Friday, January 20, 2006

Prayer is selfish beggary

I made some comments about prayer on an atheist blog that seemed to spark some controversy with the religious.

I said that prayer is an example of weakness and helplessness. It is the ultimate example of beggary, wanting something for nothing. It illustrates some of the worst characteristics of human nature and provides evidence for B.F Skinners learned helplessness theory.

I then asked what the use of praying is when one believes that god has a plan for them. For if one prays for something within god’s plan then that something will happen regardless of prayer, conversely if one where to pray for something that is not included within god’s plan then that something will not happen regardless of prayer also, so either way prayer is ineffectual and useless. My comments created a ripple of outrage and spawned several other religious blogs to create posts about prayer. Ironically no one even attempted to answer the question of the futility of prayer at all. They merely asserted that not everyone prayed for “presents” and selfish reasons, they said that some pray for strength and health. This was my point to begin with and I find it absurd for them to imply that I only thought people prayed for material gifts. If one is praying for good health then that would be just as good an example of beggary and selfishness as is praying for a new car. Rather than eat healthy, exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle one is begging a supernatural force to intervene and create these results for them – weakness, helplessness, and selfish beggary.

63 comments:

Stardust said...

Like I keep saying, no one would follow christianity if there wasn't something in it for the "self." If there were no rewards to bribe, or punishments for not believing or sinning, people would not want anything to do with their religion.

When their prayer is not answered they say it is "god's will"...or it is because of evil in the world that god doesn't do anything to stop. When a person gets their wish, they shout "praise Jesus!" They make up answers to suit themselves so their "faith" is not jeapordized.

I have also experienced time and time again, the outrage you are talking about, and sometimes even hatefulness when christians feel threatened because they cannot come up with a good answer to some of my questions or comments. I sit there calmly while they are turning purple!

JDHURF said...

It’s really a case of people fitting real world observations into their preconceived and fixed world view, rather than creating a world view around real world observations. I also find it odd that so many deeply religious people seem so intrinsically bound to their views through such personal emotion. When one questions my views (which happens often) I do not react with overt emotional responses, I reflect, consider, and then respond with a thought out and coherent response that lacks impetuous and emotionally charged hysteria.
Thanks for commenting I enjoyed your post.

IbaDaiRon said...

Very nice.

Don't forget the incredible hubris inherent in praying for something that appears (or one fears is) contrary to "God's plan". "Oh Lord, move heaven and earth (=change the laws of physics and biology, etc.) FOR MY SAKE!"

Forgiveable perhaps at the bedside of a terminally ill child, but truly heinous over a lottery ticket.

The Jewish Freak said...

I agree that prayer can be irrational and narccicistic. The one benefit that I can see is an admission by the person that he is not in complete control of his fate. This can help to develop a more realistic view of the limits of human effort. Of course, one needs to be somewhat rational in order to realize this benefit.

JDHURF said...

Ibadairon,
True indeed. I agree that it is forgivable for one to pray for a terminally ill child I forgive many religious for their bizarre religiosity, but all in all no matter how forgivable it may be it is still irrational.

Jewishfreak,
I can see how praying may benefit one by illustrating their limits of control, although understanding this by way of prayer is not only unnecessary but it’s irrational. One major problem with fundies is their hesitance to actually use their human ability and power to effect positive change within their lives. They would rather pray to a mythological character found in a two thousand year old book than do something that may be hard or unpleasant. Prayer no matter why or how it is used is irrational, ineffectual, and characterizes a phobia of an impersonal nature.
While I don’t think that your proposed benefit of prayer actually justifies it I think that your defense of prayer is the best that I have seen, whether you pray or not.

Thank you both for stopping by and commenting, I enjoyed both of your posts.

Stardust said...

Praying is useless, except maybe in a psychological sense. I equate prayer with buying a lottery ticket. There are things we can control in our lives, and other things we cannot because nature is just too big sometimes. Because people don't understand nature, and are really helpless against it, they call it god. Then they pray to this god to be "merciful" which isn't gonna happen, because we cannot control nature through wishful thinking or any other way.

Now, if you are talking about MEDITATION...that is a whole other thing. Meditation is to focus one's thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over and this can be quite beneficial in today's busy world to stop and listen to one's own thoughts.

Stardust said...

Prayer is different from Meditation as I mentioned above...
According to Webster, Prayer is (1) an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought (said a prayer for the success of the voyage) (2) : a set order of words used in praying b : an earnest request or wish.

