TWO of the 71 participants in Premier Radio's Atheist Prayer
Experiment have said that they now believe in God, while 48 do not
believe that God was revealed to them.
The experiment, launched on 17 September (
News, 21 September), was based on an academic paper - "Praying
to Stop Being an Atheist" - by the philosopher Tim Mawson, which
argues that atheists are "are under a prima facie obligation to
pray to God that He stop them being atheists". Participants
committed themselves to praying every day for 40 days that God
would reveal himself to them. Of the rest of the 71, 14 have not
yet reported back, six failed to take part, and one was
Kendra Jory, from the United States, who was an agnostic before
the experiment, became a Christian. Having "flip-flopped between
fierce atheist to wishy-washy occasional Christian", she said that
she had realised: "With God I feel like I have hope and positivity.
I feel safe."
Another participant, also American, Kelly Womble, decided to
join the experiment shortly before giving birth to her first child.
Then she saw a full rainbow "across the entire sky", which she took
to be a sign. She had previously been a Christian, "the reason I
wasn't a believer was that I felt I was praying all the time and
getting nothing back."
An atheist, Ally, concluded that, if God could "do something
that is completely impossible by our laws, that would be a lot more
Some who remained atheists felt that the experiment had been a
positive one. Rachel, another former Christian, said: "It helped me
open up and be a bit more able to embrace life and what is out
there, without trying to slot it into what I believe."
However, Cang felt "humiliated" while praying, and Lucy, a
psychotherapist, said that praying during a difficult time had not
helped - it was better to try and distract herself.