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I was atheist for 30 years, before eventually discovering that my natural inclination is devotional...

So I still view the world from my atheist foundation, plus I think the atheist v. religious flame wars are a bit superficial approach...

So I am wondering; do you "need" something Divine to say prayers TO, or can an atheist do it just from the heart or the guts or wherever?

7 Answers


If you sense the numinous, I think you can, even if you do not believe in a specific god of a specific religion.

I was always impressed by a couple of quotes of Werner Heisenberg, one of the founders of quantum mechanics.

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

Virginia TheOtherTink

OtherTink, those are absolutely marvelous...Werner Heisenberg, really?!?!!

I keep a special ASK file for great stuff, and ima put your answer in...ty...


You best listen to your heart, your feelings and your conscience.

I think that a prayer can take many forms; it may be a song, a poem, a dance, a task, a piece of art, a helping hand, tears and smiles, a dialogue, meditating, etc. - as soon as it comes out from your heart.

Convictions come from education, learning and reading, the people surrounding and motivating or demotivating you, your own experiences, quests, errors or performances, pains and struggles, positive and less positive events, etc.

The faith comes also from the faith in yourself and in your beloved ones.


Virginia Marianne

Dear Marianne,

That is very beautiful...appears to me such a realistic practical view of what prayer might truly be, thank you

*btw, just so you know...I am putting your words also into my special Ask file...I have been thinking about this Q for quite a while now.

Marianne Marianne

You're very welcome, Virginia.

I can only say humbly thank you for liking my words. Well - I can't find the words to say how much I appreciate your kindness.


There are many unanswered questions by science. Religious people believe it's by God but their religious book has many false statements against the modern science. This causes disbelief.
Virginia Dan

Hi Dan,

Your answer reminds me of a statement of Neil deGrasse Tyson (I think he is a cosmologist?) on a YouTube video..."God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance."

Thank you...


In Jainism, they don't have a God and the followers won't pray to God. They believe that every living being has a potential to become God by doing good.

Virginia Dan

Hi Dan,  I think I recall the word...the Jina  -  the victor, the liberator...


It is possible.

Virginia Kninjanin

Thank you Kninjanin, I wonder if you could explain a bit more?

Darkest Serenity

A True Atheist does not Pray but maybe if Death was staring them in the Face "meh" maybe then they'd be Praying to our Lord to save their Heathenous asses.


hahaha   just kiddin  :P

my fella is an Atheist , that's what I say to him when I'm mucking about and we're discussing my Faith and his lack of it. 

Virginia Darkest Serenity

Well that is certainly a graphic illustration, Darkest Serenity, quite beautiful actually!

@ Virginia .......All joking aside I joined your post because I've had this discussion with many of my friends who are Atheist and have been all their Lives. It's hard for me to understand (though I certainly Respect that they do not share my Faith) because I have had my Faith since I was 4 years old.

My neighbor in her 80's got me down on my Knee's to Pray in her front room with her , surrounded by Brass Crosses and so many symbols of God (that I cleaned weekly for her lolz)  for Protection. 


So you see , I've never totally lost my Faith from that age to this. 

Thank God.

Virginia Darkest Serenity

Hi DarkSerenity, I am (at present) actually considering the idea that maybe there is just a unique way for each of us...

I just watched a Carl Sagan video on YouTube, and although he professes atheism his video demonstrates all the better attributes of what I would consider 'prayer,' for example. However then I went to his explanation of religion, and he really misses the point, imo...

My own route was through Eastern philosophy, and that was like an "aha!" I got it, and religion began to make sense, and came to realize that was indeed my own way! 

Oh well, to each his/her own...

@ Virginia .......Call me Ser :)

Can I ask if the time when you found your Faith , was a time when you really needed it most or was it a time when things were relatively smooth in your Life. No need for details , I'm not getting intrusive here I'm just Curious about the reason one can go for a huge segment of their existence not having any Faith at all to believing in God. 

Virginia Darkest Serenity

Ser, things were relatively smooth for me when I discovered my natural tendency to devotion...it was a calm period when I had time to look into a philosophy of life. And if a person is atheist, you are kinda pushed into scientific materialism, which is a very limited, small tight box and can never access the full potential of what it means to be a human being.

However, I have since met atheists who DO manage to break out of the box and accept/explore mystery...which I now think is the major dimension of who we are.


I am an atheist and have been since I was 14. I don't pray but I do envy those who have faith and think that there is an afterlife, yet I pity them for for not understanding that this is all there is; born, live, die. On one hand, it's comforting to think that there is a greater force outside the realm that we exist, yet on the hand, it seems to me that they inhabit a false existence based upon imaginative stories created by primitive people who lived before the invention of the light bulb or the realization that the Earth is round. 

Virginia JakGoatJumper

Thank you, Jak