“God is imaginary”? Really? Part 5: science and prayer

As we continue our journey through “more than 50 proofs” that “God is imaginary”, we come to proof number four: Think about science.

I really wish that I had included this one with the one on prayer, because that is essentially what this particular one is about. probably the most simple objection that I’ve seen so far. I don’t even really see the connection between its subject, the discovery of penicillin and the concept of prayer.

The writer postulates how a religious person might respond to this discovery:

Did Fleming or Floring (sic) say, as a religious person would, “The death of this bacteria is a miracle! God has reached down and killed it in response to our prayers!”

Aside from the obvious straw man argument, where the nature of prayer is misrepresented, it is a parody, and a bad parody. If Doctors Fleming and Florey were religious men, especially Christian men, just how might have they have prayed in such an event, I’ll play this game, just for the practice.

Let’s say that I am Dr. Fleming, Scottish-born, most likely Presbyterian, living in London in the days after World War I, how would I pray? Maybe something like this:

Heavenly Father, Lord God, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you in this position that has been arranged by Your divine declaration. As I endeavor in my duties and in my work, clear my mind of distraction, help me to focus on my labors, so that as I study this world and its features I may discover the hidden things that give joy to kings and help to the poor. Amen.

Now, imagine that he prayed that prayer the morning that he walked into his messy lab and made what would become one of the greatest life-saving discoveries of the modern age. Anyone with a reformed understanding of how God works would immediately be grateful that God in His grace and mercy, having ordered the world in wisdom, had allowed this to be found at this time. This argument’s greatest failing is the fact that it fails to present any understanding of how a Christian would understand this: namely that the God who made the world and everything in it ordered it and decreed the discovery of its features in their due time.

Now, if we can just get people to quit overusing antibiotics, which leads to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Maybe I need to pray for wisdom in how to deal with this, and lead by example.

Disclaimer: I do not presume to know whether Dr. Alexander Fleming was a believer or not, and the prayer that is constructed is presented as a possible scenario and is not meant to imply anything about the religious beliefs of anyone other than the author of this blog article.


  1. […] information to begin a response. An if there is a question about prayer, see this response and here as well. Also, this post on the will of God as well as this one on a question of ambiguity, and this one […]

  2. […] He then links to a study where believers were asked to pray for strangers in a Harvard study. While the study is interesting, it really proves nothing (that “tempting God” thing), and raises some questions about how they measured effectiveness and the beliefs of the people in the study, but that’s something something I’ve talked about earlier, here. […]

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