“What is the point of prayer?” was the title of a Facebook post by an apologist contact of mine.
He was referring to a question posed to William Lane Craig on Craig’s blog site, and he then proceeded to write a long rigmarole claiming to prove that believing prayer to be unnecessary is wrong because we all make supplications in our minds, which his Christian God will hear anyway! So is praying unintentional?
Honestly, it was so confusing, I’m not entirely sure what he was trying to say!
However, there are problems with the claim that prayer has a point:
- A God who is, as claimed, omniscient and has a plan, couldn’t respond to a prayer because the ability to change the future would conflict with His alleged omniscience and plan possession…
- Prayer has actually been demonstrated to be ineffective and, therefore, is pointless.
Let’s deal with the inconsistency of claims first. Christians commonly believe that their God is like a cross between a closed circuit television system and a crystal ball: he knows everything.
He is not only able to watch what is happening now, but he is able to predict what is going to happen in the future: it’s called omniscience. It would be a great talent if it was true! But it may not be true because He is also claimed to be omnipotent – all powerful. An omnipotent agent, hypothetically, can do anything.
Think about it: if you know the future, you can’t perform any action that might alter the future because that would invalidate your supposed claim to have knowledge of the future!
So, omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive… Which super power does your God have, Christians?
On top of that, there have been several investigations that have attempted to discover whether prayer actually works. The best one is called STEP – Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer. Why is it the best?
Because it was carried out under rigorous scientific methods and funded to the tune of £2.4 million by a Christian organisation. The sample size was significant – 1,800 patients, the duration was three years and the investigation was double blind – neither the subjects nor the investigators knew, until after the results had been gathered, who got which regime.
So, we know: prayer IS pointless.
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