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Offline Graybeard

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Prayer Explained
« on: June 30, 2014, 06:13:15 AM »
Prayer Explained:



(From Rational Wiki)
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Lectus

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 08:53:57 AM »
From a psychology point of view a belief is installed in a deeper part of the mind, so it can't be easily changed.

That's why Christians will do everything to defend their belief. Which means when prayer doesn't work they'll rationalize stuff to cope with it.

If humans would easily lose their beliefs they wouldn't be able to survive. Because they wouldn't have courage to do even simple things.

Somehow the brain of theists associate religion with better chances of survival. They've been indoctrinated in this since young.
Religion: The belief that an all powerful God or gods created the entire universe so that we tiny humans can be happy. And we also make war about it.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 10:48:25 AM »
From a psychology point of view a belief is installed in a deeper part of the mind, so it can't be easily changed.

That's why Christians will do everything to defend their belief. Which means when prayer doesn't work they'll rationalize stuff to cope with it.

If humans would easily lose their beliefs they wouldn't be able to survive. Because they wouldn't have courage to do even simple things.

Somehow the brain of theists associate religion with better chances of survival. They've been indoctrinated in this since young.

True, it's very scary and time consuming to re-evaluate your beliefs.

I can't tell you how many times I prayed stuff like, "If my doubt is wrong, if what these websites are saying is wrong, please show me."

But I took enough logic and debate to know a winning argument when I see one, and Theists were losing every time, badly, in the same ways.   It couldn't be by accident.

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline wow

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 04:08:52 PM »
From a psychology point of view a belief is installed in a deeper part of the mind, so it can't be easily changed.

That's why Christians will do everything to defend their belief. Which means when prayer doesn't work they'll rationalize stuff to cope with it.

If humans would easily lose their beliefs they wouldn't be able to survive. Because they wouldn't have courage to do even simple things.

Somehow the brain of theists associate religion with better chances of survival. They've been indoctrinated in this since young.

True, it's very scary and time consuming to re-evaluate your beliefs.

I can't tell you how many times I prayed stuff like, "If my doubt is wrong, if what these websites are saying is wrong, please show me."

But I took enough logic and debate to know a winning argument when I see one, and Theists were losing every time, badly, in the same ways.   It couldn't be by accident.

I can totally relate to your statement. I had the same experience with respect to my colleagues. I studied physics and a lot of my colleagues were atheists. It wasn't because of them that I stepped away from Christianity, but because as a scientist this is not the mindset I wanted nor could I convince myself anymore of my beliefs. In the beginning I kept praying as well for reconciliation of my faith with my work, but the more I prayed for it, the more I realized that I already knew the answer to that.

It is extremely difficult to step away from that mindset but in my opinion it is the only way to realizing that there is more out there than just your perception of the 'truth'. Moreover, it shows that 'truth' within that context is very relative, whilst I used to belief it was absolute.

I think prayer works in a self-assuring way and protects from facing hard reality. It is easier to confine yourself in god's will to deal with suffering rather than know that life can be very cruel and hard for some. Also, if for example you believe that suffering comes from sin, at least in theological theory you can 'do' something about it. That's very different from knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 04:11:39 PM by wow »

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 06:25:13 PM »
Another problem with religious belief is that the brain is so very complex. Neuroscientists are just barely beginning to get real scientific data on how the human (or any other) brain works. Stuff based on what ancient people thought about the brain can have powerful effects, even when it is likely to be wrong.[1]

So, religious ideas can be tapping into very deep areas of people's brains and messing around in there doing damage. That could be why it is so hard to tell a very religious person praying to god, from somebody who is crazy talking to people who are not there. There is such a thin line between believing religious nonsense and being totally delusional.
 1. Like people do bad things because of sin. Or people have seizures because of demons. Or that voices in your head are gods or spirits talking to you.
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 YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2014, 10:04:07 AM »
From a psychology point of view a belief is installed in a deeper part of the mind, so it can't be easily changed.

