Pondering divine bandwidth
How does God hear all those prayers, anyway?
That’s a question I’ve heard kids ask, and dimly remember asking as a kid. In the world of digital communication, a secular equivalent of this question is being asked. Kevin J. O’Brien reports for the New York Times that smartphone data usage is overwhelming cellular networks. There are currently 600 million mobile broadband users and the best guess is that there will be five billion such users by 2016. That will require an extreme amount of bandwidth.
Back to prayer. If we’re pondering divine bandwidth, we should ask what prayer is. Is it limited to formal prayer (Dear God, Gotta problem down here.), or does it extend to alarmed utterances (Look out!), pleas (Help!), questions (What now?), and reactions (ouch!)? Does it include conscious and unconscious mental activity? If the latter, is it possible that most of what we pray is unknown to us, and known only to God? It’s a little devilish to suggest, but perhaps true, that atheists may prayer more than believers—just unconsciously. So the kids are asking a good question: how does God hear all this praying?
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