Author Topic: Why pray?  (Read 2613 times)

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Offline Lectus

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Why pray?
« on: December 10, 2013, 09:51:25 PM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

And if you want to change your life's path through prayer are you trying to manipulate God for your own needs?
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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 10:02:24 PM »
I suspect that many people pray simply to make themselves feel better. A kind of self-soothing behavior.
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Offline Ivellios

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 10:45:22 PM »
When my relatives asked why I don't pray (I haven't told them I no longer believe) I tried the whole, "Trying to thwart God's divine plan for your own selfish reasons," angle with my relatives:
If you pray that someone who has cancer will be cured but they die instead, you say it is, "God's Will," but if they're cured, it was ALREADY an All-Knowing God's will. Which means, God's going to do, what God's going to do regardless of your actions, so why pray?

"'Caus the Bible says we're supposed to pray ceaselessly."

-.-

Didn't give me a verse though.

Jump to the moon! Don't stop till you get there! People's enthusiasm in doing pointless endevors despite the futility of them, astonishes me.

I suspect that many people pray simply to make themselves feel better. A kind of self-soothing behavior.

Bolded: I agree. It's the rest...

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 03:53:25 AM »
Has anyone seen the amount of 'How To Pray Effectively' books on Amazon?! I noticed when one of my debating Christians posted the name of the book he was reading. People actually buy this nonsense?! Like there's a technique that can be learned to subvert the will of a supposed all powerful deity by muttering a few words?!

Of course not having read these books, the 'effective way to pray' may simply advise praying only for something that could occur naturally or by coincidence and NEVER praying for something concrete that only a god could do. That would be an effective way indeed.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2013, 03:57:51 AM »
Has anyone seen the amount of 'How To Pray Effectively' books on Amazon?! I noticed when one of my debating Christians posted the name of the book he was reading. People actually buy this nonsense?! Like there's a technique that can be learned to subvert the will of a supposed all powerful deity by muttering a few words?!

Of course not having read these books, the 'effective way to pray' may simply advise praying only for something that could occur naturally or by coincidence and NEVER praying for something concrete that only a god could do. That would be an effective way indeed.

There is a reason for all those books: the previous one didn't work.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2013, 07:16:44 AM »

There is a reason for all those books: the previous one didn't work.

There is a market for these books, and it is extremely large.  A smart atheist could easily capitalize on this, and make a ton of cash.  Is that immoral?  Would it be any less immoral than the thousands of weight loss and self-help titles that people get rich from?  Or does it all boil down to determining the sincerity of the author?  If there is a true mechanic to prayer, then who cares who the author is, as long as it works?

Offline b.a.worldchanger

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 04:11:23 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Quote
And if you want to change your life's path through prayer are you trying to manipulate God for your own needs?

Sometimes.


Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 06:35:37 AM »
Didn't the gospel paint god as a father figure - a greater and better father than we all have in our natural fathers? As a father, I think we like nit when our children tell us want they want and tell us about their problems and we can sometimes solves their problems (unless it is school maths of course!) Then  it follows that god, as father, would also want to hear our wants ad problems and would help us with the problems. There's why people ought to pray.

Then again there is a rather good book called 'the Practice of the Presence of God' by Brother Lawrence who worked in the monastery kitchens and found that he could feel he was in the presence of god all the time and could easily and freely talk to him as he did his work.

Whoops, I nearly forgot, what I have written above is fine for theists - specifically Christians. Other religions have their own rules, especially Islam. For the est of us, who see no reason to believe there is a god and notice that those who pray fail to get any material answers, I suppose prayer is a sort of meditation in which the subconscious is let to come up with answers to problems our conscious mind has failed to solve. Those answers from the subconscious mind pop into our conscious minds and feel like they have come from another entity. Theists say that entity is god whilst atheists realise it is just their own mind.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 06:39:39 AM by wheels5894 »
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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 08:13:00 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Extremely dodgeful, unsatisfying answers like these run rampant in Christian apologetics. Even though people definitely pray for reasons other than petition[1], there is no question whatsoever as to what Lectus is struggling to understand.



