Can an agnostic pray?
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25-04-2017, 06:29 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 06:19 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(25-04-2017 05:56 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I see prayer as a form of meditation and if you've been used to praying then the ritual is probably comforting in its familiarity. If it helps you to focus your thoughts and calm your anxieties by going through the motions of prayer then do it. No external listener is required because the only real listener is the internal one.

I suspect you'd find that praying to a god works no better than praying to a teapot or to the curtains. I also suspect that over time you'd lose the need to pray "to" anything and just leverage the benefits through other forms of meditation.
Meditative prayer is just one kind of prayer. There is also imprecatory prayer. The Bible teaches both (for example). Other religious faith-systems (e.g., eastern ones by and large) do not each imprecatory prayer, or teach it very little.

Imprecatory prayer is asking for things, favors, insight, anything you don't have, or a change of some kind to your situation that involves a deity tipping the scales in your favor. The Bible teaches this as well -- unambiguously, and lavishly.

That describes the content of the prayer but I don't see that there is a real difference in the effect. In both cases the supplicant is using a ritual to calm and focus their thoughts so, in that sense, imprecatory prayer is still just a form of meditation.

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25-04-2017, 06:32 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 04:54 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  Being Agnostic isn't a bad thing.

I agree; it's one of the three notions about religion. Theism, agnosticism, or atheism. The first two are of course misguided, but at the end of the day, it doesn't make them necessarily "bad".

Quote:For me what an Atheist is, is saying "it's more likely there isn't a god(s), but prove me wrong and I'll accept it", where as Agnostic is, "I don't know either way, but I may lean more towards the idea of a god".

Sorry, but you definition of atheism is not the accepted one. No atheist says "it's more likely there isn't a god". You're effectively conflating atheism with agnosticism (which belief posits that it's possible there could be a god). As a lifelong atheist, I've not once given this possibility any credibility.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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25-04-2017, 06:35 AM (This post was last modified: 25-04-2017 06:43 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 01:47 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  I’m not a Christian or believer in any theism. But, sometimes I feel the need to go into a quiet church and pray, either for others or myself. This happens at difficult times, now and then.

Any thoughts?

Old habits die hard -- ?

Agnostic believers will pray. Agnostic atheists won't.

Even when I was a theist myself, I didn't think God was listening to me or interested in granting my prayers. I thought God already knew what was best for me and had already given me as much as I needed. I saw prayer as a way to focus on what I wanted to accomplish in both thought and behavior. You can still do that as a mental exercise even if you are, like me, no longer a theist. Just cut out the useless religious trappings -- including calling it "prayer".
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25-04-2017, 07:01 AM (This post was last modified: 25-04-2017 07:05 AM by OakTree500.)
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 06:32 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(25-04-2017 04:54 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  For me what an Atheist is, is saying "it's more likely there isn't a god(s), but prove me wrong and I'll accept it", where as Agnostic is, "I don't know either way, but I may lean more towards the idea of a god".

Sorry, but you definition of atheism is not the accepted one. No atheist says "it's more likely there isn't a god". You're effectively conflating atheism with agnosticism (which belief posits that it's possible there could be a god). As a lifelong atheist, I've not once given this possibility any credibility.

That's fair enough, I only say its "more likely there isn't a god(s)" as I don't think there ever will be a definite way to prove it. I don't believe, and never have, in a god or gods, but I personally would say you can never 100% close the door on the option of there being such a deity(s) until you prove it factually wrong, but that in itself is a problem to do so.

Edit: and just to be clear, I'm like 99.99% sure there isn't a god, but until you can fully prove that, there will always be an option. Again, because of the work that would have to be involved, I doubt you could ever prove there IS a god(s) either.

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25-04-2017, 07:12 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 04:54 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  Being Agnostic isn't a bad thing.

For me what an Atheist is, is saying "it's more likely there isn't a god(s), but prove me wrong and I'll accept it", where as Agnostic is, "I don't know either way, but I may lean more towards the idea of a god".

Oaktree,

This is interesting. Thumbsup

Of course we can get into the weeds with all the sub divisions in theist/atheist/agnostic. What you have noted is the 'leaning'. I think there is another subdivision which may be quite important. It is between:

1. This is what I believe to be true.

2. This is what I would prefer to be true.

I do think that 1. is heavily influenced by 2. and this is where the leaning comes in.

Hmm, I get pretty mussed up when folks imply that my agnosticism 'leans' but maybe it does? We're only human. But (big but) I totally do not like any of the Gods that have been portrayed through history; I'm with Bill Maher on that! But, confession time, maybe there is a nicer one that's been a bit shy about coming out?

Who am I trying to kid. Weeping

D.
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25-04-2017, 07:19 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 05:30 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  And another thing that spins my wheels...

house,

I almost gave you a 'like' just for the language. CoolSmartass

Wish I had the b**** to write f****** on a public message board. But I haven't. No Jesus, I can't even confirm/deny the existence of God!

D.
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25-04-2017, 07:22 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
To clarrfy, on the "leaning" thing -

Take this as an example:
[Image: clapometer-300x225.jpg]

The far left dark green section is Atheism: No belief in any god(s), with the intent to figure out the inner workings of the universe.
Middle point (light green + yellow) where the finger is: Agnostic
Far right, red: Theist - belief in god or gods

Now if the middle was slightly over to the left or right, that is the leaning part. So leaning more towards one idea than the other. It's a common phrase/idea in this part of the world, hopefully I'm explaining it right lol.

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25-04-2017, 07:38 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 06:29 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(25-04-2017 06:19 AM)mordant Wrote:  Meditative prayer is just one kind of prayer. There is also imprecatory prayer. The Bible teaches both (for example). Other religious faith-systems (e.g., eastern ones by and large) do not each imprecatory prayer, or teach it very little.

Imprecatory prayer is asking for things, favors, insight, anything you don't have, or a change of some kind to your situation that involves a deity tipping the scales in your favor. The Bible teaches this as well -- unambiguously, and lavishly.

That describes the content of the prayer but I don't see that there is a real difference in the effect. In both cases the supplicant is using a ritual to calm and focus their thoughts so, in that sense, imprecatory prayer is still just a form of meditation.
In the case where the believer doesn't seriously expect to any great degree for imprecatory prayer to actually be answered, sure. You may be surprised to find, though, that many DO expect answers, at least overall and in those cases where the non-answer or "wrong" answer is ... unthinkable. That is the proximate cause of many a deconversion, including mine. I could be sanguine about god not helping me find my keys (just using a canonical example here) but not about my wife suffering in baroque ways for years and finally dying (using a real example there).
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25-04-2017, 08:56 AM
Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 01:47 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

I’m not a Christian or believer in any theism. But, sometimes I feel the need to go into a quiet church and pray, either for others or myself. This happens at difficult times, now and then.

There is some logic, possibly irrelevant.

1. A believer can pray because they believe there is a listener.

2. An atheist cannot pray because they do not believe there is a listener.

3. An agnostic can pray because they believe there may (or may not) be a listener.

But what does logic count for? OK, an agnostic can pray because there may be a listener or there may be something therapeutic just in the act of prayer itself. I don’t know, but I do feel something happening.

Any thoughts?

D.


My primary thought is that your definition of agnostic is off. "Agnostic" means "without knowledge" and doesn't address belief. In my opinion, if you pray, there is at least a measure of belief at work. Believers pray. Non-believers don't. It's as simple as that. There is no such thing as "sorta-kinda" belief.
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25-04-2017, 09:02 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
OP: my thought on praying is this -
If you personally find some sort of comfort in praying, by all means do it. As for myself, just look to the left at my Avatar
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