Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
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03-06-2015, 05:46 AM
Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
Since deconverting from Christianity, I've come more and more to see the reality that all along, prayer was just talking to myself, wishful thinking, and had no evidence (or rationale) to support that it accomplished anything. I've also read lots of helpful thoughts on prayer from former Christians about how prayer "dies the death of 1000 qualifications," like verses where Jesus simply says to ask and you'll receive. I've read the atheist challenge for Christians to pray very specific things and see how their "answers to prayer" turn out (rather than just always "talking to God" about how your day is going, or praying in very vague ways so you won't be disappointed if it doesn't turn out).

Anyway, I had a simple thought last night about prayer that really clinched things further in my mind. For the average Christian who says "I know God answers prayer because I've seen his answers to my prayers," I know they'd all say they have seen or have a journal showing all the times God has answered their prayers over the years. And at the same time, I know the average Christian would affirm the idea that "God's answer is always yes, no, or maybe." Then how the hell do they think their prayer is accomplishing anything? Forget the fact God is supposed to always only answer according to his will...but if the answer is ALWAYS going to be yes, no, or maybe, how is there any way at all to know with certainty that prayer actually accomplishes anything...there is no evidential basis for this claim! (But I think what most Christians mean in saying God answers their prayers, though, is that they get the answer they are wanting. But the consistent Christian should want "thy will be done" and say that yes, no, or maybe are all answers to prayer.)

Yes, Christian, sure...God does answer your prayers (*rolling my eyes*)...in a way that looks exactly the same as if God doesn't exist and so didn't answer a single one of your prayers.
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03-06-2015, 06:00 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
“You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.” -- George Carlin

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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03-06-2015, 06:17 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 05:46 AM)Learner Wrote:  ...
Anyway, I had a simple thought last night about prayer that really clinched things further in my mind.
...

A revelation? An epiphany?

During your time as a christian, was there ever a personal thought or maybe a discussion at a prayer meeting when it was mooted that christians should document their prayers (before or after the prayer moment) in a journal, and then some later analysis as to the hit/miss ratio?

I'm curious.

Cheers.

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03-06-2015, 06:23 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 06:17 AM)DLJ Wrote:  During your time as a christian, was there ever a personal thought or maybe a discussion at a prayer meeting when it was mooted that christians should document their prayers (before or after the prayer moment) in a journal, and then some later analysis as to the hit/miss ratio?

DLJ, yes, I remember at least one pastor personally recommending to keep a prayer journal of things you pray for, so you can later check them off the list when they're answered (and to list the dates when you started praying and when it was answered). And I've heard several instances over the years of people doing this so that way they can look back over their journals and see many answers to prayer over the years, and further be encouraged to prayer.
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03-06-2015, 06:29 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 06:23 AM)Learner Wrote:  ...
And I've heard several instances over the years of people doing this so that way they can look back over their journals and see many answers to prayer over the years, and further be encouraged to prayer.

Well, frankly, I'm surprised.

I wonder what that data would show.

So, is it....
Yay! x number of prayers delivered a Return On Investment - therefore keeping doing it;
Whereas y number of prayers did not - therefore prayer harder?

Consider

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03-06-2015, 06:42 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 06:29 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(03-06-2015 06:23 AM)Learner Wrote:  ...
And I've heard several instances over the years of people doing this so that way they can look back over their journals and see many answers to prayer over the years, and further be encouraged to prayer.

Well, frankly, I'm surprised.

I wonder what that data would show.

So, is it....
Yay! x number of prayers delivered a Return On Investment - therefore keeping doing it;
Whereas y number of prayers did not - therefore prayer harder?

Consider
Haha, I know, it's pretty ridiculous. But hey, fundamentalist religion is not rational, as is shown by prayer practices. Not being a Christian anymore, it amazes me how I used to ever not have an issue with the glaring contradictions in things like the practice of prayer. For instance, a Christian recognizes that God answers according to his will (which can be "no")...and yet I'm supposed to pray fervently for stuff. But there's no way to "know God's will" with certainty to know if he said "no" (unless someone thinks they have an audible answer from god), so you just keep praying and praying and praying maybe for years on end if something is important to you (ie, someone to convert, etc). For the dedicated-to-prayer Christian, it'd be an interesting thing to ask their rationale if they ever stop praying for a prayer item that appeared to be a "no" to them.
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03-06-2015, 06:57 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
My brother prays for things that are going to happen anyway, so he always win and gives god credit.

"Dear God, give me the strength to deal with hard times."

Dear Brother, you are going to deal with hard times one way or another anyway. You, as a human being, will find a way to deal with it.

"Dear god, grant me the willpower to avoid cheating on my wife."

Seriously ? Might as well ask for help in eating the bowl of ice cream.

These aren't prayers. These are things that are going to happen. You are going to make decisions and the choices you make have nothing to do with a God.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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03-06-2015, 07:14 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 05:46 AM)Learner Wrote:  Since deconverting from Christianity, I've come more and more to see the reality that all along, prayer was just talking to myself, wishful thinking, and had no evidence (or rationale) to support that it accomplished anything. I've also read lots of helpful thoughts on prayer from former Christians about how prayer "dies the death of 1000 qualifications," like verses where Jesus simply says to ask and you'll receive. I've read the atheist challenge for Christians to pray very specific things and see how their "answers to prayer" turn out (rather than just always "talking to God" about how your day is going, or praying in very vague ways so you won't be disappointed if it doesn't turn out).