Therefore...Jdhurf is right...prayer is beggary. :-)

JDHURF said...

Very nice, thanks for the support!

And I agree with you that there needs to be a distinction made between prayer and meditation, two very different and distinct behaviors. Meditation, while not always beneficial, at least has the possibility of being so prayer on the other hand shows no such possible benefits. Meditation is being studied and researched by psychologists and neuroscientists as we speak.

Does not play well with others said...

Religion in general is a crutch. Saying that prayer displays weakness is, in my opinion, redundant.

JDHURF said...

I agree with you, I was just singling out prayer to be specific about how religion is a crutch. Prayer is but one symptom of the mind virus religion.

Jared Moore said...

I'm a Christian Theist. Prayer is "foolish" or "selfish" in your eyes because you're a secular humanist. You can call it a crutch or whatever you like; though you say these things, does it make it true and authoratative? If there is a God, as I know there is, and He has "taught" us to pray, and given us examples of Him answering prayers while still being ultimately Sovereign; then, of course we pray... for we are to make our requests known to God... it's due to His command that we pray. Call it what you want... but, ultimately, it's your denial of God's existence that you approach prayer in such a way... not that it's always selfish in and of itself; but, simply that you don't believe in God. Your thinking is skewed, always wrong whenever the things of God are brought into question.

I'm sure you ask, "How does a grown man believe such a thing?"

Though this is simply the echo of my thinking toward you.

So, are we lost on a sea of relativity?

I think not... I've heard you thoroughly argue against the transendental argument, though I was left unsatisfied, as were you. I did get though that you believe nature is the foundation of your worldview. My question is... can you prove this? Or, do you assume it? Can you prove the eternal past of nature? etc.

JDHURF said...

Jared,

I am not going to be drawn into a long drawn out and convoluted transcendental argument with you again (for you proved beyond a shadow of doubt that you are incapable of honest debate with integrity and dignity).
You claim that I approach prayer in this manner due to my denial of god, well I do not deny god (saying this assumes that there is a supernatural force/entity, and a rash assumption it is). I do not deny god I do not believe in any supernatural force/entity the Christian god being but one of the many. Since you, hopefully, don’t believe that there are blue fairies living within your computer screen does this mean that you deny their existence? Denying implies that something is true and one will reject the truth, disbelieving something that is not true (belief in the supernatural) is not a denial of a fact but the disbelief in something preposterous.
You claim that I view prayer as selfish and foolish because I’m a secular humanist is also completely faulty and intellectually bankrupt, I have posted this same short essay on numerous forums and I have had many responses in agreement, many from believers themselves; try not to assume everything for that is immature and unwise.

You say god has taught us to pray and that there are examples of “him” answering prayers, what say you of this?

Furthermore if one believes that god has a plan for them then praying is absolutely futile. For if one prays for something within god’s plan then that something will happen regardless of prayer, conversely if one where to pray for something that was not within god’s plan then that something will not happen regardless of prayer, so either way prayer is ineffectual and useless in this sense, hence prayer is utterly futile.

How do you reconcile the apparent uselessness and futility of prayer?

Jared Moore said...

Jeremy,
I'll enter this debate with you...

First off, your statement about the previous argument on my blog "(for you proved beyond a shadow of doubt that you are incapable of honest debate with integrity and dignity)"

Integrity, Diginity? I've been nothing but courteous...can you quote me from blog to show the validity of this statement?

You also said,
"You say god has taught us to pray and that there are examples of “him” answering prayers, what say you of this?"

Matthew 6:9-13 - Jesus teaches His disciples to pray.

Jonah 2:1-2 - God hears the voice of Jonah.

Gen. 4:13-15 - God answers Cain's prayer.

Exodus 3:7-10 - God's people cry out to Him from bondage.

What if these people didn't pray? Would these things have happened? According to Scripture, God reacted to their prayers.

Philippians 4:6 - prayer is commanded.

-In Christianity, nothing is futile if it is commanded by God.

This is my point, because you don't believe in God, you see prayer as futile.

In Your worldview, you are the judge and jury... in mine, God is... I have no right to call anything that He has commanded "futile".

Could you answer my question about nature: can you prove its eternal past?

JDHURF said...

