The silliness of prayer, encapsulated by a believer

I came across this video over on the always entertaining Christian Nightmares (which is entertaining because it more or less exposes the absurdity of Christianity in the words of its own practitioners). It's a clip about something called 'prayer circles' (not people standing around holding hands, if that was your guess). This guy is going on about the power of prayer, but the money quote is just past the 1:30 mark.

He says,
"Our prayers are like time capsules. You never know how or when or where God is going to answer them, but you can live with the holy anticipation." 
There's a massive hole in logic in that sentence. The question is a simple one, but it's a big one to which no Christian (or theist in general, for that matter) has ever been able to give me a straight answer. Ready? It's this:

How do you tell the difference between a prayer that wasn't answered the way you hoped, and a random even that would have happened anyway?

The problem with prayer is that the believer has already assumed, upon praying, that the prayer will be answered. It doesn't matter if the prayer isn't answered the way they hope it to be. They might get the total opposite of what they actually prayed for, or nothing at all. It doesn't matter. Since the believer has already assumed that the prayer was answered, they have to find some way to creatively interpret mundane events around them to rationalize their assumption that the prayer was answered. It's classic confirmation bias

This goes back to the core problem of religion: revelatory knowledge. There's simply no way at all to independently verify revelatory claims. So when someone has convinced themselves that God answered their prayer – even when the 'answer' looks nothing like what was asked for – the only rationalization they have is that they believe it out of sheer emotional conviction. There's no logical process, no objective methodology, for distinguishing between an answered prayer and a random occurrence. That's why the efficacy prayer isn't really testable, and it's astonishing that so believers think that's a good thing.


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