That's why Christians will do everything to defend their belief. Which means when prayer doesn't work they'll rationalize stuff to cope with it.

If humans would easily lose their beliefs they wouldn't be able to survive. Because they wouldn't have courage to do even simple things.

Somehow the brain of theists associate religion with better chances of survival. They've been indoctrinated in this since young.

True, it's very scary and time consuming to re-evaluate your beliefs.

I can't tell you how many times I prayed stuff like, "If my doubt is wrong, if what these websites are saying is wrong, please show me."

But I took enough logic and debate to know a winning argument when I see one, and Theists were losing every time, badly, in the same ways.   It couldn't be by accident.

I can totally relate to your statement. I had the same experience with respect to my colleagues. I studied physics and a lot of my colleagues were atheists. It wasn't because of them that I stepped away from Christianity, but because as a scientist this is not the mindset I wanted nor could I convince myself anymore of my beliefs. In the beginning I kept praying as well for reconciliation of my faith with my work, but the more I prayed for it, the more I realized that I already knew the answer to that.

It is extremely difficult to step away from that mindset but in my opinion it is the only way to realizing that there is more out there than just your perception of the 'truth'. Moreover, it shows that 'truth' within that context is very relative, whilst I used to belief it was absolute.

I think prayer works in a self-assuring way and protects from facing hard reality. It is easier to confine yourself in god's will to deal with suffering rather than know that life can be very cruel and hard for some. Also, if for example you believe that suffering comes from sin, at least in theological theory you can 'do' something about it. That's very different from knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

If you pray to God to provide you with a good match for you... and then you pay money to Christian Mingle and then go on dates... you are more likely to assume that God has guided your search, and you might settle for that person, even if you see small or large warning signs.

You're less likely to evaluate the match logically.

If you're in a marriage but you've met someone else want to leave because you've met someone else, you'll pray about it and maybe you're driving down the road and see a sign for a divorce attorney on a billboard, and you'll see THAT as the answer to your prayer.

Your prayers are always likely to guide you towards what you "want" but it may not guide you to a logical path.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Airyaman

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2014, 10:09:06 AM »
Prayer is simply tension relief wrapped up in a supernatural package. When it seems there is no hope, you get some sort of positive relief when you believe big bad skygod cares enough to hear about your problems.
If you are following God why can I still see you?

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 12:10:24 PM »
Pattern recognition also kicks in. Our brains make connections between things that we are not even conscious of.

We have all experienced it-- you buy a green car and suddenly there are all these green cars out there on the road. Or you decide to move to Australia and suddenly all this information connected to that country starts showing up in your life. Or you are thinking about adopting a child and suddenly people start telling you about their experiences with adoption.

What is really happening is your brain is constantly zeroing in on the things that are important to you, filtering out all the things that matter less. If our brains did not do this, we would go nuts from the overwhelming amount of data out in the world.

There were always green cars, but you never paid them any attention before you got one. The guy in the next cubicle always had an Australian brother in law with a sheep ranch needing help, but it never mattered to you before. And adoption was always discussed around you, but it was not connected to you before, and now it is.
 
If you are a religious person, you might decide that those associations and connections are not just coincidences that your pattern recognizing brain has begun to notice. They are evidence that god is answering your prayers.
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 YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2014, 01:19:55 PM »
Pattern recognition also kicks in. Our brains make connections between things that we are not even conscious of.

We have all experienced it-- you buy a green car and suddenly there are all these green cars out there on the road. Or you decide to move to Australia and suddenly all this information connected to that country starts showing up in your life. Or you are thinking about adopting a child and suddenly people start telling you about their experiences with adoption.

What is really happening is your brain is constantly zeroing in on the things that are important to you, filtering out all the things that matter less. If our brains did not do this, we would go nuts from the overwhelming amount of data out in the world.