Anyway, I had a simple thought last night about prayer that really clinched things further in my mind. For the average Christian who says "I know God answers prayer because I've seen his answers to my prayers," I know they'd all say they have seen or have a journal showing all the times God has answered their prayers over the years. And at the same time, I know the average Christian would affirm the idea that "God's answer is always yes, no, or maybe." Then how the hell do they think their prayer is accomplishing anything? Forget the fact God is supposed to always only answer according to his will...but if the answer is ALWAYS going to be yes, no, or maybe, how is there any way at all to know with certainty that prayer actually accomplishes anything...there is no evidential basis for this claim! (But I think what most Christians mean in saying God answers their prayers, though, is that they get the answer they are wanting. But the consistent Christian should want "thy will be done" and say that yes, no, or maybe are all answers to prayer.)

Yes, Christian, sure...God does answer your prayers (*rolling my eyes*)...in a way that looks exactly the same as if God doesn't exist and so didn't answer a single one of your prayers.

I realized that a lot of "answers" to prayer were based on adjusting our perceptions. For instance- If you pray for god to give you a Red Ferrari, but you find a good deal on a 1976 red AMC Gremlin. All you ave to do is convince yourself that that was god's will, prayer answered, god is real.

Of course if you pray your ass off to be healed from cancer and you die, well I guess you won't be around to tell people about this stunning and deadly failure of god.

I knew an assistant pastor in the church I used to go to, he got cancer, he prayed his ass off to get healed from the cancer, including everyone in church, he died about a year after his diagnosis.

He had a rather nice funeral in the church we were a part of, he looked quite peaceful as he lay in his casket in front of all those people in that church that prayed fervently for him to be healed.

False perceptions will only take you so far.......

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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03-06-2015, 07:19 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2015 11:50 AM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
(03-06-2015 05:46 AM)Learner Wrote:  Since deconverting from Christianity, I've come more and more to see the reality that all along, prayer was just talking to myself, wishful thinking, and had no evidence (or rationale) to support that it accomplished anything. I've also read lots of helpful thoughts on prayer from former Christians about how prayer "dies the death of 1000 qualifications," like verses where Jesus simply says to ask and you'll receive. I've read the atheist challenge for Christians to pray very specific things and see how their "answers to prayer" turn out (rather than just always "talking to God" about how your day is going, or praying in very vague ways so you won't be disappointed if it doesn't turn out).

Anyway, I had a simple thought last night about prayer that really clinched things further in my mind. For the average Christian who says "I know God answers prayer because I've seen his answers to my prayers," I know they'd all say they have seen or have a journal showing all the times God has answered their prayers over the years. And at the same time, I know the average Christian would affirm the idea that "God's answer is always yes, no, or maybe." Then how the hell do they think their prayer is accomplishing anything? Forget the fact God is supposed to always only answer according to his will...but if the answer is ALWAYS going to be yes, no, or maybe, how is there any way at all to know with certainty that prayer actually accomplishes anything...there is no evidential basis for this claim! (But I think what most Christians mean in saying God answers their prayers, though, is that they get the answer they are wanting. But the consistent Christian should want "thy will be done" and say that yes, no, or maybe are all answers to prayer.)

Yes, Christian, sure...God does answer your prayers (*rolling my eyes*)...in a way that looks exactly the same as if God doesn't exist and so didn't answer a single one of your prayers.

It has long been my posit that it all comes down to chance and circumstance. Of course prayer is about as productive as pissing in the ocean hoping to change the ebb and flow of the tides. Those who have had or witnessed prayer's magical powers from "personal experience" simply witnessed chance at work.

Simple thought exercise I use to demonstrate this: In the US, millions of people purchase lottery tickets daily with the hope of becoming instant millionaires. Statistically about 70% of the US population profess to have faith in god. So lets say.....across America this week 10 million lottery tickets were purchased, and 70% of those people are religious and said a fervent prayer "God please let me win the lottery."

A week later the winner is announced and Gasp it happens to be one of the 7 million religious people who bought a ticket. To THAT person, god has answered their prayer...you will never be able to convince them otherwise. They will tell their story forever..."I prayed to god to let me win and I DID!...god is great!..it was a miracle, god blessed me!" Oddly the other 6.999,999 religious folks who purchased tickets and made a fervent prayer did not get their prayer answered...they will instead say, "God is great, he has a plan for me, it wasn't my time to win yet, thank you jesus for loving me, I prayed, and god answered, the answer was no."

Chance and circumstance. I have yet to see a single amputee grow their limb back....prayers and all.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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03-06-2015, 07:28 AM
RE: Claim: "God answers prayer" - a personal lightbulb moment
A very good book on this topic is How "God" Works by Marshall Brain. Great read.

It really comes down to confirmation bias. If you're looking to feel good, you'll find the evidence. If you're actually looking to see if prayer is the cause of something happening, nada.

I can see a pastor encouraging people to keep a prayer journal since the optional answers are yes, no, wait then everything falls into that category.

If you kept a journal with specific prayers and only counted when they were specifically answered affirmatively, it wouldn't turn out very well for the pastor.

Remember, just because you want something to be true, doesn't make it true. Yes, even if you have faith.
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