Q: I read an article the other day about a survey someone had done on prayer. It concluded that it didn’t do any good to pray when we’re sick, because people who didn’t pray got well just about as often as people who did pray. What would you say about this? — F.M.
A: A large number of studies have shown the inefficacy of prayer. Many people believe prayer is effective because of their personal experiences. These people will tell you that something good happened after they prayed about it. Our human brains excel at pattern recognition, and anytime a correlation is noticed (prayer and good things occurring), we make a point of remembering it. However, these same believers will probably not tell you about the many, many things they prayed for that did not come to pass. If questioned about it, they would probably say something along the lines of “God works in mysterious ways”. However, according to the Christian bible, god will give believers anything they ask for. That obviously does not happen. If it did, the advantages of believing in the Christian god would be apparent, and a vast majority of people in the world would do so.
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