Predictably, this conversation interested me Steve...

---In, <steve.sundur@...> wrote :

 S: Is this really the broad statement on which an atheist makes his case.?

M: I don't know why you would think that. The paradox of prayer he is pointing 
out is as relevant to believers as much as non believers and is a topic of much 
theological discussion within religions. 

As I understand it, he makes the case for a lack of belief in God elsewhere 
because of a lack of compelling evidence supporting the belief in any of its 
various forms. 


 S: In which case, it really is a shame to see the arrogant and skewed attitude 
held by an atheist.

M: I don't see where the label arrogant applies. For me it is a much more 
humble position to say that he does not know the mind of God (or even that he 
exists at all.) than those who believe that they do. Is is arrogant for you to 
not join the believers in David Koresh's divinity? But lets get to the point he 
actually is making which is not a statement of atheism, but of paradox within 
the beliefs about how prayer works.
 CH:“The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all 

M: Is it that "all is well and wisely put by God. Or did he get it wrong about 
the baby who has cancer? Why does the baby have cancer in the first place God? 
( I know Hindus think they have an answer: blame the baby, but when you are 
praying you are saying to God, "excuse me I think you got this karmic 
calculation wrong."

 CH: but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.” 

M: So what are the supporting beliefs about how the world works that support 
the action of prayer? I will try to hit Christian and Hindu versions.

For Christians there is a hidden premise that God is somehow unaware of the 
baby in the hospital, which contradicts the omniscience part of his definition, 
or that he is somehow not able to make if right for the little tyke on his own 
due to a limitation of his power (phrased as free will for man but this falls 
apart for the baby) which contradicts his omnipotence definition. 

Or he may not give a shit about the baby which defies the morally good part of 
what most people consider as important to the God idea.

So what does it mean when a whole planeload of people are falling out of the 
sky in an airline accident and presumably praying their seat-belted asses off ? 
Why do they need to? Is God so clueless to miss the problem like superman 
sitting in a dark bar in the afternoon throwing back scotches and trading 
banter with the bartender? What is prayer actually doing?
1. Bugging God like a nagging spouse. "Let's get everyone praying so he must 
hear us." As if prayer is like a football cheer made more potent by numbers. 
2. Cluing his amoral ass to the problem with people falling out of the sky or a 
baby dying?
3. Reminding him to pay attention because he gets distracted watching dinosaurs 
banging each other on the 250 million years ago heavenly animal planet channel? 
(In his defense, dinosaur porn IS mega hot. Don't get me started with what 
Triceratops can accomplish with those 3 horns...)
4. Giving an insecure God a pep talk that he can do it? Do we have to praise 
him up and down like a toddler and kiss his ass to get him to do something 
about it? Is that the problem, a lack of us demonstrating our toadying, 
groveling, subservience? Why does he need that? (The Bible is full of formula 
prayers that assume this very thing.)

What exactly is the belief in prayer based on? And why is God always let off 
the hook when the plane hits the ground? If he can ignore any prayer, why do we 
need them in the first place?

Now the Hindus basically have a mafioso payoff system in place. It is your 
karma but you can pay off minor deities who will talk to the big man on your 
behalf. And that requires multiple ass kisses. I was amazed at ceremonies with 
Maharishi and the pundits rattle off phases with no feeling, just hitting 
numbers prescribed by the scriptures. Ketu namaha, katu namaha, ketu namaha 
hundreds of times. It comes from a sacrifice culture that would offer animals 
just like the people who we dare not speak of in the Old Testament.  Later 
Christians who went all the way with a human sacrifice of  the "lamb kabob of 
God, Jesus himself because God created a world where he would need to be 
appeased for how he created us. A fair condensation of the Old Testament is 
that : God created man and then everything man does gets God angry.

So the concept of prayer is fraught with paradoxes and unanswered questions as 
far as I can see. And Christopher (may God rest his eternal soul) was pointing 
that out without needing all my blather explaining it.

Cuz he was a badass writer and I am just a hack. But on the upside I am here to 
write and he is not, so compared to what he is cranking out now, I am freak'n 
Richard Brautigan!

 Christopher Hitchens.



---In, <noozguru@...> wrote :

 Yeah, maybe if they pray enough they'll start hopping.  :-D 
 On 10/16/2014 06:32 PM, jr_esq@... mailto:jr_esq@... [FairfieldLife] wrote:
   As Sodom and Gomorrah.  But he has a solution.



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