Prayer and Relying on God

Samuel
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Prayer and Relying on God

"Prayer and Relying on God" is a blog I recently wrote, and David recently commented on it. Here is the blog, followed by the comment, followed by my reply.

Interestingly enough, David said Sapient turned down a debate. I volunteer to take his place if he doesn't want to do it.

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Alright, here's a converstaion that recently took place. I'm giving you all of it in case you wan the back story behind it, but David says you turned down a debate with him.
Is this true? If so, I could debate in your stead.

David's claim was this: "It is not surprising that Sapient -- who declined to debate me, by the way -- would present the information selectively."

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My blog on Prayer and Relying on God:

You've heard it before. I know I have. I heard it a few times in church, even recorded it in some of my "atheist in church" blogs. We are to stop trying so hard and just sit back. Let God do the work. Let us rely on God, let us look to him to solve our problems. You can hear a good case of this horseshit on the following blog I had the misfortune to discover:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=49493605&blogID=149154399&Mytoken=403A4BA5-2D0E-4591-A678393DAEB6EE5596578812

Although I left a comment, it is pending approval. Somehow I doubt it'll get through.

But anyways, he has a point. The Bible does say we should look to God for aid. It also says a little about "not tempting thy Lord, your God."

"And he [Satan] brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
--Luke 4:9-12, KJV
But oh well. The Bible isn't above changing its mind... Frequently...

People still rely on God. People still rely on prayer.

God, although unproven and unsupported with evidence and reason, hope and faith keep him alive in the hearts of billions.

Unfortunately these billions, in their insanity, begin to rely on this invisible, non existent friend for control of their lives. Their child-like behavior gives them an excuse to become irresponsible and rely on a great protector in the sky. It's so easy. And they have such a perfect excuse to not work for the things they want in life.

Even if I was a theist, I would consider it dishonoring God by having him take care of you like that. God, who would create you with the ability to have control over your own life, make your own choices, and be successful yourself, would want you to be responsible for yourself. But these childish theists love to use their blind, insane beliefs as a crutch, so even if God did exist they would be shameful to him.

These theists put unproven, invisible, most likely non-existent crap before even their own fellowmen and themselves. Such a disgusting thing.

They trust an unproven ghost over themselves. They trust an unproven ghost over others. They desire the approval from an unproven ghost more than approval from themselves and others.

And this is what this deity wants his followers to do. What a piece of shit God the Catholic/Christian God must be. Ah well, they rely on him anyways.

As for me; I'm going to rely on myself, and when it is logical to, rely on my friends and family. Possibly non-existent bullshit can just kiss my ass. Do not expect anyone with the ability to use their mind to trust a safety harness which most likely isn't there.

Prayer is a Superstition:
http://www.youtube.com/v/BH0rFZIqo8A
The largest scientific study ever done on prayer also recently found that it doesn't work:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=827
Elevate humanity to a higher intellectual standard. It's time we started being honest with ourselves about the world around us, with that who knows what we can accomplish.
Samuel Thomas Poling: Blog 100, Prayer and Relying on God

Woo! That was blog number one hundred! One hundred blogs, ladies and gentlemen, one hundred damn blogs. The majority of which being at least twice as long as this one, to add.

A lot of people may just make their hundredth blog merely about being the hundredth blog. Like some sort of recap or some stupid shit. It isnt the hundredth blog unless it contains the usual blog stuff in it, however! You have to go as if it isnt the hundredth blog and finish it before you start Chanting the number you reached. If you start celebrated after 99 as if it is the 100, you really havent done 100 yet. Unless your blogs usually are that sort of thing. It can be the 100th of that, I guess.

Alright, lets do a recap

Remember that time I pissed that Christian off so badly his head exploded and I had to go to court? And when they had me put my hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and I said, Yes, and thats why I dont think the Bible has anything to do with that. Boy, did the judge get red faced! Oh, wait, that didnt really happen. Oh well, Im sure it will eventually.

How about that time Vegan Tim came running at me with fallacious and incorrect definitions of carnivore as his opening argument? Hahahah! Silly vegans.

Oh! Or that time when I remembered a time I pissed a Christian off so badly his head exploded, and then I remembered that didn?t really happen! That was pretty funny.

Wait a minute

Okay, screw it.

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David's comment:

Your claim that theistic faith is "child-like" is, in a way, absolutely correct. Children do not trust their parents blindly -- they have good reason, i.e. their prior experience, which indicates that their parents care -- but they do trust them completely. Our faith is quite similar to that of a child, which may be why Jesus devoted a significant portion of his ministry (Matthew 18:3-10, 19:13-15, etc.) to defending children.
As to the point on prayer, there have also been studies which show that prayer is effective. It is not surprising that Sapient -- who declined to debate me, by the way -- would present the information selectively. But the test itself is ridiculous: first, who is to say those prayers weren't answered? Atheists tend to forget that if God is real, then there is almost certainly a life after death. The prayers may have persuaded God to take these people quickly, thereby ending their suffering and bringing them into His kingdom. Second, even if God had totally ignored the prayers, why would the God of the universe be obligated to indulge our scientific curiosity? This is not an exercise of faith, trust, or affection for Him, but a sterile experiment that is, for lack of better word, just trying to fuck with Him. If God subjected Himself to us in this way He would be reduced to nothing more than Aladdin's genie who is in the business of granting wishes. But He's not. If I was God, I would blow off this experiment, too.

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My response:

"As to the point on prayer, there have also been studies which show that prayer is effective."

Not the studies I've seen. Please show me your studies.

