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Praying for somebody?


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#1 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:20 PM

Often people say they pray for somebody who is undergoing a difficult situation. I can see that it is valuable for that person to hear others think of her - be that through sending thoughts, or prayer, or hugs. I also get prayer as beneficial for the praying person, because it can summon inner strength.

 

However, my question is what you think the actual prayer for somebody else accomplishes beyond making the person feel good that she has community. If you pray for somebody to find a job, or get well, do you believe that will actually make God give that person the job or the healing? I am very certain the Jews prayed during the Holocaust; they were slaughtered nonetheless. So what makes people think God can be persuaded to interfere in minor daily affairs when he did not save his chosen people from genocide? If he let so many horrible things happen to so many people, why would he care about somebody's job or ill child?

How do you reconcile this? 

This is a serious question, btw, and not a snarky comment; it is the inability to reconcile the attributes omnipotent and benevolent that ultimately made me leave Christianity, since nobody had a satisfying answer for me. Attributing a positive outcome to successful prayer when millions of preayers go unheard seems like hubris - why should one be such a specially blessed person, when others led such wretched lives?

 

I'd be interested in thoughts - thanks.


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 10:23 PM.

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#2 eternalsummer

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:27 PM

There was a thread about this a year or two ago and as I remember it did not go great.

 

I chalk it up to one of the mysteries of religion to which I am not privy because I do not believe in the sort of concrete, personal God of most modern religions.

 

 


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#3 eternalsummer

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:28 PM

As far as I am aware, most Jewish prayers tend towards the "God is Great even though things suck right now" instead of the "Please fix my problems" type.  


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#4 TheReader

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:31 PM

Scripture is full of the contradictions, or seeming contradictions, of this very concept, and I have no answer except to say "sometimes, God says no, but sometimes, He acts because of the pleas of His people." The Bible tells stories of both, encourages us to ask, tells us to ask, and so I do. 

 

But, I honestly can't explain it any further than that. For me, even though sometimes the answer is no, I still ask. Why? Because, when I ask, and the answer is yes, my faith is strengthened. And when I ask, but the answer is no, my faith is challenged and I have to go back to the roots of my beliefs and decide, Do I believe this anyway? So far, I've been able to return to the Bible and decide, each time, yes. Yes, I believe in a benevolent, omnipotent God, and I love Him, even when what He wills and what I want are not the same thing. 

 

Is it always easy to get back to that point? Not so much. Are there things that could shake my faith and shatter it? Probably. I have a few fears, things that make me hold my breath and hope like heck God never tests me with, things I don't know if my faith could survive or not. But so far.....so far, in my personal life, God has proved himself true and faithful, even if not always as indulgent as I'd like him to be, even if sucky things have happened to me (and they have). 

 

But, I'm also the type of person who wouldn't go and undo even the dumbest mistakes in my life, or avoid the harshest things in my life, because all of it together has made me who I am today. So even the stuff that absolutely sucked rocks to endure, the stuff that nearly broke me in the past, I'd still not erase it, because it would change me and maybe not for the better. I think that shapes my ability to accept when God says no, even about horrific stuff.


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#5 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:36 PM

Scripture is full of the contradictions, or seeming contradictions, of this very concept, and I have no answer except to say "sometimes, God says no, but sometimes, He acts because of the pleas of His people." The Bible tells stories of both, encourages us to ask, tells us to ask, and so I do. 

 

But, I honestly can't explain it any further than that. For me, even though sometimes the answer is no, I still ask. Why? Because, when I ask, and the answer is yes, my faith is strengthened. And when I ask, but the answer is no, my faith is challenged and I have to go back to the roots of my beliefs and decide, Do I believe this anyway? So far, I've been able to return to the Bible and decide, each time, yes. Yes, I believe in a benevolent, omnipotent God, and I love Him, even when what He wills and what I want are not the same thing. 

 

How can God be both omnipotent and benevolent?

Either he can intercede and chooses not to, which makes him not benevolent, or he is benevolent, but incapable which makes him not omnipotent. It cannot be both ways. 


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#6 TheReader

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:44 PM

Oh, and yes, I do believe that God can actually heal the person, or lead them to the right job, or whatever. But I also accept He wont' always. 


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#7 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:50 PM

Oh, and yes, I do believe that God can actually heal the person, or lead them to the right job, or whatever. But I also accept He wont' always. 

 

So what makes you feel so special that it gives you the audacity to ask for minor things when he is refusing to help so many others in serious crises? Why should your prayer matter?  If he were to lead a person to the right job and but refuse to save others from starvation, wouldn't that be a capricious use of dictatorial power? "Keep begging me, and sometimes I may choose to help and other times I let you die" smacks of sadism.


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 10:54 PM.

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#8 xahm

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:54 PM

I'll take a stab at explaining my thoughts.
I think the main way God acts in our world is by making the universe act in an orderly way. I see him as the author and crater of the laws of physics, biology, chemistry, everything. I think giving us a world where things respond predictably is a great grace that allows for much good. We can get in an airplane, trusting that the Good isn't going to change up gravity, aerodynamics, etc while we are flying, for example. If God regularly intercede physically, changing outcomes, it would make it much harder for us to do the work he had for us to do. Sometimes he does miracles. I think these were more common way back because it didn't screw with our ability to understand the world so much then, but that's completely a guess.
When I pray, it's usually for wisdom, understanding, acceptance, etc. I truly believe God answers my prayers. I'll also pray for things I want or need, even when it is silly (to me) because, basically, God told me to. I don't know what he does with the prayers, but he wants to hear them and they generally help me get in a better frame of mind.
I really need to sleep, so I'll stop after these 2 things to keep in mind:
1. God isn't always working toward the goals we want him to. Like, peace on earth and living to a ripe old age are important to us, but they might not be the best good in the eternal perspective.
2. God allows us lots of agency, the Good of us and the bad of us. I believe he could force the bad people to be good and he could feed all the hungry with modern manna, but if he doesn't, I take it on faith that there's a reason, whether my mind is capable of fathoming it or not.
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#9 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:57 PM

Regentrude, the interesting thing about your question is that this is something philosophers and wrangled with for thousands of years. The fact that maybe I don't struggle with it (not being as intellectual), doesn't mean it's invalid for you to ask. I also think all truth stands up to scrutiny. 

