by Nick Peters
What is the next objection to God? Well, you are to analyze prayer. This is based on prayer studies. The writer starts with the fact that God never answers prayer.
To say God rarely answers prayer is one thing. To say God always answers prayer would be another. How could it be determined that God never answers prayer? In order to do that, you would have to know that there is no God capable of answering prayer in order to explain away all supposed answered prayers. In other words, you would have to beg the question.
The writer wants us to look at double-blind experiments that have been done on prayer. I have never been impressed with such prayer studies because they treat God like a machine. Most studies do not consider the faith of the persons praying, and also can have placebo effects on prayer being included. Some people, when told they’re being prayed for, will think they’re worse off than they thought which will worsen their mood and thus make them feel worse. Some looks at this can be found in “The Spiritual Brain.”
The author also thinks that such cases prove everything Jesus said about prayer to be false. I refer the reader to what I wrote in the last article in this series.
Also, I find much more convincing cases that are specific, like the following one Mike Licona used in his debate with Stephen Patterson concerning a friend of his.
In June of 1987, he’s riding down a highway when he gets in a horrible automobile accident that places him in the hospital for 21 days in a coma. The 21st day in the hospital is the 4th of July. At 4:00 in the afternoon, his church is somewhere at a park having a 4th of July picnic when they stop and pray for Lloyd. Guess what happens at 4:00 with Lloyd? He comes out of his coma. Guess what else happens - there are a number of other people in the same room with Lloyd who were in a coma for 1-6 months. They all came out of their coma as well. That is a miracle.
How do we know this? Because it’s extremely unlikely by natural causes, and second it occurs in a context that’s charged with religious significance.
Our author has to conclude that this was not a miracle, it was just a coincidence. There are several more stories out there like this one, but they all have to be just chance. He has assumed his conclusion from the get-go.
Hence, I do not find proof #2 convincing.