What's the point of praying?

Anonymous
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
What's the point of praying?

Shouldn't God already know what your wants and needs are? And why bother thanking God? He should already know you're thankful.

Seems like you're just wasting time praying and thanking.


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13539
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is onlineOnline
LoeLoe wrote: Shouldn't God

LoeLoe wrote:
Shouldn't God already know what your wants and needs are? And why bother thanking God? He should already know you're thankful. Seems like you're just wasting time praying and thanking.

I was at a doctors apointment for my mother in the wating room wearing my Rational Response Squad T-Shirt. A stupid lady didnt quite read all of it and said, "I like your shirt". I said, "So you are a heathen too?" She said, "Huh", I said, "Oh, I dont think you understood the shirt". I stretched it out so she could get a full view. She gasped and said, "We'll (she was with her husband) pray for you"

I fucking hate that. If prayer works like they say then it should work weither I hear it or not. She might as will said, "Fuck what you think atheist".

So I am sure she too is wasting her time praying to a sky pixie for my salvation.  

If my mother hadn't been there I would have said, "Ok, you pray for me and I'll think for you." 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1210
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
It might make sense to give

It might make sense to give them your contact info so they can check back at regular intervals to see if their prayer worked. 

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


chaospump
chaospump's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2007-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Clinical trials of the

Clinical trials of the validity of intercessory prayer...

 From medscape.com (check for more details):

"Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications."

So, prayer, had no positive effect whatsoever, but those who knew they were being prayed for as part of the study actually did worse (to a statistically significant degree) than those who were not prayed for, or weren't sure if they were being prayed for.

Apparently those who knew they were receiving prayer as a part of the test put undue additional stress upon themselves which actually hurt their chances of complication-free recovery.

It's admittedly hard to study these things scientifically - maybe prayers to Ganesha or Mercury would have worked...

But I submit that the efficacy of prayers to the Judeo-Christian god were subjected to a (horrible) test on Sep 11, 2001.

Literally millions of people of faith were praying that the towers would not fall, that the people trapped would be extracted safely.

A comparatively tiny number of violent, crazed fanatics were praying to Allah that the buildings would fall, and that thousands of innocent people would die.

We all know the results.

Logical conclusion - either accept that prayer to the judaeo-christian god is utterly useless, or start learning Arabic and planning your pilgrimage to Mecca.

All of the faith and prayer in the world

All of your dumb show and circuses

You know it's a lie, it'll always be a lie

The invention of an animal who knows he's going to die

-Randy Newman


Piper2000ca
Piper2000ca's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2006-12-27
User is offlineOffline
chaospump wrote: Logical

chaospump wrote:

Logical conclusion - either accept that prayer to the judaeo-christian god is utterly useless, or start learning Arabic and planning your pilgrimage to Mecca.

Ok, let's see if Muslim praying will do anything.

Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Death to America! Allah Akbar!

Nope, I'm still an atheist, although I do have this odd craving to hit my wife now Eye-wink


Onion
Theist
Posts: 17
Joined: 2007-01-04
User is offlineOffline
All of you are making the

All of you are making the erroneous assumption that prayer must equal emperical positive effect in order for prayer to be something worth doing. Prayer is not money or something that is bartered. It is a way of life and a way of living life. Let me quote Theophan the Recluse:

 "Without inner spiritual prayer there is no prayer at all, for this alone is real prayer, pleasing to God. It is the soul within the words of prayer that matters, whether the prayer is at home or in church, and if inner prayer is absent, then the words have only the appearance and not the reality of prayer.

"What then is prayer? Prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to God in praise and thanksgiving to Him and in supplication for the good things that we need, both spiritual and physical."

Note that he says "what we need." That is what prayer is for and that is what prayer will get, what we need — not what we desire or want. Thus, tragedy can be transformed into salvation. Through prayer, one can endure all kinds of tragedy, rise above it, and love and serve their fellow man. For example, Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos suffered from cancer. He welcomed the disease because it allowed him to sympathize with others who suffered. He spent his life in prayer for others through his own suffering. Sounds crazy? Read about him. Look at his life and the things that those who witnessed his life saw. You can dismiss his whole life if you want, but if you want a document on the power and purpose of prayer, look no further than this holy man.


Kelreth
Kelreth's picture
Posts: 36
Joined: 2006-09-14
User is offlineOffline
LoeLoe wrote: Shouldn't God

LoeLoe wrote:
Shouldn't God already know what your wants and needs are? And why bother thanking God? He should already know you're thankful. Seems like you're just wasting time praying and thanking.

