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Without religion, is a prayer just a wish?

believeit 2011
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Joined: Dec 2010

This came up on another thread so I'm wondering how others view this. If you don't have a "belief system" based on religion in place, what can you pray to? As I understand it, prayer has always been a religious practice so if you don't subscribe to any religious deities what can you pray to? Would you agree a wish is just a hope or desire for something with no outside control and a prayer is a thought, desire, or question offered to a deity or higher power of some sort in hopes of that prayer being heard and answered by the deity or higher power? I'm not sure that explanation is just or right but maybe close. Can you pray without faith? I think I've heard that Agnostics pray but is that just wishfull thinking since they don't expect an actual result from it? An Agnostic prayer might be "I pray you find peace". Is that really a prayer (if not directed to anything or anyone) or would that just be wishing someone well?
Just curious...
Chris

Phil, I've accepted that this section is for "general discussion" as I mentioned in a previous post of mine so here's one....
Take care

Hondo's picture
Hondo
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There are people that pray to themselves and others that pray to cows and some that pray to the dead. Not that it is to a higher power but a faith or a belief system that they learned from someone else, whether it is to believe in something or nothing at all I am not sure. There are people who believe in Yoga, they seek inner peace and a connection with their body, mind, and spirit, not that it is a prayer but a seeking of fulfillment of one’s desire.

The dictionary says that prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional connection to a God or Spirit through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may also involve the use of words or even songs.

I think that a prayer can be anything that a person wants it to be, that being to a higher power, a God or to oneself.

As a Christian my prayers are to God because that is my personal belief, not that I am right and all others wrong.

One of the problems with our World today is that there are people who want to tell everyone else how to pray, what to believe, and how to believe. I am glad that I live in a county that I still have Religious freedom but I wonder how much longer that will be for.

We could all learn to live better if we could all learn to understand and accept each other for what we are and what we believe or not believe.

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

Hey Hondo, I see where you're coming from but it's actually "prayer" I'm wondering about. Is it considered a prayer without some formed belief system, as in religion, where there is an expected recipient of that prayer. I consider any belief system to be a form of religion whether it's a cow, a statue or the sun. If you believe that object is a form of Deity then I would consider that a religion and so prayer would serve a purpous. My question is regarding those with no organized belief system in place. People that feel that humanity is all there is, or there's nothing beyond our knowledge or maybe there is something but don't have a name for it. Do they have an emotional system to convey thoughts similar to prayer and if so, what can they expect from it?
I agree about learning to accept each other and we learn by asking questions. It's just that sometimes people don't agree with the answers.
Take care,
Thanks for the input.

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
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As an atheist, I don't pray to anything or at all. If I say something like "I wish I had a frying pan" it's because my son or boyfriend is nearby and I'm hinting ;-) Nothing higher-power related. I'm interested in what other people will say, here, however!

stayingcalm

*edit - despite my hat, no, I don't believe in Santa Claus, either, sorry ;-)

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

Hey thanks. So if you were to want good things for someone, that you have no control of, how would you convey that sentiment? Would you say hope, wish or something else? Do you ever say "I hope you feel better" or similar sentiments? If so, what value do you give that hope? I know in religion a prayer has great value so saying a prayer for someone or something is important. If there is no belief of an outside presence then is there any point in hoping for something or do you feel humans have some undetermined ability to give value to a hope or a wish? I mean value more than just a kind expression. I guess what I'm asking is, would someone of your persuasion use the word "hope" or "wish" in the same context as prayer or are they just words to convey the expression of caring?
Thanks for the input.

Cute picture. So you may not believe in Santa but what about the cat?

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
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I often do say "I hope things go well" and "I hope this works for you" - it has nothing to do with prayer and everything to do with my concern for whomever I'm saying it to. It's tantamount to saying "I have no control over what is troubling you, but it will make me happy if the treatment works!"

The cat only believes in the Holy Tuna Can ;)

bluerose's picture
bluerose
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Just kidding around. Couldn't resist.

