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Source: (consider it) Thread: Why doesn't prayer work?
Raptor Eye
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They wouldn't be attempted a) because it's based on a false idea of what prayer is and b) because it would imply a puppet god.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
With all the astronomical, scientific, technological, geographical, biological,, etc detailed knowledge available to all, why show children how to do something like saying prayers to a God?

For the same reason children are taught about art and poetry and music.
]Yes, I agree. I should have added that of course the subject should be taught about as it is an integral part of our history.
quote:
Beauty is useless - that is part of its beauty. Prayer to me is similar.
But if appreciation of the Arts is such an important part of human life, it must have been a survival strategy.
quote:
I know some contemplative Anglican nuns in Oxford - their lives are entirely devoted to prayer and they do not leave the convent except for medical treatment/going to the post office etc, and slightly unexpectedly, Greenbelt (a progressive Christian festival). Their novice guardian has spoken about the uselessness of that kind of life, but that useless doesn't mean without value or beauty.

Look up a book called New Habits - if anyone knows the whys and hows of prayer, it's nuns.

Very interesting point. A topic on the value and 'usefulness' of monks and nuns, or not, could be a good one, I think. Their choice of life sthyle could well be considered to be a selfish one.

Only someone who knows absolutely nothing about monastics could consider their 'choice of lifestyle' (none of them would consider it to be a choice, but a vocation and something they had to do) to be a selfish one. I mean if nothing else, not all monks and nuns are enclosed and many do work in the world. However both are equally important, after all enclosed monastics are responsible in the West for enormous contributions towards literature, printing, medicine etc. But of course you know that this wasn't the point I was making - the point I was making was that if you were genuinely interested in the workings of prayer, monastics are great resources for this.

Children are taught to create art/music/poetry as well as learn about it.

How do you know that the arts had to be a survival tactic? Is that not just because you're uncomfortable with something useless having value?

Reducing everything to what can be quantified and measured strikes me as knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. Unless you want society to never produce artists or poets or musicians again, and to only produce engineers, 'all the astronomical, scientific, technological, geographical, biological,, etc detailed knowledge available to all' is not the only thing children need teaching.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
They wouldn't be attempted a) because it's based on a false idea of what prayer is and b) because it would imply a puppet god.

Why would it imply a 'puppet God'? Surely most people taking part would genuinely desire a new leg for a little girl who had it blown off by a mine, no?

K.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
They wouldn't be attempted a) because it's based on a false idea of what prayer is and b) because it would imply a puppet god.

Why would it imply a 'puppet God'? Surely most people taking part would genuinely desire a new leg for a little girl who had it blown off by a mine, no?

K.

Sounds like putting God to the test (Luke 4:12). Why would God oblige?

Praying for the sick is part of our faith, but Christians are already aware that God doesn't always give us what we want. We don't need scientific experiments to prove that!

[ 21. October 2015, 11:45: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglicano:
quote:
SD: The difficulty for so many is that, by accepting this, they would have to relinquish all the beliefs which require faith alone.
Please could you give us some examples of such beliefs and why we would need to relinquish them all?
A few examples: heaven, hell too of course, after-life, God, resurrection, the idea that the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ of a person who lived 2,000 years ago is still alive in a somewhere which is never defined…..
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The problem here is that, of course, science has proven that faith is a very strong influence on healing - hence the placebo effect and numerous studies which have shown the impact on health of belonging to a faith community.

But it isn’t any actual gods behind the faiths and communities that help, is it? It’s the very human faith belief of those who think their god exists.
quote:
Expectation has a big part to play. Of course, that's not the same as believing prayer A leads to healing B. But still - being a part of a community that believes miraculous things can happen may indeed have an impact on the rates of effective medical treatment. As weird as it sounds.
Yes, I agree. I don’t think it is weird as such, but there are still many functions of the human brain that will be better understood sooner or later.
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
Only someone who knows absolutely nothing about monastics could consider their 'choice of lifestyle' (none of them would consider it to be a choice, but a vocation and something they had to do) to be a selfish one.