 

So here's a link to a wikipedia article, just to get you started. There's the phrase "problem of evil" and that's what you're pondering. Haven't read the whole wiki article, but it seems like a good start for you, with viewpoints. 

 

How Could a Good God Allow Evil and Suffering? - Resources - Eternal Perspective Ministries  Here's an interesting article and book. What I was looking for was something on Corrie Ten Boom for you. You mentioned the Holocaust, and she was a very famous survivor. My mother tried to name me after her sister, ironically the quiet one. :D


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#10 TheReader

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:59 PM

How can God be both omnipotent and benevolent?

Either he can intercede and chooses not to, which makes him not benevolent, or he is benevolent, but incapable which makes him not omnipotent. It cannot be both ways. 

 

The best I can understand it is this, and you may well dismiss it as illogical, but it's what I believe. Sometimes, my kids think I'm the meanest, most horrible mom on the planet, because I said no to them for something-or-other. Sometimes, I have the power to do the thing they ask, but I choose not to. I don't do this out of spite or meanness, but because I have a larger goal in mind or I see the big picture. Maybe my kid has been grouchy and horrible and mean and so I don't let him go to his friend's house, or I don't buy him the xyz thing, or whatever. In the short term, my kid would be happy if I let him. In the long run, I know it's not the best thing for him. 

 

(these are terrible examples, I admit that. It's late, and I'm usually in bed at this time, and so my brain is not coming up with great examples, and I apologize).

 

But, the thing is, I see the big picture when it comes to my kids. So sometimes I deny them requests, sometimes I force them to do things they'd rather not do, sometimes I don't allow them to do things they'd prefer to do. Not because I'm mean, but because in the long run, they'll be better for it. 

 

Sometimes, God does the same thing. 

 

Again, yes, horrible examples, I know. Letting his people die at the hand of the Nazis is not the same thing as me not letting my kid go to a birthday party. I get that. I don't have big answers for what, exactly, did the Holocaust do to improve Jewish people. (short answer: I can think of nothing, and it was horrid and atrocious, and sometimes, I hate God for letting crap like that happen so someone else could learn compassion, or whatever the h--- reason he had for letting that happen. It makes no sense to me, at all). BUT, I have read through, and choose to believe, the Bible, including the Old Testament, and God let a lot of crappy things happen back then, too, *and yet* the crappy things ended up being stepping stones along a windy, long path to something better in the long run. And so, because I do believe the OT accounts were true, I choose also to believe that in the long run (and because I also believe the promises of the NT to be true), the crappy stuff of today will, eventually, lead to something better. 

 

I can see this, in evidence in my own life. It hasn't been roses, I promise. Aspects of my life have royally sucked, big time. Hugely. Abuse, neglect, deaths, etc. I've hated a lot of it. But the person I am today was forged through those things, and the person I am today is a better person than who I was before those things. Did I enjoy getting here? Not so much. Am I yet grateful for the end result? I am. Do I understand why on earth God couldn't have just made me this better version of myself in the first place w/o all the sucky stuff?? No I sure as heck don't, but he didn't ask me, and I choose not to argue with him. 

 

I can't explain it. Not in any way that will make sense to someone using logic, because it's not logical. I totally admit that. It's not. And I know that makes me sound like a loon, but I promise I'm really not. I just believe that God sees a bigger picture than me, and I trust Him with it, even when it sucks.

 

I don't think "having the power to prevent but choosing not to" automatically makes him not benevolent, *because he's looking at the spiritual well being of every single person on the planet, past, present, future, and we're seeing more the physical & emotional well being of the people here & now.*  Because we (humans) judge his benevolence differently than he does, of course he seems not to be at times. I just choose (based on what I've seen in my life and in the Bible, which I choose to believe) that His way is greater than mine, and therefore the 2 terms are not contradictory even though they seem to be. 


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#11 MercyA

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:00 PM

Yes, I have seen miracles as a result of prayer, as well as heard of them first hand from people I know and trust. Right now the ones that come to mind are: a complete cure from stage 4 small cell lung cancer (doctors said 6 months to a year to live, person is now cancer free); a cure from prostate cancer, after treatment was discontinued; demons leaving a house, with evidence of the physical disturbances ceasing; and a large growth/tumor in the abdomen immediately disappearing during prayer. I also see many small and large answers to prayer every day.

 

So, in answer to your question, I do believe that "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

 

Does God sometimes say no? Absolutely, for many reasons, some of which are hinted at in Scripture and some of which we will never know. 

 

Prayers can be hindered. "If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear." (Psalm 66:18)

 

We don't know all of His purposes or plans. God is the one Who "declar[es] the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'." (Isaiah 46:10)

 

God has used some of the worst moments of my life for good.

 

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8)

 

A great deal of the evil that happens in this world is the result of God giving us free will. People have been given the freedom to make choices. Some people make horrible choices.

 

Also, Satan is a real person. Demons are real. They have been given a measure of power here. Why, I do not know.

 

God is loving. He is also just, omniscient, and "does whatsoever He pleases, in heaven and on earth."

 

Good questions.  :)


Edited by MercyA, 17 August 2017 - 06:41 AM.

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#12 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:01 PM

I'll take a stab at explaining my thoughts.
I think the main way God acts in our world is by making the universe act in an orderly way. I see him as the author and crater of the laws of physics, biology, chemistry, everything. I think giving us a world where things respond predictably is a great grace that allows for much good. We can get in an airplane, trusting that the Good isn't going to change up gravity, aerodynamics, etc while we are flying, for example. If God regularly intercede physically, changing outcomes, it would make it much harder for us to do the work he had for us to do. Sometimes he does miracles. I think these were more common way back because it didn't screw with our ability to understand the world so much then, but that's completely a guess.
When I pray, it's usually for wisdom, understanding, acceptance, etc. I truly believe God answers my prayers. I'll also pray for things I want or need, even when it is silly (to me) because, basically, God told me to. I don't know what he does with the prayers, but he wants to hear them and they generally help me get in a better frame of mind.
I really need to sleep, so I'll stop after these 2 things to keep in mind:
 

 

I have no issue with a creator. 

I also understand the benefit of prayer for the person who prays. I think there is great value in it for summoning personal strength, finding wisdom, spending time in contemplation and introspection - independent of whether one actually believes in the existence of a deity or just meditates.

