The Similarity Between Answered Prayer and the Gifts Santa Brings

guest-post

A guest post by Richard. He blogs at RichardMarlowe236.

I grew up as a fundamentalist Christian.  A church three times a week, the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God, evolution is a lie type of Christian.  I have since deconverted and consider myself an atheist (I prefer the term free-thinker).  I plan to write a later post detailing my journey.

A few months ago I had a conversation with a family.  The family member is a fundamentalist Christian.  I had just revealed my loss of faith to her.  Needless to say she was surprised.  She seemed unable to fathom how anybody could deny the existence of God. So, the conversation turned to proof for God’s existence.  Her reasons for believing were personal experience, scriptural authority, creation, and answered prayer.  While the first three reasons played a part in her belief, answered prayer was the most convincing to her.  She never said this directly, but it was the primary emphasis of the discussion.  Her logic for answered prayer as proof of God is as follows:

  • She had a need or want for something.
  • She prayed to the Christian God for this something.
  • She received this something.
  • God is why she received it.
  • Therefore, God exists.

Answered prayer is a common “proof”  by theists for the existence of God.  Sometimes it can be difficult to convince believers that answered prayer may have a natural explanation or may be a coincidence.

Yet this logic is flawed.  I witnessed this exact same logic unfold before my eyes except it was not to prove God’s existence.  It was proof for Santa’s existence.  (I know, I know!  Atheists always equate belief in God with belief in Santa.  Please keep reading as I am just using a personal example to demonstrate the flaw in the above-mentioned logic.)

I have three young children.  The oldest two believe in Santa Claus.  Starting in November, they began picking out toys they wanted for Christmas.  They went to see Santa and asked him for those toys.  On Christmas morning they awoke to these toys under the tree.  Automatically they attributed this to Santa.  To them it was “proof” for his existence.  Their logic was as follows:

  • They had a want for something.
  • They requested (prayed) for Santa to receive this something.
  • They received this something.
  • Santa Claus is why they received it.
  • Therefore, Santa exists.

See any similarities to the answered prayer logic?  It is exactly the same.  Actually you could use this logic to prove almost any being’s existence.

This does not even take into consideration unanswered prayer.  When this is brought up, many believers will say sometimes God says “No.”  Basically it boils down to this:

If I pray to God for something there are two possible outcomes.

1.  It will come to pass.

Or

2.  It will not.

How would this be different if there was no God?  If you made it this far… Thanks for reading!

2 Comments

  1. Angiep

    A few years ago I had an experience that, had I still been a Christian, I would have sworn it was the work of God. Several very significant circumstances came together in a way that turned what could have been a tragedy, into something benign and even positive. Today I call this “serendipity” or “good luck.” As a Christian, I would surely have considered it proof of God’s existence and his hand in my life. Ultimately, one of the main things that led to my deconversion was the undeniable fact of unanswered prayer. Had I been praying for a yacht or to become POTUS, I could have understood. But my own experience of praying for purely selfless outcomes, and my observation that God did not intervene on behalf of those whose needs were dire, became an inescapable reality that I eventually had to face. I’m glad I did finally accept reality; it is easier to believe in an indifferent universe than an uncaring and even cruel god.

    Reply
  2. Kenneth

    I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and he answers my prayers now more than God did when I was a Christian.

    Reply

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