Brookville Road Community Church in New Palestine, Indiana has done the impossible: They proved that God answers prayers! It was a year-long effort, but they now have 10,000 pieces of evidence that suggest God takes their concerns seriously and grants their wishes.
At least that’s what a puff piece at WTHR-TV made it sound like. The truth is the church did nothing to “prove” prayers work; if anything, they showed just how desperate some people are to find evidence that God exists and pays attention to their lives.
Pastor Kris Sorensen urged his congregation to keep a running tally of every time they believed God answered their prayers. And when it happened, they were supposed to write it down on a piece of paper and pin the receipt on a bulletin board. (That’s what you see behind Sorensen in the screenshot above.)
“We had people say, ‘My cancer is gone,’” said Sorensen. “People got jobs when they’ve been praying for jobs, praying for years. We had people that had been praying for relationships to be restored for years and years finally be restored. All of those are miracles that we attribute to our heavenly Father.”
Notice what he says there. He says everyone attributes these “miracles” to God (as if getting a job is a miracle). That’s fine. That’s how they feel. But that’s not proof by any stretch of the imagination. Yet all the headlines and chyrons say just that: “10,000 Prayers Answered.” The beginning of the story includes the line, “The congregation has documented proof.”
If you watch the news segment, you catch glimpses of what people wrote down. They’re not miracles at all. They’re things like “Healthy baby + safe delivery” and “My mom gets to go to India.” In the first case, the doctors and nurses may have had something to do with it. In the second, the mom’s friends paid for the plane ticket. The church members ought to be directing their praise to the kind and generous and skilled people making a difference in their lives, not the imaginary friend who only exists to take all the credit.
Forget the receipts. The bulletin board should just have a giant banner across it that reads, “Correlation does not imply causation.” At least then, everyone would have learned something useful.
It’s also interesting to note that not a single example shown in that segment includes God saying no to someone’s wishes. Because if someone was looking for a job and couldn’t find one, wouldn’t that also be a sign from God? Good luck finding a note admitting that.
(Thanks to Dan for the link)