Does Prayer Work?

Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby ThreadKiller » 04 Mar 2011, 12:16

bismarck wrote:And I think; if you don't believe in prayer, why would it work? If you don't believe in God, why would you pray?


I believed once and prayed my butt off (forgive me, I was younger). Image

bismarck wrote:And if you believe in neither, why ask the question in the first place? Why does it bother you enough to ask? Why would you care either way?


Because one of the things you and I will both agree on is that it is an important question whether there are supernatural forces which should guide our lives or not. You're a Christian because you think the issue is important. I'm an atheist for the same reason.

It's a scientific principle to change one's ideas when new evidence crops up. My beliefs are not set in stone. So I would be very interested to find any evidence of supernatural forces or events (miracles, reincarnation, etc.) It would be exhilarating to find there was something more. So while I have never experienced anything spiritual that wasn't fabricated by myself or wishes (when I was a born again Christian and actively seeking communion with God) and have never come across any other evidence in Christian apologetics that I found convincing, the question remains important to me. I do care. Very much actually.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby wollemi » 04 Mar 2011, 12:39

I never know why people use empirical science as the measure of everything. It works for some physical laws but that is about where it ends. I don't put my stock in what other people tell me to be true simply because it is repeatable 19 times out of every 20. Or 99 times out of every 100. Also, empirical science looks to falsify, not to prove. Probably not the best measure when we are talking about gauging thought against outcome. Empirically unmeasurable. God doesn't play dice, but statisticians do.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby dashgalaxy86 » 04 Mar 2011, 12:42

tommy525 wrote:It only does when your wishes are in alignment with that of the good Lord. And most of the time it aint.

So when I was ten and I prayed to God that my grandpa and grandma wouldn't die until they had great grandkids, and the next day my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer, I guess God had some seriously different wishes that I simply could not align with.
For a long time I hated God for that. It felt like a serious "Fuck you". After that, I pretty much loathed anyone who said "The Lord works in mysterious ways", including the Blues Brothers, and I equally hated those who tried to say anything about God's plan. The one time I got in trouble at school my whole life, I told my Religion teacher in 6th grade (when I was 12) that she had "no idea what the hell" she was talking about when she discussed God's plan with the class.
I've become an atheist since then, and I've found happiness and contentment.

But even today, I am a little offended by tommy's statement.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby Got To Be Kidding » 04 Mar 2011, 12:47

Has anyone seen some of Lee Strobel's work?

This guy was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and a confirmed athiest. He decided one day to put the idea of Christ on trial, and in the process realized that Christ was the real deal.

The result was a book, "The Case for Christ" which he later made into a DVD. I didn't read the book, but the DVD was riveting. If anyone is interested, I have a copy of the DVD that I can pass around.

Strobel also went on to do "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for a Creator" (Books and DVDs).

In any rational discussion of something like this, it would be good to check out as much evidence as you can.

Having said that, it's not 'evidence' that should persuade you, but the 'rightness' of it - i.e., it resonates with your soul.

(I'm normally not such a touchy-feely person - unless my wife is around, then I'm this soft puddle of goo.)

EDIT:

dashgalaxy86, I am so sorry that you had that experience. That was tough.

wollemi: I think that you encapsulate part of the problem with 'empirical evidence'. Remember when science got side-swiped when we discovered that not only is the Universe expanding, but its expansion is ACCELERATING! Woo Hoo!
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby Chris » 04 Mar 2011, 12:54

Fortigurn wrote:In case it's not clear, you're agreeing with what I wrote, right?

Yes, of course!
Religion, on the other hand, simply asserts its "truth". It is written in an ancient book, so it must be true, it claims


What an extraordinarily unreasonable religion. Could you please provide a quotation from whichever religion asserts this? I'm sure there are are plenty, even if they don't express it exactly in these terms, but I doubt very much that all religions make such a claim.

Well, I often hear religionists claim the truth of their scriptures without justifying it. They simply assert that the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon or whatever is the ultimate authority, god's word, the truth, etc.

Some claim that the scriptures themselves proclaim their truth. But that's fallacious: anyone could write a book of pure fantasy and include a line claiming that the contents of the book are true.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby Got To Be Kidding » 04 Mar 2011, 12:58

Chris wrote: ...anyone could write a book of pure fantasy and include a line claiming that the contents of the book are true.


I've written computer manuals like that.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby Chris » 04 Mar 2011, 12:58

Got To Be Kidding wrote:Has anyone seen some of Lee Strobel's work?

Yes. He's up there in the pantheon of notorious religious hucksters.

Some commentary on Strobel and The Case For Christ by Matt Dillahunty:
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby dashgalaxy86 » 04 Mar 2011, 13:08

Got To Be Kidding wrote:Has anyone seen some of Lee Strobel's work?

This guy was legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and a confirmed athiest. He decided one day to put the idea of Christ on trial, and in the process realized that Christ was the real deal.

The result was a book, "The Case for Christ" which he later made into a DVD. I didn't read the book, but the DVD was riveting. If anyone is interested, I have a copy of the DVD that I can pass around.

Strobel also went on to do "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for a Creator" (Books and DVDs).

In any rational discussion of something like this, it would be good to check out as much evidence as you can.

Having said that, it's not 'evidence' that should persuade you, but the 'rightness' of it - i.e., it resonates with your soul.

(I'm normally not such a touchy-feely person - unless my wife is around, then I'm this soft puddle of goo.)

EDIT:

dashgalaxy86, I am so sorry that you had that experience. That was tough.

wollemi: I think that you encapsulate part of the problem with 'empirical evidence'. Remember when science got side-swiped when we discovered that not only is the Universe expanding, but its expansion is ACCELERATING! Woo Hoo!


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ ... robel.html
http://packham.n4m.org/strobel.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Case_f ... _a_Creator (notice the kind of people he interviews)
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby Tempo Gain » 04 Mar 2011, 13:31

dashgalaxy86 wrote:For atheists who wish to live secluded, anonymous lives and are content to see the fall of civilization unfold in front of them, your logic is sound. I'm offended because the ignorance speaks to other similar ignorances that, I believe, are holding humanity back. Stem cell research, allowing women to abort children they're unable to care for, etc. There is also the question of how religion has negatively shaped civilization and law over the centuries.


Well said. These are important issues in today's world. Many issues touch on religious questions, particularly in a place like my homeland the US. Anyway, no one likes unsolicited proselytizing, but no one should have to hide their love away either. There's a middle ground there where there can be an open exchange of ideas.
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Re: Does Prayer Work?

Postby wollemi » 04 Mar 2011, 13:43

Tempo Gain wrote: There's a middle ground there where there can be an open exchange of ideas.


There could be, but I wouldn't count on it. The human brain operates under faulty logic systems and dichotomies of thought are inevitable. We have a natural (inbuilt? devolving?) leaning towards confirmation bias. We see what we want and we reject the opposite. Have a go at Wasons selection task to prove it to yourself.

http://www.philosophyexperiments.com/wason/Default.aspx

Equally his THOG task proves that we seek to confirm our own ideas.
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