If God really responds to our prayers if we have good intentions, why do we have doctors creating medicine using science? Why can't we pray sicknesses away?
...and how can a small child be sick or brutalized while this god watches on?
Tiny little god!
Devil's Advocate here (and some "religionists" will certainly think I'm actually more "the Devil's representative", but there is at least the chance that a Creator has created "the bigger picture" of life without having the power to change specific consequences in individual lives. That would leave room for an "all powerful Creator" (it's pretty powerful to create a "non-magical" life system on Earth) that would require the help of human hearts and hands in doing "God's work" within the context of that "non-magical" life.
If I created, say, a company with the purpose of making shoes; and I knew if my company started to go into the business of trying to cure cancer the combination of shoes and cancer-curing wouldn't work well or be successful; I'd have to decide to stick with shoes (since that may be what I really know how to do). Maybe I know how to make that shoe business thrive and know it's the only business I can get into that will be successful. Earth and life here are generally "non-magical" things. We do sometimes see things that seem like miracles, but there's only so much "lack of Earthly reality" to even those. There's at least the chance that a Creator may be "an invisible force" that doesn't have "the Earthly hands" to snap His fingers and make horrible things turn ok.
If that hypothetical shoe company becomes extremely successful people may ask, "Why don't you and your employees cure cancer?" I'd have to tell them, "We don't know how and we don't have the ability to do that." I could, however, give some of the wealth I'd built up to people who DID stand a better chance of curing cancer. There's at least the chance that the potential of the human mind and heart (individually and/or collectively sometimes) is that "wealth" we've been given by someone who cannot do some of the things people wish He would/could on Earth.
Praying is just like talking to a stop sign. Most Hospitals in this country are owned and operated by religious institutions yet most of the Doctors and Scientists that work there are Atheists and Agnostics. If prayer worked people would be lining up at Churches to be anointed and touched by Priest and Pastors. Just think people could give the money to the Church instead of maintaining an insurance policy.
Topgunjager - there are many ways you can heal your body.
In many countries, people mainly depend on faith healing.
I had the opportunity to experience such faith healing on two occasions. That didn't stop me to use medicines whenever I need, because finding such faith healers is not an easy task specially in technologically advanced countries.
Faith healing concentrates on areas where self healing or remission happens naturally in a proportion of cases. It tends to steer clear of restoring feet blown off by land-mines. Since faith can 'move mountains', why does it shy away from the challenging physical complaints? I think we all know the answer.
I tend believe there one, simple, formula at the root of all life (whether or not there is a Creator for it is a separate discussion/matter).
Assuming there could be a Creator, I picture something like this going on:
Creator: "I'm going to create life by using a simple principle that can be represented by a very simple formula. The trouble is that while this formula will result in an ever-growing system of life, it will always be at play when it comes to the growth and development of organisms that cause diseases, as well as vulnerabilities that come with the development of intellects and emotions. I hope that the creatures with intellects and emotions will know/sense that without using this simple formula there would be no life at all; and I hope they find ways to find peace in knowing that I'm here and/or ways to eradicate the things in the world that take away from life, rather than adding to it. In time, more and more people will begin to see what the simple formula is and will see it everything that goes on in life and the world. Still, as long as they're on Earth they'll never know for sure whether I'm a being with consciousness, a force, or an accident. That they can only discover after their life on Earth is over."
Studies have shown that, if nothing else, the act of praying does seem to help in many cases; so we could assume that at the root of any benefits of praying could be that one, scientific, principle that appears to be at play in all functions of life (in this case, the brain/body connection). OR, we could just believe that everything happens for some reason we'll never know; and that we're asked to deal with the awful stuff by keeping that in mind.
The above is my version of the possible story, and I'm sticking to it.
Earnest, thanks. So do I. I tend to suspect that, in the absense of the answers people usually seek, mankind has historically filled in a lot of blanks and called it "religion". When people can't even fill in the blanks they call it "faith". None of us is ever really going to know the truth while we're here, but I do think if we're trying to patch together something to believe, whatever puzzle pieces we try to fit into big picture need to fit for everyone - not just one religion.
I agree Lisa, I do not believe in the biblical god as you know, but if I did it would not be in an exclusive religion that said all the other 300 or so mainstream religions and beliefs are all wrong! Lousy odds for a lottery. Especially since they all came from the same source!
Ernest, I'll even "give" the Bible that it was written by people who hoped to teach lessons about living, which could be said to be their attempt at doing some kind of good in the world (and therefore, perhaps, "doing God's work). Maybe in a time when the world was even more barbaric than it often is today those people (who were "thinkers" or who could write a good story with a message) may have been seen as "special" or "messengers of God"). My "issues" with The Bible or any other such writings are taking it literally and/or disregarding the fact that they were written in a very different time; and while some things about human nature will always remain the same, actual day-to-day living and level of understanding keeps changing.
I agree taking the bible or quoran literally is wrong. It is self evident, or what would you do with the old testament, or some of the hate filled passages in the quoran?
These tomes indicate clearly that the life lessons were taught with death and war, lots of smiting! Not my idea of a good way to learn these days. The world is changing very fast now, with new information that helps us understand more about ourselves arriving daily from sciences.
I see no god. I see an unraveling of the whole religious belief system taking place bit by bit day by day as all the sciences correlate findings to arrive at logical theories which will soon be axioms.
I see DNA being repaired, the "death molecule" located and under current study, I see MOAB drugs that will prolong life and vitality by maybe 20%, I see a theory to relieve all sentient life of pain, the list gos on, but no god so far.
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