 

My question was specifically about the mechanism how people believe praying for somebody else is effective.

 


1. God isn't always working toward the goals we want him to. Like, peace on earth and living to a ripe old age are important to us, but they might not be the best good in the eternal perspective.
2. God allows us lots of agency, the Good of us and the bad of us. I believe he could force the bad people to be good and he could feed all the hungry with modern manna, but if he doesn't, I take it on faith that there's a reason, whether my mind is capable of fathoming it or not.

 

I can get OK with a god who does not make everybody live to a ripe old age. But I cannot muster much adoration for a God who does not want peace for the beings of his creation.

I heard the agency argument before, but it sounds like an excuse. If he could feed but doesn't, he's not benevolent. If he wants to but can't, not omnipotent. 


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 11:21 PM.

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#13 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:05 PM

Yes, I have seen miracles as a result of prayer, as well as heard of them first hand from people I know and trust. Right now the ones that come to mind are: a complete cure from stage 4 small cell lung cancer (doctors said 6 months to a year to live, person is now cancer free); a cure from prostate cancer, after treatment was discontinued; demons leaving a house, with evidence of the physical disturbances ceasing; and a large growth/tumor in the abdomen immediately disappearing during prayer. I also see many small and large answers to prayer every day.

 

How can you know the prayer was the cause?

People go into spontaneous healing without prayer, too. Summoning inner resources has healed patients, so knowing that somebody is praying can certainly have an effect for the patient's self healing.

The real test would start with a patient who did not know that somewhere somebody at some point in time prayed for him - and then noticing a simultaneous effect.

 

 

 


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 11:08 PM.

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#14 TheReader

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:09 PM

So what makes you feel so special that it gives you the audacity to ask for minor things when he is refusing to help so many others in serious crises? Why should your prayer matter?  If he were to lead a person to the right job and but refuse to save others from starvation, wouldn't that be a capricious use of dictatorial power? "Keep begging me, and sometimes I may choose to help and other times I let you die" smacks of sadism.

 

Sorry, I was writing that while you were asking your other question; I didn't mean that in reply. 

 

What makes me think that.....

 

1. the Bible says He cares about even the flowers of the field, birds of the air, and we are worth more than that; the Bible says he *wants* us to ask him. 

2. should my prayer matter? Not at all. But the Bible says they do. 

3. I cannot begin to fathom why on earth God answers some things and not others. I *don't* feel worthy, at all, honestly. I do my very best to help those I can, to love my neighbor as instructed, and yes, I have at times felt guilty of having a prayer answered when other's haven't. It's like survivors guilt, I guess. But, in that case, should all the folks in a car crash or plane crash die? Why should some live, and others not? If one dies, should they all? No, that makes no sense.....and so, should we not pray, because God says no to some of them? Should He answer none, because He doesn't answer some? 

 

I'm not going to change your mind on this, obviously. I'm not trying to convince you. You asked a question, and I answered with my personal (and deeply held) beliefs, not meant as a prescription for anyone else, just as one person's explanation of her own personal beliefs (mine). 

 

Bottom line: I don't, at all, "feel" special or think my prayer "should" matter......but I do believe the Bible when it says God does care, and I do love God, wholeheartedly, and so I tell Him my cares, my worries, my fears, my thoughts, with the understanding that He will work HIs will out, not mine, and HIs answer may or may not end up looking how I want it to look, but it will, in the long run, be the right thing. 

 

If you already believe him to be malevolent, then nothing I say will make sense to you, though. I don't believe that about God, and so this does make sense to me. 



#15 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:11 PM

 ...If he could feed but doesn't, he's not benevolent....

Really? But you don't apply that same standard to yourself as a parent. I certainly don't, not with my ds. I do things to teach him. I make choices to wait and give him opportunities to learn on his own. I don't do everything FOR him.

 

Also, there have to be consequences to actions and choices. 


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#16 Garga

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:12 PM

I had pain in my wrist every night for 5 solid years. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and every morning to sharp pain. Five years.

A guy I barely knew at church prayed with me one day asking God to heal my wrists (because everyone had to get in groups and pray for any pains or sickness we were experiencing or I wouldn't have bothered asking) and that very night I was pain free. And have been pain free in my wrists for the past 9 years since then. Not even a twinge.

I have more stories somewhat like that, but that one was the most cut and dried. Pain every single night for 5 years starting on the night my son was born. Prayer. No pain that night or any night after in the 9 years since. Sure, it could be some bizarre coincidence, but it seems like a direct answer.

So, to the question, when I pray for someone else, do I think God will step in for that person? Yes. It happened to me. It can happen again.

Do I understand all the ins and outs of it? No, but what others have written above is close to how I feel about prayers and why God says yes sometimes and no others.


ETA: I was typing while you were. I had ZERO faith that the wrist prayer would be answered. I was pretty unhappy that we had to be in groups praying for each other that day. I find it intimidating and uncomfortable. Color me shocked the next morning when I was actually healed.

Edited by Garga, 16 August 2017 - 11:14 PM.

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#17 MercyA

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:14 PM

How can you know the prayer was the cause?

People go into spontaneous healing without prayer, too. Summoning inner resources has healed patients, so knowing that somebody is praying can certainly have an effect for the patient's self healing.

 

Sure. I just find it exceedingly unlikely in these two cases--the first because the cancer was so advanced and of such a virulent type, and the second because treatment had been discontinued because the side effects weren't worth it. There are more details about these two cases that make it seem likely that the cause of healing was divine intervention, but I can't go into it now. It's past midnight here. :)

 

As for the growth immediately disappearing, I can't think of any other likely explanation except prayer. 


Edited by MercyA, 17 August 2017 - 06:52 AM.

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#18 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:16 PM

Sorry, I was writing that while you were asking your other question; I didn't mean that in reply. 

 

What makes me think that.....

 

1. the Bible says He cares about even the flowers of the field, birds of the air, and we are worth more than that; the Bible says he *wants* us to ask him. 

2. should my prayer matter? Not at all. But the Bible says they do. 

3. I cannot begin to fathom why on earth God answers some things and not others. I *don't* feel worthy, at all, honestly. I do my very best to help those I can, to love my neighbor as instructed, and yes, I have at times felt guilty of having a prayer answered when other's haven't. It's like survivors guilt, I guess. But, in that case, should all the folks in a car crash or plane crash die? Why should some live, and others not? If one dies, should they all? No, that makes no sense.....and so, should we not pray, because God says no to some of them? Should He answer none, because He doesn't answer some? 

