Quaeritur Utrum Sim—The Problem of My Existence

My attention was recently drawn to studies on whether prayer really works.  Scientists track a bunch of people with problems who pray about them, follow a control group of people with problems who don’t pray about them, and compare results to determine whether Anyone out there is listening.  This clear and simple approach eliminates the guesswork in religion.

Since my attention was on the question, I began tracking how many times I said “yes” to my children’s requests as compared to how many times I said “no.”  The results were discouraging.  Children approaching me have about a fifty-fifty chance of getting what they want, and younger children have even slightly worse odds.  It’s pretty much what you would expect from flipping a coin.  But the experiment has led me to an important conclusion:

I don’t exist.

At first I was deflated, even though non-existence, according to experts, is something I have in common with God.  But then I realized that, as a non-existent person, I do a lot of important things for the family.  At our place, you see, Nobody cleans the kitchen floor regularly, Nobody tends the garden, Nobody reads to the girls at night—the list goes on and on!

And the beauty part is, I have discovered a phenomenal time-saving technique.  Instead of fielding requests from my kids, I give them each a quarter and tell them “Heads means ‘yes,’ tails means ‘no.’”

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Author: Dr. Holmes

Dr. Jeremy Holmes teaches Theology at Wyoming Catholic College. He lives in Wyoming with his wife, Jacinta, and their eight children.

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Louis Bolin
Louis Bolin
9 years ago

It seems to me that studies that attempt to prove or disprove the efficacy of prayer are flawed in a number of serious ways. One, they generally assume that the effect of prayer is always in the specific effect prayed for, and always in the future, whereas there is no reason why one’s prayers may not affect both things in the past, and many other things besides what is prayed for. Second, and more importantly, the fact that one is taking part in such a study most likely diminishes the probability of God answering those particular prayers. It seems irreverent,… Read more »