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Author Topic: Is Praying To God Pointless?  (Read 4895 times)
avxo
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« Reply #75 on: May 29, 2013, 11:21:04 AM »

I like that a lot.

It might be a nice sentiment, but I just don't see the appeal...
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« Reply #76 on: May 29, 2013, 11:49:15 AM »

Exactly, whether or not you believe in God he is still at work and is completely effective,

That's not what Butterbean was saying

Quote

but the term "psychosomatic" lends itself to a condition of mental illness and/or the inability to fully utilize your faculties appropriately.   The efficacy of God and prayer being reduced to a mere medical diagnosis is simply another form of convenient escapism.


What I meant was that anybody who believes that prayer helps them is simply experiencing the placebo effect, they are convinced something is real when it is not and therefore experience a perceived benefit. (one that is not necessarily real).  it's simply a form of self delusion.
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« Reply #77 on: May 29, 2013, 11:51:38 AM »

It might be a nice sentiment, but I just don't see the appeal...

I understand that actually because I've had the privilege of standing on both sides of the issue.  

I like the devotional because in my case (as a believer) I can fully speak to its accuracy as I've personally experienced exactly what it outlines....it completely resonates with me.

Moreso than simply remembering that God is with you (as the devotional notes) I surrendered myself to his will for my life and it's made nothing but positive impacts.  I work plenty hard.  I endure plenty of struggles (not as much as some), but it's about how I'm able to process the "day-to-day" now that's so different and wonderful.  It's much more than "willing myself to smile through the pain" and certainly that is possible for believers and nonbelievers alike.  What I speak of is about an absolute change at my core that wasn't about me, but completely about God.....he changed me because I chose him.
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« Reply #78 on: May 29, 2013, 12:03:27 PM »

MOS, it's very good and def. worth getting.  Get two in case your wife steals your copy Roll Eyes and then you can't find it  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #79 on: May 29, 2013, 12:03:30 PM »

That's not what Butterbean was saying

What I meant was that anybody who believes that prayer helps them is simply experiencing the placebo effect, they are convinced something is real when it is not and therefore experience a perceived benefit. (one that is not necessarily real).  it's simply a form of self delusion.

Well actually I was only responding to your words.

I do understand what you're suggesting.  Standing outside the perspective of the believer you can assign virtually any label you want to the situation, but the labeler is void of genuine understanding.  It's not that the opinion and associated label is meaningless, it just that the experience and perspective it's based upon is lacking.

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« Reply #80 on: May 29, 2013, 12:24:32 PM »

Well actually I was only responding to your words.

I do understand what you're suggesting.  Standing outside the perspective of the believer you can assign virtually any label you want to the situation, but the labeler is void of genuine understanding.  It's not that the opinion and associated label is meaningless, it just that the experience and perspective it's based upon is lacking.


You should be a politician MOS, what you said sounds like something, but on closer inspection appears devoid of any real meaning.  Maybe that's the key to happiness, talking to yourself like a politician.

So, if I do a study and give someone a placebo and tell them it is a powerful mood drug and that within an hour they should feel very happy.  And the participant does actually report greater feelings of happiness.  This is something that can not be labelled virtually anything you like, their is a definite well studied placebo effect happening.  Just because I am not the study participant having increased feelings of happiness, doesn't mean my placebo perspective is lacking.

I tried to respond as best I could, but personally, I don't think I even know what your post meant.  Anyway, prayer seems pretty harmless, kind of like a child's imaginary friend, as long as they don't take it too serious then hopefully they will grow out of it (or just transplant their imaginary friend with GOD)

Wait a minute, do you think it is possible that the imaginary friend phenomenon seen in young children could be involved in belief in GOD later on in adult life.  I am being serious.  I will have to look into what has been researched about imaginary friends in childhood, it seems to be a common theme for young people.

