Author Topic: Failure of prayer number 166,998  (Read 274 times)

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Offline clip11

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Failure of prayer number 166,998
« on: August 09, 2018, 07:38:06 PM »
My dad's church.

We were attending my granddad's church. But in 2002, my dad apparently heard the voice of God telling him to go and start his own church. So he did.

We didn't start off with many people and the first service was held in a Holiday Inn. At the church peak, we might have had about 20 people regularly attending.

Well we used to pray to God to expand the church that he apparently told my father to start. And at the time, believing that prayer actually worked, I looked for this rush of people to join any Sunday now. Well, he kept at it until 2009. The last service was held in the dining room at his house with just our family and one other person. When he first started the church, something inside me told me it was a bad idea. He would have been better off staying at my granddad's church.

Because when it was all said and done, he spent about twenty thousand dollars he had in savings for expenses pertaining to the church. He may have been in a position to retire right now at this moment had he not started the church god told him to start.

This was one of the major strikes that caused my home run of atheism.

Offline jetson

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 07:57:52 PM »
I just posted this in another thread: All I see when I look at religion is division, bigotry, sin, guilt, shame, fear, and lies.

I'll add shame, pandering for cash, stealing from the poor, and ruining lives and families.

Offline freakygin

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 08:27:11 PM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
If you argue correctly, you're never wrong..

Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 06:14:03 AM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
It took a while. What started driving me insane was the amount of excuses and rationalizations I had to accept in order to keep believing in this stuff. It was like the twilight zone. I couldn't take it anymore.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 07:10:05 AM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
It took a while. What started driving me insane was the amount of excuses and rationalizations I had to accept in order to keep believing in this stuff. It was like the twilight zone. I couldn't take it anymore.

there is a wall that I hit too.  When Christiaity and all of the other religions I looked into just failed. 
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 08:43:40 AM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
It took a while. What started driving me insane was the amount of excuses and rationalizations I had to accept in order to keep believing in this stuff. It was like the twilight zone. I couldn't take it anymore.

there is a wall that I hit too.  When Christiaity and all of the other religions I looked into just failed.
And in this particular situation, nothing made sense. Why would god tell my dad to start a church that he knew would fail from the start? In the process causing him to use thousands of dollars in savings? I remember that he leased a building expecting that eventually the membership would increase and it didn't but to get out of the lease cost him $6,000 approximately. That was the tip of the financial iceberg.

After that, I started to really consider the fact that perhaps no one was "hearing God's voice" and in fact were hearing the thoughts in their own head and stamping the label "god" on them. Although for a few years after, I remained in denial.

And I knew that my dad was sincere about what he was doing and thought that he was genuinely doing God's work. Yet the church that God told him to start failed. While on the other hand, I see churches where the pastor is an obvious scam artist with thousands of members. In the context of God being real, how can you reasonably explain that? Why would god allow a charlatan to prosper while allowing a sincere preacher to fail? Like many other things in religion, it makes no sense.

On the other hand, if God is imaginary, then it all makes sense. Charlatans prosper for a myriad of natural explanations and sincere preachers fail, also for a myriad of natural explanations. Could just be being at the right place at the right time. And if God is imaginary  we would expect charlatans to often times prosper. After all, it's not like god would be reaching down and blocking their prosperity.

Sometimes I get asked what if it all is true and I have to stand before god on judgement day what will I say. I'd ask God why did he destroy my faith in him? Because I believed at one time. It was through repeated instances of seeing prayer failing, getting nothing but silence and seeing no evidence that he was real or that the Bible was true that I stopped believing
« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 08:49:41 AM by clip11 »

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 08:51:10 AM »
I'm so sorry you experienced this growing up Clip.  That had to be really painful to go through.  I give you a ton of credit for coming out on the other side very well.  It's sad to see how people can really be hurt financially by church.

Offline albeto

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 01:19:52 PM »
Ugh. I was thinking about this yesterday when I came across a NYTimes article about Willow Creek mega church's senior pastor retiring amid accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior:

Quote
Mr. Hybels’s former executive assistant Pat Baranowski alleged in an article in The New York Times that Mr. Hybels had broken her down emotionally, groped her repeatedly and once insisted on oral sex while she worked for him and lived in his home in the 1980s. Ms. Baranowski left her job and spent more than 25 years struggling with depression, unemployment and homelessness.

