EppsNet Archive: Prayer

The Power of Prayer

A Facebook friend posts: Prayers for my mom. She’s in the ICU. I refrain from saying that a few months ago we were all praying for your dad and he died. ๐Ÿ™ Read more →

Answers to Persistent Questions

Is there a God? No. What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is. What is the purpose of the universe? There is none. Does prayer work? Of course not. What happens when we die? We are put a few feet in the ground to blindly rot and disappear forever. Otherwise, things go on pretty much as before. Read more →

An Atheist Falls Into a Swamp . . .

[David Hume] once fell into a swamp near the house he was building in Edinburgh. Owing to his reputation among the locals as an atheist, a woman refused to pull him out of it until he recited the Lord’s Prayer and the Belief, which, being practical-minded, he did. But not before he argued with her about whether Christians were obligated to help their enemies. — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan Read more →

Silver and Gold

I’m gonna go out dancin’ every night I’m gonna see all the city lights I’ll do everything silver and gold I got to hurry up before I grow too old I’m gonna take a trip around the world I’m gonna kiss all the pretty girls I’ll do everything silver and gold And I got to hurry up before I grow too old Oh, I do a lotta things, I know is wrong Hope I’m forgiven before I’m gone It’ll take a lotta prayers to save my soul And I got to hurry up before I grow too old Read more →

Praying for Sleeping Bags

I was having a conversation with someone last night about the efficacy of prayer . . . “Prayers are always answered,” I was informed, “but sometimes the answer is no, or not right now.” What’s the point of the prayer if God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway? Your results would be just as good if you offered prayers to me. Some of your prayers would be answered and some wouldn’t. Has anyone done a study on this? A control group wants things but doesn’t pray for them, a second group prays to God for what they want, and a third group prays to a random entity — me, or maybe a shopping cart. Would there be any difference in results between the groups? I’m going to say no. It’s also hard to assess the efficacy of prayer because people never pray for anything tangible .… Read more →

God Bless Us, Every One

I saw a Facebook status update this weekend asking for prayers for anyone with family problems, health struggles, job issues or worries of any kind who just need to know that someone cares. The deal is that you have to copy and paste the status to your own Facebook page. Full disclosure: I don’t believe in God or prayer, although I do believe that a lot of people need to know that someone cares about them. That being said, depending on how lost I feel at any given time, I’m willing to try things even though I’m pretty certain that they’re not going to work. But I have not tried prayer. Why would I need to post something on Facebook to indicate that I prayed for you? Because prayer is not a real thing that’s going to produce a tangible result in the world. So you have to tell people… Read more →

Praying for Startups

A new Meetup group called Praying for Startups sent me the following email: Are you involved in a startup? Are you a Christian? Meet fellow Christians from all walks of the entrepreneurial eco-sphere, as we share and pray for our teams and the startup community, both locally and abroad. I’d be interested to see some numbers on the correlation between prayer and startup success. I suspect there isn’t any. Also the relative efficacy of prayers to a Christian God vs. Allah, Buddha, Satan, Zeus and all other supernatural beings. Read more →

See You in Hell

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Along with pleas for money, almost 100 percent of the cardboard signs I see being held by people on freeway off-ramps and the like include the phrase “God Bless You.” There seems to be a correlation between belief in God and begging for money on off-ramps. Notice that you never see Satanists begging for money. Why don’t they pray for the money? Maybe they did pray and God told them to make a cardboard sign? I tell my acolytes if they need money, learn to code. See you in Hell . . . Read more →

A Wing and a Prayer

I noticed walking to Starbucks this morning that my right knee was making a snapping noise every time I took a step. No pain, just a snapping noise. So I prayed to God to make the snapping noise stop — and it did! But then it started up again a few minutes later. ๐Ÿ™ It turns out that the noise wasn’t coming from my right knee, it was coming from the right pocket of my sweatpants, where my house key was bouncing against my phone. Read more →

