Recently I’ve seen “Pray for Japan” badges appearing on my friends’ Facebook pages. Praying .. really? It’s going to make a difference?
I think this is not just not good, but actively bad.
Some people believe that praying will help. Those people’s time will be wasted in a pointless activity when they could be spending that effort on something that would help.
Update: Here are a couple of links showing that prayer does not work. The links are to blog postings on atheist sites, but from there you can follow through and read the actual studies if you want to:
Update 2: Edited for language. If you want to help, give money or volunteer instead. Buy Japanese goods or resolve to visit Tohoku on holiday.
Update 3: It gets stranger. In some private email, a Japanese person commented that the word used in Japanese for “pray” just means “hope for” or “wish for”. The praying part is led by some American missionaries who live in Japan, and has been taken up by American christians. So this might be the result of non-Japanese speakers getting the entire wrong end of the stick, or an unfortunate choice of word in a translation.