Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Writing Experiment 3
Prayer, Does it work? Faith vs. Fate
First, a caveat... I will do my level best to remain as neutral as possible in the following post, as my belief system differs from most other peoples. This will also be the first 'serious' piece of hour writing, so please bear with me if this seems a bit disjointed.
A brief primer: Faith is a set of principles or beliefs. Fate is an outcome. I don't think I can put that any more succinct than that. I also borrowed that verbatim from Hector Callejas, in a speech he presented about one leading to the other.
Truth be told, I think Mr. Callejas nailed it on the head. It's not a question of Faith vs. fate - the two are not mutually exclusive. If you believe in something strongly enough, you will ascribe it effects, events or outcomes that become pre-determined - i.e. fate. The best example of this is "It's God's will." Maybe it is... perhaps there is some ultimate power out there watching over us all, pulling a string here, nudging a body there, falling into some ultimate plan.
Now prayer - prayer falls into the whole concept of faith. For if you believe in something strongly enough (or, for most test taking children, desperate enough) you will offer up supplications to your belief structure. We as humans are rational creatures who act in completely irrational ways.
We are people who say "show me the money" or "I'll believe it when I see it". Two statements that just scream logical thinking. However, we willingly believe in some omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being (or beings, as the case may be). This is not rational behavior; and it is directly because of this "irrational" behavior that allow us to believe that prayer works.
If there is a horrible accident, people begin to pray and offer up prayers to our various gods or focal points. If people survive, we then say that our prayers were answered. If people do not survive, we then rationalize that it was god's will. Either way, we are applying an irrational idea in reaction to something beyond our control.
Now faith is something that you just cannot prove, nor can you disprove it. Much like the "Law" of gravity, there is a lot of empirical evidence that it exists. But, there has not been anything that has been able to disprove it yet. Over the years, we have come to believe that this "law" is immutable - simply because we have not devised an experiment that will conclusively disprove the law. Faith on the other hand, is not something you can test in a physical sense - not like gravity.
Faith is not something you can throw off a large tower to see if it will fall to the ground. Faith is tested more in the realm of the mind - it is something that has to be tested through logic and deduction - testing it in various hypothetical events. Unfortunately, testing something hypothetically is not the same a testing it physically. You can't prove that you can levitate by belief alone, and I think ultimately, that is the crux of the matter.
Prayer/Faith cannot be proven or dis-proven without first making it concrete and tangible - which is a physical impossibility. Even if we were able to do such a thing, how would we even begin to test it? The simple fact of the matter is this: Prayer works if you want it to. It falls back to the maxim "If you want it bad enough, you will get it."
My feelings on this? Everyone prays. Sooner or later, everyone prays at least once in their lives. Does that make them any better or worse than anyone else? I'll leave that up to you.