Does prayer work? Not just a snowball’s chance in Heck – not that there really is a Heck of course. The proof of the pudding is of course, if prayer really worked, there would be a miracle for the reason that we’d all be lotto winners or at the very least pretty rich and famous! We’d be total successes at our jobs, in our relationships, have perfect partners and perfect children. And our cars wouldn’t break down! Further, the sun would shine down on us each day of our lives.
Even if we all just prayed for good things in general, not personal things in particular, and if our benevolent prayers really worked, then there will be no disease or suffering or crime or wars, etc. We’d all are now living in a utopian Camelot. But we don’t! I am talking about, come every Christmas and Easter, the Pope publicly prays for world peace. That’s noble of him. But, come next Christmas and Easter, he’s to accomplish it all over again! Now if the Pope can’t get results, what a cure for the truly amazing unwashed?
Since an effect, that is, world peace (as one of many possible examples), hasn’t happened; it’s obviously not the case, then either God doesn’t exist, or doesn’t answer prayers. If the latter, then God doesn’t offer a tinkers damn about us, so why should we offer a tinkers damn about Him (again, being traditional and assuming the masculine)? If we don’t give a damn, then Gods existence, or lack of existence, is basically irrelevant.
Consider those trillions of man-hours (sorry, person-hours) wasted within the centuries by those in quest for an illusion – that praying brought results. You don’t think our world today is a better place for all the period, effort and energy? No? Then I say again – what a waste. Further, no scholarly studies ever done on the beneficial results of praying have ever shown that praying works.
If prayer does appear to work on times on a personal level, it’s probably more an incident of mind-over-matter, the energy of positive thinking, and akin to the placebo pill in medicine. Every now and again, the improbable happens. Simply because you prayed for an improbable event doesn’t mean the prayer worked, and therefore that there’s a God who answered it.
Further, as in case of supposed miracles, prayer validation is also a very selective bookkeeping exercise in a hit is documented and displayed for the whole world to see; a miss is never mentioned or discussed.
Quasi related would be the buzz words’faith’and’ritual ‘. In terms of I will tell, all the faith on earth in a supernatural being isn’t going to heal up a broken leg any faster, or anything in a similar form of basket. You’d be hard pressed to offer evidence that having faith yields extra excellent results in accordance with those devoid of faith. In a similar vein, religions thrive on ritual. Do this at such-and-such a time; don’t accomplish that on such-a-such day of the week; observe this; cross yourself thus, eat (or don’t eat) that at this time; adopt this posture in this example, etc. Even the military isn’t quite as strict in its rules and regulations (rituals)! Anyway, observing all the rituals part and parcel of a certain religion, acim lesson 1 when it comes to effectiveness, a pathway to the good life doesn’t really seem to obtain you any extra brownie points. It strikes me as another sociological exemplory instance of ass-kissing because you’re told to kiss ass by authority figures who, I gather, in this instance derive said authority from a supernatural being which is why there’s no evidence. Sorry sheep; it’s all an incident of the blind leading the blind.
Having dispatched the energy of prayer, here’s my undertake the related notion of miracles.
I’d better define precisely what I am talking about by a miracle, as it buzz word has been so overused, especially in marketing, that it has lost all real meaning. I am talking about you can find miracle detergents, miracle drugs, miracle discoveries, miracle anything and everything. I’ve actually read scientists, who ought to know better, who utilize the word’miracle’if they really mean unexpected or against all odds. If you get dealt a royal flush, you’d say it is a miracle. Nonetheless it isn’t. You will find things that are plausible, possible, probable, and improbable. Then you can find things that are downright impossible. If something considered impossible happens, then it is a bona fide miracle. A very improbable event, like being dealt a royal flush, isn’t a miracle. A bona fide miracle will be for an amputated limb to regenerate. Undoubtedly amputees have prayed for this type of miracle – alas, it ain’t ever happened.
So my definition of a miracle can be an occurrence that goes totally from the grain of any type of chance of this type of happening, happening. Magic is a miracle if the event defies the impossible, not merely improbable odds. So, winning the lottery isn’t a miracle because it is a plausible event. However, there’s no medical science that might explain the regeneration of an amputated limb. If this event happened; absolutely documented, that would be a miracle and considerable evidence for the existence of a supernatural God. Magic pizza (and I’ve seen them so advertised) isn’t, since it’s possible to create a great tasting pizza!
Take the sum total of most so-called miracles and subtract those events which can be unlikely but possible, from the ones that are absolutely impossible based on modern science. What’s the bona fide residue – zero, zip, zilch.
So, one of the alleged, albeit in a mysterious way, by which God works, is to answer prayers, and create or oversee miracles. Has there ever been any miracle, anywhere, undisputed and totally accepted by science as factual and unexplainable? If that’s the case, science would have bowed to the fact of God long ago. No, I suggest that miracles are either misinterpretations, fabrications, wishful thinking/delusions, sleight-of-hand (magic) or proof advanced technology! Dump someone living 4000 years ago to the 21st Century and no doubt this type of person would find nearly all of our civilization a totally miraculous one. Dump us to the 31st Century and we’d rely on miracles too!
There’s another issue in that if God were all powerful, He wouldn’t need to perform certain miracles. Some miracles seem to become a band-aid treatment for a problem that shouldn’t have existed in the initial place, if an all powerful, all knowing God had been on His toes as it were. For example, say you visit the doctor Monday morning, and he informs you that you’ve incurable cancer. Monday night you pray to God to rid you of the affliction. Tuesday morning you will find your cancer has gone! That’s a miracle – well not really since now and a rare again, cancer switches into remission. That aside, wouldn’t it have now been easier if God had ensured your incurable cancer had never allow us in the initial place? As to loaves and fishes, it could have been safer to have ensured an adequate way to obtain food in the initial place! Miracles in such cases I would recommend are God’s correction fluid or whiteout! An all knowing, all powerful God wouldn’t need correction or whiteout fluid!
How come you merely get medical miracles that defy the improbable odds, rather than beating impossible odds? For example, have any one of those unfortunate thalidomide victims ever all a sudden, overnight say, awakened to find they are in possession of fully functioning limbs rather than stumps? Surely this type of miracle is within God’s power – however it ain’t ever happened.
Then you can find the show-off (‘wow, look at me, ain’t I something!’ ) form of miracles that serve no real purpose or don’t imply any’oops, I goofed’scenario – like walking on water. Although some miracles totally shatter the laws of physics, like creating something out of nothing, parting bodies of water like the Red Sea, or perhaps plain walking on water (and therefore are relegated to those impossible things one tends to simply accept before breakfast once you breakfast in fairy-dairy land), many so-called miracles are simply improbable happenings that happen now and again due to pure statistical probabilities. You’ll hear concerning the miracle where someone was cured of a supposedly incurable illness due to prayer, or someone was found alive in an earthquake induced collapsed developing a fortnight after-the-fact or survived that horrific car crash. That you do not hear about the other 9,999 exactly similar cases where the person snuffed it in the natural, probable way of things. IMHO, miracles are an example of highly selective bookkeeping, like only counting the deposits and never the withdrawals, only in case of miracles, you tick and publicize the hits and ignore and sweep underneath the carpet the misses.