Your Post-Vegas Thoughts and Prayers Aren’t Helping

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Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.

— Your thoughts and prayers after the shooting in Las Vegas aren’t helping. (1:06)

— The folks at Fox and Friends think the shooter just “didn’t believe in God.” (14:31)

— The worst response to the shooting came from a Mormon who blamed the victims. (22:02)

— What should we make of the survivor who said he found God after surviving the massacre? (24:25)

— A woman says God protected her… after surviving an awful car accident. (32:53)

— The 14 Attorneys General who say a Giant Christian Cross in a Florida park is totally secular. (36:27)

— It’s okay to question a judicial nominee’s religious history. (43:31)

— Anti-abortion politician Rep. Tim Murphy is resigning after allegedly texting his mistress to tell her to abort their possible lovechild. (53:27)

Flipping the bird in church is constitutionally protected speech! (56:47)

— Happy stories… about why Olive Garden is ruining Hemant. (1:02:22)

(Image via Shutterstock)

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1 Comment

  • Reply A_guy_named_Tom October 10, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for all the work you do to put together the podcast—I really enjoy it.

    I was thinking about what you said in last week’s episode regarding sending “thoughts and prayers” during a time of crisis.

    If one were to take a maximally charitable interpretation of what is going on here, it could be this: by publicly praying (and encouraging others to pray), religious people might be creating peer pressure to do something tangible (eg donate money) and this could plausibly work to increase the total amount of donations received.

    It would be interesting to run an experiment comparing the amount of time/money donated by church congregations who were encouraged to pray publicly following a particular disaster vs those who weren’t.

    Obviously there is no supernatural way that prayer could help victims of a tragic event, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a psychological effect on those praying and seeing others pray.

    And of course, there are probably much better ways to encourage people to donate to good causes that don’t involve psychological manipulation using imaginary authoritarian figures, but once the authoritarian figure is already there in people’s imaginations, it seems rational to make use of it for a good cause.

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