Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Is An Answered Prayer?

To a believer, anything is an answer and that is proof that god is real.

If I pray that someone finds a new job, no matter what happens, god answered it.

If the person did get a job, then god guided them to the right employer. If the person did not get the job, then god wanted them to work somewhere else. But no matter what happens, it's all part of the great plan.

This is why you can't debate with a believer; because no matter what happens, they see it as proof that god answers prayers. Little Johnny was sick and now he's better; god healed him (it had nothing to do with his own immune system). Little Johnny died. God had a different purpose for his life.

They say that every prayer is answered, even if the answer is no. So that basically means that even if you pray and absolutely nothing happens, god is still there.

What really bothers me is when prayers are not answered and believers justify it. They say stuff like, "god knows what's best for your life."

What I don't understand is how they can see god in everything when the outcome of a prayer is completely random. Little Johnny is sick. Someone prays that he will get better. He does get better. Praise god! Why can't these people see that little Johnny would have gotten better anyway. God did not do it. The kids immune system did it.

And when I question god, all these believers get so offended and always ask me, "Who are you to question god?" First of all, what kind of a stupid question is that? Secondly, I question because I fail to see how Johnny getting better is an act of divine intervention. People get sick every day. Most get better; some die. It is completely random. Yet, no matter what happened, god had it all planned out. It was his plan for Johnny to get sick and get better. But poor little Suzie... it was in gods great wisdom for her to get sick and die. Even though people prayed for Suzie to get better, she died anyway. Yet that is still an answered prayer. God just said "no".

So if the outcome of any situation was gods will no matter what, then how can you keep giving credit to god and not to just random chance or the course of life?

I am going to roll a pair of die. Two numbers will be shown. God knows in advance what those numbers will be. I pray for a 1 and a 2. I roll and get a 3 and a 3. It was gods will that I get a two 3's. I roll again. I get a 1 and a 6. I keep praying for a 1 and a 2. After I roll 32 times, I finally get my 1 and my 2 that I prayed so faithfully for.

Why did god take so long to answer my prayer? If he was eventually going to answer it, why didn't he just make it happen on my first roll and save us both the time?

A believer will try to tell me that the roll of the die is just random chance (which it is), but I will take on their mentality and argue that every roll is gods pre-determined will. They will think I sound pretty stupid when I keep insisting that each outcome is gods will and that if I roll enough times, god will eventually get tired of messing around and just give me what I want.

Well, folks, I see no difference between the roll of the die and any other event that happens in life. Some people get sick and get better. Some people get sick and die. It's no different than the roll. It's just an outcome. Yet to believers that outcome, no matter what it was, was gods will.

So no matter what happens, it was gods will. So how can you tell the difference between gods will and complete random chance? It just amazes me when people see god in everything when it is just life taking its course.

They justify the unpredictable outcome by stating that "god knows best" and "his ways are higher than our ways." So in otherwords, no matter what happens, happens. Why do people see this as proof that god answers prayers? If the outcome is completely random and unpredictable, how can you know for 100% sure that god did it?

Because you have to have faith! Duh.

Faith is the act of believing something that has no evidence. So your god, which has no evidence, is in charge of every random outcome. Makes perfect sense.

How about the real-life explanation which is simply that life happens. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it sucks. There is no invisible god pulling all the strings. This is no more absurd than the idea of the Fates, who control everything. The Fates are just a myth, but god is totally real!

To a believer, complete random chance is absolute proof that his imaginary god exists. It baffles my mind that there are millions of people on this planet who use so little of their thinking power.

I could use the same argument that a completely random outcome proves that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real. To everyone, that is an absurd idea. But change the name from FSM to GOD and suddenly it is completely acceptable. What is the difference? Just the name.

I wonder how mankind has progressed as far as we have with over 90% of our population believing in this nonsense.

Now you hear about so-called miracles all the time. Go to church and you'll hear people tell about how they were hard up and then they paid their tithing and hubby got a raise at work. You'll hear lots of little stories like this.

