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Praying for outcomes one knows would be bad

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2012

T. J. MAWSON*
Affiliation:
St Peter's College, Oxford, OX1 2DL, UK e-mail: tim.mawson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

In this article, I consider what states of knowledge of the value of outcomes are consistent with a classical theist's praying to God that He bring about those outcomes. I proceed from a consideration of the cases which seem least problematic (the theist knows these outcomes to be ones which would be, at least after they've been prayed for, best or at least good), through a consideration of cases where the outcomes prayed for are ones the goodness and badness of which the theist is agnostic about, to consider finally praying for outcomes that the theist knows would be bad at the time he or she is praying for them. I conclude that even prayers of this last sort should, albeit only on rare occasions, be prayed.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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References

Smith, Nicholas & Yip, Andrew (2010) ‘Partnership with God: a partial solution to the problem of petitionary prayer’, Religious Studies, 46, 395410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taliaferro, Charles (2007), ‘Prayer’, in Meister, C. and Copan, P. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion (London & New York: Routledge), 617625.Google Scholar

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