That's what I was going to assume about atheists, they don't pray - period. Guess that assumption is right by the sounds of it.

I think it's just when people believe in a higher power so deeply they can't fathom anyone not praying to any higher power period. Prayer is always there to them and I think they assume in others too no matter what their faith says or if they say they have no faith.

Hope you had a good Non Christmas. lol Again, sorry, couldn't resist, sheesh what is wrong with me today. lol

Take care

Bluerose

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
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Well, I wouldn't presume to stand in for any atheist except myself, but why would I pray when I don't believe there is anything to pray to ;-) I had a great secular Christmas, thanks, I got my frying pan! (and a new saucepan and a 320GB USB hard drive, yayy!)

Bluerose, you're such a caring, sweet lady I wouldn't be able to take anything you say amiss!

stayingcalm

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Kittens have been known to bring gifts.
I've gotten a few mice but no frying pans yet!

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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I don't think you are asking me this because I do have faith and a belief in a higher power but don't have a religion. I almost didn't answer for this reason. But it was my belief that Agnostics don't pray. Maybe I'm wrong, it wouldn't be the first time.

sea60's picture
sea60
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that it would be believing more in "chance" or "coinsidence". At least that's how I used to think before.

Marcia, I just noticed your picture...girl, you are too funny! Your pictures are just hilarious! Great job!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

believeit 2011
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Joined: Dec 2010

Thanks Marcia, no, I'm not asking anyone in particular just a thought I had. So, if you don't have a specific religion or "name" for a "higher power", who,or what, are prayers directed to? I've heard this on other forums and wondered how something like that goes. Normaly when I pray it is directed to God, or Jesus, or Saints and I think Pagans would pray to maybe a ruler of nature or the elements. But if someone doesn't have a formed opinion on who or what created Us or the earth, what function does a prayer serve. It's easy when you have guidelines to follow such as in a religion. When one forms their own opinions, what is the intent or function of a prayer. I guess the easy answer is, "what ever they want it to be" but I'm curious though how someone would describe a prayer if they don't follow a normal definition of it. Do you think it holds more value to the recipient if someone says "I hope things work out for you" or "I'm praying for you"?
I wonder...

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Prayer: An earnest hope or wish, can be directed to anything a person wants it to be directed to. You're right Chris, "It's easy when you have guidelines to follow such as in a religion." They tell you who to pray to and how to do it. Not unlike how they have their own ways of telling people how they should live their lives.
"When one forms their own opinions, what is the intent or function of a prayer. I guess the easy answer is, "what ever they want it to be" ". YES, very simple. I do not see much of a difference other than one being one's own personal thoughts and methods while the other is being told or scripted how to do it.

Do you think it's not possible to have Faith without Religion or Spirituality without Religion or MUST Religion play a role with how a person interacts with...let's call it a "Higher Power"?
I'm wondering....

I really think it depends on who you say it to. I don't think either saying has more value than the other. "I'm praying for you" at times sounds to me like "how are you?" when people really don't want to hear how you are. "I hope things work out" can be taken as "that's nice...I'm glad I'm not in YOUR shoes".
;-)

believeit 2011
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Joined: Dec 2010

I hear ya phil but I think religion helps. It's like a map of sorts. It guides you to where you want to be (final destination). You may still get there using a different path but religion kinda says, others have gone this way and been satisfied with the route so you should try it too. You may take a trip (life) and just follow the compass knowing your destination is West(you may or may not arrive but you'll enjoy the trip anyway). You could also use AAA (religion)and they provide a preffered route with a prediction of arrival. You can also follow the course of people slightly ahead of you on the same trip (older family members). So you can ask yourself, is the destination as important as the trip? That's one way religion functions, I guess, by saying the destination is more important than the trip and if you follow the right map you have a better chance of arriving at the place you want to be...
Sorry, Got off subject....

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PhillieG
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I think religion can help some people get to where they want to go. It probably fits like a glove and that's great for them. I think there is a saying that goes something like this: "There are many paths to heaven". Ha! having just Googled that, I see that it is not something that is accepted by christians or at least the majority of them. It's probably a Buddhist saying that uses "salvation" instead of "heaven".

