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Prayer question for the non-religious


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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:36 PM

I've looked over the "prayer" threads as they stand now. Can't say I'm interested in joining the back and forth bickering there. Frankly, some folks for whom I had respect on both sides of the argument disappoint me.

Instead, I'll frame a different question here, specifically for the non-religious.

Let's say you're in an absolutely desperate situation, in fear of your life or perhaps the life (or lives) of someone you love. Taking stock of the situation, you realize for certain there's absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself or your loved ones.

Do you offer up a prayer in the hope that maybe God will be there and grant you a miracle, or do you stick to your guns that there is no God or that prayer is futile and not bother?

#2 cookinwithgas

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:39 PM

As an agnostic you can certainly think about it and hope. But I hear that there are no athiests in foxholes.....

#3 rodeo

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:41 PM

religion doesn't cross my mind except when i'm debating it. if there's nothing i can do i will keep trying to find something and continue fighting, not give up and leave it up to chance, which is what praying really is even if you believe in god.

#4 natty

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:42 PM

I think a popular answer would be - pray just in case. A common argument is that since God will forgive you, just save up all your sins and repent at the last min.

#5 rodeo

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:44 PM

do christians pray to zeus and buddha and vishnu "just in case?"

#6 Zod

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:31 PM

do christians pray to zeus and buddha and vishnu "just in case?"




:rolleyes:

#7 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:51 PM

I've looked over the "prayer" threads as they stand now. Can't say I'm interested in joining the back and forth bickering there. Frankly, some folks for whom I had respect on both sides of the argument disappoint me.

Instead, I'll frame a different question here, specifically for the non-religious.

Let's say you're in an absolutely desperate situation, in fear of your life or perhaps the life (or lives) of someone you love. Taking stock of the situation, you realize for certain there's absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself or your loved ones.

Do you offer up a prayer in the hope that maybe God will be there and grant you a miracle, or do you stick to your guns that there is no God or that prayer is futile and not bother?


It's impossible(for me at least) to speculate on such a dramatic and intense situation when not currently in that situation. I'd love to say that I'd have nerves of steel and be able to handle anything. But who knows?

I was in a near death car accident 6 years, pinned inside of an upside down car, bleeding profusely from my head and other places on my body, unable to move hardly at all, with broken ribs and vertabrae... and I was too busy trying to figure out how I was going to get out of the car to take a moment to offer up a prayer to someone I was unsure even existed.

I'm agnostic... I have sooo many questions and uncertainties regarding Christianity, due to my upbringing and experiences in and out of the church. I will say that the church, if nothing else, teaches good moral values to kids, which is the reason why I take my son to church on Sundays... I know his mother does not, so it falls upon me to at least give him the opportunity to experience the church/religion and make his own decisions... and don't voice any of my doubts or questions to him.

#8 cookinwithgas

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:21 PM

I had a lot of time in the hospital this past summer and fall. One night was really a wreck emotionally for me - no one had any idea what was wrong with me, I could not sleep at all, and, unusually, no one was coming in every half an hour to poke me with something.

It gives you a lot of time to reflect on questions like these, and really think hard about the potential for the more spiritual ideas to indeed have some solid roots.

What I discovered in a real, visceral way is that people do indeed have an intense need to believe in something when hope in the natural world fades. It is human nature to want to survive, and human nature will invent hope if none exists. I let myself get mentally sloppy a bit and play the "what if" game, but in the end it all came back to my core convictions that there is no proof, and if God exists then He may as well have created just me, and then a "world" around me to interact with to see what happens. That's an incredibly selfish thought, so I also choose not to believe drivel like that as well.

All I know is what I know, and all I believe is open for change. So far I've seen a few reasons to change and an awful lot not to.

#9 Johnny Rockets

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:24 PM

No question.....I am praying like a muthaf*cka!

(and asking for forgiveness for having such a filthy mouth)

#10 jkeough

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:28 PM

being a non-believer...i just whip my junk out and stroke one out,if the end is near...im going out happy

#11 Epistaxis

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:47 PM

There are, in fact, atheists in foxholes.

http://www.richardda...wforum.php?f=11

As to the OP, I'd never quit fighting, and if I die, I'll face the nothing that happens afterward, since it won't be difficult, warm or interminably boring.

