How does a theist explain something like this?

Piper2000ca
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How does a theist explain something like this?

Alright, I'm sick of theists bringing forth useless anecdotal stories that don't actual show anything, so I want to see how a theist responds to a proper scientific study that clearly demolishes one of their most cherished claims, namely prayer (which their anecdotal stories seemed to be based on):

http://www.ahjonline.com/article/PIIS0002870305006496/abstract

In this study, cardiac bypass surgery patients were divided into three groups:

1 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were prayed for (604 patients)
2 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were not prayed for (597 patients)
3 - Told they were prayed for, and were prayed for (601 patients)

Post-operative complications for groups 1 and 2 were 52% and 51% respectively, but for group 3, complications went up to 59%. In other words, patients that knew they were getting prayed for did worse then those who didn't know.


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Simple

The prayers were all directed to Jehovah, who is active in the Middle East, but not in the Americas.  The test was completely unreliable because all the prayers were to only one god who, frankly, has his hands full.

The test should be repeated with prayers to Apollo.  Then you'd see some results.

Thandarr


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NO YOU HEATHEN!!!!!!!!!

NO YOU HEATHEN!!!!!!!!! They should be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!


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MattShizzle wrote: NO YOU

MattShizzle wrote:

NO YOU HEATHEN!!!!!!!!! They should be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Ya know, I wonder if telling people that they are praying to the FSM would have an honest benefit. With praying to God (Yahweh), there is a seriousnes to it, but praying to the FSM, there is a bit of fun and humour in it, and humour (namely laughter) has been shown to have a beneficial effect (reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, strenghthens chest muscles, etc.). I would love to see a study like this done.


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All those people who had

All those people who had complications weren't "real" christians.  They obviously worship heathen sects.  Also, they were lousy tippers who left their cell phones on in the movie theater.  See?  It all makes perfect sense.

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine


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Thandar wrote: The test

Thandar wrote:
The test should be repeated with prayers to Apollo. Then you'd see some results.

MattShizzle wrote:
NO YOU HEATHEN!!!!!!!!! They should be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

You’re both wrong. It’s the Invisible Pink Unicorn they should've been praying to. We all know she is way nicer and prettier than either of those gods.

We must favor verifiable evidence over private feeling. Otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth.
~ Richard Dawkins


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Geez.  I can see now that

Geez.  I can see now that you guys have no idea how to think in "Christian Logic."

You are all forgetting the best argument ever.  If God allowed himself to be "proven" by demonstrating his super powers, then all need for faith would be negated, and the whole system of free will would collapse, since everyone would then automatically believe in God.

So, God had to stand aside and allow this result so that people of faith can still believe in him.

It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

 

(Oh, I learned this defense from the guy who told me that God allowed the devil to put fossils in the ground to fool us into thinking that the world was older than 6000 years.  No shit.)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit wrote: (Oh, I

Hambydammit wrote:

(Oh, I learned this defense from the guy who told me that God allowed the devil to put fossils in the ground to fool us into thinking that the world was older than 6000 years. No shit.)

That's very similar to the argument about why there were so many "false"messiahs prior to Jesus that had very similar circumstances (e.g. virgin birth, crucified on a hill, etc). Dr. Alan Dundes and Brian Flemming talked about this in The God Who Wasn't There.

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Anybody else notice that in

Anybody else notice that in the 2 days that this has been up, not a single theist has responded to it?  It'a amazing how theists shrink away when presented with hard facts.


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I would just point out that

I would just point out that we Christians, or at least Catholics, do not believe prayer is infallibly effective. God hears your prayer, yes, but doesn't need to perform a miracle just because you say so.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: I would

StMichael wrote:

I would just point out that we Christians, or at least Catholics, do not believe prayer is infallibly effective. God hears your prayer, yes, but doesn't need to perform a miracle just because you say so.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

This is a good point.  An even better one is that no prayer has ever been answered, anywhere, with a probablity that is greater than chance.   Christians have no evidence that miracles, the power of prayer, or god itself are real.

 

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StMichael wrote: I would

StMichael wrote:

I would just point out that we Christians, or at least Catholics, do not believe prayer is infallibly effective. God hears your prayer, yes, but doesn't need to perform a miracle just because you say so.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 I have a question St Michael.  Do you believe that god only involves himself with the really big miracles, i.e. creation of the universe, virgin birth, ect, or does he get involved with the little things too i.e. Please make my dog get better, Let me pass this test,  Don’t let mama die, ect.?


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StMichael wrote: I would

StMichael wrote:

I would just point out that we Christians, or at least Catholics, do not believe prayer is infallibly effective. God hears your prayer, yes, but doesn't need to perform a miracle just because you say so.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

I'm not suggesting that every prayer gets answered, but even if some prayers get answered, there should be some statistical decrease in complications.  Instead, the complications increased.

Is God punishing us for questioning him?

And also, why does God choose to answer some people's prayers, and not others?  Or is it that God really wants us to rely on faith instead of evidence.  Which doesn't make much sense, because faith will have you believe in whatever religion you were born into, and of course, we all know the problems in the world this has caused.


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Quote: This is a good

Quote:
This is a good point. An even better one is that no prayer has ever been answered, anywhere, with a probablity that is greater than chance. Christians have no evidence that miracles, the power of prayer, or god itself are real.

God Himself can be proven philosophically.  Prayer itself is likewise something that relates to Him and can be likewise philosophically seen as worthwhile. Miracles are also able to be shown possible from philosophy. That, however, is a topic for another forum.

 God does answer "smaller" prayers, not just large ones. 

 

Quote:

...even if some prayers get answered, there should be some statistical decrease in complications.  Instead, the complications increased.

 Well, I would speculate that this had more to do with the stress that they were under in the trial itself than anything else. Those who recieved prayer and were not told did not either increase or decrease in complications. 

