All for you, PZ!

Apparently, August 2008 is Officially “Pray for PZ Myers Month.” This could easily top every study ever done on the effectiveness of prayer. Not only will there surely be a great number of Christians praying like crazy – with sincerity no less – for the good Doctor’s soul, but there will be a testable, measurable result. If only we could harness all the self-righteous Christians who love this sinner enough to believe he could be the next disciple to be queued up for sainthood. Then we could really determine… just how many prayers does it take to get to the center of a godless liberal’s soul?

Oh, but wait… seriously, it gets better. Not only will they be praying faithfully out of love and conviction, but they (well, some… I can’t imagine they’ll all buy into this one) will attempt to incur God’s pity in order to move him to actually do something about PZ:

So beginning next Friday, August 1, let us all join in prayer for the conversion of PZ Myers every day, until Sunday, August 31. Let us pray Rosaries for his conversion, offer up the Mass for his conversion, engage in abstinence and fasting for his conversion, and spend time in Adoration for his conversion.

It all sounds pretty par for the course, right? Only one more week before you can officially start praying! On your mark, get set… you, in the back, do you have a question?

Oh, yeah, but hey… about that abstinence thing. How does that work again? So, okay, let me get this straight… If I can go 31 days without getting laid, even by my spouse – with whom I regularly have God-sanctioned lovin’, by the way – then this man that I’ve never met, and have no reason to care about except that he’s a real plight on society, will come to Christ and stop offending my sensibilities on a regular basis? Wait, what? I can’t have food, either? Aw, hell… er, heck, PZ: When you convert, you better come over and bless my house, kids, dog and bed (especially my bed – it’s gonna need it after 8/31) to thank me for this sacrifice which will save your eternal soul. I’m such a swell Christian.



  1. Jeb Salad said,

    July 25, 2008 at 3:49 am

    Fasting usually means abstaining from all or substantive amounts of food. Abstinence without a qualifier (such as abstinence from sex, alcohol, etc) usually means abstinence from meat, such as on Fridays of Lent. I would suspect this is what your Christian means

  2. Wonko's Apprentice said,

    July 25, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for the clarification – I suspect you may be right, but it is definitely open to interpretation. The churches I grew up in not only preached a great deal of abstinence from sex to the unmarried, but also declared the purity of abstinence within the marriage bed to be an important part of the supplication process in times of great need. That is where I’m coming from when I saw this, and my response is the same one I always had… it never made sense that God would sanction a marriage if purity were so critical. I always figured it was the old married women looking for a way to put off their husbands for a night or two. 🙂 (Well, okay, maybe that’s a little facetious, but not far off…) )

  3. Diatribical Idiot said,

    July 27, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    No, in this context, it is most definitely abstaining from meat.

    I find your post somewhat hypocritical, to be honest. There are many, many stories of prayers having been answered. The devout atheist will always scoff at that as something other than divine intervention. A coincidence, a natural result of medical treatment, a figment of the imagination, or what have you. It is readily dismissed. At the same time, the Christian understands that God’s will is not always our will, and in such cases the prayer we engage in may not come to pass. We have a good example of Jesus praying in the garden. If we pay attention to that example, we will realize that his prayer request did not come to pass. So, when that happens, the devout atheist will – like your post above – ridicule prayer as worthless.

    The prayer intentions at hand are made additionally complex by the fact that we all have free will. Our prayers may, in fact, work inasmuch as God will throw nearly everything in the book at PZ, but the final decision cannot be forced upon him. That is what we believe regarding the dignity of our own humanness – that we are not lemmings or robots, but must make our own choice. A person may be so overwhelmed as to be compelled to choose, like St. Paul, but he still had to make that choice himself. And so, PZ’s rejection of immense grace coming his way disproves nothing, if the heart is so hardened as to be impenetrable, like Pharoah.

    I am quite certain you’ve already made up your mind on all this. In the seemingly unthinkable scenario where he actually announces repentance and conversion, I am sure the atheists among us will consider it something other than a real conversion due to prayer. And in the event no conversion is immediately forthcoming, there will be laughter, as if this somehow proves the unprovable.

