Praying is an essential ritualistic part of one’s faith, attested in the Bible and other religious texts. However, Thomas Aquinas, a renowned religious philosopher, doubted its necessity, along with God’s existence and other pillars of Christianity. Then, in his usual fashion, the thinker managed to reaffirm that praying had its place as a practice. This paper will analyze Aquinas’s arguments for and against prayers and conclude which part of his reasoning is more convincing.
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The practice of praying may seem a redundant way of sending one’s thoughts to God, as He is supposed to know everything. The idea of the divine omnipresence and omnipotence serves as the basis for Aquinas’s objections to praying. In addition to being aware of everything, God is also unchangeable and liberal in the sense that He would rather assist those that do not ask for anything, meaning that praying could even be detrimental. The first two objections found grounds in the Bible, while the third one could be based on the impression of God’s general image from the religious text. Overall, Aquinas’s arguments against praying seem reasonable and make one doubt if doing it could be necessary or beneficial.
It appears that there are several points of view on the degree of God’s intervention in human affairs, some of which make prayers valid. Particularly, the opinion that Divine Providence rules humans and is subject to change enables praying. However, that stance and the rest are already disproved, which allows Aquinas to develop a new context of God’s relationship with humans. He retains His properties from the objections within that theory, but praying acquires a new meaning of a means to achieve certain effects. Although the philosopher’s explanation seems confusing, there is some truth in that interpretation. Ultimately, performing an action is better than remaining inactive, and asking for something may yield more results than silence.
The next context highlighted by Aquinas provides ground for arguments supporting prayers, which oppose the original objections. The replies describe praying as an act of reaffirming one’s need in God, obtaining what is already meant by Providence, and acquiring confidence in the Divine upon asking for something. It appears that to pray is not a selfish act or one that leads to doubts regarding God’s omniscience, but a practice that reassures His power and the believers’ faith. While the original objections present praying as unnecessary and detrimental, the affirmative arguments vouch for its necessity and benefits.
In conclusion, Aquinas offers compelling points for and against prayers and provides strong evidence for both. The Bible contains conflicting views on the act of praying, so the thinker has to use philosophical reasoning to conclude that it is necessary. My perception of prayers coincides with the arguments that support it, in the way that they are something that strengthens faith. However, the objections to praying also appear sensible to me, and I believe that they are still valid within the views that diminish God’s involvement with humans, as Aquinas’s word is not absolute.