The Residential Library

The sometimes demented, frequently irreverent, and occasionally stupid musings of Ron Hargrove


I’ll be honest.  I don’t get praying.  Well that’s not entirely true.  I get the part of it that involves expressing gratitude.  I think that’s something we should all practice on a regular basis.  So if a person believes there is a god and is praying for the purpose of expressing gratitude to him, then it makes sense to me.

The part that I don’t get is praying for something to happen.  As I see it, there are only 2 possibilities:

  1. You pray for your god to do something that he was already going to do anyway, or
  2. You pray for your god to do something that he was NOT going to do.

In the first case, there’s no need to ask for something to happen if it was going to happen anyway.  Even if you didn’t know ahead of time that it was going to happen, strictly speaking, it just didn’t matter that you prayed for it to happen.  Because either way, it was going to happen.

In the second case, you’re asking your god to make something happen that he wasn’t otherwise going to do.  Given that most religions preach of an omniscient deity, it seems reasonable that the god knows better about what should be done than does the person who is praying.  Am I missing something?  So why would you ask a god to do something when you know he knows what’s best?

For anyone who would say that praying is a form of meditation,  I would respect that.  I don’t practice meditation myself, but I can see that it can be beneficial for some.  But to those people I would ask, “Why pray?  Why not just meditate?”.

I would be interested in any feedback anyone would care to offer — especially from those who pray.  And I will respect anyone’s request that I not respond/debate if that’s what they prefer.  It could be an opportunity for me to learn something.  Can I get an Amen to that?

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