Christians believe they have a duty to pray as evidenced in passages like Luke 18:1, Ephesians 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17. But surely that duty is limited to theists, isn’t it?
Maybe not. In this episode of the podcast I sit down with philosopher Travis Dumsday to discuss his 2012 journal article “Why (Most) Atheists Have a Duty to Pray,” Sophia 51 (1) : 59-70. (Travis was previously on the podcast discussing divine hiddenness.) In this paper Dr. Dumsday argues that atheists who are not absolutely persuaded that God doesn’t exist have a duty to offer petitionary prayers based on the small probability that God might exist and respond favorably to the prayer. In our conversation Dr. Dumsday unpacks the argument and the implications that follow from it.
Do atheists have a prayer? Maybe, maybe not. But at the very least Dr. Dumsday thinks they should.