Author Topic: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument  (Read 1285 times)

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Offline Iamrational

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Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« on: February 16, 2012, 03:25:33 AM »
I asked someone why they go to the doctor when they get sick.

They said it is where everyone goes when they get sick because they have medicine and knowledge.

I asked why they don't just pray to get better if prayer actually works.

They said it is a sign that prayer works. They feel that asking god for help is answered when they go to the doctor and get help. God is curing them through the human instrument of a doctor. Even if that doctor doesn't believe in god. God allowed events to take place to train that doctor for that moment.

I find this thought process irrational. It is arbitrary. I am trying to figure out how to reason with this person. I don't know if there is any chance of reasoning with them. Any thoughts?

Offline One Above All

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 03:30:03 AM »
How about:
"How lucky you are that scientists made discoveries that contradict the Bible in order to make you well! Too bad those people living in the time before modern medicine didn't have the same luck you did... Oh well. GAWD only cares about you, right?"
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Offline sun_king

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 04:50:38 AM »
It is just a logical fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc ?

It wont hold good for long because it can also be claimed that god allowed series of events to take place that ended in the horrible death of a child at the hands of a child molester. That is a definite sign that prayer doesn't work and worse.

As for chance of reasoning against them, your prospects are at best, bleak. If you could reason with them, you wouldnt need to.

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 10:42:29 AM »
And yet, their reasoning about doctors instead of praying is exactly the same as if their god didn't exist. Ask them to think about that for awhile.
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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 11:10:04 AM »
I guess that means that god only answers prayers when the problem being prayed for is treatable.

If your kid had child-onset leukemia in 1960, prayer seldom helped. In 2011, prayer is going to help a lot. If you had a burst appendix in 1854, wave bye bye. If you have a burst appendix now, you still have a pretty good shot if you pray really really hard.

I'm beginning to see a pattern.

So should the religious.

Sadly, sun_king has it right. Rational discussion is doomed.

Probably because they never pray to be rational.

And by the way, welcome sun_king. Right before I became an atheist at age 11, realizing that christianity sucked, I tried inventing my own religion. Like George Carlin, I decided to worship the sun. So for a week or two, you were a god to me. I still have fond memories...  ;D












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Offline velkyn

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2012, 11:36:54 AM »
Lucifer beat me to it.  pity on how god must have hated everyone who dared to die from a disease we can cure now thanks to modern medicine.  So much for their prayers, eh?

as for rational discussion being doomed, maybe sometimes, maybe often, but sometimes people just need a chance to know that they are wrong to start to think. 
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 03:01:56 PM »
I asked someone why they go to the doctor when they get sick.

They said it is where everyone goes when they get sick because they have medicine and knowledge.

I asked why they don't just pray to get better if prayer actually works.

They said it is a sign that prayer works. They feel that asking god for help is answered when they go to the doctor and get help. God is curing them through the human instrument of a doctor. Even if that doctor doesn't believe in god. God allowed events to take place to train that doctor for that moment.

I find this thought process irrational. It is arbitrary. I am trying to figure out how to reason with this person. I don't know if there is any chance of reasoning with them. Any thoughts?
Maybe you could ask why early doctors did not have this knowledge til early in the 20th century
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Offline Backspace

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 04:41:48 PM »
They said it is a sign that prayer works. They feel that asking god for help is answered when they go to the doctor and get help. God is curing them through the human instrument of a doctor. Even if that doctor doesn't believe in god. God allowed events to take place to train that doctor for that moment.

Tell them they need to read their Bible.  There are several NT passages reminding sheeple if they have a little faith, they can perform the same miracles as Jeezus.  The human doctor as an intermediary tool of Yahweh to heal is blasphemous.  Oh, and tell them to have a nice day... :angel:
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Offline rev45

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 04:55:21 PM »
Everyone knows diseases are caused by spiritual problems.
http://www.mindsync.com/lam/root.htm
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 05:16:27 PM »
Two families go camping.

In each family one child's appendix gets inflamed. The Christian family spends a few days praying to god for a trained doctor to appear in their tent. The atheist family high-tails it to the nearest town asap and gets an emergency appendectomy.

Which kid do you want to be?

Be honest.

Makes ya wanna avoid camping, at least as long as you have an appendix.  :P
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Tero

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 05:59:41 PM »
Need a controlled study.
-sick siblings
-christians who pray for one kid
-atheists who pretend to pray for kid

Parents locked up during study. They can pray all they like.

10 prayers should work better than 2.

Kids get cured by doctor or belief in placebo prayer.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 06:02:47 PM »
Tero, I have a better suggestion.

Sick people.
Consenting adult theists pray for themselves and each other.
Children and atheists go to a doctor.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 06:15:40 PM »
I asked why they don't just pray to get better if prayer actually works.
They said it is a sign that prayer works. They feel that asking god for help is answered when they go to the doctor and get help.

