Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
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10-02-2015, 12:38 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 09:36 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(09-02-2015 03:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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

You may have forgotten that part of prayer and relationship is that sometimes god answers. He's certainly answered some of my prayers here at TTA. Absolutely.

Oh do tell, which one of your prayers have been answered on this forum? That someone would tell you the bible, and the god it describes are utter bullshit?

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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10-02-2015, 02:58 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 12:04 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(07-02-2015 02:34 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  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.

It's worse than that, even. If God is omniscient, it means
  • God knows that X will bother you before you tell him,
  • God knows that X will bother you before you are aware that it bothers you, and
  • God knows that X will bother you before X even happens.

"God, I come to you humbly in prayer to-"
"I know."
"But if you know, why-"
"Mysterious ways."
"I guess, but-"
"I know."
"..."
What? I like feeling important."

Again, while I do appreciate your great knowledge base, Robby, you are looking at the prayer dynamic from an knowledge/omniscience paradox view rather than a relationship view.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."

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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10-02-2015, 04:53 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 02:58 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(10-02-2015 12:04 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  It's worse than that, even. If God is omniscient, it means
  • God knows that X will bother you before you tell him,
  • God knows that X will bother you before you are aware that it bothers you, and
  • God knows that X will bother you before X even happens.

"God, I come to you humbly in prayer to-"
"I know."
"But if you know, why-"
"Mysterious ways."
"I guess, but-"
"I know."
"..."
What? I like feeling important."

Again, while I do appreciate your great knowledge base, Robby, you are looking at the prayer dynamic from an knowledge/omniscience paradox view rather than a relationship view.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."

You are nuts!

“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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10-02-2015, 09:24 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 09:36 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... sometimes god answers. He's certainly answered some of my prayers ...

How could you possibly know? There isn't a molecule of data that would tell you. Oh you might say you prayed for X to happen by Tuesday and X happened Monday night and you think hallelujah, prayer answered.

No.

X happened Monday night whether you prayed for it to happen or not. Some event transpiring after you prayed for something like it to happen (or even exactly happening) is not evidence that prayer had anything to do with it.

And to believe your act of prayer did exert some influence on an outcome is an extreme hubris, a declaration that your thought alone caused a rift in natural law that tipped an outcome in your favor that otherwise would not have happened.

It's typical of such hubris to completely fail to consider the full repercussions on others should a prayer actually succeed by rending nature. It would wreck everyone else's plans based on nature happening according to natural law, perhaps in tragic ways. But no matter, YOU got what YOU wanted.
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10-02-2015, 09:51 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(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!"

So then it is only as useful as say meditation?

If so then why not simply meditate?

“The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton...the-brain/

“...when researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, they found 47 trials that addressed those issues and met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findings, published in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.”

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindf...1401086967

Prayer, as a form of meditation, makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Attributing anything beyond that to a novena is superstition.

“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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11-02-2015, 06:29 AM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 02:58 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Again, while I do appreciate your great knowledge base, Robby, you are looking at the prayer dynamic from an knowledge/omniscience paradox view rather than a relationship view.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."

You're leaving out the omnipotence aspect, though.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"Good question, and I'm not going to answer it! I could have made it so this problem never existed for all of humanity, but I didn't. I'll let you ponder why."

"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."
"That's right. Tell yourself that there must have been a good reason for what I did because you're assuming I love you and can be trusted, despite giving you every rational reason not to trust me."


This is why God -> human analogies always fail: either God is great or he isn't. If he is, he doesn't suffer from human limitations and these analogies are not apt. You run into this a lot when people compare God to parents, judges, doctors, or police officers to explain why God did something. All of these place implicit limitations on God that people don't normally picture him having; at least not until the hard questions come up.

It's one of the reasons I never discuss flood apologetics with literalists anymore. God's power waxes and wanes like a sine wave, depending on the assertions they're making. It waxes with the assertions and wanes when addressing criticism. Is God great or not?
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11-02-2015, 03:34 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(10-02-2015 09:24 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(10-02-2015 09:36 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... sometimes god answers. He's certainly answered some of my prayers ...

How could you possibly know? There isn't a molecule of data that would tell you. Oh you might say you prayed for X to happen by Tuesday and X happened Monday night and you think hallelujah, prayer answered.

No.

X happened Monday night whether you prayed for it to happen or not. Some event transpiring after you prayed for something like it to happen (or even exactly happening) is not evidence that prayer had anything to do with it.

And to believe your act of prayer did exert some influence on an outcome is an extreme hubris, a declaration that your thought alone caused a rift in natural law that tipped an outcome in your favor that otherwise would not have happened.

It's typical of such hubris to completely fail to consider the full repercussions on others should a prayer actually succeed by rending nature. It would wreck everyone else's plans based on nature happening according to natural law, perhaps in tragic ways. But no matter, YOU got what YOU wanted.