Further, we're talking about prayer but the trial does not designate the variety of prayer employed by what persons. For example, many religious groups practice prayer, and not all would necessarily have the same influence (for example, I might contend as a Catholic that the prayers made by a saint would be more effective than my own, and of course other groups would disagree with each other as to what constitutes effective prayer). In other words, it does not seem rather fair in a number of ways to compare "prayer" as if it were a homogenous item. 

This last point would seem to make your point moot. If not all prayer has the same effectiveness, then, no, not all prayer would statistically result in less complications.

It would further be hard to determine in any event scientifically whether the prayer helped the person. Prayer for the health of a person is not necessarily answered by God if it is not something that the person ought to have; possibly, the person really needs strength to endure their sufferings well. Physical health is good, but that is not the goal of prayer.

Also, the only clear intervention by prayer would be, for instance, something clearly miraculous in character. This would be evident in cases with a saint's prayers bringing about a miraculous healing, or health gained instantly from contact with relics, or something like this. Other sorts of health might be the result of prayer, but it would be statistically impossible to determine. 

 God does not answer our prayers just to keep us in suspense with Him, but because He knows better than we do. He orders all things for the salvation of His creatures. If physical health will help a person to salvation, God will grant it. Prayer obtains these things that God would have not given unless it was asked for. It has to do with His Providence and surpassing wisdom, of which it would be difficult for us to comprehend at all, let alone grasp with statistics and research studies. 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael

StMichael wrote:


Quote:


...even if some prayers get answered, there should be some statistical decrease in complications. Instead, the complications increased.



Well, I would speculate that this had more to do with the stress that they were under in the trial itself than anything else. Those who received prayer and were not told did not either increase or decrease in complications.


I think you are forgetting something here.  All three groups were in the trial (all three groups knew they were in the trial, and they knew the trial was about prayer), and thus were under the same stresses.  The only added stress for group 3 was the fact that they were told they were being prayed for.  As for the fact that those who received prayer and were not told had the same level of complications, is exactly my point.  If prayer worked, then that group should have had statistically lower levels of complications, instead, they were practically identical to those who did not receive prayer.

Quote:

Further, we're talking about prayer but the trial does not designate the variety of prayer employed by what persons. For example, many religious groups practice prayer, and not all would necessarily have the same influence (for example, I might contend as a Catholic that the prayers made by a saint would be more effective than my own, and of course other groups would disagree with each other as to what constitutes effective prayer). In other words, it does not seem rather fair in a number of ways to compare "prayer" as if it were a homogenous item.

This last point would seem to make your point moot. If not all prayer has the same effectiveness, then, no, not all prayer would statistically result in less complications.


So the power of prayer depends on who is praying?  Wow, I wouldn't even have believed that nonsense when I was a Christian, and I know for a fact that both the bible and the church doesn't recognize that either (I'll save you the bible quotes, as since you recognize the theory of evolution (good for you by the way), it's obvious you don't take the bible literally).

Quote:

It would further be hard to determine in any event scientifically whether the prayer helped the person. Prayer for the health of a person is not necessarily answered by God if it is not something that the person ought to have; possibly, the person really needs strength to endure their sufferings well. Physical health is good, but that is not the goal of prayer.


Ok, so prayer is to help you endure suffering.  The big problem with this is that we already know from other studies, that if your psychological health is improved, then your ability to recover from surgery is greatly improved.  Indeed, this is why the third group was told that they were being prayed for.  It was to see if telling somebody that they are being prayed for improved their psychological health (and thus, increase their ability to recover from surgery).

Quote:

Also, the only clear intervention by prayer would be, for instance, something clearly miraculous in character. This would be evident in cases with a saint's prayers bringing about a miraculous healing, or health gained instantly from contact with relics, or something like this. Other sorts of health might be the result of prayer, but it would be statistically impossible to determine.


So you only know for a fact that God has intervened is if it is miraculous in character?  Come on, that's just nonsense.  Even if God only answered prayers with small amounts of difference (i.e., only helping you a bit), it would still add up in a statistical study.  Heck, that is exactly why we do studies like this, to look for the small amounts of difference.

Quote:

God does not answer our prayers just to keep us in suspense with Him, but because He knows better than we do. He orders all things for the salvation of His creatures. If physical health will help a person to salvation, God will grant it. Prayer obtains these things that God would have not given unless it was asked for.


Prayer obtains these things that God would have not given unless it was asked for.  This is EXACTLY what would have shown up in the study!

Quote:

It has to do with His Providence and surpassing wisdom, of which it would be difficult for us to comprehend at all, let alone grasp with statistics and research studies.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


So God is so great and wise that you can't see his work with science.  Well ain't that a little convenient?  If I've ever heard a cop-out, that's it.


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Prayer is a complex thing

Prayer is a complex thing which effects would not necessarily be noticable in a study. The effects of prayer depend on the person praying and it depends on what God's will in the matter is. God will always listen to the prayer and answer it, but not necessarily through physical or psychological health or in a way measurable by a study. It is in His Providence, not in a way measurable by a study, that God will bring about an answer to our prayers.

And while I take the theory of evolution seriously, I see no reason why that impacts my belief in either Scripture or what the Church teaches. I likewise point out that I am Catholic and not a Protestant, so that my interpretation of Scripture is often very different and conditioned by what common sense, the interpretative tradition of the Church Fathers, and the Church teach. 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: Prayer is

StMichael wrote:

Prayer is a complex thing which effects would not necessarily be noticable in a study. The effects of prayer depend on the person praying and it depends on what God's will in the matter is.


All you have done is repeat the exact same thing you said before (almost word for word), despite the fact that I countered those arguments.  Since I have already countered these arguments, I won't waste time re-typing them.  You can look back at what I have previously said and comment on that.

Quote:

God will always listen to the prayer and answer it, but not necessarily through physical or psychological health or in a way measurable by a study. It is in His Providence, not in a way measurable by a study, that God will bring about an answer to our prayers.


