Does prayer do anything? Like, if you came down with the
swine flu mexican flu H1N1, and you didn’t feel like rooting it out at the causal level, would it be worth your while to force your friends to pray for your cure?
The evidence, naturally, says, “no, of course that doesn’t work, what kind of stone-age moron are you to even consider such a possibility?”
And if you’re a religious person, you’re probably scrambling to reconcile this predictable failure with your belief in an all-powerful, all-caring god. Luckily, Kingdom of Priests has the answer:
does anyone who’s a traditional theist of a Biblical variety seriously think that God would consent to be tested this way? I assume that prayer does work. However, doesn’t the Hebrew Bible warn pretty strenuously against testing God?
But testing God by praying for sick people, coolly tallying up the results to be reported in a science journal and then in the media? It’s just impossible to believe, given what we know about Him from the Bible, that God would go along with that.
In other words, praying works (because David Klinghoffer “assumes” so), except when you actually check to see if it works (because the Bible says god doesn’t like it when you check to see if he gets results).
“I assume it works, but it definitely won’t work if you test it” is an awesomely low bar to set for proof. (Although I should probably be more sympathetic, on account of it being the same reasoning I used in 7th grade to convince people that my hypercolor t-shirts gave me the power to fly.)