"It is not surprising that Sapient -- who declined to debate me, by the way -- would present the information selectively."

That doesnt seem like Sapient; he really, really wanted to debate you. Don't worry; I'll talk to him for you.

"But the test itself is ridiculous: first, who is to say those prayers weren't answered?"

Be careful, you're slowly treading onto argumentum ad ignorantum.... The test was to see if the prayers, in what was being asked, showed up as being effective at all. They were not cured, the actual prayers were not answered - that is a fact, so as far as we can tell, prayer isn't working. Proving they do work is what needs to be fully backed, this just greatly shed doubt on that. Beautiful for a negative position.

"Atheists tend to forget that if God is real, then there is almost certainly a life after death. The prayers may have persuaded God to take these people quickly, thereby ending their suffering and bringing them into His kingdom."

In which case the prayers wouldn't have worked as the Bible says they would. "Cure them of cancer, God," but instead he kills them quickly with the cancer? Bible says you ask for it in Jesus' name, you get it, but he didn't even do what the prayers asked for? He went wild and did something on his own in response to the praying? I assume you have evidence of this.

How come no matter what happens, there is the excuse to defend the superstition? A minute a go you said you saw studies where prayer was effective. For some reason, I think these studies will show the opposite of what you are claiming God did in this one. Either way, any way, you cut it, a superstitious person will have the excuse, and the superstitious person will want it all ways. Well, at least we know prayers aren't answered the way the Bible says they are - you know, the book were the Christian prayer came from in the first place.

"Second, even if God had totally ignored the prayers, why would the God of the universe be obligated to indulge our scientific curiosity?"

Maybe because he loves making more faithful people? Maybe because he loves man kind and holds reason and scientific study high with love? Maybe because he said he would in the Bible, and he said he didn't lie or contradict himself?

"This is not an exercise of faith, trust, or affection for Him, but a sterile experiment that is, for lack of better word, just trying to fuck with Him."

Yes, all the all intelligent, powerful God would care about is blind faith. Why would an entity of reason give a shit about human reasoning and science? Silly me. My mistake.

" If God subjected Himself to us in this way He would be reduced to nothing more than Aladdin's genie who is in the business of granting wishes."

I guess the "fucking with him" started when he said he'd do that.
But you're right. Sorry, David, you're right. Answering our prayers doesn't make sense. We can't expect an almighty God to be our genie. Oh, wait, that was my side. Never mind. Guess God really loves me, I don't think he answers prayers, so I must not know I can use him like a genie.

"But He's not. If I was God, I would blow off this experiment, too."

Then why did he aid the experiment that was conclusive for prayer, David? "As to the point on prayer, there have also been studies which show that prayer is effective." Why did he answer those ones? And, wait, I thought he did answer the prayers in this experiment! "First, who is to say those prayers weren't answered?" "The prayers may have persuaded God to take these people quickly, thereby ending their suffering and bringing them into His kingdom."

Why would he do that?! He'd just be a stupid little genie. What a bad move for a God to answer the experiments you found conclusive and help pass people onto heaven like that - just because we asked, and asked in an experimental setting! Sheesh.

And to finish my magic trick, here's your card:
AD HOC, logical fallacy, text book example.
Argument to the thing.
Alternative Names:
Questionable Cause
Questionable Explanation
Category:
Faulty Causation
Faulty Explanation
There is a difference between argument and explanation. If we're interested in establishing A, and B is offered as evidence, the statement "A because B" is an argument. If we're trying to establish the truth of B, then "A because B" is not an argument, it's an explanation.
The Ad Hoc fallacy is to give an after-the-fact explanation which doesn't apply to other situations. Often this ad hoc explanation will be dressed up to look like an argument. For example, if we assume that God treats all people equally, then the following is an ad hoc explanation:
"I was healed from cancer."
"Praise the Lord, then. He is your healer."
"So, will He heal others who have cancer?"
"Er... The ways of God are mysterious."


Nick
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Prayer and Relying on God

David better pray for some ice... for THAT BURN!!

OOOOOOH!

SNAP!


Sapient
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Re: Prayer and Relying on God

Samuel wrote:

"It is not surprising that Sapient -- who declined to debate me, by the way -- would present the information selectively."

That doesnt seem like Sapient; he really, really wanted to debate you. Don't worry; I'll talk to him for you.

I'm not sure where you got the idea I really wanted to debate him. I never said that. I didn't respect the way he approached his first discussions with Rook, and don't care to interact with him much on a personal level. Additionally, Rook would be better served to debate him. What I told you before, was that I would be glad to record and host a debate that you would have with him.

My first experiences with him were:
1. mentions he wouldn't come on our radio show as it's biased
2. tells Rook he wouldn't come to our website as nobody who believes in God would read it.
3. Writes us at myspace RRS and challenges us to on air debate.

I responded, "I wouldn't be interested in debating you, but maybe Rook will be. Write to him." He was one of about 100 emails I had that day. :roll:

In closing, it's important to note that his point was off topic, and insinuated that I fear a debate (which speaks to his dishonesty). Of course, this is far from the truth. He is more than welcome to come on the show, I'm not the only Rational Responder... you and Rook would do just fine. His problem stems in part from lacking an understanding of how our show works.

For what it's worth, trying to make a point about me refusing to debate him is not much different than me pointing out the long list of important biblical scholars, theist scientists, televangelists, and christian politicians that have either refused to come on the show, or didn't even respond. Most recently the Genome scientist (Francis Collins) who wrote the book on evidence for God (that provided no evidence) wrote back and refused to come on the show. At least I wrote back to David. Eye-wink

- Brian Sapient


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