Why do we pray?

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Tart
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Post #21

Post by Tart »

[Replying to post 1 by marco]

Personally i pray so other people notice what a good Christian i am

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marco
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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #22

Post by marco »

Goose wrote:
Is there something wrong with holding an unfalsifiable belief?
Nothing but it should be seen that it scores high on faith and zero on reason. If one accepts that prayer has nothing to do with rationality then there is nothing wrong with indulging in a kind of superstition. I'm sure the primitives who congregated around a fire and danced for rain were not exercising any high intellectuality. Asking God for something - extra rent money, a cure for a relative or good weather - is qualitatively no different, except that people who pray do not, as far as I know, dance about.

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Post #23

Post by marco »

Tart wrote: [Replying to post 1 by marco]

Personally I pray so other people notice what a good Christian I am
That is truly honest, and I think you are not alone. Why else do people going to church wish to be seen in all their finery? Jesus suggested they walk around naked, like birds and beasts, since the Father has clothed them as he has done the lesser-spotted woodpecker; but we have laws against this now.

Here's Luke on the lilies: Luke 12:27 27 "Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these." But of course Solomon was probably undressed most of the time, being the proud possessor of 1000 wives and concubines, acquired no doubt by earnest prayer.

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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #24

Post by bluegreenearth »

Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:When the outcome is favorable, the prayer is credited as confirming the Christian's belief in the existence of God.
Sure, but the belief in God is often held independently of beliefs about answered prayer.
The pre-existing belief in a supernatural God is precisely the source of the confirmation bias that is influencing the perception that a prayer was answered when it remains possible for the true cause of their observation to more accurately reside with a natural explanation.
Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:I'm unaware of any example that a Christian will accept as confirmation that prayer does not work.
How about when God says “no� to a prayer? Wouldn’t that imply prayer did not work at least in that case?
No. When you claim to believe God said "no" to a prayer, that only confirms your belief that the prayer request was not in accordance with God's will and is not confirmation that prayer doesn't work. I'm asking you to describe what you would accept as evidence against the claim that God answered your prayer. Pick a prayer you currently believe God answered and describe what sort of evidence would cause you to reconsider the possibility that a natural explanation might be more likely than the supernatural explanation.
Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:Therefore, from the Christian's perspective, the claim that God answers prayer is unfalsifiable.
Correct. The Christian view of prayer is unfalsifiable. Is there something wrong with holding an unfalsifiable belief?
I'm not making a value judgment against holding an unfalsifiable belief; only demonstrating where it is impossible to demonstrate that the unfalsifiable belief is true. There is nothing wrong with Christians believing that God may be answering prayers, but it is dishonest for Christians to claim they know that such an unfalsifiable claim is true.
Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:As such, Christians have no mechanism by which they can determine if God was actually responsible for the outcome of a prayer or if confirmation bias was actually responsible for their perception that a prayer request was answered by God.
We could use the mechanism of reasoning to determine if God was responsible for the outcome.
It is philosophically impossible for any rational mechanism of reasoning to determine if such an unfalsifiable claim is true or false. Any mechanism of reasoning that leads someone to conclude that an unfalsifiable claim is true must either be logically fallacious or has failed to mitigate for confirmation bias. I'm unaware of any logical arguments that demonstrate otherwise.
Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:If Christians are able to respond to this post with a description of what they will accept as evidence against their belief that has God answered their prayers, I will be very appreciative.
I will accept evidence that God does not exist as evidence against my belief that God answers prayer.
There will never be sufficient evidence to demonstrate the non-existence of something unless that something describes a logical impossibility like a married bachelor or square circle. As such, there is no evidence I'm aware of that will demonstrate the non-existence of any proposed god unless the description of a proposed god constitutes a logical impossibility. Therefore, your request for such evidence constitutes a burden of proof fallacy. It is not anyone's responsibility to provide evidence that the Christian God does not exist. For the same reason, it is not your responsibility to provide evidence that all the other proposed gods do not exist. The burden of proof always resides with the person making the positive claim. This is a philosophical necessity. I'm unaware of any logical arguments that demonstrate otherwise. As such, I must consider your response to be invalid unless you can describe what evidence could be reasonably obtained that you would accept as confirmation that God does not exist.
Goose wrote:
bluegreenearth wrote:"If Christians are unable to respond with the requested information, then they should be intellectually honest and responsibly acknowledge where their unfalsifiable claims about answered prayers only serve as evidence of confirmation bias and not the existence of God. Thanks.
Well I responded with the requested information. So now what?
See my previous comment above.

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OnceConvinced
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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #25

Post by OnceConvinced »

1213 wrote:
OnceConvinced wrote: …Is there a purpose in thanking him? Does it empower him? Boost his ego?
If someone thanks you, does it boost your ego? Does it empower you?
I don't require thanks. The God of the bible seems to. He seemed to need praise and worhip.

If someone choses not to thank me, I'm not normally going to make a huge deal of it. (With kids who I am trying to teach good manners to, that's a different story.)

If they do thank me, sometimes it might give my ego a boost. Other times I will think it's nice they said that. It may make me even like them more.

Is thanking God done with the hope that God might like you more and do more favours for you?

Is politeness to god worth anything at all?

I'm not a god. I'm only human. Why does God require so much thanking? Is he more needy than I am?