Which doesn't seem to match up to the supposed approval Jesus gave them both more than 30 years ago. According to an article linked in that pieceNYTimes article:

Quote
In 1984, Ms. Baranowski was walking to her car in the vast parking lot of Willow Creek one night after services. She had just been praying about whether to apply for a job at the church she saw posted.

Suddenly a car screeched to a stop beside her, and the driver rolled down his window. It was the church’s pastor.

“Could I drive you to your car or something?” offered Mr. Hybels, who was then 33. Her car was nearby, but she accepted the ride.

It seemed like a sign from God.

Mr. Hybels later also described the meeting as a miracle: He had been driving out of the parking lot when God urged him to go back and find the woman he drove by.

“That night I had no idea how offering help to a person who probably didn’t need it would affect my life and ministry,” he wrote in one of his first books.

So why would God lead her to a position that would ultimately traumatize her so much she lost jobs and homes? Why would he not at least equip her with the tools to either stop or healthily process what happened? Why would he encourage a man with, to use xianese, a "heart for lust" to seek a position where he would be so widely revered and find ample opportunity to grope women? Why not encourage him to share the faith on an oil rig out in the Atlantic?

Same thing as with your father clip, and I have similar stories myself involving shit I did genuinely thinking it was sanctioned by the holiest of gods, one who loved me and my family and died on the cross for us. Fucked up a lot of things, I did, believing in this. Why on earth would a god lead people to such poor decisions knowing the outcome would be disastrous? Jst had a thread some time ago where he tried to illustrate how belief in Jesus and reliance on the bible can help guide those who seek wisdom. It was a farce, and I would love to hear from a Xian how on earth they believe anything they believe today knowing that some decades ago the things they believed in has changed. Because of course beliefs change - reality doesn't give a hoot about beliefs. Only the smallest challenges to one's theology can work inside the system. Or the most stubborn, simple minds.

Offline freakygin

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 09:00:34 PM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
It took a while. What started driving me insane was the amount of excuses and rationalizations I had to accept in order to keep believing in this stuff. It was like the twilight zone. I couldn't take it anymore.

I bet one of those rationalizations were Job's story.. A.K.A the infamous Satan's challenge.
"The Lord gives and takes"

It baffled me when i look back and never notice the cruelty
Apparently God thought it was completely okay for Satan to took Job's wealth and murder all of his kids
And then God simply "replace" them afterwards with new kids

It's like somebody borrow my Assassin's Creed video game
And then said "Sorry dude, i lost your Assassin's Creed, but i will make up for it, here's my Resident Evil 7"

HELL NO! I want my Assassin's Creed Back!
If you argue correctly, you're never wrong..

Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2018, 11:12:50 AM »
@clip11
So, when did you exactly decided to throw "God works in mysterious way" and "I believe in God's plan" out of the window?
At prayer number 166.997 perhaps?  ;D
It took a while. What started driving me insane was the amount of excuses and rationalizations I had to accept in order to keep believing in this stuff. It was like the twilight zone. I couldn't take it anymore.

I bet one of those rationalizations were Job's story.. A.K.A the infamous Satan's challenge.
"The Lord gives and takes"

It baffled me when i look back and never notice the cruelty
Apparently God thought it was completely okay for Satan to took Job's wealth and murder all of his kids
And then God simply "replace" them afterwards with new kids

It's like somebody borrow my Assassin's Creed video game
And then said "Sorry dude, i lost your Assassin's Creed, but i will make up for it, here's my Resident Evil 7"

HELL NO! I want my Assassin's Creed Back!
That was one clusterfuck of a story. God tortures an innocent man and murders his family just to prove a point? Some loving God...

Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 11:14:09 AM »
Ugh. I was thinking about this yesterday when I came across a NYTimes article about Willow Creek mega church's senior pastor retiring amid accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior:

Quote
Mr. Hybels’s former executive assistant Pat Baranowski alleged in an article in The New York Times that Mr. Hybels had broken her down emotionally, groped her repeatedly and once insisted on oral sex while she worked for him and lived in his home in the 1980s. Ms. Baranowski left her job and spent more than 25 years struggling with depression, unemployment and homelessness.

Which doesn't seem to match up to the supposed approval Jesus gave them both more than 30 years ago. According to an article linked in that pieceNYTimes article:

Quote
In 1984, Ms. Baranowski was walking to her car in the vast parking lot of Willow Creek one night after services. She had just been praying about whether to apply for a job at the church she saw posted.