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« Reply #81 on: May 29, 2013, 12:54:53 PM »

I don't think some of you guys get where I am coming from. I want god/heaven to exist.  I just have not seen anything at all that would make me believe. Faith? Where does faith get you while you are alive?
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« Reply #82 on: May 29, 2013, 01:52:09 PM »

You should be a politician MOS, what you said sounds like something, but on closer inspection appears devoid of any real meaning.  Maybe that's the key to happiness, talking to yourself like a politician.

So, if I do a study and give someone a placebo and tell them it is a powerful mood drug and that within an hour they should feel very happy.  And the participant does actually report greater feelings of happiness.  This is something that can not be labelled virtually anything you like, their is a definite well studied placebo effect happening.  Just because I am not the study participant having increased feelings of happiness, doesn't mean my placebo perspective is lacking.

I tried to respond as best I could, but personally, I don't think I even know what your post meant.  Anyway, prayer seems pretty harmless, kind of like a child's imaginary friend, as long as they don't take it too serious then hopefully they will grow out of it (or just transplant their imaginary friend with GOD)

Wait a minute, do you think it is possible that the imaginary friend phenomenon seen in young children could be involved in belief in GOD later on in adult life.  I am being serious.  I will have to look into what has been researched about imaginary friends in childhood, it seems to be a common theme for young people.



Wow!  A politician  Cheesy ....now that's one I've never heard before LOL!!!  

I often encounter recurring responses to my answers to the questions/concerns/objections of others.   The problem is if I include too much detail in my answers my audience will claim "the jargon sounds cultish, but is otherwise unintelligible."  If I speak more generally the audience will claim "I’m attempting to use language akin to legalease that is open to a myriad number of interpretations, but is otherwise unintelligible."    

"My question was one sentence, but MOS you responded with 3 paragraphs....can't you keep it short and sweet?  You lost me in the jargon, but honestly I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”

"My question was one sentence, but you responded so generally I don't know what you're saying.  Can't you explain more fully?  I don't think you know what you mean."

If something is confusing to someone else I’m always happy to try and clarify.  It’s after I’ve presented my position both generally and specifically (and sometimes also via a separate PM I’ve spelled it out even further) and my audience (who is fully competent and intelligent) still claims, “I can’t understand anything you’re saying,” that I simply leave the ball in their court.  They get it LOL, they just don’t wanna get it.

I agree, the use of placebos accompanied with specific and/or suggestive language can guide test subjects to a preferred response rather easily.   Although since you believe the placebo effect has the potential to impact this situation you can rest easy because your foreknowledge of a potential placebo invalidates any effects it may have from the get go.  You can move forward much more confidently  because you’ve already eliminated an obstacle to your personal belief.

I think it’s definitely possible that some children that created imaginary friends could turn to God as an alternative as a young adults.  I think that’s reasonable.
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« Reply #83 on: May 29, 2013, 02:18:03 PM »



I do understand what you're suggesting.  
OK Got that
Quote

Standing outside the perspective of the believer you can assign virtually any label you want to the situation,
OK Got that
Quote

 but the labeler is void of genuine understanding.
Now this is where you got confusing, so the person claiming something is an obvious placebo effect is void of genuine understanding, How exactly?  This reminds me of a time in my twenties, I was going along to a twelve step fellowship and was pretty sceptical.  I was told 'fake it until you make' it and other suggestions like 'praying for god to reveal himself to you' and many other platitudes designed to ease you into the whole god thing.  I actually read some book (I don't even recall the name) but the main character sincerely recited the Lords prayer repeatedly and constantly throughout his life. and the vibe of the book was to get the reader to do the same.  (I read the book in a day). I remember I spent a whole day internally repeating the lords prayer over and over again and that night I had an indescribable dream with the image of Jesus surrounded by powerful white lights.  Although at the time I felt it held some significance, later on reflection I put this down to the placebo effect (I desperately wanted something to happen from the experience) and that the repetitive focus on Jesus, the long book reading session, and the lords prayer seeped into my subconscious and triggered a religious dream.

Quote

 It's not that the opinion and associated label is meaningless, it just that the experience and perspective it's based upon is lacking.


Are you suggesting the placebo observation is irrelevant because they weren't able to experience what the person experiencing the placebo effect did.

