if he didn’t WANT your children, no matter how skilled the doctor or IG it was IVF, if God didn’t want that soul on earth then even IVF wouldn’t of worked. Yes science fertilized that egg but once that egg implanted it was Gods call to allow that life to be born. Your children ARE miracles. If it took that much to conceive and birth a child who is still living its a MIRACLE. I wish your family the best. May God continue to bless you with skilled doctors.

  106. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy.
    I agree with you entirely – I have spent years at hospitals fighting for my children’s lives. We are non-believers. .. and only a vanishing tiny portion of our “believer” friends and family have ever respected our needs and wishes.

    My question to the pushy belivers is this – who matters here? Are the child and his parents the priority – or is this all about you?
    If you claim to care about the child and parents and that you are here to support them – then do what THEY need. Respect THEIR beliefs. Honour THEIR polite request.

    Believers, what YOU want has no place here – this is not about YOU.

    Using someone else’s crisis for your own public peity performance instead of offering respectful comfort is all about the believer – that does not serve the family in any way.
    It takes same number of keystrokes to say “I am thinking of you” rather than “I am praying for you”. There is no additional effort required to be respectful.
    An honestly caring heart would place the wishes and needs of the family far above their own ego – and the supporter would say, and DO, what the family needed.

    I am shocked at the believer entitlement here – that the outsider’s beliefs MUST be respected, but the family’s beliefs are free for trampling when the family is in ACTIVE CRISIS.

    Our openly non-believer family also gets public “prayers”. They’ve always come from those who have never made any effort to help beyond public piety.

    If you talk to most families with a sick child we ALL get innundated with excessive public piety posts and comments, while our pleas for practical, real world support are ignored.
    It seems many people think a “prayer” is an easy excuse for not helping. Plus you gain “points” while avoiding guilt for ignoring the real needs of others.

    All this praying is very ironic from a crowd that claims to emulate a man who hated public prayer and demonstrated meaningful, practical, real-life service for those in need.

    1. Practical help is so appreciated, and unfortunately it is rarely offered by friends, or others. Also, while going through a crisis isn’t really the time for religious debate. Hopefully your words will hit home with some who find this blog. I hope this family receives offers of help long after the first couple of weeks home. Depending on their son’s needs they could potentially need support for at least several months, and maybe longer.

  107. My son spent his first 10 days in the NICU, eleven years ago. It is a traumatic experience, all around. You and your wife will need some time, after you’re done with the NICU, to deal with the emotions. I wish you all the best during this time. May healing be especially swift, and thorough.

    1. He’s welcome to make faith decisions for himself, since we’re all born atheists until someone indoctrinates us. My children will be free to make their own life decisions when they’re mature enough to do so.

  108. There are not two choices, God or Science. There is God, and there is man having developed science to try and understand what’s going on in the shitstorm he cause by turning from God in the first place.

    Science are simply man made frameworks that don’t save anyone. Having been in your situation, best of luck. Warmest regards.

  109. Kevin – I hope your son is progressing well. Six years ago I had a heart transplant with many complications and was touch and go for months. My husband wrote beautiful poetic letters about my progress each day, and I believe there were many people and religious groups following my progress. Jews, Baha’i Buddhists, and Christians of many sorts were all praying for me. And I was grateful (and a little embarrassed about it). I am not a theist, but I am open to the possibility of spiritual realities beyond my perceptions, and I appreciated the positive energy people were sending my way. Although I would love to credit my heroic will to live and my amazing doctors, I cannot say for certain that the prayers and positive energy did not help.

  110. Everyone operates based on faith. You had no means to verify the doctor who saved your son’s skill level, you just believed in the system that’s in place which declares his credibility, a system held together by those who apply themselves to the precise and immutable law which seems to be governing the intangible. Let’s take honesty for example. Had the doctor cheated on his tests, fudged paper work, tried to perform an operation when he was physically incapable(pride, another intangible) God knows what type of man would have been holding the knife. Seriously though. God knows. You don’t. The flawed, and in my opinion, outdated patriarchal structure of ancient and some modern religions can be taxing to view. 3000 year wars generated over a story in a book seems a trifle bit foolish to me and yet… There’s those intangibles which seem to produce consistent results over and over again. They seem to accompany emotion and thought rather then be them and yet have no definitive source. Patience. Kindness. Self control… You have faith your brake lines were made properly, that trees produce oxygen. You don’t KNOW that.