Well obviously they would think it to be a vocation and not a selfish choice!
quote:
I mean if nothing else, not all monks and nuns are enclosed and many do work in the world. However both are equally important, after all enclosed monastics are responsible in the West for enormous contributions towards literature, printing, medicine etc. But of course you know that this wasn't the point I was making - the point I was making was that if you were genuinely interested in the workings of prayer, monastics are great resources for this.
And those like the prayer of St Ignatius are gems that remain in memory. (Thought I’d double-check it but google keeps coming up with a most annoying panel my software really doesn’t like!)
quote:
Children are taught to create art/music/poetry as well as learn about it.
Agreed, but such things exist. Prayer exists too, but the God/god/s behind prayers…?
quote:
How do you know that the arts had to be a survival tactic?
I am not an evolutionary biologist, and I don’t think such aesthetic traits were evident before the human species, but they have not only persisted, but show no sign at all of dying out, so it would seem logical that they strengthen our survival success.
quote:
Is that not just because you're uncomfortable with something useless having value?
I am not uncomfortable with faith beliefs – that’s the way people are, but it is the people who do all things anyway, whether they believe a God has anything to do with it or not.
quote:
Reducing everything to what can be quantified and measured strikes me as knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. Unless you want society to never produce artists or poets or musicians again, and to only produce engineers, 'all the astronomical, scientific, technological, geographical, biological,, etc detailed knowledge available to all' is not the only thing children need teaching.
Well, no, that stark picture does not allow for any ‘grey’ areas, which are also an integral part of human nature. Would you agree, though, that so many things which used to be ascribed to God are now scientifically explained that it is not unreasonable to think that most of the rest will be too. Those that remain will be the don’t knows. Subjects such as love may not have detailed, complete and specific scientific explanations, but they all need a living brain with its emotions, and which is gradually being more scientifically defined. This, I would say, will increase their value, not diminish it.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Niminypiminy
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris

I am not an evolutionary biologist, and I don’t think such aesthetic traits were evident before the human species, but they have not only persisted, but show no sign at all of dying out, so it would seem logical that they strengthen our survival success.

That's a wonderful example of circular reasoning:

a) any trait that has persisted in human beings must have strengthened survival success
b)the arts have persisted
c) therefore they must have strengthened our survival success.

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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
They wouldn't be attempted a) because it's based on a false idea of what prayer is and b) because it would imply a puppet god.

Why would it imply a 'puppet God'? Surely most people taking part would genuinely desire a new leg for a little girl who had it blown off by a mine, no?

K.

Sounds like putting God to the test (Luke 4:12). Why would God oblige?

Praying for the sick is part of our faith, but Christians are already aware that God doesn't always give us what we want. We don't need scientific experiments to prove that!

It sounds like a group of people trying to help someone. If prayer is a power that can produce results then it must be demonstrable, even if only occasionally. Imagine that there is a God that says 'Aha! Those earthlings are trying to test me, rather than just heal that little girl (whom I'm not sure I would have healed either way), I'll teach them. Ignore!'

Is this the God you are proposing? Let go of the idea that prayer is like The Force and much more consoling answers can be discovered.

Also see: Malachi 3:10 .

K.

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"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by Niminypiminy:
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris

I am not an evolutionary biologist, and I don’t think such aesthetic traits were evident before the human species, but they have not only persisted, but show no sign at all of dying out, so it would seem logical that they strengthen our survival success.

That's a wonderful example of circular reasoning:

a) any trait that has persisted in human beings must have strengthened survival success
b)the arts have persisted
c) therefore they must have strengthened our survival success.

This topic might require a new thread. I recall a recent interview with Steven Pinker who argued that there is no evidence that things like composing music had any evolutionary 'purpose'. He found that unusual, given all of our other behaviours.

