Problems with prayer, part 1

For me this is an enjoyable post to write, because it illustrates a point that is so blindingly obvious, it’s a wonder there are any christians left in the world.

Let’s take some quotes from the bible.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

These are fairly self-explanatory verses. If we truly believe in the christian god, and pray in Jesus’ name for something to happen, it will happen. End of. That’s all there is to it. There’s no weaseling out of this one. It’s clear and unambiguous.

Now think about how many amputees around the world have had their severed limbs grow back. I’m sure many of them are christians and will have prayed for it to happen.

If you’re not willing to accept that last assumption, think instead about how many christians must pray for a cure for cancer or leukaemia every day. I think we can safely say this is a large number of people.

Think about how many christians must pray for world peace, for that matter.

All the above requests are understandable, reasonable and, in the latter two cases, totally unselfish. Not that this should be an issue – going by the verses shown above, all christians should be able to pray for a Lamborghini and have it arrive in their driveway shortly afterwards.

However, with these prayers, as with countless million other prayers, it’s a little difficult to find evidence that they have any effect. The number of amputees who have regrown severed limbs is, to the best of my knowledge, zero (I feel fairly confident that CNN and Fox would make sure we all knew if it happened). People still die every day from cancer, and many nations around the world are currently at war with each other.

There’s a simple conclusion that must be drawn: prayer doesn’t work.

This means that the above claims in the bible are false. And if that’s true, then either the christian god is one who lies and is arguably unworthy of worship, or he simply doesn’t exist.

Which one of those two explanations is easier to believe?

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