See You in Hell, O Ye of Little Faith

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] Greetings from the underworld! I was catching up on Facebook this morning and saw that a woman is going in for brain surgery and her family and friends are asking for prayers for her recovery. Isn’t that overkill — prayer and brain surgery? Why not just pray for her recovery and if she doesn’t make it, you chalk it up to God’s will? Some “true believer” religions, e.g., the Christian Science church, do that. They believe more in prayer than in medicine. They decline medical care because they believe that God can heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, etc. as he did in the Bible. These are the folks you hear about when they come up on criminal charges after refusing medical care for their seriously ill children and the… Read more →

Killed by Prayer

A woman on Facebook a couple of days ago asked everyone to pray for her seriously ill father. Today, he died. Go figure. Had he made a miraculous recovery, we would have said that prayer “worked” . . . but what does it mean when you pray for someone to live and he dies? I had a college professor . . . his exams were graded by a graduate assistant, but students had the option of appealing grades to the professor. That’s not unusual, but most professors will either raise the grade or leave it as is. This guy, however, would either raise the grade, leave it as is or lower it. Risky! Maybe God operates on the same principle. When you put someone’s fate in his hands, he retains the option of saying “toodle-oo.” Read more →

It’s Not That Hard to Be a Saint in the City

Pope John Paul II is being canonized this weekend because of 667,302 prayers for divine intervention, he miraculously answered two, years after he was already dead. What sort of evidence is required to certify that an earthly phenomenon was caused by a dead person? William of Occam would have pointed out that there are simpler explanations for a sick person getting well, e.g., The disease responded to treatment. The disease went into remission. The patient was misdiagnosed and did not really have the disease in the first place. I assure you that if 667,302 people with diagnosed medical ailments prayed to my dog, in at least two of those cases (and more likely, thousands), something unusual would happen. Years ago, a lower GI series revealed that I had a golf ball-sized (4 cm) tumor in my colon. The doctor did a colonoscopy a few days later and the tumor was… Read more →

I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: “Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it. — Voltaire

Thoughts on a Turbulent Flight

I can’t sleep on planes. I’m afraid the damn thing will crash and I’ll miss it.   I don’t believe in anything. I wish I did. It seems comforting to imagine holding the plane aloft with prayer.   I’m not a good person. Why shouldn’t something terrible happen to me? Read more →

How Effective is Prayer as a Tornado Survival Tactic?

Take that, liberal heathen! She’s not “supposed” to pray in a school but she did it anyway! And that’s why she’s alive today! It would be useful to know for the purpose of assessing the value of prayer as a tornado survival tactic, how many of the 24 people who didn’t survive the Oklahoma tornado were praying at the moment of their death. Of the 10 children who were killed, were any of them praying? Maybe God said to himself, “Okay, change of plans. I was going to hit Rhonda Crosswhite with this tornado, but since she’s praying out loud in a school, I’ll redirect it into those 10 kids.” Read more →

Praying vs. Screaming: A Comparative Analysis

Did you hear about these three women in Cleveland who were kidnapped and held in a house for 10 years? They were rescued on Monday of this week when one of the women screamed through a small opening in the front door, “I need help! I need help! I have been kidnapped for 10 years.” Two men in the neighborhood heard her screaming, kicked the door in and the women were able to escape. (Why it took 10 years to think up the Scream for Help strategy, I don’t know. I wish the reporter had asked about that.) A childhood friend of one of the women said, “I’m so thankful, God is good. I’ve been praying. Never forgot about her, ever.” So let’s see . . . 10 years of prayer = no results. Screaming for help = instant results. I know some wiseass is going to say that prayer… Read more →

Theological Question

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up . . . — James 5:15 So why did the Lord make the sick person sick in the first place? Read more →

The Effect of Your Practices

And you, credulous men, show me the effect of your practices! In so many centuries, during which you have been following or altering them, what changes have your prescriptions wrought in the laws of nature? Is the sun brighter? Is the course of the seasons varied? Is the earth more fruitful, or its inhabitants more happy? If God be good, can your penances please him? If infinite, can your homage add to his glory? If his decrees have been formed on foresight of every circumstance, can your prayers change them? Answer, O inconsistent mortals! — C.F. Volney, The Ruins, or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires and the Law of Nature Read more →

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