I don’t get Prayer!

July 26, 2010

I don’t get why people pray, and I don’t get why the Bible tells you to pray.  It seems to me that if prayers worked, we would know about it.  There have been some studies done.  At least one study I read about had a two groups of cancer patients, one who got prayed for by a bunch of people, and one who didn’t.  There was no difference in the recovery rate for either group.  This brings up some possibilities.

Maybe God didn’t answer the prayers because he knew he was being tested.  This is a pretty dick thing to do though.  Sure some people were praying just to help out with the study, but surly some people were praying because they knew people were suffering and were hoping God would intervene.  Anyway, why would this stop God from helping.  I am pretty sure it says in the bible that if you pray, your prayers will be granted.  It seems like since he asked people to pray, he would be happy when lots of people do it.  If people found out that prayer worked, they would pray more, and really believe.

However, some people say that if he revealed himself that way, it wouldn’t take faith to believe in him (because you would have proof), and faith is the most important part.  If this is the case though, then nobody should pray.  You are getting proof of your God every time you pray and you think your prayers are answered.  There still seems to be some contradiction though, because some people say god answered there prayers.  Now their faith is stronger than ever because they asked of God, and he delivered.

So if he answers some prayers, why doesn’t it matter if more people pray for the same thing.  Also, why do the loved ones of really devout, really good people get cancer, or get hit by cars?  These people already believe, and they probably pray pretty religiously.

One other argument is that God works in mysterious ways, or God has a plan.  However, if this is true, then there is no reason to pray.  If he know his plan and it can’t be changed by prayer.  Then prayer doesn’t really work, right.  People should just trust in God, and his plan.  I know that some people do feel this way.  I have heard people say this, but they still pray anyway.

So what does praying do really.  Does God sometimes  change his plan for a prayer, and sometimes not?  Do people just pray because they are in a shitty situation (like a loved one having cancer), and feel helpless, so they need to do something. People pray for all sorts of shit and think that God answers them.  They pray for sports teams to win.  They pray for promotions at work.  They pray for that special someone to finally notice them.

When it works, they praise God, when it doesn’t, they forget about it, or say God has a plan.

My question is: If you think prayer works, how would you know the difference between it really working, and it just being coincidence?

Also, if you pray, tell me what you pray about, and why you pray.

Updated: Here are the citations from the bible.  I read the verses around them, they don’t seem out of context.  Let me know if you think differently.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

John 14:13 Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning any thing whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven.


Life Energy?

July 24, 2010

If things like Tia Chi give any benefit to your life energy or whatever, you have to explain what that benefit is. If there is a benefit, it must manifest in some physical way, or how else would we know there is a benefit. There MUST be some effect. If must be detectable in some way.

If there is an effect, you also need to explain how that effect is different than normal exercise, or getting a massage. Doesn’t jogging everyday help my body as much as Tia Chi, does stretching and getting a massage relive stress the same.

If there is no difference, then why do we need the concept of life energy. If jogging is the same Tia Chi, then isn’t it more likely that Tia Chi is just exercise, not that it invokes some magical wellness.

If there is a difference, you also need to make sure that difference isn’t just the placebo effect. Like, people think they feel better after Tia Chi because they think spiritual exercise must be better than regular exercise.

If it isn’t placebo, then there must be some measured effect. Again, this effect should manifest itself in some way. This way must be detectable. Meaning we should be able to stimulate the life energy, and get results.

Despite being around for thousands of years, no one actually seems to be able to say what the life energy is or does. We don’t know if it actually exists.

Ask yourself this: How would you know the difference between life energy existing, and you just wanting it to exist?

The Power of Prayer

September 5, 2009

kevinFor this post, in order to discuss what I want to about prayer, I’ll have to dive into personal life a little bit.  At the end of July, of this year, I woke up one morning with an extreme and sharp pain in my side.  I decided to go to the hospital to find out what was wrong with me and a mass was discovered on my liver.

Instantly, from many people I knew, the “pray” word started being thrown around: “We’ll keep you in out prayers,” “We’re praying for you,” “I pray that you’ll be alright,” etc.  Next, I will go into a time-line of what what was happening to me, what people were praying for, and what the reality was.

Read the rest of this entry »

Logic, Love and Brian McKnight

July 22, 2009

kevinDoes anyone remember the song “Back At One”, released by Brian McKnight in 1999?  This was the brief period of time where R&B ruled the airwaves, right before boy bands took over.  If you don’t remember, here are the lyrics to the chorus:

One, you’re like a dream come true
Two, just wanna be with you
Three, girl its plain to see that you’re the only one for me and
Four, repeat steps one through three
Five, make you fall in love with me
If ever I believe my work is done
Then I start back at one

Oh Brian McKnight, how you made the ladies swoon.  I’m afraid the same cannot be said for logic enthusiasts.  You see, for “step” number four, he says to repeat steps one through three.  But one through three aren’t steps; they are merely statements.  How do you repeat “you’re like a dream come true”?  Also, if step four is repeating one through three, then how does he ever get to five?  Maybe that’s his trick.  Say nice things for thee steps, throw an extra step to make it seem like you’re doing more work when you’re really just repeating previous steps, and then throw in a step that requires all of the hard work, but you’ll never really get to that step.

Brian McKnight might not understand logic, but he is definitely a professor in Loveology.