I think what you are saying is it is impossible to explain to a virgin what sex is like.  Unless you experience it first hand you can never know.  Which I think is unfair, considering the experience isn't something that has a reliable way of being had.  Unlike the sexual experience, the path to losing ones virginity isn't so mysterious.
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« Reply #84 on: May 30, 2013, 06:16:02 AM »

OK Got thatOK Got thatNow this is where you got confusing, so the person claiming something is an obvious placebo effect is void of genuine understanding, How exactly?  This reminds me of a time in my twenties, I was going along to a twelve step fellowship and was pretty sceptical.  I was told 'fake it until you make' it and other suggestions like 'praying for god to reveal himself to you' and many other platitudes designed to ease you into the whole god thing.  I actually read some book (I don't even recall the name) but the main character sincerely recited the Lords prayer repeatedly and constantly throughout his life. and the vibe of the book was to get the reader to do the same.  (I read the book in a day). I remember I spent a whole day internally repeating the lords prayer over and over again and that night I had an indescribable dream with the image of Jesus surrounded by powerful white lights.  Although at the time I felt it held some significance, later on reflection I put this down to the placebo effect (I desperately wanted something to happen from the experience) and that the repetitive focus on Jesus, the long book reading session, and the lords prayer seeped into my subconscious and triggered a religious dream.
Are you suggesting the placebo observation is irrelevant because they weren't able to experience what the person experiencing the placebo effect did.

I think what you are saying is it is impossible to explain to a virgin what sex is like.  Unless you experience it first hand you can never know.  Which I think is unfair, considering the experience isn't something that has a reliable way of being had.  Unlike the sexual experience, the path to losing ones virginity isn't so mysterious.

I actually wasn't attempting to delve into the placebo effect in that post.  I was merely stating that you can assign the label "placebo effect" to the believer's experience of prayer (or any other label that might make sense).  The problem with the unbeliever labeling (or reducing) the experience of the believer's prayer to something like a placebo effect doesn't make it so because the unbeliever lacks the holy spirit in their life.  The holy spirit of God indwells the believer, assists the believer, makes things clearer to the believer.  It's the reason new believers say things like, "I don't understand how, but I suddenly get what others have been telling me for so long now."  Unbelievers simply lack the perspective the holy spirit gives the believer that has accepted Christ as savior.....it makes all the difference.  That's why I stated that the opinion of the unbeliever (i.e. labeling prayer as form of placebo effect) is not a meaningless opinion, it just lacks perspective without the holy spirit.  

I can assure you though that the clarity brought by the holy spirit is unlike a person experiencing sex for the first time or a person eating a particular food for the first time.  It's a very different understanding that's gained.  

The dream you mentioned is very cool; unfortunately (for me) I've never had a dream like that.  I definitely dream and I can certainly see how events from my day impact those dreams.  I fully believe that some dreams are just your own brain at work processing the events of the previous day while other dreams can be inspired by God directly.  

Acts 2:17

17 ‘In the last days,’ God says,
    ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions,
    and your old men will dream dreams.
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« Reply #85 on: June 27, 2013, 09:53:00 AM »

BikiniSlut, I hope and pray that all is well with you!  In case you are still going through some stuff, I thought this info from the Harvard School of Medicine might help some.  Best wishes to you!

3 ways to harness positive psychology for a more resilient you
Intriguing research suggests that positive psychology can help you weather the routine ups and downs of life and also build resilience for times of greater difficulty.

Here are three ways to capture the benefits of positive psychology.

Express gratitude. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have — from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Set aside a few minutes every day and think about five large or small things you're grateful for. Write them down if you like. Be specific and remember what each thing means to you.

Leverage your strengths. To reap the benefits of your strengths, you first need to know what they are. Unfortunately, according to a British study, only about one-third of people have a useful understanding of their strengths. If something comes easily, you may take it for granted and not identify it as a strength. If you are not sure of your strengths, you can identify them by asking someone you respect who knows you well, by noticing what people compliment you on, and by thinking about what comes most easily to you.

