Why do/would you pray for Japan?

I am curious as to why you think in a majority Shinto and Bhuddist country your prayers would have any meaning. Do people of christianity, judaism, islam and other religions believe prayer will help them? With different ideas of god how do they know which religious prayers are working? Do religions believe god has made a mistake by allowing this tsunami? Lastly, why pray to the same god that could allow this to happen?

While I commend the good intentions, to me it seems like a cop out for some real help :/ Sorry for so many questions there.

Answer #1

Dude, where have you been? Have you not heard about that tsunami?!

Answer #2

On march 10th, There was an earthquake, then a tsunami. More than 20,000 people died!

Answer #3

I have of course, what gave you the idea I hadn’t? I am asking why people think their prayers are a valid way of helping.

Answer #4

I know of the disasters and yes this question might be quite out of time with the earthquake and tsunami sorry. I am mainly looking for peoples opinions on why they pray after such natural disasters.

Answer #5

Well, yeah that’s a good point. I suppose it’s their way of solving it… a ba-jillion- miles away.

Answer #6

We are sending real, tangible help, not just prayers. And while I’m not a religious person, I find my self constantly wishing and hoping good things for the victims of the earthquake, tsunami and reactor disasters. I’m sure that is ultimately what the people who pray are doing too. I’m almost certain that the people of Japan wouldn’t mind that people of all religions are praying for them. To know people care must be some comfort. And you know, what people believe is their business, unless they try to make it mine.

Answer #7

Yeah I see that it is not only prayers. I appreciate people are spreading the word to help. I would assume that by praying though they believe that their god will help in some way. It is one thing to wish good thoughts, and to hold a heavy heart for these things. It is another to ask a deity to provide assistance along with human aid. As I said I commend the good thoughts, just that tying a supernatural element to them… Do they believe it is worth more than hoping good things happen? This is really what I am curious of.

Answer #8

Japan is going throuh a crisis right now, after that big earthquake almost everything is destroyed…there is kids with out parents and parents with out kids it is a mess there is homeless people everywhere…if anything feel bad for them. i dont know what life is like there nor do i know what your life is like but i am positive that ur life is better then theres! corract me if i am wrong but you seem like a little brat what gets whatever you want. so ether follow some sort of charaty like the red cross or go to church and pray!

Answer #9

I am correcting you, you are wrong lol. I don’t get whatever I want and I am definitely not a brat. I do feel sorry for the damage done to the Japanese and I wish them well and have donated to the Red Cross. Your assumption there of me was quite hurtful, thanks :/ I feel you may have missed the point of my question. I would not go to church and pray because I am not a theist. I am asking why would you pray, do you genuinely believe it will have an effect on what has happened in Japan?

Answer #10

No, I would not pray. That’s not the way to help. They need a lot more than prayers right now. All praying is going to do is make the people doing the prayer feel better about themselves, if anything. It won’t accomplish anything.

Answer #11

I have no problem with people who ask their deity to provide help. It’s still a gesture of goodwill and caring. Helping out materially when you’re half a world away still leaves you feeling helpless. If praying makes them feel as though they’re providing even more help, I think that’s fine. Are you saying that they are NOT providing material help because they think their god is going to do it instead? Religious organizations donate an awful lot of money to disaster relief funds.

Answer #12

Religious organizations of course donate much money and people of religious organizations provide alot of help. All of that is a product of human action and not divine, regardless of who is providing it. I am not saying they are not providing material help, I am saying do they think they are providing immaterial help, if you will. Like you said, it makes the person who is praying feel like they are providing more help. When in fact, their prayer isn’t providing help. So is it only for personal self comfort for thinking they have done more? If they don’t believe it is having a real effect, why pray? And if they do believe it is having an effect, what effect and why so? If they pray to make themselves feel better, they have got their priorities wrong.

Answer #13

I’d guess that they believe it will have an effect, or they wouldn’t be praying. I’m not disputing that. Call me dense, but I fail to see a problem with it. If it isn’t hellping, it isn’t hurting either is it?

BTW, interesting post.

