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The Power of Prayer

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

  1. FIRESTORM314

    FIRESTORM314 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do I sense some personal pride there ?

    See it as a challenge to motivate you to dig up the facts as I requested and present them clearly and without bias . Don't teachers motivate their students? If you don't get round to doing it - I would make the assumption that you are not really "interested" at all.

    The to be honest part was a measure of my own truth and thoughts about the matter - not about you. Prove me wrong. Then again wasn't that part of my challenge?

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I HEAR from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land

    Note the OP is far from humble - he is quite arrogant and he wonders why God never answered his prayer. The people of Israel worshipped God - made request in prayer to God but their hearts were far from him. They didn't live according to what God asked them to do . Yes - some were religious but they didn't change their behaviour.

    Consider Joseph - who was sold as a slave by his brothers, then later wrongly accused of sexually assaulting someone's wife and then ending up in Prison. Not once did he complain or blame God for not answering his prayers. Our friend here is very much complaining and accusing and for what? - he didn't get a personal revelation - my oh my - The injustice of it all !
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  2. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    I actually wasn't curious, even at 5 years. I am more curious about what you asked and what kind of person you were back then compared to now.

    Matthew 7:7, was spoken on the sermon on the mount, and follows a general form of simplistic one line proverb. That is it's genre, so you can't take it as a logical declaration that everything you ask will be produced. I am telling you, you aren't going to find that. It is not a part of Main Stream Christianity for a reason.

    Eisegesis
    is not a philosophical term, it is when a reader imposes their interpretation of the text. Thus exegesis tends to be objective; and eisegesis, highly subjective. That is what you are doing in simply quoting these verses, you ignore genre, context and semantic conditions.

    Simply put, treating a single sentence as an axiom is literally to remove all it's guiding context.
     
  3. gadar perets

    gadar perets Messianic Hebrew

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    I addressed John 14 in post #91. And no, you did not follow the Book for decades. You followed your church for decades. Were you a Sabbath keeper for all those decades? Did you stuff your face with swine's flesh? Did you trample on God's holy feast days? Were you a trinitarian? If so, then you did not follow the Book. I did not follow the Book for the first year of my life as a believer either. Nor did I hear from God that first year. It wasn't until after I started obeying His laws that He revealed Himself to me in a big way.


    You were looking for His answer to come to you in your desired fashion, but He answered you in His desired way.


    Those are your words, not mine. Mine were accompanied by "if".


    Started "exploring" or started trying to find fault with God and His Book?


    You were raised in it. Did you ever make a personal decision to receive Yeshua as your Savior and get baptised via you own choice? You started to read the Bible? Does that mean you literally never read it or that you began reading it more deeply or that you began reading it in an attempt to discredit it? When I find things that appear to be inconsistent, I shelve it for a while and the Almighty helps me to understand it in His timing. I do not start pointing to the inconsistencies as proof that the Bible is false and then walk away from the faith.


    What is your current faith?

    See post #91.


    This does not answer my questions that were asked to help establish where you're at now. Did you ever renounce Yeshua or do you still believe in him as your Savior, but have doubts about what the Bible says about prayer.
     
  4. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    You do not. I am happy to debate people, and it's not uncommon for debates to get heated. But what you said sounded pretty close to an insult, followed up by something very far from an assurance that it wasn't. And if that turns out to be the case, I shall simply add you to my Ignore list, and continue the conversation with politer people.

    I'm not particularly interested in accepting challenges, thank you. If I think something you say is worth responding to, or if I feel it would be polite to, then I'll respond to it. Also, I note the implication that I might be unclear or dishonest in presenting evidence. I'm still willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're simply being careless with your language, rather than being deliberately insulting. Do be more careful in future.
    First of all, while it may not be particularly easy to do, in theory it's perfectly possible to get an overview of statistics with regards to miracles, general good luck and other forms of "prayers being answered". I suspect that if this were in Christians' favour, if the evidence did show that Christians had all the remarkable good luck, not to mention bona fide documented miracles, we would hear a lot more about it.
    Of course, we don't. Luck affects everyone, "miracles" aren't actually miraculous, and I'm asking, in this thread, what difference it would make if God stopped answering prayers, because I suspect that there would be absolutely no difference at all.