1213 wrote:
OnceConvinced wrote:So is there a chance that his will will not happen in your life?
How does he ensure his will happens without violating your freewill?
If I ask that things go as God wants, then I think my and God’s will are the same and it doesn’t mean that I have lost my freedom. Also, I think in a way God’s will always happens, but in this I meant that I ask that things go as God thinks is the best. Sorry that I was not clear in that previous post.
I'm thinking more along the lines of the violation of freewill when it comes to other people. Most things that you would pray for woould require freewill violations.

Like asking God to help you gain employment would mean violating the freewill of the employer to favour you over other candidates.

Asking God to soften people's hearts would be a violation of their freewill.

Asking God to gain some kind of favour over others or some type of earthly benefit, eg money to pay bills, food to eat, would all require God to force other humans to make certain sacrifices on your behalf.

There wouldn't be too many prayers that people pray that wouldn't require freewill violations. Apart from maybe prayers for healing or maybe asking for strength or things that affect the pray-er personally.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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OnceConvinced
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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #26

Post by OnceConvinced »

marco wrote:
Jesus is the name given to a new car, a longed-for baby or the disappearance of Uncle's Bob's cough.

Recently, Jesus was a drinking straw I was too lazy to dispose of.

I was driving my mother long distance the other day. She has bad health and is getting weaker and weaker. I stopped at a supermarket to get her a cold drink, but she couldn't even lift the bottle up high enough to drink it. Said she needed a straw, but I would have had to have gone back into the supermarket and purchased an entire pack of them.

Then I remembered I had a straw (one sealed in a paper wrapping) lying on the floor beside my door and driver seat so I grabbed it and handed it to her.

"How about this? I've had this lying there for months".

Her response: "Praise the lord!"

As if the lord had anything to do with it. I wanted to tell her it was only there because I was too lazy to dispose of it. But I said nothing.

Yeah, just give God the glory for things even though he has done absolutely nothing to help her regain her strength and releave her discomfort and pain, even though she is constantly praying for it. It's only the drugs that ever help with the pain and only ever other humans helping her to get up and move around.

She should have regained some strength by now since her operation which was also performed by humans and not by any god.

marco wrote:
In many ways we are still delightfully Neanderthal.
That's the perfect way of putting it.

It is really tiresome when you constantly get Christians giving all the credit to god when God's done nothing and it's been the work of humans or other natural influences.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #27

Post by Zzyzx »

.
1213 wrote: If someone thanks you, does it boost your ego? Does it empower you?
Although I donate quite a bit in resources and energy, it is done in the background and anonymously -- with no expectation (or even possibility) of thanks.

Recipients have no idea . . . only fellow donors or others directly involved know.

Perhaps 'gods' are more concerned about ego?
.
Non-Theist

If you stop claiming knowledge of invisible, undetectable unicorns, I will stop challenging your claim. Same goes for gods

ANY of the thousands of "gods" proposed, imagined, worshiped, loved, feared, and/or fought over by humans MAY exist -- awaiting verifiable evidence

For a quick tutorial on science vs. religion, compare modern internet weather radar to ancient religious beliefs and superstitions about weather

"Demand money with the threat of violence and you'll get arrested. Do it with the threat of eternal damnation and it's tax deductible"

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Post #28

Post by OnceConvinced »

Tart wrote: [Replying to post 1 by marco]

Personally i pray so other people notice what a good Christian i am
Then you are doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus has instructed:

Matt 6:5-8
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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marco
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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #29

Post by marco »

OnceConvinced wrote:


Recently, Jesus was a drinking straw I was too lazy to dispose of.
That's a nice story. OnceConvinced, one that my mother vies with daily. She's secretly plotting with Jesus to persuade her heretic son that his head has been filled with foolish nonsense, possibly one noon when the devil was raging like a lion. But you know I am sort of happy with this nice Jesus and if ever he stopped visiting my mother I think I would count that as a tragedy unequalled.

The Jesus presented by my primary teacher, a bearded old lady who loved to praise God on the church organ, was vicious. To instruct me in the best way to say the Our Father she battered my five-year-old fingers till they bled, and at the end of the prayer I was supposed to thank Jesus for his goodness. I sort of came round when he appeared as a harmless baby and was rather touched when news broke he'd been killed, apparently to save me, but not in time to save me from the iron lady.

Prayer is a blindfold: when praying all things are bright and beautiful and death has no sting. "I am the resurrection and life" used to sound so beautifully convincing that the coffin over which the words were spoken was almost to be envied.

I concede that when, like frightened rabbits, we seem surrounded by predators and escape is impossible, prayer seems like swiftness and momentary safety. We are eaten nonetheless but, well, in our brief prayer we fled through the clouds, like Jesus.

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Re: Why do we pray?

Post #30

Post by marco »

Zzyzx wrote: .
1213 wrote: If someone thanks you, does it boost your ego? Does it empower you?
Although I donate quite a bit in resources and energy, it is done in the background and anonymously -- with no expectation (or even possibility) of thanks.

Recipients have no idea . . . only fellow donors or others directly involved know.

Perhaps 'gods' are more concerned about ego?

But we are learning that the garden we inhabit is full of miracles bigger than Christian fictions: magic particles come into existence and go mysteriously; Schrodinger's dead cat is restored to life and light can reach us that started out before Abraham was. Perhaps from black hole theory we will take a better path to the heavens than did the ascending Christ.

And who knows, the butterfly wings of your charitable donations might somehow make miracles happen somewhere unseen. Our universe is perhaps a thousand times more beautiful than the David and Goliath stuff of ancient tribes.

Giving is perhaps a prayer that carries its own internal satisfaction, without disturbing any gods.

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