Many social media posts, when illness or accidents strike, have people offering prayers to help. Rather than offering prayers, one should offer real help such as, food, transportation, medical expenses, baby-sitting, whatever can be helpful instead. Prayers are an easy but ineffective way out.
There have been large-scale studies testing the effectiveness of prayers. A 2001 double blind study of the Mayo Clinic found no difference, as did the Mantra Study of Duke University. A 2006 study even found a negative effect by a cardiac bypass patient, and the American Heart Journal reported that prayed-for patients had more complications. The last two are probably coincidental or as some researchers suggested, due to the fact that some studies were not double blind and therefore the mental condition of the patients who believed in prayer paying closer attention to their symptoms than non-religious ones, but the basic findings are clear: no effect. Not even a placebo effect.
Theists believe that prayers are effective. If fulfilled, thank God and if not, it’s God’s will. One cannot argue with a belief like that. There is, however a dangerous side if that belief is absolute and medical attention is ignored, and there is total reliance on prayer. People, especially children, have died from easily curable conditions this way and as a result the people responsible have been convicted and receive long jail terms.
To those that believe prayers are effective sometimes and rejected at other instances and that it is God’s decision, I have a challenge for you. Pray and get your church or all the members of your religion to pray for an amputee to get his/her lost body part back and I can guarantee you that all those prayers, even millions of them, will be totally ignored by the Almighty God you are praying to. If it happens, that would be a real miracle, and I will instantly become a believer.
Some of you will say, but you asked for the impossible. You cannot ask God to do that. Impossible for the almighty God?
I am glad you realize that it is impossible because of your life’s experiences, but you do believe that Lazarus was raised from the dead, instead of a coma, a greater feat than just the return of some lost body part.
There is no effective answer you, the clergy, or the leaders of your religion, any religion, can come up with. If you can, please let me know.
The only conclusions I have been able to draw are:
- God is not moved by prayers
- God is not almighty
- God doesn’t care
- God does not exist
You have any other conclusion or explanation? I love to know!