Here is the type of exchange I've never seen between 2 atheists:


Lectus: "Why post questions to Christians if they rarely give a direct answer?"

lotanddaughters: "Posts don't have to consist of only questions."




On top of the pathetic answers that Christians give, Christians who happen to be reading or listening to their fellow Christian's pathetic response will focus all of their attention on that true statement that their fellow Christian smuggled into the conversation, even though that statement totally dodged the question. They will say things like, "That was a Very. Good. Answer", and their fellow Christian listener/reader will say "Amen".



And, you get all of this denial in the face of bullshit like this:


"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." -Mark 11:24

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." -John 15:7

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." -John 16:24


Cults provide bullshit promises that only the extremely gullible can be enslaved by.




You know what's funny?

If most scientists gave rock-solid answers to every question pertaining to the Theory of Evolution, except for one answer that was as weak as b.a.worldchanger's answer, and 90% of scientists agreed with that weak answer, the rest of us would be like "What the fuck? There is some bullshit going on with this 'theory'." All it would take would be one weak-ass answer.

Christianity gets bombarded with evidence to the contrary, and you still see these pathetic dipshits lying to themselves.
 1. "Thank you, God" is a common example of non-petitional prayer.
Enough with your bullshit.
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Offline b.a.worldchanger

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 02:26:46 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Extremely dodgeful, unsatisfying answers like these run rampant in Christian apologetics. Even though people definitely pray for reasons other than petition[1], there is no question whatsoever as to what Lectus is struggling to understand.
 1. "Thank you, God" is a common example of non-petitional prayer.

What makes it vague?  The question was, "If God knows what is best for you, why pray?"  Sounds like an simple, honest question.  To which, a simple, honest reply with an example was given.  If Lectus is asking an honest question to glean knowledge/insight, then the answer was meant to satisfy one example of why one might pray...which from this theist's perspective, one might pray as an attempt to gain understanding.

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 08:18:23 AM »
For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

Now, is this flash simply a psychological reaction?  A sub-conscious response bubbling up to my conscious mind?  Or is it some kind of divine response?  I prefer to think it is divine response but have no way of proving that.  But, since I am not trying to convince others to pray as I pray or believe as I believe, I don't feel a need to prove it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 08:20:47 AM »
For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

Now, is this flash simply a psychological reaction?  A sub-conscious response bubbling up to my conscious mind?  Or is it some kind of divine response?  I prefer to think it is divine response but have no way of proving that.  But, since I am not trying to convince others to pray as I pray or believe as I believe, I don't feel a need to prove it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

Sounds fair enough to me, OCG
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Jesuis

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 11:18:42 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

And if you want to change your life's path through prayer are you trying to manipulate God for your own needs?
Lets say there is a God. And it is all conscious.
Then it could be the psychology of our mind that seeks to pray?
If we forget or we do something we know God will not approve of then our minds is probably seeking forgiveness.
According to Theists: Theists know God, Atheists don't.

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 11:27:41 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Extremely dodgeful, unsatisfying answers like these run rampant in Christian apologetics. Even though people definitely pray for reasons other than petition[1], there is no question whatsoever as to what Lectus is struggling to understand.
 1. "Thank you, God" is a common example of non-petitional prayer.

What makes it vague?  The question was, "If God knows what is best for you, why pray?"  Sounds like an simple, honest question.  To which, a simple, honest reply with an example was given.  If Lectus is asking an honest question to glean knowledge/insight, then the answer was meant to satisfy one example of why one might pray...which from this theist's perspective, one might pray as an attempt to gain understanding.
One may also put two sticks together in an attempt to find water under the ground.

That they wish to find water does not answer the question of why someone would bother to try putting two sticks together in hopes of finding it..

A better way to pose the question perhaps:
If god knows what's best for you, what makes you think the process of praying would have any effect, be it an increase in 'understanding[2]' or a physical manifestation of a change in expected outcome?

I admit that your answer didn't sound like a dodge to me, but it doesn't answer the question in a satisfactory manner.

