Gary: How do Christians know that their wish requests (prayers) to their invisible friend Jesus are any more effective than a child’s wish requests to his invisible, imaginary friend?
Liberal Christian Pastor: When Abram stood under a night sky unpolluted by any human light, and believed ‘his imaginary friend’ promised descendants more than the stars he could see, was he as foolish as those he left behind, worshipping their household idols? Did he make up his own new name of Abraham? When Moses came down from Mt Sinai (twice) with the 10 commandments – some paralleling the laws of neighbouring civilisations but with an unprecedented focus on worship of One God – had he been meeting only with ‘his imaginary friend’?’ When David sang his songs of trust in the Rock that is that One God, did his descendant Jesus follow his example and trust only in ‘an imaginary friend?’
When I sit here this Sunday morning preparing to lead worship for a few others, am I following 2,000 years of billions of delusionary Christians, as I look to that One God to work through me today, revealing more of Himself to those I meet with?
Last week, on Lindisfarne with Muslim friends, we offered our prayers to the One God. Tomorrow I hope to meet with a mathematical friend, for whom trust in ‘an imaginary friend’ is a far bigger leap of faith than trust in the One creator God, who has revealed Himself fully in the person of Jesus, crucified, risen from the dead and now guiding those who choose to allow Him, to be with Him for ever.
Unanswered prayers? Yes, many, so far. But I look forward to seeing them answered by God in Christ, beyond this time and space.
Gary: Most historians doubt that Abraham and Moses were real historical persons, but rather fictitious national folk legends. Many historians believe that David, the giant-slayer, belongs to the same category of myth. So using these characters as evidence for the effectiveness of prayer to your invisible God would be like me insisting that there is good evidence for the effectiveness of wish requests to Cinderella’s fairy godmother—because we have centuries old stories that say she turned a pumpkin into a carriage.
“When I sit here this Sunday morning preparing to lead worship for a few others, am I following 2,000 years of billions of delusionary Christians…”
Millions of Hindus worship a plethora of gods whom they believe answer petitionary prayers, including the god Ganesh, who has the head of an elephant. I will bet that you believe that these believers are “delusionary”. But the fact is, just because a lot of people sincerely believe something to be true, does not make it true. There is no good evidence that petitionary prayer to ANY invisible being is effective. It may be beneficial, physically and mentally, but that doesn’t mean it is effective (that an invisible being is actually redirecting the forces of the universe in your favor).