“Does God Answer Prayers?”

Not the gap I had in mind.

Last Monday evening, I attended a community forum panel discussion about “does god answer prayers?” I wanted to hear what the atheist member of the panel said.

Panel members included:
1. A retired Presbyterian minister,
2. A female Jewish Rabbi (this lady),
3. A Messianic Jewish Rabbi/pastor (this guy), [Note: Messianic Jews are Jews for Jesus and are not recognized as Jewish.]
4. I didn’t hear the word atheist said all evening, even during the moderator’s intro of him. He authored this.

I would say the panel was a representation of the religious minorities in this community. Most people in this county are Nones in that they claim no specific religious group, but few are atheist. Other than that, most others are Christians: Evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and Baptists.

The atheist, retired minister, and moderator were all board members of the Community Forum which sponsored the event. That explains the atheist’s presence on the panel.

It would have been a better panel if it had included a Baptist or Evangelical Protestant, a Catholic, and no atheist or ‘Jews for Jesus’. I think that would have better represented the religious demographic of the overall community.

The three panel members who were religious ministers agreed that god answers prayers. If there were 100 of them, they would all have agreed.

However, having an atheist on the panel may have contributed to attendance. He was why I attended. People enjoy controversy, which was obviously avoided at the cost of quality.

The moderator said that this was the best-attended of the forums thus far. I counted slightly more than 100 attendees.

I felt disappointed with the atheist, an older PhD dude, who said, “God does not answer prayers.” Said like that left too much wiggle room for existence. Gods don’t answer prayers if gods don’t exist.

He offered empirical research evidence, which he said proved that god did not answer prayers. He did a good job of staying on topic and not offending anyone, but that should not have been his goal. The research evidence he mentioned proved nothing, much less the negative (not answer prayer) he proposed.

The Messianic Jewish Rabbi spoke in typical bible-belt, fundamentalist rhetoric. At one point he said that he would make a poor Southern Baptist because he occasionally enjoyed alcohol. I thought that if he removed his little cap and told me he was Baptist, I’d believe him.

His evidence of god answering prayers was that someone with stage IV cancer was cured with prayer. The pastor did not give a name or say if any medical intervention occurred. He also cited Chick-fil-A as further evidence. He said it was the top selling fast food business despite being closed on Sundays, but he was wrong.

The eat mor chickin business is currently reported as 7th in the fast food store sales behind Micky D’s (#1), Starbucks (#2) and four others. While Starbucks is a lightning rod for religious criticism of everything from their holiday coffee cup designs to the occasional idiot store manager, they are doing ok. Number 8 is currently Dunkin’ Donuts, another coffee empire.

The Presbyterian could cure insomnia. He said the amount of faith one has contributes to the likelihood of a prayer being answered. This idea of needing strong faith to be good enough for god translates to god plays favorites.

When the real Jewish Rabbi and Cantor stood up, she did the best of the four, despite (or maybe because of) frequently wandering off topic. Once she had to ask the moderator to repeat the question she was answering.

She wore a stiff, black, sequined, kippah or yarmulke that stood-out in her abundant bright blonde hair. Her floor length, straight, black dress with long sleeves was attractive, but in good taste and appropriate for a person of her position.

Bar none and by far, she was the most attractive Rabbi, or Cantor, I have ever seen. Her focus was more on style of, and reason for, prayer. She did not present arguments about whether god answers prayers, which she seemed to take for granted.

She favored chanting or singing of prayers in the original language (Hebrew in her case), a proposal I support over the random, impromptu wanderings of many long-winded lapses of reality proffered by Evangelicals and Baptists.

While there was potential for interest, the vanilla, shallow, and predictable comments of panel members were disappointing. Maybe the community forum should pray for enlightenment and better clerical participation in similar future endeavors.

I don’t know what he is praying for, but I want the answer to be Hell No.

Look both ways and reflect on what is real. Mind the gap.

13 thoughts on ““Does God Answer Prayers?”

  1. “He said the amount of faith one has contributes to the likelihood of a prayer being answered” I would say the interpretation that a prayer was answered depends on the amount of faith. Lol. Faith equals hairsplitting, microscopic excuses the prayer was even heard. Thanks for the update Bill. That would have been just a little fun I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting review, Bill. I’m a religion-free person, so I probably would never have attended such an event anyway, but you obviously expected more. It appears that you view atheism as anti-religion rather than absence of religion. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t speak for Bill, but I might try. Lol. Atheism is a little of both. Free from belief in god or religion but it’s entertaining to point out the obvious contradictions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whew. Thanks, Jim. My memoir is titled “Passionate Disbelief: A testament to effort.” Maybe I need to pull it off the shelf and finish it.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I confess. I am a convinced atheist with firm anti-theist tendencies. I agree with C. Hitchens that “religion poisons everything.” I don’t blog much about it any more, and this was one to report what I saw and heard. Now I will go see if Jim got me in any trouble. LOL. Just kidding.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Bill. I like attitude and sentiment. Hithcens influenced me a lot. I’m new here and haven’t figured out how to use this site. I hope to meet more non-believers here. As for GROG, more is better.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it interesting to visit, once in awhile, the other opinion, so sitting at this event seems reasonable to me. Their responses were as expected, although it would have been even more entertaining and interesting if they had a Catholic and a minister of color. I’m in your camp, Bill: a steadily educated Catholic childhood has convinced me reality is in atheism and has directly lead me to anti-theist tendencies. I wish your atheist speaker had read some of his article about biblical text selectivity and the fundamentalist’s faulty dependence on scripture which neither exists nor supports their arguments. That might have added a bit of heat to the evening!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “His evidence of god answering prayers was that someone with stage IV cancer was cured with prayer.”

    ah, the claims of healing cancer. there is to be a cancer heal-a-thon by evangelicals soon, and funny how they never show up at a pediatric cancer ward, or a VA hospital and just clear the whole place out. These Christians are malignant themselves, harming others for their own benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved your descriptions here. Just some guy “from o’r West Bumbfuch” writin a thing.

    When the internet was new, I loved reading religious commentary in fora. Then I got bored of its predictability. Probably could be said of any forum, on any topic, because blah blah blah proclaim, blah blah blah protest. Gimme a new argument to ponder, I suppose.
    Humanity first. People over things. Religion is a thing. Thus…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Joey. Agree…we can predict so many arguments for or against almost anything. I’ve watched too many debates. But this guy seems ok. Sorry to send. It’s long. I know you haven’t time (50min), but it is still good.

      Liked by 2 people

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