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The Power of Prayer

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by cvanwey, May 4, 2019.

  1. gadar perets

    gadar perets Messianic Hebrew

    United States
    I question the conclusion that "God did not bother with me." How do you know He did not answer in ways you did not discern?
  2. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

    Is God so incapable of communication? Remember, the character of God (as described by Christians) is a loving being, all-wise and all-powerful. If such a being wanted to communicate with you, would it be likely to fail at the task? And if God's intention was to communicate with @cvanwey then He obviously has failed, because cvanwey has not understood or noticed His message.
    So: If God had wanted to communicate with cvanwey, cvanwey would have received and understood the message. He didn't; therefore God did not try to communicate with Him.
    Furthermore: if God existed, He would have answered cvanwey's prayers, because he is a loving person who will answer prayers that are asked sincerely. cvanwey received no answer; therefore, we can deduce that there is no God to answer him. God doesn't exist.
    That is what I take to have been cvanwey's logic - and I must say, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.
  3. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

    You may not be aware of this, but "religion" covers an awful lot of things. You, whether you like it or not, are a Christian with some rather uncommon beliefs, which means you are a member of the Christian religion (which embraces an extremely wide range of beliefs, even if not all of its members like to think of all of the other members as Christians!)
    In short, as the article I posted earlier correctly puts it:
    "In conversation with those around us, we are not allowed to make up new definitions for words...if we are engaging in a public discourse, the words we use must carry the meanings assigned to them by the public. And the definition of “religion” is: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” (dictionary.com)...unless we’re playing semantic games, that also makes (what we do) a “religion”."

    Just as I thought. You converted for emotional reasons, into the religion you were brought up with. Whatever differences there are between your beliefs and "mainstream" Christianity are really very minor compared to the fact that you follow Jesus, God and the Bible.
    You're a member of the Christian religion.

    If you do, bear in mind that it is extremely unlikely to convert me; and, while I have no wish to ridicule or attack you personally, I will very probably point out to you any inconsistencies I happen to see. So, feel free not to share your story if you don't want to.

    Well, that's all fair enough. However, there is something more...
    Reading the rest of Dan Barker's book, you can see that he had encounters with God many times. Of course, if you asked him today, he would say that it was just his own imagination - the feelings of warmth and love he experienced, the suggestions and directions he received, even the voices he "heard" speaking to him - all just his imagination.
    But here's the thing - while he was a Christian, he was absolutely convinced that God was real and that he had encountered God's presence. He talked to God and Jesus every day, loved them, was proud to serve them, could feel them guiding him in his life, answering his prayers. As you said, he could see the power of God working in his life.
    But it wasn't real. And, for you, it isn't real. I have to say that, because I don't believe there is a God, and if there isn't a God, I must believe that you are just talking to yourself.
    And one day, you might agree with me. Because no matter how hard you believe right now, Dan Barker believed just as much, or maybe more. And he realised he was wrong.
  4. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

    @cvanwey I was just reading a website on Christianity and reasons to believe it, or not, and I found this, which might interest you and shed some light on this debate of why God/Jesus hasn't been answering some people's prayers.

    There is only one way for Jesus to prove that he rose from the dead. He had to appear to people. Therefore, several different places in the Bible describe Jesus' appearances after his death:

    • Matthew chapter 28
    • Mark chapter 16
    • Luke chapter 24
    • John Chapter 20 and 21
    1 Corinthians 15:3-6 provides a nice summary of those passages, as written by Paul:

    • For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
    As you can see in this passage, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people a number of different times.
    Being like Paul

    When we look at these Bible passages, there is a question that comes to mind -- why did Jesus stop making these appearances? Why isn't Jesus appearing today?

    It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefitted from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions.

    So... Why doesn't Jesus appear to everyone and prove that he is resurrected, just like he appeared to Paul? There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you. And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. If Paul needed a personal visit from Jesus to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why wouldn't you?