 

I'm not going to change your mind on this, obviously. I'm not trying to convince you. You asked a question, and I answered with my personal (and deeply held) beliefs, not meant as a prescription for anyone else, just as one person's explanation of her own personal beliefs (mine). 

 

Bottom line: I don't, at all, "feel" special or think my prayer "should" matter......but I do believe the Bible when it says God does care, and I do love God, wholeheartedly, and so I tell Him my cares, my worries, my fears, my thoughts, with the understanding that He will work HIs will out, not mine, and HIs answer may or may not end up looking how I want it to look, but it will, in the long run, be the right thing. 

 

If you already believe him to be malevolent, then nothing I say will make sense to you, though. I don't believe that about God, and so this does make sense to me. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer. I really appreciate it. Once upon a time, I believed many of those things, too. But the daily experience that God clearly does not seem to care for a large portion of his creation makes it difficult.

To clarify: I do not believe in a malevolent God.

My reasoning leads me to conclude that, if God does exists in some form, it is not a form that takes any interest or interferes in the daily lives of people. I can believe in a creative force. But not in somebody who lets kids die while he tallies whether a person swears or wears immodest clothing.


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 11:25 PM.

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#19 Murphy101

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:17 PM

This poses many questions....

To start...

My understanding as a RC...

Ideally prayer is not just to get what we want. Prayers of petition should above all be to conform our will to His will, not to demand He change His will to what we want.
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#20 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:19 PM

Really? But you don't apply that same standard to yourself as a parent. I certainly don't, not with my ds. I do things to teach him. I make choices to wait and give him opportunities to learn on his own. I don't do everything FOR him.

 

Also, there have to be consequences to actions and choices. 

 

No, I don't do everything for my children, and there are consequences for actions and choices - but I will step in to prevent them from grave harm.


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#21 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:20 PM

Ideally prayer is not just to get what we want. Prayers of petition should above all be to conform our will to His will, not to demand He change His will to what we want.

 

Then what is the point?


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#22 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:24 PM

How can you know the prayer was the cause?

People go into spontaneous healing without prayer, too. Summoning inner resources has healed patients, so knowing that somebody is praying can certainly have an effect for the patient's self healing.

The real test would start with a patient who did not know that somewhere somebody at some point in time prayed for him - and then noticing a simultaneous effect.

 

Observations. 1, I have acquaintances who were raised in churches that teach faith healing, and they were disgruntled when they realized it wasn't going to apply to their *own* physical problems or result in healing for *them*. 2, the Bible explains some really basic, overall concepts (how the world was created, how it is held together) that maybe aren't the way modern science would put it. Either you accept a spiritual level to things or you don't. 3, there's the concept of Common Grace, or what the Bible puts as "God making it rain on the just and unjust." 

 

The question you haven't asked yet is whether what most people pray for is even biblical. How To Pray: R. A. Torrey: 9781920265199: Amazon.com: Books This book is an old classic on the topic. Suffice it to say, it's entirely possible that, if you looked into it, you'd conclude that maybe the way people were praying was the issue, not whether God is good or hears and sees. 

 

I at one point attended a church that taught something very different from what I had always heard growing up, because this church said (and sang and really meant!) God answers every prayer. To them, the issue, when you're not getting answers, is that you're not yet praying for what God wants you to pray for. God is not a candy dispenser or Santa Claus.

 

For instance, when I was working on my ds' IEP stuff and it was in dispute, I prayed that God would give my ds what he needed. Christ modeled that type of prayer (Give us this day our daily bread), so it's something God has said He wants to do for people. So I prayed for that, and the answer we got was not what *I* thought we needed. But that's fine, because that answer has turned out to be correct. Reality is, we have everything we need right now as provided in our IEP and the scholarship program. Like down to the dollar, we have what we need.

 

Some people call that praying Scripture, where you says this is what the Bible says, so this is what I'm praying. And it's really different from just making up some laundry list and saying this is what I think ought to happen so by gum it better happen!

 

But, you know, keep wrangling with it. Maybe read some books on suffering and prayer by classic writers, deep thinkers, and see if any of it sorts out for you.


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#23 TheReader

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:29 PM

Thank you for taking the time to answer. I really appreciate it. Once upon a time, I believed many of those things, too. But the daily experience that God clearly does not seem to care for a large portion of his creation makes it difficult.

To clarify: I do not believe in a malevolent God.

My reasoning leads me to conclude that, if God does exists in any form, it is not a form that takes any interest or interferes in the daily lives of people. I can believe in a creative force. But not in somebody who lets kids die while he tallies whether a person swears or wears immodest clothing.

 

You are truly welcome; if it were not past my bedtime I would continue the conversation with you. I'll probably check in again in the morning, because I can tell you aren't just asking to stir up debate. 

 

re: your last sentences -- I understand the clarification re: malevolent vs disinterested; thank you for clarifying, I didn't mean to misunderstand you. 

 

re; the very last sentence, I *don't* believe that God at all tallies whether we swear or wear immodest clothing, or any other manner or trivial things, at all. Nor do I understand why he lets kids die, at all. Or a lot of things. But I definitely don't think he is nearly as concerned about the minutia (sp??) and trivial things that a lot of Christians focus on. I believe He cares about His people, but at the Spiritual level more than the physical, and so sometimes what we see as harmful ends up being the thing that leads that person to salvation or a life lived in heaven. 

 

I can feel I'm not really making coherent sense anymore (see "past my bedtime") so I'm going to stop here and peek in in the morning. I just wanted you to know I did hear you, am reading, and will come back to this when I'm awake; I'm not just disappearing. 


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#24 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:32 PM

Thanks for your detailed answer.

 

*. 2, the Bible explains some really basic, overall concepts (how the world was created, how it is held together) that maybe aren't the way modern science would put it. Either you accept a spiritual level to things or you don't. 

 

I grew up in a church with the teaching that the Bible is written in metaphors to help people understand, but is not to be taken literally - so I have no problems with the creation account because I can view it as a beautiful spiritual metaphor. I had never encountered anybody who interprets the Bible literally before moving to rural US.

