Prayer? Useful or useless?

Yes, what is prayer good for?

About 350 million children are living in poverty in Asia and one out of every 10 people in the world today is an Asian child in poverty, lacking one or more of the essential services some of us take for granted. According to the International Labour Foundation, roughly half the world’s population still scrapes together a bare bones existence on the equivalent of about US$2 [S$3.30] a day. And in too many places, having a job does not assure a life of comfort, or one free of worry from certain living necessities. The world is full of poor people. Has anybody wondered why God, if he exists, seems so impotent in alleviating the suffering of the poor and hapless in this world?

People, religious or otherwise, appear to be quick when it comes to putting the blame on their government for poor economic performance that affects their livelihood. For some religious people, blaming God for natural disasters, wars, senseless killing, etc is not an option, despite their belief in his omnipotence and all-lovingness. For such people it is not considered rational to blame God for any adverse conditions affecting humanity, probably not even for conditions as bleak as are reflected in the following statistics:

No of people killed in war since 1990:3.6 million

No of people killed in war in the last two thousand years is probably in hundreds of million

No of children working as forced laborers or sex workers: 8.4 million

No of HIV infected people worldwide: 39.5 million

No of people affected by 267 natural disasters in the first 8 months of 2006: 91.0 million

No of women who have been beaten, coerced into sex or abused: 1.0 billion

No of people living on less than $1.50 a day: 1.1 billion

God/Allah? A meaningless term, with absolutely no relevance to reality.

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