SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
When praying for a person "makes" their situation worse
Prayer seems to spring from how human nature does the same wise, bad, stupid and mad thing over and over thinking it will be different this time. It is trying to say you believe it can be different and for God to make sure of it. So it is like God rolls a dice randomly and will only take direction because you have requested it! It is insane. It is pure superstition.
Christians pray for others to have good things and to be better people. The idea is that if you pray for something and have no concern for how it might help a person be holier then the prayer insults God and will not help. Not being helped is being hurt for you need that help and are not getting it. God is so good that he never gives anything unless it is good for the soul.
Sin is supposedly the reason prayer is blocked from working. It gets in the way and prayers to get something sinful will not work even if you do get the result. Then we are told the result is not really a result but was going to happen anyway. For all we know, if most prayers are sinful and seem to work then praying is a bad thing and the sinner feels his sin is accepted by God as not being a problem. Prayer is essentially nonsense for any superstition thrives on seeming to cause things to happen. Prayer is insulting and judgmental for it accuses you of being a sinner for it calls you to oppose sin and pray in that light. Even accusing you of being a potential sinner is bad.
Prayer has made Christians feel okay about promoting war or defending abortion. The constant prayers for wisdom and courage to be given to the leaders of the state is never answered but does lead to people supporting them even if they are corrupt. They think a divine surprise is around the corner. If there is no God we can expect the unexpected but more so if there is a God who hears our prayers and who inspires us to pray as if he wants us involved in helping something to happen. Asking for something to happen and doing nothing more is still being involved.
People try to kill or administer euthanasia through prayer. They see no sin in asking God to kill a terminally ill loved one. The believer has to admit that he may believe that God is what makes prayer work but how does she know? What if it triggers some power or something or unleashes a psychic force? Then that makes you a murderer.
There is an emotional relief in hoping random forces will kick in and take a sickly loved one. You feel you are causing it in the right way. What if they are now ready to pass on and be saved from further torment? You are not causing it but that is not how it feels. You are happy that randomness just fell into the right order. So you enjoy both the feeling that you caused the luck and that you didn't.
Any time you hear of somebody having a problem make a wish that the problem didn’t happen and that as it has it will be mended. This is not magical. It is you resolving to be better than the way things are. It is siding with the person even against the universe. Always think compassionate thoughts for compassion is the chief virtue. Wish people well but do not insult them by praying for them. Wishing them well is not praying for them. Prayer is accepting the way things happen - wishing is opposing it.
Society is brainwashed into thinking prayer helps.
Many are just not clear that they do not think it really does anything except trigger a placebo that some other practice could do just as well.
Some think feeling others pray for you is how it helps for it is a placebo. And they think you can pray for yourself and achieve the placebo effect.
Some think because it is taking time to calm down and think things through and works like talking to yourself that this is the secret of its success.
Some think it gets God to change things so that the help you ask for for yourself or others comes.
I suspect that most people who say prayer helps are in fact thinking of the placebo or relaxing or contemplative benefits.
It is interesting that most people assume prayer helps many.
Many not all! How many? Is it even worth it? I have seen people thinking prayer helped them when it did not but that robs you of seeing that you helped yourself and let others help. It is a risky superstition.
I think promoting prayer as a placebo and a crutch is anti-Christian. Christ tied prayer down to an acting out of an attitude of opposition to evil in oneself and society. Christ never claimed prayer made his life any easier.
Plus it is not prayer helps but God if he exists. Talk of the power of prayer is really showing prayer is a cosmetic. It is magic and has to be disguised as prayer for it is shamelessly superstitious.
And as for religion benefits come at a terrible price. A lot of hatefilled curses by the Church were leveled at good people and are still on the Church's books. "Let him be anathema". It is selfish to say that all that warmongering and hate is worth it so you can pray to feel good.
Praying for someone in trouble when a God will do what a God will do may be you trying to feel you are helping. No it is only you trying to feel you are helping.
Prayer needs to help to be justified. If something does not help then that is bad. It is not neutral - it is bad. It is bad in how help is needed and nothing happens. That is a bad consequence in itself.
Not helping does not necessarily mean making the person worse in any other way apart from that. But what if prayer does more harm than just not helping?
What if it makes things worse?
The Letter of James in the Bible says that if you do not get what you ask from God it is because you are only concerned about what you want. So does God ignore you as if you never asked or does he do the opposite of what you asked? Both are equally chancy. God strictly speaking does not ignore in the sense of choosing not to know. He does know what you have asked and refuses to act.
Prayer assumes the legitimacy of victim blaming - if you pray and disaster seems to be the only outcome then you are blamed. You are judged by others. So that alone is enough to say that prayer is never worth it.
Why does nobody say prayer works in reverse - ie that it does the opposite of what you ask for? Even those who would swear it does evil instead of good will not say. The evidence of those who say that happens is as good as the evidence of those who say it gives you what you ask! You have no right to say it seems to works the way you ask unless you check the stories of those who say it does not and does the opposite. Prayer is just trying to feel good about somebody else's trouble as if you are doing something. That is proven by the total lack of concern for being sure it has done something good.