 

 

I at one point attended a church that taught something very different from what I had always heard growing up, because this church said (and sang and really meant!) God answers every prayer. To them, the issue, when you're not getting answers, is that you're not yet praying for what God wants you to pray for. God is not a candy dispenser or Santa Claus.

 

For instance, when I was working on my ds' IEP stuff and it was in dispute, I prayed that God would give my ds what he needed. Christ modeled that type of prayer (Give us this day our daily bread), so it's something God has said He wants to do for people. So I prayed for that, and the answer we got was not what *I* thought we needed. But that's fine, because that answer has turned out to be correct. Reality is, we have everything we need right now as provided in our IEP and the scholarship program. Like down to the dollar, we have what we need.

 

But there are plenty of people who do not get this day's daily bread and do not have what they need. Can't be they are just not praying hard enough, or correctly?


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 11:33 PM.


#25 Murphy101

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:34 PM

My reasoning leads me to conclude that, if God does exists in any form, it is not a form that takes any interest or interferes in the daily lives of people. I can believe in a creative force. But not in somebody who lets kids die while he tallies whether a person swears or wears immodest clothing.


Are children in competition for their Father's love?

If I have a child with a major illness, does it mean I should take no notice of another child's grades? Are the concerns on par? Of course not. But I should be concerned with all my children and what concerns me about one often has little or nothing to do with the others.

And when life is more than just this life and this body, does not the soul then become of more concern and value as it is all that is eternal? And would that not make even more sense compared to an eternal being?

Do we not already see this in a smaller and obviously less critical scale as parents? As adults much older, we often don't show much overwhelming concern for the struggles of our children. Compassion and sympathy and heartache for their suffering, yes, but not a pressing need to remove all their pain and struggles. Would it not make some sense that this could become more so to an enternal God?
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#26 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:37 PM

...If he could feed but doesn't, he's not benevolent. If he wants to but can't, not omnipotent. 

 

 

Really? But you don't apply that same standard to yourself as a parent. I certainly don't, not with my ds. I do things to teach him. I make choices to wait and give him opportunities to learn on his own. I don't do everything FOR him.

 

Also, there have to be consequences to actions and choices. 

 

 

...My reasoning leads me to conclude that, if God does exists in some form, it is not a form that takes any interest or interferes in the daily lives of people. I can believe in a creative force. But not in somebody who lets kids die while he tallies whether a person swears or wears immodest clothing.

 

 

No, I don't do everything for my children, and there are consequences for actions and choices - but I will step in to prevent them from grave harm.

 

I was trying to follow your train of thought here. You sort of flipped thoughts, because you were talking about the possibility of God interfering in the paths of men, and I said there were consequences in life, choices. You said you would step in to prevent them from grave harm. You mean to *save* them from grave harm? Or to prevent them from doing grave harm?

 

I don't know if you know this, but there are those who consider the victory against Hitler and Germany in WWII a miracle. There are odd things, lots of details that had to come together. There are those (christian historians) who really consider there to have been Divine Providence there. So it's kind of ironic that while you're saying God was unjust to have allowed ANYONE to die in the Holocaust, you're not seeing the possibility of God still working in the steps of history. Think about the larger flow of things, with peoples seeking religious freedom in America hundreds of years earlier, their becoming a country, their coming to the war, the small details with the weather, etc. etc., how it all worked out to defeat the evil of Hitler.

 

There really could be that other perspective. 

 

There's also a theological concept, and honestly the words fade for me right now, but the basic idea is we're always getting more than we DESERVE. Christ told a parable to the effect, and it's what is now used as a theological answer for this. It was the parable of the workers and how much they were paid, and the idea was that the ones who got paid more could complain, but they ALL got more than they deserved, they ALL deserved nothing. And if you actually accept the basic tenant of the Bible (that all sin, that only God is perfect), then by that measure anyone who gets ANYTHING gets more than they deserved. And by that measure, the bad that happens is because of what we have done (as a collective). 

 

But that's a really different perspective, because we tend to judge God by ourselves and say He has to be like us. And I suppose that's something you can ask yourself, how do you decide how you view God? 


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#27 bookbard

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:37 PM

I'm not a Christian any longer, and this is one of the major reasons why - an omnipotent, benevolent and omniscient god could not allow the horrendous suffering that exists in the world. I found most people I talked to (when working through this issue) had no idea of what suffering was, and found it hard to know why it was a big deal. 

 

However, an interesting book for me - which I read while I was still a Christian - was the Golden Bough. It was written a hundred years ago and discusses a lot of mythology, and talks about how initially, people felt they had the power within themselves to change things (ie, magic); and how that moved to petitioning another being to change things (ie religion). 

 

Please forgive me if I've got that wrong - it's been 10 years or so since I read it. However, it makes me wonder whether prayer initially was a kind of meditation which would have been effective (we know meditation can be very effective for reducing blood pressure issues, for example). And even now for many people, prayer is a form of meditation. While it is unlikely to be helpful for someone else, I can see it as helpful for the person praying, to try to sort out in their minds different stresses, and to give them a sense of control in a stressful world.

 

Having said that, my mum gets quite stressed by the responsibility - I tell her not to watch the news, for example, but she feels if she doesn't watch the news, she can't pray for the issue and then something terrible might happen/something good might not happen. Which reminds me a bit of my partner (not religious) who has to wear a certain hat while watching his football match, or his team won't win. 


Edited by bookbard, 16 August 2017 - 11:38 PM.

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#28 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:40 PM

You are truly welcome; if it were not past my bedtime I would continue the conversation with you. I'll probably check in again in the morning, because I can tell you aren't just asking to stir up debate. 

 

re: your last sentences -- I understand the clarification re: malevolent vs disinterested; thank you for clarifying, I didn't mean to misunderstand you. 

 

re; the very last sentence, I *don't* believe that God at all tallies whether we swear or wear immodest clothing, or any other manner or trivial things, at all. Nor do I understand why he lets kids die, at all. Or a lot of things. But I definitely don't think he is nearly as concerned about the minutia (sp??) and trivial things that a lot of Christians focus on. I believe He cares about His people, but at the Spiritual level more than the physical, and so sometimes what we see as harmful ends up being the thing that leads that person to salvation or a life lived in heaven. 