    It is an important question for the following reasons:

    • We are told by the Bible that Jesus appeared to hundreds of people.
    • We therefore know that it is OK for Jesus to appear to people -- it does not take away their free will, for example.
    • We know that it would be easy for Jesus to appear to everyone all through history, since Jesus is all-powerful and timeless.
    • We know that, if Jesus did reappear to everyone, it would be incredibly helpful. We could all know, personally, that Jesus is resurrected and that Jesus is God. If Paul (and all the other people in the Bible) needed a personal visit to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why not you and me?
    • Yet, we all know that Jesus has not appeared to anyone in 2,000 years.
    In other words, there is nothing stopping Jesus from appearing to you, and several good reasons for him to appear.
    Praying to Jesus

    What if we pray to Jesus like this: "Dear Jesus, please appear to us, as you did to Paul and the 500 brethren, so that we can see the evidence of your resurrection. In your name we pray, amen." Here is what Jesus has promised us in the Bible:

    Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    • Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
    In John chapter 14:14:

    • Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
    In Matthew 18:19:

    • Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
    Jesus is actually in our midst. So he is right here already, supposedly. Yet when we pray to him to physically materialize, nothing ever happens.
    Isn't it odd that Nothing happens, given the fact that Jesus promises us that something will happen? Isn't it odd that nothing happens when, supposedly, Jesus is right here with us already, and materialization would be trivial for him?

    We have created an unambiguous situation where coincidence cannot "answer" the prayer. The only way for this prayer to be answered is for Jesus to actually, unambiguously, materialize.
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  5. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

    United States
    No you can't. You could deconvert some day. Which would mean you never had 'factual belief'.

    Someone just has to tell you this? That's an extremely low bar.

    I can point to people who would have asserted they had what you call 'factual belief', at the time when they were believers - just like you are asserting right now - who later became atheists.

    But of course, it's not a demonstrable claim, and consequently can't be called 'factual' at all. It's just a naked assertion, and can be dismissed as such.

    If that's the case, then you must necessarily be open to the idea that there are people who once believed just as deeply and sincerely as you do now, but became atheists.
  6. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    United States
    If you 'question' it, that means you are calling me a liar or stupid. Or maybe, God is unable to contact me effectively. I am stating I feel is did not receive a response. So I'm either not smart enough, God whispered in a way which was not very easy to decipher/discern; or, I'm lying.
  7. Tinker Grey

    Tinker Grey Wanderer Supporter

    And, if a god answers in a way I did not discern, it did not, in fact, answer me.
  8. gadar perets

    gadar perets Messianic Hebrew

    United States
    I am not calling you a liar or stupid. There are other things you may be, like carnal or lacking in discernment, but I'm not saying you are those either. What I am saying is you are wrong to conclude that God does not exist. You might as well try to tell me trees don't exist. I know better. You are wrong, but you refuse to admit it. You would rather pretend God doesn't exist to ease your conscience.
  9. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    United States

    What I am saying, is that of the (6) options available, that option 2 appears most reasonable. I'm not saying 'God does not exist.' However, based upon my circumstances, it appears unlikely, when compared to verses in the Bible, which state to the contrary, in regards to prayer.

    Wait a minute... I thought you were not calling me a liar. Isn't someone, whom is in deep denial of their reality, some form of a liar - if even to themselves? But regardless, how do YOU know what I 'refuse to admit'? It would be no different then me telling you to pray earnestly to some claimed opposing claimed god for decades, and you never receive any type of response. Wouldn't you start to assume that maybe this entity may not be all they are cracked up to be? You do realize that many also claim contact from opposing gods in prayer right? You do realize they are mostly honest in their assessments as well, right?

    Again with the claims of my dishonesty. Wouldn't you find this type of response annoying and/or incorrect, if coming from believers in the many religious claimed gods you reject or doubt as factual?
    Last edited: May 14, 2019