Sunday, December 9, 2007

prayer = laziness

Ya know what shits me?

People who say, "I'll pray for you."

I appreciate part of the sentiment behind that particularly odious phrase. The part that translates as, "I wish I could do somthing."

And to that sentiment I think "awww gee, isn't that swell, they wish they could help." And then I think, "Hold on! Their wishing to help stops when they hit their knees because they feel like they already have helped!"

I understand the feeling of helplessness in a situation where you really have no direct control and where there might not be anything you can personally do to fix what the personn is going through.

My problem with people who say, "I'll pray for you." is because they can't immediately think of something to do, some way to get involved, they offer to pray and actually believe they've made a difference.

The thing is, there is always something you can do. It just depends on the actual situation and your own imagination.

Get off your knees, unfold your hands, roll up your sleeves and do something meaningful with that time. Use that brain and the imagination that you think your god gave you and actually do something constructive for the other person.

And if that person who is worth your prayers isn't worth your time and effort, then how contemptible is it that you will turn them over to your god just so you don't have to deal with them at all?

Thanks for the pic Joe!!!!


Crazyman Bob said...

Good post. I hope some christians read it.

Fiery said...

I doubt they'd have the courage to respond to it even if they did.

WOW! You are really on top of things, post's only been up about 10 minutes!!!! :D

Poodles said...

AMEN! Oh, wait... Never mind. :D

Reg Golb said...

Courage. I fear no feable blow from sword or pen.

Your point is well taken though. I would argue that "prayer alone = laziness".

Even if you don't believe in prayer there are some who absolutely do. And even "if" there is no god, that person could be comforted by the thought that someone was praying for them.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I much prefer to put myself at the disposal of the person in need, than to give good wishes. Though as Reg indicates well-wishing/prayer can offer some comfort.

Hang on, I just agreed with Reg :0

Poodles said...

Quick Sean, it won't count if you shower, get thee to a bath tub!

Thump Thump Eyes said...

I agree, I dont like the 'i'll pray for you' types, and I also dont like the 'bless you' ones either....I can never figure out what thats supposed to mean?

Fiery said...

TTEYes, 'cause when you sneeze, you're soul leaves your body and if you aren't blessed the devil will take possession.

I go with the german non-religious response if I say anything at all. Personally I think the one sneezing should say "excuse me".

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Ha! I see I should have explained it better....sometimes we've done a job for a religious type, when they pick up the job they say bless you, (and no one has sneezed:) I was just wondering why they bless me for doing a job which they've paid me for anyway....

Fiery said...

Ohhhhhh... that's fundy speak for "thank you". They are calling upon their god to give you a special treat for being of service to them.

It's like a scooby snack, you're expected to be grateful.

T&A said...

I think the phrase "faith without works is dead" applies here. It's nice that someone is thoughtful enough to care, but if all they are offering is a prayer, it doesn't really mean much.

Richard said...

Pray comes from the Latin precārī to beg.

So that is what it all boils down to, begging for life, happiness and pretty much everything else, as if you were dirt under some other being's sole.

[Kira:] "Do you believe in God, Andrei?"
"Neither do I. But that's a favourite question of mine. An upside down question, you know."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life, they'd never understand what I meant. It`s a bad question. It can mean so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in God. And if they say they do - then, I know they don't believe in life."
"Because, you see, God - whatever anyone chooses to call God - is one`s highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life.

I find that incontrovertible. It is from "We the Living", by Ayn Rand.

Reg Golb said...

Well, when you put it that way.
Thanks Kira, you have successfully removed the entire reason for this blog. I am no longer a deist, I am now a MEIST. horrah for me.

Fiery said...

Glob, once again you are speaking of something you know nothing about.

I blog for friendship, to meet and discuss things with like minded individuals.

The world would be a better place if you were a rational deist.

Reg Golb said...

This is long but really cool (to me) if you want to delete it I will fully understand.