There were always green cars, but you never paid them any attention before you got one. The guy in the next cubicle always had an Australian brother in law with a sheep ranch needing help, but it never mattered to you before. And adoption was always discussed around you, but it was not connected to you before, and now it is.
 
If you are a religious person, you might decide that those associations and connections are not just coincidences that your pattern recognizing brain has begun to notice. They are evidence that god is answering your prayers.

That's a great, great, great post...    I wish I could hug you, and then hold on for too long so it got really awkward, and we'd all laugh at me.

Taking advantage of pattern recognition is a great tool for con-artists and magicians.

Ever see how those balance bracelet tests work in the mall?    When you wear the bracelet, they tug slightly towards your center of gravity.  When you take it off, they tug or push away from your center of gravity.

Because you were wearing a bracelet one time, and not the other, you think that there's a cause and effect related to the bracelet... they repeat the test three different ways so that you can see, each time you wore the bracelet, you had better stretching or balance.

Then people pay $30 for a bracelet that has nothing at all to do with better balance or stretching or strength and cost just 23 cents to make.

(those numbers are made up but you get the idea)

This is exactly why some people claim that "prayer diaries" work.

And they can claim that they were sitting depressed about something at church, and god sent a person up to them to give them a positive message... but couldn't it just be that people noticed you sitting there with depressed body language and thought it'd be cool to help your faith a little?

If you've lost a job, chances are, you'll do multiple things to try to find a job.  One of those things might be "pray" but it's the other things you do that actually affect people knowing that you need a job and possibly helping you to find one.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2014, 02:50:48 PM »
When I was about 25 and was sick of being a slacker college drop-out and finally decided to a respectable person in society, I chanced upon a self help book 'The Power of Your Subconscious Mind' by Joseph Murphy (book is still widely available via various bookstores).  This book described a kind of meditiation method, which the author called 'scientific prayer.' The technique employed some basic meditation techniques to get yourself into a relaxed and suggestable mental state, and then you would repeat to yourself an affirmation such as 'I will get a new job' or 'My subconscious mind is seeking my new job.'

I employed this method for a few months, and I found that it did seem to improve my ability to find opportunities and connections between what I was thinking and the outside world, and it helped give me the confidence to return to school, get a respectable job, and other things (then again, at the same time in my life, I took up running, and quit booze and cigarettes...so maybe those things also contributed).  I think it's likely that it helped me focus. 

To the credit of the book, it was non-denominational...and IIRC, I don't think it talks much if any about magical beings like gods or angels or whatever. By that time in my life I was agnostic/atheist, and religious crap annoyed me, so I don't think it was a religious book.

It's funny, but most self-help books are written in this style that kind of hypnotises you, helps make you more suggestible.  In the case of this book, it helped and the writer seemed to be trying to teach a method whereby a person could be the master of his own programming.  But nowadays, any time I read something that is written in that self-help book style, my bullshit detectors get activated and put on hyper-alert status.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 03:53:44 PM by flapdoodle64 »

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2014, 03:44:43 PM »
Virtual hugs are fine and not awkward at all. Just....stay over there, okay YRM_DM? :angel:

If most people really understood how their brains worked, life would be so much easier and more comprehensible to them. But instead, a lot of people, esp. those in traditional religions but also new agey types, want their existence to be something magical or mystical. it is almost like some people never get over finding out that fairy tales are not real as children or something.

I am not saying that to be insulting to religious people-- I remember how much I wanted magic to be real when I was a kid being abused in a very dysfunctional JW family.  I tried so hard to bring a fairy godmother to life. I so desperately wanted Aladdin's genie or a beautiful witch to grant me wishes and change my life. But it never happened. My father got drunker, crazier and more violent-- and even more entrenched in the JW religion. Things went from bad to worse.

Jehovah God expected me to believe in even more far-fetched magic and even more ridiculous fairy tales. To please him I had to do too many crazy things. I decided that Jehovah, the kind, heavenly father who I prayed to several times a day, was either on the side of my violently insane human father, or didn't care about me, or was too weak to do anything. For whatever reason, I was not getting any more help from him than I got from fairy godmothers or genies.