Providence is the guardianship and control exercised by a deity.  Everything about us is tied to our physical and psychological health.  If God won't improve those or protect those, then he isn't being a very good guardian.  Indeed, what is a guardian, other then someone who protects our physical/psychological health?  Also, the goal of prayer is to effect our lives in one form of another, and since everything about us is tied to our physical/psychological health, then it should be seen in this study.

Remember, the study wasn't trying to look directly at God himself, it was looking at the effects of prayer on us, and we are obviously not beyond study.

Quote:

And while I take the theory of evolution seriously, I see no reason why that impacts my belief in either Scripture or what the Church teaches.  I likewise point out that I am Catholic and not a Protestant, so that my interpretation of Scripture is often very different and conditioned by what common sense, the interpretative tradition of the Church Fathers, and the Church teach.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


My comment about you accepting evolution was only to point out that you personally did not interpret the bible in a literal fashion (which is why I said I wouldn't bother giving you any biblical quotes), nothing more.


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Quote: Providence is the

Quote:

Providence is the guardianship and control exercised by a deity.  Everything about us is tied to our physical and psychological health.  If God won't improve those or protect those, then he isn't being a very good guardian.  Indeed, what is a guardian, other then someone who protects our physical/psychological health?  Also, the goal of prayer is to effect our lives in one form of another, and since everything about us is tied to our physical/psychological health, then it should be seen in this study.

But, you see, everything is not tied to our physical health. Our spiritual health is what prayer chiefly addresses, which cannot be measured in a study.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: But, you

StMichael wrote:

But, you see, everything is not tied to our physical health. Our spiritual health is what prayer chiefly addresses, which cannot be measured in a study.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

Two things here:

1) Prove that we have a soul (and thus we can have spiritual health).

2) And that spiritual health is not connected to psychological health.  Along with this, you can give me examples of spititual health (remember, it can't have anything to do with psychological health).

Also, what about all the miracles we hear about where God answers prayers and people are miraculously healed?  If even a single one of these stories are supposed to be true, then God does answer prayers by altering physical health.


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God answers all prayers

I'm a little sorry I screwed this up, but not sorry enough not to do it again.  The call to theists probably wasn't to pagans or pastafarians, but other particularly noisy kinds of theists.

 

However, in doing some research, I've learned that in fact God answers all prayers.  For an example, see: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28812

 

Thandarr


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The soul of a man is his

The soul of a man is his mind. Psychological health only measures such things as the stability of our emotional state. The state of our soul in a spiritual sense, whether it is in mortal sin or in a state of grace, would not be able to be determined by anybody except God and would definitely be unable to be determined by any human scientific test. Likewise, the state of our souls as progressing in grace or virtue would be unable to be determined. Likewise, the merit our soul has before God would be unable to be determined. Certain things, granted, would be "felt" in a psychological exam, but it would be unable to grasp the things themselves.

Further, God, in His Providence, would not necessarily answer prayer in the exact time or even way that we prayed for. For example, God could easily answer the prayer for a particular person by giving that person sufficent grace to bear their sufferings with patience. Or, God could give them grace to know their state in life as a result of their sufferings. Or any number of things, all of which are answers to the prayer. But all of these are non-measurable in a lab study. 

Lastly, while I do not dispute that God does in special cases perform extraordinary physical healings, I disagree that these effects always or even for the most part are a necessary result of prayer.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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That's not what the nuns told me

 

 we Christians, or at least Catholics, do not believe prayer is infallibly effective.

I seem to remember something a little different.  There were certain prayers that would always be granted, at least somehow.

A novena to St. Jude has never been known to fail for those who maintain a strong posture of faith that God is ALWAYS working behind the scenes for us.  For some people, by the end of the 9 days, they will see some visible, concrete proof that their request has been granted. 

 

http://www.stjudenovena.org/prayingthenovena.html

 

BTW, since I'm sitting here posting on the Internet rather than living in the manner that I would like to become accustomed in my palatial mansion I can tell you it doesn't always work.  But it does sometimes.  My brother actually used this to get a girl to go out with him, and she did.  But nothing happened.

 Thandarr


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That would not be prayer,

That would not be prayer, but superstition. The Catholic Church repudiates such things as contrary to faith. However, I think it unfair to label this particular group as superstitous, as they clearly indicate later in that same paragraph that God always hears and grants ones request in prayer, but not in necessarily the way one requests it. This, of course, is perfectly valid to say. As long as one prays with faith, God hears ones prayer. His answer in a particular way is not mandatory.

Further, in your own post you say that you would be living in a palatial mansion if this prayer worked. But that would be manifestly untrue, as you have never prayed the novena with the requisite conditions of faith in God Smiling

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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There's always a catch, isn't there.

But that would be manifestly untrue, as you have never prayed the novena with the requisite conditions of faith in God Smiling

 

When I prayed, I thought I had faith in God.  That was a while back.  Maybe I didn't.  I don't do much praying now.

Thandarr


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StMichael wrote: God

StMichael wrote:

God Himself can be proven philosophically.  Prayer itself is likewise something that relates to Him and can be likewise philosophically seen as worthwhile. Miracles are also able to be shown possible from philosophy. That, however, is a topic for another forum.

 God does answer "smaller" prayers, not just large ones. 

Can you give me a short version of the philosophical proof of god?  Or a link to a long version?  'Cause I've never seen such a thing before.

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StMichael wrote: Certain

StMichael wrote:

Certain things, granted, would be "felt" in a psychological exam, but it would be unable to grasp the things themselves.

Then in what sense can they be said to exist?  And if they exist in a purely technical, phenomenological sense (like the sound of the tree falling in the forest) then how can we claim to know ANYTHING about them?

 

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StMichael wrote: The soul

StMichael wrote:

The soul of a man is his mind. Psychological health only measures such things as the stability of our emotional state.


