Prayer is only effective as a placebo.

March 18, 2015, 6:07 pm

Agree26 Disagree33


The debate "Prayer is only effective as a placebo." was started by Electrogoose on March 18, 2015, 6:07 pm. 26 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 33 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most people are against to this statement.

I_Voyager posted 3 arguments, project_mayhem posted 1 argument, manojtranscendence posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
transfanboy posted 1 argument, Shahmir posted 3 arguments, I_Voyager posted 1 argument to the disagreers part.

Electrogoose, Sosocratese, SiGuy27, molly314, transfanboy, frozen_emily, TmlxIss2cool, Axbecerra, project_mayhem, manojtranscendence, ibrahim, jonatron5, Seraphim and 13 visitors agree.
PsychDave, ItsMateo, Scottie, Mrcmck, Natalie_097, Shahmir, pretty_twin, wmd, I_Voyager, scooter6381, sabrina, debater and 21 visitors disagree.

replied to...

I think we can both agree then that prayer and religion can serve a larger purpose than just a placebo, but also they can serve the purposes of literature and poetry. You would assert, at least in your experience, prayer may go beyond the value of mere literature/poetry and contain a spiritual potency, that the reflective experience may offer more than just reflecting on the works of mortals.

Concurrent with our conclusion, I have shifted my vote to "disagree", since I agree that prayer at least has the value of poetry.

I think perhaps we should engage in a new debate over whether prayer and religion are equally, or more valuable than quality literature or poetry. I'll start the debate elsewhere if you want to look for it.

4 years, 9 months ago

Well, I would say that prayer (at least the ones I recite) hold power and meaning. It teaches things about death, happiness, natural disasters.. etc and offer meaningful insights into a person's life. Moreover, those who recite prayers often have faith and underlying love to follow these texts and to think thoughtfully in every word.

Although I would say the prayers I recite are extremely captivating and hold much power in the words even when compared to literature, at the very least I would compare prayer to literature and poetry which do hold a powerful message. Essentially, I'm trying to say that prayers (even though not everyone can relate to this) is extremely powerful and not a "placebo" per say.

4 years, 9 months ago
replied to...


I appreciate the thought and poetics put into your response. But I think if we take this conversation to it's natural conclusion all we can do is conclude that there are only two possible benefits from prayer: guided reflection and pleasant feelings. I would argue this makes prayer only one level better than a placebo, because it is placebo and poetry, for all good poetry may achieve powerful guided reflection.

I won't argue that occasionally one needs optimism or hope, even if it is an illusion, in order to persist through. I'm just not sure it's necessary to make the object of that inspiring optimistic illusion a prayer. Couldn't it be a romantic symbolism? A poetics, a relationship, a self-faith? A faith in those loved, trusted and relied upon?

I can accept some prayer as a form of meditation. And science has confirmed benefits from meditation. But we're extending the benefit of meditation to the benefit of prayer. The prayer is merely the deliverer of meditation. If so, couldn't I meet with meditation without the middle-man by merely meditating?

I like your food metaphor. If we say one could pursue these things (meditation, reflection, optimism) without prayer (and my inductive implication, theology), we would be arguing them equal. As a metaphor, we state that prayer guiding meditation, optimism and reflection are the use of well-prepared recipe and ingredients to make a fresh and nourishing meal. To assert something else does not create a meal, and instead is "prepackaged", we must say you are not achieving acts which gather ingredients and instruct a plan for cooking. But to read ancient literature, to meditate on the experience of fiction and reality, and to be optimistic in the trust and love of those you surround yourself with, of the person you have sculpted yourself to be by way of informed action and reflection, is this not to cook a grand meal?

4 years, 9 months ago

prayer is a illusion of safety.and hope.which prevents us from hitting the face the ultimate end.
for example,mother theresa converts poor ppl into drug of hopr about illusionary tomorrow and prevents the possibiliy of rebellion among ppl against the poverty of country.

4 years, 10 months ago

Prayer is better compared to a superstition . Believing a specific event causes another without any natural process linking the two together .

4 years, 10 months ago


1. No, an illusory cure is indeed good. If you compare this to similar as a placebo, then yes, you win this point because that's how the motion is worded. But equally, we shouldn't consider the effects of a placebo or in this case prayer to be extremely low. Furthermore, in most prayers (though not all), the writings and sayings offer thoughtful and wise messages that do indeed signal an important message to the person who prays (though not necessarily everyone around the person praying).

2. Which is why, this is indeed a form of relaxation and meditation. Yeah sure, you could say that we could reflect anyway. But this is similar to eating ready made food or cooking food your own self, you can cook, but equally you can also just eat the ready made food.

4 years, 10 months ago

Reflection must not necessarily be a benefit of prayer, since it can be achieved easily without prayer. I'm reflective constantly.

4 years, 10 months ago

Shahmir - aren't many of those the benefit of a placebo? Reduced anxiety and increased relaxation and confidence? Peace of mind from an illusory cure?

4 years, 10 months ago

Let's say prayer does indeed have no practical outcomes, wouldn't you think the mental benefits like relaxation and reflection must be considered. Even more so when you consider people who pray having an underlying hope and believe to continue to strive on in life.

4 years, 10 months ago

prayer is not effective, period.m

4 years, 10 months ago
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