I have a few things to say of your post.
First I did not ask for passages within the bible that state god answering or not answering individuals prayers – I could have done that. When I asked “what say you of this” I was referring to the following paragraph in which you completely ignored which goes as follows: Furthermore if one believes that god has a plan for them then praying is absolutely futile. For if one prays for something within god’s plan then that something will happen regardless of prayer, conversely if one where to pray for something that was not within god’s plan then that something will not happen regardless of prayer, so either way prayer is ineffectual and useless in this sense, hence prayer is utterly futile.

How do you reconcile the apparent uselessness and futility of prayer?

You also refuted my claim that you debate without honesty, integrity and dignity and your actions so far has helped provide evidence for these claims. When one intentionally misrepresents the questions that they have been asked and ignore the important portions of the questions one is being both dishonest and indignant.

You ask if I can prove the eternity of nature, well no I cannot and no one, at this time, can. To be completely honest though I do not claim without a doubt that nature is, in fact, eternal. What I do claim is that there are many widespread and respected scientific theories which espouse such a notion and that I tend to agree with these theories at present time until they are either disproved or improved. Rather than follow and agree with the writing found in an archaic 2000 year old book written by a nomadic and savagely unsophisticated society I tend to follow and agree the research and theories postulated by today’s leading authorities in the various sciences.

By the way please keep to the topic of prayer and do not attempt to lead me into convoluted tangents, I wish to spend as little time discussing this matter with an extremist as possible. Thank you.

JDHURF said...

I apologize for saying that you are incapable of honest debate with integrity and dignity; I confused you with Chase….apologies. You did, in fact, conduct yourself with honesty, integrity and dignity; sorry about the confusion.

Stardust said...

It's amusing how christians are so predictable. They always come out with a zillion quotes from a book that we do not believe in. (I am really getting sick and tired of them pulling bible quotes out of their butts to try to prove they are right.) They are BORG. They have had their responses drilled into them so hard that they ALL sound alike...same words no matter how sweet or how mean the person presents them. They have been "assimilated" and it will take A LOT of deprogramming to get them to think on their own again, if they ever did. They are AFRAID to think on their own. I used to think a lightning bolt would come down and zap me for doubting...but I did A LOT of doubting and now DENOUNCING and I am still here. Hmmmmm.

From what I have witnessed in my 51 years regarding prayer..it is also an attention getter from people in a congregation...to get others to sympathize with them. "I have a problem...feel sorry for me." I have seen people ask for public prayer for the most imbecile things..."I have an infected toe...pray for me." (I am NOT joking about that one either!) I have never seen prayer help much in a life or death situation either...it is a crapshoot if the person is going to make it or not. If the person makes it, people would say Praise Jeeeezus...and if the person dies...it was just the evil of the world...the devil did it...or it was "god's will." They make it up as they go along according to how things turn out.

Stardust said...

One more off topic thing...how do you STAND living in Oklahoma??? I think I would have terrible high blood pressure if I lived there. I live in chicagoland and we still have some religious fruitballs but it seems to be more balanced with those who are atheist and those who just don't care one way or another. The fanatics are a small number here. People are pretty middle ground. It is one reason we have remained in this area even though the scenery may be prettier somewhere else.

JDHURF said...

it is also an attention getter from people in a congregation...to get others to sympathize with them. "I have a problem...feel sorry for me."

If the person makes it, people would say Praise Jeeeezus...and if the person dies...it was just the evil of the world...the devil did it...or it was "god's will." They make it up as they go along according to how things turn out.

Here Here!! Every word, well said. As far as standing Ok, that’s just it I can “stand” it but that is about all. Some days are better than others. Never before was I aware of the fact that evangelicals go out in public (like walmart) and ask random people if they know Jesus. I moved here about three years ago and when the first evangelical asked me this I laughed pretty hard (I thought it was a joke), needless to say the person was a little distraught after that. I also did not know that denying that dinosaurs once existed was a common occurrence with evangelicals….dinosaurs didn’t exist!?! What!?!

By the way thanks for posting and supporting the realists, naturalists, atheists, humanists, and intellectuals!!

Jared Moore said...

Jeremy,
you said,
"Furthermore if one believes that god has a plan for them then praying is absolutely futile. For if one prays for something within god’s plan then that something will happen regardless of prayer, conversely if one where to pray for something that was not within god’s plan then that something will not happen regardless of prayer, so either way prayer is ineffectual and useless in this sense, hence prayer is utterly futile."

The point that I tried to make is that the only reason that we pray is because God has commanded it. It's not futile because He has commanded it... that's the bottom line.

You ask me not to quote the Bible... however, the Bible is the main reason I pray. Pray isn't selfish beggary because God's Word tells us to pray.


