Thanks for sharing, Scattered and Monkeydust. It's always interesting to hear your reaction to various ideas.
Oh, no!! :shock: Not that, please not that!!!Scattered said:Fantastic post. I give up.
Later in your post you say you have been exposed to Christianity, but these questions and that statement do not jibe. For you to ask such questions, I am forced to conclude that whatever you heard about that was "called" Christianity was anything BUT.Scattered said:God has revealed himself to you. Does he speak to you? Do you have conversations? Do you sit down at dinner together and talk about your day?
And I don't. Believers tell you what is their experience. It is you who have made pronouncements that all there is to life is decay and death. You cannot find a statement of mine in which I say anything parallel to that about God being truly real. I talked about what believers believe only.Scattered said:There is no way for you to make any pronouncements about the reality of God.
I could not agree with you more, Scattered, but you do not know the full extent of reality. You can report that it appears to you that all there is to life is decay and death, but that's quite a different statement than the ones you've been making.Scattered said:I have no reason to hate religion or those who practice it. I have no reason to disrespect religion. But I also have no reason to believe in it and every reason to speak out against it when its used as an excuse to not face reality.
I wouldn't agree. Most people who believe actually only have their personal experience and no book knowledge other than the Bible itself, if even that. It's just that making statements is tricky: When we say, "There is no God," what are we really saying here? We are saying, "I know everything there is to know about existence, and I am telling you there is no God." Now, nobody thinks you really mean that, but that is what in fact the statement, "There is nothing but....." says. In other words, when I "correct" you, I am not saying don't express your opinion; I am saying, for your own good (because frankly, many people will just refuse to converse with you rather than go through what I am going through right now -- it takes effort to write all this down), express your opinion as your opinion -- not as "the truth."Scattered said:I suppose that because I'm not a devout member of any of the religions that are being spoken of, or have taken the time to delve into archaic tomes of information, I have no right to make any statements about religion.
God always answers. That you and I may not like the answer is a different matter. You don't really expect God to give you everything you ask for, do you? Just like you wouldn't give a toddler something he thought was good but that really wasn't good for him, God frequently says No, and you interpret it as no answer. That's incorrect. He always answers.Scattered said:I believe that I've been acquainted with christianity to be given the right to offer my opinion of it. I was forced into a belief that I then gave myself to. I prayed to God. He didn't answer.
Protect them? From what? Being human and suffering what humans suffer? Find out what God really offers protection from, and then tell me he doesn't deliver.Scattered said:I saw desperate people around me praying and going to church and doing whatever was necessary to instill in them even the smallest amount of hope that God was going to protect them or grant them happiness.
I know exactly what you are saying and I have the same problem when I read a lot of comments people make; committed Christians struggle with this misguided and inaccurate way of talking about things, and the problem is exactly as you frame it, I think. It's the statements that attempt to "explain" the good that are misguided and inadequate. Whether something good or something bad happens to us, those things are on an equal footing with everything else that happens to us -- they are part of God's plan. Remember that God's plan for us (and I'm speaking without the "believers believe that" preface to my remarks, so please insert them mentally here before anything I say, okay, just to make it a little easier for me to get through this) is not limited to our time on this earth. Only the testimony of the Holy Spirit in our hearts can cause us to believe that, though. No human words can do it. No reasoning can do it. Only the action of the Holy Spirit working mysteriously in our depths can do it. What the Holy Spirit does is give us the gift of faith; because of this gift, we believe what we cannot see on the basis of the One who touched us in a place inside us that we didn't even know we HAD.Scattered said:However, I have never seen anything come of it. When God doesn't answer your prayers or allows great injustice to occur then it is because "he works in mysterious ways." When something good happens then it is immediately attributed to God's grace. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the role that religion plays in the lives of the desperate.
But you're quite right in questioning the healthiness of the belief that says, "God loves me and Christ died for my sins, so it doesn't really matter what I do." I hope you never stop pointing out the absurdity of such beliefs.Scattered said:But believe what you will. Have hope, I'm sure you're belief in God whether he exists or not is healthy.
I hope you're sitting down. :lol:Scattered said:It gives you a reason to wake up in the morning and the hope of being saved from illness by an all loving being.
I think you actually do understand them, Scattered. I really do think you do. I think you just have some stuff left over from an earlier time that you might want to reexamine.Scattered said:Great. I'll shutup because I just don't understand the deep spiritual truths inherent in religion that are beyond my comprehension.
I would have been interested in your responses to the things I said, Scattered, but if you'd rather not, that's fine, too.Scattered said:I think you're viewpoints are completely valid. You're obviosuly extremely dedicated to your religion and theres no use in me trying to argue the point. Thanks for the in-depth reply anyway. I'll continue to lurk around and call your bullshit from time to time. Be seeing you.
OK, Homeskooled, I defer to you, because I am but a convert of some 23 or so years. Yes, I even thought of the scripture of the old woman and the judge when I was writing my post, and yet still made the error! I suppose I am not clear on where the two aspects of prayer meet or where they diverge.Homeskooled said:Dear Sojourner,
I'm afraid I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your position on prayer. The Church is very clear that while one can ask for God to strengthen us, prayer is not just an exercise which is good for the soul and our moral fortitude, even if we are saying that we should pray for god to give us the grace of that fortitude. It is safer to argue a stance such as that, because when a prayer is "unanswered" it gives a believer a safe exit from the argument, but praying is all about storming heaven to persuade God. When a saint is canonized in the Catholic Church, the saint in question must have two medical miracles verified by outside institutions, and done through that saint's intercession. In this case, those who pray for the sick are asking the saint to intercede to God on their behalf. But more than that, it is a Catholic beleif based in very biblical foundations. Do you remember Christ's parable of the old woman and the judge? Eventhough he despised the woman and cared nothing for the problem she had, she was so persistent in asking the judge to rule in her favor that he finally relented "because of her persistence". This is how we are to pray to God as well - relentlessly, and with the hope that he hears and will answer it with a yes. That wont always be the case, but I believe a great deal of situations are morally neutral, and Divine Providence can use many different outcomes in a situation to the same beautiful end.
Rogue? Aren't you talking about the "Relaxation Response" guy, who runs the Mind-Body place at Beth Israel?Homeskooled said:The Medpage Today study you pulled up was also the Mantra II study which Scattered quoted earlier. As Scattered pointed out, only high dose prayer along with relaxation techniques seemed to lower morbidity. The Harvard study which I have been prattling on about for some time was formed by a rogue Harvard doctor named Dr. Benson.
I'd be happy to Google, but I need more particulars about these studies.Homeskooled said:He practices there, and was first thought in the 1990's to be quite eccentric when he took up studies on prayer. His studies have been so thought provoking and well-organized, however, that he is readily granted funds by the NIH. His most recent study, the 800 pound gorilla of prayer studies, was wrapped last year. I believe it used something like 900 patients, and doesnt have the tabulation problems that previous studies did. Other famous studies, such as the San Francisco AIDS/Prayer study, used markers of wellness such as psychological well-being of those being prayed for. Most of the medical communtiy would like to see only objectively measurable standards of health used, because of the skepticism surrounding religious/medical studies. Its a double standard, however, as all medical trials and studies use psychological markers of well-being, from pharmaceutical trials to anorexia studies. Preliminary data has been published in medical journals , but none of it seems to have appeared online yet. The results are a mixed bag, but the preliminary studies seem to be highly favorable. I'm very excited about it, actually. If anyone can Google the results online, please let me know.