 

I can feel I'm not really making coherent sense anymore (see "past my bedtime") so I'm going to stop here and peek in in the morning. I just wanted you to know I did hear you, am reading, and will come back to this when I'm awake; I'm not just disappearing. 

 

Thanks for staying up late and discussing with me. I really appreciate this. No, I don't want to stir up debate, I am just trying to understand the thought processes that are going on. I do not intend to convince anybody of anything. (My choice to leave the Christian faith after many decades and strong involvement is not open for reevaluation at this moment either.)

 

Your POV sounds very reassuring. It really grates on me when people claim God focuses on the little details of everybody's life while letting grave harm slide - but it is  a sentiment I have come across frequently here in the conservative rural areas. (Threatening my kids with hell for their clothing choices was not cool)


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#29 meena

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:45 PM

I think of prayer as a conversation, similar to conversation I have with my kids. We communicate in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it's to share joys, some times it's to ask for help--which is the type of prayer I think the OP is referring to. In that type of prayer, I think that God wants to hear us cry out to him just like we want our kids to talk to us even when they're hurting. We can't or won't always help our kids because we're looking out for their best interest. Sometimes that means suffering in the short term to help them grow in the long term. I believe that God knows the total, complete, infinite picture of history in which some people have to suffer in their earthly lives, to ultimately point as many people to the eternal saving grace of God as possible (not to "teach people a lesson" punitive manner). If a person doesn't believe in life beyond this earth (that is, eternal life), that can make it harder to understand why God doesn't intervene in terrible situations. 

 

 


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#30 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:45 PM

Thanks for your detailed answer.

 

 

I grew up in a church with the teaching that the Bible is written in metaphors to help people understand, but is not to be taken literally - so I have no problems with the creation account because I can view it as a beautiful spiritual metaphor. I had never encountered anybody who interprets the Bible literally before moving to rural US.

 

 

 

But there are plenty of people who do not get this day's daily bread and do not have what they need. Can't be they are just not praying hard enough, or correctly?

 

I love how you put *rural* in there. Definitely no Bible believing people in big cities, no way. Not at MIT or Harvard either. :)

 

On the latter, do you REALLY think that's the answer? Do you REALLY think the issue is that they are sitting there praying for food and God's not sending it? Of course not. They're in places that are war torn, with dictatorships and dishonest leaders who pilfer off aid, all kinds of mess. Also, I hate to mention the most obvious point, but unfortunately you also can't say that all of them are christians. What you can, with certainty say, is that the poor we will always have with us. Christ said it, acknowledged it. 

 

Btw, are you up on all the work groups like Samaritan's Purse are doing? I mean, the amount of aide christian groups do (and non-christian) and our country does is ASTONISHING. 

 

Also, I don't know your level of Bible knowledge, but have you ever read Revelation? If you haven't, you might find it really interesting. It's this strong statement of where this is all going. When you read that and put it in perspective, you don't really come away with "God doesn't care about suffering." You come away thinking "this world of full of evil and it's gonna get CHUCKED by God and destroyed and redone without the crazies."


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#31 Liz CA

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:47 PM

How can God be both omnipotent and benevolent?

Either he can intercede and chooses not to, which makes him not benevolent, or he is benevolent, but incapable which makes him not omnipotent. It cannot be both ways. 

 

Thousands / Millions of Christians have struggled with this - myself included. I still struggle but I have come to a point where I realize that I do not understand God's plan nor do I have insight into eternity. My resources and mental capacity are finite - His are infinite. And the plan is not the same for all people. Why did a friend die in a car accident when he just saved me from a potential wreck? I simply don't know. This is where "if He were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped" comes into play.
 


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#32 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:47 PM

I was trying to follow your train of thought here. You sort of flipped thoughts, because you were talking about the possibility of God interfering in the paths of men, and I said there were consequences in life, choices. You said you would step in to prevent them from grave harm. You mean to *save* them from grave harm? Or to prevent them from doing grave harm?

 

Oh, interesting, I had not thought of this double meaning. I believe I would do both: save them from coming to harm, but from doing harm as well.

 

 


I don't know if you know this, but there are those who consider the victory against Hitler and Germany in WWII a miracle. There are odd things, lots of details that had to come together. There are those (christian historians) who really consider there to have been Divine Providence there. So it's kind of ironic that while you're saying God was unjust to have allowed ANYONE to die in the Holocaust, you're not seeing the possibility of God still working in the steps of history. Think about the larger flow of things, with peoples seeking religious freedom in America hundreds of years earlier, their becoming a country, their coming to the war, the small details with the weather, etc. etc., how it all worked out to defeat the evil of Hitler.

There really could be that other perspective. 

 

That seems a bit far fetched. If that was all a long standing plan, beginning with the pilgrims, carefully engineered to lead to the end of WWII, then tha's clumsy and inelegant and not worthy of an omnipotent deity. It would have been easier to let Hitler succumb to one of the assassination attempts and save 50 million lives. 

Sorry, but I don't buy this. 

 


But that's a really different perspective, because we tend to judge God by ourselves and say He has to be like us. And I suppose that's something you can ask yourself, how do you decide how you view God? 

 

If I have any view of God, it would be the role of a creative force in the world and within us. I cannot believe in a God who chooses to interfere or not in the lives of the created beings.

 


Edited by regentrude, 16 August 2017 - 11:49 PM.

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#33 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:49 PM

... it is  a sentiment I have come across frequently here in the conservative rural areas. (Threatening my kids with hell for their clothing choices was not cool)

 

Ok, I just want to address this a second. I was raised in that movement, so I know what you mean. Went to school in that movement, married in that movement. There is a segment that has not moved on, and there's a larger majority that has. Church history is REPLETE with this sort of call everybody bad, start your own movement, go a while, now somebody within your movement says you're bad, rip off, start a new movement... It just goes on and on.

 

So what I want to say is that the FRUIT of that movement and what you're describing is as DEVOID OF LIFE as you feel it is. It is focused on externals, not the heart, measuring things God never cared about, and missing the weightier things. And I don't think God views it any more favorably than you do. 


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#34 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:51 PM

Sorry, but I don't buy this. ...

 

That's fine, you don't have to buy anything. :)  But I think it might be interesting to you to ponder or know that the thought process exists. There are historians, christian historians, who look at history that way. After all, the story of the Bible is a very LONG story. It's not one event but thousands of years, sequences of events, all fitting together to build a larger narrative. 