    Now, you propose that atheists are over-represented in British jails? Well, let's check that.
    This site seem to have some good data. According to it, the percentage of atheists in jail has been holding steady from 1997 to 2015 at around 30%. In very rough figures, this would seem to be about typical of the country as a whole. As this article puts it:
    The number of Britons who say they have no religion has hit a record high, new data has revealed.
    More than half of the British public (53 per cent) say they are not at all religious – a figure that has increased by five percentage points since 2015 and by 19 percentage points since 1983, when just three in 10 people deemed themselves non-religious
    .

    Information about US prisons is also interesting. This article probably presents the most accurate figures; and while it quite rightly cautions that there may be many factors and explanations at play, it's quite evident that the percentage of atheists in prisons is much, much lower than the percentage of atheists in the US population.

    So, when you say you expect atheists to be over-represented in prisons, I have to point out, you're quite wrong; in fact, it's the other way round. And that's interesting, isn't it?
    If prayer does mean anything, we should expect to see trends. Of course, we can't tell anything from any particular item of data; but overall, isn't it strange that higher proportions of Christians go to jail, and lower proportions of atheists? With all those prayers being said to God, you'd think it would have some positive effect? Prison populations are a strong piece of evidence. Not conclusive, of course, but a good start. I wonder what other kinds of data we could examine?

    Arrogant? I wonder if you're reading your own ideas into this. I haven't seen cvanwey's posts as arrogant at all. He said that he prayed, sincerely, and with an honest desire to know God's will, for many years. Does that sound arrogant to you? And how can you know what cvanwey's behaviour was? He said that he was a good Christian. Presumably he loved God and Jesus as much as you did. Who are you to judge him?
     
  5. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

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    Good. Well, cvanwey has told us how he felt, and I'm happy to take him at his word.
    You would not expect an atheist to accept proof? Why not? Of course I'll accept proof, and even strong evidence. If you have an argument for God's existence that you consider to be logical and persuasive, do feel free to present it.
    Hey, I agree with you, but most Christians don't, and I think you know that.
    It's you who said it.
    You said: "If he actually prayed to God to confirm His existence, then his prayer was answered every single day when the sun arose and set like clockwork." Don't blame me if you now disagree with your earlier words.

    The fact that the universe is beautiful and wonderful (from our particular point of view) does not mean it was designed. What on earth do you mean, "the sun rises and sets with precision"? That is doesn't suddenly take it into its head to do a dance, or to sleep in late?
    Also, the sun doesn't rise. The Earth orbits the sun, turning as it does so.

    At a very early stage of evolution, long before they were humans, or apes, or mammals, yes, they did.

    I see.
    Tell me, if God stopped answering prayers tomorrow, what do you think the difference would be?
    Would there be any difference at all?
     
  6. FIRESTORM314

    FIRESTORM314 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's nice to see you provide the stats as requested. The major problem I had with it is that you quoted someone else's work and drew your conclusion from that. That's like handing out an essay and letting the students copy each others work. As the math's and conclusion go - you did get it wrong


    The 2001 Census was the first Census in the UK to include a question on Religion. Unlike sample surveys - it reached the entire population and 92.8% of the respondents answered the Religion Question.

    This was the Breakdown of the 2001 Census

    Christian 72 %
    Muslim 3%
    Hindu 1%
    Sikh 0.6 %
    Jewish 0.5 %
    Buddhist 0.3 %
    Other 3%

    15% DECLARED THEMSELVES NO RELIGION.

    8 % did not respond.

    There was also a Prison Census done in 2000 ( again authorised by the Government )
    https://webarchive.nationalarchives...//rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hosb1501.pdf

    This is the breakdown on Religion in Prison.

    Anglicans 39%
    Catholics 17 %
    Muslims 7 %

    NO RELIGION 32% - more than twice the number than that declared in the 2001 Census !

    The Muslims are Also more than double in number than what they have been counted in the 2001 Census.

    The Math's dictate if some groups are over-represented as clearly the Athiest and Muslims are in the Prison Survey for 2001 - then at least one group must be lower ?