K.

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"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
It sounds like a group of people trying to help someone. If prayer is a power that can produce results then it must be demonstrable, even if only occasionally.


It's surely demonstrable to the people whom it helps in a demonstrable way. And for those whom it doesn't help in this way, what purpose would this test serve? If God doesn't cure that sick little girl, what then? Should her family become atheists in one fell swoop, or is there another lesson that God might be teaching them? And how would the experiment judge that?

quote:
Let go of the idea that prayer is like The Force and much more consoling answers can be discovered.

If you or others don't like what your churches are teaching about prayer, you can simply leave. Join the mainstream churches like the Methodists or the URC and find your consolation there. I really can't understand why this should be so difficult for you!
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mr cheesy
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Wikipedia has quite an interesting collection of references on the topic of the efficacy of prayer - I remember reading a while ago about a scientific study, but I can't now find a reference to it.

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arse

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Pomona
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SusanDoris - you try and live with 20 women, of varying ages, and promise to be faithful to the community for life. Also, you cannot own any possessions or money of your own (which often extends to clothing), and cannot have romantic relationships. Why would someone do that for selfish reasons?

To your other responses (which don't really answer my questions but oh well) - why does it matter if the deities children pray to don't exist? Why does it matter if the deities anyone prays to don't exist? If people pray and feel it works, why is that not good enough? If someone wants to ascribe something like music or physical beauty to God/gods, why is that a problem?

What's wrong with a bit of mystery?

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
At the moment I'm reading a book by John Stott, in which he says that 'the Christian knows that the nearer he approaches God, the more he becomes aware of his sin' and 'the more the saint grows in likeness to Christ, the more he perceives the vastness of the distance which still separates him from his ideal.'
M

After reading your comment I wonder if Stott seems to touch on a dimension called 'plug in'. Prayer is a telephone or call up device?
Oh, BTW, I read this message the other day but didn't understand it. Could you say what you mean by 'plug in', and how it refers to the quotation from Stott?
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SusanDoris

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Niminypiminy

Okay, I accept the 'circular reasoning' [Smile] but I'll defend this one as being fairly reasonable, unless someone can come up with a better one!
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Niminypiminy: a) any trait that has persisted in human beings must have strengthened survival success
b)the arts have persisted
c) therefore they must have strengthened our survival success.

This topic might require a new thread. I recall a recent interview with Steven Pinker who argued that there is no evidence that things like composing music had any evolutionary 'purpose'. He found that unusual, given all of our other behaviours.

K.

Googgling a question about music this link comes up. I've only read the beginning so far.

Oh dear, I seem to have made a mistake trying to turn it into a link, but I can't see why....

[because you missed "URL=" at the beginning]

[ 22. October 2015, 08:53: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Anglicano
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]A few examples: heaven, hell too of course, after-life, God, resurrection, the idea that the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ of a person who lived 2,000 years ago is still alive in a somewhere which is never defined…..
--------------------------

Hold on, have I got you right? Are you saying that "of course (you) think that eventually", "nature, evolution and the ever-advancing skills of medicine" will disprove all the above?

That's a pretty odd assertion even for a new atheist, isn't it? As I once heard Rabbi Blue say, "there's no point in arguing about it, you'll never prove it one way or another". But perhaps you have a different perspective?

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Anglicano
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why does it matter if the deities children pray to don't exist? Why does it matter if the deities anyone prays to don't exist? If people pray and feel it works, why is that not good enough? If someone wants to ascribe something like music or physical beauty to God/gods, why is that a problem?

What's wrong with a bit of mystery?

----------------------------

I agree entirely with what you say. I'm not sure if Susan Doris "knows" that God doesn't exist. I don't. I think/hope He does. But if my "imaginary friend" as the new atheists call Him, doesn't exist, well, I've still got a lot of solace from church, from the eucharist and from the love and companionship I get at church.