Finally I realized that gods were made up, along with ghosts, fairies, and genies. None of them could possibly be real. I was around 8 when I decided not to believe in magic anymore. That is why it is so strange to me to find mature, well-educated adults who still think saying magic words to magic beings will make something happen in real life. :?

I kept going through the motions, reading the JW books, memorizing JW spiels and bible passages and reciting them at endless front doors every weekend. Bowing my head and pretending to pray before meals and so forth along with everyone else. I could not tell anyone I no longer believed in god. I was 8! Who had even heard of such a thing? I imagine it was a bit like realizing you are gay--a girl who likes girls or a boy who likes boys. You don't talk about it to anyone because you don't even have the words for it; it is forbidden to be that way and you think you are the only one.

Still nothing changed in my life, and I began to notice something I have never forgotten: nobody could tell that I did not believe any of it! Fake religious belief looked exactly the same as real religious belief. Then I had another revelation: maybe other people did not really believe it either! Maybe other people were faking it, too.  :o

As as child aged 7-10, I had never heard of an atheist, but I was already becoming one. By age 14, my mother had left my father. I had stopped praying and going to the Kingdom Hall. My life still sucked, and would continue to suck until I left home the same week I graduated from high school.[1] But, except for a year or two in college[2] I never again considered any organized religion to be based on truth.

In the past 30 years, I have done something close to praying only once, when I was on a plane that nearly crashed. That was in 1988. No praying since. :D
 1. I attended three different high schools, dropping out of two before finally finishing. Now I am a college professor with one BA, two MA's and a Phd. All from prestigious institutions. Life turned around with time, friends, therapy and the right head meds. No gods necessary.
 2. Where I finally learned about non-JW religions, went to various churches, attended the campus Christian organization and tried praying regularly (and again, got nothing)
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 wow

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2014, 04:49:44 PM »
@nogodsforme: I think your post was amazing and thanks for sharing your story. I think your post about pattern recognition was also spot on. I am happy to read everything turned around for you without god.

That part about faking brings up memories. I was so afraid to tell my family and friends that I basically stopped believing. I kept it a secret for 2 years. Until I had to chose between them manipulating my son into the same religious gutter or stepping up for myself and my beliefs and letting my son grow up free of such pressure. Also indeed, nobody noticed for a second that I actually fell out of faith with my evangelical background.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2014, 11:40:23 AM »
I was sitting at bible studies and prayer meetings and it was so obvious that my heart was in it, and that I was sincere and doing anything and everything "as biblically" as possible... it was so obvious that I was sincere that the minister mentioned me (not by name) in a Sunday sermon.

He actually told me that he was "positive" that god would answer my prayer... I guess he was a true believer, he seemed sure of it... there were many of us praying in agreement and I was coming at it from a humble, destroyed, place.

When things didn't work out as they expected, the attitudes changed quite a bit.   I was getting different answers from everyone, and people changed their stories.

If things had worked out the way we prayed... I'd have probably been called on to give my testimony weekly in front of the church to help prove that god was real and answered prayers.   That got me thinking...

"For every prayer story we hear.  For every time god 'acted'... how many other people are there out there who had a negative prayer result?   None of them are being invited to speak I bet...  this isn't a representative group at all."

I wish I'd questioned it more as a kid, I'd have saved myself a few decades of pain, and probably been better equipped to handle life's curveballs as a young man.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2014, 11:48:41 AM »
Two women join a Christian dating site, pay the fees, take sexy photos, post them, spend hours with friends writing the best profile possible, each talks about how much she loves the lord.  Each emails a few dozen guys and filters through a few hundred emails from older guys they aren't interested in.   Neither woman is a virgin, both had several relationships before this.

Both tell their prayer groups at church, and all their brothers and sisters in church pray with good intent for them to meet "god's match for them".

They both go on several failed dates.

