The spurious power of prayer

Why do people believe in prayer? Mostly, I guess, because 1) they have been told ten thousand times that prayer works and 2) they believe that they actually see the things they pray for come true. They pray for sick loved ones to get better, and they do! They pray for an alcoholic uncle to become sober, and he enters Alcoholics Anonymous! They pray for an aunt to come to Jesus, and she starts going back to church!

The problem is they don’t count any of the times that they pray and it doesn’t work. They don’t count the time that their brother had a relapse, or that Uncle John fell off the wagon, or the time that Aunt Edna stopped going to church, again. They don’t count the people that they prayed for but who are still suffering.

It’s called confirmation bias. They only count the hits and not the misses.

How many months and years do they pray for something to happen, and it doesn’t? But when something finally does, they say “Hallelujah, Jesus’ love changed it!” They forget the long periods of time when it was ineffectual, and they forget about the relatives that were left hanging in the lurch and ultimately died.

I recently saw a YouTube video where a person said that they got the same results praying to a carton of milk that they did from praying to God. They got the same “Yes, no, or wait” that Christian apologists say that represents God’s answers to their prayers. Comedian George Carlin says that he gets about the same results from praying to Joe Pesci as he did from praying to God. Anything he asks for, the answer is “Yes, no, or wait”. Indeed, who or what can you pray to that would not give you the same results? Zeus? Same thing. Thor? Yep.

The church is just telling you to pray, and they say their God is the only one who answers prayers. But then they explain that “Yes, no or wait” is what he will say. Think about it. Really.

Another thing. The Bible tells you that Jesus Himself says that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you could move a mountain (Matt 17:20). But in the 2,000 years since He said it, apparently not one single person has either never even had that much faith, or ever wanted to move a mountain, as there have been no recorded instances of mountains moving. Not one.

However, there have been many examples of people being moved to religious extremes against their fellow humans due to BELIEVING that faith is all-powerful. Humans fly planes into buildings, people poison their own children (Jonestown), and people collect millions of dollars on the backs of other people who have “Faith.”

It all adds up to there being no god, no demons and no angels. But the belief that there are, and that the Bible is the word of God, moves many people to commit atrocities. Not because their beliefs are true, but because people BELIEVE they are true. That includes people who have no other evidence that God exists and the bible it true than that their parent-fed earliest memories suggest that this is the case.

It’s time to end the cycle. It’s time to ask for evidence that these claims are true. It’s time that people examine their beliefs and demand good, solid evidence to warrant their actions on behalf of such claims; at LEAST to demonstrate that the sacrifice of their lives and earnings are justified. Demand that evidence, good tangible evidence, is given to justify your commitments. Don’t just accept emotion-driven anecdotes or simple assertions that they are true. Remember that claims of souls, eternal life, miracles, Original Sin, resurrection, and invisible creatures are extraordinary claims.

Marcello Truzzi once said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Demand evidence that is commensurate with the claims put forward. The time to believe something is when the evidence warrants it, and not a minute before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *