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PRAYER? What is it?

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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 19 Jul 2010, 22:30

Lilly wrote:So sorry. You said you don't disagree. I need to read more carefully.

It's all good. I learned long ago that I shouldn't use double negatives when writing, but I don't not slip up sometimes... :)
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Craig Browning » 20 Jul 2010, 23:27

but essentially what he says is that once a person has no reason to live, they start to deteriorate.


I know this first hand, not just my constant battle to not give up (and trust me, there are times when I really, really want to) but in watching others over the years, dealing with this or that illness. Especially in the early and mid 80s as AIDs first came to pay Hollywood a visit... where I was living at the time. Just watching how one person could choose to cling to a positive course of thought and action and actually live a higher quality of life, etc. vs. those that simply embraced it as a death sentence, frequently caving in to the religious B.S. heaped upon them by their families... individuals that simply died before their bodies gave out. This latter group frequently being gone in under two years time or sooner while the other group... well, some of them are still thriving and those who've left actually affected more lives in positive ways... they transformed "society" because of their FAITH... not in god or goddess or even science, but in their fellow human being and the spirit of humankind.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 21 Jul 2010, 02:40

Craig Browning wrote:
but essentially what he says is that once a person has no reason to live, they start to deteriorate.


I know this first hand, not just my constant battle to not give up (and trust me, there are times when I really, really want to) but in watching others over the years, dealing with this or that illness. Especially in the early and mid 80s as AIDs first came to pay Hollywood a visit... where I was living at the time. Just watching how one person could choose to cling to a positive course of thought and action and actually live a higher quality of life, etc. vs. those that simply embraced it as a death sentence, frequently caving in to the religious B.S. heaped upon them by their families... individuals that simply died before their bodies gave out. This latter group frequently being gone in under two years time or sooner while the other group... well, some of them are still thriving and those who've left actually affected more lives in positive ways... they transformed "society" because of their FAITH... not in god or goddess or even science, but in their fellow human being and the spirit of humankind.

I have always said that if I get cancer, don't tell me as I'd probably be gone much sooner than if I had not known...
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 Jul 2010, 23:13

When I live in L.A. I worked closely with the New Age community of the time (Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, etc.) so I was around tons of folks dealing with all kinds of chronic or mortal illnesses. One guy in particular was just awesome; he was diagnosed with some form of cancer... I want to say it was Colon Cancer but don't hold me to that... regardless, he got mad at himself for allowing himself to slump into such a dark place after his diagnosis and a rather grim prognosis. So he decided to fight things by exploiting their exact opposite... he went out and either bought or rented ever classic comedy film he could get his hands on and spent hours daily, watching them and laughing... as the Reader's Digest has said for years "Laughter is the Best Medicine" and in this guy's case, it seemed to have prolonged his life by over two years.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Scepcop » 30 Jul 2010, 03:26

Here is my theory of why prayer sometimes works, from page 15 of my Debunking Christian Fundamentalism treatise:

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Debunk ... Page15.htm

My own theory on how and why prayer works

Now, you may be wondering how prayers and miracles could be real supernatural phenomena, yet the religions behind them not be true. How could you harmonize that? Well there are other explanations that theoretically harmonize them.

I have a theory which I call metaphysical societies. A Canadian colleague helped me formulate it. We were talking about religion and answered prayer, and how and why they worked. I mentioned that I had some amazing stories of answered prayer that I knew weren't just coincidence, when I was a Christian. Yet, the beliefs and doctrines of Christian fundamentalism have obviously been proven false for me in the literal sense, so I was trying to make sense of how prayers could still be answered. Aaron, the colleague I had these discussions with, then started explaining to me about "metaphysical societies." It made a lot of sense to me and provided a unified theory.

Here is how it goes. As we all know, in New Age quantum theory, "thought creates reality" in a universal sense, even though in our dimension, this principle is reflected much more weakly and slowly than in other dimensions. Therefore, when a group of people gather for a single purpose, they create a certain energy field between them that makes their power stronger. And that's especially true with organized religion. And in Christianity's case, with a billion followers, that energy field would be very powerful indeed. Therefore, when one is indoctrinated into Christianity, he/she also becomes part of this massive group energy field, and is governed by its principles, values and beliefs. As a result, when that person lives according to the values of this energy field, that energy field works to help that person in many ways, including answering its prayers. That is why, when I was a Christian, I found that when I prayed for things that I was SUPPOSED to pray for, that a good Christian should want and desire, it had a very high probability of manifesting and coming true, smoothly and easily. However, when I prayed and asked for things of a purely selfish nature, it had a very low probability of manifesting. I noticed this pattern. And when prayers came true, whether for me or others, it would obviously not be ordinary day to day coincidences or selective perception and memory, because the answered prayers would come about my seemingly impossible odds of things that never happen, all SYNCHRONIZED to manifest the result. Sometimes, in manifesting the prayer, people would be involved who did odd things and later claimed that they had no idea why they even did it, but what they did brought about the answered prayer. These kind of things tell anyone that it was a real answered prayer, and not coincidence or selective memory.