Praying to get something done by God is always about seeking short-term results for there is always something else and sometimes something worse to pray about next week. You pray for the cancer victim to get better. She then has a good week. But then the week after she will be at death's door. See what is happening here. Very sick people usually have better times and worse times anyway. Believers do not really believe when they never ask for the person to feel better permanently. They ask for something safe and temporary or possibly temporary. And when the good thing turns to bad and to a crippling disappointment for the sick person they do not see their own arrogant foolishness and start praying for something else. But they still take credit for any temporary improvement! The sick person does not need people coming along to use their illness to engage in a superstitious and arrogant practice. Imagining that a prayer helps others makes you feel safe for you will use the situation to get "evidence" and the feeling that it is powerful and helps so if it helps Jane it can help you. That is why people like to pray - it is about them seeking self-assurance. If praying for Jane did nothing at all for her people would still feel comforted by praying for her because it is not really about her.
If prayer does not help then it can make the person’s situation worse. If you believe in the power of prayer you have to believe that it might have power in a negative way you do not intend. If you think any good that happens to a person after praying for them is because of the prayer you have the moral duty to think the bad that happens is because of the prayer for ultimately prayer is about asking God to use evil for his purposes. And we know every cloud has a silver lining but every silver lining has a cloud and risks future clouds. Who are we to virtually attempt to hurt others by praying? That is not nice in the sense that God is not us. It is okay for his plan but not for us. If a tyrant knows things nobody else knows and that makes the evil he does inevitable and unavoidable and understandable that does not mean you have the right to support him. You are not him.
The way prayer and the divine plan stuff are intertwined so that prayer is in effect an expression of agreement with God's scary but good and necessary plan is itself immoral. Thus it makes more sense to ascribe the evil that happens to a person you pray for than the good to prayer.
If God always answers prayer in his own way and it can be different from what we ask then the words do not matter. You can ask him to kill your husband. He might need to do it.
God does not need to be told what you need. So how do you get what you ask for in prayer? If prayer works then does God rig all things to fit your prayers beforehand? It has to be that way. So he rigs things and then inspires you what to pray for. That is not prayer working! It is so contrived it is bizarre and when people suffer though being prayed for it is disgusting. It is another example of prayer being an invocation of the irrational and the irrational is dangerous. You cannot expect truly good results from prayer.
What are we to think of people who know that their version of faith in God led to many deaths and wars who pray for those who suffer terribly? They should know better shouldn’t they? They think God revealed their vile religion and dare to ask him to help!! That makes no sense. It is about them being hypocrites.
Prayer is saying there may be an all-good and all-perfect being who keeps all things in existence. If that is true, then what matters is not that a baby dies but doing his will to help the baby. So it is about him not the baby. Look at the may. God may exist. Should you really think you have the right to tell yourself that God has helped when there is no God there to help? That is as bad as believing in a non-existing nurse who will cure you. It is bad for the same reason.
People are lenient with religion even in the face of all the trouble it causes. They are are softened up by the thought of people praying for them. It is harder to be against somebody if they present themselves as doing something for you. Prayer has done so much damage by creating such a perception that it outweighs any alleged benefit.
People are often of the opinion that prayer can help many.
The mega-problem is that if this being, God to many, is prayed to help somebody you will get the answer but not in the way you ask. Even if you do not get the answer you want to think and feel you do. That is exploiting the people you pray for. If you ask God to help somebody get out of poverty he may respond by killing that person. Society needs to stop feeling happy and comforted by people praying for one another. It is short-sighted in the light of religion's belief that God uses evil for an ultimate good. Jesus agreed so strongly with that dreadful prospect that he decided to be a casualty for the sake of the greater plan. But the doctrine is so terrible it shows that faith and atheism can both be terrifying positions to adopt. Both of them see evil and suffering as inevitable. The only consolation with atheism is that if it could wipe them out it would and would tell those who want to retain them for God's plan to go and live in an mental asylum.
If people are praying in order not to help but to seem pious and caring that is disgraceful. Prayer is not worth it if the majority of praying people are doing that most of the time.
Is prayer is just a man-made concoction? If there is no God or anything to be prayed to then it has to be just a man-made practice. What is wrong with it being a mere human production? Then man will think man has helped when in fact praying did nothing. And man ends up seeing the bad things that follow prayers as in fact hidden blessings and that is not a good way to look at evil. Evil has to be looked at as it is. If there is nothing and no god ensuring prayer is good then prayer has no power but the power you give it. You will only then empower it to keep things as bad as they are or even worse. It is you risking yourself and as others are affected by you it risks them too.
God's mysterious ways is the excuse for religion saying prayer works even if it clearly does not. If your cries to God for help are for naught then the mystery explanation is out. That is because you can explain it by saying God does not listen, is hard-faced, useless, fictitious or the mystery is how you think you are a valuable person but you are not. Once you talk about mystery you have to admit you don’t know what the mystery is. You have no right to pick one solution. You confess there are several including some unpalatable ones!
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