Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Inefficacy of Prayer

 
 A fourteen-year-old Tamil boy in a school at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka refused to pray (The Island, Srilanka). His rationale behind this unusual defiance was: School has no right to force a student to pray as prayer is a sign of submission to a god who never exists. Hats off to the courage of conviction of a 14-year-old boy, who has realised at such an early age, that this stupid practice of prayers is nothing but an attempt to make one submissive to non-existant 'divine' forces.

This is indeed a kind of systematic indoctrination of impressionable minds to go through the rigmarole of boring prayers. Why can't children skip prayers, if they're indisposed to pray? " Society is always scared of non-believers. So there're constant endeavours to arrest the young minds and yoke them to a rigid format of prayers and worship right from their montessori days.

This is blatant 'religious baptism.' Schools all over the world must provide a completely non-spiritual platform to their students and leave religiosity for them to explore on their own, if at all they ( students) don't lose interest in god and religion when they grow up," opined the radical ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq of Pakistan. A school is a centre of learning. It's not a seminary, madarsa, or a gurukul, where one goes to drink a dose of subtle religious venom.

 Moreover, the efficacy of prayers is being fiercely debated. Does it really work and contribute to the betterment and evolution of an individual? Prayer, like meditation, is a humbug. Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Tuft University in the states jointly conducted a survey in the late seventies to find the effectiveness of prayers. It was found that the so-called cases of miraculous recovery through prayers needed scrutiny as many were hyped and unnecessarily glorified.

 Social scientists and sociologists equated one's belief in astrology with one's faith in prayers. It has a Placebo Effect on the sufferers and their near and dear ones. They found many cases in which prayers failed to make any impact whatsoever. The name of Aruna Shanbaug, the ill-fated nurse at KEM, was also mentioned in the exhaustive survey. There's been a photo of Jesus in her ward. 

Prayers of so many well-wishers and devout Christians ( Hindus and Muslims as well) didn't make even an iota of difference to her dismal state, she has been in for 38 years. Power of prayers is a completely bogus thing and I myself have seen a number of patients die despite their well-wishers vehemently praying for them. Man's an insecure being and a hopelessly irrational creature. He prays because he thinks that it'll help mitigate his sufferings. He never realises that many a time, sufferings subside on their own, whether or not one prays.

So 'attribution error' often works in projecting prayer as something very potent and powerful. It's not, but then if some myths and illusions help rudderless people survive, I don't think I should cast aspersions on them.          
                                                                                             ------
Sumit Paul

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