---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <steve.sundur@...> wrote : Curtis, if I have a prayer, and I may silently say this on occasion, "Thy will be done"
M: Could it be otherwise if there is a God? What would be its purpose, like saying "water please be wet." He is God, why the nudge? S: If it is a prayer, there is no judgement implied in it. There is no thinking that there is a better or worse way things should operate. M: The family around the baby would disagree. But if you take away its use in those places where it really does matter, what would you pray about or for? S: It is a simple, a simple..............prayer, and I think many people carry an intention like this. So, if someone asserts prayer to be one of "putting something right", in the way "I think it should be", well, that strikes me as an overly broad and arrogant statement. M: I honestly think arrogance is not in play at either end of the spectrum here. It is not arrogance that leads a family to beg God to spare their baby, it is desperation. And I don't begrudge them any internal relief they can muster. But abstracted from the human scene, we do have a paradox. Why would we have to remind God to be God? What are we doing? I think we are making ourselves feel better about the random shitty stuff that happens by labeling it as the will of God. I think it is a cushion for some people. Again, I don't begrudge them that, I just don't roll that way myself. M: But to say that supplication prayers are not one of its most popular uses would not be accurate I believe. Stand next to the intersession candles in a Catholic church sometime. They want specific shit. I believe that the "thy will be done even if it means the baby gets it" is in the minority. I could be wrong, except on a falling airplane. I would put money on that! Prayer vigils are always focused on an outcome aren't they. Let's all pray for his safe return from Afghanistan, her recovery from whatever.. S: What do you think? Maybe I am not unpacking that statement correctly. M: Or maybe I have it all wrong, I just appreciate the dialogue and chance to articulate where we are at about something fraught with contradictions and challenges to our beliefs on both sides. ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <curtisdeltablues@...> wrote : Predictably, this conversation interested me Steve... ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <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 wrong, 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 FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <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. http://m.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-billy-graham-america-just-wicked-sodom-and-gomorrah-ever-were http://m.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/michael-w-chapman/rev-billy-graham-america-just-wicked-sodom-and-gomorrah-ever-were