Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
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07-02-2015, 06:13 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
As we are throwing quotes around..

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime.

Teach a man to pray... And he'll die waiting for a fish.



Can't remember who said that.
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07-02-2015, 07:29 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
Pray, v.: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
~Ambrose Bierce

I think that quote needs a corollary:

Pray, v.: 2- to ask god to change his perfect, preordained plan because you think you know better.
~Full Circle

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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07-02-2015, 07:37 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
Timeless




“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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09-02-2015, 11:07 AM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(07-02-2015 02:34 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Any prayer, for whatever fancied "selfless" desire, or flat-out selfish desire, is a communication to a diety which by its very act presumes the deity needs to be told, that the deity would not give the matter the attention it needs unless told about it.

That's an astonishing conceit. It presumes, first, that a diety is ignorant in some area until YOU tell it what's up, second, and arrogantly presumptuous, that YOU know better than the deity the best outcome, and finally, third, and obscenely arrogantly presumptuous to the point of blasphemy, that fulfilling YOUR desire warrants suspension of the laws of nature and eclipse of whatever the deity's original plans might have been.

I've heard some justify prayer as letting "god" know that the matter at hand is important to you; that your taking the initiative to tell god what's up "tells" god it matters. But that's bollocks: omniscient deities are eavesdropping your thoughts 24/7; giving some thought voice only raises the decibel level, not the information level.

The worst conceit of prayer is that it makes the supplicant feel noble, as if they'd done something material toward achieving the sought after outcome, when it is in fact a cheap and easy avoidance of doing something useful. Any course of action other than prayer that could be useful would require time, expense and some degree of self-sacrifice.

Prayer is declaring "That ain't my job; god has to fix it". And feeling self-satisfied about passing the word up.

It would be an astonishing conceit if it were so, yes. But to quote C.S. Lewis, who was asked why he prayed often after his second wife passed, "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me!"

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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09-02-2015, 11:12 AM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(09-02-2015 11:07 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(07-02-2015 02:34 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Any prayer, for whatever fancied "selfless" desire, or flat-out selfish desire, is a communication to a diety which by its very act presumes the deity needs to be told, that the deity would not give the matter the attention it needs unless told about it.

That's an astonishing conceit. It presumes, first, that a diety is ignorant in some area until YOU tell it what's up, second, and arrogantly presumptuous, that YOU know better than the deity the best outcome, and finally, third, and obscenely arrogantly presumptuous to the point of blasphemy, that fulfilling YOUR desire warrants suspension of the laws of nature and eclipse of whatever the deity's original plans might have been.

I've heard some justify prayer as letting "god" know that the matter at hand is important to you; that your taking the initiative to tell god what's up "tells" god it matters. But that's bollocks: omniscient deities are eavesdropping your thoughts 24/7; giving some thought voice only raises the decibel level, not the information level.

The worst conceit of prayer is that it makes the supplicant feel noble, as if they'd done something material toward achieving the sought after outcome, when it is in fact a cheap and easy avoidance of doing something useful. Any course of action other than prayer that could be useful would require time, expense and some degree of self-sacrifice.

Prayer is declaring "That ain't my job; god has to fix it". And feeling self-satisfied about passing the word up.

It would be an astonishing conceit if it were so, yes. But to quote C.S. Lewis, who was asked why he prayed often after his second wife passed, "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me!"

Weak sauce post hoc fallacy. You've basically ceded that prayer will not change anything but things in your own mind, exactly where your god exists.

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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09-02-2015, 12:50 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(09-02-2015 11:07 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(07-02-2015 02:34 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Any prayer, for whatever fancied "selfless" desire, or flat-out selfish desire, is a communication to a diety which by its very act presumes the deity needs to be told, that the deity would not give the matter the attention it needs unless told about it.

That's an astonishing conceit. It presumes, first, that a diety is ignorant in some area until YOU tell it what's up, second, and arrogantly presumptuous, that YOU know better than the deity the best outcome, and finally, third, and obscenely arrogantly presumptuous to the point of blasphemy, that fulfilling YOUR desire warrants suspension of the laws of nature and eclipse of whatever the deity's original plans might have been.

I've heard some justify prayer as letting "god" know that the matter at hand is important to you; that your taking the initiative to tell god what's up "tells" god it matters. But that's bollocks: omniscient deities are eavesdropping your thoughts 24/7; giving some thought voice only raises the decibel level, not the information level.

The worst conceit of prayer is that it makes the supplicant feel noble, as if they'd done something material toward achieving the sought after outcome, when it is in fact a cheap and easy avoidance of doing something useful. Any course of action other than prayer that could be useful would require time, expense and some degree of self-sacrifice.

Prayer is declaring "That ain't my job; god has to fix it". And feeling self-satisfied about passing the word up.

It would be an astonishing conceit if it were so, yes. But to quote C.S. Lewis, who was asked why he prayed often after his second wife passed, "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me!"