Presumably Susan Doris doesn't want or even like this, but why does she want to deny it to us?

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
SusanDoris - you try and live with 20 women, of varying ages, and promise to be faithful to the community for life. Also, you cannot own any possessions or money of your own (which often extends to clothing), and cannot have romantic relationships. Why would someone do that for selfish reasons?

Hmmmm, I can think of one at least, but I'll need to think a bit before answering.
quote:
To your other responses (which don't really answer my questions but oh well) - why does it matter if the deities children pray to don't exist? Why does it matter if the deities anyone prays to don't exist? If people pray and feel it works, why is that not good enough? If someone wants to ascribe something like music or physical beauty to God/gods, why is that a problem?
It is not in itself a problem, but becomes one when the people concerned want special privileges, deference because they hold their beliefs in God/god/s, etc, or try to insist that others should believe what they do; i.e. when they assume what is true for them must perforce be true for all.
quote:
What's wrong with a bit of mystery?
Nothing at all of course, but when any mystery is taught to children as truth without reference to independent, objective (and all those adjectives that come to mind in this context) then that perpetuates a problem that should not be perpetuated.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglicano:
quote:
why does it matter if the deities children pray to don't exist? Why does it matter if the deities anyone prays to don't exist? If people pray and feel it works, why is that not good enough? If someone wants to ascribe something like music or physical beauty to God/gods, why is that a problem?

What's wrong with a bit of mystery?

I agree entirely with what you say. I'm not sure if Susan Doris "knows" that God doesn't exist.
At my age I don't bother to leave that required room for the possibility that a God might turn up one day, although I acknowledge that this is the strictly correct way of thinking about it, so to my own satisfaction, yes, I know!
quote:
][/q I don't. I think/hope He does. But if my "imaginary friend" as the new atheists call Him, doesn't exist, well, I've still got a lot of solace from church, from the eucharist and from the love and companionship I get at church.
Yes, I fully understand that and as a choir singer I was sad to leave the choral part of it. I'm a person who learns words easily and enjoyed the routine and repetition in services, but there came a point when I could no longer say the words without thinkin, Oh, for goodness' sake, this makes absolutely no sense at all.
quote:
Presumably Susan Doris doesn't want or even like this, but why does she want to deny it to us?
As I recall, I have never said that I wish to deny it to anyone. Yes, I think the world would be a better place if religious beliefs gradually phased themselves out, but It would be silly to suppose that this is going to happen any time soon.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Anglicano
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when any mystery is taught to children as truth without reference to independent, objective (and all those adjectives that come to mind in this context) then that perpetuates a problem that should not be perpetuated.

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So, you'd rather they were taught "humanism" or atheism? And who would teach it? A duly vetted sociology graduate from a new-wave university?

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Anglicano
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Yes, I think the world would be a better place if religious beliefs gradually phased themselves out

----------------------------

Religion, or the misuse of religion, has a lot to answer for. But do you really think that England would be better off without the kind, loving Church of England? Hardly an oppressive organisation, surely?

I can't imagine us getting much joy or solace from the local humanist lodge.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglicano:

So, you'd rather they were taught "humanism" or atheism? And who would teach it? A duly vetted sociology graduate from a new-wave university?

That is not what I said or implied. For a start, atheism cannot be 'taught'; the definition of the word is simple: lack of belief in any god.Children should be taught as much as possible about everything. The history of religious belief is an integral part of human history and they should learn as much about it and its many ideas as possible.

[code]

[ 22. October 2015, 08:51: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Raptor Eye
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If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray. They should be given every opportunity to find God for themselves. This might mean that they are not taught that God will be at their beck and call to fulfil their every desire.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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mr cheesy
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Anglicano, would you mind learning to use the normal quote tags, please? Your posts with their idiosyncratic unreferenced quotes are really hard to follow.

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arse

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglicano:

So, you'd rather they were taught "humanism" or atheism? And who would teach it? A duly vetted sociology graduate from a new-wave university?

