It is amusing to me that it is news that James Dobson, the guy who founded Focus on the Family, admits that the National Day of Prayer Task Force prayed for Obama’s defeat. The headline ought to be that their prayers were completely ineffectual. Now atheists will be laughing and saying, “duh!” but there are plenty of religious people out there who do not think prayer is a completely wasted endeavor.
We could draw any number of conclusions from the failure of their prayers. Imprecatory prayers have become very popular in right-wing religious circles and they have also been ineffectual. Obama still lives. You can’t pray the man to death.
So either their God likes Obama, their God doesn’t care one way or another about such mundane human concerns, or their God is without any power to effect change with regard to the office of the presidency. Those seem the most obvious answers, though as we shall see, Dobson was able to find one more amenable to his belief system.
The lesson will be lost on conservative Christians, of course. Though of seeming iron-inflexibility on moral and cultural matters, they are as flexible as can be when it comes to explaining or explaining away the actions/inactions of the divine.
The ancients in the centuries before the blight of monotheism thought a great deal about prayer as well, and they continued to think about it through the early, so-called Christian centuries. Marcus Aurelius, a stoic philosopher as well as an emperor, offered these thoughts in the private journal that came to be known to history as the Meditations:
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment