Prayer Is
Not The Answer,
It Is The Problem
[name withheld]

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.
Teach a man to fish, he eats every day.
Teach a man to pray for fish, he lets his kids die hungry.

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: A Beacon for Survivors (Heroic Stories)
Date: September 11, 2001 11:54 PM

Where was God when those possibly 20,000 people were killed.

I've been saying all day that unfortunately, only a minority of us realize this.

As for my own coping, I am taking this very hard because of the PSA crash in 1978. That one took years for me to get over. In fact, I now realize that the day-long promotions of the annual "remembrance" coverage of that incident which would come upon us with no notice -- complete with footage -- is a big reason behind my never having bothered to own a television. I had just become an adult, having reached drinking age by the end of 1977. It wasn't until 1984 that I flew again, and then over great protests. In other words, we drove home. In 1992, I had learned Cognitive Therapy and had used it to successfully overcome my fear of flying -- but I must do the exercizes each time I fly. As limited as it is and as much as it's based on bullshitting yourself, Cognitive sure helped me to fly again.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: [name withheld]
Subject: Re: A Beacon for Survivors (Heroic Stories)
Date: September 12, 2001 1:32 AM

The PSA came down in San Diego and was flying in from the Bay Area. My Mom was flying in from the Bay Area that morning, so I spent a few moments in fear of that. Dad was at his desk already by the time it happened (shortly after 9:00) and so I was able to call him and verify that it wasn't her flight.

For years afterward, I relived as if I had been on that flight, just a tape loop going round and round as if we were all falling down out of the sky and I could see the ground approaching. Then they found the Black Box and played the tape of the pilot's final moments and his chilling last words.

"Mama!"

Over and over. I stopped wanting to be a journalist after seeing just how sadistic I'd have to be to please the desk and keep my job.

I am now convinced that that played a big role in my not liking television: year after year, with no warning, we'd have to sit through promos of the "anniversary" of that thing. (I'll bet September 11 becomes a national holiday so we can relive this thing over and over again.)

Today I am not reliving as if I were anywhere in New York. Perhaps I've changed or perhaps that comes later, I don't know. I'm hoping that I finally learned how to grieve without it destroying me. But the PSA crash affected me deeply for years afterward. Yesterday, when I watched the building collapse virtually live, and while we still weren't sure this was all that was going to happen, that was scary. I was "quite prepared to die," as the song goes.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.