Edit: Fixed crap grammar
 2. Understanding of what...TBD
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 11:38:31 AM by jdawg70 »
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Online lotanddaughters

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 07:14:47 PM »
For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

Now, is this flash simply a psychological reaction?  A sub-conscious response bubbling up to my conscious mind?  Or is it some kind of divine response?  I prefer to think it is divine response but have no way of proving that.  But, since I am not trying to convince others to pray as I pray or believe as I believe, I don't feel a need to prove it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy



For me, prayer has evolved . . .


For you, prayer has evolved. Has it evolved according to how the "scriptures" predicted it? Or, has it evolved according to Man's relentless enlightenment over time?

Man has chiseled away at the doctrines of  previous generations. You are the product of that chiselment.

"Prayer" is a forgone activity in the Modern Age because of its exposed uselessness in an ever-increasing mathematical world.



Ancient myths that have been previously assumed as true are finally being categorized along with myths that have been treated as myths. 
Enough with your bullshit.
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Online lotanddaughters

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2014, 08:09:09 PM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Extremely dodgeful, unsatisfying answers like these run rampant in Christian apologetics. Even though people definitely pray for reasons other than petition[1], there is no question whatsoever as to what Lectus is struggling to understand.
 1. "Thank you, God" is a common example of non-petitional prayer.

What makes it vague?  The question was, "If God knows what is best for you, why pray?"  Sounds like an simple, honest question.  To which, a simple, honest reply with an example was given.  If Lectus is asking an honest question to glean knowledge/insight, then the answer was meant to satisfy one example of why one might pray...which from this theist's perspective, one might pray as an attempt to gain understanding.

Try again.  [mod edit, no need for name calling]

Analyze the quoted exchange, and realize where you went wrong.

Remember, we have been answering questions about what the Bible says for a long time now on this forum.

Your question, "What makes it vague?", is so fucking off the mark, that we were prepared for its stupidity.

As stupid as it may seem, we've actually witnessed worse.

When you join this forum claiming to be a Christian, we treat you like a person who believes that unicorns suck Santa's d**K better than Zarathustra does, and rightfully so.

Christianity is nothing but a bullshit myth. Any claim to the contrary deserves nothing but ridicule because the New Testament is fucking horses**t.



« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 10:56:12 PM by jetson »
Enough with your bullshit.
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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2014, 08:44:53 PM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

Extremely dodgeful, unsatisfying answers like these run rampant in Christian apologetics. Even though people definitely pray for reasons other than petition[1], there is no question whatsoever as to what Lectus is struggling to understand.
 1. "Thank you, God" is a common example of non-petitional prayer.

What makes it vague?  The question was, "If God knows what is best for you, why pray?"  Sounds like an simple, honest question.  To which, a simple, honest reply with an example was given.  If Lectus is asking an honest question to glean knowledge/insight, then the answer was meant to satisfy one example of why one might pray...which from this theist's perspective, one might pray as an attempt to gain understanding.


Do you even know why we rational people can't tell if you are really a true Christian or an atheist pretending to be a Christian?

It's because the atheist pretending to be a Christian posts the most unfounded, off-the-wall shit. But guess what? So do the pathetic Christians.

From our experience, some Christian idiot, who half-knows his entire life is based on wishful thinking, is less likely to engage us truth-hammerers than the atheist troll who jacks off to the rise he conjures out of us.




This is how pathetic Christians really are.


Really.
Enough with your bullshit.
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Offline DVZ3

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 09:07:46 PM »

George Carlin on Prayer

Hguols: "Its easier for me to believe that a God created everything...."

Offline b.a.worldchanger

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2014, 04:36:26 AM »
LotAndDaughters, I can see why the shelter was created, and why you're probably not a part of it :)

That said, no offense taken.  If you want to know something from this stupid and ignorant theist's perspective, then ask a question that will draw it out.  Surely you've perfected that skill over the many hundreds of theists that have visited this forum.  Unless your point is to try and berate people for pleasure or a sense of dominance, in which I'll gladly still attempt to engage in what I perceive to be honest attempts at dialog from you and others.

