The Power of Prayer

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This topic contains 245 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 year, 7 months ago.

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    @jakelafort. If you have a problem with a poster, please take it up in private message.  Leave the chastising to the mods.  We are much more effective.



    @bellerose. I noted you are unclear as to what can and can’t be quoted from the Bible, and it’s a fair point.  I’ll try to clarify a bit.

    If you want to quote a verse to discuss its content, feel free to do so.  If there’s a huge chunk of verse, a hotlink is preferred.  A huge chunk is usually not for the purpose of discussing its content however, so it goes into a bit of grey area.

    One purpose of the guideline is to avoid cluttering up threads with the occasional religious rant that happens when we get those over enthusiastic Christians join for the purpose of enlightening atheists.  You know the kind, you’ve seen them.  Another is to avoid the use of the Bible (The Claim) as proof of god.  We don’t acknowledge it as evidence.

    I really hope that helps, and I appreciate your efforts to minimize biblical quotations.


    Ok, listen up folks. First, I would normally do this privately but it is already in the open.

    I am a site moderator. Dang asked Belle some straight forward questions regarding a statement she made “I have seen prayer work. But I’m sure you’ll disagree”.

    I read his reply. I find nothing wrong with it. Then Belle replied by only dealing with the last few words of his reply, demanding that he “deal with it”. This was followed with an assumption that Dang would accuse her of being a liar, not worthy of her time and that he does not deserve an explanation.

    It is irrelevant how many friends any member has. If any member makes a statement then they should be prepared to defend it. If a person goes to the trouble of creating a post as Dang has done, then he is entitled to question any statement posted to it. He did and did so in a manner I do not find needs to be moderated. He did not engage in any ad hominin abuse.

    Simon – you have. Twice. If you, Belle or anyone else don’t want to be involved in a post then don’t add your comment. If you do then support what you say. If you have an issue then address it to me or any other site mod privately. You are putting me in a difficult position. I have known you a long time but what you said is against the site rules. You know this. If you want to know if a member is gone, keep watching. You are not going to get a message about it if they leave. If you don’t like what they say either tell them where you think they are wrong or do not engage in the first place.

    Belle – I have known you since you first joined over 5 years ago. Since your recent conversion you have taken a very aggressive attitude whenever you reply to anything. This is an ATHEIST website for atheists to discuss any topic they want. Dang or anyone else does not need to know the past history of anyone. It is irrelevant to any topic posted. It certainly is in this case. We value rational debate and expect all statements stated as factual and not as opinion to be supported with evidence. For the last time, personal opinion is opinion and objective evidence, not personal opinion, is required to support anything stated as factual.

    I am calling for an end to this bickering now. Any further issues anyone has must be taken up with the mods privately.


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer. Reason: not aware of Strega's reply at time of posting


    @Reg I am sorry. I am just trying to figure out what I believe. When I said to Dang he didn’t warrant a response it was addressing his comments about “why the hell are you here.” And I wasn’t even originally talking to him I was talking to you hence the @Reg. I have nowhere to go to address my confusion. And I am not necessarily “converted” I’m confused. And  when I bring up points I’m just trying to have honest debate. I really am trying to challenge IDEAS and have honest debate. Then recently I’ve been called a “liar” on another thread that really cut deep, and I am told by people they “can’t take me seriously anymore” and it hurts. So of course I’m aggressive because people have been aggressive to me too. It’s like unless I’m going along with the crowd and agreeing with everything you all say then I’m suddenly not worth the time. What does that remind you of? I never had an honest chance to delve into this stuff for myself. It’s always been a man telling me something and I believing him. So now I’m trying to figure out for myself what I really believe.



    And honestly if Dang was more respectful I would engage with his questions with more sincerity. But he has been really rude and it seems like all my reports have gone un noticed or something. I realize it goes both ways but honestly he came at me first in a really rude way and I’m just shocked that no one has addressed that.


    That’s ok Belle. Most of us here have known you for those 5 years. We will do our best to support you. You should set up your own post, in your own words, to discuss this confusion. We are not going to tell you what to believe or what not to believe. It is difficult for us to understand what you believe – or do not believe – when you are unsure yourself.

    We do not care if you disagree with everything or anything we say. I don’t care if any atheist agrees with me on anything. I am only offering my opinion. I have my own style of expressing myself just as everyone else does. But I look forward to having my opinions challenged. That is the only way I will make progress. As an atheist I do not cherish any of “my beliefs”, i.e. the pillars of how my reality or worldview is constructed. I will defend them because I understand them to have merit but I will chuck them in the recycle bin in an instance if I can be persuaded that they are misguided or incorrect. This is why I am a member of this site. I learn from what other members post. I am challenged by them and I learn from them.  I will respect everyone’s right to criticize my statements but I will expect evidence in order to change them.

