Something That Was Keeping Me Up

Now, I’m going to preface this by declaring that I don’t purposefully set out to target atheists but I have the most questions about them because a lot of their world seems to be so far askew of logic, yet they seem to revel in believing themselves superior of intellect of those that are religious in some way, often combatively so.  I don’t care if you are religious or not, honestly.  Do whatever makes you happy.  Yes, both camps can decide their hyperbole, be it about abuse or rape or whatever disgusting, dark place your mind decides it wants to go to and get back to me later.  I’m here to ask the atheists a question that wouldn’t leave my brain, and I’m asking them because they seem more willing to give answers that aren’t simply some hand wave of a Jedi mind trick.  So, without further ado, here is that question:

Are hope and prayer not the same thing?

On the surface, this question seems a bit aping, trite and silly.  Well, one might say, hoping is a bit more realistic because it gives way for failure whereas prayer is putting one’s stringent, unswaying belief in a munificent being.  But I’m not sure anyone can honestly be so foolish to assume that if you believe in something it will happen at all costs.  There is always room for failure.  But you have to dig a bit deeper, and to do that you have to begin at the surface.  At what the words themselves mean.

Wish.  Pray.  Hope.  These words, all three of them, mean the exact same thing.  They are all synonyms of each other, thus, they convey the same idea.  But only the one in the middle.  The one with some sort of ridiculous religious connotation would be considered taboo among the most steadfast of the non-religious sect.  And I can’t wrap my head around why, mostly because those that don’t hold a faith still wish and hope for things.  Most of the time they wish and hope for things they can’t control, which is what a religious person might pray for: That a sickness be healed, that a couple has a healthy child, that someone passes their class of choice.  You can hope or pray for these things, but only one will get you lambasted or defamed in certain sects of the public.  Is it really okay to be afraid of a word that holds the same merits and ideas as two others you may deem totally acceptable just because someone chose to align it with something you disagree with?  And yes, I know that we can run the parallel with other words that discredit an entire race, or sex, or anything else.  That’s what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to figure out the offense because I don’t understand.  I’m not trying to raise hell or condemn or whatever else you may think from these words, I simply wish to hear why someone would be taken aback by something that is meant to be positive on your behalf.

I know quite a few atheists that hinge their entire being on the solidarity of science.  But I also know that they hope and wish for things because they are human.  They want to have good things happen to people.  They want good things to happen to them and try to imagine them and want them and that’s fine.  But the issue at hand is that none of those ideas are scientifically sound.  When science deals with uncertainties it does so with theories and hypothesis and does so with pretty exacting language.  “This will work because such a reaction occurs.” or however else you wish to run your idea.  If you were working with the certainties of science while dealing with the desires of humanity, by logic you would either have to say that you will or won’t succeed and there is no gray area to it.  If dealing with certainties there is no try, only do.

Those three ideas are dealing with the uncertainties of the future, the unpredictable things that happen to all of us, and our desire to want to get out of those situations.  Wanting the positive, idealistic possibilities within the sphere of outcomes that is the future is, by definition, hopeful.  To be optimistic you have to wish for the best.  You have to.  There isn’t a second road to optimism.  To be optimistic you have to believe in something, be it a bearded man flying around on a cloud, to believing in someone close to you, to believing in a second chance at life, to just believing in yourself.

We are all the same.  All of us.  We are not right, nor are we wrong, we are all just being.  We all believe in something, so why does the method in which we do so cause such rifts between us?  Why should any of us cause contention or disorder and bring ire to other people that are just like us because they think something different?

Everyone:  It’s time to grow up!  Accept that there are some people out there that don’t agree with us, that will never agree with us, and accept that as a fact and move on.  Don’t dwell on the negatives.  Don’t stop at the differences.  Find the similarities and build upon that.  It’s time for us to stop defeating ourselves and others with paranoia, with delusions of grandeur, with superiority, with castes and segregation and gentry.  We can change.  We can make things better.

We can improve the world for those that come after us, learn from our mistakes and nurture their successes.  We need to believe again.

We need to believe in each other.


5 responses to “Something That Was Keeping Me Up

  • BunBun

    ‘Hope’ and ‘Pray’ are not the same thing. Similar, yes, but not the same.

    Easy difference:
    I hope that you don’t get eaten by a bat. < Correct
    I pray that you don't get eaten by a bat. < Incorrect. This sentence has been shortened. Pray, as it is intended to be used, requires an object. "I pray to Adam West that you don't get eaten by a bat" would be correct.

    The difference is that when you hope, you are not placing your desire upon some other party for consideration. I can hope that my dice lands with the 6 up. All this means is that I desire that outcome and it is preferential. I am not making a request. This can happen through complete chance.
    However, if I pray that my dice lands with the 6 up, I am asking for help from something that could control it, whether that be God or the man rolling the dice. You pray to this figure in order to request the outcome.
    Wish is unusual. It has the properties of being able to be targeted, much like Pray, but also has the ability to be a general "I want". This is the word for which your argument has validity.

    Hope vs Pray, though, not as much =/

    • radixius

      Thank you for your interpretation and for clarifying that. I guess I always looked at it in such a way that you can wish, pray and hope for someone’s well being, and it would all mean the same thing, but I’m just thinking about the definitions in the dictionary and not where they sit theologically or what have you. Because yes, you can pray TO something, but you can also pray FOR something, and my thought is that they can be mutually exclusive, but only because it’s a verb and it behaves like a verb.

      But now you have my curiosity piqued, do you think that the intent of the word, to be used as petition to something else, be it some god-like entity or an idol, happened retroactively or has the intent always been there? Can it be changed, skewed or made neutral in some way that doesn’t bring about some sort of ridiculous taboo subject or is the word “pray” forever relegated into some word ghetto?

  • BunBun

    You pray FOR something by praying TO something. In the proper format
    “I pray FOR the safety of my son during his field trip to bat-camp” becomes “I pray TO Adam West FOR the safety of my son during his field trip to bat-camp”.

    I think that the term, when there is no supernatural force indirect object (dative), has no taboo surrounding it in any circles. It should be perfectly acceptable by peoples of all faith or lack of. It would make very good sense to approach the President and pray TO him that he doesn’t sign _____ bill. Anyone that would be offended by the idea of praying to a human doesn’t understand the word.

  • Ash

    I have to agree I think hope and prayer are similar for instance;
    “Please God let me win the lottery” vs. “Oh I hope win the lottery” The objective is the same. They both have the same desperate tone to it. I don’t see how they are different.

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