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the
students, "Let me explain the problem science has with religion." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"
"Yes sir," the student says.
"So you believe in God?"
"Is God good?"
"Sure! God's good."
"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"
"Are you good or evil?"
"The Bible says I'm evil."
The professor grins knowingly. "Aha! The Bible!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"
"Yes sir, I would."
"So you're good...!"
"I wouldn't say that."
"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't."
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. "He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"
The student remains silent.
"No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
"Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"
"Er...yes," the student says.
"Is Satan good?"
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."
"Then where does Satan come from?"
The student falters. "From God"
"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"
"Yes, sir."
"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"
"So who created evil?" The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."
Again, the student has no answer.
"Is there sickness? Immorality?
Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?"
The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."
"So who created them?"
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. "Who created them?" There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
"Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you
believe in Jesus Christ, son?"
The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor, I do."
The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"
"No sir. I've never seen Him."
"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"
"No, sir, I have not."
"Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"
"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."
"Yet you still believe in him?"
"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?"
"Nothing," the student replies. "I only have my faith."
"Yes, faith," the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith."
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. "Professor, is there such thing as heat?"
"Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat."
"And is there such a thing as cold?"
"Yes, son, there's cold too."
"No sir, there isn't."
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.
"You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458
"Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom,
sounding like a hammer.
"What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"
"Yes," the professor replies without hesitation. "What is night if it isn't darkness?"
"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence
of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light,
flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word."
"In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?"
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. "So what point are you making, young man?"
"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to
start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."
The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time.
"Flawed? Can you explain how?"
"You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains.
"You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought."
"It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it."
"Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"
"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do."
"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes
where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
"Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?"
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean."
The student looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out into laughter.
"Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir."
"So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."
"Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life," the student continues.
"Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"
Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it
does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is
just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

I got this a week ago. I am sure you will all be fully convinced by it.

Fiery said...

Your disguise as a bible thumping christian is wearing thin. I can see the man behiind the curtain and I don't know why you are on my blog playing "jeebus advocate" but it isn't necessary.

Nor do I understand why you have felt compelled in the past to act like a jerk, then act nice for awhile, and then come around full circle and post the hilarious "pseudo-discussion" like the one above with its oh so obvious flaws is beyond me.

Seriously. You don't have to pretend anymore. My blog doesn't really need a resident fundy and playing "smear the queer" is so passe.

Heck you can even change blogger ids so no one associates the real you with the fake glob.

Reg Golb said...

That is all you needed to say.
I have certainly enjoyed most of your posts. If my disagreement with you or your audience is being a jerk, then I guess you will get your wish.

Fiery said...

Now, now. Don't play the ingenue. I owned up to the smearing of the queer at least be man enough to admit you deserved ...most of it. The offended innocent is not becoming on you.

There is only one banned from my blog and it's not you.

Go, stay, right now the choice is yours.

Allow me to rephrase my previous comment more directly.

Glob- do you really believe in Jesus (from virgin birth to 3 days dead to risen again), heaven (being in god's presence), hell (eternal punishment), creationism (6 days from nothingness to everything as we now know it)?

E-mail me the reply if you wish, answer here, whichever you prefer, I for one would like to know. I know why I don't believe. I wonder why you DO believe....

Xavier Onassis said...

I used to work for a subsidiary of Hallmark.

Remember their tagline?

"When you care enough to send the very best!"

Our version of that was...

"When you only care enough to send a card!"

That's "prayer".

Fiery said...

XO- Were you in the Maxine division???? Somehow I don't see you in the Precious Moments division of Halmark. *snerk*

An offer to pray for someone is an excuse to do absolutely nothing for someone and still expect gratitude for it.

Xavier Onassis said...

fiery - I worked for a retail subsidiary of "HaMmark".

Although they were very upscale (we sold Russian laquer boxes to blue-haired old ladies), the retail division was the bottom of the barrel of the HaMmark corporate pecking order.

I worked in the credit department...which was the bottom of the barrel of the retail division.

I worked in collections...which was the bottom of the barrel of the credit department.

I wasn't allowed to collect anything from anybody...because all of our clientele were too "upscale". They could charge whatever they wanted and never pay a dime because they were, ya know, IMPORTANT.

Mayor's wife? $129,000.00! Six month's past due? Untouchable! Don't you DARE call or write!

Some poor Joe schmuck? Just divorced? Lost his job? $60 bucks? Sixty days past due?

Sue the bastard! Garnishee his wages! Get him fired! We don't care!

Makes me want to puke.

Richard said...

Reg Glob's story is a pack of equivocations - slipping about with double meanings of words.

Cold is a reference to a human standard of molecular motion. It is very handy that we now know how that motion works. Its discovery came long after "hot" and "cold" were developed as concepts for that human standard. As such cold is "too little heat" not the absence of heat, as the student suggests. If you want to get really silly about it, there is no such thing as heat either, just rapidly moving particles.


I ran across a really good example of this kind of nonsense some years ago.

First, consider that there absolutely massive spaces between atom nuclei and their electrons. If the nucleus were a basketball, the first orbiting electron would be a pinpoint some 8 to ten miles away! Molecules, are therefore mostly empty space. However the forces around them are substantial on that scale.

