The Problem Is What You Assume, Not So Much What You Say

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“When I ask my friend Bob to pray for me because I have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow, I do not have to assume any superhuman powers on the part of Bob in order to make the request of him. I know he heard me, because he was right there, and he heard the prayer request on exactly the same principles in play when he heard me ask him to pass the mashed potatoes. But when one person is caught in a storm at sea and cries out to Mary, and another at the same moment is struggling with his personal finances in Australia, and asks Mary to pray for him, this cannot be done without assuming that Mary has all the functional attributes of Deity” (Papa Don’t Pope, p. 144).