I had this short discussion with a relative of mine yesterday. Uncle L is an atheist, nothing wrong in that. He is a successful and a very active person, may be in his late 60's or early 70's. He was talking to me about the various communities and organizations he is a member of. One of them were the American Humanist Association with a tag line 'Good with out a God'. That was when I discovered He is an atheist, and was having my own thoughts running in my mind about this new discovery.
He then started explaining what the tagline meant. I listened to everything keenly.
Then I asked him,
'what about the many people who believe in God. The people who pray. Don't you think prayers have a positive effect on a person?'
'No! It in fact gives a negative perspective to individuals about the way they should live their lives'
In fact, people follow so many traditions in the name of God, it is a waste of time. Instead they could do something useful than to spend hours together performing rituals and reciting something that they don't really understand'
By the time I could ponder on his words and reply back, we were interrupted by other people.
I agree to the point that a lot of people do things without even understanding the purpose of it. Not just religious rituals or superstitious beliefs people have, it happens even in other fields of interests.
But the point that of Uncle L, I completely disagree with, is, the negative perspective people would have by praying.
I am not a very religious person myself, but I am spiritual, following certain traditions as per my convenience, and mainly the ones that make me happy. Prayers, hymns are like music to my ears which soothes my mind and relieves me from the day-to-day stress I undergo. Isn't that what one should work on? to have a peaceful and stress free life?
In fact, it is a fallacy to say orisons/hymns don't have a positive effect on our mind and heart.
In fact Researchers have come up with findings on the positive effects of Yoga,meditation, praying and chanting hymns have on our brain. you can read more about this online. here are some links for your quick access.
However, I envy the people who have a blind faith in God and pray to him with utmost diligence. Because, this belief is what gives them the confidence and encourages them to start another day filled with happiness, leaving their big burdens on the God(s) they worship.
Some people even accept failure to be the doing of God, for their good.
The same scenario, in case of an atheist, will have to blame himself for his failure. I doubt if an egoistic atheist would be able to handle that in a better way.
At the end of the day, One should do what ever is convenient and satisfying to oneself, and not try to force their beliefs on to others, nor get negatively influenced by others.