    That said. I agree with some of your notion of prayer. I believe in a creative intelligence that can be spoken to, but petitioning It for specific results seems entirely stupid. If of course there is something infinite Governing Infinity, whether or not it hears me, even my assumption that I may somehow know better than it is vain and moderately pathetic.

    1. David,
      Actually there are ways to verify health professional’s skill levels. But it is very exhausting and time consuming work which most of us avoid. However, we can not know his behavior at any given moment. But you are right that we all live by faith, its just a matter or what we put our faith in. In this case the poster of this blog apparently puts it in the scientific knowledge skills and equipment that we have.

      1. No, Cindy, we don’t all live by faith. Faith (religious faith in particular, as that’s what we’re discussing), is belief in something without need of evidence, or despite contradictory evidence. Nothing of the sort is required to think that science or technology will work. Do you know why we think science works? Because it’s been shown, time and time again, to produce results that are A.) congruent with reality, and B.) can be used to make accurate predictions about the natural world. It is not faith to think that something works when it has been demonstrably shown to work, time and time again.

        The proof, in the end, is in the pudding. We know science works, because we get results. We’ve doubled human lifespans, cured countless diseases, learned to prevent others, how to replace joints, and how to take a part of one person who is dead, and use it to prevent someone else from acquiring the same condition. We can travel to the bottoms of the sea, to the top of the atmosphere, and break free of it. We’ve landed on the moon, hurled robots at Mars and had them land and beam back pictures, and built space stations and satellites. When you don’t know how to get somewhere, you can ask a supercomputer that you carry in your pocket to decode signals from outer space to triangulate your position, and tell you how to get to Starbucks.

        Nearly everything we do every day is powered by the successes that science has had. The fact that we can argue right here, right now, happens because people took scientific knowledge, and applied it to create technology. You can’t possibly tell me, honestly, that this requires faith.

        With religion, there is no such evidence confirming its reality. It cannot make accurate predictions, it can’t advance the human condition, and it can’t be shown to be anything other than a creation of humanity, to assuage fears of death and convince us that we have some divine place in the shape of things. People feel smaller, more frightened, and more alone without it, so we cling to it like an existential security blanket. Faith is required to believe in it, and dissent damages faith, so the faithful, in order to protect their fragmenting comfort, try to drown out and suppress dissent. They claim everything is faith, to convince others, and themselves, that it’s just as rational to believe in superstition as it is to believe in what’s real.

        There’s a huge, and very real world out there. Yes, it can be dangerous or frightening at times, but it is also absolutely magnificent in its variety, it’s wonder, and it’s staggering spectacle. There are no established limits to what can be achieved if you’re not afraid to try. I hope you’ll join us there some day.

  111. Kevin,

    As an atheist I think writing essays like this is important, to be visible and participating. Despite the fact that you knew you would and will forever be harassed by “believers” or as I like to call them, the mentally ill. Hang in there and just know there is an army of rational, critical thinkers who support you and your family. Yes, atheists have families, we live productive lives and contribute to the well being of humans and animals and are sick of religious cults, organized religion, fundamentalist creeps who corrode and undermine society with their ridiculous misogynistic iron-age doctrines. We need to speak up more and not be so respectful of dangerous “beliefs”, time to deal with facts and reality to make the world a better place. Hope your little guy pulls through!

  112. Someone posted a link to this article on my news feed and it caught my eye. I’m sorry to hear about your son and your family’s struggles during this difficult time. I am a physician at one of the top medical institutions in the country and a Christian. I definitely applaud the advancements that science has made over the decades and know it saves lives every single day. My beliefs and what I do clinically are not separated, yet I feel my faith adds to my practice. I do believe that God can perform miracles, but cannot guess when or why they happen.