Suddenly a car screeched to a stop beside her, and the driver rolled down his window. It was the church’s pastor.

“Could I drive you to your car or something?” offered Mr. Hybels, who was then 33. Her car was nearby, but she accepted the ride.

It seemed like a sign from God.

Mr. Hybels later also described the meeting as a miracle: He had been driving out of the parking lot when God urged him to go back and find the woman he drove by.

“That night I had no idea how offering help to a person who probably didn’t need it would affect my life and ministry,” he wrote in one of his first books.

So why would God lead her to a position that would ultimately traumatize her so much she lost jobs and homes? Why would he not at least equip her with the tools to either stop or healthily process what happened? Why would he encourage a man with, to use xianese, a "heart for lust" to seek a position where he would be so widely revered and find ample opportunity to grope women? Why not encourage him to share the faith on an oil rig out in the Atlantic?

Same thing as with your father clip, and I have similar stories myself involving shit I did genuinely thinking it was sanctioned by the holiest of gods, one who loved me and my family and died on the cross for us. Fucked up a lot of things, I did, believing in this. Why on earth would a god lead people to such poor decisions knowing the outcome would be disastrous? Jst had a thread some time ago where he tried to illustrate how belief in Jesus and reliance on the bible can help guide those who seek wisdom. It was a farce, and I would love to hear from a Xian how on earth they believe anything they believe today knowing that some decades ago the things they believed in has changed. Because of course beliefs change - reality doesn't give a hoot about beliefs. Only the smallest challenges to one's theology can work inside the system. Or the most stubborn, simple minds.
This x100

Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2018, 11:28:56 AM »
I'm so sorry you experienced this growing up Clip.  That had to be really painful to go through.  I give you a ton of credit for coming out on the other side very well.  It's sad to see how people can really be hurt financially by church.
Thanks. This was one of the things that made me question the whole thing. I asked myself "what if people are just hearing their own thoughts"? And it makes sense when we look at the world around us. People are saying god is speaking to them and they all are getting contradictory messages.

There is a preacher by the name of Carlton Pearson. He had a mega church in Tulsa Oklahoma. A few months ago, Netflix put out a movie about him called Come Sunday.

Anyway, he grew up in the same denomination I did. This denomination preaches hellfire and brimstone. Well, for the longest time, Carlton Pearson believed in hell and that all people who didn't believe as he did was going there upon their death.

One day, he said that while he was sitting at home, he claimed that God spoke to him and told him that no one was going to hell, no matter what they believe or didn't believe. And that everyone was saved whether they knew it or not.

Now, I read some of the things that Carlton Pearson wrote on the subject and lo and behold, he has lots of biblical scripture to support his revelation of no hell.

Espousing this caused him to lose his megachurch as the membership dwindled to nothing from about 5000 members. And all he had to do was recant his statement on there being no hell. But he was so certain that God told it to him that he stood his ground on it.

Anyway he's been denounced as a heretic, as being led astray by Satan etc. The point is, no one can demonstrate that God is talking to any of them and the Bible can be used to support a number of contradictory conclusions

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 08:16:41 AM »
Espousing this caused him to lose his megachurch as the membership dwindled to nothing from about 5000 members. And all he had to do was recant his statement on there being no hell. But he was so certain that God told it to him that he stood his ground on it.

Anyway he's been denounced as a heretic, as being led astray by Satan etc. The point is, no one can demonstrate that God is talking to any of them and the Bible can be used to support a number of contradictory conclusions

Thanks for letting me know about this documentary!  It sounds great.  This reminds me a little bit of the former pastor Rob Bell who is making waves for saying there's no hell.  Isn't it crazy how congregations would get so angry at you for believing in that?  They must want there to be a hell so that they can justify wasting so much time in church and belief. 

Offline Jag

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 09:51:12 AM »
 I swear to Thor, I'm convinced that the idea of eternal punishment FOR OTHER PEOPLE is the appeal of hell.

That tells me everything I need to know about Christianity.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 10:04:15 AM »
I swear to Thor, I'm convinced that the idea of eternal punishment FOR OTHER PEOPLE is the appeal of hell.

That tells me everything I need to know about Christianity.

indeed.   It's very human, and petty, to want someone to be punished for disagreeing with you.   
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Offline clip11

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2018, 12:12:20 PM »
I swear to Thor, I'm convinced that the idea of eternal punishment FOR OTHER PEOPLE is the appeal of hell.

