How Prayer Works

Situation A: Positive Result

Petitioner: Please God, make it rain today.

Result: It rains

Theological interpretation: Your prayer was answered because of your faith. God is good!

Atheist Interpretation: Meteorology allows us to predict the weather with startling accuracy in the short-term. It rained because utterly predictable conditions allowed it.

Situation B: Negative Result

Petitioner: Please God, make it rain today.

Result: It does not rain.

Theological interpretation 1: God always answers prayers. Sometimes he answers “no.” God is good!
Theological interpretation 2: You didn’t have enough faith. God is good!
Theological interpretation 3: You don’t know what’s best. Only God knows that. God is good!
Theological Interpretation 4: You didn’t pray hard enough/correctly. God is good!
Theological Interpretation 5: God is punishing you for your sins. God is good!
Theological Interpretation 6: Your prayer was not to the glory of God. God only answers prayers that work to his own glorification. God is narcissistic good!
Theological Interpretation 7: God will answer your prayer, but not in your timeframe. Wait. God is good!

Atheist Interpretation: Meteorology allows us to predict the weather with startling accuracy in the short-term. It didn’t rain because utterly predictable conditions did not allow it.

Atheist conclusion: Prayer has no effect on objectively measurable outcomes.

Theist conclusion: Prayer works!

If you’re a recovering theist, you know how unpleasant it can be to have a prayer, especially a big one such as praying for the health of a loved one, go unanswered. A great deal of ink has been utterly wasted trying to explain why God answers some prayers and does not answer others. Once you stop believing in God, the answer becomes intuitively obvious: God doesn’t answer prayers because he doesn’t exist. Outcomes in the world always conform to the expectation that there is no deity acting upon our desires. What a relief to not have to pretend to believe such nonsense!

 

 

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