21st century’s longest eclipse

July 21, 2009

kevinThe longest solar eclipse since 1991 covered part of the Asian continent today.   There were several parts of the story that I found amusing:

Millions gathered in the open to watch the spectacle, but millions more shuttered themselves inside their houses, gripped by fearful myths.

One Hindu fable says eclipses are caused by a dragon-demon that swallows the sun…

Some myths and superstitions, no matter how ridiculuous, are to be expected on events such as a solar eclipse.  But this myth confused me:

Even in regions where the eclipse was not visible, pregnant women were advised to stay indoors in curtained rooms, due to a belief that the sun’s invisible rays would harm the fetus and the baby would be born with disfigurations, birthmarks or a congenital defect.

The sun’s invisible rays would cause harm?  Isn’t a solar eclipse caused by the moon blocking out sun rays?  So how is a lack of sun rays going to cause harmful invisible sun rays?  People were advised to stay indoors even in regions where the eclipse couldn’t be seen?  So maybe a lack of sun rays in one region means more are being introduced into regions where people can’t see the eclipse… and those rays.. are harmful somehow… and they bounce back into regions of the eclipse… and babies are the most susceptible… oh forget it.  This is too confusing.  I’m staying indoors the next time a solar eclipse rolls around just to be safe… especially if I’m pregnant.

Two quick Stories

July 21, 2009

I was hanging out with a group a friends on the fourth of July, drinking of course.  Later in the night one of my buddies who I don’t see very much started talking about his experiences at the airport.  I don’t remember all the details, but he says he gets stopped and searched every time he goes to the airport, he says this has been happening for around fifteen years.  This alone isn’t super strange.  Lots of people fly every day, and lots of people get randomly searched, I am sure that some  people in America get searched more than others by just chance alone.

He says that isn’t it though.  He believes that “They” are watching him.  My friend has been a big fan of the fourth of July since before I knew him.  We used to make sparkler bombs and blow up gas cans and stuff for movies we would make, or for home made fireworks.  Some times he would look up how to make bombs online so we could have bigger cooler explosions.  He believes this is the reason he gets searched every time at the airport.  I told him if he was under suspicion for fifteen years, the govenment wouldn’t just search him at the airport.  Surly they would have tracked him to his house, and found out that he was just an ordinary dude.  Regular people like us are not hard to find, and upon inspection they would see that we are just ordinary.

So what I did was use my cell phone to call up my buddies and talked about bombs and blowing stuff up.  I then texted them about bombs over the weekend.  Then, again, using my I phone I searched up things like “bombs for blowing up buildings” and “how to smuggle bombs through US customs”.

My friend was very eager to see what would happen, because the very next weekend, my friends and I were going to fly to Las Vegas.  He was pretty sure I was flagged now, so I would definitely be stopped.  You know what though, nothing happened.  I didn’t get stopped going to Vegas, and I didn’t get stopped coming home.  Nobody cared, because no one was listening.  I don’t know why my friend gets searched every time he goes to the airport.  I don’t even know if it really happens “every” time, or if he is just using confirmation bias.  It could be as simple as him looking nervous because he thinks he will be searched, and that makes him suspicious.

This story doesn’t really prove anything, it wasn’t scientific at all.  It is just one anecdote to fight an anecdote.

The second story happened just a few days ago.  A different friend was looking outside the other night and noticed a really bright light way up in the sky.  He said it moved across the sky slowly for about three minutes, then disappeared.  He was sure it wan’t a plane and had no other explinations to offer.

I think he told me about it because I’m skeptical of things like this, and he was curious what I would say.  I didn’t have a direct answer.  A strange light in the sky could be many things.  I am not an astronomer, and I have heard stories like this about strange lights that ended up being reflections, or it could have been a hallucination.  However, the shuttle had just launched and I suggested that it could have been that.  I don’t know what a shuttle looks like from way down here on earth.  My friend was pretty sure that it wasn’t the shuttle.

However, the next day, he said he looked it up, and the shuttle was visible around the time he saw the light.  Again, this doesn’t prove that it was the shuttle, but it is way more likley than aliens.  Pretty much everything is more likley than aliens.  The point is just because you see something in the sky that you can’t explain, doesn’t automatically make it aliens.

Pyramid schemes continued

July 15, 2009


Within 12 hours of my previous post about pyramid schemes, I received a comment from an organizer of one.  I’m reluctant to post the comment because it has a link to his product, however I will share verbatim what he said:

There are people out there that just do not know how to build a viable business. For me I first want customers that use my product. I have a product that people do need and I just want them to receive the benefit of the product first. My best team members are my best customers in building this business. If you are so anxious to reach the top of a Network Marketing business you first need to realize why these products are not on the grocers shelf. It is very simple math. The Manufacturer who goes the retail store route first needs to spend millions of dollars to advertise the product just to get the product on the public’s radar. The Network Marketing Manufacturer spends a lot less by going the word of mouth route. The Retail Manufacturer must produce thousands of products before the sale. The Network Manufacturer makes the product on existing orders and has no losses. This is a very simple explanation.
NOW IF, you are serious and want to see exactly how you could receive the product that has many benefits that fits the majority of people’s needs at either a very low cost if not free plus receive an income besides then you should go to a web address that will explain everything to you.

This seems to be a compelling argument.  Maybe I came down a little harsh on people who STILL get involved in pyramid schemes, even though it is 2009.  However, there are many problems with what the commenter said and I will go into them below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »