Saturday, April 10, 2004

Are you there, God? It's me, Manuel.

Okay, let me explain why I think the whole notion of "prayer requests" is completely absurd.

First off, we'll have to assume that God actually exists. Because if he doesn't, then prayers of any kind become automatically absurd, and thatmakes my argument far too easy, but it also wouldn't be convincing in any way to those who *do* believe in God.

So, first off, we assume that God exists. Okay?

And we're going to also assume that praying actually has the potential to alter someone's fate. If I'm dying of cancer -- hypothetically -- then we can assume that there's a chance, even a slim one, that the power of prayer alone can push that cancer into remission and allow me to live a long and healthy life.

Now, if I pray all by myself, maybe nothing happens. Either because God doesn't hear me, or because he thinks I'm being selfish for asking to live, or...whatever, he's God, I'm sure he has his reasons.

But if a whole bunch of people who've never met me and know absolutely nothing about me pray for me, *then* God will listen and grant their wishes.


Doesn't it seem likely that God -- and remember, we are assuming that he exists -- would take into consideration where the prayers were coming from? I mean, if I use someone who's never met me before as a personal reference on my resume, it's going to have very little bearing on whether or not I get the job. And if someone who doesn't know anything about me, and about whom I know nothing about, is praying on my behalf...isn't God going to kind of wonder why? And why would I count those person's prayers? How does that person praying know that I'm worth praying for? Is he doing it just to be a nice guy? And is that enough of a reason to have God change his mind about whether or not I should die of cancer?

Of course not.

It's absurd to think that a prayer is going to have more *oomph* just because 200 people who know absolutely nothing about me pray for me at the same time. It's like you're trying to trick God into granting your prayers, fool him into agreeing to it just by the sheer power of the numbers you have supporting you, and not because there's any actual reason to grant those prayers.

As I've said a few times, absurd.

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