Everyone needs to have a basic understanding of how the world works. We all participate in our local culture, and work to sustain ourselves. We all interact with children, and we all need to consider that we are the causes of our own problems. Believing that there’s an invisible man in the sky that takes care of you, and has a specific plan for everything, is a cop-out so that you don’t have to think about other explanations for things [like facts or science or economy].
There’s a time and place for Prayer.
‘Prayer’ is for people who are facing situations beyond their control. I could pray to win the lottery, but it won’t really make a difference if God has other plans for me. I could pray for the victims of natural disasters, but not for the victims of human-caused tragedies, because humans caused those problems ourselves. We made choices that harmed ourselves and others. Praying for relief from preventable ailments is also moot, because you have the ability to seek medical care and manage your own health. God didn’t force you to eat junk food every day for 40 years, it’s time you owned up to the fact that you gave yourself heart disease. Praying is a way to verbalize ‘thankfulness’ for things we already have, not to ask for petty favors. You aren’t going to get a promotion at work because you prayed for it, you have to work hard for it.
People are misusing religion, and depending on it way more than they should. They’re behaving as if caring for the wellbeing of others isn’t their responsibility, even when ‘love’ is the basis of their faith.
Religion has always been a guide to harmoniously live with other people. Being generous and tolerant of others. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. You may behave horribly to get the things you want, but greed is a sin, so hopefully your religious guidelines prevents you from becoming evil.
Religion is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card. God isn’t your personal assistant. You can’t pray yourself out of situations that you got yourself into.
Life is long, and it requires constant mindfulness; we’re all going to have to live with the consequences of our actions for the rest of our lives.