My point is that I believe there are many ways to get to the same end. I do not think that a person has to go through a religion to get to heaven if that is where they want to get to or that religion is necessary at all. I can understand how there can be comfort for some who are with other like-minded people. It's just not for me.

It's all based on faith. I do not believe that anyone knows the answer and we won't find out until we die.
I do remember one member saying that he wanted to be a christian partly in case they are right and there is God. Cover your bets I guess? That made me laugh. I think it misses the point if that's why one choses to believe in God but again, I certainly could be wrong.

I think that being in the here and now is much more important than what may or may not lie ahead for us so the trip (being living my life) is more important than whether I go to heaven, hell, limbo, purgatory, reincarnation, just dead, or whatever.
Just be nice while we're here.

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mariam_11_09
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The Sufi's say 'There are as many ways to God as there are hairs on your head' and it is not confined to Islam.

Most 'spiritual' practices can be practised regardless of religious belief.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Harri (hairy) Krishna was it?

I am listening to Karen Armstrong from an interview with Bill Moyers from a while ago.
She is a former nun who studies many different faiths.
I have found it to be very interesting. I hope others do too. It gives food for thought.

Listen to it Here

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mariam_11_09
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I don't know. I was just basing it on my own experience. I have engaged in spiritual practices that involved people of different religions. It was very unifying and I realised that we all have a common belief, it is just the details of the religion that seperate us.

I have seen you mention the interview more than once, I think I will listen to it.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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What I meant was that I don't follow the rules of any particular religion so I can't call myself anything but I do pray to God or higher power. Sometimes I pray to Jesus. Sometimes I talk (I don't like to call it prayer) to people who have passed on. For me it's a means of communication.

I rarely say I'll pray for someone because I've tried that and found there must be an order to things because it didn't work. I also believe that all it takes is one prayer from that person and God hears it and it's unnecessary to repeat it. But if it makes the person feel better that others are praying then I would say a prayer for them. But if I say I will, I do it.

I don't know who created what or if it is even important. I don't know what God is exactly. I just know God exists. So that is my faith.

I did pray during cancer treatment for God to send an angel to strengthen me.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Marcia, agnostics can pray. I'm not sure if atheists do though. I doubt atheists pray to God, that's pretty much a given.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
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I'm a little weak on the difference.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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How I see the definition, one thinks there could be a God but doesn't know and knows they do not know (Agnostic) while the other does not think there is a God at all (Atheist).

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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To be precise, an agnostic is an un-knower. An agnostic simply acknowledges that he or she does not what is out there beyond what we are humanly capable of understanding; an agnostic is, perhaps, someone who has not yet seen the burning bush, has not yet been confronted by a god, someone who is honest enough with oneself that he or she cannot invent belief because it it makes the 'trip' easier or the 'destination' a much more pleasurable goal.

An atheist on the other hand, and ironically, has faith. An atheist BELIEVES that there is no god, KNOWS that there is no god. That requires as much faith as does any religion.

Which is sort of extremely illogical, since it implies that said atheist is omniscient, and thus possessing a trait typically associated with gods.

Faith, incidentally, is not logically, rationally, based, and most religious leaders of any integrity will acknowledge that, must, in fact, insist on it, as god(s) cannot be proven by the ways we prove things today.

As for prayer, I know no agnostics other than phil who pray. I certainly do not. My words to folks are that they are in my thoughts, which is to say, I cannot beseech a higher power to take action on your behalf (is there not hubris in the very notion?) but that I will be thinking of you and hoping that you do well.