Certain strengths are most closely linked to happiness. They include gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love. These strengths are so important that they're worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, even if they don't come naturally to you.

Savor the "good." Most people are primed to experience the pleasure in special moments, like a wedding or a vacation. Everyday pleasures, on the other hand, can slip by without much notice. Savoring means placing your attention on pleasure as it occurs, consciously enjoying the experience as it unfolds. Appreciating the treasures in life, big and small, helps build happiness.

Multitasking is the enemy of savoring. Try as you might, you can't fully pay attention to multiple things. If you're scanning the newspaper and listening to the radio during breakfast, you're not getting the pleasure you could from that meal — or the newspaper or radio program. If you're walking the dog on a beautiful path but mentally staring at your day's to-do list, you're missing the moment.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/

Volunteering may be good for body and mind
Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. But I was surprised to learn that volunteering has positive implications that go beyond mental health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/volunteering-may-be-good-for-body-and-mind-201306266428

The power of self-compassion
Forgiving and nurturing yourself can set the stage for better health, relationships, and general well-being. Self-compassion yields a number of benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression. Self-compassionate people recognize when they are suffering and are kind to themselves at these times, which reduces their anxiety and related depression.

While some people come by self-compassion naturally, others have to learn it. Luckily, it is a learnable skill.

Harvard psychologist Christopher Germer, in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, suggests that there are five ways to bring self-compassion into your life: via physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual methods. He and other experts have proposed a variety of ways to foster self-compassion. Here are a few:

•    Comfort your body. Eat something healthy. Lie down and rest your body. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Take a walk. Anything you can do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.
•    Write a letter to yourself. Describe a situation that caused you to feel pain (a breakup with a lover, a job loss, a poorly received presentation). Write a letter to yourself describing the situation without blaming anyone. Acknowledge your feelings.
•    Give yourself encouragement. If something bad or painful happens to you, think of what you would say to a good friend if the same thing happened to him or her. Direct these compassionate responses toward yourself.
•    Practice mindfulness. This is the nonjudgmental observation of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, without trying to suppress or deny them. When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, accept the bad with the good with a compassionate attitude.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/
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« Reply #86 on: June 27, 2013, 02:27:38 PM »

Nothing is pointless. However I don't see god with a pencil sharpener.
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« Reply #87 on: June 28, 2013, 08:37:45 AM »

Nothing is pointless. However I don't see god with a pencil sharpener.

I don't understand the reference about the pencil sharpener.   Can someone smarten me up?
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« Reply #88 on: June 28, 2013, 09:38:35 AM »

Thanks Loco.

I've stopped any type of communication with God for about the last six weeks. It was just making me feel worse. I felt as if no one cared and no one was listening. I feel better about it.

Maybe I'll try to reconnect one day, but this is not the time. I have no faith in a "God" right now.
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« Reply #89 on: June 28, 2013, 10:58:39 AM »

Thanks Loco.

I've stopped any type of communication with God for about the last six weeks. It was just making me feel worse. I felt as if no one cared and no one was listening. I feel better about it.

Maybe I'll try to reconnect one day, but this is not the time. I have no faith in a "God" right now.

Glad to know that you are feeling better!
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« Reply #90 on: June 28, 2013, 11:06:59 AM »

Thanks Loco.

I've stopped any type of communication with God for about the last six weeks. It was just making me feel worse. I felt as if no one cared and no one was listening. I feel better about it.

Maybe I'll try to reconnect one day, but this is not the time. I have no faith in a "God" right now.

loco does have a very good heart.

I sure hope that despite whatever obstacles are in your life that are preventing you from engaging faith in God that you will continue to think about it and meditate on it.   Faith isn't an easy business initially and I speak from experience.  It took me having one foot in the grave before I surrendered myself to the Lord's will for my life and I've never been the same. 