That is not what I said or implied. For a start, atheism cannot be 'taught'; the definition of the word is simple: lack of belief in any god.Children should be taught as much as possible about everything. The history of religious belief is an integral part of human history and they should learn as much about it and its many ideas as possible.
That's one way of defining atheism. Alternatively, we can define it as believing there is not a god.

To put it in slightly more formal logic, you define atheism (A) as A=NOT(F(G)), whereas I would define as A=F(NOT(G)), where F(G) is faith in god, and consequently F(NOT(G)) is faith in 'not god'.

The difference might be subtle, I accept, but my definition gives a faith/belief system that can be taught, as opposed to an absence of such a system. Reading many of the more prominent New Atheists, I would suggest that they largely fall into my category rather than yours.

[ 22. October 2015, 07:45: Message edited by: TomM ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray. They should be given every opportunity to find God for themselves. This might mean that they are not taught that God will be at their beck and call to fulfil their every desire.

Practically impossible. How is the state school system supposed to teach children about all the varieties of religious experience and practice without unduly giving support to one over all the others.

This kind of thing sounds to me like special pleading: the state schools should teach my religion as standard (but I'll campaign against the Moonies, etc getting a chance).

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arse

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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray.<snip>

To whom? To which of the thousands of gods? Maybe they draw straws at the start of each term?

K.

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quetzalcoatl
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The philosopher Feyerabend used to argue that children should be taught astrology and rain-dancing. I think he was making the point that there was no correct type of knowledge, and that it was rather arbitrary, as to which we selected. It sounds a bit tongue in cheek also.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Komensky
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Does God intervene directly in our lives and temporarily suspend the laws of nature in our favour when we ask him to do so? This is the question at the heart of the matter. If the answer is 'no', the consequences are not necessarily that 1) there is no God or 2) prayer is useless. I find serious moral problems that result as a consequence of answering 'yes' to the question at the start of this paragraph.

I can imagine that some would answer the question with 'sometimes', but still leaves a rather ugly problem with theodicy. That answer can also take us back to the problem of 'abuse', where the unsuccessful petitioners are left to soak in blame.

K.

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"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Practically impossible. How is the state school system supposed to teach children about all the varieties of religious experience and practice without unduly giving support to one over all the others.

Well, good Religious Education departments managed in England until the Tories marginalised the subject.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray.<snip>

To whom? To which of the thousands of gods? Maybe they draw straws at the start of each term?

K.

Exactly! they should at least be able to track down, verify, sbstantiate, find a fact about, the chosen god to which they are being taught to pray. Teaching the definition of the word 'pray' is necessary of course.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Well, good Religious Education departments managed in England until the Tories marginalised the subject.

No they didn't - utter rubbish. Every school that has a Religious Education department has only been able to focus on a small number of world religions. Obviously.

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arse

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray.<snip>

To whom? To which of the thousands of gods? Maybe they draw straws at the start of each term?

K.

As there is only one living God, they will either find him or not if they pray.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Jude
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Contrary to the impression I might have given on this thread, I am definitely not a HTB may the force be with you twist God's arm and if everything is not hunkydory then it's somebody's fault (other than God's) type of Christian. If anyone cared to read my question on What is the point of prayer? some weeks ago, you would find my attitude to prayer there. I am sorry, but I can't find the URL, but it was put onto a forum for new questions.

However, I have been influenced by charismatic "name it and claim it" types - and not for the best. In fact, if it were not for the traditional MOTR Anglican Church full of lovely, loving Christian people that I now attend, I would probably have lost faith altogether.

The case in point in the OP is not one of terminal illness or somebody asking for a miraculous healing or replacement limb etc. It was much more positive, originally. The person concerned was going through a difficult time and I prayed that God would give them strength to get through it. They seemed to be doing well and I actually believed they were going to be all right.