On the fifth date, the first women meets her future husband.  They hit it off great, get married, stay together, and have a few kids.

On the fifth date, the second woman gets date raped and knocked up.   She is terrified to go to the pharmacy for the morning after pill, because even though her prayers obviously were unanswered, she is terrified to disobey her church's teaching, and ends up with her life torn to shambles for years.


---

Which story do you think gets bragged about from the pulpit on Sunday morning?   Which woman is invited to share her testimony?

Which story do you think that the people praying with the woman, distance themselves from her, and make quiet mutterings about what she wore on that date, or maybe her history of promiscuity?   Maybe god lifted his protective hand from her life since she wasn't living right?

These women could be twin sisters, but, the different outcomes will dictate how they're treated by religious people.   There may be believers who are sympathetic and supportive of the second woman too, but, I guarantee it'll be mixed, because of the "unanswered prayer" quandary.

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2014, 12:19:57 PM »
^^^^People will say both women got their prayers answered, or at least got what god intended for them. God says yes, no, later, or date rape. God works in mysterious ways.  God never said you would always get everything you wanted, or that life for a Christian would be easy. He is testing your faith.

If that fails to convince, there is always Satan to fall back on. :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: Prayer Explained
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2014, 01:17:24 PM »
From a psychology point of view a belief is installed in a deeper part of the mind, so it can't be easily changed.

That's why Christians will do everything to defend their belief. Which means when prayer doesn't work they'll rationalize stuff to cope with it.

If humans would easily lose their beliefs they wouldn't be able to ....
Deeper? I call the reptilian brain shallower. :D

Offline screwtape

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2014, 01:17:58 PM »
Prayer is simply tension relief wrapped up in a supernatural package. When it seems there is no hope, you get some sort of positive relief when you believe big bad skygod cares enough to hear about your problems.

prayer is also belief maintenance.  Studies have shown that beliefs follow behaviors.  It is a technique called consistency and it is very powerful.  The idea is covered a bit in the book Influence by Cialdini.[1]  It is used by sales people to get you to buy crap you didn't want and it was used by Chinese to brainwash American POWs in Korea. They asked them to copy statements about the US the POWs did not believe.  Eventually, it changed their minds.  It did not turn them into raging commies, but it did soften their view on the Koreans and Chinese and it did make them more critical of the war.

Similarly, if you want someone to believe the god stuff, have them go to church and pray and go through all the motions.  Eventually, their brain seeks to be consistent, and believes it. Not always 100% effective, but often it is enough to keep one a member of the flock.


 1. mentioned here:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,22184.msg497664.html#msg497664
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What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2014, 01:39:02 PM »
^^^^People will say both women got their prayers answered, or at least got what god intended for them. God says yes, no, later, or date rape. God works in mysterious ways.  God never said you would always get everything you wanted, or that life for a Christian would be easy. He is testing your faith.

If that fails to convince, there is always Satan to fall back on. :P

Which is why you get people praying like God is an evil genie with a monkey's paw.

"Dear lord, if it's your will, but only if it's your will... and this prayer isn't making you mad... I love you... please consider letting me meet a nice, non-rapist, non-crazy, family oriented man on this dating site... please let me go humbly and in your will, I pray that you would decide to bless me and keep me safe..."

Like, if you'd just pray, "Let me meet someone to love on this dating site."

God would twist it around like the monkey's paw where the people wish for $200 to pay their rent and their son dies at work and they get a $200 death benefit ($=pounds in the original story).

Those same people who try to pray carefully to avoid the prayers being answered in a cruel and evil way will swear that god is not cruel or evil.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Jag

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2014, 03:01:36 PM »
And aren't they often the same people who insist that "God has a plan"?

If so, what kind of nerve does it take to ask God to change it? Who has the internal fortitude to declare that God's plan isn't good enough for them?

Full of beans, I tell ya.

My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2014, 03:04:10 PM »
And aren't they often the same people who insist that "God has a plan"?