 

So when you think of it that way, when you think of a God who says that a day is to Him as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day, then it makes sense that God might still be working in long narratives.


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#35 Murphy101

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:52 PM

Then what is the point?


If you view God as a some wish granting genie to be commanded if you chant the right phrase the right number of times or with enough sincerity - then nothing I guess. Prayer is not just for petitioning, that's just one aspect of prayer.

I do not want my children to obey me mindlessly, but if they are not wise enough to understand why they need to do what they need to do - then simple obedience is enough to get them by until such a time when they might be able to understand more fully. During those times, yes, of course, they must learn to accept my will, so far mostly with trust that I love them and want their good even if they hate what it requires of them.
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#36 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:54 PM

If I have any view of God, it would be the role of a creative force in the world and within us. I cannot believe in a God who chooses to interfere or not in the lives of the created beings.

 

Ok, then I just want to ask, how does that fit with Deism and sort of the clock maker (distant God, watching but not interfering) view of things? Because it sounds like you're saying it means He must be a clockmaker (only watching) and that to you that is LESS offensive than acting sometimes and not others.



#37 regentrude

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:58 PM

I love how you put *rural* in there. Definitely no Bible believing people in big cities, no way. Not at MIT or Harvard either. :)

 

 

I put rural because I happen to live in a rural area. In the cities I lived in, I did not encounter the sentiments. They may exist, but they do not permeate society to the extent they do here.

 

 

On the latter, do you REALLY think that's the answer? Do you REALLY think the issue is that they are sitting there praying for food and God's not sending it? Of course not. They're in places that are war torn, with dictatorships and dishonest leaders who pilfer off aid, all kinds of mess. Also, I hate to mention the most obvious point, but unfortunately you also can't say that all of them are christians. What you can, with certainty say, is that the poor we will always have with us. Christ said it, acknowledged it.

 

What, please, do you mean by that? That the prayer of people from other religions is not heard by God?

One of the things that appalls me is the certainity of Christians to be in possession of the sole truth. Why would God reveal himself to only a fraction of his people? Is it not thinkable that all religions see but a facet of God?

There is a sentence where Moses sees only "God's back". I find this an interesting image, because I like to think of God (if he exists) as so great that no human can fully see him. So perhaps all the religions each just see a small part of God and are all right. 

 

This aside: there are certainly Christians who pray for enough to live, to no avail.

 

 


Btw, are you up on all the work groups like Samaritan's Purse are doing? I mean, the amount of aide christian groups do (and non-christian) and our country does is ASTONISHING. 

 

How is that relevant in the context? I do not dispute that some people are motivated by religion do to good things - just as others are motivated by religion to do terrible things.

 

 


Also, I don't know your level of Bible knowledge, but have you ever read Revelation? If you haven't, you might find it really interesting. It's this strong statement of where this is all going. When you read that and put it in perspective, you don't really come away with "God doesn't care about suffering." You come away thinking "this world of full of evil and it's gonna get CHUCKED by God and destroyed and redone without the crazies."

 

Yes, I did. Interesting book, am a bit weak on detail recollection because it's been a long time. I do not believe that any of this is going to happen literally. I accept that there are ways to interpret it metaphorical.

 

 


Edited by regentrude, 17 August 2017 - 12:00 AM.

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#38 Murphy101

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:59 PM

And again... from a RC stance....

What constitutes a sin is really harder to qualify for than people think and many other Christians suggest.

I don't think God is at all weighing the soul of a dying child equally against some other persons short skirt. I don't think he is looking at skirts at all. I think people who think that's what modesty is about have a screwy messed up concept of God and may not know what modesty even means.
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#39 Catwoman

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:02 AM

How can you know the prayer was the cause?
People go into spontaneous healing without prayer, too. Summoning inner resources has healed patients, so knowing that somebody is praying can certainly have an effect for the patient's self healing.
The real test would start with a patient who did not know that somewhere somebody at some point in time prayed for him - and then noticing a simultaneous effect.


I think this is where faith comes in. Either you have it or you don't.

I don't mean that in a snarky way; you asked an interesting question and I'm not sure there is an answer to it -- I would guess that there may be no amount of evidence that will convince one skeptical person that prayer works, and no amount of evidence that will convince another person that prayer doesn't work, because neither side can present absolute proof. It's sort of like how none of us will know for 100% sure whether or not there is a Heaven or an afterlife until we're dead. I truly think you either believe or you don't, and that you might also vacillate between believing and not believing at different times of your life.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me what anyone believes about the effectiveness of prayer. I have my own opinion, but if others feel differently, that's fine with me. :)
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#40 regentrude

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:03 AM

After all, the story of the Bible is a very LONG story. It's not one event but thousands of years, sequences of events, all fitting together to build a larger narrative. 

 

Any sequence of events will create cause and effect and weave a long narative over thousands of years, with events causing chains of otehr events. It does not require a divine plan.

One can always look backwards and say a certain event was only possible because of a chain of events stretching back hundreds of years, all connected through causality. 

 

now, an interesting thought is that the principle of cause and effect may be considered divine. (If you read Mr G by Alan Lightman, the causality principle is one of only three basic principles his god gives the uiverse before letting it evolve )


Edited by regentrude, 17 August 2017 - 12:04 AM.

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#41 meena

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:03 AM

Oh, interesting, I had not thought of this double meaning. I believe I would do both: save them from coming to harm, but from doing harm as well.

 

 

 

That seems a bit far fetched. If that was all a long standing plan, beginning with the pilgrims, carefully engineered to lead to the end of WWII, then tha's clumsy and inelegant and not worthy of an omnipotent deity. It would have been easier to let Hitler succumb to one of the assassination attempts and save 50 million lives. 

Sorry, but I don't buy this. 

 

 

 

If I have any view of God, it would be the role of a creative force in the world and within us. I cannot believe in a God who chooses to interfere or not in the lives of the created beings.

 

What is the ultimate goal for humans? What are we striving toward? If it's to have a great life during our time on earth, then I can see how it can be hard to get behind a God sometimes allows terrible things to happen, while preventing them at other times. But what if our ultimate goal is not about us and it's more about him? That definitely causes a shift in thinking.