    If my non-Christian friends are going through a tough time, I pray for them, but I tell them “sending good thoughts your way.” For those who don’t believe in God, have experienced a tragedy, and been told “it was God’s plan”– I think this is really insensitive, rather than reflecting on having a faith. Just wanted to separate that notion.

    Hope you find the support you need during this time and wishing you all well.

  113. Everyone operates based on faith. You had no means to definitively verify the skill level of the doctor who saved your son’s life, you just believed in the system that’s in place which declares his credibility, a system held together by those who apply themselves to the precise and immutable law which seem to be governing the intangible. Let’s take honesty for example. Had the doctor cheated on his tests, fudged paper work, tried to perform an operation when he was physically incapable(pride, another intangible) God knows what type of man would have been holding the knife. Seriously though. God knows. You don’t. The flawed, and in my opinion, outdated patriarchal structure of ancient and some modern religions can be taxing to view. 3000 year wars generated over a story in a book seems a trifle bit foolish to me and yet… There’s those intangibles which seem to produce consistent results over and over again. They seem to accompany emotion and thought rather then BE them and yet have no definitive source. Patience. Kindness. Self control… You have faith your brake lines were made properly, that trees produce oxygen. You don’t KNOW that.

    That said. I agree with some of your notion of prayer. I believe in a creative intelligence that can be spoken to, but petitioning It for specific results seems entirely stupid. If of course there is something infinite Governing Infinity, whether or not it hears me, even my assumption that I may somehow know better than it is vain and moderately pathetic.

  114. Kevin, As a Christian I think what you have written here is beautifully said. You spoke from the heart and it truly comes through. I understand the pain of infertility having cried myself to sleep for the better part of the first 5 years of my marriage. Then moving away from friends and family so we weren’t invited to yet another baby shower. I get it.

    I also have friends of many different beliefs or lack their of. In the last year or so I have really begun examining how I communicate with them, especially during times of great stress and turmoil, like you are experiencing. Many take the same approach as you, being gracious and saying thank you. Realizing the intent behind “We’re praying for you” isn’t malicious, it’s meant with care and love, while internalizing the indifference to the statement itself. I am realizing that I don’t want to give that extra burden to them as it counteracts any good I was attempting to do. It should not have to get to where people feel the need to vent as you felt you did. Although I will admit I am selfishly glad for yet another reminder that we need to respect all people at all times.

    I wish my family could help Grayson, your wife, and yourself in the ways that you requested but unfortunately at this point we cannot. I do believe that you are all in good hands with the hospital staff, and am very thankful for the knowledge and skills which have gotten you all to this point. There is no doubt in my mind that they are wonderfully caring people.

    For obvious reasons I do take a different view and approach regarding prayer, but I don’t think now is the time to delve into those. Maybe when Grayson comes home and things settle more into a routine we could discuss it then. Until then I am wishing you all the best life has to offer.

    Sincerely,
    Michele

  115. i have never made any donation to anyone on the internet but Kevin i will be making one to Grayson (it is not going to be much because my self is kind of broke too.). Thank you for your article and i agree with everything yu said.

  116. My hope for an easier path for Grayson and your family as the days go on.

    Please consider the idea that science/medicine and faith are not mutually exclusive. The false argument here is in believing those of faith do not use, need, know the need, lean on modern medicine and science.

    Here’s to a quick exit for Grayson from the NICU, and a wonderful, active, invigorating childhood ahead.

  117. I have seen things that were considered medical miracles and religious miracles. I do not preech religion or science but I do have MY OWN BELIEFS. which everyone is entitled to.
    I hope science or religion will help you all at this difficult time.

  118. I wonder if when your child is healed, will you doubt the power of prayer or will you whole heartedly believe it was medical intervention? I will pray for you and your wife as you both need to believe in all that you can being “Your child’s life” is at risk.

    1. I will pray to Thor that you will realize the folly in your ways, turn away from your false god, and come to know true power! LOVE LIVE THE GOD OF THUNDER!!