    Finally, there is no timeline on this. If interested, you can read the account of St. Augustine’s conversion after – oh – 20+ years of Moinica praying for his coversion. The atheist would have likely declared that whole prayer experiment a failure after, say, 19 years…

  4. Wonko's Apprentice said,

    July 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for the lengthy description of the power of prayer, but I am quite familiar with it. I just don’t subscribe to it, and I do scoff at it, to a certain extent.

    You wrote, “I am quite certain you’ve already made up your mind on all this.” In fact, I haven’t, exactly. My mind may be called ‘made up,’ but it is not closed. All I ask for is real, true evidence. You say there are many instances that prove prayer works, but nothing has proven it to me. I have to parrot many other skeptics here and say that personal anecdotes are not proof. The human memory is faulty, the mind plays tricks, often seeing what it wants to see, and nothing else.

    You also say, “The devout atheist will always scoff at that as something other than divine intervention. A coincidence, a natural result of medical treatment, a figment of the imagination, or what have you,” suggesting that these factors don’t deserve consideration at all. Why shouldn’t the more tangible causes of desirable outcomes receive higher footing than a completely intangible, unproven cause?

    Finally, you said that my post strikes you as hypocritical. I still can’t figure out why. I chose my point, and, however tongue-in-cheek, stuck to it. How is that hypocritical? I’m using the following definition for ‘hypocrite’ from Merriam Webster to try to understand, but I’m still at a loss…

    1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
    2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

  5. Diatribical Idiot said,

    July 28, 2008 at 6:39 am

    You seem to miss my point a bit, but thanks for your response.

    I actually wasn’t personally arguing vehemently about the power of prayer. In fact, I was recognizing that prayers are not always answered quite as we prescribe. Thus, it is foolhardy on its face to try and run some kind of experiment and use it as proof or diproof, which you are somehow making the case for in your post.

    Also, I do NOT remove all the other items in my list from worthy consideration in a person’s answered prayers. In fact, I believe that more often than not God works through other instruments (doctors, e.g.) and while He may have a guiding hand in answering a prayer, it may be more in the realm of bringing the right instruments into a person’s situation in order to have that prayer answered. And, yes, it is also not out of the question that some things are a figment of the imagination.

    I won’t argue on the anecdotes. I know enough of them personally and through people I know and trust, as well as stories I’ve read that I personally have no doubts. But just like the rest of my devotion, there certainly is an element of faith to it. Just as I am sure you perceive the religious jumping through hoops to provide a divine explanation of events, I have seen the same laughable jumping from atheists explaining away things that clearly have God’s hand in it. This has long given me the impression that being an atheist requires just as much “faith” as being a Christian. This must be so, because despite any level of “certainty” regarding the lack of God’s existence, it is in fact an unknowable thing.

    My comments regarding hypocrisy were perhaps not well-defined. It was not necessarily directed towards you personally, but more the general atheistic position on such a “prayer challenge.” It was in my presupposition that if Myers actually has a conversion experience or doesn’t, that you would actually ascribe some certainty of evidence to that, while admittedly making the assumption that you give little or no credence to other stories of the impact of prayer. This fits your definition #2. If my assumption is incorrect, then I apologize.

    On a personal note, I came back to faith after falling away from it based on study and reason. I am not, nor have I ever been, someone who gets all warm and fuzzy, or leans on a “crutch of religion” depending on what’s going on in my life. I actually wish I could get more of that spiritual experience out of prayer. At times I do, but it’s not the norm for me. My faith is based on study, observation, and use of reason. I’m a math and science guy, having been a major in both Chemistry and Physics before settlig in the math field. I only mention this because I find it naive when atheists suggest that no smart or thinking person could conclude there is a God. It’s a ridiculous assertion, and proves nothing but their own egoism. This is not a statement towards you – I have no reason to believe you have ever levied that claim, and wil assume that you have not.

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