If so, what kind of nerve does it take to ask God to change it? Who has the internal fortitude to declare that God's plan isn't good enough for them?

Full of beans, I tell ya.

Right and if god doesn't answer, it's because your heart wasn't in the right place, or it wasn't his will... why ever ask for anything if he has this horrific plan in place that must be carried out.

If I'm wrong and god exists and I die, I'll happily flip him off on my way to hell.

I truly believe that god is imaginary, but, it's absolutely infuriating to believe in the one that x-tians claim exists.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2014, 04:17:37 PM »
^^^That is exactly right.

Being proud, strong, confident or happy won't cut it when talking to god, because god has this plan, ya see. The praying people have to constantly second-guess themselves, hoping to word everything just perfectly, and be abject and groveley enough to get their prayers heard. Praying is like a limbo dance, how low can you go?[1]

It is, of course, never god's fault if they get something else instead of what they asked for. It is never the case that god made a mistake or was being capricious or mean (or does not exist). It was their fault for not being accepting enough of god's will, or for praying wrongly or with the wrong attitude (like, too proud, strong, confident or happy) or for the wrong things. Your prayer for meeting a nice man and getting married was just not in line with god's plan. But date rape? That was part of his plan.

It is never clear what was wrong with the unanswered or badly answered prayer, but without clear feedback, you can't improve your praying to raise your positive response rate. People don't point to someone in their church and go, "See Mrs. Stevens over there? She's been praying for 35 years. She's the best prayer in town. She gives prayer workshops and everyone who attends gets an 80% or higher positive answered prayer rate. Guaranteed or your money back." In real life,  Mrs. Stevens, after 35 years of prayer experience, is no better than her cat at getting god to answer her prayers positively.

And there is no point praying for impossible things like for a child's cleft palate to seal back together, or for an amputee son home from the war to grow his arm back. God don't play that. Better to keep prayers trivial, and focused on things that might happen anyway, like god, please help me be on time for work, or please let my football team win, or please help me not fall down the stairs in the night. Or prayers should be very general, like lord, please help me be a better father.[2]

Beware of praying for important, specific things, like for grandma's senile dementia to go away tomorrow. God will have a train hit and kill grandma tomorrow, and it will all be your fault. Wanted the dementia gone, didn't you? Ha! Monkey's Paw! Remember what happened to Jephthah's daughter? He should have been more careful, and god would not have had to kill the girl! Not god's fault at all. Although god has a plan. And god knows that, as part of his plan, what you really wanted all along was for your daughter to die.[3]

When we really get a praying theist pinned down here, they admit, after only about 100 posts, that the only "correct" prayer is "Thy will be done." And then they are supposed to embrace whatever happens as what they wanted all along anyway. Even date rape. Christians will try to weasel out of this. But what Muslims do is thank Allah for everything that happens, because everything, even the worst disaster, is in accordance with his will.

If that is not a description of a fascist dictatorship, I don't know what is.  >:(
 1. "I am but a lowly sinner; no, I am but a horrible worm; no, I am but a stinky turd; no, I am but an ugly slime mold; no, I am but a useless Clarence Thomas, so have mercy oh lord."
 2. What does that even mean? A guy who used to beat his kids every night and limits his beatings to three times a week has become a better father. Praise god!
 3. Anyone else remember the Christian visitor to this site who went through all this close reading of the passage to show us that Jephthah's daughter only had to go into exile, and not die?  Because that would have been too mean, and his god never had anybody die for a stupid reason like that.  He was so desperate to make the bible god he believed in not be the same bible god who did all those bad things in the bible.
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 jynnan tonnix

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2014, 06:46:56 PM »
And aren't they often the same people who insist that "God has a plan"?

If so, what kind of nerve does it take to ask God to change it? Who has the internal fortitude to declare that God's plan isn't good enough for them?

Full of beans, I tell ya.

The whole "thy will be done" thing is really just a desperate bid to hold onto faith when things are not going as you planned. I will say, though, that it can, no doubt, be a useful tool in keeping a good attitude and seeing the silver lining.

