Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Do People Pray? (Just to Make It Today?)

Random Thoughts On Prayer


I don't know why it popped into my head, but while I was making a snack I had this thought that prayer makes even less sense than I previously thought.  Maybe someone out there can explain things to me.


Lets suppose for a moment that there is indeed a god, and (lucky you) you magically picked the One True god to pray to (more than likely it's a consequence of geography-but I digress).  In most monotheistic religions the god is omniscient.  So, why should a theist pray to their god if their god already knows what they need/want?  Wouldn't the god be like "Dude, shut up! I already know!  Stop nagging me!  Oh, my God, won't you people shut up!  I ALREADY KNOW!!!!"


Is it because their god has some sort of pray-o-meter which determines whether the prayer is granted?  If so what are the units that a prayer-o-meter measures?  How many prayer units do you need before a prayer is granted?  Is the pray-o-meter sensitive to intensity of prayer or volume?  Do prayers have to come from various sources to move the pray-o-meter or can the same person pray for the same thing over and over again?


If someone's god is benevolent, and they're asking for something "good", like saving their mother from cancer, why should they need to ask?  Supposedly the god already knows what's going on, and that having someone's mother die from cancer is not a particularly good thing, why does the god need to be prompted by prayer to do anything?  Does a person really have to demonstrate to the god how badly they want their mother to live?  That would be kind of wack.


Of course not all prayers are about asking for things.  Maybe some people pray to tell their god how great he/she/it is.  But doesn't it already know?  It's true that it's pretty hard to get too many compliments--I love it when people tell me I'm awesome all day long, every day--but don't you think after several millennia it would get old and you'd just want some peace and quiet? 


Not that I understood prayer in the first place, but now that I think about it, it makes even less sense than I thought.  If anyone has any explanations (and "God acts in mysterious ways" is not an explanation) or hypotheses, I'm curious.


Thanks. 

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