Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Prayer contradicts the concept of a plan

A favourite belief spewed by most religious people is that prayers work. Even if they don't explicitly say it, they demonstrate the belief through their actions. They pray for health, guidance, money, relationships, sports victories, etc.

Another of their favourite beliefs is that their god has a plan for all humans. That's how they explain the bad things that happen, including the death of young children, car crashes costing people limbs, and any other form of suffering or misfortune. They'll claim, "It's all part of god's plan." or "God works in mysterious ways."

So I have to ask, are these two beliefs not in complete contradiction of each other? How can they both hold? To state that god has a plan (which must be perfect, because god is perfect), but that it will also change that perfect plan (changing the outcome of an event) if people ask, doesn't make any sense. If it's god's plan that I must die now, but I pray for my health and it answers the prayer by saving my life, doesn't that mean that it changed its plan, or that I have to die soon anyway?

Which is it? Does god have a pre-determined plan/destiny/purpose for all of us, OR does prayer work? Make up your minds!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our concept of gods is derived directly from our kings. If the government is about do do something that will hurt you, you can sometimes get it mitigated by some combination of palm-greasing and bootlicking, usually with the aid of somebody who Knows Somebody. Attempts to bribe God (burnt offerings, life-threatening fasts, etc.) are out of fashion, but formalized begging is still going strong. It usually doesn't work, but it seems to work just often enough to keep it from fading away. Look up "intermittent reinforcement" in a behavioral psych database.