If you (or others) would like more specifics on my views regarding prayer, I'd be happy to discuss it with you.  But, if you're just going to use it as a rant to vent your personal frustration towards theists, it probably won't be a very productive conversation.  I'm not posing as a theist, I am one.  I have been for many years.  I've wrestled with issues surrounding prayer and it's effectiveness or lack thereof, and it's purpose many times.  It definitely serves a purpose in my life, so ask if you're interested, or don't if you're not  ;)

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2014, 05:57:28 AM »
OK,  b.a.worldchanger, I'm not insulting you. Perhaps you could tell us what prayer does for you in your life, please?
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Offline penfold

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2014, 06:10:29 AM »
When you join this forum claiming to be a Christian, we treat you like a person who believes that unicorns suck Santa's d**K better than Zarathustra does, and rightfully so.

Christianity is nothing but a bullshit myth. Any claim to the contrary deserves nothing but ridicule because the New Testament is fucking horses**t.

I must say we are all impressed with the rational way you engaged in this argument.

Real advert for atheism.

Well done.
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Offline penfold

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2014, 06:19:05 AM »
One example would be for awareness of what is best, aligning one's will and understanding with God.  Prayer doesn't have to be only petition.

For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

It is interesting that both of you have moved away from the petitionary aspect of prayer. Do you then reject that prayer can/should be used to ask God for things?

Also what about the more nebulous requests like forgive us our trespasses - is there a real difference between that and asking for enough money to pay the rent (other than the fact we can see if the latter has worked)?
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Offline Angus and Alexis

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2014, 06:29:30 AM »
I think prayer could potentially cause a boost in positive feelings (similar to meditation).

Other than that, because religion says for people to pray.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2014, 06:49:02 AM »
For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

Now, is this flash simply a psychological reaction?  A sub-conscious response bubbling up to my conscious mind?  Or is it some kind of divine response?  I prefer to think it is divine response but have no way of proving that.  But, since I am not trying to convince others to pray as I pray or believe as I believe, I don't feel a need to prove it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy


That is actually an excellent explanation. 

Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the rhythms of every day life to find the answers that we are pushing ourselves to find.  I come up with my best ideas in terms of how to solve work-related problems while I'm in the shower.  If I sit by the ocean, I often find answers to questions I didn't even necessarily know I was seeking.  Although I haven't been camping in years, I remember the same thing happening sitting next to a bonfire, under a canopy of stars.  I used to go camping when I was sad or recovering from a negative life event.  And I would come home with a certain degree of acceptance. 

If you can evoke this response kneeling by your bedside, or bowing your head in church, then it is clearly a productive activity.     

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2014, 07:13:03 AM »
For me, prayer has evolved from trying to manipulate God to expressing thanks and asking for insight on what should I do or say.  I've had situations where a flash of an idea comes after this. 

Now, is this flash simply a psychological reaction?  A sub-conscious response bubbling up to my conscious mind?  Or is it some kind of divine response?  I prefer to think it is divine response but have no way of proving that.  But, since I am not trying to convince others to pray as I pray or believe as I believe, I don't feel a need to prove it.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy



For me, prayer has evolved . . .


For you, prayer has evolved. Has it evolved according to how the "scriptures" predicted it? Or, has it evolved according to Man's relentless enlightenment over time?

Man has chiseled away at the doctrines of  previous generations. You are the product of that chiselment.

"Prayer" is a forgone activity in the Modern Age because of its exposed uselessness in an ever-increasing mathematical world.



Ancient myths that have been previously assumed as true are finally being categorized along with myths that have been treated as myths.

Regarding your questions on the evolution of prayer, I do not know.

Looking at your responses to other posts, I thank you for the civil choice of words. 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
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Offline junebug72

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2014, 08:16:33 AM »
If God knows what's best for you why pray?

And if you want to change your life's path through prayer are you trying to manipulate God for your own needs?

I totally agree, I believe God does know what is best for us all.  I don't believe we are born to do whatever a god dreams up for us.  That is not free will.

