Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Thoughts on the Efficacy of Prayer

The common theistic defense of prayer may be expressed compactly in the clich found on altogether too many bumper stickers and church placards throughout our state, God answers prayer. Oh, does he? If God answers prayer, one might expect the occasional, well, answers. Even though there were (contra Kathleen Parker) plenty of atheists in the planes which crashed into New York and D.C. on September 11th, you could probably make a safe bet that most of the theists (devout or not) were praying their hearts out. Any yet, no giant hand emerged from the clouds to catch the planes before they crashed. The terrorists were not suddenly overtaken by plagues of frogs, locusts, boils, and other such nastiness found throughout the religious literature as plagues of God. Neither were they stricken with sudden strokes, embolisms, ulcers, fainting spells or any of the other crippling maladies that (an alleged) God sees fit to visit upon innocent humans throughout the world. Even something as benign as severe muscle cramps or debilitating gas might have done the trick. What do we call someone who would simply stand by and let these things happen? Evil. So, if God exists, then it is not at all the friendly chap that so many seem to think. Atheism, then, is not bad news, it is good news. We humans are on our own to figure things out for ourselves, and it could be far worse.