    As I said in another post, I have recently changed my views on the Big Bang by giving consideration to the role the “Higgs Field” played in it. I expect this to be more widely understood in the future. All I have given here is my opinion. I have made known a view I hold about the creation of the Universe. I have made a subjective observation about how one part of my worldview is constructed.

    If I was to say “You are all wrong about the Big Bang” or “Inflation Theory is wrong” then I am making a knowledge claim. Then I am “fair game”. Demands for supporting evidence will be made of me. Answering those questions with “It is what I believe” or “I works for me” will not do. Being told that I have made an extraordinary claim would be a reasonable comment. Arguing why I understand Inflation Theory to be wrong (not a complete theory) with reasoned explanations would be the first step in getting others to consider the merits of those arguments.

    Asking for supporting evidence would be the next step. If I started saying “What do you mean by evidence” people would get annoyed with me and not want to take me seriously. If I could show them some peer-reviewed articles then I would have started to make the required effort to allow what seemed like an extraordinary claim to be deemed more than just my subjective opinion.

    If I was asked “Can you define Inflation Theory” and I said “I believe Inflation Theory created the Universe” then I have not giving an answer (or a non-answer). If I said it was responsible for gravity and “gravity is all around us even if we can’t see it but we can still feel its power”, I still would not have giving a reasonable answer. However if I was to start by explaining that gravity does not really exist because what we experience as gravity is actually the effects of Relativity and here is why I believe this – check it out for yourself, then I have started to give an answer. I am not just arguing a point, I am offering (yes that word is coming) “objective evidence” for my statement. That evidence can be deemed objective because it exists independently of anything I say. It is not a matter of my personal opinion or any belief I hold.

    At the moment I am unsure of my “Higgs idea”. It is not easy to understand but I enjoy learning about it. My understanding of how the Universe came to exist has changed. But I will not lose sleep over it. I will go about my day as if it does not make much difference to my life….because it makes no real difference to my life. I have not had any cherished belief shattered. I did not base my understanding of the world on any claim of certainty in how it began to exist (as WL Craig would say). I have never claimed to know how it came to exist.

    Ok, my way of expressing myself can be rather verbose at times but I hope you can see where I am going with this. I am prepared to invest my time trying to get you to see my point.

    From my point of view theists in general make claims of certainty. They claim to know how the Universe came to exist. They claim to know the creative force that they call “God”. Not only that but they claim to know this god at such a personal level that they are able to communicate on a one to one basis. They claim to hear His voice and that He answers their requests. They claim that because they believe other things about this God that they have become immortals.

    When we who don’t believe these things call such claims extraordinary and ask for evidence we get ridiculed. We cannot help being unable to believe a word of it. It sounds fantastical to us. Some members here have no idea what theists are taking about. They have never heard of this god. Yet somehow theists think we are in denial of the obvious and get annoyed when we see it as a delusion. It makes no sense to us and explains nothing to us.

    My opinion that the Higgs Field is responsible for the creation of the Universe will not be believed by people who have never heard of the Higgs Field. If I cannot explain it to them and insist that they are just unwilling to accept it as the truth then why should I get upset if everyone remained atheists towards my statement which I seem unable to support? If I make unsupported claims about the creation of the Universe and insist that I am correct I should expect others to think I am deluding myself and rightly so.

    What would you consider as evidence in order to believe that the Higgs Field helped create the Universe?



    I read his reply. I find nothing wrong with it. Then Belle replied by only dealing with the last few words of his reply, demanding that he “deal with it”.

    I was trying to talk to you and when he responded I was trying to make the point that I can express myself and I don’t owe him anything. He hadn’t earned the right to talk to me because he’s been an asshole to me. I did not want to engage with him I wanted to talk to you.


    I am not arguing this in public. I asked you to address your concerns privately. Dang is entitled to reply to comments made on his own posts and in an open forum.



    You should set up your own post, in your own words, to discuss this confusion.

    I’ll try to.



    I tried to delete #’s 5265-8 but it didn’t let me. And I sent you a private message



    Does it occur to you that Belle is bonded with people here and in turn others may be bonded with her?

    I have to agree to some extent with Jake (and that is coming from me of all people).

    Dang: Belle is not a troll in the least and she has a lot to offer.

    Simon: No. Dang should not leave because you don’t like him. Why don’t you challenge him on what he says?

