Praying to a god has three possible outcomes: yes, no, and not now. These are also the answers of Magic 8-Balls. Unlike gods, a Magic 8-Ball can be wrong because an answer is actually shown immediately. If a Magic 8-Ball never revealed its answer, its prayer-answering ability would be god-like.

The efficacy of prayer has never been demonstrated under scrutiny, and yet billions believe that prayers affect the world.

Praying does produce two measurable effects, though: it disparages a person's locus of control and it wastes time.

That time could be spent playing an instrument, exercising, understanding nature, exchanging ideas, or collaborating with others. You could help build homes, volunteer at homeless shelters, or start a double-blind study on prayer's inefficacy.

When Japan was hit by a tsunami, many people prayed for them. It was a lazy, inconsiderate, ignorant, and insulting response. Devastated cities need reconstruction, food, and medicine. All of which take time, effort, and funding. Moreover, encouraging donations, rather than prayers, is a better way to spend time.

Consider donating money to the Japanese Red Cross right now!