Answer #14

Do they believe that every prayer from every religion is having an effect? Or simply their own? I understand you are not religious and cannot really answer these but these are the questions I ask myself when I see these people sending prayers or asking people to pray. Clearly they cannot believe every prayer to have an effect as most of them are part of a monotheistic belief meaning only their god would be able to help. Of course to me the prayer is not a problem, I guess it is deeper. It is really, why pray? With so many gods and beliefs how can they be so sure theirs is the one to pray to. If these people do see what they feel is an effect, I am sure they would think it was an act of their god. But their are many religions praying it would be very selfish for each individual one to think their prayer alone is helping, but also it would be very contradicting of their theistic beliefs if they thought other religions/gods were helping. Thanks for your replies, and I hope I am not coming off as arrogant, this is a genuine curiosity of mine. These people must see effects of their prayer for them to believe and I wonder what those effects may be.

Answer #15

These people genuinely think that their prayers will help. Some people don’t have enough money or means to donate to rescue causes, all they have is their faith in their God which to them, will help if they pray enough.There are a lot of people helping in monetary ways and volunteering their time to collect/deliver supplies etc. It’s not like we aren’t doing anything at all. Personally I don’t pray or believe in a God, but I respect those who do because at the end of the day, there’s no way to tell who’s wrong and who’s right.

Answer #16

They think their prayers help sure. Do you think it helps? If prayer is such a valid form of contribution in these incidents why is it not a public duty to do so? Anyone can pray. One person says they donated to charity, another person says they have asked that god may help. Who has provided support to you? I do not feel prayer should be accepted as a real help. There is no way to tell who is right or wrong, well, I would say that if prayer were real then there would be an effect from it. An effect that could be seen and so would prove it to be a just way of helping.

Answer #17

No, I really can’t answer for the religious people, and shouldn’t be trying, I suppose. But, suppose you believe your particular god can do anything, and everyone else’s is non-existent? You’re going to believe then, that if you and your fellow believers pray for something, your all powerful god will accomplish what you petition for. I don’t think you would pray to a god that you weren’t completely sure was the right one. What would be the point?

Answer #18

Have you seen an effect of prayer, and would you take it as a form of help? People really do believe their god can do anything, but to believe another persons god cannot do anything makes a kind of mockery of all the other prayers done by other religions. Why do you not pray for Japan? I do not because I see no effect an no reason to believe there could be an effect. If their god was doing what they petitioned for it would prove a certain religion/religions to be correct. If there was a just evidence for prayer, it would ruin religions as it would determine which one is in fact correct. This is why I do not take prayer seriously and why I do not commend it.

Answer #19

why not?

Answer #20

Hey tnx for the reply. There are people who really feel they are helping through prayer. Do you think it has a real effect? If you do I would ask why. If it has no effect then people shouldn’t be allowed to use it as a way of saying they have helped. It is like taking credit for helping, when you have not really provided any help. For example, a christian praying their god will help. The Japanese do not believe in christianity on majority. Christian prayers would perhaps have a psychological effect on christian countries. The same for other religions. So when you say why not, I say because I feel it is a hollow way for people to feel they have helped. Sure, hope for better in Japan, but there is no need to attach a godly element to it.

Answer #21

Nobody is substituting prayer for ‘real help’. The people who can afford financially to help, have. Other people can’t afford to do much so they pray which is a perfectly acceptable nice gesture. No, it can’t magically save lives, and no, it can’t magically undo destruction. But no matter your religion, prayer can bring together families and communities like never before. As I said, I’m not a religious person, but I do believe that praying helps in a sense that it brings people closer and makes people feel like they are helping when they can’t do anything big. I agree, it’s not proven that prayer works. But it’s not proven that it doesn’t work either so I think you should accept that people are really doing their best given the situation.

Answer #22

Jon Taylor: People pray for a lot of reasons. They prayed for rain during long, hot, dry climates. And then they would bring umbrellas, without assurance that their prayers will be heard. That’s called Faith.

Even if i send a ba-jillion dollars worth of food and clothing to half the world away, what guarantee do i have that my help would solve the crisis? Nothing, right?