For some faith begins with a leap and for others faith begins with an honest desire to truly find out if God is real.  For the believer faith then transitions from a leap to full assurance in the heart when the new believer is then indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  That moment of acceptance of Christ by faith is the turning point, the time in which the new believer has clarity, fresh eyes and begins to experience the very presence of the creator himself.  It requires a genuine desire to know God and a humble heart that surrenders to God's will for their life.  From my humble chair there is only upside to belief in Jesus Christ. 

Today may not be your day for faith, but my prayer is that before your life comes to an end that your day for faith does arrive.

God bless!!
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« Reply #91 on: June 28, 2013, 11:08:22 AM »

Thanks Loco.

I've stopped any type of communication with God for about the last six weeks. It was just making me feel worse. I felt as if no one cared and no one was listening. I feel better about it.

Maybe I'll try to reconnect one day, but this is not the time. I have no faith in a "God" right now.

There is nothing wrong with this

I always say that if there's a God he won't judge you based upon whether or not you believe 100 percent. He will judge you based on whether or not you treat your fellow man with decency on a day to day basis.
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« Reply #92 on: June 28, 2013, 11:32:40 AM »

Isaiah 64:5-9

5 You welcome those who gladly do good,
    who follow godly ways.
But you have been very angry with us,
    for we are not godly.
We are constant sinners;
    how can people like us be saved?
6 We are all infected and impure with sin.
    When we display our righteous deeds,
    they are nothing but filthy rags.

Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7 Yet no one calls on your name
    or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
    and turned us over to our sins.
8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father.
    We are the clay, and you are the potter.
    We all are formed by your hand.
9 Don’t be so angry with us, Lord.
    Please don’t remember our sins forever.
Look at us, we pray,
    and see that we are all your people.


Romans 10:1-13

1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.
2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.
3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.
4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
5 For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.
6 But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth).
7 And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).”
8 In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”  And that message is the very message about faith that we preach:
9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.
13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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« Reply #93 on: June 28, 2013, 11:43:53 AM »

I will never stop pondering or trying to find my faith. Ever. However right now I get "stressed" thinking about it. Once I'm in a better place, which I'm slowly starting to find again, I will try and reconnect.

Perhaps I'm just angry....but I feel better not thinking about his/her/its existence right now.

I'm on the mend. Perhaps a God has been apart of that. I don't know.
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« Reply #94 on: June 28, 2013, 11:52:04 AM »

I will never stop pondering or trying to find my faith. Ever. However right now I get "stressed" thinking about it. Once I'm in a better place, which I'm slowly starting to find again, I will try and reconnect.

Perhaps I'm just angry....but I feel better not thinking about his/her/its existence right now.

I'm on the mend. Perhaps a God has been apart of that. I don't know.

Speaking from my own experience, the stress and anger of my past drove a wedge between me and God.  Today when confronted with stress I process it completely different than I ever did before.  I have as much or more stress today, but now my heart is aligned with Jesus Christ and that makes the seemingly unbearable completely bearable. 

Now when obstacles come before me I don't crumple or lash out I try and immediately collect myself and recognize the opportunity God has put before me.  It's an opportunity to learn something new, overcome a fear, but even greater so it's an opportunity to draw closer to my savior.   Certainly I have bad days, certainly I experience anger, but I choose to turn it over quickly to God now.  I don't internalize it, I don't dwell on it, I give over to him.  It's a process of spiritual development and I have a lifetime of learning, but I'll do so in accordance with his will for my life.
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« Reply #95 on: June 28, 2013, 12:03:10 PM »

I don't understand the reference about the pencil sharpener.   Can someone smarten me up?
Don't mind me, I think I outsmarted myself here  Grin
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« Reply #96 on: June 28, 2013, 12:04:55 PM »

Don't mind me, I think I outsmarted myself here  Grin

No worries, I have no idea what I'm sayin either sometimes.   Grin
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« Reply #97 on: July 21, 2013, 03:04:37 PM »

I often thought about this. Seems that a lot of people only pray because they want something. Even if it's because you want to be high up in the 7th heaven... that's still wanting something... you want to be in the most high position as possible. Good post Smiley
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