Jeremy,
If you can't "prove" the eternal past of nature... then you assume it... what's the difference in me assuming the existence of God?

JDHURF said...

As I said I do not want to be led into a convoluted tangent. But I do not merely assume the eternity of nature as you assume the bible there is, again, quite a large difference. My assumption (if you will) is based upon scientific theory and mathematical equations, the bible enjoys no such support, very big difference. As I already said: Rather than follow and agree with the writing found in an archaic 2000 year old book written by a nomadic and savagely unsophisticated society I tend to follow and agree the research and theories postulated by today’s leading authorities in the various sciences.

I understand that you pray because god has “commanded” it, but this does absolutely nothing in way of negating the futility of prayer in light of “god’s plan”….obviously you are not able to provide a sufficient answer. Prayer is selfish beggary and if god “commands” prayer then as far as I’m concerned god is “commanding” selfish beggary; but one must remember the quotes found in the bible that are credited to a supernatural entity/force (god) is merely human invention. Quoting god’s words from the bible for support is much like quoting Santa Clause as saying “hohoho” as support for his existence……grow up.

Stardust said...

If people want to believe in whatever floats their boat, then no one is stopping them. Last I heard it's a free country. However, why can't religious people float their boat without trying to take everyone else on board!? THAT is where the problem comes in. Just do whatever you need to do to get you through life,and leave us alone who don't NEED it and there would be no need for people to debate and argue these things.

however fundamentalist christians just cannot keep it to themselves. You don't see atheists door-knocking to push their non-beliefs. But christians always come asking for it and then cry that they are persecuted when people tell them to get lost.

Prayer IS indeed for the self..no matter what you try to say. Websters online dictionary: Prayer:1 a (1) : an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought (said a prayer for the success of the voyage) (2) : a set order of words used in praying b : an earnest request or wish

So you are saying you are commanded by this god to treat him like a genie and pray and beg him for stuff that he may or may not give you...all according to his will meaning if he wants to be a dick or kind. How absurd when you REALLY clear your head of the brainwashing and really stop and THINK about things. It is illogical and irrational.

JDHURF said...

Very well said, couldn't have said it so well myself.

stardust, I really appreciate and enjoy your posts, thank you for the contributions.

Jared Moore said...

Jeremy,
I wouldn't pray if the Bible didn't say to pray... so, therefore, it's illogical to assume any other reason... the same book that tells me to pray also tells me that God is sovereign, and that He has a plan and a will. I am not the determiner of what is futile... God is. I don't want to be my own god like you... for you are irrational in doing so. You can't prove your foundation... only mere theories. Your very sustenance comes from this God that you suppress... you have started with "there is no god, therefore..."

As far as Science and the Bible... you simply refuse to accept the facts.

Do you not realize the historical accuracy of the Bible? That archaeologists use it to find that which has been buried for thousands of years? Due to its accuracy here, how can one deny all that which is supernatural in it? "Because, we can't prove it today," you may say. You also can't prove your foundation for your entire belief system, just that "one day" you will... however, you have no problem accepting some "probable" theories.

The Bible is unique in that it is the most accurate ancient book due to there being so many manuscripts... (5,600... some copies as close as 29 years from the original, + 19,000 more in other languages... that's around 24,000, and these manuscripts are 99% identical) Do you know of another book like this?

Like we talked about in previous debate... the Bible has much scientific fact before these facts were discovered... though you simply dismiss them... but, you expect me to accept theories... how obscure and inconsistent.

It amazes me that you tell me to grow up whenever you're the one believing in "theories" + many illogical things that you just accept.

Also, making fun of me just shows you can't disprove the existence of God... how come you come so hard against those that believe in God, but you don't with those who believe in some other scientific "theory"?

Stardust said...

Using your logic... we cannot prove or disprove that the Greek gods did or did not exist even though there is much writing about them. So using your logic we cannot say they did NOT exist and interact with humans because we read about them in ancient texts written by real people who believed in this mythology at that time in history. Books of mythology contain accounts of all sorts of magical feats performed by the gods. But christians and muslims all swear that their mythology is true...and still cling to the belief that it is real.

As for long-lasting religions...if you judged the reality of a religion on how long it has endured...Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism have lasted far longer than christianity yet christians reject those religions and their ancient texts. So that logic doesn't hold up either, just as the argument "how can so many be wrong?"...for that answer look at Nazi Germany, for instance...people were mesmerized by eloquent speeches by Hitler and they almost took over the world. Or Islam...which is still very influential to millions and millions of people. There are over a BILLION Hindis. Why don't you believe in their religion based on your logic? Just because a bunch of people believe something, doesn't make it true or right.