Take care,

Joe

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

Ah Joe, just the fellow I was hoping to hear from. Thanks for steppin in. Agnosticism seems facinating to me and you have a very educated manner of explaining things. So how do you view prayer? Do you think it is religious in nature and that is why you don't pray or do you lean toward the definition Phil mentioned where it can be just a wish or hope? I've always felt that prayer had to be tied to some formal belief system but I'm not sure. Also, since you are an "un-knower" do you have an idea of what it would take for you to "know"?
Ok, I understand the basis for knowledge is very tricky and this might get confusing but here goes. I'm going to use the word knowledge so as not to overuse the word "know". So, you have knowledge that you are an "un-knower" but where does THAT knowledge come from? Is it at all possible you could "know" and yet chose not to? Many Agnostics put faith in science even though they themselves had no part in the discovery. I think our capacity for human understanding changes constantly based on the willingnes to accept things. How could people thousands of years ago possibly understand what interaction the planets have in space. But we think we understand now. People chose to believe what seems logical through description without the actual first-hand knowledge. Can we prove, on our own, what forces are at work that make the Earth revolve around the sun resulting in the sunrise and sunset or do we just accept the work of others? So much of our belief in this world is based on our senses do you think if you were blind you would be an "un-knower" of the sunrise and sunset even though people would tell you about it? Everyone requires a different degree of proof on subjects so what about prayer. Do you believe, without a doubt, that it serves no purpous? What if, through scientific experiment, prayer was found to be beneficial to healing would it give credence to religion? Have you ever considered that faith and belief are based on senses we don't all share equally? (some people are born with good vision while others need glasses). It's not completely illogical since it is similar to other examples in nature. If you needed glasses but never tried them would you believe everyone had blurry vision and THAT was the norm?
I know, crazy thoughts....

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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A lot to consider here, some of it the usual issue with semantics when one deals with questions of philosphy.

A word can mean what we want it to mean although we might find it difficult to communicate with others if our definitions of words are contrary to what others in our culture have decided they mean. Phil offers a definition of 'prayer' from somewhere that supports the notion in our culture the word can be used to express an earnest hope or wish. I find no reference to religious entities in that definition, although I would bet there are others that do.

Personally, I define prayer as communication between one and one's deity or deities, whether it be to ask forgiveness, to repent, to confirm one's belief, to give thanks, or, of course, to plead for some action on the deity's part in one's behalf. I am sure you can think of other reasons to pray, as well, but I am long since out of practice.

I stopped using the word prayer, even though I really used it as a convenience, as a habit, and in the way of Phil's definition, some time ago because I found it rather hypocritical of me, or at least misleading to others, people such as yourself who are probably in the majority in your usage of the word.

Knowledge, to me, is a much more interesting word to consider. To my mind, when trying to describe knowledge, three states must be considered: rational, irrational, and faith. Belief and knowledge are not the same, to my way of thinking. I may believe a thing to be true, but if I have no proof, my belief is not knowledge. This does not mean that my belief is NOT true; it simply means that I haven't proven it to be true and thus, in a rational sense, I cannot know it. Athiests, I suspect, have a very difficult time describing such a state as anything but irrational. I have stated elsewhere in this stream that I consider faith to be irrational, but unlike athiests I leave the door open for something that I do not know but which may very well exist. I do not claim to be all-knowing, I do not claim to have observed all that is contained in the universe and beyond.

The knowledge you speak of with respect to the planets and so forth is based on what we call science. If you refute the notion of science as legitimate and rational then our conversation must stop now, since we have no common ground, and you have little in common, in your thinking, with most of humanity. If you agree, on the other hand, that knowledge is derived from proof and that proof is derived by designing and performing tests the results of which are the same every time the test is performed (to simplify) then we can continue.

Here is what I am getting at: you and phil and I are in Blacksburg, VA (GO HOKIES!). A man at a pulpit tells us that there is a woman in nearby Christiansburg wearing a red dress. Now, just as many of us think, without proof, that there has to be god, else how did we get here, you believe that there must certainly be at least one woman in a red dress in Christianburg. "Yes!" you shout, "I believe!". Phil on the other hand states unequivocally that there is NOT a woman in a red dress in the nearby town. For our example, he is an athiest. Me, I say, well, there may or may not be a woman in a red dress in Christiansburg; I just don't know. Until such time as the lady in the red dress calls me, invites me to her home for dinner, I accept, I go, and find her in a red dress, I cannot know, one way or the other.