I'd like to answer you but it seems you are being rhetorical in saying I couldn't possibly have any evidence for answered prayer. So let me please ask you, what would you consider evidence of answered prayer?

Thanks.

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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11-02-2015, 03:36 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(11-02-2015 06:29 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(10-02-2015 02:58 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Again, while I do appreciate your great knowledge base, Robby, you are looking at the prayer dynamic from an knowledge/omniscience paradox view rather than a relationship view.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."

You're leaving out the omnipotence aspect, though.

"Mom, I come to you humbly to tell you that--"
"I know."
"But if you know, why--"
"I'm your parent and you had to go through this experience."
"Good question, and I'm not going to answer it! I could have made it so this problem never existed for all of humanity, but I didn't. I'll let you ponder why."

"I guess, but--"
"I know."
"..."
What? I'll always be your mom, and I'll always love you."
"That's right. Tell yourself that there must have been a good reason for what I did because you're assuming I love you and can be trusted, despite giving you every rational reason not to trust me."


This is why God -> human analogies always fail: either God is great or he isn't. If he is, he doesn't suffer from human limitations and these analogies are not apt. You run into this a lot when people compare God to parents, judges, doctors, or police officers to explain why God did something. All of these place implicit limitations on God that people don't normally picture him having; at least not until the hard questions come up.

It's one of the reasons I never discuss flood apologetics with literalists anymore. God's power waxes and wanes like a sine wave, depending on the assertions they're making. It waxes with the assertions and wanes when addressing criticism. Is God great or not?

God is great in that He created all and He also makes Himself little, and humble. You've heard that about the person of Jesus, I'm certain. After all, He is so great He "fills all in all".

No, the issue I'm pointing out is foreknowledge of an event, which in mom's case, might as well be omnipotence! And you're ducking my point responding to your parable--simply this--a loving mom or Father God will use their knowledge to teach, remonstrate... and show love.

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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11-02-2015, 08:52 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
(11-02-2015 03:34 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  ... what would you consider evidence of answered prayer?

Let's say that my predictions consistently, repeatedly exceed statistical chance at my level of knowledge. At a craps table I correctly call the throws enough to always beat the house. Not just once, but every time, every visit to Vegas. Not just playing at craps, but in anything where I forecast an outcome. I never lose, and I never lose without ever having to do any homework. I'm never wrong, and I'm never wrong without having to do homework.

That would get my attention. That would be unquestionable evidence that something beyond ordinary understanding was going on. And note that it would be so extraordinary it'd make me a world renowned figure very quickly.

But even if that did transpire, I would STILL not attribute it to godly tampering. I would possess irrefutable evidence that something beyond understanding occurred, yes, but that's all it would mean, that what we thought we understood is still incomplete. It would NOT lead me to think "a god was responsible".

THAT would be a pathetically useless conclusion.

If I had the sort of predictive power described above I would "move heaven and earth" to get to the bottom of it, to figure out just what in blazes in going on so I could KEEP it going, bottle it, sell it, prosper from it IN FULL CONFIDENCE OF KNOWING ITS MECHANISM. Stopping inquiry at "god diddit" would be stupefyingly block-headed.

I'm going to guess that every prayer you deem to have been a prayer answered was for something that could easily have happened naturally, that you never prayed for something so far outside the bounds of true probability that its occurrence would be internationally newsworthy. But if all you pray for are ordinary events, on what basis do you ascribe their happening to supernatural cause?
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11-02-2015, 09:22 PM
RE: Prayer: the Ultimate Selfish Conceit
Emphasis mine


(11-02-2015 03:36 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  God is great in that He created all and He also makes Himself little, and humble. What the bible claims and what literally EVERY christian I have ever known claims is that we are here FOR the glory of god. He made us for the purpose of worshiping and glorifying him. If you do not glorify him, you will be punished. That punishment depends on which biblical account you read. That is the antithesis of humility. You've heard that about the person of Jesus, I'm certain. After all, He is so great He "fills all in all". I do not have a god-sized-hole in my heart. Why do you think that? Oh right, because the church told you that. You would have never come to that conclusion on your own. They tell you that you are broken, wretched, need fixing and only god can fix you. You are NOT broken, I don't care what they say.

No, the issue I'm pointing out is foreknowledge of an event, which in mom's case, might as well be omnipotence! And you're ducking my point responding to your parable--simply this--a loving mom or Father God will use their knowledge to teach, remonstrate... and show love. By setting up a world where literally everything does not need a great overlord to function and provides absolutely no evidence of it's existence except for those who pander to the less educated? By shunning those who do not completely believe the incredible and completely unsubstantiated claims contained an ancient book that is so unreliable, it can't agree with itself in many key places (like the death of it's central dude) and needs apologists to try and convince people of it's supposed "truth? That's not love, it's gross incompetence.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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