Does prayer work? Not a snowball’s chance in Bejesus — not that there is a real Bejesus of course. The evidence of the pudding is of course, if prayer really worked, there would be a miracle in that . all be lotto winners or at least pretty rich and famous! . be total success at our jobs, in our relationships, have perfect partners and perfect children. And our cars wouldn’t break down! Further, the sun’s rays would shine down on us every day in our lives.
Even if we all just prayed for good things in general, not personal things in particular, and if our sympathetic prayers really worked, then there would be no disease or suffering or crime or battles, etc. . all live in a utopian Camelot. But we don’t! I am a course in miracles talking about, come every Christmas and Easter, the Pope freely prays for world peace. That’s respectable of him. But, come next Christmas and Easter, he’s to do it from the start! Now if the Pope can’t get results, what a cure for the great unwashed?
Since an outcome, that is, world peace (as one of several possible examples), has never 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 darn about us, so just why should we give a tinkers darn about Him (again, being traditional and assuming the masculine)? If we don’t give a darn, then Gods existence, or lack of existence, is actually immaterial.
Think of all those trillions of man-hours (sorry, person-hours) wasted over the centuries by those in search of an illusion — that praying brought results. You may not think the universe today is a better place for all that point, effort and energy? No? Then i say again — what a waste. Further, no scholarly studies ever done on the beneficial results of praying have ever shown that praying works.
If prayer does appear to act on times on a personal 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 here and there, the improbable happens. Simply because you prayed for an improbable event doesn’t mean the prayer worked, and therefore that there’s a God who answered it.
Further, as in the case of supposed miracles, prayer agreement is also an incredibly selective bookkeeping exercise in that a winner is documented and displayed for your world to see; a miss is never mentioned or discussed.
Quasi related are the buzz words ‘faith’ and ‘ritual’. As far as I can tell, all the faith in the world in a unnatural being isn’t going to heal up a broken leg any faster, or anything in a similar type of basket. You would be pushed to provide evidence that having faith assure extra good success relative to those not having faith. In a similar train of thought, beliefs survive on ritual. Do this at such-and-such a time; don’t do 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 position in this situation, etc. Even the military isn’t quite as strict in its rules and regulations (rituals)! Anyway, noticing all the rituals part and parcel of a particular faith, in terms of effectiveness, a walkway to the good life doesn’t really appear to get you any extra brownie points. It strikes me as another sociological example of ass-kissing because you are told to kiss and lick ass by authority figures who, I gather, in this case discover said authority from a unnatural being which is there is no evidence. Sorry lambs; it’s all a case of the impaired leading the impaired.
Having dispatched the ability of prayer, here’s my take on the related reasoning behind miracles.
I’d better define exactly spinning program so well by a miracle, since it buzz word has been so overused, especially in marketing, that it has lost all real meaning. I am talking about there are miracle detergents, miracle drugs, miracle breakthrough discoveries, miracle anything and everything. I’ve actually read scientists, who should be aware of better, who use the word ‘miracle’ when they really mean unexpected or against all chances. If you get treated a regal flush, you’d say it’s a miracle. But it isn’t. There are things that are possible, possible, most likely, and improbable. Then there are things that are downright impossible. If something considered impossible happens, then it’s a genuine miracle. An incredibly improbable event, like being treated a regal flush, isn’t a miracle. A genuine miracle would be for an amputated limb to regenerate. No doubt amputees have prayed for such a miracle — sad to say, it isn’t ever happened.
So my definition of a miracle is an occurrence that goes totally contrary to the hemp of any type of possibility of such a happening, happening. A miracle is only a miracle if the event defies the impossible, not just improbable chances. So, winning the lottery isn’t a miracle because it’s a possible event. However, there is no medical science that could explain the regeneration of an amputated limb. If this event happened; absolutely documented, that has to be a miracle and considerable evidence for the existence of a unnatural God. A miracle garlic bread (and I’ve seen them so advertised) isn’t, since it’s possible to create a tasty garlic bread!