With respect to a scientific experiment proving that prayer helped healing, I would not find that 'religious' but psychological. There is some evidence, for example, that humor helps, so I would not be surprised that true believers find extra strength through prayer.

Just one man's opinions.

Take care,

Joe

believeit 2011
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Joined: Dec 2010

Thanks Joe, that's great. But can't the three of us, instead, be in a pub in Cleveland Ohio at 6:00pm and the bartender says he has the last case of Christmas Ale in the city being delivered at midnight.(this has the making of a good joke) So Phil, being a whiskey drinker, couldn't care less how many cases he has and sticks with his plan of having a couple drinks and being home by 10:00pm. I on the other hand, love Christmas Ale and proceed to call home and tell my wife not to wait up. This is a big deal and I don't understand how Phil could be so uninterested. Then there's you, who had just seen a story in the news saying there is plenty of Christmas Ale to go around this year even though there have been shortages in the past. You point out the statistics and averages and scientific reasons why there should be plenty of Ale available and while you like Christmas Ale you don't believe the bartender and think he's just trying to get us to stick around another couple of hours and spend money. Phil says Christmas Ale is a marketing gimmick and it's just overpriced regular beer that's why he drinks whiskey. Phil doesn't believe the bartender talked to other bars that had run out of Ale and he must be making it up either way Phil just doesn't care and he thinks we shouldn't wait until midnight to find out. He's leaving. I try to explain that I know the bartender as an honest guy, I come here often and he's never cheated me before so why would I doubt him, I like the pub and crowd and if the bartender is telling the truth I'll be darn glad I stayed as I would hate to miss out on the last of the Ale for the year. If I stay I'm really not missing out on anything since my wife is going to bed anyway and I don't have work the next day so what's the harm. I'm staying. You however are reasonably sure there's more Ale out there and unless the bartender can prove he has the last case in the city you're not buying his story. You think I'm being taken advantage of for my fear of missing out on the last of the Ale and since there is no way to know if the Ale is coming or not you are not staying either. You think to yourself, maybe you'll stop back in a few hours or call later since you would like some of that Ale but you have better things to do then wait around just on some bartender's word. You're leaving. So, I sit there by myself waiting, talking to other people, enjoying the night with anticipation of the midnight delivery. Slowly the pub fills up and everyone is happy and excited talking about how lucky we are to get the last of the Ale. I feel bad for my drinking buddies that they missed out on such a fun night. Midnight comes and goes the pub stays crowded until closing, I go home (walking) and go to sleep content. Did the Christmas Ale arrive as promissed and if it did, was it truly the last in the city?
Should it matter to you if you weren't there?

Sorry for the long story, I got distracted....
And yes, I believe in science I only meant could you prove those things without the aid of others.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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Your story has faulty logic.

To begin with, the guy who craves only whiskey should not be in the tale at all. What has he got to do with the ale, since he won't drink it even if it arrives. Athiests, I do not believe, would refute a god that showed itself to exist through some convincing means (and there any number of former athiests who can attest to that, the one coming to mind first being C. S. Lewis, the Narnia author who set out to disprove the notion of Christianity and instead became a believer). The person you describe would disregard such a sign simply because he doesn't care.

I think there are very few who would not WANT to get a sign.

Additionally, you indicate that the agnostic (me) would rely on graphs and statistics and news reports to determine what I believe (science, I suppose). I have expressed my awareness that there is much beyond the rational, the proven, that may be true, and I am keenly aware that a god could touch me tonight in fact and provide the faith I lack, science be damned. Again, faith is irrational. That doesn't mean it has no merit. In my case it simply means that I have found no reason to make the leap.

As for you, in this tale, the bartender appears to be god, or at least a representative (priest, pastor, guru?) that you comfortably assume knows all about the ale throughtout the city (the universe). This is the most egregious of the flaws in your tale: how did you get to the point where you became so easily able to believe the story you were being told? Could it be that you have been to the bar so often that you are now swallowing everything the bartender tells you?

