In a recent post on his blog “Debunking Christianity” John Loftus shares a letter that he got from a concerned Christian friend. The letter and John’s response discus whether prayers are answered. John correctly responds that the Confirmation Bias is the main flaw in his friend’s argument that answered prayers are proof that God exists. The Confirmation Bias could mislead believers into thinking that their prayers have been answered. Given enough time and prayers they could be “answered” by chance.
However, I think that John has a theological misunderstanding about prayer. God answers all payers with a yes, no or maybe later. John claims that his friend should be able to pray for and get anything if God exists and loves him. I think John is confused about who created whom. If man created an omnipotent God to do our bidding then we should expect that he would follow all of our orders, and that all of prayers would be answered with a yes. That’s not the case; God formed us so we could worship Him. Since God is omniscient, omnipotent and in control it is not reasonable to expect that John’s friend could pray that God make him the Supreme Dictator of the Universe and that everyone should bow down to him, and that his prayer would be answered with a yes. Just imagine the horrors of a genie like God! Osama Bin Laden could pray that the West be annihilated and the God/genie would snap his fingers and poof! The United States is gone. God knows what is best for us, that a new Lamborghini or that being the Supreme Dictator of the Universe is not good for us so he says no to these prayers, even though we may really want them to be answered.