What you hardly ever hear is an actual miracle. In the comments of a previous post, I shared how, as a young man, I was having trouble in school because I couldn't see well. I knew that from the scriptures, Jesus could heal peoples eyes because he did it on several occassions in the scriptures. Why not me too? I received a priesthood blessing so that my eyes would focus clearly. Didn't happen.

I guess the answer to that prayer is that it is in my best interests to have bad eyes. How that is in my best interests, I'll never know. But god knows because he is in charge of it all. Yep, a young child with unquestioning faith gets shut down by god.

When I shared this story, I actually had one Mormon guy criticizing me for expecting a miracle. Yet, I was taught all my life that Mormons have the power to act in gods name and that god is a god of miracles to the faithful. Then when I actually expect a miracle, TBM's criticize me and tell me I don't understand how it all works.

I used to do that too... make excuses for god. No more. I'm calling it the way it is. If god is a god who answers prayers and performs miracles, then there is nothing wrong with a young Mormon expecting a miracle. The collection of unanswered prayers and blessings over the years has shown me the true nature of god: no answers and no miracles... no god.


~Dayna said...

Have you ever seen a religious compulsive gambler? I'm serious. They actually do believe things like they lost the last hand because an even bigger pot is in store for them to win. And they totally pray for the random to seemingly have a pattern. Then they assign the pattern to the random.

But when people see that person they think "come on. they are so deluded. they have a problem." not realizing their delusion is the exact same thing.

So, I am sure the majority of people reading your entry will think the dice analogy is a stretch. So OBVIOUSLY random.

But no... there are ACTUALLY people who believe god can make the roulette wheel or the craps table go in their favor through faith. If they lose, it's because something bigger is in store for them down the road.

...maybe like eternal life?

Mormon411 said...

I have never seen that but I'm not surprised to hear about it.

Every religious person is a compulsive gambler. They all admit that faith is required. Since there is no proof that their faith is in something real, they are taking a gamble. With the thousands of gods and thousands of religions, what are their chances of scoring the big win? Probably even less than winning it big in Vegas!

luksky said...

Bravo! I also find it odd that when a person is in an accident and their life is spared, the religious person will say.."God was with them and protected them.". So my question for them is always, so if someone dies or gets badly hurt that means God must have said..oops, I forgot about them..o'well.

Really enjoying your perspective on religion. :-)

Tyson Devereux said...

Thank you for including me in your latest "We Hate Religion Support Group" post. I guess it feels good to get support since you don't really have any other foundation. I kid.

I want to agree with you, but I feel your definitions are off, naturally since you want to obscure any reference to religion. You know, the whole church=lies, and religious teachings=brainwash thing.

I just feel your argument gets weak when you try to explain a spiritual experience using a physical analogy. They are two separate identities, and yet you base your whole blog on an incompatible analogy. The ironic thing is that you are explaining something in which you deny the existence thereof

(The Big Bang was caused by two Zalarkian alians space bowling in the cosmos and when the ball hit the pins, the material exploded and came together to form organized planets that made its way into the orbit of a nearby star . . . oh wait, that's absurd. Zalarkians don't go space bowling, how stupid would that be, so that must not be true. And if that's not true, than I guess the Big Bang isn't true either, and so therefore, I must not really exist. Well, it just makes sense if you think of it logically)

I call it the, "If I don't believe it in, then I can explain it how I want it to be" principle.

I absolutely agree that people use prayer and their faith as a crutch. People think that prayer is like a life cheat sheet where they can get answers. They are sadly mistaken. Prayer is not about answers. Prayer is about strengthening your relationship with God through humility, peace, faith, and spiritual communication. It's not an 8 ball experience.

You and others standing on the outside, question the suffering that goes on. It has been my experience that many, not all, but most I have talked to who have been through much suffering have claimed to be strengthened in their experience. It's funny, I hardly hear the people going through those sufferings complaining, rather its the people on the outside who don't understand the spiritual experience that is gained. Stop being the voice of those you don't understand.

