Daniel Peterson
South Georgia State College
Saul Smilansky has argued that, since acts of petitionary prayer are best understood as requests, not desires, there may be many more impermissible prayer acts than one might expect. I discuss Smilansky’s analysis and argue that his conclusion follows only for those who do not believe in an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly benevolent deity and take advantage of what Smilansky calls the theist’s ‘moral escape clause’. However, I take my argument to lead us to a variant of the problems of evil and petitionary prayer instead of a problem with Smilansky’s reasoning, requirng us to either abandon at least one of three properties commonly assigned to God or else to abandon an intuitive account of prayer that makes it morally impermissible to pray for morally impermissible ends.
Keywords prayer  problem of evil  problem of petitionary prayer  philosophy of religion  Saul Smilansky
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DOI 10.1080/21692327.2014.967795
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References found in this work BETA

Summa Theologica.Thomasn D. Aquinas - 1274 - Hayes Barton Press.
Against the Right to Die.J. David Velleman - 1992 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17 (6):665-681.
The Puzzle of Petitionary Prayer.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Frances Howard-Snyder - 2010 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 2 (2):43-68.
How Requests (and Promises) Create Obligations.Geoffrey Cupit - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (177):439-455.

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