Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer

OK, I have a question here about Christian (or, for that matter, Islamic or Jewish) prayer. Let's assume for a moment that the God being prayed to is in fact the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the Universe. How can any prayer be effective? Can prayer offered by a human change God's mind?

As a young Christian I was exhorted to close my prayer with "Thy Will be done", or "Not my will, but Thine, O Lord!". What, exactly, is the point of such a prayer? Maybe it has some effect as a supplication, but surely this is otherwise an exercise in futility: God's will will be done in any event, regardless of the prayers of mere mortals...

And then there's the whole omniscience thing:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chon. 7:14

Now how's that work? If God's omniscient than He already knows if the folks are going to pray or not, and if he's not, well, then the whole paradigm sort of breaks down, and God's no longer in total control of things.

Which is precisely the position my gods and goddesses are in: they're within and part of the natural world, and while I believe they have some influence over events in Midgard, they're neither omniscient or omnipotent - and I wouldn't want them to be. Because the very existence of such a being would make all other beings essentially slaves, and the universe naught but a clockwork. There can be no free will at all in such a deterministic universe.

The "answers" to such prayers are simple: if the desired effect happens than it was God's will that it happen. If it doesn't happen, then it wasn't. My question is simple: what would have happened without the prayer? The only possible answer in a Christian context is: God's will! Therefore prayer is pointless.

I think Christians pray because it makes them feel better, and makes them believe they have some influence on the world, even though their core theology tells them otherwise. The ignore their own scripture because the consequences of the teachings therein are simply too terrible to contemplate for long.

Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

(link) [New York Times]

00:00 /Asatru | 1 comment | permanent link