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#1 PhillyB

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 09:46 PM

hearing about that guy in arizona walk across the grand canyon on a wire tonight (i didn't actually watch it because all the channels here are in spanish) while praying got me contemplating, once again, the phenomenon of prayer.

 

i'm interested in a discussion of it. i have grown up believing in the power of prayer, and it hasn't been until relatively very recently that i've begun to question its efficacy (having before never been really exposed to the logical fallacies and massive confirmation biases that seem to be its sole supporters.) i don't want this to be a thread to bash people who believe in prayer, but i would benefit, i think, from a dialogue between those who believe prayer can actually inspire god's agency in a given situation and those who disagree (and anyone whose opinions lie somewhere inbetween.)

 

 

 

 

relevant to the discussion's start:

 

 

 

 

Prayer-Flowchart2.png

 

 

6yNox.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

......begin!



#2 pstall

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:11 PM

When was the last time you prayed about/for something?

#3 TheRumGone

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:15 PM

my reasons behind praying are probably so vastly different than others it would take me way too long to describe why.  and it would probably make me sound like a weirdo. and it has nothing to do with god.



#4 Delhommey

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:20 PM

Prayer, like meditation, does have an effect on focusing our mind and energies. It's irrelevant who you pray to, though, provided you pray to something you believe in.

#5 YourMomsLover

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:22 PM

I find myself being the guy in church with his eyes open scanning the chapel full of people standing with their eyes closed.

#6 pstall

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:22 PM

Yep.

My yep was to del.

#7 YourMomsLover

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:27 PM

Del is right. It's all about having faith and hope in something.

#8 Jase

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:29 PM

One would argue that prayer is to change the one that is praying, not an external outcome

#9 Frash Brastard

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:33 PM

Prayer, like meditation, does have an effect on focusing our mind and energies. It's irrelevant who you pray to, though, provided you pray to something you believe in.

 

does that then make anything relating to deep thought about whatever you feel strongly about qualify as prayer?



#10 PhillyB

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:34 PM

When was the last time you prayed about/for something?

 

that's a complicated question because i have to factor in my background in the christian church and my gradually loosening grip on belief in the efficacy of prayer. i am still involved (loosely now) in a local church that i've worked with for years, largely because of the friendships and community forged through it. because if this i am constantly hearing about praying for this and petitioning god for that, and ironically this constant exposure is one of the things that's most effectively exposed the fallacy in the type of prayer that effectively begs god to change one's circumstances for the better, and more specifically, the fallacies of response illustrated in the flowcharts on the OP.

 

as a direct answer to your question, my prayers, when i pray them, are precautionary in the sense that most of them are, quite literally, "hey god, if i'm getting all this wrong and evolution actually isn't true and all this ridiculous stuff that christians say you have to believe and do is actually right, then allow my search for answers in the universe to lead back to it."

 

i pray these prayers less and less as i've discovered fresh waters like bishop spong whose works assure me that i am not alone in these questions and recognition of these gaping holes in christian worldviews (it's just that most of those people reject christianity outright and turn to atheism or agnosticism because the christian creed and theological dogmatic positions are framed so as to exclude them; it is a much harder position to attempt to salvage christianity from a premodern world rather than to abandon it entirely.)

 

in this light i have found it increasingly difficult to pray, even if i wanted to, for things happening in my life; for every person on facebook asking people to pray that they'll do well on their math test, i read a news story of praying children in asia dying of hunger, or praying children in oklahoma getting sucked up into a tornado, and realizing that to insist upon the efficacy of prayer in an individual's menial situation is to confess that god, at some point, being omniscient and omnipresent, decided your goddamn math test was more important than the wailing prayers of dozens of innocent second-graders.

 

i'm no longer willing to answer those questions with robotic dogma.



#11 SZ James

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:37 PM

Op you spelled placebo wrong

#12 pstall

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:41 PM

That's good. Jesus didn't technically have to pray but did. I think prayer is in proportion to our humility of realizing we dont have all the answers.

Some of the best prayers in the bible are the most honest ones. Be it angry or fearful or like one guy who beat his chest and just said iam a sinful man.
I don't think God cares about our eloquence or ability to wax poetically but rather being humble in heart.

#13 PhillyB

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:49 PM

the wildcard in all this for me is the nature of spirituality as a whole, and the fact that with my own eyes and senses i have seen/felt things which cannot be explained by the known laws of physics. this is not to invoke a god-of-the-gaps fallacy; these experiences were in the realm of eastern physiological manifestation related to the martial arts and the use of metaphysical powers to harmonize the body, or to heal, or to destroy. with my own eyes and my own body i have seen and felt the effects of what is usually referred to as chi and its projection through oneself.

 

those legends of monks blowing up trees or turning on televisions with their minds or setting fire to a basket of papers without touching it - those legends have more backing them than how cool crouching tiger hidden dragon was. and it is with this caution that i approach christian spirituality, noting how 99.99999% of the western world calls bullshit on eastern physiology and spiritual activity when i know from personal experience that the opposite is true.



#14 PhillyB

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:54 PM

That's good. Jesus didn't technically have to pray but did. I think prayer is in proportion to our humility of realizing we dont have all the answers.

Some of the best prayers in the bible are the most honest ones. Be it angry or fearful or like one guy who beat his chest and just said iam a sinful man.
I don't think God cares about our eloquence or ability to wax poetically but rather being humble in heart.

 

as a christian you don't believe prayer can inspire healing externally? or change a situation through divine intervention?



#15 pstall

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 10:55 PM

Ever watch baseball philly? Notice anything a batter does before they hit? Besides scratching..


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