Ok, the soul of a man is his mind.  I have no problem agreeing with this.  However, what you think psychological health is about is quite a bit off.  Psychological health is the health of the mind (emotionally, intellectually, etc).

Quote:

The state of our soul in a spiritual sense, whether it is in mortal sin or in a state of grace, would not be able to be determined by anybody except God and would definitely be unable to be determined by any human scientific test. Likewise, the state of our souls as progressing in grace or virtue would be unable to be determined. Likewise, the merit our soul has before God would be unable to be determined. Certain things, granted, would be "felt" in a psychological exam, but it would be unable to grasp the things themselves.


For starters, if only God can tell what our spiritual health is, then what is the point of spiritual health?  However, you seem to counter your own argument when you say certain things can be felt in a psychological exam.  As I have said before, the purpose of the above test wasn't to try a grasp the "things" themelves, it was seeing if anything was being felt.  So by your own admisson above, that certain things would be "felt" in a psychological exam, the study showed have shown something.

Quote:

Further, God, in His Providence, would not necessarily answer prayer in the exact time or even way that we prayed for. For example, God could easily answer the prayer for a particular person by giving that person sufficent grace to bear their sufferings with patience. Or, God could give them grace to know their state in life as a result of their sufferings. Or any number of things, all of which are answers to the prayer. But all of these are non-measurable in a lab study.


Ok, so lets take you example of God giving a person sufficient grace to bear their sufferings with patience.  If a person is able to bear suffering better (in any way), then that person is more likely to recover from a surgery.  This is a perfect example of what could be seen in the study.  Same thing with someone being able to accept their state in life, this is also a psychological improvement, and thus would increase their ability to recover, so it would also be able to be seen in the study.  All of these are measurable in a lab study.

Quote:

Lastly, while I do not dispute that God does in special cases perform extraordinary physical healings, I disagree that these effects always or even for the most part are a necessary result of prayer.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael


My point wasn't that God is always supposed to perform extraodinary physical, I was only pointing out that by your own admission, God will answer prayers in a physical fashion, not just a spiritual fashion.  So even if God only answers prayers through in a physical way once in a while, that is still enough to be seen in a study of this type.


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StMichael wrote:  God

StMichael wrote:

 God always hears and grants ones request in prayer, but not in necessarily the way one requests it. This, of course, is perfectly valid to say. As long as one prays with faith, God hears ones prayer. His answer in a particular way is not mandatory.

I believe I see what you are trying to say here.  God wont necessarily heal grandma from her cancer if that is not part of his divine plan. 

 

However I think the point that Piper is trying to make here is that God doesn’t seem to answer ANY prayer at all.  I think its safe to say that Christians across the board, both protestant and catholic, pray for the most is health and well-being for themselves and their loved ones.  If God answered their prayers, even a little bit, you would expect to see a statistical difference in the number of sicknesses in the Christian community verses sickness among atheists, who do not get any prayer at all.  I’m not aware of any differences, but if you find some, I would be happy to listen.  At this point it seems to me that if God does exist, he doesn’t seem to answer anyone’s prayers.

 

Now if you come at the angle that God wont grant anything that isn’t a part of his Divine plan, then it seems to become pointless to pray at all.  Going to work this morning is part of  “Chris’s Plan”  If you pray to me to go to work, then I will.  If you pray to me not to go to work, then I still will, because staying home today is not part of my great plan.  I might tell you that even though I’m going to work that I’m planning on staying home spiritually, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to work.


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Tilberian wrote: Can you

Tilberian wrote:

Can you give me a short version of the philosophical proof of god? Or a link to a long version? 'Cause I've never seen such a thing before.

StMichael has already brought it up here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/the_rational_response_squad_radio_show/3590?page=5

And, I think, in another thread as well.

-Triften


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Angelic_Atheist

Angelic_Atheist wrote:

Thandar wrote:
The test should be repeated with prayers to Apollo. Then you'd see some results.

MattShizzle wrote:
NO YOU HEATHEN!!!!!!!!! They should be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

You’re both wrong. It’s the Invisible Pink Unicorn they should've been praying to. We all know she is way nicer and prettier than either of those gods.

SCREW BOTH OF YOU.....HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO WARN YOU. YOU WILL BE ETERNALL TARRED AND FEATHERED OVER AND OVER IF YOU DIE DENYING MY PURPLE SNARFWIDGET!

EVEN Sapient has tried to sell me his false "mamialian religion". I clearly demonstrated in the book of the almightly snarfwiget the passage that proves its existance:

Letters to the Mamialians book 50 verse 1,346:

"If thoust deny my snarfdom and neglect praying to me, I wilst makith ye regret thy denial by doing the same to you as I didith to Foghorn Leghorn in countless cartoons. I revealed myself and my wrath in those cartoons by blowing off his feathers. Now that I have them, I will replecate them and tar and feather the unbelievers for eternity. Saith so I the Almighty Snarfwidgit". (END)

ISNT IT CLEAR YOU NEED TO SUBMIT! 

 

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Quote: Ok, the soul of a

Quote:
Ok, the soul of a man is his mind.  I have no problem agreeing with this.  However, what you think psychological health is about is quite a bit off.  Psychological health is the health of the mind (emotionally, intellectually, etc).

This cannot measure whether or not the soul is in a state of sin or grace, nor can it measure the merit that the soul has accrued before God.

Quote:
 

 

For starters, if only God can tell what our spiritual health is, then what is the point of spiritual health?

Because it determines whether we are alive in grace or not, which is important in view of our eternal salvation.

Quote:
 

  As I have said before, the purpose of the above test wasn't to try a grasp the "things" themelves, it was seeing if anything was being felt.  So by your own admisson above, that certain things would be "felt" in a psychological exam, the study showed have shown something.

Only of some motions in the soul. For example, as was said, it measures intellectual health, which can be measured. But it cannot measure certain other measures that are beyond what the test has competency to measure. Further, I think you are just ignoring my consideration that prayer is neither infallibly effective, nor that prayer does not necessarily accomplish goals in a simultaneous timeframe. Prayer affects the eternal Providence of God, not always the specific dispositions of the person prayed for at that time.

