Jesus and Faith
Preachers propose that people can achieve anything through prayer. They often quote Jesus, who said,
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:23–24, KJV.)
Christian literature is full of dubious anecdotal stories about the power of prayer and faith. Yet prayers are never answered. If it sometimes appears they are, that is only due to the vagaries of chance.
To pray for help is, in fact, a disempowering, desperate and lazy response to a problem, and a very poor substitute for pursuing a rational solution.
Consider an example; a preacher might proclaim
“Let’s pray for Mavis who has a fractured hip,” whereas a good secular humanist would typically say something like
“We are grateful that an orthopedic surgeon has repaired Mavis’ fractured hip. She now needs our help. Let’s get her walking again, put handrails in her bathroom, improve her diet, and give her vitamin D. We do not want her to have another fracture.”
Paul wrote that Christ
“…always causes us to triumph” (2 Cor. 2:14, KJV.)
Why then cannot some Christians pass exams, find a job, a partner, lose weight or pay their bills?
We triumph when we help ourselves, not when we grovel to an imaginary sky buddy.