 

I'm sure there are some people who would say that if it's all about God, then he must be selfish. But I see it as, if he really is the greatest entity in the universe--omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent--wouldn't he want to point as many people to the greatest thing as possible? A lame small-scale example--when I make a new recipe and it's so great I want to share it with as many people as possible. I might text my mom and sisters, I share with my friends the next time we talk. I'll definitely take it to the next potluck I go to. Not because I'm selfish and want it to be all about me. It's the opposite; I took so much pleasure in something great and I get so much joy from sharing that pleasure with others. God is omniscient, so he knows he's great and wants to share that with as many people as possible over the course of infinity. So despite us humans always throwing a wrench into things, he's trying to work things so that as many people know and love him as possible.


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#42 shinyhappypeople

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:05 AM

Why doesn't God answer every prayer in a way that makes sense to us?

 

I have no idea.

 

After many years of infertility and miscarriages, I walked away completely for awhile.  I would have called myself an atheist, but I was very, very mad at the God I didn't believe in, so... yeah.  

 

Anyway, what eventually helped me understand the very personal horrors in my own life (not just the infertility, my childhood was a Lifetime movie) is that God is big and I am small.  By virtue of being human I cannot understand God completely.  We see glimpses, you know?  But my mind has limits and cannot  even pretend to be able to truly understand an eternal, omni-anything God.  I somehow learned to be comfortable with the mystery.  Getting to that place was hard.  I have control freak tendencies.  Embracing the mystery has been good for me.

 

I'm sorry.  I wish I had some brilliant explanation, but that's just my story.  I hope it makes sense.  I like your question. 

 

 

 


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#43 meena

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:06 AM

Any sequence of events will create cause and effect and weave a long narative over thousands of years, with events causing chains of otehr events. It does not require a divine plan.

One can always look backwards and say a certain event was only possible because of a chain of events stretching back hundreds of years, all connected through causality. 

 

The writers of the Bible predicted effects hundreds of years before the cause. That indicates (to me at least) some type of divine plan.


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#44 regentrude

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:07 AM

I think this is where faith comes in. Either you have it or you don't.

I don't mean that in a snarky way; you asked an interesting question and I'm not sure there is an answer to it -- I would guess that there may be no amount of evidence that will convince one skeptical person that prayer works, and no amount of evidence that will convince another person that prayer doesn't work, because neither side can present absolute proof. It's sort of like how none of us will know for 100% sure whether or not there is a Heaven or an afterlife until we're dead. I truly think you either believe or you don't, and that you might also vacillate between believing and not believing at different times of your life.
 

 

The purpose of my question was not to be convinced that prayer works.

The purpose was to understand how praying people think about prayer and the mechanism in which this accomplishes an effect in the person for whom they pray (not in thepraying person herself)


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#45 OhElizabeth

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:08 AM

What is the ultimate goal for humans? What are we striving toward? If it's to have a great life during our time on earth, then I can see how it can be hard to get behind a God sometimes allows terrible things to happen, while preventing them at other times. But what if our ultimate goal is not about us and it's more about him? That definitely causes a shift in thinking.

 

I'm sure there are some people who would say that if it's all about God, then he must be selfish. But I see it as, if he really is the greatest entity in the universe--omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent--wouldn't he want to point as many people to the greatest thing as possible? A lame small-scale example--when I make a new recipe and it's so great I want to share it with as many people as possible. I might text my mom and sisters, I share with my friends the next time we talk. I'll definitely take it to the next potluck I go to. Not because I'm selfish and want it to be all about me. It's the opposite; I took so much pleasure in something great and I get so much joy from sharing that pleasure with others. God is omniscient, so he knows he's great and wants to share that with as many people as possible over the course of infinity. So despite us humans always throwing a wrench into things, he's trying to work things so that as many people know and love him as possible.

 

This is actually a striking example, in that the Bible teaches that God does things so the *angels* will marvel. 

 

We literally think it's all about us, and yet God is doing something totally different.


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#46 meena

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:13 AM

This thread made me think of a couple good books by people more knowledgeable and experienced in Christian prayer than I: 

 

Moving Mountains by John Eldredge

If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn


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#47 regentrude

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:13 AM

Ok, then I just want to ask, how does that fit with Deism and sort of the clock maker (distant God, watching but not interfering) view of things? Because it sounds like you're saying it means He must be a clockmaker (only watching) and that to you that is LESS offensive than acting sometimes and not others.

 

I don't see God as a personification at all - more like a permeating force that has set the world in motion, given it order, and is the source of spiritual life, love, creativity... As such, by its very nature, it cannot actively interfere in the lives of humans, but it can be called upon, summoned, channeled by humans. If I can have any view of a kind of God, it would be this. I see all religious trimmings only as metaphors and rituals humans have constructed to imagine and tap into that force.


Edited by regentrude, 17 August 2017 - 12:14 AM.

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#48 OhElizabeth

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:13 AM

The purpose of my question was not to be convinced that prayer works.

The purpose was to understand how praying people think about prayer and the mechanism in which this accomplishes an effect in the person for whom they pray (not in thepraying person herself)

 

My *personal* feeling is that I don't mess with other people's take on their prayers. Like if somebody says they prayed for it and it happened, I'm super happy for them. But if somebody asks me what *I* am praying for, I'm sticking to what the Bible says, things God has promised to do. 

 

Do you have people you feel bonded to, people you can tell (across lines and distance) when they're thinking about you?


Edited by OhElizabeth, 17 August 2017 - 12:15 AM.


#49 OhElizabeth

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:16 AM

I don't see God as a personification at all - more like a permeating force that has set the world in motion, given it order, and is the source of spiritual life, love, creativity... As such, by its very nature, it cannot actively interfere in the lives of humans, but it can be called upon, summoned, channeled by humans. If I can have any view of a kind of God, it would be this. I see all religious trimmings only as metaphors and rituals humans have constructed to imagine and tap into that force.

 

Then what do you do with Jesus? 

 

Just wondering. 


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#50 Frances

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:18 AM

Really? But you don't apply that same standard to yourself as a parent. I certainly don't, not with my ds. I do things to teach him. I make choices to wait and give him opportunities to learn on his own. I don't do everything FOR him.

Also, there have to be consequences to actions and choices.

And a young child who is daily being raped by a relative and praying for it to stop? And it doesn't stop? What lesson would God be teaching that child and/or what actions or choices could an innocent child possibly be suffering the consequences of?
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