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‘Praying to stop being an atheist’ (paper)

Dr. Tim Mawson is Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St Peter’s College, Oxford, UK.  He’s the author of ‘Praying to stop being an atheist’ (International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, June 2010, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 173-186)

In this paper, I argue that atheists who think that the issue of God’s existence or non-existence is an important one; assign a greater than negligible probability to God’s existence; and are not in possession of a plausible argument for scepticism about the truth-directedness of uttering such prayers in their own cases, are under a prima facie epistemic obligation to pray to God that He stop them being atheists. “

Another paper from Dr. Mawson; which could very well be the latest; in a series of papers which examine praying; from a philosophical viewpoint, is –  ‘Praying for outcomes one knows would be bad’ (Religious Studies, Volume 49, Issue 04. December 2013, pp 551-560)

“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.”

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