Now if a car hits a telephone pole it is pretty safe to say that the molecules of the car never touch the molecules of the pole. Does that mean the concept of "touch" is false, because nothing can ever actually touch anything else?. No, of course not.

The concept "touch" applies at a non-atomic level. It references the influence and spacing objects have on one another on a macroscopic scale. "Touch" is a contextually proper concept, as is cold, dark, or nothing. The professor has permitted an absurd degree of context dropping, in addition to the aforementioned equivocation.


Note how the professor appeals to "protocol" rather than the functioning mind as it uses its sensory input. He traps himself in Empiricism... the idea that only the facts that present themselves can be trusted, and that conclusions drawn from them are arbitrary notions taken on faith!

Do we need "faith" to conclude that China really does exist, even if we have never been there? No, of course not. Evidence points to China's existence in a host of different forms. Those forms of inference are valid, just as Reg concludes on smelling dinner, that it will be a roast of some kind. He did not see the roast in the oven, but he was able to conclude accordingly... and the oven was hot!! The same is true of the professor's brain, of the car hitting the pole, and so on.

Simple inference by eight year olds allows for such conclusions, yet this story relies on undermining such inference.

Death and Darkness are absences, as is Nothing. As such they only have meaning because Life, Light and Something clearly DO exist. The same can be said of cold. They are useful terms for thought and for communication, but they have context!

The above matters of reasoning skill ought to be thoroughly taught by the last year of high school. No one should be without them, yet they are even hard to find in University philosophy or logic courses!

Without a proper grasp of how to use concepts and reason, the storyteller and Glob are unwittingly seeking to reify (bring into existence) absence as substance. Thus they can equate substance with absence, death with life etc etc. All of reality becomes an indeterminate haze of confusion on such terms. No wonder fundies are so hopelessly unable to reason at the abstract levels required. No wonder the babble starts out with the prerequisite that one should not eat the fruit of the "Tree of Knowledge". (Genesis 2: 9, 16-17; KJV)

So Reg, if you are still hanging-in out there, you may be able to see that the story is pitiable nonsense, though I dare say it held my attention a bit.

[I hope this was reasonably coherent for other readers, as it is something of a grab-bag of points.]

Reg Golb said...

"If you want to get really silly about it, there is no such thing as heat either, just rapidly moving particles."

If you want to get silly, go ahead.

Physicists study heat (not hot by the way) which is a form of energy.
So unless you are saying energy isn't something, then please clarify.

Incidentally, I just thought it was a cute story (like Ricardo's), not the answer to every question, (unlike Ricardo's).

"Death and Darkness are absences, as is Nothing. As such they only have meaning because Life, Light and Something clearly DO exist."

So then Richard, what is EVIL if not the absense of good(or GOD)?

Johnny said...

Faith is required to believe in brains? What about that one I cut out of a lady's head in anatomy class?
Didn't see jebus hanging around that particular class, or any particular class for that matter.
Why is it so hard for fundies to understand how science works? If you ask me it is willfull ignorance.

So then Richard, what is EVIL if not the absense of good(or GOD)? Evil is a concept that wholly relies on man, there are many examples of the duality of evil where an evil deed or act in one persons eyes is not in anothers, where evil can be done to obtain good. Evil is not the absence of good like dark is the absence of light.

Fiery said...

A friend sent this to me earlier today.

The fundamental factor that must be remembered is that man is a united being of body and spirit, possessing free will. The cause of any crime is the choice of the criminal to commit it: if he had no choice, his action was not a crime. And the cause of the choice to commit a crime is the criminal’s abdication of the responsibility of thinking, his irrational and unsustainable desire to exist as a parasite on his fellow human beings, rather than producing and trading to gain the values he requires to live.
~Andrew Medworth

Thence cometh evil.

Richard said...

Reg wrote,
"So unless you are saying energy isn't something, then please clarify."

My response may seem long, but I think most people will find it a worthwhile read (certainly more than the story of the professor and student discussing faith).

As a biology teacher, teaching about kinetic and potential energy, I realized that textbooks and a great many physicists do NOT know what energy really is.

E.g. From Star Trek, Scotty looks out the big screen on "The Bridge", sees a big pink 'cloud' and announces, (put in accent), "It's pure energy Captain!" Nonsense!

To teach it, I had to know, so I worked on the notion using my knowledge of epistemology, particularly of concept formation. I came to understand how energy is a very abstract concept. It is a remarkable achievement of our most amazing tool for survival: the human mind. This is a summation of how I worked it out.