    Belle: It’s been difficult getting a straight answer from you recently, could you please consider following through when you make a clear claim or challenge something we say?

    Davis: Next time Dr. Bob comes and trolls this website…try not to rip apart all of the exasperating things he says and point out every single duck and dodge, maybe just 75% of them?

    Reg and Strega and Pope: You are great moderators.

    Unseen: There may be such a thing as free will.

    Jade, Dianne, Matt, Tom, Physetter, Gregg, Noel: Did you know that the relative size and distance between our sun and Alpha Centauri can be related as: Placing one ping-pong ball in London (our sun) and another Ping-Pong ball in New York (our closest star). The rest is virtually empty space and our spacecraft would be only 10 times bigger than an atom. It’s true! So our journey to the next star would be like a clump of atoms travelling from London to New York with no help of wind and having to generate their own movement. Fact of the day!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Davis.


    @davis lol…

    RE: Belle: It’s been difficult getting a straight answer from you recently, could you please consider following through when you make a clear claim or challenge something we say?

    Of course. And as Reg suggested I’m going to write my own post and vent a lot of my confusion and frustration there. I’ll keep it off this thread. I always appreciate your responses when they are poiniant and not when you tell me I’m a liar for trying to work out my own confusion.



    Obviously prayer does not work 100% of the time. Even if it only worked 5% of the time that would be easy to prove through experiments. So what percentage of the time does prayer work?

    Mostly Catholic Puerto Rico was praying hard for the storm to spare them. Lets conservatively say 1 Million peeps (one third) were praying to be spared the wrath of Maria (I know, I hate when people personify things too, LOL). Well, that means that the odds of prayer working must be less than 1 in a Million.

    If all 3 Million people and millions of their relatives were praying would the storm have missed? Possibly. But I would not bet on it.

    Does prayer make people feel better, like they helped? Of course. At the least it is an expression of caring that sounds more profound than good luck. Frankly, good luck is the right thing to say !!!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  _Robert_.



    Obviously prayer does not work 100% of the time. Even if it only worked 5% of the time that would be easy to prove through experiments. So what percentage of the time does prayer work?

    I personally don’t think prayer is like giving your list to Santa and always getting what you want. It’s not a matter of “If I don’t get what I want then God is not real” sort of thing. And honestly to think it should be like that to me is childish.




    Did Dr. Bob write this non-answer?

    What do you mean?

    What I mean is, Reg obviously spent time thoughtfully phrasing a problem (the conflict between God’s plan vs praying to him to change his plan) and then asking you a clear question about it. What he asked was an interesting, reasonable and valid question as part of a larger conversation you have been participating in. However, your entire response to the complex question can be summed up as: “Only a  small number of Christians like Calvinists do that or care about that”.

    That is exactly the kind of answer Dr. Bob gives to valid questions. It is a misdirect. Instead of dealing with the questions (which are valid whether only some Christians are fatalists or if most of them are) you disregarded the question. In effecct you are saying “you’ve been talking to the wrong people”. This is falicious in a couple ways:

    1. It is a handwave. That is…I don’t need to answer this question. It is so obviously not true or is irrelevant I don’t even need to give a direct answer.

    2. It is a NO TRUE SCOTSMAN argument. As in, no real Scotsman would want Scotland to stay part of the United Kingdom. Or no real christian wrestles with humans having free will and asking God to help them in conflict with the concept that God has already planned everything. Well…how do you know that? There are a billion Christians living in over 100 countries. Have you met a varied group of European christians? Have you met some of the millions of very conservative African christians? Or Russian ones? How about South American ones? Perhaps it is not the Calvinists who are the few that deal with the kind of question Reg was asking you…but instead you might have experienced only a very small sliver of a christian experience in the world and then conclude “the kind of Christian arguments Reg talks about are alien to me…he must be talking to some atypical Christians”. But you cannot possibly use American liberal protestantism nor even American evangelism as representative of Christians and christianity. I have seen an incredible diversity of Christians all over the world and trust me…many of them wrestle with these kinds of questions like God’s plan and free will.

    3. It is the fallacy of applied ideas. That is, you ignore the question because, apparently few people actually claim such things or deal with such problems as God’s will. However, whether most people actively do the kind of things that we might theorize about, doesn’t mean that the question doesn’t deserve answering. Reg asked an interesting and difficult question about Gods will, free will and prayer. Even if only 100 christians on earth wrestled with this problem, it is still worth discussing and thinking about.

    Being a discussion forum, would it not make more sense to discuss the questions posed instead of selectively answering some and dodging others?

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