I would answer your last question by stating that if I thought the existence of the ale was important enough to change my life dramatically, I would have stayed to find out, without being convinced of the bartender's veracity.

However, if the ale could have such a dramatic impact on my life, I would wonder as well why the bartender didn't introduce it to me earlier.

Take care,

Joe

believeit 2011
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Sorry Joe it wasn't about Athiests, Agnostics and "believers" and it doesn't have to be logical. Everything in life isn't, just ask my brother, an Agnostic and perpetual bachelor, who had his heart broken and swore off relationships. He believes all relationships are pointless because they only cause grief. (can't argue with that) The story was simply an exercise in belief. Some people say "why should I believe" when others say "why shouldn't I believe" and other don't care either way. I didn't need infallible proof to believe the bartender and you did. The question might be, what is at stake either way?
Take it easy

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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First, I prefer scotch (single malt) and I do enjoy ale. IPA and Christmas ale and whatever ales ya.
Second, why can't I have dinner with the lady in the red dress?
Third, are we there yet?
;-)

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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That's one definition of prayer, "An earnest hope or wish".
Just to clear one thing up here are some definitions.
Agnostic - a person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist)

Atheist: a person who does not believe in the existence of God or gods

"Would you agree a wish is just a hope or desire for something with no outside control and a prayer is a thought, desire, or question offered to a deity or higher power of some sort in hopes of that prayer being heard and answered by the deity or higher power?" No, I do not agree with that. I would have to answer your question with the same question back to you. Even with religion, isn't prayer just a wish at times? Isn't the act of praying asking for help or intervention from a specific higher power?

"I think I've heard that Agnostics pray but is that just wishfull thinking since they don't expect an actual result from it." ??? The same can be said for praying to God from someone who does not hold a belief in God. Agnostics who pray do expect results just as people of faith do when they pray. It's no more going through the motions than it is for many who proclaim faith.

So to make things simple, agnostics can pray for people or things just as a person of a religion or faith can and it can have the same "power or result". I do not see any difference at all. I think you may have your definition of Agnostics mixed up with Atheists Chris.

believeit 2011
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Ok, I get that but... If a prayer can just be an "earnest hope or wish" why wouldn't Aethiests pray? I assume they have hopes and make wishes since those things aren't tied to religion or God... In theory an Aethiest can pray to win the lottery. No?

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PhillieG
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I don't know if atheists pray or not. I would imagine they have their own way of putting out positive vibes for lack of a better word.

Just remember, you have to be in it to win it.
or as a friend of mine used to say "you have to be in it to lose..."

The Lottery by me is $195 Million tonight. I wouldn't pray to win it but I sure hope I do.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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When one has a certain belief system, it does seem that the "other" sides find if so hard to comprehend that someone can believe what they do since it is so foreign to what they believe. Like when people believe in God and believe the bible to be the word of God, they don't see how others can NOT believe in God/the Bible while I'm not sure if there is a God, I can not follow teachings that are thousands of years old and were passed down through word of mouth (for the most part) at a time when the common belief was that the Sun went around the Earth and that the Earth was flat. Change comes with knowledge....knowledge comes with change.

To each their own.
Do no harm.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
And remember, you are unique! Just like everyone else...

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Hondo
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I don’t think Atheist pray but I do know some of them know as much about religion or more then most Christians do.

My Boss and I have worked together for almost 28 years before he passed away, he was an Atheist all the way. At times he would talk for hours about religion and not just talk but stuff in the Bible that most people never studied. He always told me that he liked talking to me about religion while driving, I asked him why, he said because it kept him awake as he knew I would not shut-up until he reach his destination.

I sure miss him, atheist or not he was a very good friend

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
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A recent study by some facility or another determined that agnostics and atheists knew more about 'religion', in the sense of the history, the books (the bibles, the koran, and so forth) than did professed believers of any faith, by a large percentage.

It is provocative to consider that those most knowledgeable about religion are least likely to accept its premises.

