One of the common not so philosophical but sometimes pseudo-scientific arguments Christians use when asked why they believe in god is “the power of prayer”; I prayed for something and I feel it was granted therefore god exists because he was listening. People who use this argument are often focusing on one vague prayer they felt was granted while ignoring all the times their prayers weren’t answered. Or they had prayed for something that was going to happen anyway. For some “the power of prayer” doesn’t necessarily mean prayers are granted, they take it a step further with an appeal to emotion by saying they feel it in their hearts that god is listening to them when they pray. When feelings are brought into the argument it’s sort of pointless to go on because the ones making the argument are not attempting to use reason in the first place and it’s very hard to dispute how someone feels.
I’ve been thinking about this recently because I often get funny comments on my selfies with a bit of cleavage on Twitter along the lines of “my prayers were answered, I might start believing” and “if I believed in a god I would think he blessed you”. These sorts of jokes from fellow atheists got me thinking about how there are actually many believers out there that are reassured in their belief in god because of very flawed but seemingly reasonable arguments.
I remember times of wanting to fall for these arguments myself because people around me had fallen for them. Believing in god was always a struggle for me, but I did have moments of really trying to because I didn’t want to feel left out and in a way turning to a supreme being who we are told loves us to ask for help doesn’t sound too bad if you don’t think too much into it. When it comes to believing through the power of prayer, it seems you get pretty used to making the prayers continuously more and more vague as to not be disappointed and to possibly mark it down later as a win for prayer working. Although there are times people can’t help but ask for what they really want, humans are just naturally selfish. I remember this from praying for years as a teenager, most of the time I tried to keep things vague in an attempt to feel whatever it was the people around me seemed to have felt or occasionally out of desperation asked god for specific things. The really funny thing about those jokes people make on Twitter is that I used to pray for big boobs when I was a teenager. I was a late bloomer and for a good chunk of my high school life the girls in my class were more developed than me. I also had always thought women with large chests were really pretty but was always a really skinny kid, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have much of a chest like my tall and skinny grandmother. I was proved wrong in my late teens when my bra size far surpassed what I ever expected to be. I’d also been wrong for years about not taking after my mom much.
I now wear a bra size that is mostly sold in specialty stores and occasionally in higher end department stores; so I could be saying now after years of prayer while wearing padded push-up bras and asking for big boobs, he answered them and therefore exists. But of course that’s ridiculous, I’d been talking to myself the whole time and it would be vain to think a supreme being would want to make a girl’s chest big while lots of people are suffering and asking for help. I now find the notion of being “blessed” in certain ways to be a very self-centered and vain way of thinking. So I admit it was pretty dumb, being a teenager makes you partially dumb at times. I’m critical with how I look most of the time but I am grateful to my genetics for my chest, although I would not wish the back pain on my worst enemy. It’s just funny to think that if I wanted to keep blinders on and believe in a flawed argument I could have fallen back on the “power of prayer” as proof of god, I can see how that can happen to some but my love of logic and being concerned with intellectual honestly along with desire to not be too vain got in the way.