Christianity Admin on 12 Dec 2006 11:57 pm
If you’ve been following the news today, you know that there are three men (Kelly James, 48, Brian Hall, 37, and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke, 36) lost on Mt. Hood in Oregon. The three men are experienced climbers who hoped to complete an ambitious climb up one side of the mountain and down the other in two days. They left on Thursday (November 7), but the weather conspired against them, and they have not been seen since their departure. There was a phone call from one of the climbers on Sunday, but nothing after that. Since Thursday, winds have been as high as 85 MPH, and there has been snow along with very low temperatures.
Today in a televised news conference, Frank James (brother of Kelly), made this statement:
“Today’s the day for courage and for prayers. Courage can help us see through this snowstorm, and our prayers can literally move mountains.” [ref]
This statement is interesting because the part about prayer is, obviously, incorrect. Prayer does not literally move mountains. No person, including Jesus, has ever moved a mountain through prayer. We all know that. If prayer could literally move mountains, people could pray and mountains would move. People could pray and amputated limbs would regrow. People would pray, and every disease on planet earth would be healed tonight. Prayer has never moved mountains, and it never will.
What if we take Frank’s statement figuratively instead of literally? He did use the word “literally”, but what if we ignore him? Then his statement is still untrue. Prayer will have absolutely no impact on the survival of his brother or the other two men. They will either survive, or they will not. Prayer will not affect the outcome because the belief in prayer is pure superstition. Numerous scientific studies, as well as simple observation of the world around you, shows that every “answered prayer” is nothing but a coincidence.
Back in January there was a mining accident in West Virginia [article]. Millions prayed for the 13 miners. Then we heard they had all survived. There was much rejoicing and praising of God for the miracle. But in actuality there was no miracle. It was a miscommunication, and 12 of the miners were dead. That’s because prayer is meaningless. If you study the effects of prayer scientifically, looking at the statistics for both the successes AND failure of prayers, it becomes obvious that prayer has no effect. See this page for details.
We can all sympathize with the families of these three men. We can all appreciate what they are going through. It would be heartbreaking for these men to die. However, tragedy is not a reason to abandon rational thinking. Talking on national TV about prayer — an activity based on pure superstition and a delusional belief in an imaginary god — accomplishes nothing. Let us instead thank the people who are members of the search parties for their continuing work, and wait intelligently and patiently for the outcome, good or bad.