Can an agnostic pray?
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30-04-2017, 06:27 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
prayer, mantras, anythings like that can help settle the mind or unlock a train of thought. Praying can also help someone through a tough time and the "I can't do a thing to help" so I'll think help. Yeah it don't work, but the mind does not care about such things. it will self justify itself in many ways.

no magic, just regular old basic brain stuff.
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30-04-2017, 07:35 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
Sure and they can also do a rain dance Tongue
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30-04-2017, 07:41 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(30-04-2017 06:27 PM)AB517 Wrote:  prayer, mantras, anythings like that can help settle the mind or unlock a train of thought. Praying can also help someone through a tough time and the "I can't do a thing to help" so I'll think help. Yeah it don't work, but the mind does not care about such things. it will self justify itself in many ways.

no magic, just regular old basic brain stuff.

I personally use mantras in my yoga practice, but for me, they have zero to do with praying and more to do with giving myself a pep talk or further allowing myself to relax and let go into a state of calmness. I think you do make a good point in your post though. I am a "believer" in people doing what makes them happy and if prayer gives that to them--then have at it.
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30-04-2017, 07:43 PM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2017 07:55 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
Why not? Can you feel it coming in the air tonight? Hold on. Hold on.




#sigh
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30-04-2017, 07:59 PM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2017 08:03 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(30-04-2017 07:43 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Why not? Can you feel it coming in the air tonight? Hold on. Hold on.




I remember, don't worry, worry, I remember. How could I forget it's the first time, the last time we ever met.

#sigh
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30-04-2017, 08:03 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
There are studies that we behave differently if we feel we're being watched. Perhaps prayer has a more substantial effect on us psychologically than just meditation.
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01-05-2017, 06:10 AM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(30-04-2017 08:03 PM)big green mouth Wrote:  There are studies that we behave differently if we feel we're being watched. Perhaps prayer has a more substantial effect on us psychologically than just meditation.
That is a very good point. It also speaks to the generic power of ritual. It's a sort of "fake it until you make it" mind-trick we play on ourselves. It's why people talk about writing a scathing letter to, say, their father, for all the emotional unavailability / abuse / neglect. It can work even if you don't send it, or if he's dead. Sometimes people burn the letter rather than send it. The brain deals in symbols, and the symbolism of pouring your heart out, and the finality of burning, coaxes the mind to do what it should have all along, which is to acknowledge and honor one's pain, but then just let go of it all and move on.

So it goes with prayer. Giving something over to god can release a burden even if god is naught but a figment of your imagination, and even if you at bottom don't believe in him. You could just as well give your burden to the invisible garden fairies, or, to some milk carton you've made a shrine to. It is just a symbolism you can take seriously enough, if only in a particular context, to serve as a mental fulcrum.
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01-05-2017, 12:11 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(25-04-2017 07:01 AM)OakTree500 Wrote:  ... 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.

As a lifelong atheist, I'm 100% sure that gods don't exist. I have no reason to believe otherwise—in exactly the same way that I'm sure that leprechauns, pink unicorns, and angels don't exist. Why should I give "gods" the benefit of the doubt?

If one accepts that there's a 0.01% chance that gods do exist, then my personal interpretation of that is that one is actually an agnostic, IE unsure one way or the other.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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01-05-2017, 12:39 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(01-05-2017 12:11 PM)SYZ Wrote:  If one accepts that there's a 0.01% chance that gods do exist, then my personal interpretation of that is that one is actually an agnostic, IE unsure one way or the other.

Whether you are a theist or an atheist is a question of belief.

Whether you are an agnostic is a question of knowledge.

You can therefore be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist.

I am a hard atheist about most god concepts, but an agnostic atheist about the pantheistic god concept for instance. I am not completely sure such a thing doesn't exist. But since it is highly improbable, I don't believe it exists.
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01-05-2017, 02:23 PM
RE: Can an agnostic pray?
(01-05-2017 12:11 PM)SYZ Wrote:  As a lifelong atheist, I'm 100% sure that gods don't exist. I have no reason to believe otherwise—in exactly the same way that I'm sure that leprechauns, pink unicorns, and angels don't exist. Why should I give "gods" the benefit of the doubt?

If one accepts that there's a 0.01% chance that gods do exist, then my personal interpretation of that is that one is actually an agnostic, IE unsure one way or the other.
Accepting that there's a teensy chance of one or more god(s) existing is not the same as affording belief to them. Thoughtful people do not afford belief to the highly unlikely.

You do not know for a fact that there aren't sentient lampshades on a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, but you don't think it likely and don't believe it, either.

Agnosticism (knowledge claim) and atheism (belief claim) influence each other but vary independently.

The confusion over this philosophical technicality comes, I think, from the fact that a person who thinks they are 100% positive that those sentient lampshades don't exist, behaves exactly the same as one who allows for the technical possibility, however small, that they might exist. Neither thinks it likely, neither believes, neither orders their life any differently.

Because of this, as a semantic shortcut, it's perfectly fine to say you're totally sure there are no sentient lampshades or no god(s) ... but technically you can't make a supportable knowledge claim either way for things that are not, at least currently, falsifiable. It just depends on whether you're making a formal philosophical argument or just shooting the breeze. Also it depends on whether you are getting out in front of the usual dishonest theist gambit of gas-lighting atheists as being "arrogant" or making unjustified knowledge claims.
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