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Author Topic:   We didn't pray
nator
Member (Idle past 279 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 1 of 126 (292652)
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


Zhimbo and I recently moved all of our stuff, and two cats over 700 miles to live in a new town.

We moved ourselves, so that meant packing for a couple of months, loading up a truck (with the help of two very dear friends) the day before the first leg of the trip, driving the truck and our car for many hours over two days, and staying in a motel overnight with two cats, then unpacking the truck, then driving for over an hour over a two lane, twisty mountain highway a couple of days after arrival to return the truck.

What I haven't mentioned is that we were driving from SE Michigan to New England in the middle of February. You know, all along I90, just south and east of the Great Lakes, and right smack in the middle of the snow belt. Not to mention the difficulty of doing all of this in the bitter cold and wind that is typical for this time of year.

"Crazy" is what everybody thought we were.

Well, it turned out to be an incredibly smooth operation.

We were able to pack almost everything into the boxes that I brought home from work over a couple of months, so it wasn't so much last minute drudgery, and sold or purged a great deal of stuff too.

We got tranquilizers for the cats, so they basically slept the entire trip.

During the loading phase, it was chilly but dry, and our friends were extremely helpful.

During the two days of driving along one of the snowiest routes in the country, during February, we had beautiful mostly sunny skies, calm winds, and high temperatures in the lower forties! In February! In New England!

The two days we spent unloading the truck were also very unseasonably warm and dry, and it didn't get cold, windy, or offer to snow until the day we had dropped off the truck, and even then it was just a little dusting overnight which was salted and gone by noon.

Remember, we picked the dates of this move over a month before it actually took place. We had no way at all of knowing what the weather was going to be.

The reason I relate this story is because I have heard theists relate similar stories of seamless travel, or of fortuitous unusual events happening to them and they tend to attribute their good fortune to their prayers having been answered to or faith in a higher power watching out for them because they are a faithful believer.

Well, neither Zhimbo nor I are believers, and we didn't pray at all for great weather. We hoped of course, for safe conditions, and I was dreading having to drive for 15 hours in ice and snow with two yowling cats in the back seat. Not only did we get safe weather, we got extremely comfortable, unseasonably balmy, ideal weather.

What I find fascinating is that, if a believer had been in our shoes and had the same experience of this unseasonably balmy weather and quite seamless moving experience, I am quite positive that they would have attributed it to God, even though the experiences would have been exactly the same.

Comments?

Faith and Belief?


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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1909
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 126 (293189)
03-08-2006 8:57 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 3 of 126 (293191)
03-08-2006 8:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


God loves cats.
This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 4 of 126 (293192)
03-08-2006 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


Do Atheists/Agnostics have Guardian Angels?
Schrafinator writes:

What I find fascinating is that, if a believer had been in our shoes and had the same experience of this unseasonably balmy weather and quite seamless moving experience, I am quite positive that they would have attributed it to God, even though the experiences would have been exactly the same.

Who is to say that God was not with you....despite your unbelief? ;)

Your Faith and Belief are not in God as I see Him. Tell me a bit more about what you have faith in and what you believe about
predetermination, predestination, fate, and/or luck?


Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil. --Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 5 of 126 (293194)
03-08-2006 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


I've been waiting for this topic to come out.

It's a good example of how sheer chance can create remarkable instances of good fortune.

However, I don't think this example falsifies faith and prayer. Why? Well, this may be to your surprise, but infact, it's because you have faith. In this example, you had faith.

You had an intention of where you were headed, and I doubt you and Zhimbo were intending to die in an icy grave.

Therefore, as far as I know, against the odds you ventured out despite any fears you might have.

Perhaps not faith in God, yet Christ did say that if you had faith and belief, you could move mountains. Not faith in God, he only said, "faith".

IMHO, I see no reason why God would only exclusively endow the capacity to have faith to believers. Afterall, he certainly seemed to be saying that anyone could have faith.

(I'm not claiming that your faith caused good weather). I'm just putting a cat amongst the pidgeons. ;)


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Phat
Member
Posts: 12254
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 6 of 126 (293209)
03-08-2006 9:37 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by mike the wiz
03-08-2006 9:08 AM


A Cat Amongst the Pidgeons
Hey Wiz! Faith in faith, eh? ;) Reminds me of Napoleon Hill.

He had his famous 13 Principles of Success!

If "spiritual" laws work without a definite personified "spirit", what can we define has spirit? A subjective energy of positive affirmation and determination arising from within us?