Quote:
 

 All of these are measurable in a lab study.

I would contend that their emotional and mental health could break down while their spiritual health increased contrawise.

Quote:
 

 

My point wasn't that God is always supposed to perform extraodinary physical, I was only pointing out that by your own admission, God will answer prayers in a physical fashion, not just a spiritual fashion.  So even if God only answers prayers through in a physical way once in a while, that is still enough to be seen in a study of this type.

No it would not be sufficent. God does not answer our prayers very often the instant we pray for something, but works things out in His Providence. Likewise, God does not often answer our prayers in a physical way. In fact, the only thing that God has given as a certain product of prayer is grace or virtue, and not any material good.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

PS - The thought that popped into my head recently was that this study can never be made normative. I doubt that there were people in the study who were not prayed for. One cannot have a control group in this sort of matter, because I am sure that all those sick in the control group were likely prayed for by other people elsewhere; for example, many groups merely pray for all the sick. It would be insane to try to conduct this sort of test in a scientific manner. I also happened to find that in the particular study you cited, this was likewise true in a more explicit way as many of those in the "control" group had family and other praying for them.

 

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I'm a little late chiming

I'm a little late chiming in on this point, but a while back, StMichael did an interesting olympic backpedal, and I'd just like to highlight it.

When asked if god answers "little prayers" and influences events on earth, he answered with an unswerving "yes."  Then, when he was unable to justify that answer in light of this study, he immediately went to a new answer -- that god's answers are mainly to spiritual things, and are unverifiable.

What a nice example of science backing religion into a corner and religion redefining itself to try to remain relevant.

 

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No, I just clarified.

No, I just clarified. However, I never said that God only answers prayers in a spiritual way. I said that merely the only prayer God said that He would always answer was for grace. God has no obligation to answer a prayer for physical healing in the way we intend. God rather tends to answer the substance of what we intend - God grants what is really helpful in this situation. My main point, however, is that God grants our prayers in the ways and times that He sees fit, according to His wisdom. Even if we assumed that the one group was prayed for and the other not (contrary to reality, as I pointed out earlier), there is no reason to expect an immediate and physical result in even one of the patients. For example, God usually would grant such prayers in His own time and according to His own wisdom. If what we asked for, likewise, is not good for the person's eternal salvation, God would do what was better for the person, which is not necessarily to heal them physically. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. God is not bound by prayer to act in the timeframe of a study, nor is He bound to act in the way we desire. God orders things according to His wisdom.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 

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I agree with you.  You

I agree with you.  You clarified.

Bush also clarified his statements on WMD's and Sadaam's involvement in 911.

Sorry, dude.  As usual, your entire argument rests on the same premise you usually use, that is, God is provable, except that he's not, except for when he is, if you use the right definition of a certain word, except if that use of the word disproves your argument, in which case, it's the other definition.

So, are the results of prayer empirically verifiable?  Yes or no?

 

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God is provable from

God is provable from natural reason. There, no ambiguity. I clarify my statements because a good deal of your arguments are based on wrong interpretations of what Christians mean when they say things.

In answer to the results of prayer: no, the results of prayer are not necessarily empirically verifiable. They can be, but only in extraordinary circumstances. That is not to say that prayers are not answered, however. They may even be answered in an empirically verifiable way, but that time of answering or way of answering is up to God.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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1) a verified answer to

1) a verified answer to prayer would be something that couldn't have happened without supernatural intervention.  Therefore, ANY empirical evidence would be, by definition, extraordinary.  Do you have any?

2) Either prayer is verifiable, or it isn't.  There isn't a possibility of "It can be."  If it ever has been, or ever could be, it is verifiable.   Which is it?  Verifiable or unverifiable?

3) You have never demonstrated the logical process by which an intuitive statement leads to a proof of god.  Stop saying you have.  It's just irritating everyone.  Either put up the proof or stop making baseless assertions.

 

 

 

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A verifiable answer to a

A verifiable answer to a prayer is not necessarily extraordinary, but could be. Extraordinary "answers" to prayers to saints are documented by the Catholic Church for use in canonization proceedings. I would also point out that I see no reason to posit that prayer needs to be "verified" at all.

 Prayer can be of both species, verifiable and unverifiable, because prayer is not always about obtaining a specific result. Even if prayer is for a particular "verifiable" object, such an event does not always come about as a result of the prayer, nor is such an object obtained always in our specific intended time of reception, nor does such an event occur in an extraordinary nature. Prayer is of various natures. It depends.

 I never claimed that an intuitive statement led to knowledge of God, or that we had self-evident knowledge of God. In order to satisfy your curiosity, here are the five proofs for the existence of God, in full, from the Summa Theologica:

"The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

   The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

   The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence---which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

   The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

   The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God."

 

 I don't see a reason, however, to discuss these here. There are  other forums that already exist in which I am currently discussing these.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

 

 

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As you point out, much of

As you point out, much of your post is irrelevant to this discussion, so I won't respond to any of it.  No offense.  I just want to deal with the topic at hand:  Does prayer work?  If so, how?  If so, then why does it continue to prove unverifiable to science?

 

Quote:
A verifiable answer to a prayer is not necessarily extraordinary

If it's not extraordinary, then it's natural, and by your own admission, wouldn't need god.  It's what we call coincidence until and unless it is proven to be statistically unnatural.  Occam's Razor, while not a hard rule, is a great measuring stick for things like this.  If you can call it coincidence, and it fits the facts, why bother ascribing it to god?

 

Quote:
Prayer can be of both species, verifiable and unverifiable

Would you please present peer-reviewed scientific evidence that prayer works?  That will satisfy your claim on the one hand.

On the other hand, if it's unverifiable, how do you know it exists?  Oh... wait... because god told you, only you can't prove it because it's unprovable.  Right.