People resort to prayers on things that they cannot predict or control, asking a more “supreme” being for assistance. It’s not “pointless” or whatever adjective you might want to describe it. =)

Samantha: Hi. =)

Answer #23

Sorry but some people do in fact do this. “Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands. It is the best weapon to use in every difficulty, and the surest remedy in every trouble. It is the key that unlocks the treasury of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time of need. Show me a growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a flourishing Christian, and sure am I, he is one that speaks often with his Lord. He tells Jesus everything.” J.C. Ryle. An organization is telling its members to pray for certain things on certain days as a means of providing support. If prayer is not proven to have worked, then it must stand on default of not working. The fact alone that a god has not helped the Japanese is proof enough for me that it does not work. I don’t care that it makes individuals feel like they are helping. They are not helping and shouldn’t be given the privelage of feeling that they are.

Answer #24

I think people are answering your questions as best they can here. Are you looking for answers, or trying to prove a point? I don’t mean to sound insulting. It’s just confusing me. Also, I notice our particular comment thread is getting a bit long. I wouldn’t mind continuing it, but maybe via funmail?

Answer #25

You must know that prayer does not control the rain. People pray for rain all the time, every day there are people praying for rain. Just on the account that one time when a group of people prayed it rained that does not account for all the other times it did not rain, even though they prayed. A bajillion dollars of food and clothing would certainly be of great help. That could directly effect peoples lives. You do not need faith for that. You can visibly see the effect of your donation. Resorting to prayers for things you cannot predict or control, as a way of asking a supreme being, have you seen this supreme being in effect? As a result of a specific religions prayers? How do you know which god has helped? Praying for the Japanese to have good spirits might have a psychological effect, but praying for food and clothes? We will see how many clothes a god can sew then soon enough I guess.

Answer #26

They are answering the best they can and I am happy for all the answers here. They are making me think, but I will always try and reply to get my feelings across of what they said, and to question further on what they think on the subject. Yes this is getting long I have likely bothered you enough lol sorry. I am looking to for peoples opinions and looking to share mine :)

Answer #27

Lol. Hi John. (=

Answer #28

Sure. Prayer does not control the rain. That’s why people DON’T pray TO the rain. They pray to the gods (whatever god they believe in). As I said, that’s called faith. Faith is believing something that is ridiculously irrational, belief in things like gods, and supreme beings, and things like my-teacher-will-forget-that-we-will-have-a-quiz-today and stuff like that. I can’t prove the need for it, and you can’t disprove its existence. Some things are simply beyond our control, and we hope that someone greater than us will help us “control” it. People can’t do anything even if they wish for rain so badly, so they seek help, even if they didn’t know if such help even existed. A bajillion dollars of food and stuff would certainly help, and we pray that it helps as many people in need as possible. We pray that the crisis in Japan would no longer be augmented by another wave of tsunami, or an earthquake, or a nuclear explosion, or Godzilla walking down on Tokyo.

How do we know which god has helped? This is the 21st century. We no longer pray to Quetzalcoatl, Ra, or Poseidon. There’s no God of Clothes, or the Deity of Canned Goods. If i press the green “Submit” button, should i pray to the God of Comments that this message be posted?

We resort to our Faith that help be sent to Japan, and that many more kind souls be willing to extend their help to those in need, not pray to the gods to sew clothes and can some food and biscuits.

Answer #29

Hi. Sorry. I can’t resist using your “ba-jillion” word. =)

Answer #30

I do not pray that the food helps as much as possible, because that is relying on a higher being. These people who pray do think that their single god will provide help in some way. Your comment of praying to the god of comments lol, well that is simply making fun of prayer. Because you can do that. You could believe that the god of comments granted your prayer, but come on. How seriously would you take a person who said that? The fact that no one prays to these other gods you mentioned is because over time the faith went away. Again I do not find prayer offensive or anything. How about having pride in your fellow mankind that many more kind souls will help in times of need. Asking that a higher power to do it, to me undermines the help of the men. If indeed help did arrive they would say thank god. How about having trust in technology that your comment will be posted. If someone does not believe that prayer helps, then why allow this supernatural element to be attached to the help. They pray for rain as they believe god can control the rain. Which is not the case, no matter how much faith you have. Also if you believe that a god can control earthquakes and rain, why would you pray to one after such an event for assistance? The god must have willed for it to happen. Keep in mind these gods are thinking beings with a will of their own to these believers.

Answer #31

Wow. If there’s anything wrong with praying, then, you better call the cops. Because a lot of people are doing it right now.