    The 2011 Census had questions about immigration and many people were living here who had not be born and raised here. The Athiest figure in the 2011 Census goes up to 25.1% of the population. White British people are now a minority in London and the fastest growing religion in this Country is the Muslim Religion. Christianity is still in the majority at over 59%
     
  7. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I would appreciate if you don't patronize me @Sanoy

    In regards to prayer, I prayed for contact, 100's/1000's of times. No contact. The Bible seems pretty clear, that such types of requests, if done in earnest and in complete faith (which I was for decades), 'would' yield some type of result. It never did. Which one of the (6) conclusions in the OP, would (you) conclude? And would (you) continue worshiping this claimed entity, or, would you do the same thing I did, and wonder if you are only speaking to yourself?

    Like I stated a few posts back, others claim they have received such contact. And like I also said, I believe they 'believe' they've received contact. But so do prayers to opposing Gods.


    What's more likely?

    1. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, even from their differing God?
    2. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, but it is only the Christians who are actually receiving true contact, while all others, in their imaginary god(s), are mistaken?
    3. They are all mistaken?

    I know we are now in the realm of unfalsifiability, but please take off your apologist's hat for a moment, and exercise basic logic. What would you conclude, if you were me?

    I then ask you again, if you were in my position, pouring your heart out honestly, and you received such responses, wouldn't you start to get a little frustrated as well?
     
  8. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    It's not, nor ever was, my intent to patronize you. I don't know what you are referring to.

    I don't know why God didn't answer your prayer, the question isn't multiple choice just because you make it one. What do you mean by 'contact'? How can you have been a believer with no contact with God? Did you fast for this contact? Did you pray this 100x, 1000x, or 10,000x because it's getting hard to tell.

    Your trilemma is false. One can find God completely apart from JudeoChristian religion. In Ezekiel God calls two pagans in particular righteous, Job and Danel. And Paul speaks of God's nature being available to all mankind at the beginning of Romans. So a person seeking God's nature in any religion may find Yahweh, though he never knew Him by name. There are wolves within and sheep without.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  9. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I know you 'answered'. But is it a proper answer really..?

    I was a devout believer in Christ for decades. No response in prayer. If God answers on His time, or in my case, never, what is the point of prayer?

    Seem like a pretty not falsifiable answer you gave really. Couldn't any opposing religion state the very same thing? 'Oh, He answers when He wants, and if you do not receive your answer at all, ever, it's because you were doing something incorrectly.'



    Negative. I gave it decades. Again, please read the bottom of the OP. And again, if things are always how He wants, then what is the point of prayer at all? If He is only going to answer, if the desire already meets His plan, then there really is no point.



    In the beginning, I started to read the Bible. Because quite frankly, prior to this, I would just await my weekly book report in church. I had not read it. When I did, I wondered many things, things never discussed in church, if you get my drift. This lead me to further doubt. As I continued to explore, finding that many things appear not to coincide with my perceived reality and discovery, in the physical especially. I started by beginning to rationalize them. As I continued, over time, I found it harder to reconcile what the Bible stated, and the many things I discovered, which seem to contradict. Over more time, I developed more doubt, but was still a member, using the 'what do you have to loose' mentality. I was also afraid of what would happen to me eternally, if I did not stay on board. It was a very long, slow, and gradual journey from staunch believer, to what I am today.... Which is, asking my personal questions of interest on an Apologetics forum.

    Yes! Many times. I would waiver, then come back 'stronger'.


    When I find things are inconsistent, I keep at it, until I realize, they are inconsistent. Or, I sometimes finally decide to ask Apologists here, when I cannot reconcile any other conclusion on my own. I can point out many inconsistencies. Many I have yet to publish here, and is for a differing topic. But feel free to take a crack at God is Good for starters.



    Please read the last line of the OP again.
     
  10. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    What do I mean by 'contact'? I mean it very plain and simple. I prayed for Him to reach me in a way in which I have virtually no doubt it is Yahweh answering. But when I would pray for such, nothing. I can't believe I would have to spell that out for you. For Christians, whom pride themselves upon interpretation and context, it seems pretty obvious what I mean.

    And no, my 'trilemma' has not been proven false, because you did not address it.

    What's more likely?

    1. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, even from their differing God? <- I would assume you agree....

