In times of hardship, I am often told to pray. This made no sense to me, but I think I understand how to explain it.

The "miracles" that people have said they received after prayer are completely personalized- for example, a child in Uganda would not get that big raise that a banker in America prayed for.

Not every single person gets a miracle.

If things remain the same after prayer, it is called a "test", and if things finalize into a change for the worse, it is "in His plan."

Miracles do not seem to be given to people off of how strong their faith is, or how good of a person they have been, or even the level of need or want. In fact, it seems very random.

People tend to outsource an issue when they feel they have lost. It is easy to say, "my child died because it was in God's plan, and he is testing our faith in these times of hardship." than to say, "My child is dead. Natural selection." My problem with putting it on "God" is that they have now formed an illusion to go around the healing process.

So to conclude, I think people pray to an "all powerful all knowing" god to stave off disparity and hopelessness at ideas that are bigger than them- you cannot stop nature, time and decay, but someone who has woven an illusionary God ALWAYS has some form of control over it. I think my friend buys lottery tickets for the same reason.

Alex Baldwin-McCurdy 

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The best optical illusion in the world...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk6ILZAaAMI

That is one of the best videos I know of as regards the whole issue of the vacuousness of prayer.

Thank you for the video, it was fantastic.

You have hit it pretty well but I still buy lottery tickets. Why? It's because you can never win without a ticket but I just buy one. Please do not apply this idea to god, however. My lottery ticket is not all powerful and all knowing. It's just a set of numbers with no mind or design. My lottery advice is to pick a set of numbers that you know has not won before. Chosen or quick pick will work.

Oh, you want to apply the lottery idea to god and prayer. Just keep trying and maybe you will hit it next time.

I think the key difference between lottery tickets and prayer is that one is for an imagined prize, and the other is a very substantial and possibly attainable prize. I also feel that some people see the reward of eternal life and miracles of their deity as the same kind of random reward system.

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