Overview:

If God answers prayers, shouldn't there be some evidence of these blessings on God's people? Why is God so eager to stay out of the spotlight?

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Empress Alexandra, wife of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, led a life of humble piety, and yet she and her family were murdered shortly after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Their bodies were dismembered and disfigured, and they were buried in two unmarked graves. Surely the empress was praying, but God wasn’t listening.

This is the next clue that we live in a godless world (part 1 of this list of 25 reasons we don’t live in such a world here):

5. Because nothing distinguishes those who follow God from everyone else

A few years ago, I visited a museum exhibit of the jewelry of Russia’s imperial family. The focus was on the Faberge jewelry, with several of the famous Easter eggs as the centerpiece, but there was more. I was most taken with Empress Alexandra’s Christian icons—paintings and statues of religious figures, crosses, and so on. She was extremely religious, and as Tsarina she performed daily religious rituals, humbled herself by embroidering linen for the church, read almost nothing but religious material, and consulted wandering “men of God” like Rasputin.

Her devotion did nothing to save her family.

We can find many other examples where Christians took to heart Christianity’s promise of answered prayer. Christian faith was strong on both sides of the U.S. Civil War, and yet roughly 700,000 died, about as many as in all other wars involving the U.S.

Francis Galton conducted an innovative prayer experiment in 1872. Since “God save the king” (or something similar) was a frequent public prayer, members of royal families should live longer. Few will be surprised to hear that they did not.

This reminds me of inconsistency from a radio ministry on the question of prayer. The ministry first mocked atheists’ stupidly observing that God didn’t save the lives of Christians in a Texas church shooting in 2017, insisting that Jesus promised tribulation for his followers, not luxury. But six weeks later, the ministry was asking for prayers to speed the recovery of a staff member with a serious injury, insisting now that prayers do benefit believers.

If there’s a God who answers prayers, prayers and devotion from believers should have an effect in our world. Here again, the pro-Christian evidence you’d expect doesn’t exist.

Surely the empress was praying, but God wasn’t listening.

Here’s a bonus reason we don’t live in God World:

6. Because televangelists make clear that prayer doesn’t work

Watch a televangelist show. You will see periodic appeals that first ask the audience for prayers and then for money. Sometimes you’ll see a text crawl across the bottom with the phone number euphemistically labeled “prayer request” (which sounds better than “place to give me money”).

But doesn’t that sound strange? If prayers get God to do something, then the televangelist could just pray himself. Or, if the power of prayer is proportionate to the number of voices, the televangelist could just direct the audience to turn his small voice into a holy airhorn. And God’s actions make any human generosity pointless. What could money do that God couldn’t?

Televangelists are an ongoing experiment, and they make clear the uncomfortable truth: prayer doesn’t work, but money does, as if there were no god at all. A real god who claimed that prayers work would deliver on that promise.

See also: Televangelists Show Prayer is Useless

To be continued.

When religion is good, I conceive it will support itself;
and when it does not support itself,
and God does not take care to support it
so that its professors are obliged
to call for help of the civil power,
’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
— Benjamin Franklin

CROSS EXAMINED After graduating from MIT, Bob Seidensticker designed digital hardware, and he is a co-contributor to 14 software patents. For more than a decade, he has explored the debate between Christianity...