    2. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, but it is only the Christians who are actually receiving true contact, while all others, in their imaginary god(s), are mistaken? <- I would like to hear your take, as it cuts to the heart of the matter.

    3. They are all mistaken? <- I would like to hear your take, as it cuts to the heart of the matter.

    And yes, I know of all such stories. God contacts people in differing ways. I've expressed my attempts. The Bible states He would respond. He never did. What would (you) conclude?
     
  11. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    Oh my, I'm afraid you prayed for something you can't handle. The Hekhalot and Merkabah literature going back to 100BC often described such a revelation as leaving someone insane, and that wouldn't even be my first concern.

    A dilemma or a trillema is proven false when it is shown to not be logically exhaustive. Which was done by showing a fourth possibility shown in scripture.

    You didn't clear up how many times you prayed or whether you even fasted for something like that. Was it 100x, 1000x, or 10'000x? Did you fast?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  12. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    Remember when I spoke about patronizing...

    Again, your prior response does not address what I'm presenting. Let me demonstrate...

    I stated that many pray to differing god(s), and claim a response from this differing god(s). I am going to take the liberty in assuming you would agree with this basic observation? That they pray to God X, while you pray to God Y, and others might pray to God Z. All of which, claim a response. And like I stated prior, all truly believe they did receive a response. And like I also stated prior, I believe they 'believe' they received a response.

    Okay, moving forward...


    Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, but it is only the Christians who are actually receiving true contact, while all others, in their 'imaginary god(s)', are mistaken? What are your thoughts about this? I would really be interested in hearing your take.

    They are all mistaken? I would again like to hear your take?

    The premise is pray for contact, NOT additional already acknowledged means of contact/response. I know all about the story of Sal, and the rest of the gang. This is not what is presented in my directed and specific form of questioning.


    I prayed, fasted, issued faith, belief, and was earnest. Please don't give me the "I must not been trying hard enough" response, I'm not in the mood.

    What would (you) conclude, of the (6) OP options?
     
  13. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    I really don't see how anything I have said is patronizing. I can't handle that prayer being answered either. That was essentially the point of these ancient writings, that no one can.

    You asked what's more likely as if there was a trillema of choices. There aren't. I think people from other religions that claim to have contacted an entity have contacted an entity unless I have a reason to believe they haven't.

    I'm not trying to discover whether you have tried enough, but whether you are being sincere enough with your representation as that representation keeps changing. How many times did you pray? 100x, 1000x, 10,0000x. I keep asking because you keep using a different number. How long did you fast and was it initiated for the exact prayer you described rather than a church or group event you were participating in? This also helps me understand the you that you used to be.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  14. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    It might also help to know precisely what he was asking for, like a bike? A bike that he didn't get?

    ... but since I'm kind of through playing roulette with @cvanwey, I'll let you ask him, Sanoy. :rolleyes:
     
  15. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    If this is the case, then God does not answer prayer. But people state they have. So either they are mistaken, or they were answered. If they were answered, then obviously they can 'handle' it.


    You keep stating I'm issuing some type of 'trilemma'. But am I?

    1. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, even from their differing God? Do you agree? I think you do? Not really part of any trilemma, but more of an axiomatic observation in and of itself. Hence, it is finished upon itself right here. Now on to the second observation.

    2. Many religious people pray and claim successful contact, but it is only the Christians who are actually receiving true contact, while all others, in their 'imaginary god(s)', are mistaken? This is instead a forced dichotomy, in and of itself. We know observation 1. exists, right? That people of differing cultures pray and claim contact. And now, I'm asking, based upon this shared certainty in observation 1., since they all claim a successful response, is it only possible it is the Christian's who's responses are actual?

    Your current response is not addressing what I'm asking. And I'm not sure if it is because you feel 'pinned', in knowing you might need to assert a conclusion, or, don't understand what I'm actually asking, or other...

    Thus, let me rephrase it a bit...

    Person one prays to God X and claims a response. Person two prays to God Y and claims a response. I believe both of them. But at least one of them HAVE to be imaginary; unless both God X and God Y exist, right?

    Thoughts?

    3. Maybe they are both mistaken, and they are both imaginary?


    Oh, I'm sincere. And tried my earnest for decades. The question is, are you sincere in these responses?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  16. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    I really don't see how Hekhalot and Merkabah literature proves God does not answer prayer. You would have to explain that conclusion.

