Sunday, June 03, 2007

Re: "No Health Benefit From Prayer"

A few days ago, Romeo Macapobre posted this BBC News story to the Athiesthaven news group. I have commented on the alleged health benefit from prayer before. I contend that if any health benefit were to accrue, then my insurance company would be asking about my religious affiliation, and would be charging me more for being un-[insert-true-religion-here].

I don’t want to address the major thesis of the article today. I turn your attention to the following:

“Many theologians say that, even if you believe in the power of intercessory prayer, such a trial is doomed to failure because it "puts God to the test" - and there are clear instructions in the Bible not to do this.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Tom Wright, said:

“Prayer is not a penny in the slot machine. You can't just put in a coin and get out a chocolate bar. This is like setting an exam for God to see if God will pass it or not.”

This is a pretty common excuse made for the failure of such experiments. It is basically predicated on many instances of religious failure, covered up by ready-made excuse scripture. This is damage-control scripture banning testing (read “questioning”) the whims of the super-being as to the dispensation of magic intervention. My question is, do people who mouth this excuse really hear what they are saying? Or, are they so steeped in their own delusions, rationalizations, and denials that they are incapable of accepting the ramifications of this statement?

If the “don’t test god” assertion is true, then the alleged god would rather punish the innocent than reveal itself through direct and measurable action. The people being prayed over had no complicity in this experiment. The alleged god is essentially made to say, “Screw the worthy, these other guys over here are testing me and that pisses me off!” To borrow a phrase, either god is a dick, or god does not exist. Such a god would not be worthy of worship in any case.


At 9:28 PM, Blogger BEAST FCD said...

My take on the test:

If God was real, then such a test wouldn't be suggested in the first place.

Let me give you an example: You exist. Therefore I need not carry out a test to see whether you can write a letter, read a book or stuff like that. Because you can, and have been witnessed to do all of that, and more.

The problem with God lies in the fact that not only can we not see him, we cannot detect his presence with all our five senses, and therefore we demand some kind of empirical proof to validate his existence.

The Christians know this, and they will try all ways to stop us atheists from pushing this past their blasphemy radar.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Praying makes people feel better while they die of leukemia, diabetes, heart failure or whatever natural processes are going to get us all in the end.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Romeo Morningwood said...

The power of positive thinking has always helped the human brain to chemically enhance our happy thoughts.
Especially the massive wave of endorphins released when we are about to die. This is how NDE peeps see the white light and are enveloped with happy thoughts from extinct family members and friends.

Neuroscience will have the entire pathway mapped out soon enough (if they don't already) and the human battery scenario in the matrix will be entirely possible.

Actually if you could replay the best fantasies over and over and relive your greatest moments in your head again and again...

it wouldn't be that bad.

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, when I am in dire pain, I pray to the great god Vicodin....


At 6:36 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

beast: You've done it again.

"If God was real, then such a test wouldn't be suggested in the first place."

How true. How simple. How the con artists and the delusional can blow enough smoke to make us miss the obvious.


Opium will make you feel better too. If you're terminally ill, I won't blame you for being a little crazy. What's the excuse for the rest of the fundies?

homo escapeons:

If you think about anything long enough, you'll get jaded about it. This is also a survival trait. It helps you to be here now.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...


Sorry to leave you out, you weren't there and then you were. I find that swallowing Vicodan is more effective than praying to it. ;-)

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Kalanchoe542 said...

BL - check your spelling. I win this time.

I have finally posted again after about an 8 month dry spell. This time of life is great fun.



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