Since St. Nicholas walked the earth so long ago in EUROPE and his story is still told BY ADULTS TO CHILDREN all around the world and believed by millions and millions of children...wow...that must make it true. That is your logic.

I think you should do some studying up on ancient religions such as in Ancient Egypt which lasted for thousands of years and of which millions believed.

Just because someone believes something doesn't make it true. Science is willing to look at other facts and viewpoints and RE-THINK when other evidence arises...however, christians just go on their ancient books, written by ancient people who had a lot of superstitious belief.

Just because most people believe in something doesn't necessarily make it true. For thousands of years most people believed the earth was flat and it took only a HANDFUL of explorers to prove them wrong...
a handful of atheists just might be right.

Jared Moore said...

stardust,
Christianity is an extension of Judaism. We worship a Jewish Mesiah, Jesus Christ... making it the oldest religion.

My argument isn't about the number of individuals... it's about how different the Bible is from any other so-called "holy book". Each religion you name, for the most part changed over time... not the Bible though... and we know this due to the accuracy of its copied text a mere 29 years (the earliest) from the original.

You said,
"Since St. Nicholas walked the earth so long ago in EUROPE and his story is still told BY ADULTS TO CHILDREN all around the world and believed by millions and millions of children...wow...that must make it true. That is your logic."

- Is there historical accuracy that comes with this? Is there a claim of something supernatural? Is there any difference between this story and any other? Is there any secular proof to validate this supernatural occurence?

-Your above example is a poor one due to it being totally different from Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.

Based on your views stardust, I should simply trust in man... that he will somehow one day explain that which is incomplete and unexplainable right now... why should my faith be in mankind? Look around at what mankind has produced... for all that it has produced as good... there is just as much or more that is evil.

BTW: I've studied Ancient Egyptian history quite extensiviely. I'll admit its similarities to Judaism; however, it was a perversion of that which God had prescribed from Adam on. Also, it's very, very inconsistent, and continually changing.

Jared Moore said...

Stardust,
Also, these religions you name all have some kind of works system in order to "work their way" to salvation... while in Christianity, it's by God's grace alone.

JDHURF said...

So much for not drawing us into convoluted tangents, I’m not even going to respond to your post for stardust already did a marvelous job and I will not respond to anything other than the topic of this thread “prayer”. You claim that you pray because “god” in the bible tells you to and that the bible also tells you of god’s “plan” and “will”, you then say that you do not determine what is futile god does. Again it is stunningly obvious that you are unable to provide a sufficient response to the futility of prayer, so what do you do instead? Attack naturalism, rather than defend and elucidate your position in a sufficient manner you turn the table and lead into convoluted tangents that could very well go on for an eternity (as we have already seen on your blog) – that is what I meant when I said that you debate without honesty, integrity or dignity……for shame.

JDHURF said...

That was a great rebuttal stardust – “Just because most people believe in something doesn't necessarily make it true. For thousands of years most people believed the earth was flat and it took only a HANDFUL of explorers to prove them wrong...
a handful of atheists just might be right.” – Perfect ending.

Jared Moore said...

Jeremy,
I'll attempt to jump through the hoop that you obviously want me to jump through.

Please define how you want me to respond to prayer.

Jared Moore said...

honesty, integrity, dignity... how are you wanting me to respond?

My answers don't satisfy you... but, understand that yours don't satisfy me... so, which of us is right?

JDHURF said...

Jared Moore,

Just wanted to let you know that neither Christianity nor Judaism or the oldest religions….Judaism (which predated Christianity) was heavily influenced by the earlier Zorostrionism (which itself is not even the oldest religion). Maybe you should check your facts before stating them.

You say that you have extensively studied ancient Egyptian history, that is great I have also and there is really no one around to discuss these topics with. One of the more fascinating beliefs found in ancient Egypt was the Chaldean-Hellinistic universal consciousness, what was your interpretation and view of this belief?

JDHURF said...

I shouldn’t have to define “response” for you to do so, are you that uneducated? Simply refute the claim that prayer is futile based on “god’s plan” or agree that it is, in fact, futile.

Of coarse my answers do not satisfy you, anything short of “hallelujah praise Jesus” is going to be unsatisfying for you. However what answers of mine do you speak of? I am the one that posed the question (that has yet to be answered).