Why can’t you simply understand that humans have the tendency to resort to a more supreme being to things that they have no control over? It’s a very simple thing. Faith is faith is faith. Why do you keep on insisting that people believe that it works like magic? It does not. And they do not think it that way. If you don’t pray that the food and clothes be as much help as possible, then so be it. No one’s forcing you. Sure, technology helps a lot, and yet, why didn’t it save them from the tsunami and the nuclear crisis they’re facing.

I’m not underestimating the power of technology, nor should you underestimate people’s belief in faith.

Answer #32

Sorry man lol, I never said it was illegal. My apologies if it sounded that way. People rely on prayer, but it cannot do things like make it rain. Repair damage or loss. It can make an individual feel a sense of worth, and that’s good for them. To pray that the Japanese recover from this as quick as possible, very nice of them to pray that is the case. If you replace the word pray with hope, you take away the divine. And it still has as much effect. The prayer has no effect outside of the person themselves and others who believe in prayer. Some people who pray for Japan, and make no effort to help. They feel they have helped. But they have not helped anyone but themselves, no matter how hard they pray. I understand all too well that humans resort to prayer, to a higher being. Some people do believe it works like magic, people do believe their prayer will be answered and acted upon by their god. When someone says to you they have prayed for Japan, and that is all, do you think they have made a worthy attempt at helping? On a side note I am meaning no aggression here. I also wasn’t implying we rely on technology to save people from earthquakes. Although the technology detected the earthquake and from it many more lives where saved. It done more than prayer easily. People are free to pray obviously, but to believe it has had an effect is nothing more than self servicing. I do not underestimate their beliefs, I underestimate the cause and effect of their beliefs. Is their any reason to believe these prayers are being acted upon? Cheers for your answers btw.

Answer #33

Lol. Cheers For your post. Very interesting and mindboggling. =)

Answer #34

Ok so the city where I am from has just had a big earthquake too - of course not on the same scale as in Japan though. My country is really secular, and we try to keep religion out of most things, but after it happened, people of all different backgrounds prayed together, wherever they could, and it didnt matter what religion the people were, or what God you were praying to, of if you werent even praying at all but just needed to hear some comforting words. Our politicians prayed on tv, and talkd about God which is highly unusual here. It didnt mean that people were not helping each other out in practical ways too - people have been helping each other in whatever way it can. While you seem to think its a load of crap, other people find it comforting. And if you ask me, comforting people is a genuine way of helping people. People are giving their time and their money to do what they can, and sometimes there is nothing more that can be done except let those affected know we are thinking of them. I doubt the affected people are going to be pissed off if you told them you were praying for them to a God they dont believe in. People here certainly didnt.

Answer #35

because there was major earthquakes, fires and the tsunami! if that were to happen to my hometown i’d be happy that people were praying for mine and many other families that were in this disaster!

Answer #36

The Shintoist religion is a true polytheism. Anything that people believe in or pray to is a valid god. Every dead person can become a god to pray to. In a shinto temple it is not unusual to have statues of several hundres gods and then suddenly see a Mariah-and-baby-Jesus statue in another of the alcoves. So religious people in Japan will surely not be upset if you pray to Jesus to help them.

Yet, I think that we should rather help them by ourselves than ask the gods to do it for us. We can donate money to red cross or other involved charity organizations. Or we can ask our countries’ politicians (by letters, or solidarity demonstrations) to help them, using our tax money. I mean, it’s not like we can’t do anything except praying.

Answer #37

Yes I agree and thanks for your answer. Some people do not help out in practical ways though and see prayer as a practical way of helping. Comforting words is one thing, to believe a god is acting on those words is another. I would find it more appealing if a politician gave his deepest sympathy, empathy and word of support, rather than ask for the gods to help. Although I know they do not only pray, they also offer other help. But if that godly element is the extra reassurance that some people need then who am I to say against it. Thanks again =)

Answer #38

Sorry I wouldn’t think anyone would get upset by it. It is nice to know that other countries are thinking of you and providing support, but is that not enough? Do people really need to believe that god is on their side too? He certainly wasn’t on their side a few weeks ago. To me it just seems the prayer is a means of feeling you have done more. It is one thing to pray with people to raise their hopes and spirits and for a sense of kinship. It is another to ask god to intervene. But as I said, if people depend solely on that belief that god is helping, then I would have to say prayer can be decent. Thanks for your answer :)

Answer #39

The the thing is, hearing politician praying was really touching. This country does a really good job of keeping religion and state seperate, but hearing them talk about faith without worry about their poll ratings was the most sincere thing I have ever heard from politicians. I feel that the “godly element” really played a huge roll in bringing people together

Answer #40

Not pray for them, but wish them the best of luck and help them out how I can. Just because they needed it, they’re people, and plus prayers will bless them, but actions will help them move foward.