 It is most likely a way for the church to further gain control of the populace and promote that their god is a personal god.  Due to the fact that they beleive it is omnipresent it should know what they want.  But it needs them to recongize it, only by recongnizing this being will it lean an ear to them and lend aid.


Razorcade
ModeratorRRS Core Member
Razorcade's picture
Posts: 79
Joined: 2006-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Pray or Prey?

Seems like you've fallen into a little trap.  Try to be the hunter, not the hunted. 

Assumptions about prayer, yes there are many, however, the majority that do pray, are looking for something.  Requesting, pleading, begging, for their god to help them.  Make a change in their lives, save their loved one from dying, or for a shiny new car. 

Whatever you may think, prayer is a request to the individuals' chosen deity.  Don't know the published attributes of many of these so-called gods, but, in regards to the christian version, he is considered omniscient.  I'm guessing also, those who pray, at least believe in a god that is active in their lives.

Can you explain how you can change the direction of a "being" that already knows the direction. 

i.e., Look at the football game analogy.  If both those teams pray, one must be disappointed.  Did the team that won get their prayer answered?  To them, yes, but only cause they won.  If they had lost, that prayer gets put into the recycle bin for the next game, and doesn't count.  That point is actually another subject related to belief systems, but it does illustrate in a small way how ineffective prayer is.

I could go on, but, I just feel someone is praying for me to stop.


Rigor_OMortis
Rigor_OMortis's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: 2006-06-18
User is offlineOffline
I shall present my argument

I shall present my argument to the quote of "Onion" as follows:

First of all, we must understand what is it that a man needs. We shall start with the logical assumption that Teophan meant "needs for survival", as any other "need" is practically a desire, such as my need to have a gun in order to be able to go hunting. In that respect, we can safely assume that, if the basic, natural human needs (oxygen, water, food and reproduction) are met, that should be the full extent of prayers' coverage. However, I, for one, have yet to hear anyone praying for oxygen... with his scuba cable broken and at a depth of more than 1000 meters... that has actually survived to be able to thank God. Furthermore, these needs are, practically, the most basic of our instincts (the instinct to breathe, to feed, to drink, to reproduce), to which we could add the self-conservation instinct, etc. Therefore, prayer for these is unnecessary, since they are in our nature.

The last paragraph is both a non-sequitur AND an "argumentum ad misericordiam". The former, because the cancer story has no connection with your attempt to prove the validity of prayer (actually you don't even mention effects or validity of prayer), and the latter because it is a pathetic attempt to soften the minds using an emotional argument.

We could even declare it a straw man, since the conclusion you reached when you declared yourself victorious has no connection whatsoever with the rest of the discussion.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Onion
Theist
Posts: 17
Joined: 2007-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Rigor_OMortis wrote: when

Rigor_OMortis wrote:
when you declared yourself victorious
When, exactly, did I declare myself victorious?Did you actually bother to read the life of Elder Paisios? I offered his life as an answer to the question of "What's the point of praying." That is all.What man needs is not necessarily survival. A man who is 1000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean with a broken cable is pretty much going to die. What does he need in that moment? Prayer can give all of us the strength to face our own death without fear.Life is full of hardships, like cancer. Bad things are going to happen. Period. There is nothing we can do about that. What do we do when these bad things do happen? Prayer is a tool that makes hardships easier to deal with. Praying that your team will win, from Theophan's perspective, is just words, not prayer.


GlamourKat
GlamourKat's picture
Posts: 461
Joined: 2006-08-17
User is offlineOffline
Onion wrote: Rigor_OMortis

Onion wrote:
Rigor_OMortis wrote:
when you declared yourself victorious
When, exactly, did I declare myself victorious?Did you actually bother to read the life of Elder Paisios? I offered his life as an answer to the question of "What's the point of praying." That is all.What man needs is not necessarily survival. A man who is 1000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean with a broken cable is pretty much going to die. What does he need in that moment? Prayer can give all of us the strength to face our own death without fear.Life is full of hardships, like cancer. Bad things are going to happen. Period. There is nothing we can do about that. What do we do when these bad things do happen? Prayer is a tool that makes hardships easier to deal with. Praying that your team will win, from Theophan's perspective, is just words, not prayer.

 

So are you admitting that god doesn't answer prayers then? If you admit this, I don't see how you'd BE comforted by praying. The strength to face your death without fear seems to amount to wishful thinking of an afterlife. Without the proof, then why pray?


