Prayer Test
(Top Posts - Distance From Belief
in theism - 070900)

From time to time, studies are posted in which claims
are made that prayer works. Do you believe prayer works?

Please examine the following and detail for me how no
god differs from a god which answers prayer:

Let's all pray for ... what could we pray for that would
prove prayer works?    

The problem there is that if we pray for something really
convincing, and really convincing evidence were offered
that prayer works, then that would be a cut into the faith
trip, being that many would be convinced god really exists,
based on god's answer of the prayer.

So, to protect the faith mode, god would have to decline
any really convincing evidence, via prayer, that god exists.

Then, we get to the scientific studies of prayer. Obviously,
to protect the faith mode, god cannot provide obvious
evidence prayer works. Instead, god has to give clues
which are debatable and non-definitive, proving to true
believers that he has in fact answered the prayer studies
satisfactorily in order to discourage a lack of faith but by
making the response to the scientific studies vague and
disputable, god protects the faith mode.

So, in essence, we have a god who answers prayer kind of
sort of maybe ~ maybe not, for without such a god, there
would be proof and since belief requires doubt, such a god
could never really answer a prayer in a clear and demonstra-
tive way.

Which begs the question, how can science prove prayer works    
when god has a vested interest in faith as the path to whatever
it is that god has determined is the way to whatever it is that
god has determined is what life is all about?

Dear god, lift me 3 feet in the air (3 feet above the floor of my
house). Amen.

Nothing happened. We're safe in the faith mode, for god has
god reasons for not answering that prayer, doesn't god?

Clearly, no scientific study can prove prayer works, for
there is no way to maintain doubt of god's existence without
defeating god's "belief based on faith" plan.

Everyone is comfortable with god not lifting me 3 feet
in the air because that would be convincing evidence that
god exists, maybe, if you believe in such things. Of course,
another valid explanation would be mere coincidence, but
being that I'm not often prone to fly 3 feet in the air, the
circumstantial evidence would be quite impressive, now
wouldn't it? Impressive to me, anyway - observers would,
of course, question whether my flying into the air was
rigged or hoaxed - such is the nature of reality as we
cannot just "accept" what we've been told is true, we have
to doubt and research and think about such things ... or
not.

But, for some strange reason, double-blind "scientific"
studies of the prayers of a group for sick people, with more
people being better off in the prayer group than the lesser
prayed for group (deep breath), that is seen by faithers as
*proof* of prayer working.

Why is that? After all, god could prove prayer works by
simply responding to prayer in a clear and demonstrative
way, but god doesn't do that ...

Example ... are we to believe that instead, god somehow
responds to double-blind studies and makes 55 percent
of the designated "prayed for" better off than the 45 percent
of the "less prayed for", kind of a response to prayer by
mathematics kind of deal ... is that it?

Two groups - one does better than the other - that's proof
prayer works, maybe, if you believe, kinda sorta?

I pray that the responses to this post will be kind, consid-
erate, and free of acrimony. If that happens, is that evidence
of a god? Of course not.

I pray that the responses to this post will be acrimonious,
harsh, and unkind. If that happens (let's hope that doesn't
happen), is that evidence of a god? Of course not.

Prayer - if there's definitive proof it works, faith in god is
history and God's definitely the real deal. Let's all worship
and get down with preparing for immortality in God's heaven.

Prayer - if there's definitive proof it doesn't work, people will
keep believing anyway (it's god's will - a test of faith) - go
figure.

In essence, god and no god = the same exact thing so far
as prayer goes, don't they? After all, you pray - you believe -
and whatever happens, happens, god or no god.

Substitute Fud, Allah, or any deity or super-thingie (the
midi-chlorians and/or "the force" from Star Wars come to
mind here), and do the prayer trip. I guarantee you that the
results will be exactly the same.

Prove me wrong.

<the silence is deafening>