I prefer to believe that "Spirit" is objective, arising from outside us as well as within us...(Holy Spirit, maybe?) but of course thats just me and my bee-leafs! ;)

Hills Principles worked for many people...but attainment of some goals did not mean that the overall "answer" to life had been found.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 7 of 126 (293214)
03-08-2006 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


Good things happen to those that don't pray
I've been wondering about this since it turned up on the PNT list, I'm glad that everything went well!

I think I can sum up your argument in 5 words "Post hoc reasoning is bad". With the possible expansion of "religious and supersticious people are especially prone to engaging in this kind of reasoning".

I agree! I'd be surprised if anyone would disagree...but then maybe I shouldn't be.

Another possibility is that other people prayed for you, other family members, friends, friends of friends, Christians in general wishing for welfare. Naturally that's an unsatisfactory answer, but I think it'll be difficult to really muster an theological argument against it.


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5381
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 8.5


Message 8 of 126 (293224)
03-08-2006 10:12 AM


EEEEK! I instantly thought of the OLD Roy Acuff tune "Wreck on the Highway":
There was whiskey and blood all together
Mixed with glass where they lay
Death played her hand in destruction
But I didn't hear nobody pray.

Nearly as fine a tearjerker as "The Phantom 309."

But I agree, Schraf: prayer seems to "work" about as well as lack of prayer. I suppose that there are people who use a prayer as a method of getting focused on the affair at hand, and this may accomplish something for them. I perhaps do the same thing, but by thinking through things with no supernatural involement.


    
kjsimons
Member
Posts: 665
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 9 of 126 (293225)
03-08-2006 10:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


Well OBVIOUSLY, someone must have prayed for you!

Not really, but I expect that some believer will bring it up. I'm actually surprised that no one has mentioned it yet.


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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 10 of 126 (293229)
03-08-2006 10:23 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by kjsimons
03-08-2006 10:16 AM


Other people praying
Well OBVIOUSLY, someone must have prayed for you!

Not really, but I expect that some believer will bring it up. I'm actually surprised that no one has mentioned it yet.

Check out the last paragraph in Message 7 and feel your surprise melt away :)


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kjsimons
Member
Posts: 665
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 11 of 126 (293240)
03-08-2006 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Modulous
03-08-2006 10:23 AM


Re: Other people praying
Doh! That's what I get for skimming your post! :o

Adding a double "Doh!" in response to Jar below. :D

This message has been edited by kjsimons, 03-08-2006 10:47 AM


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jar
Member
Posts: 30936
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 12 of 126 (293243)
03-08-2006 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by kjsimons
03-08-2006 10:16 AM


actually some of us did bring it up
even before this was promoted. And, with a small laugh, Schraf admitted that it was likely true since she had been so informed before the fact. ;)


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 126 (293263)
03-08-2006 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-06-2006 9:34 AM


schrafinator

I am curious as to the converse situation in which one prays for everything to go alright and depite this the outcome is a shambles.
Is the prayer to blame? Is it that you weren't sincere enough? Perhaps God was vexed, or you prayed for personal help rather than for anothers and were thus refused? God answers all prayers sometimes the answer is no?

How can anyone consider this to be reasonable in terms of knowing whether a prayer is answered or not? What are the criteria for considering a prayer answered other than personal post hoc assumption?
I think perhaps it is a more likely scenario that humans fool tthemselves into believing that prayer was answered or not based on a mindset that allows for either outcome to be acceptable without refuting the basic premise.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 16358
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 14 of 126 (293279)
03-08-2006 12:10 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by mike the wiz
03-08-2006 9:08 AM


The Lord helps those who help themselves
ike the wiz writes:

Christ did say that if you had faith and belief, you could move mountains. Not faith in God, he only said, "faith".

Good point, Mr. Wizard.

If Schraf and Zhim had been stranded in a blizzard with all their worldly possessions and a bag of cats, what would they have done? Sat there praying for help, while slowly hypothermalizing? Or used the brains God (if any) gave them to figure a way out?

Faith in our own God-given (or not) abilities is often more useful than professed faith in outside agencies.


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Silent H
Member (Idle past 3928 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 15 of 126 (293361)
03-08-2006 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by ringo
03-08-2006 12:10 PM


Re: The Lord helps those who help themselves
Faith in our own God-given (or not) abilities is often more useful than professed faith in outside agencies.

If faith in our own abilities is enough, and that seems to be what gods reward, then what's the point in having faith in gods?


holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)
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