Onion
Theist
Posts: 17
Joined: 2007-01-04
User is offlineOffline
GlamourKat wrote: So are

GlamourKat wrote:
So are you admitting that god doesn't answer prayers then? If you admit this, I don't see how you'd BE comforted by praying. The strength to face your death without fear seems to amount to wishful thinking of an afterlife. Without the proof, then why pray?
I am admitting no such thing. Prayer does work, it just doesn't work in the manner that most of you have proposed.The question posed by this discussion is "What is the point of praying?" A practical answer is: Bad stuff happens. Prayer can help you get through and endure bad stuff.
One thing a lot of people forget about Christianity and the path that Christ asked us to follow is that he suffered and died. So part of life includes both of those realities: suffering and dying. Prayer, as a way of life, can transform suffering and dying into strength and peace.Why pray without proof? The short answer is that this is the essence of faith. We have to take that leap. However, once that leap is taken . . . how else can I say it? I have seen the Kingdom of God. From my perspective God, Christ and his saints are real. That is the essence of the Gospel.


Rigor_OMortis
Rigor_OMortis's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: 2006-06-18
User is offlineOffline
Onion wrote: GlamourKat

Onion wrote:
GlamourKat wrote:
So are you admitting that god doesn't answer prayers then? If you admit this, I don't see how you'd BE comforted by praying. The strength to face your death without fear seems to amount to wishful thinking of an afterlife. Without the proof, then why pray?
I am admitting no such thing. Prayer does work, it just doesn't work in the manner that most of you have proposed.The question posed by this discussion is "What is the point of praying?" A practical answer is: Bad stuff happens. Prayer can help you get through and endure bad stuff.
One thing a lot of people forget about Christianity and the path that Christ asked us to follow is that he suffered and died. So part of life includes both of those realities: suffering and dying. Prayer, as a way of life, can transform suffering and dying into strength and peace.Why pray without proof? The short answer is that this is the essence of faith. We have to take that leap. However, once that leap is taken . . . how else can I say it? I have seen the Kingdom of God. From my perspective God, Christ and his saints are real. That is the essence of the Gospel.

First off: "declared yourself victorious" was a simple figure of speech. Consider it as replaceable with "when you hit the post button".

Next, I must simply restate that the life of Elder Paisios doesn't have to do much with your original views on prayer.

Furthermore, from your last two posts, what should we understand? "Prayer can help you get through and endure bad stuff." With all due respect, but this sounds as if prayer would only be a way to boost your marale in difficult situations.

Let me, for a moment, agree that the Bible is not to be taken literary in the Gospels, when Jesus promises that any prayer will be fulfilled. But that still leaves us with the question "What prayers does God answer?", or "What kind of prayers does God answer?". And since you've stated that God does answer prayers, but not in the way we think, perhaps you could tell us (or point us to a proper authority that can tell us) in what way does He answer them? Because praying to something that God doesn't answer, or doesn't answer in a way intelligible by us equals talking to walls.

I presume, since you've mentioned Elder Paisios, that the big question "Why won't God heal amputees?" will have a straightforward, logical answer for you, so I won't bother pointing you to the site that hosts it.

 

Honestly, I have many better means of spiritual comfort than sitting on my knees or whatever and babbling words that are only heard by walls.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Rigor_OMortis
Rigor_OMortis's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: 2006-06-18
User is offlineOffline
Oh, by the way... you say

Oh, by the way... you say you have seen the Kingdom of God. I will jump over the obvious problems of this statement, even from religious points of view. But perhaps you would care to describe it for us ... ?

Perhaps, if you opened a new thread, in which you explained in detail, perhaps we might have a glance of what we, as atheists, are missing. Or perhaps we will only have another thread that proves how lack of knowledge, lack of logic and delusion are squirming one's mind.

Are you up for the challenge ?

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Susan
Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Onion wrote: He welcomed

Onion wrote:

He welcomed the disease because it allowed him to sympathize with others who suffered.

Prior to having cancer himself, he wasn't able to sympathize with cancer victims? That's just sad. If he couldn't be sympathic prior to being sick himself, he must have been a bit hard-hearted.

I've never had cancer, but when my friend was going through surgery and chemo, my heart broke for her every day. Yes, I sympathized with her pain and fear the whole time. Even though she's gone 5 years without a reoccurance, I sympathize with her fear every time she goes for a checkup.

Onion wrote:
He spent his life in prayer for others through his own suffering. Sounds crazy?

Yes.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


zarathustra
atheist
zarathustra's picture
Posts: 1210
Joined: 2006-11-16
User is offlineOffline
I recall that when the pope

I recall that when the pope visited St. Louis in 1999, a group of nuns (known specifically as "The Pink Nuns" ), were especially commissioned by the archdiocese to pray for good weather during the visit. Who says prayer doesn't make sense?

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††