Monday, October 10, 2005

The Power of Crying Out, (post hoc ergo propter hoc) part 2

There appear to be three lines of evidence Gothard uses to support his thesis. First, he makes the point on page 14 that throughout the Bible, people use their voices and God answers their prayers. Then the rest of the book is filled with example after example of where this is the case. The mistake I think he is making is in assuming that in each case, God answered because they used their voices as if it were the method used for petitioning God rather than the fact of petitioning God that compelled God to act. There are two reasons I think his assumption is false. First, because it isn't clear in each case that "crying out" literally means to use your voice. Gothard argued on p. 13 that "crying out" means to use your voice, but then he contradicted himself by showing on p. 27 that God "can hear the faintest silent cry of the heart. Even if it's only a passing thought," and he gives scriptural examples of effective silent prayer that does not involve the use of the voice. The second reason I think his assumption is false is because praying out loud was just the common way people prayed. He makes this point himself on p. 24 that "not only prayer, but even reading was commonly done aloud in ancient times." So the fact that so many of the prayers in the Bible involved people using their voices is only incidental. It's simply because that was the common way to pray. It doesn't show that praying that way has some advantage or that it's prescriptive. As far as I can see, Gothard never substantiated his assumption that these Biblical prayers were answered because they used their voices rather than silent prayer.

to be continued...
Part 3


At 10/10/2005 3:44 PM , Blogger Steve said...

well could you argue that God answered these prayers because it in some way takes more effort and represents greater piety to prayer out loud than it does to pray silently?

For example, one could say that BEING sorry and SAYING your sorry are not quite the same thing on the basis that its easier to just feel sorry than to bring yourself to tell someone you are sorry.

Feeling the need for help doesn't show the same level of piety as ASKING for help.

At 10/10/2005 9:33 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...


You could certainly say that, but I don't see how you could argue it. All we know is that people prayed out loud and God answered their prayer. Any inference we made as to why God answered their prayer is just a guess. I think the only causal inference we can justifiably make is that God answered their prayer because they asked.

Besides, if God is all-knowing, then he knows how sincere a person is whether they pray out loud or pray silently. I don't know how you'd go about showing that the more sincere people are the more likely they are to pray out loud rather than silently.



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