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Thread: Why Skeptics Should Pray

  1. #1 Why Skeptics Should Pray 
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    http://www.rationalchristianity.net/why_prayer.html

    "Why should I pray?

    If you object to Christianity on ethical grounds, you know that there is a big difference between believing that God exists and worshiping him. Praying to God and receiving a response would not only provide you with reason to believe in his existence, but would allow you to know something of his character as well - it can give you more information about who God is.

    Why is knowing God's character important? Christians run across the same problems that atheists and skeptics do - evil in the world, God's acts of judgment on people in the Bible, etc. - yet their response is to continue to trust in God and worship him. What makes the difference is that Christians know God personally; they have a relationship with him and experiences that have shown them that God is good and trustworthy.

    What sort of information can you learn from prayer? First, if you get a response, then you know that there is a God who is willing and able to communicate with you. An omniscient God knows what sort of response will make sense to you and be convincing to you; receiving such a response can also serve as evidence that God knows you well enough to know how to respond to you."
    So, who here is willing to give this a try? If you are, post here that you are and let us know the results of your attempts. Tell us what you prayed for and what the response, if any. Null results should also be documented, as we can then see if patterns emerge.

    Take all the time you need and pray as often as you want. Good luck! 8)


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. verzen's Avatar
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    I prayed for a mercedies benz convertable.. and all I got was a



    Well, maybe it's not so bad...



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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Hanuka's Avatar
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    I tryed that many times when I was younger, never got a response tho... :?
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    I'm sure that if one prays in earnest there will be an answer.

    Sometimes when I'm playing, say a friendly card game, I wish to forget something I should not have seen. And it works.
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  6. #5  
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    Does nobody find it ironic that the website link is called rational christianity?!
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  7. #6  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    I once purposefully did an experiment with this prayer thing when I was 8. I actually tore my allowance in two and then sincerely prayed for the notes to be miracled back together. It didn't work.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  8. #7  
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    Yeah, like others have said, I already tried this experiment. There was no perceivable answer. Of course, the usual christian response is to simply claim that you weren't praying right/hard enough/whatever, which allows them to conveniently dismiss anyone who points out that prayer doesn't actually seem to do anything for them.

    The bottom line, however, is that if god is really all-powerful and omniscient and has an interest in having a "personal relationship" with me, I don't know why he wouldn't answer when I make an honest attempt at trying to communicate with him.
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  9. #8  
    Time Lord
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    Am I the only one capable of self delusion?
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Am I the only one capable of self delusion?
    What do you mean, Pong?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  11. #10  
    Time Lord
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    I'm sure that if I pray in earnest there will be an answer. Because I know I can delude myself, if I really truly want to. I've done it before.

    So I agree with the Christian who'd say we just aren't praying earnestly. And I doubt the sincerity or self-awareness of people who claim to have tried and failed.

    Not that "failure" to delude oneself is a bad thing.

    Woo... mind games.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Well, I do understand the importance of being earnest, but if one is an atheist what exactly would one be earnestly praying to?
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  13. #12  
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    Oh yeah, then I agree with you. When I prayed for my money to be fixed, I was very sincere though and I would not have torn it if I had thought that it would not be fixed. That brings your point to the fore. There is a huge difference between praying for, say, strength and praying for something tangible, especially if the results were to be immediately apparent.

    My grandmother was very close to death about 15 years ago. The doctor gave her zero chance for survival. She had kidney failure, had already been acting delirious from urea poisoning and her other organs were starting to fail. That night after the poor prognosis I very emotionally prayed for her. Then over the next few days she made a "miraculous" recovery and stayed around until a few months ago. So; did God fix her? No, I don't believe that any more. Many people have made amazing recoveries after a certain death prognosis without any praying being done. Also, most people actually do die after a dire prognosis whether they were prayed for or not. This is, of course, pretty obvious.

    When people pray for strength or similar though, they actually can notice a benefit. That is where the delusion come in. Something similar happens with this "The Secret" nonsense. It is, of course, utter bollocks, but people can and do benefit from it. It does make it very difficult to condemn them for it then, no? :?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  14. #13  
    Time Lord
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    Much easier to believe God gave me inner strength than to believe I'm cruising down the highway in a Mercedes-Benz. Man, that would be a hard cult to follow.

    Curious how cunningly discrete effective delusions are. By what mechanism, exactly, do we establish and maintain delusions? I'd really like to see brain scans of people protecting their threatened delusions.
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  15. #14  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I once purposefully did an experiment with this prayer thing when I was 8. I actually tore my allowance in two and then sincerely prayed for the notes to be miracled back together. It didn't work.
    There's a fine line between prayers and miracles.

    To the OP, the prayer is not a prayer if you want...

    Psalm 23:

    The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want....
    Then there's always the fact that you have to open and close with The LORD's prayer, and pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

    If you want a prayer to come true, it won't. But then can you call a prayer truth? Who's to say you'll get what you want? If you pray to God to get physical justification for your belief, God might as well not exist because you are proving Him, thus disproving Him, thus the prayer cannot be seen to because there will be no God to see to it. See?

    I must say this over and over again, God and religion itself is paradoxical and no amount of science or rational can explain it, God at least. Don't you see? There is no way this world will ever prove or disprove God, so just live with it.

    Oh and I'm not saying much here, just a word of advice to you all. Don't pray for a miracle, don't pray for the impossible, pray if you are in need or others are in need and you can't help them. God won't give something that is self beneficial, or the intent. A prayer doesn't come true, its the bunch of coincidences that occur that make it seem it has come true. See? No way to prove God did it after all ey? How remarkable He is.

    *Chuckle*.

    PS KALSTER, I hope that was a lesson learned? How much more careful have you been with your money since? You were bold enough to rip what I assume meant a bit back then.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  16. #15  
    Forum Ph.D. Hanuka's Avatar
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    How proving God disproves his exsistense?... :?

    Anyways, in most cases you better leave the prayers to the priests; you better
    off using the "prayer time" for something that actually will get you results,
    and if the prayer is within the boundries of reason(no magic) with enough time
    it may indeed come true, wheras no ammount of prayer will actually make any
    difference but wasting your time.

    And if it does come true or you get somekind of "sign", most likely
    it's the act of Lady Luck and the Master of Randomness.
    Good Brother
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  17. #16  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    God is faith, without faith He is nothing. To prove Him removes faith, removing faith removes God, removing God disproves Him.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  18. #17  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    If you want a prayer to come true, it won't.
    Kind of like Arthur Dent only being able to fly by accident? :wink:
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  19. #18  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Hahahaha good one.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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