INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Prayer - Waste of time or.....

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Phaedo
Posts: 55
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 3:54 pm

Prayer - Waste of time or.....

#1 Post by Phaedo » October 8th, 2007, 8:45 pm

Apologies to Whitecraw for introducing this quote out of context from another thread... but it brought to the fore some dormant thoughts.
Spiritual guidance in a Christian context is reflection on the presence and action of God in your life and prayer with a trained and experienced guide.
All my life I seem to have been surrounded by prayer in one form or another. From prayers in school, at weddings, at funerals, on television - all religions have it in one form or other. It appears to me more time is spent in prayer than all other religious acts put together yet do we see any positive benefits from it? If not why can't the practitioners see that and give it up - or if there are any positive benefits where are they?
I can see it providing some consolation for believers in times of difficulty but that alone can't account for it's ubiquity, universality or apparent hold over people.
Any thoughts.......
True lovers of knowledge are temperate and brave...
Socrates

User avatar
Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

#2 Post by Alan C. » October 8th, 2007, 9:16 pm

The pope prayed for Madeleine McCann and nothing came of it (surprise surprise) So I don't know why mere mortals even bother.
My wife's brother professes to be a Buddhist and does this inane chanting for an hour at a time.
When I ask him something like "do you believe that Buddha was born through a slit in his mothers side" He grins and says "no of course not"
These religious folk are a strange lot.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

#3 Post by Alan H » October 8th, 2007, 9:40 pm

Many religionists think their god is non-interventionist, making it even more strange - he/she/it doesn't intervene, so he/she/it doesn't answer prayers.

I suppose what they get out of it may not be the 'asking for something to happen', but perhaps asking for forgiveness. Nothing like owning up to something (privately) to clear your conscience.

Bubbles
Posts: 13
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 1:29 pm

#4 Post by Bubbles » October 8th, 2007, 10:29 pm

I think the positive benefits of prayer are more to do with the physicality of it. At work we have a sound-proofed 'quiet room' - don't ask! When the office is busy to the point of frantic, it is incredibly re-freshing to sit in the calm peaceful atmosphere and just let your mind wander for 10 mins or so. I think people pray because it feels good!

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

#5 Post by Nick » October 8th, 2007, 10:48 pm

I agree, Bubbles. It can also be a chance to gird the loins, summon the blood, share a problem or cleanse the mind. No super-nature involved of course. Likewise, singing lifts the spirits.

Don Alhambra
Posts: 30
Joined: September 2nd, 2007, 10:17 pm

#6 Post by Don Alhambra » October 9th, 2007, 1:24 pm

There was a prayer study done on heart patients. People either received no prayer, prayer and knew they were being prayed for or prayer and didn't know. There was no significant difference between the prayer and no-prayer group... but the group who knew they were being prayed for had a significantly higher mortality rate!

Conclusions: prayer doesn't help, and can be positively harmful if the object of the prayer knows they're being prayed for...

(I can't find the reference, but will post it as soon as I do.)

Phaedo
Posts: 55
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 3:54 pm

#7 Post by Phaedo » October 9th, 2007, 2:30 pm

Don Alhambra wrote:There was a prayer study done on heart patients. People either received no prayer, prayer and knew they were being prayed for or prayer and didn't know. Conclusions: prayer doesn't help, and can be positively harmful if the object of the prayer knows they're being prayed for...

(I can't find the reference, but will post it as soon as I do.)
See 'The God Experiment' by Prof. Russell Stannard, former Prof of Physics at the Open University. The study was funded, not surprisingly, by the John Templeton Foundation, whose sticky fingers are to be found wherever the muddying of waters in the religion/science compatibility debate is required. Prof. Stannard is also a trustee of the Foundation.
The official conclusion of the study was that the results were inconclusive and that either a better aproach was required = or = that scientific analysis was not an appropriate approach in studying the results of prayer. Surprise, Surprise.
True lovers of knowledge are temperate and brave...
Socrates

User avatar
Oxfordrocks
Posts: 673
Joined: September 10th, 2007, 9:45 am

#8 Post by Oxfordrocks » October 9th, 2007, 7:30 pm

To mis-quote someone (Emma Goldman??):

"If praying changed anything they would ban it."
There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating staying in EU.

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of staying in the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens will be caused by leaving EU?
3. Should the supreme court ruling on British subjects be based in UK?

User avatar
Lifelinking
Posts: 3248
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 11:56 am

#9 Post by Lifelinking » October 9th, 2007, 7:39 pm

many of you will be familiar with this website that asks the impertinent (pertinent) question as to why, if prayer works, there are no cases where amputees have been cured?

:halo:

L
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Phaedo
Posts: 55
Joined: July 5th, 2007, 3:54 pm

#10 Post by Phaedo » October 9th, 2007, 9:16 pm

Just found this on the Templeton Foundation website...
Press Releases
Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP)
The Largest Study of Third-Party Remote Intercessory Prayer Suggests
Prayer Not Effective in Reducing Complications Following Heart Surgery
and even more damning..
Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.
If they admit it then the evidence must be conclusive.
These findings refer to a new, improved and larger study than the one I referred to earlier.
True lovers of knowledge are temperate and brave...
Socrates

Maria Mac
Site Admin
Posts: 9300
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:34 pm

#11 Post by Maria Mac » October 9th, 2007, 10:17 pm

I persuaded Alan to join me in saying the Lord's Prayer the other day. We were both stressed and upset after a row with our neighbours and I was trying to think of ways to calm us both down so I thought just reciting something very familiar might help. I also thought it was quite a funny idea.

It didn't work - in fact we started to argue about the words, as in which line came after which. It occurred to me that although I'd recited the damn thing almost every day of my primary school life, I'd never really understood it.

It's a mildly interesting exercise, if you haven't recited it for many years to see if you can still do it.

Edited to add: Shit! I've just realised I broke my promise never to admit to anyone that we'd tried it.

Sorry, Alan. :halo:

User avatar
Lifelinking
Posts: 3248
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 11:56 am

#12 Post by Lifelinking » October 9th, 2007, 10:18 pm

there are different versions (coming from a mixed proddy / cafflic background I have been subjected to several of em), :cross:


L
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

#13 Post by Alan H » October 9th, 2007, 11:29 pm

Maria wrote:Edited to add: Shit! I've just realised I broke my promise never to admit to anyone that we'd tried it.

Sorry, Alan. :halo:
I'll see you tomorrow about this...

Don Alhambra
Posts: 30
Joined: September 2nd, 2007, 10:17 pm

#14 Post by Don Alhambra » October 11th, 2007, 11:19 am

Thank Phaedo, that's the one I was referring to. :)

Post Reply