Does prayer work? Not just a snowball’s chance in Heck – not too there is a real Heck of course. The evidence of the pudding is obviously, if prayer really worked, there would be a miracle for the reason that we’d all be lotto winners or at the least pretty rich and famous! We’d be total successes at our jobs, inside our relationships, have perfect partners and perfect children. And our cars wouldn’t break up! Further, the sun would shine down on us each day of our lives.
Even though most of us just prayed for good stuff in general, not personal things in particular, 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 mean, 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 a result, that’s, world peace (as one of numerous 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 just why should we offer a tinkers damn about Him (again, being traditional and assuming the masculine)? When we don’t give a darn, then Gods existence, or not enough existence, is basically irrelevant.
Consider those trillions of man-hours (sorry, person-hours) wasted over the centuries by those in search 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 link between praying have ever shown that praying works.
If prayer does seem to work on times on an individual level, it’s probably more a case of mind-over-matter, the ability of positive thinking, and akin 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 exists a God who answered it.
Further, as in the case of supposed miracles, prayer validation can also be a very selective bookkeeping exercise in that the hit is documented and displayed for the entire world to see; a miss is never mentioned or discussed.
Quasi related are the buzz words’faith’and’ritual ‘. So far as I can tell, all the faith in the world in a supernatural being isn’t going to heal up a broken leg any faster, or anything in a similar type of basket. You would be hard pressed to supply evidence that having faith yields extra very good results relative to those devoid of faith. In a similar vein, religions thrive on ritual. Do this at such-and-such an occasion; 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 case, 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 specific religion, acim lesson 1 with regards 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 are told to kiss ass by authority figures who, I gather, in this case derive said authority from a supernatural being which is why there is no evidence. Sorry sheep; it’s all a case of the blind leading the blind.
Having dispatched the ability of prayer, here’s my undertake the related idea of miracles.
I’d better define precisely what I mean by magic, as it buzz word has been so overused, especially in marketing, so it has lost all real meaning. I mean 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 things that are plausible, possible, probable, and improbable. Then you will find things 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. Undoubtedly amputees have prayed for this type of miracle – alas, it ain’t ever happened.
So my definition of magic can be an occurrence that goes totally contrary to the grain of any type of chance of this type of happening, happening. Magic is magic if the event defies the impossible, not merely improbable odds. So, winning the lottery isn’t magic because it is a plausible event. However, there is no medical science that can 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 those that are absolutely impossible according to 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, 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? If that’s the case, science would have bowed to the reality of God long ago. No, I declare 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 most of our civilization a completely miraculous one. Dump us to the 31st Century and we’d rely on miracles too!
There’s another issue in when God were all powerful, He wouldn’t need to perform certain miracles. Some miracles seem to become a band-aid means to fix a challenge that shouldn’t have existed in the very first place, if an all powerful, all knowing God have been on His toes since it were. As an example, say you head to a 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 find your cancer moved! That’s a miracle – well not really since now and a rare again, cancer adopts remission. That aside, wouldn’t it have been easier if God had ensured your incurable cancer had never are suffering from in the very first place? Concerning loaves and fishes, it would have been more straightforward to have ensured a sufficient method of getting food in the very first 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!
The reason you simply get medical miracles that defy the improbable odds, instead of beating impossible odds? As an example, have any of those unfortunate thalidomide victims ever every one of a sudden, overnight say, awakened to get they now have fully functioning limbs instead of stumps? Surely this type of miracle is God’s power – but 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. While some miracles totally shatter the laws of physics, like creating something out of nothing, parting bodies of water such as the Red Sea, or just plain walking on water (and therefore are relegated to those impossible things one tends to just accept before breakfast once you breakfast in fairy-dairy land), many so-called miracles are simply improbable happenings that do 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 in an earthquake induced collapsed building a fortnight after-the-fact or survived that horrific car crash. You do not hear about another 9,999 exactly similar cases where anyone snuffed it in the natural, probable way 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.