Man, once you clean out the cobwebs of theocracy from your brain, you understand that this is the heart of what is wrong with it.  Every single detail of what a doctor knows is based on ONLY the discoveries of men and women through the ages, nothing else.

edit: added (and women)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 06:18:17 PM by shnozzola »
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 06:49:49 PM »
Prayer is a con job where "god" enjoys a "heads I win, tails I win" advantage.  A positive outcome is seen as proof by the believers as an answer to their prayers.  A non-answer is simply viewed as "god knows best", or, "it's a mystery".  God can never lose on the deal.

Here is the scenario where any sane and rational person would view god as a feckless sham:  the kidnapped little girl who is being raped and tortured by a child molester and all the while she is crying for her mommy.  All the while her parents are fervently praying for her rescue, putting their faith in god.  We all know this has happened and may be happening at this moment.

Any person with an ounce of decency who could save the girl would do so.  The highest calling of a Christian is to be godlike, but unfortunately god is under no obligation to do anything and is free to allow the girl to be tortured and killed.  The saddest thing is that the girl's parents will likely hold god blameless and even though they believe their god to be all powerful they are sure that he knows best and there was a good reason for his allowing their little girl to be tortured and raped and killed.

Prayer is an empty sham and scam.  Unfortunately for believers in a god there is no accountability for that entity, yet so many Christians would scoff at the reality of the god of anyone who required the sacrifice of children when their own god is as bad.

Offline Boots

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 07:18:37 PM »
Any person with an ounce of decency who could save the girl would do so.  The highest calling of a Christian is to be godlike, but unfortunately god is under no obligation to do anything and is free to allow the girl to be tortured and killed.  The saddest thing is that the girl's parents will likely hold god blameless and even though they believe their god to be all powerful they are sure that he knows best and there was a good reason for his allowing their little girl to be tortured and raped and killed.

Schizoid hit the nail on the head, IMHO.  In this scenario, two things are possible.

1) god is Good.  Therefore, what god does is good.  Therefore, allowing a child to be tortured and raped (when it could hav been prevented by an omni-everything god) is good.  Therefore, we should change our mortal opinions re: morality and strive to be more good, ie. mroe like god, ie willing ot let an innocent suffer for reasons that are not apparent to the sufferer.

2) we don't know god's motives--since he works in mysterious ways.  Ergo, at best we can say 'we don't know whether god is good.'

What really irks me is when people use the "god tortures innocents to teach us somethign" bullcrap.  If that were true, then it is morally acceptable--laudible even--to beat one child in order to teach another.  But you get put in jail for that, dont' you?  Why??  Because it's PHLUCKING SICK AND WRONG, brainiac!!!
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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 07:54:12 PM »
It gets even worse if you believe in god and a kid gets raped. That means god knew the guy would rape a little girl. And he knew which little girl would get raped. And he didn't give a f**k. In the meantime, anti-abortionists claim that every pregnancy is sacred.

For what? So god can play games with the resulting child. So he can sit back and get is rocks off as a kid gets snuffed?

I for one am not in the mood to help entertain the guy.

A friend of mine recently told me that when he was in Vietnam during the war, and his airbase was being overrun one night by sappers. He wasn't a soldier, he was an aircraft maintenance guy. He and another airman heard the commotion while they were inside the fuselage of a jet fixing the fuel line. They jumped out and he started running to a nearby bunker that was there for non-combatants to hide in. He noticed the other guy wasn't with him and he turned around and there they guy was, by the jet, on his knees, praying. Right about then the VC burst into the hanger and shot the guy. My friend dived into the bunker and right about the the good guys showed up saved him and the others inside. But the other guy was nearly cut in half by all the bullets that hit him and needless to say his praying days were over.

Apparently he wasn't heard over the sound of gunfire or something. Or this god guy is omnipodeaf.



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Offline kitar77

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2012, 08:18:46 PM »
god secretly needs us human beings to find solutions to the problems he created.........dumbass >:(
only a idiot god would fashion us with the ability to use a fraction of our intellectual (brain) capacity
 

Offline Schizoid

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2012, 10:10:13 PM »
Concerning prayer along with doctors and medicines.  Even Christians expect their doctors to be well trained and experienced, employing all they have learned from science to treat illnesses and disease and injury.  They demand that approved medicines be well researched and having gone through extensive clinical trials.  They want proof that the medications actually work and proof that their doctors are qualified.

But when it comes to their god, prayer, and their Bible all that they require is faith and none of the hard proof they demand when they see a doctor or take prescribed medications.  They would be shocked if they were asked to take on faith whatever their doctor tells them and whatever meds are prescribed even though there would be a mountain of hard evidence and proof to back up what the doctor says and the drugs prescribed, but they have no problem with the low, low bar that is set for god, prayer, and the Bible.