Just a few weeks ago, a facebook acquaintance of mine posted something which was a perfect illustration of this. Her husband had just retired from the Navy, and had interviewed for a couple of jobs, of which one in particular sounded ideal on all sorts of levels. His wife was putting out a prayer request that, "if it is God's will, Rick will get this job". 

Well, Rick did NOT get the job, so now she has more prayer requests out, basically thanking God for knowing what was best, and asking that God lead them to what HE thinks the ideal position is. And even though they were probably disappointed at not getting the other job, whatever he gets instead will, by definition, be better. Which does go a long way toward someone doing their job with the sort of attitude which will generally lead to good results, promotions, etc. Then, of course, god gets the praise again because he was the one who caused the first position to fall through according to his will .

And they have no idea how circular this reasoning is.

Offline jetson

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2014, 08:05:00 PM »
After reading all of the posts, I was wondering how many people took the time to read them, and how many of those people recognized similar thoughts on prayer. I don't have any strong memories of actually praying, but I'm sure my mom made me do it when I was very young - you know, the bedtime ritual.

Too many people blindly accept whatever they are told when it comes from a religious "authority". And too many people never really think about the tough questions that must arise in the realm of answered prayer.

I agree with the idea that any person who prays, has no true faith in their gods plan. How could they?

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2014, 01:22:11 PM »
It's important to note that the Bible claims in many places that God loves us and will answer our prayers.  With minimal faith, we can ask for a mountain to move and it will move.   When two or more Christians agree in prayer, it will be done for them.  If your son asks you for bread or a fish, will you give him a snake?  (paraphrasing)

The whole "heart has to be right with god" thing is there to justify why the first few promises are never true...

And "everyone falls short of the glory of god" indicates that nobody is "right with god" and therefore there's an excuse for never answering any prayers.

But you can look in Christian churches every Sunday and see people praying for healing for the sick, jobs for the unemployed, shelter for the homeless, peace on earth, peace in families, reparation of relationships...

The only possibly thing it can give you is to force you to try to accept awful things with a better attitude... and it can be helpful to try to find positive things to take away from negative situations, but that's certainly not a benefit from god... that's a person making the best of a crappy situation.  Good for them.
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2014, 03:09:04 PM »
Part 1.
A news crew went to Jerusalem to cover the story of Hiram Liebovitz. Liebovitz had been praying at the Wailing Wall for 75 years and had never missed a single day.

Our reporter and the cameras arrive early and film from a respectful distance as Hiram goes about his daily routine. When he finishes, the reporter approaches him and he agrees to answer a few questions.

The reporter asks him questions about his life and times and then asks:
“So, 75 years you’ve been doing this, what do you pray for?”
“Oh, the bringing about of peace, the healing of the sick, justice for all, an end to hunger and poverty, and so on.”
“And what’s that like?”
“It’s just like banging your head against a wall.”

Part 2
I have mentioned before that if we take the example of a plane crash in a remote spot, whilst there is hope that some people/your spouse/etc., might be alive prayers are OK, but once you know that some people/your spouse/etc. is/are dead, prayers stop. Yet this is strange. You only pray whilst you don't know, even though Yahweh and Son have a line in raising the dead, because even the deluded know there are things their god does not do.

People do not go to a statistician and ask "what are the chances of some people/my spouse/etc. being alive". People have a patter of behaviour in which denial is  but one stage: this is the way we and our brains work. This, in turn, shows that religion is simply finding vacuous and simplistic answers (It was magic) to things you do not know.

Shout your grief, hopes and fears into the wind from a hilltop, but don't imagine that you are talking to an Iron-Age, Middle-Eastern, tribal god who can fix everything - except when he can't.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2014, 03:17:31 PM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Prayer Explained
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2014, 05:37:41 PM »
Yep. I have had lots of people say to me, god can do anything. Anything? And then the backpedaling starts. &)

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.