Does your praying helps social development? Does it alleviate Poverty? Does it advance human knowledge? Does it reduce crime/war? Does it, in any logical way help mankind (in this life) or humanity.. other than just providing hopes & promises about afterlife rewards? Can anyone give one rational reason why should one Pray??
How it is an unselfish virtuous task??
I see prayer as personal meditation, a yearning, for these horrors to be resolved-or at least alleviated to some degree. Whether or not the person praying believes such communication is with their god, the behaviour indicates this individual is concerned with the world's situation, with the sorrows that seem to have pervaded humanity since time began.
Logic is not at issue when it comes to faith. But if the very act of praying soothes the individual and s/he has such faith (that perhaps god is listening and will concede and 'make it happen,') then I must ask this person why all the prayers said for countless centuries have NOT been answered and continue and escalate ad nauseum.
While I am more apt to donate time and (occasionally!) money to causes I find worthy and effective, I do pray-again-as meditation, yearning and action.
Great question, Rishy Rich.
While I agree with you on what prayer is, or should be, our viewpoint seems to be the minority.
Muslims pray in large groups, chanting and conforming to certain physical requirements as well. No meditation is apparent, and no two way communication with God.
Public meetings of all kinds very often require a public prayer, or at least listening to someone else "pray" for everyone present. Again, no meditation or communication, just a public appearance at the "prayer table".
Even prayers in a church are the same thing - one person praying for all, whether or not everyone else would agree with the prayer or not.
These things do promote and advertise the virtue of the one praying, however. Everyone in earshot can see and hear just how virtuous they are, speaking to God right there in front of the world. Even the listeners can come away feeling better about themselves, as they participated (by listening) to a Godly moment.
If you want to commune with God (or nature or even yourself) do it quietly, in private, where the world with it's noise and distractions cannot interfere. Otherwise it is just a public display of how virtuous and Godly you must be.
wilderness-beautifully written and thoughtful as usual-how ARE you, by the way? Great to see you.
Public displays, that occur in most religious 'get-togethers,' are by definition or institutional evolution, social events and/or attempts to impress others with their 'devotion' and godliness-which are meant to convey their willingness to conform to social requirements. Most dressed to the nines, certainly...
Oh, how I agree with your assessment!
Oh, getting along all right (still writing once in a while) - haven't seen many posts from you for a while, either.
Atheist or not, I still believe that those that do actually pray, doing it quietly in a form of communion or meditation (or whatever word you might choose) can come away happier and feeling better about the world. Those that find it necessary to do it in public are simply the peacocks of our society, strutting their godliness to impress others.
I think Jesus told us to pray in a closet.
Actually, prayer does all the items you mentioned.
But, not in the ritual form most prayer is done in: Repetitive/Compulsive hedonism.
There is much in history to suggest prayer is a unifying 'mantra' which benefits society because people are on the same 'wavelength'. It is also one of things science is looking at regarding universal consciousness and quantum communication. Prayer is essentially unifying vibrations of energy toward the same result.
And throughout human history, division of people, ideas and goals is what caused poverty, famine, war, social collapse, etc.
I recall this with Moshe (Moses) when the people whined and cried about food, in the wandering. Millions of negative 'prayers' resulting in division, chaos, extended hunger. When that negativity went unresponsive, they brought that energy to Moshe. He in turn took two people with him and prayed positively, resulting in manna.
Ironically, even as the food came forth, the people still had the divisive factor at work, trying to gather up as much as they could, against another person, so they wouldn't go hungry.
But, be clear, prayer is not 'hope' nor does it contain 'afterlife' rewards. It is for the here and now.
So rationally and logically, prayer is applying practical faith to every situation and individual. Being proactive, versus what you are posting : reactive conclusions.
That's how you make psychological slaves, who defend your cult, hence made virtuous by the people who use it for their own end.
Got any doubt? Ask any religious in this forums, about their god being irrational!
Prayer is communion with God. Prayer is power. The bible mentions in Kings where Elijah prayed to God when the priests of Baal were invoking their gods. The God of Israel answered. The parting of the Red Sea is another example I myself have had answers to prayer. Christ told the Pharisees that they should not allow prayer to become repetitious or where they would be praying JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN. Intercessory pray is where we pray for others.
There are many who are being persecuted for the name of Jesus and they do need our prayers.
There have also been many persecuted IN the name of Jesus! Prayer is simply words and has been used in all manner of religions, whether it be a Christian cult, or any of the other many superstitious cults from the last 100,000 or more years.
That seems so inaccurate, or downright disingenuous when watching children in Africa starve to death everyday.
Ah, so those who pray to God for food and then starve to death are simply being ignored by God? For them, prayer is pointless and powerless.
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