Go forward a couple of weeks and they have gone from feeling quite positive to despair. Although I have continued in my prayers, this person has now taken a major backward step and I really don't know if they will be able to get out of it, or even if I'll see them again. It makes me very sad.

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Jude
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Other post I mentioned was on the Eighth Day and no longer exists, AFAICS.

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"...But I always want to know the things one shouldn’t do.”
“So as to do them?” asked her aunt.
“So as to choose,” said Isabel.
Henry James - The Portrait of A Lady

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I recognise all of that, Jude, and for what it's worth, I didn't have you down as a name it and claim it type but as someone who has been influenced by that approach in the past.

I was never really into that sort of thing, but the church I was involved with for 18 years was influenced by it to a greater extent more than I was ... and it made for an uncomfortable ride at times - although the mileage varied as to how much or how little of that stuff people went in for.

I can understand how you feel but people's moods and attitudes do change - and if they're having a hard time their mood swings will be more intense. Your friend may swing back out of despair yet - we don't know, we'll have to wait and see.

I have no pat answers nor any placebos, you're doing the right thing in standing by this person in their time of need. That counts for a lot.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Anglicano
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good Religious Education departments managed in England until the Tories marginalised the subject.

----------------------------

Well, to adapt a well known saying, "they would, wouldn't they?" (M Rice Davies). But of course M Thatcher claimed deep religious beliefs, even describing herself as an Anglican (which she wasn't). And during his time as Leader of the Opposition, Wm Hague moved from being "an Anglican and occasional church-goer" to having "deep religious faith". At least D Cameron describes himself as being "the most wishy washy of Anglicans". Perhaps they're growing up. And/or becoming less hypocritical.

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fausto
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# 13737

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Has anyone suggested this possibility?

http://www.theonion.com/article/new-study-finds-majority-of-gods-blessings-burn-up-37946

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Martin60
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Jude [Votive] that's for YOU.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Jude:

The case in point in the OP is not one of terminal illness or somebody asking for a miraculous healing or replacement limb etc. It was much more positive, originally. The person concerned was going through a difficult time and I prayed that God would give them strength to get through it. They seemed to be doing well and I actually believed they were going to be all right.

Go forward a couple of weeks and they have gone from feeling quite positive to despair. Although I have continued in my prayers, this person has now taken a major backward step and I really don't know if they will be able to get out of it, or even if I'll see them again. It makes me very sad.

It makes me sad too, Jude. The natural response is to bring our sadness to God in prayer, and to ask God to give the person the strength to get through this. [Votive]

If the difficult time involves depression, the peaks and troughs are all part of the illness. That there is a trough doesn't mean that God is not with them, that God has failed to answer the prayer. What God gives us through prayer is hope, not certainty. These three always remain: faith, hope and love.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray.<snip>

To whom? To which of the thousands of gods? Maybe they draw straws at the start of each term?

K.

Exactly! they should at least be able to track down, verify, sbstantiate, find a fact about, the chosen god to which they are being taught to pray. Teaching the definition of the word 'pray' is necessary of course.
I think we've been around this barn a few 100 times already...

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

I have no pat answers nor any placebos, you're doing the right thing in standing by this person in their time of need. That counts for a lot.

Yes. I imagine your friend is better served by your "ministry of presence" than s/he would be by a bunch of meaningless pat answers. May God bless you both.


[Votive]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Jude
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Thanks for your replies, much appreciated.

Just one thing - Fausto - that may be so if God's blessings came from outer space. However, I believe that He is right here with us and His blessings come from very close. Heaven is just a breath away.

