Faux News and the Power of Prayer

Posted on December 20, 2010

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Blogging about the asinine claims and stories that emanate from the Fox News blather stream almost feels like cheating.  It’s just too easy.  Calling them out on their grade-school logic feels wrong.  It feels like, as Chris Rock would say, “Playing one-on-one basketball with a retarded kid and calling him for double-dribble.”

OK, I’m over it.

Fox News is at it again (surprise surprise!), and this time they’re not reporting “true-life” encounters with angels, but instead reporting about the power of prayer.  Behold:

The hosts are all ancy about a new study that claims prayer—talking to the Creator of the universe—can help “ease your mind.”  To help explain the findings of the study, they . . . . interviewed the people who had performed the study?  Hah, not a chance!  They brought on their favorite Fox News-contributing priest, Father Jonathan Morris, you know, to provide a fair-and-balanced perspective on the power of prayer.

The study apparently looked at people in violent relationships and assessed at how prayer affected the state of their mind.  They claim that prayer had a positive benefit to them.  The researcher said that prayer “acts as a distraction, much like a punching bag.”  Now this is something with which I can agree in some cases.  Prayer removes (distracts) you from reality.  It’s a way of thinking you’re helping yourself, when you’re actually doing nothing.  If you think God is actually listening and may provide positive feedback, then prayer could, I’ll concede, bestow you with some level of comfort.  But notice that all this study amounts to is an admission that belief in prayer is comforting to some.  It doesn’t even touch on the fact that you could very well be deluding yourself in the process.

The most hilarious part of this whole discussion, if you can call it that, is that Morris, the priest, warns the viewers against the researcher’s recommendation that nonbelievers could gain similar effects by . . . wait for it . . . inventing an imaginary friend as a recipient of prayer.  Imaginary friends, says Morris, “are not healthy. . . If you have an Imaginary friend, there’s something wrong with you.”  I, of course, found this wildly entertaining, since this claim was made after Morris had just got over his diatribe on the added benefit of prayer IF God exists!  IF IF IF!!  He stated that despite prayer’s psychological benefits, IF God actually exists, then there’s exceedingly more value to prayer.  True, but until you prove that God actually does exist, presupposing His existence is the equivalent to having an imaginary friend!  I would respond that IF my imaginary friend actually exists (maybe in some parallel dimension, since they seem to have no problem with entities existing there), then they could give me positive feedback, too.

An entity ceases to be imaginary only when said entity’s existence can be demonstrated.  Until then, they exist only in your imagination.  And only until then, to steal a line from Father Morris, there’s something wrong with you.

Conclusion:  There is something wrong with Father Morris.

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Posted in: Politics, Religion