They swallow a camel and strain at a gnat.

Offline Iamrational

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2012, 11:21:28 PM »
Thank you for the replies. Yes this is what frustrates me about that side of the argument. I can't get this person to see that strictly human involvement is fixing their problems, not divinely inspired mediums.

This is something now I can say now that plain stumps me. Of course it is reasoning like this why we have to call out logical fallacy. There is no way to argue against circular reasoning because it will always answer itself, even with contradictions.

More disturbing is this: this is an intelligent person. This is not a person that wasn't educated, or can't use logic to solve problems. Quite the opposite is true. How could an ideology be so power to render this person dumb to logical reasoning on this one subject? More importantly, what could be doing it?

This is dangerous territory. Here you have someone that holds the "Daddy can do no wrong," mindset. When that happens in abusive human relationships people get hurt.

My final thought is I have to agree with what a few have said here. That is we must point out the negative results of god's influence with everything in this world. The person in my scenario feels that no matter what I said, god influenced all the positive science that healed their sickness, even if a doctor actually did the work. So my argument should be to corner them into admitting that god touches everything in this world, influences every outcome. If they agree to that it is simply a matter of pointing out the millions of instances where god influenced death, rape, torture, or by lack of influence allowed these atrocities to go on. Then watch as they try to dig themselves out of the hole they fell into.

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2012, 11:31:27 PM »
I need to apologize to everyone. I told a prayer story in a post above (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21477.msg478047.html#msg478047) that I had heard recently from a friend. I mentioned it to another friend today and he told me that it couldn't have happened because friend #1, though in the Air Force in the 60's, got kicked out after only two years and never went to Vietnam. Those two have known each other from grade school. I was further told that he known for telling tall tails, and that he seems to be doing it more now that he is retired.

I use the word friend sort of loosely. I've known the first guy for over twenty years and see him a lot around town, but we don't socialize. Perhaps if we did I'd have known him better.

My bad. I apologize.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2012, 10:02:06 AM »
More disturbing is this: this is an intelligent person. This is not a person that wasn't educated, or can't use logic to solve problems. Quite the opposite is true. How could an ideology be so power to render this person dumb to logical reasoning on this one subject? More importantly, what could be doing it?
Fear and greed as always. 
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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2012, 10:05:42 AM »
The only thing prayer is good for is for meditation and pep talks.
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Offline atheola

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2012, 10:37:54 AM »
It all comes down to praying harder than the next sucker in line. Lemme explain.. All the good liberal atheist New Yorkers obviously prayed harder for the Giants to win the super bowl than ALl of those god fearing folks in say Dallas.  Praying hard yields results...or not.
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2012, 11:01:54 AM »
Here's another of what I consider the prayer/god fail classic:  the tornado.

A tornado is coming.  Its sound like a thousand rushing freight trains can be heard.  On one side of the street is the Jones family, devout and faithful Christians fervently praying for deliverance from the killer tornado.  On the other side of the street is the Smith family, equally devout and faithful Christians fervently praying for deliverance from the killer tornado.

The Jones family was saved unscathed and absolutely convinced that god answered their prayers.  Fortunately they were saved because the tornado hit the other side of the street which was unfortunate for the Smith family who, despite their prayers, were all killed.

This scenario always boggles me how people can be so thankful to god for saving them from a storm, flood, fire, fill in the blank, when so many others who are equally as innocent and likely many are also "godly" people are killed.

Offline atheola

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2012, 11:13:20 AM »
You gotta keep up with the Jones's and pray harder man.. Didn't you learn nothin in church? Obviously not.  :angel:
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2012, 11:18:52 AM »
This scenario always boggles me how people can be so thankful to god for saving them from a storm, flood, fire, fill in the blank, when so many others who are equally as innocent and likely many are also "godly" people are killed.

indeed.  it directly implies that someone didn't pray the "right" way. 
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Offline changeling

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2012, 11:28:07 AM »
^^^ Or my favorite, "God needed them in heaven".
The level of dumb they have to sell, is only made remotely possible by the level of flocking their sheep are willing to do in the name of rewards for no thought. quote: Kin Hell

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Offline Schizoid

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2012, 11:30:57 AM »
You gotta keep up with the Jones's and pray harder man.. Didn't you learn nothin in church? Obviously not.  :angel:

Good one, I didn't catch that as I was writing it. :laugh:

The Jones family would probably figure the Smiths were not saved by god because they didn't baptize the right way or were not holy or religious enough, or that they didn't belong to the Jones' denomination.  Or maybe the Jones believed the Smiths were unworthy to be saved from the tornado because they were Liberals, which to the religiously conservative is worse than being heathen.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Need help with a prayer rationalization argument
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2012, 11:32:05 AM »
Any thoughts?

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