 

Quote:
I never claimed that an intuitive statement led to knowledge of God, or that we had self-evident knowledge of God.

Fine.  Then by all means, please stop saying that god is discoverable through natural reason.   It seems to me you have to choose one or the other, but you clearly don't grasp that.  Oh, wait.. you have explained it.  There's natural reason that's naturally reasonable, and natural reason that proves god even though natural reason can't prove god.

As I said, the proofs for the existence of god are utterly irrelevant to this discussion, so I will not comment on the rest of your post.

 

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Quote: If it's not

Quote:
If it's not extraordinary, then it's natural, and by your own admission, wouldn't need god.  It's what we call coincidence until and unless it is proven to be statistically unnatural.  Occam's Razor, while not a hard rule, is a great measuring stick for things like this.  If you can call it coincidence, and it fits the facts, why bother ascribing it to god?

It might seem coincidence from a human point of view. And that is precisely my point as to one reason why it would be statistically indeterminate whether prayer works or not. We ascribe the effects of prayer to God because we believe it to be such from faith, which is precisely why you cannot validate the effects of ordinary prayer in the real world. You can only do two things: you can work from the natural knowledge of God in philosophy to show that God guides the universe and can be sought through prayer, or you can show that saints' prayers brought extraordinary results.

 

Quote:

Quote:
Prayer can be of both species, verifiable and unverifiable

Would you please present peer-reviewed scientific evidence that prayer works?  That will satisfy your claim on the one hand.

On the other hand, if it's unverifiable, how do you know it exists?  Oh... wait... because god told you, only you can't prove it because it's unprovable.  Right.

For the verifiable version of extraordinary effects of prayer, one can look at any number of miracles worked by the prayers of the saints. I can point out at least one article off the top of my head in the October 2000 edition of the Hawaiian Medical Journal, on the extraordinary remission of cancer. This particular case was a miracle whose authority is being advanced for the canonization of a Fr. Damien, who worked with lepers in Hawaii. The miracle was that a lady had extensive metastatic cancer and, after prayer to Fr. Damien, her cancer spontaneously disappeared. There are other examples, but this is one I recently looked up for a question in another forum.  

Unverifiable effects of prayer are reliant on God's Providence. All prayer does not obtain an equal effect, otherwise you could easily say (as some crazy fundamentalists do), "I want a pot of gold. In Jesus' name! Amen!" This is crazy. The only thing God explicitly ensured that prayer would always obtain was His help through grace. Our prayers are always heard by God, but they are merely answered in different ways. But none of these would be ordinarily empirically verifiable. For example, God could not heal our mother (as we prayed for) but give her the strength to bear her suffering patiently in such a manner so that she would merit salvation. This, of course, would be the general intention that we really wanted, but it was not the actual specific intention of our prayer. But the prayer was answered. Or, God is not constrained to our time to answer our prayer. He says, "knock and I will answer." He does not say, "knock and I will answer immediately." Sometimes, God tries to teach us patience in prayer. So, for example, I could pray fervently for the conversion of my atheist son every day for years without any immediate result. However, my perseverance in prayer could be good for my salvation and would eventually bring about the conversion of my son (witness, Saint Monica and Saint Augustine).

Quote:
 

 

Fine.  Then by all means, please stop saying that god is discoverable through natural reason. 

But that's not the same as self-evident or intuitive. It means we can reason to the fact that He exists from what we know without revelation (naturally).

 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

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I'm a polytheist, gods damn

I'm a polytheist, gods damn it. I don't deny the existence of any gods. I just affirm that most of the things people say about their gods--especially if what they're saying is that their god[s] are the only ones--is wrong.

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Piper2000ca wrote:Alright,

Piper2000ca wrote:
Alright, I'm sick of theists bringing forth useless anecdotal stories that don't actual show anything, so I want to see how a theist responds to a proper scientific study that clearly demolishes one of their most cherished claims, namely prayer (which their anecdotal stories seemed to be based on):

http://www.ahjonline.com/article/PIIS0002870305006496/abstract

In this study, cardiac bypass surgery patients were divided into three groups:

1 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were prayed for (604 patients)
2 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were not prayed for (597 patients)
3 - Told they were prayed for, and were prayed for (601 patients)

Post-operative complications for groups 1 and 2 were 52% and 51% respectively, but for group 3, complications went up to 59%. In other words, patients that knew they were getting prayed for did worse then those who didn't know.

Those are some intriguing results, but the methodology is a bit biased. They forgot a category. Those who were told they weren't prayed for, and weren't prayed for. Without that, I can't say as the results are a conclusive study except between the first two groups.

Edit: I may be making an error, but I also should point out that the religion of the patient wasn't taken into consideration either. If an atheist was told he was being prayed for, that could complicate things emotionally and stress wise for the atheist.

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Polytheism is against right

Polytheism is against right reason for a whole slew of reasons. Not least because of what we know about any creator of the universe, by reason of His nature as creator. It would be impossible for there to be more than 1. 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

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StMichael

StMichael wrote:

Polytheism is against right reason for a whole slew of reasons. Not least because of what we know about any creator of the universe, by reason of His nature as creator. It would be impossible for there to be more than 1. 

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Right... So we have Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit... just one ! Ain't it something?

 

Theoretically, Uranus created what we now see... Zeus, Chronos, Poseidon, Hera, Artemis, etc. they all came later. Indeed: ONE creator, but MANY gods. Your theorem of one creator is kept, so is the theorem of many gods.

 

And, by the way, just why must there be only one creator? Why do you say that? I can imagine multiple Gods creating multiple entities in this world. What's wrong with that?

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The Trinity is not a

The Trinity is not a plurality of gods, by defintion. It is one God in three Persons.

Also, Uranus did not create the others, according to Hesiod's Theophany. From Chaos emerged Gaia, who created Uranus.  

