Monday, February 14, 2011
Does God Answer Prayers?
Christians are always thanking God for answering their prayers. According to Christians, He helps them with all sorts of problems, big and small. From finding their car keys, deciding on a career, who to marry, or whether the USA should have invaded Iraq, you hear this repeated over and over and over, ad nauseam.
There are three responses a theist will tell you that God may do if you pray to him. He may answer the prayer. He may delay answering the prayer. He might not answer the prayer. Ironically, these are the exact same responses you would find if random chance was the deciding factor instead of God.
But is there any way to determine if prayer actually works? Actually, there is. There have been numerous studies on prayer for medical patients that show that when the patient does not know they are being prayed for, there is no difference in the recovery rate between patients. And even more interesting is a recent comprehensive study done for patients of heart surgery. What it found is that patients who knowingly received prayers developed more post-surgery complications than did patients who unknowingly received prayers—and patients who were prayed for did no better than patients who weren't prayed for. In fact, patients who received prayers without their knowledge ended up with more major complications than did patients who received no prayers at all.
In other words, not only did prayer not help, in some cases, it actually hurt the patients.
When people believe that God is answering their prayers, they are simply getting a result based on the laws of probability. Nothing more, nothing less. So, does God answer prayers? The odds are not so good for that.
If your God won't answer a molested child's prayer what makes you think he'll answer yours? -Chris O'Rourke
Posted by jwdixon at 3:46 PM