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Martin60
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Jude. I have a close friend who CANNOT be helped. He's living in a nest, a den in the countryside with his two cats. For real. The police are aware and being helplessly privileged like me. I'm in useless tears writing this. He texts me. I never take calls, never make them. I text back. He's very sweet. A most close friend in Christian Vision for Men has found him so too, even knowing his truly appalling past: 'A nice young man'. And completely and utterly un-helpable. Other men are waiting in the wings. Nothing can be done. By God let alone anyone else. He can't take any help whilst crying out for it. He trusts us but there is no coherent impetus. Just a long, accelerating decline. The 'best' that can happen is that he crosses some line and is taken in to a secure mental health unit and cared for for the rest of his life. But they don't do that any more do they? Do we.

ALL I know is that all will be well for him after death, which can't be long now. I would call if he unconditionally surrendered, we could move heaven and earth for him if he could accept.

He CAN NOT.

Until he is healed. And such NEVER happens this side of death. And ALWAYS does after. Until then, we must ALL suffer, from God on down.

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Love wins

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Jude
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[Votive] for this young man.

Sometimes we really don't know what else to do and have to leave it in God's hands.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:

Until he is healed. And such NEVER happens this side of death. And ALWAYS does after. Until then, we must ALL suffer, from God on down.

Not never, but certainly not always-- far from it. Not enough.

Love what you say here-- ALL suffer from God on down. And one day, all will be healed.

Maranatha: Come, Lord.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Jude:
Thanks for your replies, much appreciated.

Just one thing - Fausto - that may be so if God's blessings came from outer space. However, I believe that He is right here with us and His blessings come from very close. Heaven is just a breath away.

Yes, of course. Just trying to inject a little levity to lighten up an otherwise heavy topic.

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Martin60
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cliffdweller. None of us knows an exception. And yes I can think of five friends straight away who have been hauled out of the pit. They could be. Because they could reach out unconditionally. This lad cannot. And it's not his or anyone else's fault. From us on up.

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Love wins

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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If children should be taught as much as possible about everything, they should certainly be taught how to pray.<snip>

To whom? To which of the thousands of gods? Maybe they draw straws at the start of each term?

K.

As there is only one living God, they will either find him or not if they pray.
Andu what do you say to the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, New-Agers, Spiritualists, followers of folks religions, followers of Thor or Zeus, who claim, just as you do, that their god answers their prayers and hears them? Or how about the millions of followers of Sathya Sai Baba? In the latter case we even have hundreds or possibly thousands of eye witness accounts of his miracles—including raising the dead.

K.

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"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
Does God intervene directly in our lives and temporarily suspend the laws of nature in our favour when we ask him to do so? This is the question at the heart of the matter. If the answer is 'no', the consequences are not necessarily that 1) there is no God or 2) prayer is useless. I find serious moral problems that result as a consequence of answering 'yes' to the question at the start of this paragraph.

I can imagine that some would answer the question with 'sometimes', but still leaves a rather ugly problem with theodicy. That answer can also take us back to the problem of 'abuse', where the unsuccessful petitioners are left to soak in blame.

K.

and
quote:
And what do you say to the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, New-Agers, Spiritualists, followers of folks religions, followers of Thor or Zeus, who claim, just as you do, that their god answers their prayers and hears them? Or how about the millions of followers of Sathya Sai Baba? In the latter case we even have hundreds or possibly thousands of eye witness accounts of his miracles—including raising the dead.
If the purpose of prayer is not to ask God to intervene and to suspend the laws of nature, but to draw close to God, the Creator of the universe, as that is a good thing to do for our spiritual welfare and for the moral good of society as a whole, then none of the claims above about miracles apply.

It remains a good thing to teach children how to pray.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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How are atheist teachers exactly going to be expected to do this?

It may be a good thing to teach. I don't think it's the schools' job.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
If the purpose of prayer is not to ask God to intervene and to suspend the laws of nature, but to draw close to God, the Creator of the universe, as that is a good thing to do for our spiritual welfare and for the moral good of society as a whole, then none of the claims above about miracles apply.

It remains a good thing to teach children how to pray.

Ah the old "world is the way I say it is, therefore everyone should do what I say" mantra. Every person of goodwill should resist this kind of nonsense.

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arse

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