First off, let me just say that this diary is in no way intended to offend anyone of any religious persuasion, and to clog the comments with angry posts would just serve to detract from the point, which is that there are people in Boston who need help.
Since the news of the Boston explosions broke earlier today, I've noticed that social media has been saturated with posts calling for prayers for those affected by the blasts. Not one post about donating blood, or volunteering, or donating to the Boston area Red Cross, nothing but prayers, prayers, prayers. That strikes me not only as a bit self-serving, but more than a little lazy as well.
Before anyone skips straight to the comments to write me a hate diatribe, please allow me to explain. I personally do not believe in God, but if you do and you believe that your prayers will help the injured in Boston, by all means, pray for them. Pray and don't stop praying. The problem I have is that many people seem to believe that prayers are the only effort they should have to put forward in these kinds of tragedies. It's almost as though they think that as long as they whisper to the air for five minutes, God will take care of the rest and they can continue on their merry way, patting themselves on the back for "helping" someone in his time of peril.
This seems incredibly lazy to me. If you believe that prayers will help the hospitals care for the wounded or help the police find the culprit, that's wonderful, but by praying and doing nothing else you are literally putting forth the absolute minimum effort to do any real good in this situation. Social media adds a certain level of cheapness to the whole affair as well, because you can let your friends know what a great Christian/Muslim/Jew/etc. you are without having to put forth more effort than bowing your head for five minutes and typing out a few sentences on Facebook.
Once again, if you believe that God will help the victims and workers at the blast sites, then please pray for them. But unless you're expecting God to reach down through the clouds and fill the hospital blood banks with IV blood himself, you need to do more. Seeing as that scenario is unlikely to play out, the help you're praying for will have to come from ordinary people right here on earth.
In your worldview, God may be directing those people. That doesn't change the fact that no one can know 100% whether or not that's true, and the people affected in Boston need people out there doing the ground work. If you live in the Boston area, donate blood with your local Red Cross. If you live further away like me, donate whatever amount you can to the Boston Red Cross (even $5 makes a difference if everyone pitches in). There is also a great website called the Red Cross Safe and Well Registry where people can find loved ones in emergencies while phone lines are jammed. Forward it to anyone you know with family/friends in Boston to help free up cell towers and land lines. All these links are posted below.
Again, I don't want anyone to think I'm discouraging prayers for those affected by the Boston explosions. Right now, though, they also need action.
These links may be experiencing high traffic right now, but keep trying. If anyone knows of any other ways to donate, please post in the comments.