It also helps to understand that you are using different senses of "god." For example, the Christian understanding would be that there is one God, supreme and all-powerful, who was not dependent upon anything else, but created creation of His free will without any pre-existing material. But all creation is infinitely seperated from God because they are merely creatures, who depend on God to exist. So these things created by God cannot be "gods" except in an figurative sense (as they bear relationship to God by likeness) - so, for example, we can speak of the angels and men as "sons of God." But these are not properly other "gods," except, as I said, in a colloquial or figurative sense.

 There cannot be more than one creator for a number of reasons. First, the Creator must be one, because no division can exist in Him. Second, and primarily, as He is the creator of all things, He must be purely in act and without any potency. All of these beings, assuming many, must all have the same essence, which is to be purely in act and without division so that what they are must be the same as their act of existence. They must likewise be without matter, as matter is a form of potency. But that which is without matter cannot have quantity. So, there can never be more than one God, as there is no matter to differentiate different "Gods." Each "God" would be the same "God," and more than one could not exist because there would be no matter to differentiate them.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

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StMichael, I believe you

StMichael, I believe you are here to try to have real conversation, so I'm trying very hard not to get aggravated, but you've got to help me a little bit here!

Quote:
But that's {natural reason} not the same as self-evident or intuitive. It means we can reason to the fact that He exists from what we know without revelation (naturally).

Reason is described by logic.  Period.  So if we can reason to god's existence, then we must begin with a self evident statement, or we're not being logical. 

Please.  Please.  Without using anything that is outside of nature (in other words, using nothing but standard logic) demonstrate that god exists.  Your first cause argument is not logical because it is a baseless assertion and so defies logic.  I'm not going to bother pointing out the flaws in the 5 points you keep bringing up because everyone else has done such a good job of it so many times.

You have a choice.  Either revelation is needed to prove god, or logic proves god.  Which is it?

If you say logic, then you have to abide by the rules of logic.  If you change the rules, then you don't get to say logic.  It's that simple, man!

 

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My starting premise to

My starting premise to prove the existence of God is simple:

"Things in the world are in motion."

But it is not truly self-evident. 

In the same way, your own reason does not proceed from merely self-evident axioms. Axioms indicate a necessary relation between things. But the things themselves need to be known before a necessary relation can be established. So, for example, I need to know what "existence" is before I can state the first rule of logic: "something cannot exist and not exist in the same respect."

 We could never have a self-evident knowledge of God, because what He is is not an axiom. We can only know that God exists because of His effects.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

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Hypothesis: If God desired

Hypothesis: If God desired that his existence could be proven bysomething like a simple double-blind experiment, a knock-down empirical proof of God's existence would have been dreamed up and executed centuries ago. 

 

If God exists. And if God exists such that he desires to be known and approached by faith. And if God does not jump through hoops for scientists (i.e., the FSM is not your trained monkey), then it makes perfect sense why no proof is forthcoming even though anecdotal reports abound. God knows about the experiment and refuses to have his existence subject to peer-reviewed study. (I think the boss says somewhere in the instruction manual that you can't make demands like that.)   

 

If God wanted his existence to be undeniable, then he would hover over your shoulder like a principal or throw down thunderbolts when you thought bad thoughts. If God exists, what we know of the world suggests that God is not that sort of God.

 

If the only reason you have for believing in God is this study, the most logical conclusion would be that the most likely fact is that God does not exist. 

If the study had found a statistically significant improvement, however, true non-believers would be no more moved than a true believer. I say this because I have read the responses of atheists to studies like this when the results suggest "a miracle." And can you blame them? Would you let one study or even a popular set of studies by a group with a possible agenda, determine your beliefs on this matter?  

 

 

 

 


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Polytheism is right reason

St Michael wrote

Polytheism is against right reason for a whole slew of reasons. Not least because of what we know about any creator of the universe, by reason of His nature as creator. It would be impossible for there to be more than 1. 

 

 Polytheism is the only kind of theism that makes any sense.  From before recorded history, men and women have felt communion with gods and goddesses.  These gods and goddesses have been worshipped and honored by people throughout the world and in every time.  It is completely irrational to think that there's only one god, Jehovah, and that every other religious experience in history is bogus. 

You try to reason about the gods by attributing characteristics to them and reasoning from those characteristics.  That just doesn't work. Every once in a while you have to step back from your theological meanderings and check your results against common sense and common experience.  There can't be just one god.

If there's just one god, that god is responsible for everything, the good and the evil.  We're just all puppets since that one omnipotent god created all things and gave us all the characteristics we have.  Your one god is responsible for evil.  But if there are many gods, they can disagree on what should happen (as is documented in ancient writings, for example).  They fight among themselves.

Most of the valid criticism of theism found on boards like this is aimed at your monotheistic beliefs.   The same criticisms don't apply when you posit that there's not just one god, but millions.

Theology such as the existence of the trinity and of saints is just natural human rebellion against the untenable idea that there's just one god.  I know under the doctrines of the church the trinity is three persons in one god, and however little logical sense that makes, you can call them one if you want to.  I know the saints are not gods.  But people hunger for more than a single monolithic supreme being.  That's why ideas like the trinity and the existence of saints and angels are so predominant.

Even the earlier writings that have made their way into your scriptures acknowledge that there are other gods.  There were gods of Egypt, and remember that Pharoah's magicians could do some of the same signs and wonders that Moses did.  "Thou shalt have no other god before me" is meaningless if there is no other god.

You have chosen to become a priest of Jehovah, and that is fine.  Stick with him.  Place no other gods before him.   Believe in him through revelation, and that he is the only one.  But don't tell yourself that it is somehow reasonable that Jehovah is the only god.  You'll soon learn how untenable that idea is.