That tells me everything I need to know about Christianity.
It's easy to accept the idea of eternal torture when you think you are one of the lucky few that will escape. In fact, some believe that the entertainment in heaven will consist of watching the damned be tortured in hell.

I asked a Christian once if he felt that he deserved eternal torture for not believing in Islam? Because the Quran, that a billion and a half Muslims believe to be the inerrant word of God, says that if you die without accepting Allah as God and Muhammad as his messenger, then you are on your way to that place which burns with fire and brimstone. Where you'll have hooked rods of iron driven through your skin and be forced to drink boiling water and be beaten by "fearsome angels". It's right there in the Quran.

So I asked him, do you think you deserve that punishment for not being a Muslim, assuming Islam is right?

Allah could easily reveal himself to you at this moment and let you know that it's all true and that you're being led astray by Christianity. But yet he does nothing.

Now a Muslim would say that Allah sent us Prophets, he sent us Muhammad, he sent us the Quran. What more can he do? Well obviously he hasn't done enough if you're being deceived by Christianity.

So I asked him that in the context of Sunni Islam being true, does he think that he deserved hell for not being a believer?

He saw where I was going with this and would not give me a direct yes or no answer.

Offline albeto

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2018, 01:45:29 PM »
I swear to Thor, I'm convinced that the idea of eternal punishment FOR OTHER PEOPLE is the appeal of hell.

indeed.   It's very human, and petty, to want someone to be punished for disagreeing with you.

Neuroimaging studies seem to agree that wanting to see someone punished can be a strong ideal. I don't know about petty, I think it's part of a greater, very complex neurological calculation that contributes to our social interactions. This presents another example of how religion takes what is natural and co-opts it to work in its favor, even at the expense of innocent people.

We know that the dopamine system has one function of responding to pleasurable experiences. Dopamine is released in every species examined in relation to sex. For humans, just thinking about sex suffices. Food evokes a dopamine release in hungry individuals of all species. It can also be released listening to music or looking at pictures of sports cars. In other words, the response can be inspired by something intrinsic or learned.

Quoting from the book now (emphasis mine)[1],

Quote
Patterns of dopamine release are most interesting when concerning social interactions. Some findings are downright heartwarming. In one study a subject would play an economic game with someone, where a player is rewarded under two circumstances: (1) if both players cooperate, each receives a moderate reward, and (2) stabbing the other person in the back gets the subject a big reward, while the other person gets nothing. While both outcomes increased dopaminergic activity, the bigger increase occurred after cooperation.

Other research examined the economic behavior of punishing jerks. In one study subjects played a game where player B could screw over player A for a profit. Depending on the round, player A could either (1) do nothing, (2) punish player B by having some of player B's money taken (at no cost to player A), or (3) pay one unit of money to have two units taken from player B. Punishment activated the dopamine system, especially when subjects had to pay to punish; the greater the dopamine increase during no-cost punishment, the more willing someone was to pay to punish. Punishing norm violations is satisfying.

If I were to guess, I'd guess the issue is not in punishing people who don't believe like you, but people who are do not conform to your norms; people who do not share your beliefs naturally are less inclined to conform to your norms. Again, religion takes what is natural, such as a cognitive tribalism bias, rewards for social conformity, and punishment for rebellion, and co-opts it to serve its own purposes. I'd wager the more religious one identifies, the more they feel the non-conformist deserves punishment. The bible says God will laugh at those who are punished (Psalms 2:4[2]), and I believe that response is no less impulsive today than it was when that was written.
 1. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
 2. The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at [those who rebel against him].
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 01:48:16 PM by albeto »

Offline stuffin

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2018, 02:43:05 PM »
This heaven thing might have some positives after all. I can picture myself in heaven laughing at all the Xian's burning in brimstone, especially the ones I know will be going to hell.

That is such a tempting concept, I understand how weaker minds are manipulated.
Don't stop smiling at the world and keep your head full of hope.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Failure of prayer number 166,998
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2018, 03:23:32 PM »
This heaven thing might have some positives after all. I can picture myself in heaven laughing at all the Xian's burning in brimstone, especially the ones I know will be going to hell.

That is such a tempting concept, I understand how weaker minds are manipulated.

schadenfreude, at least my version where I only get amusement from those who harm themselves out of willful ignorance and hate, is always a very tasty thing.
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