First, an abstraction is a quality of a (real) thing that the human mind focuses on by disregarding the rest of the qualities of that thing. For example, grass is green. Now, lets talk about different "greens" that we could use in our living room decor. We have disregarded "grass", to focus only on "greenness". Note that you cannot *actually* have green without something that *is* or has, a green quality. Nonetheless our minds can separate the green quality from the thing.

Going further, we can even talk about abstractions drawn from simpler abstractions. A couple may consider, "What colors will we use in our dining room?". They have disregarded any particular color, and are speaking about color in general. Note that you cannot point to "color" only to things that have color. Color does not exist as a 'thing' in itself. It is strictly a result of the conceptual faculty using its methods of abstraction.

Now, getting closer to "energy", please consider "miles per gallon" or mpg, as a concept.

We can measure distance by using some standard and we can measure gas by volume. (Miles and gallons are themselves arrived at by abstraction, using standard actual quantities.) We calculate mpg by a process of simple division (another abstraction). So we have mpg equals a number of miles divided by a number of gallons: mpg=miles/gallons. The result is an integration* of those two qualities into something that has real meaning to us HUMANS, but that does not exist in and of itself! Note that like "color" you cannot point to mpg. Neither exist *as such* in the physical world.

*integration means bringing parts together to create a single whole... but here it is an act of thought --by man's faculty for reason, namely, its ability to form concepts.

The concept mpg, works perfectly in the real world because the abstractions it uses are based on real world facts: real distances and real volumes.

Now "energy"!

Energy is based on the same process of calculation as is mpg. Energy uses the mass and velocity of some object. The simple physics equation for energy is E=1/2mv^2. (the hat indicates "raised to the power of"). That is, energy is an integration of mass and velocity.

You cannot point to an "energy" any more than you could point to a "color" or an "mpg". Neither exist as a substantive (a thing of substance). No one will ever be able to observe "pure" energy, or any energy, Captain.

I have had this conceptual analysis of energy checked out with a very bright PhD of physics who also understands concept formation. He agreed with me, and has adopted my explanation for his own students.

How can this view of energy be used? The following example shows how one can think about it.

What is electrical energy? The electrons in a wire (or lightning) are moving with a mass and a velocity, but they also have a charge. When any moving things influence other things, *motion* is transferred by some force, in this case by repelling or attracting electrical charges. So the moving electrons can cause other electrons to move. 'Energy' itself is NOT transferred, as if so much water was moved from bucket to bucket. Instead the electrical charges force the movement of another mass. Now that the new mass has velocity, its energy can be calculated. For simplicity's sake, one can say "energy has been transferred", but that is something of an oversimplification. Really a force of one moving object has started the movement of another.

Note that the forces involved are not needed in the calculation of energy, but it remains an inherent part of the integration that is "energy". The abstraction that is "force" is a given that causes the subsequent movement of the second mass involved in the calculation of its. So, the equation also accepts as a given, the existence of a second mass with respect to the first. If it didn't no velocity could be calculated --the velocity has to be measured in relation to some other object. And,if there is to be a transfer, or conversion of, energy, then some other object must be available for that transfer or conversion.

Using the above we can see how nuclear energy (motions of subatomic particles) can be converted to steam (motion of molecules) which can be converted to the motion of a generator to produce electron motion in wires. Nuclear energy has been 'converted' to electrical energy, but really it is just a transfer of motion, by various forces, between various objects (masses).

So Reg, energy exists abstractly, but not substantively.

xzithlan said...

Prayer is not the call to laziness. When you say you will pray for someone, you are creating a conscious directive to help someone. Through prayer, one focuses on:
1. what the need really is
2. ways of helping, come to mind during or after prayer.

Blindly rushing in to help is never a good idea. If someone is drowning you throw them a lifesaver.

When someone says they will pray for you, they are thinking about you. During prayer (which is really a quiet thinking process with a single purpose), the person will receive an idea and because they are christian are called to put it into action.

I will pray that you come to learn how prayer can help you.

Fiery said...

On the off chance that you return Xzithlan, this discussion will continue here. Thank you for visiting my blog.

I invite you to stick around for awhile. You have an amazing opportunity, will you embrace it?

Protium said...


Fiery said...

Did you just bump me?

Protium said...

Yes I did!

Fiery said...

Well I am just shocked. SHOCKED I tell you.

Nobody and I mean NOBODY has bumped me before. Ever.

You have stripped by bump-inity from me without any warning and without asking me if it was what I wanted.

I liked it. Do it again!!!! ;)

Protium said...

Well I guess this fundytard isn't getting alert emails then...

We must BUMP more some time, it was nice.