#12 cookinwithgas

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:03 PM

Thats a cool link there - my fave:

FYI - Email sent to Bill Schaefer @ Journalnet]: Re: 'Faith Abounds in Iraq' - Kindly Forward to Capt. Unsworth.

Mr. Schaefer: It would be most appreciated if you could forward this email to Capt. Jason Unsworth.

Re "Soldiers, even those who profess to be non-believers, I think when they say that, they aren't being very critical about it,'' Unsworth said. ''Every time I ask these soldiers if it's okay to pray for you, never once have I been turned down. So whether they actually believe in the efficacy of the prayer or find comfort in the fact that I care enough to actually ask if I may say a prayer for you, they always accept. I've never been turned down.''…

Jason: Having been an atheist in submarines, I believe I can speak to your misconceptions as presented by Mr. Schaefer. There will be neither belief in the efficacy of prayer nor any comfort relating to your prayer. Just as if you had asked if they believed in the luck of rabbit’s feet (completely on par with ‘prayer’) and they answered ‘no’; if you, as a military officer persisted and asked if it was okay to chant for their safety over your rabbit’s foot, they’d likely not ‘turn you down’ here either. What purpose would that serve? You do them no harm, but to turn down a very specific request from an officer with such beliefs would not necessarily be very prudent.

While they would likely ‘accept’ your rabbit foot belief, there would be some apprehension that you - as one with some minor level of power or influence - would actually press this belief onto a non-believer of rabbit’s feet. And if they knew that you did this on a continuing basis to non-believer after non-believer, distrust would mount and you would be viewed as likely grossly intolerant and potentially dangerous.

And if this scenario took place in an environment where 90% of one’s peers not only believed in rabbit’s feet but there were known feelings of superiority and wide-spread intolerance of the rabbit’s feet believers towards non-believers, the perception of you - as a probable danger - would also suggest that you of all people not be 'turned down'. And finally, with everything from punishment of atheists to the potential or likely assassination of Pat Tillman in the background, it even boggles the mind that an officer such as yourself cannot even seem to see these as possibilities around why you “do not get turned down”, but rather, the somewhat droll answer that comes to you is that likely these non-believers may in fact believe in the efficacy of rabbit’s feet chants, or similar.

I too have been asked if someone could ‘pray’ for me on occasion. As it affects only the one praying, I hardly think that it’s for me to say ‘no, do not do that’. I may say that I’m an atheist and it’s utterly irrelevant to me, but it would seem to be rude to request that someone not do something that has no affect on me at all. But please don’t delude yourself into thinking that either politeness or prudence in the face of a clearly pushy and biased officer means anything related to belief in chanting, prayer, rabbit’s feet or mythical beings - it simply does not.

As to your bigoted: "There's truth to the saying, absolutely'', I would ask that you at least think twice. Based on your attitude towards atheists, I’d guess that you have long been viewed as suspect and your credibility as a safe, caring, impartial and tolerant human being has been severely compromised by constantly inappropriately asking people if you can chant over your rabbit’s foot (or whatever). That is, you likely don't know much about atheists.

Please also think how you’d feel if some four-star general vocally, ardently and continually wanted your and others’ permission to burn incense to Ra or the Flying Spaghetti Monster in your honor, and would never let it go despite knowing none cared one iota about Ra, the FSM or incense. I submit you’d begin to distrust said four-star for his consistent, pushy and effectively disrespectful requests; think him a fool; or perhaps both.

Please treat your atheist charges with the consideration or respect you probably treat your like-minded theists and stop pushing your ‘God’ and your rituals onto those who think of them as they do Ra and rabbit’s feet. It would get tedious very quickly, and escalate to distrust and more.

Respectfully, Brett Aubrey.



#13 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:13 PM

In times of fear, struggle and uncertainty, I don't tend to look for a mystical being to bail me or others out.

#14 Mr. Scot

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

So, for some, let's say your child is on the verge of passing, there's not a thing anyone can do for them, no hope of any sort, you still wouldn't take a chance on praying?

#15 dimbee

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:46 PM

If there is no hope, how will praying to something that I don't really believe in get me anything?

I mean, really, you're trying really, really hard to prove something or get someone to respond in a certain way... desperate times call for desperate measures, right?


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