Happy National Day of Prayer! This gives me an opportunity to finish a post I have been thinking about since March of 2007. The power of Prayer.
First, let me ask the question for you: Lorax, do you believe in the power of prayer? Well, surprisingly enough, I do. There I said it, the cranky asshole atheist believes in the power of prayer. Now before my atheist colleagues get their panties all wadded up and my fundamentalist opponents start shouting hallelujah to the sky gods, hear me out.
I do NOT believe in the power of prayer like it seems most Americans currently believe in it. I do not believe in some higher power actually cares if your team wins the game or not, I doubt the god(s) care if you succeed or fail in whatever little endeavor you are undertaking, praying will not save your house, family, life, PS3, wii, or other effects from the big storm/flood/fire.
I do believe that you can find answers to the questions through prayer. No, not the answer to question 23 on the big exam. However, all of us have issues or problems that require a fair bit of reflection to resolve. Prayer gives you some time and energy devoted to these issues or problems. Some people meditate, some people just think, but it generally amounts to the same thing. I remember in graduate school trying to figure out a problem I was having with an experiment (a Southern blot) after much thought and no success, the following morning in the shower it came to me what the problem was (I was a moron is the short answer). Deep thinking is an important way to gain understanding into a problem. I am one of those people who when working on grants/papers/etc often have epiphanies regarding things I have been thinking about at the oddest times. When working on the New York Times crossword, on Sunday I generally get few answers, Monday morning over coffee it scares me sometimes how many answers that were impossible the day before come to me. This to me reflects the power of prayer. We are all busy busy people with too many things going on, and more importantly, too many distractions that interferes with having quality time just thinking/reflecting. Taking some time to ponder life's challenges whether through mediation, writing a journal, or even prayer can be beneficial. Thus, I believe in the power of prayer. Too bad so many others think prayer is like calling Domino's, your prayer fulfilled in 30 minutes or its free.
Carl Djerassi (1923-2015): Chemist, writer, polymath, cultural icon
13 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction