Question with 6 notes
Anonymous asked: What would you say to people who say that they have stories/experiences or "evidence' to prove that their prayers are answered? I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this.
It happens a lot and often times personal experience can be one of the strongest factors in someone’s belief. It can be very frustrating to talk with these type of individuals because it is hard to discredit personal experience and it’s even harder for someone to prove their personal experience is valid. The problem is that personal experience does not amount to truth and it does not amount to much of anything to anyone outside of the person who experienced it.
Religious experiences and feelings are not unique to a particular religion. They aren’t even necessarily unique to religious people. Which should make it clear that these things are not special in the sense that someone has the “right” religion or the “right” God and that a simpler explanation is available. Many people with diagnosed mental disorders honestly believe in the things they see and experience yet we give them no credit, the moment someone wraps it in religion it becomes “sacred”.
People have a tenancy to trumpet their success and rationalize their failures. If someone prays for enough things chances are some of it may come true just out of pure chance. Those that come true they will say it was the work of prayers and their dedication. Those that don’t come true they’ll justify as being “not part of God’s plan” or something they have to pray even harder for. No matter how things turn out they feel as if they win.
There have been many studies done throughout the years showing that pray does not have any positive effect. Religious and devout individuals do not have any special favor over non-religious, they do not live better lives. People simply like to draw connections where their are none. They eventually end up convincing themselves that these connections are strong and correlated. If they stopped praying not a single thing would change, except maybe more free time and mental clarity. Once someone works so hard to convince themselves though it is very hard for someone else to convince them otherwise.