I've learnt a new word: Prayer Death

I've learnt a new word: Prayer Death

An acceptable benign use of prayer
An acceptable benign use of prayer
Prayer death. As far as I can tell, this catchy new phrase has only been around for a year or so but I'm delighted that the media has started using it more liberally.

A Christian who hears those two words in such an unlikely juxtaposition may possibly take the time to investigate the efficacy of his/her own prayers. Of course, they might not like what they discover.

On whether or not a prayer would come true, comedian George Carlin gave odds of 50/50. As in: sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. I like the sentiment but I happen to disagree with the figures. Just because there are two options doesn't mean the odds are 50/50.

If you pray for a new Ferrari everyday for a year, your chances are pretty slim. But if you pray everyday that you don't get hit by a ice cream van, you'll probably do pretty well.

Carlin also points out that prayer is pointless if you also believe in God's Divine Plan. Since an unanswered prayer is always 'God's Will' why bother praying in the first place? Hard to argue with that.

Science often goes to great lengths to prove the obvious. A recent study on prayer led to utterly predictable results of about 50/50 (damn you, Carlin!). A selected group of about 1,800 hospital patients 'benefited' from the pleadings of a prayer group, to no measurable effect.

Like the Mormon baptisms, and McKenzie's psychic shtick, I marvel at the mechanics of this sort of buffoonery.

Do you have to know someone to pray for them? Is just a name enough? What about a mere photo? Or a even vague anecdote? (How often have you heard: 'A friend of mine is in hospital.' 'Oh, I'll pray for them.') And who makes up these rules anyway? Is it just trial and error?

When will people wake up to the ridiculousness of this charade? Asking the all-powerful Skygod for personal favours is a ludicrous pastime. I'm sure you've heard the expression, two hands working are more effective than 1,000 clasped in prayer.

They certainly would have been more effective in the case of Madeline Kara Neumann whose parents left her for dead when, instead of seeking medical assistance for her easily treatable diabetes, they decided to leave it up to God instead. 'Save her if you want to, Oh Lord. We'll just wait around here for an answer.'

It's easy to dismiss this story by claiming that her parents were mentally ill, but this is an inevitable consequence of teaching people to believe things 'on faith alone.' We are told that God is above us, looking after everyone like Santa Claus so don't worry about anything. We are told that we don't need any proof before we commit totally to this idea. And we are told that this blind faith, in the face of any evidence to the contrary, is a good and holy thing.

Believe me, it isn't.

In reaction to the above-mentioned prayer study, one Christian group declared that:

Science wasn't designed to study the supernatural.

Well my dear friends in opposite-land, let me inform you that that is precisely what science was designed for–separating the truth from lies. Telling people that their prayers will be answered is a lie. One which can only lead to more of these lamentable but preventable tragedies: Prayer Deaths.

I hope we can retire the word soon.