Just saw this as a comment on another blog. I think most of my readers will enjoy the thought behind it. The contributor indicated it’s a story from Hasidic literature.
A student asked the Rabbi, “Why did God create atheists?”
The great Rabbi replied. “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all; the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs an act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching.
He does not believe that God commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his actions are based on his sense of morality. Look at the kindness he bestows on others simply because he feels it to be right. When someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say “I’ll pray that God will help you.” Instead, for that moment, you should become an atheist – imagine there is no God who could help, and say “I will help you.”
Sure beats “thoughts and prayers,” doesn’t it?