 Thandarr


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This makes no sense

St. Michael wrote:

 

First, the Creator must be one, because no division can exist in Him. Second, and primarily, as He is the creator of all things, He must be purely in act and without any potency. All of these beings, assuming many, must all have the same essence, which is to be purely in act and without division so that what they are must be the same as their act of existence. They must likewise be without matter, as matter is a form of potency. But that which is without matter cannot have quantity. So, there can never be more than one God, as there is no matter to differentiate different "Gods." Each "God" would be the same "God," and more than one could not exist because there would be no matter to differentiate them.

 

First, what is there about creation that limits it to being done by one.  Our experience clearly shows that many things have multiple creators.  Second, what does "fully in act and without potency."  You are just assigning characteristics to creation that need not be there.  There can be more than one god just as easily as there can be one.

The gods (and goddesses: when I say "the gods" I usually mean the goddesses as well) are supernatural.  Being outside nature, they are not subject to the natural rules that bind us. 


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Quote: Polytheism is the

Quote:
Polytheism is the only kind of theism that makes any sense.

I see no rational reason to believe so. I will address why not below.

Quote:
 

  From before recorded history, men and women have felt communion with gods and goddesses.  These gods and goddesses have been worshipped and honored by people throughout the world and in every time.  It is completely irrational to think that there's only one god, Jehovah, and that every other religious experience in history is bogus.

I have not dismissed the religions of the world. In fact, it is rather shown in anthropology that religion mostly starts off in a monotheistic fashion, and then generally deteriorates into polytheism. Nevertheless, I believe this trend toward worship of gods in general indicates the natural knowledge man may have of God. They just knew Him in a confused way. And there were a good number of pagans who did believe in a single god, who I would argue to basically be the Christian one.
 

[qutote] You try to reason about the gods by attributing characteristics to them and reasoning from those characteristics.  That just doesn't work. Every once in a while you have to step back from your theological meanderings and check your results against common sense and common experience.  There can't be just one god.

OK, but then this is irrational emotivism. Not reason. If you want to do this and accept polytheism on blind faith, go ahead, just don't claim it to be the rational choice. 

You still haven't refuted my claims about a single God as proved by reason.

Quote:
 

If there's just one god, that god is responsible for everything, the good and the evil.  We're just all puppets since that one omnipotent god created all things and gave us all the characteristics we have.  Your one god is responsible for evil.  But if there are many gods, they can disagree on what should happen (as is documented in ancient writings, for example).  They fight among themselves.

Which is also a good reason to discard those many gods. They would be responsible for evil as well, anyway, so there is no win. Anyway, God is not responsible for evil at all. Evil exists as a privation and God never created it. Further, God created us, but He created us free agents. It is the only way out of it anyway, because polytheism falls right into the same difficulties, and the presence of multiple gods merely exacerbates the problem.

 

Quote:

Theology such as the existence of the trinity and of saints is just natural human rebellion against the untenable idea that there's just one god.

I don't think so at all. Both maintain the primacy of God as single.

Quote:
 

I know under the doctrines of the church the trinity is three persons in one god, and however little logical sense that makes, you can call them one if you want to.  I know the saints are not gods.  But people hunger for more than a single monolithic supreme being.  That's why ideas like the trinity and the existence of saints and angels are so predominant.

Most pagans tended to believe the same thing we do. A single omnipotent and transcendent creator with many many demigods. Not very far away from a naturally known version of God and the angels/saints.

Quote:
 

Even the earlier writings that have made their way into your scriptures acknowledge that there are other gods.  There were gods of Egypt, and remember that Pharoah's magicians could do some of the same signs and wonders that Moses did.  "Thou shalt have no other god before me" is meaningless if there is no other god.

No, there is no reason to assume that. Other gods merely indicate the false idols that men worshipped; "no other god exists beside me," is pretty clear.

Quote:
 

You have chosen to become a priest of Jehovah, and that is fine.  Stick with him.  Place no other gods before him.   Believe in him through revelation, and that he is the only one.  But don't tell yourself that it is somehow reasonable that Jehovah is the only god.  You'll soon learn how untenable that idea is.

I am not a priest of Jehovah (which is bad rendering of the Hebrew anyway); I am a priest of God and of Christ, His Son. Further, it is reasonable to maintain belief in one God. And, even further, I would be a hypocrite if I believed in multiple gods.

 

The gods and goddesses cannot exist for a simple reason. As I said, God must be the cause of the world, and all things in it. This entails, logically, being totally and utterly in a state of actuality and not reliant on any other being for His existence. He would have to be His own reason to exist. His essence would be His existence. But then a problem arises. Can there be many of these "God"s with a capital G? No, as each "God" has exactly the same nature - as a being whose essence is to exist. Each being cannot be differentiated because each are spiritual substances - not having matter, they cannot have number. Thus, there can only be one God.

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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Piper2000ca wrote: Alright,

Piper2000ca wrote:
Alright, I'm sick of theists bringing forth useless anecdotal stories that don't actual show anything, so I want to see how a theist responds to a proper scientific study that clearly demolishes one of their most cherished claims, namely prayer (which their anecdotal stories seemed to be based on): http://www.ahjonline.com/article/PIIS0002870305006496/abstract In this study, cardiac bypass surgery patients were divided into three groups: 1 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were prayed for (604 patients) 2 - Told they may or may not be prayed for, and were not prayed for (597 patients) 3 - Told they were prayed for, and were prayed for (601 patients) Post-operative complications for groups 1 and 2 were 52% and 51% respectively, but for group 3, complications went up to 59%. In other words, patients that knew they were getting prayed for did worse then those who didn't know.

 

Richard Swinburne actually posted a reply to this in this paper users.ox.ac.uk/~orie0087/pdf_files/Responses%20to%20Controversies/Response%20to%20a%20Study%20on%20prayer.pdf

I have mad respect for Swinbure but I don't think I like most of his response to this. I'd have to say that he makes ok arguments (nothing great). Personally I've been turning this over in my head and I don't think that this study on prayer is conclusive about anything. I think there would have to be further study and they should take into consideration religious beliefs of the people praying.

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