Prayer Fails Because Nobody's Listening

Nobodys listening

When it comes to the question of why prayer fails, I'd expect to find almost perfect agreement among atheists: Prayer fails because there aren't any gods on the other end of it. Oh sure, prayer might be somewhat helpful as a form of self-soothing, relaxation, meditation, and that sort of thing. Perhaps it even helps the person doing it form a more positive attitude. And praying in such a way that others know one is praying might sometimes result in increased support. As a result, I'd be unlikely to claim that prayer can never help to bring about positive outcomes for the person who prays. But as an atheist, I am fairly comfortable saying that none of this involves gods. You know, because there aren't any.

Relaxation training or secular meditation can easily replace any physiological benefits prayer might have. There are a variety of self-soothing methods one can learn that will accomplish as much if not more on that front than prayer too. And asking others for help is more likely to result in increased support of the type one needs than prayer in most cases. There are other ways to harness the power of positive thinking that do not rely on self-delusion. Ultimately, prayer isn't needed and can be easily replaced. That's a good thing because nobody's listening to all those prayers.

Sadly, some of us live in countries where public prayer continues to be rewarded in various ways. Far too many of our elected officials see it as a way to manipulate gullible voters without having to do anything that might actually benefit those voters. That reminds us that prayer may be cheap but the cost of relying on it is too high. It is not a valid means of solving problems, and it appears to make some problems worse through the inaction it often spawns.