I never thought about it that way Lectus, but I think you make an excellent point.  I'm not religious, so I have no rules about praying.  I generally don't.  I think it is selfish to pray for one's self.  When I was having chemo my partner's work Chaplain came by to say a prayer with me.  I was in a room full of cancer patients and she only prayed for me.  I could not help myself at the end I asked God to bless all the sick and hungry.   She didn't come back after that.  I think I offended her.  I didn't mean too. :D

It makes me sad when our politicians say God Bless the USA, when the whole world needs blessing.  I believe God knows our hearts but I also believe other than strength, acceptance or wisdom; things that help spirit,  that God will not get involved in this physical world. 

True story,

Before I found the lump I was already on this web site.  There were so many examples of suffering here.  No suffering in this world is as bad to me as the suffering of children.  I did something I don't normally do and asked God right there at my desk top to give the cancer to me.  Now I am almost positive that lump was already there, I just hadn't found it yet.  So did I save the life of a child; I really don't know.  I don't think God goes around giving us cancer.  Not mine not anybody's.  I believe it's environmental, life choices; I've breathed second hand smoke since the day I was born and started the nasty habit myself at 12-13 years old, I believe it's from the steroid and horrid conditions at factory farms.  I should get results soon from the geneticist to see if I have the BRCA 1-2 gene.

I believe TOGETHER we control our own destiny. 

Peace and Joy, Joy, Joy,

JB
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 08:19:31 AM by junebug72 »
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_paine.html#XXwlhVIMq06zWg2d.99

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2014, 10:41:01 AM »
L&D, let's calm down a bit please.

If God knows what's best for you why pray?

And if you want to change your life's path through prayer are you trying to manipulate God for your own needs?

I'm amazed the Christians haven't pointed out that Christ very specifically said "you pray like this....".  To give thanks, and to specifically say "THY will be done".  Yes, that does contradict all the stuff about asking and it shall be given, but it IS in there - that "prayer" is to give thanks and to praise, not to ask for stuff.

I can see that very quickly getting old though - not the right phrase, perhaps.....better perhaps to say that if you go through life forging a relationship with your god, wouldn't it only seem natural to - every now and then - ask them a little favour?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Online jdawg70

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2014, 11:47:53 AM »
I'm amazed the Christians haven't pointed out that Christ very specifically said "you pray like this....".  To give thanks, and to specifically say "THY will be done".  Yes, that does contradict all the stuff about asking and it shall be given, but it IS in there - that "prayer" is to give thanks and to praise, not to ask for stuff.

I can see that very quickly getting old though - not the right phrase, perhaps.....better perhaps to say that if you go through life forging a relationship with your god, wouldn't it only seem natural to - every now and then - ask them a little favour?

You know...the prayer construct is particularly strange when viewed in light of the concept of a 'relationship' with god.

The following assumes that god is an omnipotent, omniscient entity:
1) God can, in a sense, read your mind.  Either this is manifested as an active psychic reading of some kind, or he, being omniscient, just basically knows what's going on in that noggin' of yours.
2) As per above, it would seem impossible to do, say, or think anything without god knowing, or readily being able to know, that you did, said, or thought it.
3) God is interested in you.  He does not look at you as a menial employee of some kind, but rather, he views you as one of his children or beloved creations or somesuch.

Why a distinction between praying to god and just...talking to god?  He's going to hear you, right?  Why does he need any bit of formality?  Wouldn't you be upset if someone you loved asked for formal letterhead in any correspondence you have to him, otherwise he'll be less inclined to care about your letter?  In any personal, healthy relationship, do you ever need to construct some sort of ritual to indicate 'this is me talking to you now and praising you', or 'I'm looking for a better understanding of you', or does that kind of communication just...kinda happen through basic interaction?

I guess...from god's perspective...what is the difference between 'praying' and 'not praying' exactly?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why pray?
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2014, 12:01:45 PM »
On the other hand we are told in the Gospels that Jesus prayed to the Father. If a Christian wants to follow the lead of Jesus then praying ought to be part of that 'following'. After all, there's more to communication than just 'data mining' on the part of a creator.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)