Hey everyone. I came across this video on Youtube a while back that uses praying to a milk jug to demonstrate that prayer is useless. Basically they claim that answers to prayers are coincidental. I watched the video because it claimed to be an optical illusion video. Please watch the video and help me to answer their objections to prayer:
Didn’t even finish watching it. What a stupid notion, and yes I said stupid.
I am going to have to do a search for this, but I remember a research project that was done to basically prove that prayer had no effect on the outcome in people’s illnesses or a disease process. It was a double blind study.
The individuals praying did not know who.what they were praying for. I think one group was simply asked to pray for healing and the other group had a less specific prayer task and this is what I can’t recall. (Promise I am looking for it.) What they were praying for was two separate petri-dishes with strep in them. One of the dishes had been dosed with penicillin which should kill the bacteria. The healing prayers were for the penicillin dosed petri-dish and the other prayers for the non-treated dish.
To the researchers surprise the penicillin treated dish thrived while the others began to die off. How do you explain that result? My point prayer works…I hope I can find this study again. I think it was shown on 60 Minutes.
This is tricky since it goes into the realm of how God choses to remain elusive in order to allow us to have free will.
As I see it, prayer is in essence petitions to our creator to intervene in our lives or the lives of others to better serve God’s will.
Sometimes the answer can be through natural or supernatural means but one can attribute the affect to natural means if they so choose. I heard once an excellent statement that the heavens could open up to reveal the glory of God to an individual, but they could simply choose to brush it off as a brief psychotic episode.
As far as studies go I am generally leery of these. A secular professor was trying to discount the reality of various “spiritual” events due to the results of a study using sound which was able to mimic the “spiritual” events in their subjects. Things like the “light in a tunnel” occurring to the dying and out of body experiences. Being raised in the eastern tradition it sounded more like prelest (spiritual delusion) experiences that the Holy fathers warn about which can possibly be caused by demonic influence. I remember similar stories of these types of experiences occurring in the forgotten field of parapsychology (attempted scientific study of psychics and such). I know that in some cases, people were definitely lead astray there by things which required an exorcist to heal.
Hopefully someone can give you a better answer to your question. In my experience, I have found there are plenty of people who are confused and are honestly seeking the truth; but in these types of cases I should avoid casting my pearls around carelessly to those whose minds are shut.
Empirical studies don’t mean anything.
It would be considered putting God to the test.
Truly entertaining! It reminds me of the “flying spaghetti monster” argument.
First of all, he has a false understanding of what Christians believe. He thinks we believe pray will change something.
"We should not think of prayer as changing God’s mind or changing events. God knows from eternity everything that will transpire in time, so that prayers do not literally change anything. For God’s foreknowledge already takes our prayers into account. God’s foreknowledge is chronologically prior to the prayers we offer, but the prayers are logically prior to what God foreknows. If we were to pray differently or fail to pray, God would not be caught by surprise but have already factored that into His providential plan.
So then how do our prayers make a difference if they do not change things? Precisely by being factored by God into which world He has chosen to create! Were we not to pray, then perhaps God would not have done such-and-such. Because God knew that you would pray for a certain thing, God has so arranged the world that that thing happens. Had you not prayed, God would have created a different world instead. So through His middle knowledge of how we would pray in different circumstances, our prayers make a tremendous difference in which world is actual."
By William Lane Craig
With that in mind, comparing a jug of milk to an omniscient God, is really ridiculous.
Hope this helps, God Bless!
Jesus prayed, good enough for me.
Different actions lead to possibly different outcomes. By the quoted definition, prayer changes things. Sure, William Lane Craig may be trying to run an end around on the English language by saying God creates a different world ahead of time depending on if one prays; but temporal quibbles aside he states there is a cause and effect in prayer. Things are changed due to whether one prays.