Jared Moore said...

Jeremy,
and the only answer that will satisfy you is, "you're right".

What, do you want a scientific answer? There isn't one.

The same book that tells me how to receive the gift of salvation also tells me to make my requests known to God.

There's my answer.

Why is this unsatisfactory?

What is your criteria for evaluating a diginified, integrity-driven, and fully honest answer?

Stardust said...

"What is your criteria for evaluating a diginified, integrity-driven, and fully honest answer?"

It's called a free-thinking, open-minded, investigative, uncorrupted and functioning BRAIN.

Jared Moore said...

If there is no God, then prayer is selfish beggary.

If there is a God, and He has commanded it, then it's not selfish beggary.

speaking of "open-minded"; how about being open minded to my answer?

Rusko Elvenwood said...

It IS futile to pray. There have been a number of studies on this subject. See wikipedia on prayer and see skepdict.com on prayer also.

If the only reason someone prays is because the bible told them to, then they must have at one time taken that leap of faith that the bible is a devinely inspired book. There is much skeptisism about the assertion that a book could be devine.

However, if an individual gets something out of prayer, beit psychological, or metaphysical, more power to them.

It just doesn't make sense to pray to an imanginary friend in the sky, when there is no proof of his existence.

Good Luck JD!

Stardust said...

Jared Moore. Just for the record. I was a christian for about three decades of my life. I do know the what and why of prayer in christian thinking. "Ask and you shall receive" (as long as god thinks you should receive it...or if he wants to be a dick and do opposite what you ask.) IT'S ABSURDITY to think you are having mental "chit chats" with an imaginary friend. Of course, like I said before, if that is what "floats your boat" then knock yourself out...but try not to act so self-righteous about it. This is the problem with christianity and islam...they just can't do their thing. It is what has made atheists, agnostics and skeptics start speaking up with OUR opinions...since you christians want to involve us.

Stardust said...

Jared. Like I said. I have experienced christianity and have seen the other side of things. But most christians are too afraid to think that they may be wrong or their faith is so weak that they are terrified that investigating different kinds of thought might "take their Jesus away." I, as an atheist am not afraid to go into a church, I am not afraid to sit through a bullcrap sermon...have done this often because of weddings and other family events. But for christians to hear opposing viewpoints, they are threatened and their persecution complex kicks in. I don't care if you think I am right or wrong about prayer. But it bothers the hell out of you that I think you are wrong.

Jared Moore said...

Stardust,
If you know God's Word, then as a Christian, I am to pursue every single lost person I possibly can. Of course it bothers me that you disagree... it's your enternity... in hell that I want to save you from.

Your view has no eternity, so who cares whether I believe like you or not. I'll just die, and that's it.

Stardust said...

Jared. You are so Borg. The bible does not say go out and BADGER THE HELL out of people. You don't even know me...why would you care a flying F about my eternity?? OHHHH that's right...because like praying, your BIBLE TELLS you to.

IF there was a hell, which I KNOW there is not...I would be in better company wherever that would be than with a bunch of fundies and saved-at-the-last-minute-before-
execution murders for all eternity. Now THAT WOULD be hell!

Stardust said...

Life is what we make it. ALL LIVING THINGS DIE. There is nothing we can do but accept it. The cycle of life and death. It's not scary to me. I am not afraid of it ending. I am at peace at the acceptance of the nature of things and I don't need a religion to pretend that I will go on living in some imaginary, never-seen place.

Jared Moore said...

Stardust,
It looks like you're going to get exactly what you want.

With that said, I do care for your soul, and I'll continue to pray for you and Jeremy as well.

My goal was not to badger any of you; however, I can't simply check my worldview at the door whenever I approach any situation, because it's impossible to be neutral; either there is a God or there isn't; and, if there is, what does He expect from us?

Thanks guys for the posts and comments... for making me question why I believe what I believe. Until next time...

In Him,

Jared Moore

Random-witticism said...

I always laugh to myself when someone starts mixing the bible with "historical accuracy". I know I'm getting a bit off topic here, but I really need to get this one down. Precisely what part of the bible is "historically accurate"?
As for prayer, well, pray if you like. Makes as much sense as a boat full of paired critters or a man living inside a whale. I know if I lived inside a whale I'd be praying, I mean, imagine the smell...

Random-witticism said...