This same "metaphysical society" effect happens in other religions as well, since people in other religions get prayers answered as well, as long as they are in accordance with the values of their metaphysical society. I have even heard that with Wiccans, when they make a pledge to a goddess and then break it without asking permission of that goddess, they often reap bad or disastrous consequences, until they go back and ask permission of the goddess to leave. Perhaps, these goddess that Wiccans pledge to are also metaphysically created, either in some other dimension or the mind of the believers, so that they do exist in a metaphysical sense, having power and influence in our lives, physical world and dimension.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Scepcop » 30 Jul 2010, 03:30

There was a Duke University study on prayer that concluded:

"In a feasibility study conducted by the Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs medical centers, angioplasty patients with acute coronary syndromes who were simultaneously prayed for by seven different religious sects around the world did 50 percent to 100 percent better during their hospital stay than patients who were not prayed for by these groups.”
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 30 Jul 2010, 04:15

Scepcop wrote:There was a Duke University study on prayer that concluded:

"In a feasibility study conducted by the Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs medical centers, angioplasty patients with acute coronary syndromes who were simultaneously prayed for by seven different religious sects around the world did 50 percent to 100 percent better during their hospital stay than patients who were not prayed for by these groups.”

I wish that you would post your references Scepcop. I'll give you two reasons on this post alone. First, 50 to 100 percent is a HUGE gap. Which is it, half or all? I'd like to see what protocol they used in the study. So, I look up Duke, Durham VA, and prayer on Google and I find this headline: "Prayer's effect on health called nil by Duke study""
Do you think you can post where you found your info?
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Wilhelm » 30 Jul 2010, 05:10

Quick note here: the prayer studies are useless, no matter the outcome. You can never have a control group. Ever. Are you going to seriously ask the loved ones of a sick person to not pray for them? What about the super-duper Christians who just pray for everyone? I reiterate, you can never have a control group, so these studies are unscientific and a monumental waste of time.

It this entire argument comes down to positive or negative thinking, then the reality is self-evident; Think negatively and negativity will be all around you, think positively and you will see the positive. Is that really subject to debate? Each and every one of us creates our very own version of reality and we can certainly infect others with portions of that reality. Can you do it by wishing really hard? Maybe, maybe not, but there are probably much easier ways.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 30 Jul 2010, 22:53

Wilhelm wrote:Quick note here: the prayer studies are useless, no matter the outcome. You can never have a control group. Ever. Are you going to seriously ask the loved ones of a sick person to not pray for them? What about the super-duper Christians who just pray for everyone? I reiterate, you can never have a control group, so these studies are unscientific and a monumental waste of time.

It this entire argument comes down to positive or negative thinking, then the reality is self-evident; Think negatively and negativity will be all around you, think positively and you will see the positive. Is that really subject to debate? Each and every one of us creates our very own version of reality and we can certainly infect others with portions of that reality. Can you do it by wishing really hard? Maybe, maybe not, but there are probably much easier ways.

I agree for the most part Wilhelm. I do think, however, that a prayeer study can be done, somehow, I just haven't figured it out just yet. I'll be thinking about it though.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Wilhelm » 31 Jul 2010, 05:08

ProfWag wrote:I agree for the most part Wilhelm. I do think, however, that a prayeer study can be done, somehow, I just haven't figured it out just yet. I'll be thinking about it though.


I'm extremely skeptical. First and foremost, if it has a "supernatural" angle (God), then it's totally out of the bounds of Science, insofar as the supernatural, by definition, is not part of the natural world. (That's one of the many follies of the pseudoskeptic, by the way.)

And if it's removed from God (which is the only scientific option), then even if the results were positive, consistent, and repeatable, the pseudoskeptics would still say it's all nonsense because there's no theory on the mechanism. ...as if they gave that level of scrutiny to things like gravity, or wave function collapse. ;)

Not to mention, those ubiquitous Christians - for better or worse - constantly praying for everyone and everything, all the time.

For me, it's a bit ambitious. If the study isn't about God as the mechanism, then why go so big? If they want to pump money into studies on how the mind might affect reality, they should work on something that more doable in a lab setting.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Scepcop » 01 Aug 2010, 02:01

ProfWag wrote:
Scepcop wrote:There was a Duke University study on prayer that concluded:

"In a feasibility study conducted by the Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs medical centers, angioplasty patients with acute coronary syndromes who were simultaneously prayed for by seven different religious sects around the world did 50 percent to 100 percent better during their hospital stay than patients who were not prayed for by these groups.”

I wish that you would post your references Scepcop. I'll give you two reasons on this post alone. First, 50 to 100 percent is a HUGE gap. Which is it, half or all? I'd like to see what protocol they used in the study. So, I look up Duke, Durham VA, and prayer on Google and I find this headline: "Prayer's effect on health called nil by Duke study""
Do you think you can post where you found your info?


I got that source years ago, but now it's a broken link. Duke removed it for some reason.

I've had prayers answered before though, in stunning ways.

Did you see these examples I posted in another thread?
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1188
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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