Take care,

Joe

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

I believe that could be true, but most people who watch the nightly news and read the newspapers think that crime is out of control, the country will soon fall apart, there is little good in the world and everyone is corrupt. While much of that is true, too much information will change the way you view the world around you and you will rely less on what you feel or experience yourself. That study doesn't prove their level of understanding what they read just that they read it. Knowledge of religion goes beyond reading it. I can read a book about crime in Chicago but that doesn't mean I understand what the city is truly like unless I go there. Even biblical scholars don't fully understand much of the Bible so why would I expect anyone else to. You make it sound as if all you have to do is study religion to see all the faults and inconsistancies. Those books are read "in the eye of the beholder". I don't think many people read a religious book and say, "oh, now I understand that makes it all clear".
Then again, maybe so...

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PhillieG
Posts: 4673
Joined: May 2005

The bible, since this is the book that comes up the most on here, was written by many people over many hundreds (if not longer amount of time) of years. It's not anything like watching the news, it's very open to interpretation based on language differences and what the wording may have meant at that time. There are also many books of the old and new testament that were omitted from the finished bible as we see it today. Why they were left out is anyone's guess.

So when you read "The Bible" it is just one of very many translations of the book. You say that "You make it sound as if all you have to do is study religion to see all the faults and inconsistencies." I think that might depend whether you look at the bible as being factual or being a collection of mostly parables that are meant to get a point across. I know there are many who take it all as fact and that the earth is only 6000 years old and there are many that take the teachings and parables as a guide of how one should live their lives in order to please God or just so they can be better people in their eyes.

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PhillieG
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Joined: May 2005

I read/heard that study too Joe. It makes sense to me and I've seen it in action a bit too. I think that those who have more doubt or are just interested in various faiths read about them more and in that way become more familiar with their teachings as well as the teachings of other faiths. It certainly makes sense (to me at least).

While there are many out there who study what they believe and know a lot about it, there are also many out there who believe what they do because that is what their family practiced and they are either OK with it or do not feel the need to question things or rock the boat in the family by converting to something or to nothing.

hope0310's picture
hope0310
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

Very deep subject!!!

Now I am trying to figure out exactly what I am!!!

I pray....at least started when mom was diagnosed..
I do not go to church..
I do believe that my mother is in heaven..
Her brother was an atheist, I do not think he is there..(which confused us very much when she was "talking to him and seeing him in her final days"...
I believe there is something "higher" than us, but do not know what...

OK....what am I folks!!!????

Elysia

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Since you believe in heaven and in a higher power I would suggest that you are a theist or a deist (from wikipedia): Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[1][2] In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe.[3] Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. The use of the word theism as indicating a particular doctrine of monotheism arose in the wake of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century to contrast with the then emerging deism that contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world and could be known rationally but not via revelation.

Just a notion.

Take care,

Joe

believeit 2011
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 2010

That's good.......

hope0310's picture
hope0310
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

I'll take that Joe!! For a minute I thought maybe I was an Oyster Rockerfellar!! =)

Elysia

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

There is much material there that I am resisting because I am a good boy. Instead I am laughing out loud for real.

Take care,

Joe

hope0310's picture
hope0310
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

I can only imagine!!!

Happy New Year!

infinity
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

You are normal Hope.

Some say you are composed of spirit and matter. Spirit part being that which cannot be touched/ seen... you know what I mean... some people call it a soul.

The other part is matter -- I guess that is the body. Sigh and can't it be a pain sometimes!

As for prayer... I recall the fellows and their olive trees.

Why not let prayer be what ever takes a person out of the advanced monkey group and leads them to ponder on atheism, agnosticism and the meaning of life, why we humans are so odd and what do they mean who so easily tell you what GOD wants or needs!

An aspect of religions seems to be the ease with which the adherents confuse the path and destination.

My religious friends sincerely explain the path to God/Heaven is through their church/ prophet alone. Only one way... theirs. Scary ... reminds me of Voltaire..
"God made man in His image and now man returns the compliment."