"Thanks guys for the posts and comments... for making me question why I believe what I believe"
yeah, i bet you sit awake at night pondering these eternal mysteries...
god love you, in his name, so mote it be, asa lama lakum, tell it on the mountain, so on and so forth
every atheist blog needs a pet christian.

Stardust said...

Jared said...
"Stardust, It looks like you're going to get exactly what you want."

Yep...a nice life with my family and friends and a peace and acceptance of the nature of things. My ashes will be scattered on Lake Michigan after I die and life will go on here on planet earth until all become stardust once again.

Stardust said...

Random-witticism: You are hilarious! These christians need more laughter and fun in their lives instead of focusing on death and afterlife. It's sad so many of them are wasting time looking into the sky with blinders on as life passes them by.

JDHURF said...

Stating that prayer is neither futile nor selfish based on the fact that god commands it does not negate either claim, is seems to affirm it, you seem to be saying “I don’t know, I cannot provide a decent answer, soooo it’s not futile or selfish because god says so.” That is a rather immature response and it explains all of nothing. Again if god is commanding prayer then he is effectively commanding you to beg selfishly and all the while your praying is in vein and futile for “he” already has a “plan” and that “plan” is going to go underway whether you are praying for something within that plan or not, hence praying is futile. I am not asking for a scientific answer, I am asking for a real answer. You claim that the only answer that will satisfy me is “you’re right” well you’re wrong. An answer that will satisfy me is one that either does agree with my notion or one that effectively illustrates prayer as not being either completely futile or selish…..is it really that hard?

“The same book that tells me how to receive the gift of salvation also tells me to make my requests known to God.” – Jared Moore

But don’t you see? This is not a response to my question, this is a simple statement on “why” you pray…..it says nothing in way of disproving the futility or selfishness of prayer. Okay you pray because the bible tells you to, I already knew that…..but prayer is futile and selfish, have you no response to that?

“Why is this unsatisfactory?” – Jared Moore

Because you are not even recognizing the problems inherent with praying, such as it being absolutely useless and futile considering “god’s plan.” It is unsatisfactory because it is not an answer to the futility and selfishness of prayer it is a statement about why you pray.

“What is your criteria for evaluating a diginified, integrity-driven, and fully honest answer?” – Jared Moore

It’s not difficult, simply present an answer to the question, is praying not futile? If not why? By the way saying that god commands you to pray does absolutely nothing in the way of disproving the futility of prayer. One would have to be schizophrenic to believe that to be a decent and solid response.

“With that said, I do care for your soul, and I'll continue to pray for you and Jeremy as well.” – Jared Moore

I hope you aren’t serious, if you are really praying for me - stop.

Random-witticism,
Awesome posts, I needed some humor after that fundie experience!

Stardust,
Again, fantastic posts….it’s a shame that Jared cannot seem to fully comprehend your posts. I’ve noticed recently when I talk to theists here in Ok face to face that when I say something they hear it, but they don’t quite comprehend it….there’s this crazy cut off and you can see it in their eyes.

Rusko,
Thanks for posting man, great post. I didn’t know that wikipedia had a piece on prayer I’m going to go check that out!

JustinOther said...

Bravo...excellent point. It is a symptom of our society that one does not want to take responsibility for oneself. It is always someone elses fault, someone elses responsibility or god's "plan".

Anonymous said...

I am sure there will be parable and verse enough to choke a horse on the validaty of prayer but it is not in the mind of the faithful to question what they believe is an inherent truth. Look at the world around us right now. There are fanatics who are blowing people up because of an offensive cartoon. A CARTOON!!!!! How much lower can we get(this is not anti-Muslim). If we take these images, and that is all they are, so seriously that you can't even construct a doodle of your opinions then maybe the strangle hold of religion needs to be released. The faithful won't change their views on prayer just as they won't change their views on anything. The more you challange the more they need to make their arguments and views concrete.

melloncollie said...

JDHURF,

Great responses!! It's always difficult to say things any better or put them any more succinctly than you.

Quote: "I hope you aren’t serious, if you are really praying for me - stop."

LOL.

melloncollie said...

stardust1954,

I really enjoy reading your posts.

Stardust said...

Thanks melloncollie. :-)

Kyaroko said...

JD,
I've only just discovered your blog and it is way too late to read the entire contents and make sense of them, but this post did catch my eye because it's something that I've always had a problem with... the Christian idea of prayer.
In short... I am from Tulsa. My mother still lives there and we have nothing to talk about when it comes to religion or politics.
I look forward to reading more of your blog sometime when I'm more awake.

