Does prayer work? Not really a snowball’s chance in Heck – not too there is indeed a Heck of course. The evidence of the pudding is needless to say, if prayer really worked, there would have been 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 breakdown! Further, the sun would shine down on us everyday of our lives.
Even if all of us just prayed for nutrients generally speaking, not personal things particularly, and if our benevolent prayers really worked, then there could be no disease or suffering or crime or wars, etc. We’d all live 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 complete it once again! Now if the Pope can’t get results, what hope for the truly amazing unwashed?
Since an outcome, that is, world peace (as one of several possible examples), hasn’t happened; it’s obviously false, then either God doesn’t exist, or doesn’t answer prayers. If the latter, then God doesn’t give a tinkers damn about us, why should we give a tinkers damn about Him (again, being traditional and assuming the masculine)? When we don’t give a damn, then Gods existence, or insufficient existence, is actually irrelevant.
Consider dozens of trillions of man-hours (sorry, person-hours) wasted on the centuries by those in pursuit of an illusion – that praying brought results. You don’t think our world today is a better area for all the period, effort and energy? No? Then I say again – exactly what a waste. Further, no scholarly studies ever done on the beneficial link between praying have ever shown that praying works.
If prayer does appear to work at times on a personal level, it’s probably more an instance of mind-over-matter, the energy of positive thinking, and comparable to the placebo pill in medicine. Every now and again, the improbable happens. Just because you prayed for an improbable event doesn’t mean the prayer worked, and therefore that there is a God who answered it.
Further, as in the case of supposed miracles, prayer validation can also be a highly selective bookkeeping exercise in that the hit is documented and displayed for the whole world to see; a miss is never mentioned or discussed.
Quasi related will be the buzz words’faith’and’ritual ‘. In terms of I can tell, most of the faith on the planet in a supernatural being isn’t going to heal up a broken leg any faster, or anything in the same type of basket. You would be hard pressed to offer evidence that having faith yields extra positive results in accordance with those devoid of faith. In the same vein, religions thrive on ritual. Try this at such-and-such a period; 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 situation, etc. Even the military isn’t quite as strict in its rules and regulations (rituals)! Anyway, observing most of the rituals part and parcel of a certain religion, acim lesson 1 with regards to effectiveness, a pathway to the nice life doesn’t really seem to get you any extra brownie points. It strikes me as another sociological example 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 for which there’s no evidence. Sorry sheep; it’s all an instance of the blind leading the blind.
Having dispatched the energy of prayer, here’s my accept the related concept of miracles.
I’d better define precisely what I am talking about by a miracle, because it buzz word has been so overused, especially in marketing, that it has lost all real meaning. I am talking about you will find miracle detergents, miracle drugs, miracle discoveries, miracle anything and everything. I’ve actually read scientists, who should know better, who use the word’miracle’when they really mean unexpected or against all odds. If you get dealt a noble flush, you’d say it is a miracle. Nonetheless it isn’t. You can find items that are plausible, possible, probable, and improbable. Then you will find items that are downright impossible. If something considered impossible happens, then it is a bona fide miracle. A highly improbable event, like being dealt a noble flush, isn’t a miracle. A bona fide miracle could be for an amputated limb to regenerate. Without doubt amputees have prayed for such a miracle – alas, it ain’t ever happened.
So my definition of a miracle can be an occurrence that goes totally against the grain of any sort of possibility of such a happening, happening. A miracle is just a miracle if the function defies the impossible, not just improbable odds. So, winning the lottery isn’t a miracle because it is a plausible event. However, there’s no medical science that can explain the regeneration of an amputated limb. If such an event happened; absolutely documented, that would have been a miracle and considerable evidence for the existence of a supernatural God. A miracle pizza (and I’ve seen them so advertised) isn’t, since it’s possible to produce a nice tasting pizza!
Take the sum total of so-called miracles and subtract those events which are unlikely but possible, from those that are absolutely impossible based on modern science. What’s the bona fide residue – zero, zip, zilch.
So, one of many alleged, albeit in a mystical way, where God works, would be 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? In that case, science would have bowed to the fact of God long ago. No, I declare that miracles are either misinterpretations, fabrications, wishful thinking/delusions, sleight-of-hand (magic) or evidence of advanced technology! Dump someone living 4000 years back to the 21st Century and no doubt such a person would find nearly all of our civilization a completely miraculous one. Dump us to the 31st Century and we’d believe in miracles too!
There’s another issue in that when God were all powerful, He wouldn’t need to execute certain miracles. Some miracles seem to be a band-aid means to fix an issue that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, if an all powerful, all knowing God had been on His toes as it were. Like, say you go to a doctor Monday morning, and he informs you that you have incurable cancer. Monday night you pray to God to rid you of the affliction. Tuesday morning you discover that your cancer has gone! That is a miracle – well not really since now and an unusual again, cancer switches into remission. That aside, wouldn’t it have been easier if God had ensured that your incurable cancer had never are suffering from in the first place? Regarding loaves and fishes, it would have been better to have ensured a sufficient supply of food in the first place! Miracles 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? Like, have any of those unfortunate thalidomide victims ever every one of a sudden, overnight say, awakened to find they are in possession of fully functioning limbs rather than stumps? Surely such a miracle is God’s power – however it ain’t ever happened.
Then you will find the show-off (‘wow, look at me, ain’t I something!’ ) type of miracles that serve no real purpose or don’t imply any’oops, I goofed’scenario – like walking on water. Though some miracles totally shatter the laws of physics, like creating something out of nothing, parting bodies of water like the Red Sea, or simply plain walking on water (and therefore are relegated to those impossible things one tends to simply accept before breakfast whenever you breakfast in fairy-dairy land), many so-called miracles are only improbable happenings that happen now and again as a result of pure statistical probabilities. You’ll hear concerning the miracle where someone was cured of a supposedly incurable illness as a result of prayer, or someone was found alive within an earthquake induced collapsed developing a fortnight after-the-fact or survived that horrific car crash. You don’t hear about one other 9,999 exactly similar cases when the individual snuffed it in the natural, probable means of things. IMHO, miracles are a typical example of highly selective bookkeeping, like only counting the deposits and never the withdrawals, only in the case of miracles, you tick and publicize the hits and ignore and sweep underneath the carpet the misses.