I studied three religions, was brainwashed in one. Rehabilitated myself, and now all I seek is humility and wisdom. I avoid like the plague those who tell me I am such a nice person that if only I would join their religion... Sigh.

Religious people who go about preaching for converts to their spiritual medicine remind me of (sadly) unhappily married people who insist that one should get married.

{Hint to the young.. when a married person suggests often that you you should be married- their marriage is in BIG trouble - RUN. Same with parents telling you ... they want a grandchild before they die...... run dear young couple and don't let us old fogies have that much power over your life's choices. [Choose sure but not on anyone else's emotions.
Preferably by you using a balance between reasoning and emotion.]

Whilst I fear pain and suffering to come..still I feel as though I have won a ticket on a Nasa trip to the moon... lucky and terrified at once... but then again I was always a bit odd.

When a person I knew received information they dreaded my religious friends started Prayer Groups for his recovery. Holy muttering monkeys! Didn't seem to occur them that the fellow's life was unfolding just the "god" of their religion intended.

It is true I have to accept it - I have always been a bit odd -- went looking for God when I was four. So no one should take too much notice of an old duck's ramblings!

From what I can work out..those close to us who guess we are ill suffer more than we do... then again don't hold me to this claim... I don't think I have suffered enough yet.

Hey if some one could have a sip of malt whiskey for me (without damaging themselves) --Whiskey(not Bourbon)-- that would be great!

Alcohol was not my thing but diet/fizzy drinks were and that is probably why I can't drink either, now. So any one who is able -- well 20 mls of Glenfidich would just about be lovely!

Peace to you all and keep me in any prayers you like .. ask for wisdom and courage for me if you wish.. I do remember the NASA space ship that blew up on take off... but hells bells don't pray for my ticket to be taken away.

Infinity.

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

In my humble opinion it is not a wish, God (or your higher power) hears your prayers weather you believe he is there or not.

RE

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

okay here is a question to the people who pray to God ....

When you pray for something in particular are you praying because that is what you want or someone else wants or are you really surrendering to God?

In other words, if you have cancer do you pray that you will be healed? or do you pray so it be known that you are not ready to die or want to live life in health and then hand it over to God - let it be 'God Willing' we live or die or live in good health? or even just to have the strength and integrity to work through whatever is going on? How much expectation do you have?

How do you know when you are exerting your will over Holy/God's Will?

I am curious because many people who are not strongly religious give up on prayer because their prayers where never answered and other's who are very religous and pray desperately for things to happen in a very well defined way become disappointed and dissillusioned when God does not anser their prayers in the way they want.

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

This is my belief right or wrong its mine not to debate but to simply give my explanation of why I pray.........
1) When I pray for something in particular I open it up allowing God to determine and to dipense whatever His will will be in taking that issue into His hands and making the decisions either be it promptly or over a period of time. Most likely it is something that will be done but I pray that He has His hand in it as it is dealt with....

2) Expectations of God...He has already done the highest loving gesture anyone could ever imagine, by the giving of His Son to the cross for us...but I think you were looking at a different answer to a different question so with that answered I will try to answer what I think you really was relating to...
When I pray about my cancer I simply pray that whatever is His will is what I will accept, if you truly believe then its easy to do this, for its a win/win situation when you believe for those that want to believe, me being one of them, so I do not necessarily pray for healing, I pray that He takes control over what happens and whatever happens is how He wants it to be, and I trust in that, my calm is in that.

3) Your heart tells you everything if you know how to read it......I wake up in the morning and I rate myself at how my growth in faith is doing by how long I go without my heart feeling as if I have hurt someone.....I let my heart be my guide through my faith.

4) In my opinion, I think that the ones that give up on prayer only want something immediate and really never see the outlying resolutions that prayer really gives them...I also think that the ones that pray to say for instance (win the lottery) are doing so for the wrong reasons so their prayers are not answered by what the individual actually asked for.

5) Prayer for me is because I believe in one God, and that through prayer I can retain calm through most any situation knowing that in the grand scheme of things, all will be well...in life or death with my belief in my God, all will be well........

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