Riker's Mailbox

Thursday, January 10, 2008


It's 2008! And I present you with: More of The Same Stuff!!!

To the atheist, the fundamental problem with prayer is that even at its most noble (praying for the benefit of another, as opposed to praying for direct personal reward), it still only gives an individual the undeserved satisfaction of helping when they haven't lifted a finger.*

But even for the theist, there is a fundamental problem with prayer.

(In the following section, I intend the word 'answer' to mean "an answer of 'yes'".)

An answered prayer cannot ever be in contrast to God's will... so, either he will answer the prayer and perform the task, or he will not. And if he will, is he really waiting for the prayer to happen first before he does it? He already knows whether the person in question will end up praying, and he already knows what he is going to do about it... so what purpose does the prayer serve? And to those who might counter that an answer of 'no' is just as valid an answer... you have come up against what is the actual fundamental flaw of prayer: The best reason I've ever heard for justification of unanswered prayers is that they serve a greater purpose in God's plan, perhaps to teach a lesson and build character in the person praying, so he will learn to take disappointment in stride and be strong enough to remain stable in the face of denial of his desires.


...See, only in an imperfect world would we ever be denied something we want. Perhaps more ominously, only in an imperfect world would it be in our nature to want things that we cannot have.

Such a scenario can only make sense outside of the framework of a universe designed by an omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity. And that's the god's honest truth.

* - Except for the ten they point toward God while praying, of course.