Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why doesn't prayer work?

I realise most believers argue that prayer really does work, but how many have considered how they might go about actually verifying the efficacy of prayer?

If it works better than blind chance, as many claim it does, then we should be able to measure and demonstrate that. If we measure it and find that it works at about the rate of chance, shouldn't we conclude that it doesn't work? If you're honest, you'll realise very quickly that this is exactly what we find!

Why do we need saving in the first place?

I sometimes think it would be nice if there was an all-loving, all-powerful being who was fully in control of everything that happened. I can see the allure in such a belief, as a way of consoling oneself about the seeming chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us at times. In a world that can seem so out-of-control, it can be comforting to imagine that there is an all-powerful mastermind at the helm, silently but calmly working out some great plan.

But as enticing as this view might be, it never translates to belief for me, and the illusion always vanishes as soon as I give it a moment's thought. The picture is too simplistic, too disconnected from reality, and the problems with it too numerous, to warrant serious belief. It's like a fairy tale, intended to bring comfort and reassurance but then failing to deliver on its promise.

Where is all the evidence?

Why is it that virtually all religions have moved towards belief in invisible, undetectable gods rather than visible, detectable ones?

In the Bible, God is often found on mountain tops or in the clouds. But he was suddenly relocated into space once we invented flight. Since then he has been moved further still after the discovery of other galaxies and an entire universe.