Answer #41

Premise : Assumes a loving God who often does not save people through materialistic possessions but through faith and help.

Premise 2 Assumes a Loving God who often calls for us to pray.

Therefore I pray

“Lastly, why pray to the same god that could allow this to happen?”I often debate, and seeing this makes me laugh. With all due repect If you had researched a little about world religions you would have noticed that the christian faith has a answer for this. God did not create evil therefore the burden is not placed on him… and if He is a God the standard giver, then he defines good and evil. A good video for this would be “Does GOD Exist… Brilliantly answered by a Genius…” search on youtube

Also back to why God did not create evil. God gives Adam and eve free will. Adam and eve disobey God thus making original sin. Man created evil.

Answer #42

To say an earthquake is the product of sin would be ridiculous as they have been happening before humans ever walked the earth. Also an earthquake is not evil, rather it helps life continue and flourish on the planet. So in this sense, earthquakes are good for life in general. The planetary movements are not controlled by sin or evil, or even by good. If an earthquake happened, a god must have wanted or allowed it, and saw fit that thousands of people die for this change in the planets plates. Looks like a pretty flawed idea to me from the creator of this system. So since the earthquake holds no place in the ‘god did not create evil’ argument (since earthquakes are not evil) I must ask what other reason you can give for a god to make such a design. Was it just an act on your premise 2, simply to get us to pray? Hey, god is calling :O the violent shaking of the earth is the ringtone I imagine. Just calling to say I love you!

And if indeed god uses earthquakes to help life flourish, he doesn’t take much consideration for any life present at the time. If god is the standard for good and evil, he is setting a very low standard. So I ask you, what is a gods purpose for these quakes and loss of human life, if it cannot be based on human sin or evil? And what effect will prayer have from this god? (For example why would he allow this earthquake, then help out mankind in the aftermath just because they don’t like his design). I would expect it would be something unattainable from man alone, otherwise gods intervention is no more useful than what we can do ourselves. Thank you for taking the time to answer :)

Answer #43

As a christian we pray because we believe that God can do something. It’s also what he asks us to do (which I am sure the other religion’s deities are similar). A nonbeliever may see it as some people talking to themselves and wishing for something to happen, but that christian he believes he is actually doing something physical and spiritual. Something money or physical labor can’t do. I’m not saying that all a person needs to do is pray and not do any physical help (raise money, go over there and help, etc) Prayer isn’t the absence of laziness or necessity of doing something…..if they can then I think they should.

You said that prayer and hope have similar meaning in the fact events of Japan…. however, they are different in the sense that one is just says I wish it were different or this way while the other puts it in the hands of an all powerful God.

Someone who doesn’t really believe the power in prayer outside of what it does for an individual’s esteem can’t really understand the point in why people do it.

Answer #44

When did I say an earthquake was evil? …and I fail to see any relevance in your first arguement.

Earthquakes are not caused by sin but death is. So humans caused the death element of earthquakes.

Even if the above was not true I could avoid assuming uniformitarianism Which I do to this very day.

HAHA, if God defines good and evil how are you to say the standard is low at all?

God did not create earth quakes the result of his creation made earth quakes. Man..

Answer #45

well ive prayed for japan, but i wouldnt say that im helping. the only people who should be able to say that theyre helping are the people who are there right now, helping hands on. we dont just pray for things to get better, we pray for the people there to feel like they shouldnt give up or lose hope. and even tho most ppl in japan arent christian, christians believe that god cares about everyone in the world. people “attatch a godly element” to it as a way of unity i guess. its hard to explain, but its still a good thing to pray about, even if it doesnt physically help.

Answer #46

because they make sushi and video games

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