This is not the first time I’ve seen an article addressing the practice of some potential home sellers of calling upon god to help them sell their homes, but it is the first time I’ve read one all the way through. My impression is that the Baltimore Sun does an excellent job of showcasing the absurdity of religious belief. It could have been more explicit in condemning religion as a mechanism for allowing adults to indulge in childish behavior when confronted with serious choices, and it would have if H.L. Mencken were still around to write it, but it wasn’t an opinion piece, and honestly, the simple presentation of facts was enough to expose the actions for what they are: silly superstition.
If you’ve ever engaged in a serious debate with someone who claims to actually believe in god, you’ve probably encountered a whole slew of inane, but seemingly sophisticated arguments. Committed religious people are uncommonly adept at dressing up ignorance in colorful language in the attempt to divert attention from the simple fact that they lack evidence to support their positions. Talk of ontology, duality, and morality too often obscures the reality that for most people most of the time the belief in god is usually manifested as an unqualified extension of their childhood attachment to fantasy figures like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.
Prayers are wish lists even more ineffectual than the ones we stuck in our stockings when we were five. At least then you could count on your parents fishing them out and making an effort to if at all possible fulfill some of your desires. As a grown up, if you want something, you have to work for it. There is no other way of satisfying your wants, and to all those that say that burying St. Joseph statues and organizing furniture to channel energy is harmless, I respond that this is a world of scarce resources, with time and talent the scarcest among them and that this is a waste of both.
Finally, to Mrs. Statham, the real estate agent quoted in the piece as having “done everything possible within [her] realm of expertise to sell the house,” before going the route of the St. Joseph figurine, here’s a tip: lower the price. There really are some invisible forces that act in our world, one of them, described by Adam Smith in 1776 as an “invisible hand” is supply and demand. You may not be able to touch or taste it, but it’s not mysterious. If you can’t find a buyer at the price your asking. Lower the price until someone shows up. I guarantee it will work.