Thanks for confirming the OP points there Q. It is all about what it does for "me", or how it makes "me" feel. You are an idiot.

I love it when I ask why folks pray they answer with - "it strengthens my relationship with god", but when told that prayer is really only for their benefit, they reply that it is not. Another fine example of cognitive dissonance.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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09-02-2015, 03:38 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(09-02-2015 11:07 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(07-02-2015 02:34 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  Any prayer, for whatever fancied "selfless" desire, or flat-out selfish desire, is a communication to a diety which by its very act presumes the deity needs to be told, that the deity would not give the matter the attention it needs unless told about it.

That's an astonishing conceit. It presumes, first, that a diety is ignorant in some area until YOU tell it what's up, second, and arrogantly presumptuous, that YOU know better than the deity the best outcome, and finally, third, and obscenely arrogantly presumptuous to the point of blasphemy, that fulfilling YOUR desire warrants suspension of the laws of nature and eclipse of whatever the deity's original plans might have been.

I've heard some justify prayer as letting "god" know that the matter at hand is important to you; that your taking the initiative to tell god what's up "tells" god it matters. But that's bollocks: omniscient deities are eavesdropping your thoughts 24/7; giving some thought voice only raises the decibel level, not the information level.

The worst conceit of prayer is that it makes the supplicant feel noble, as if they'd done something material toward achieving the sought after outcome, when it is in fact a cheap and easy avoidance of doing something useful. Any course of action other than prayer that could be useful would require time, expense and some degree of self-sacrifice.

Prayer is declaring "That ain't my job; god has to fix it". And feeling self-satisfied about passing the word up.

It would be an astonishing conceit if it were so, yes. But to quote C.S. Lewis, who was asked why he prayed often after his second wife passed, "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me!"

According to the Bible, God has a plan for everyone, and all of life’s events have a divine purpose. As humans live in a sometimes cold, unfriendly and unfair universe, some Christians think that God lets terrible things happen. They ask questions.
“Why did I lose a parent to cancer?”
“Why did he commit suicide?”
“Why did a little girl get run over?”
“Why were people killed in a tsunami?”
“Is God angry? Am I being punished for not having enough faith or for having wicked thoughts?”

God never answers because he does not exist. Patronizing platitudes promoted by preachers about “God’s plan” only add insult to the pain.

Rather than imagine there is an omnipotent man in the sky controlling everything, is it not better to accept that the world is sometimes harsh and unfair, and there is no moderator who will one day even things out? Anger about injustices might then soften into grief. Reality dawns: people are flawed, and always will be, and things occur due to unforeseen circumstances, so shit sometimes happens.

Prayer is pointless. The idea that the laws of nature and the vagaries of chance respond to wailings and incantations is pathetic. Instead of cowering before an imaginary master who moves in mysterious ways, people should analyze what went wrong and why to help prevent a repeat. That means putting thinking caps on and asking for help from our fellow men, who, unlike God, will answer back. That is productive and empowering. Praying is not.Drinking Beverage
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09-02-2015, 07:18 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(09-02-2015 03:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ... Anger about injustices might then soften into grief ...

You bring up an excellent point here that might be worth exploring in its own thread, but we'll start here for now: One of religion's hallmarks is that the universe is "just" or "balanced" or "fair", the great ledger of debits to credits meticulously maintained by that mighty CPA, God. With a belief like that cemented into your emotional SQOS (Soft Squishy Operating System), any misfortune will carry with it more than just the sadness and grief normally incurred, it adds the extra weight of a sense of betrayal. If the belief is entrenched enough, has been hammered into you over years of religious devotion, the grief over the betrayal could overwhelm the ordinary grief and inflict psychological pain beyond one's ability to cope.

Misery compounded, another endearing side-effect of clinging to a god like a security blanket.
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09-02-2015, 08:14 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
I don't even have problem with prayer when it comes to just praying for yourself in order to feel better. If you genuinely believe that and keep that thought to yourself then fine.

But if you want to help, do something useful to help instead of praying.
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10-02-2015, 09:35 AM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(09-02-2015 12:50 PM)Timber1025 Wrote:  
(09-02-2015 11:07 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It would be an astonishing conceit if it were so, yes. But to quote C.S. Lewis, who was asked why he prayed often after his second wife passed, "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me!"

Thanks for confirming the OP points there Q. It is all about what it does for "me", or how it makes "me" feel. You are an idiot.

I love it when I ask why folks pray they answer with - "it strengthens my relationship with god", but when told that prayer is really only for their benefit, they reply that it is not. Another fine example of cognitive dissonance.

It sounds like you're saying that if god exists, it is inappropriate for us to pursue relationship and communication with god. That is nonsensical to me in terms of:

*if my marriage is to survive and even thrive, I need to communicate and enhance relationship
*ditto for my kids
*ditto for work colleagues
*mega-ditto for atheists at TTA, who constantly lose sight of the real goal posts and accuse me of being dishonest or disingenuous--in my heart and mind, I am free of those ills toward those I witness my faith to

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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