    You asked which of the three is more likely. The more likely is not one of the three. I feel I have been very clear on that. I assure you, you have not even manifested a point to be pinned by. You present another false dilemma. You say "Person one prays to God X and claims a response. Person two prays to God Y and claims a response. I believe both of them. But at least one of them HAVE to be imaginary; unless both God X and God Y exist, right?" It's a false dilemma, as I tried to explain to you in post 108. You said you "know of all such stories" so I assumed you understood it. Did you not?

    You come accross to me as the more insincere than anyone I have ever met in my entire life. Let that reach you for a bit before the obligatory denial. Continuing to avoid such a simple question just entrenches such an experience.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  17. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    Okay, now with the ad homs. Great. Please stop, I do not want to get this topic closed, due to 'flaming or 'insults'. I'm actually trying to get to the heart of the matter here...

    I'm going to ignore all the 'noise', and instead focus on the meat and potatoes - (a very specific point):

    A Hindu prays to Vishnu, and claims a response.
    A Christian prays to Yahweh and claims a response.

    Okay, we have two claims. Yes, they could both be perfectly not falsifiable. I get that upon the onset... However, we are forced to undergo one 'assertion' from you, since you will be answering, not me (hopefully)... Which is asserted specifically by any Christian. Which is... 'there is only one true God.'

    I trust you agree? Okay, great.

    Now, back to this supposed 'false dilemma'... And remember, the premise is prayer. And asking for contact from God in prayer. Your response in #108 does not speak to any of this...

    If only one true God exists, then (you) would have no choice, but to conclude that this Hindu was 'mistaken' on some level, right? By 'mistaken', I mean, either he/she is imagining the contact entirely, maybe getting a response, but actually from Yahweh, or other... But none-the-less, mistaken.

    I again ask...

    What's more likely, when people pray, and claim contact? Are the Christians sometimes receiving legit contact? But the Hindu either cannot be, or are mistaken in their contact? Because it goes without saying, that under your belief system, as a Christian, 'Vishnu is not real.'




     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  18. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    So getting to the heart of the matter is avoiding these questions over and over again? If you wanted to change the way you come across why not answer them? By continually refusing to answer those two simple questions you are just entrenching that image which leaves me with nothing but doubt over your sincerity.

    Ok, so you didn't "know of all such stories". Why not be sincere and just say that. There are many Elohim, the Bible quite literally lays that out. Yahweh is Elohim most high. Yahweh has revealed himself to all mankind by His nature which Paul speaks of in Romans 1-2. So one can come into contact with Yahweh in whatever circumstances he is placed in. And before you say a Hebrew word is equivalent to an English word it isn't.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  19. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

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    I could just as easily claim you have been avoiding my requests all along. But I don't even care at this point, what you have chosen to address, up until this point. At this point, based upon the momentum of our discussion, I'm only really interested in one final piece from you. And quite frankly, I'm likely loosing interest in that one as well.

    When a non-Christian prays, and claims a response, I chalk it up to being not falsifiable, alone. Yeah, I doubt it's real, but I can't prove it. But, and this is a HUGE but, the 'but' that separates you and I most likely, is I also pose the very same conclusion in all claims of prayer, from all asserted god claims.

    As I stated prior, I believe that they 'believe' they received contact/response from their desired God. Just like I would imagine you might also conclude.

    But this becomes the caveat... This is where we THEN parts directions...

    I would imagine you actually believe that some of the asserted Christian prayers have actually been answered. So my question is, why do you most likely not give or lend the same credence to the Hindu's claim? It's okay, you don't have to answer. I kind of already hit the points in prior threads.

    Just like you did not address my (6) points/conclusions in the OP...

    Anywho.

    Thanks?

     
  20. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

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    I haven't avoided any of your questions, you just haven't done well with understanding the answers. You might recall the first two pages of the thread?

    You appear unable to follow what is not immediately captured in the last reply. I explicitly said. "I think people from other religions that claim to have contacted an entity have contacted an entity unless I have a reason to believe they haven't."

    I also stated that I don't know why God did not answer your prayer and it's not a multiple choice question either. You need to retain more things in a conversation.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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