JDHURF said...

kyaroko,
Hey, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I had no idea that there was a new comment here so I apologize if I am late in response. When you read more of the blog I hope that you enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

How very sad that you do not know the power of prayer in your life, and the joy of communicating with your Creator in a personal relationship. It is the greatest joy of my life.

nessie said...
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nessie said...
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Anonymous said...

Well since petitionary prayer is the lowest and no tthe only form of prayer. either the person writtign this article is unaware of this fact which shows a lack of reasearch or worse. Secondly what meaning can selfish have ssosiated with prayer since selfish refers to an action which harms another while benifiting oneself. In regards to the charge of helplessness praying does not means that you sit back and wait for God to do things. Prayer and works are two side of the coin. perhaps God allows petitionary prayer on the grounds that it allows his creatures the rare oppertunity to be primary causes. Besides which its only polite to ask.

In regards to;" Like I keep saying, no one would follow christianity if there wasn't something in it for the "self." If there were no rewards to bribe, or punishments for not believing or sinning, people would not want anything to do with their religion." stardust

You are wrong on several counts. One heaven is not a bribe it is the natural end for a creature who loves God. Secondly it is not a defide dogma that hell is a punishment in fact many Orthodox Christians (myself included) believe that hell is the natural end of a soul that hates God. In fact onyl a few things have been defide about hell such as that its eternal. Thirdly read man or rabbit? by C.S Lewis and realise that its not avout what makes life easy but what it true. Realize also that I do not chose what i belive on the grounds of whether it will get me somthign or no but whether it is true or not and since one exeption destroys the rule consider your thesis demolished.

J.L. Hinman said...

336 studies show you are full of it. empirical studies prove religious people are stronger, smarter, more durable, better adjusted, happier more positive and healthy.

you are not well read. This is a huge body of literature. that you are a not even aware of it says a lot.

JDHURF said...

J.L. Hinman:

Ever hear of the placebo effect? Enough said.

In any case, the reason you didn't link to the several hundred studies you mentioned is because those that do in fact exist demonstrate that people who are secure in their beliefs are happier, more content and so forth, it is the troubled theist, or the ambiguous agnostic, who have trouble, not the confirmed atheist.

Finally, hey, people who practice Scientology are statically happier than most Christians, feel like joining a Scientology church? I doubt it.

notAnonymous said...

I myself offer thanks and praise to God, rather than express needs...

Anonymous said...
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StOoPiD_MoNkEy said...

Jared Moore

Firstly I find it hilarious that you call yourself a Xtian thiest. Ummm...if you're a follow of a faith or a beleiver in a diety...yeah that would make you a theist. It kind of shows a lack of knowledge. I apologize up front because I will not be as eloquent as most of you. But on the topic of the uselessness of prayer, I have one question for Xtians.

According to Xtian doctrine, Jesus the Nazerene was the physical incarnation of God. According to Xtian apologetics Jesus was with God since the beginning. He was the Word and when Jesus was born, the Word was made flesh.

Lets see what Jesus says about prayer:

John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

Mark 11:24:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In Matthew 21:21:

I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

Very interesting. Now show me where it states in the bible that god only answers those prayers that follow according to his plan? Any takers? Be careful what you write though because either way, it can go very bad for you.

1. If there are passages in the bible that state god only answers prayers according what he deems important, then that negates the words of christ who is god incarnate. For christ stated that WHATEVER YOU ASK FOR IN HIS NAME WITH FAITH WILL BE YOURS!

2. If there is no passage stating that god only answers prayers that are in line with his plan, then that means that Xtians and all other people of the book have made this up and should start asking for things right now; cure for cancer, regenerated limbs of amputees. Wings to fly up to a burning building to rescue a bunch of orphans. Hell, even the lotto is fair game. As long as you have faith.

sorry I am ranting! lol.

N E ways; it balls down to this.

1. Either God/Jesus are telling the truth and the problem is that every Xtian on the planet truly has no faith. If so then Xtianity is truly dead and prayer is usless anyway.

2. Since God/Jesus seems to contridict themselves (true Disassociative Identity Disorder), then it would lead to believe that the bible is a great story of a being suffering from multiple personalities and really should be on medication and nothing He/they/it say holds water. Which makes prayer usless.

Please do no give credit to the supernatural that belongs to modern tech and science. Someone who was blind and because of retinal surgery can see is not a miracle. Also, please, oh please learn the difference between miracles and divine precidence.

There goes my 2 cents.