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School Chaplain: Oh Lord. Ooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this our dreadful toadying. But you’re so strong and well just so super. Amen. Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life 1983 starring Graham Chapman & John Cleese & Terry Gilliam & Eric Idle & Michael Palin & Terry Jones & Carol Cleveland & Patricia Quinn & Mark Holmes & Simon Jones & Matt Frewer & Jane Leeves et al, director Terry Jones
I’ve begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, and a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to ‘God’ are all answered at about the same 50% rate. George Carlin, Brain Droppings
And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? ‘Well, it’s God’s will.’ ‘Thy Will Be Done.’ Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing. George Carlin
People treat God rather rudely … Most of this praying takes place on Sunday, His day off. It’s not nice … They pray for a lot of different things … Most of all, you’d really like to fuck that red-head down at the convenience store. George Carlin, You Are All Diseased, HBO 1999
You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, OK? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with. ibid.
Let us pray to God ... The bastard! He doesn’t exist! Samuel Beckett, Endgame, 1958
Claire: How do you know you’re ... God?
Earl of Gurney: Simple. When I pray to Him I find I’m talking to myself. Peter Barnes, The Ruling Class, 1969
Damn it ... Don’t you dare ask God to help me. Joan Crawford, reported last words to housekeeper praying aloud
Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce Pray. Author unknown
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen. Mark Twain, The War Prayer
Man is a marvellous curiosity … He thinks he is the Creator’s pet … He even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea? Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth
But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most? Mark Twain
If the cholera or black plague should come to these shores, perhaps the bulk of the nation would pray to be delivered from it, but the rest would put their trust in the Health Board. Mark Twain, Education and Citizenship speech
It is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window. Sam Harris, The End of Faith
Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything – anything – be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. ibid.
But to say that he is loving, to say that he is benevolent, to say that he cares for us, or to say that having made us – something we never asked of his creation – that we should spend our time on our knees in front of him is outrageous. Stephen Fry, in conversation with Christopher Hitchens
He prays to the spirit of the place and to Earth, the first of the gods, and to the Nymphs and as yet unknown rivers. Virgil, Aeneid
Pray for ignorance, but strive for truth. Chaz Timberland
Songs: Can’t Win With Original Sin & Nothing Fails Like Prayer. Dan Barker, lecture 2001, ‘Losing Faith in Faith’
I don’t believe in school prayer. I think it’s total nonsense ... Who is the teacher there that is going to have them pray? And is the teacher going to be Catholic or Mormon or Episcopalian or what? It just causes all sorts of problems. And what are the kids praying about anyway? Does it really matter ... What are you doing it for? The whole thing just opens up all sorts of elements of discussion. I think it’s crazy. Charles M Schulz
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living! Mother Jones, The Autobiography of Mother Jones