Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Psychology and Prayer
 
In 2008, Science, the magazine, laid out the evidence gathered by psychologists Whitson and Galinsky that if people have too little control they become very likely to see patterns in random dots that are in fact not there. They are more open to superstitious practices and ideas and even conspiracy theories. It stands to reason that if you feel you are deprived of control, you will think your prayers are working!
 
Jonathan Rotter, the psychologist, found that people fall into one of only two groups. Group one thinks that everything in our lives is down to forces that we can do little or often nothing about. Group two thinks that it is up to us to choose. It says we do have enough control. People who see themselves as masters of their destiny to a huge degree tend to fear their choices and feel tormented when trying to identify the right one. The best approach is somewhere in the middle - let life surprise you and be willing to let go of the way of life you have chosen. This attitude is what you should be trying to cultivate not a prayerful one.

Prayer is about seeking meaning in a specific happening. You are not trying to give it to the person you are praying for. You are using them and their predicament to get meaning for yourself.