There is a difference between having Faith in the Lord, and commanding the Lord. You wrote that you have been taught that Mormons have the power to act in the name of God. This is merely a poor understanding on your part. Yes, we act in the name of God, meaning we act under His authority in His will, we do not command God. Having the priesthood or faith does not mean we have the power to tell God what to do as you seem to think. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, but you only disappointed yourself in false expectations and reasoning

~Dayna said...

I don't think he is trying to explain what he denies the existence of - that being god. I believe (and I may be wrong) that he is trying to reason away the logical fallacy believers use - appeal to consequences of a belief.

The fallacy (and many others which the religious use in defense of their faith) does exist and therefore it is valid to argue against it without conceding the existence of a supreme being.

Mormon411 said...

If you merely act "under His authority in His will", then what is the purpose of the priesthood in the first place? If god's will is going to happen, no matter what, then what is the use of priesthood, prayers, and all that stuff. If you are merely there to say "god's will be done" then what is the purpose? If it is gods will that someone who is sick will get better, then the blessing does nothing extra.

I still think that you're just in the business of making excuses for god.

Andy said...

Maybe your eyesight would have gotten better after becoming a god? Who has heard of a god with glasses?

Tyson Devereux said...

The priesthood is the power of God, the power that created this Earth, the power to move mountains, the power to heal the sick, and the same power to fulfill His purpose.

The priesthood is not ours, it is given, to accomplish the purpose of God. So, as you said, if it be God's will, then it is done by that very power. Just as prayer is an experience of faith and humility, the priesthood blessing is an expression of our faith. It is not a moment to command God our will. It is an experience to draw us closer to the Lord. I have given many blessings. Each one, the outcome is mute. The true blessing of the priesthood is the experience of faith and trust in the Lord. I have had some "miracle" moments, and I have had some that didn't turn out the way I expected, and I've had some where I have no idea what happened. But each one I can think about and remember clearly the feelings I had at the moment I gave that blessing. They are moments I cannot explain, and don't expect you to understand, but they increased my faith tremendously.

Dayna- the only fallacy that Mormon411 tries to expose are the ones he creates by telling us how God is (The very God he denies). He asks the question, "Why did god take so long to answer my prayer?" to a fabricated scenario, and continues blaming God for something that never really happened. There's more if you would like me to continue

Andy- Maybe his eyes would get better after this life . . oh wait, he won't exist anymore because his life has no purpose

Mormon411 said...

"The power to move mountains." If I said that I tried using the priesthood to move a mountain, you would scoff at me again. "Yes, it's the power to move mountains but you're a damn fool for actually expecting to be able to move a mountain." Right?

Then you tried to tell me that it didn't work because I didn't have enough faith. How, exactly, would you know how much faith I had? I had enough to ask for a blessing and isn't that enough, according to the Bible, where Jesus healed the blind?

I'm finished now because all you can do is stereotype, repeat yourself, and then accuse me of being childish. So you just continue forking over your 10% and being a sheep your whole life. That is entirely your decision and makes no difference to me at all. Keep worshiping the god who does but doesn't do miracles, who can't come up with a plan of salvation that doesn't involve human sacrifice and other violence, and who didn't bother to leave any evidence of the global flood. Make sure you use my apostasy as a testimony builder too.

Tyson Devereux said...

Stereotype? I'm just responding by what you have said. Your the one putting all mormons together, making an all inclusive judgement.

Conditional faith is not Faith- sorry

Your confusing. I read at one point that you didn't have a church, and then you just said you have a church. Now you just said you don't care what I do, but yet you explained one time that you feel it is your duty to save someone from the poison. So, which one is it? Did you give up on me? Save me!

Mormon411 said...

Where did I say that I have a church? I never said that.

I am out to "save" those who might be doubting the church or feeling used and suppressed by it as I have explained on my profile. Since you are none of those, I can't help you. You've heard the expression, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." That is true here. I can offer you freedom, but only you can take it.

Tyson Devereux said...

In your comment section under your blog "Knowing" you states, "Anyway, I am in a church that preaches miracles" - Man, you can't even keep your lies straight.

Tyson Devereux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormon411 said...

Yea, all we apostates can do is lie and lie. I'm trying to stop right now, but just can't. I HAVE TO!

Ok, now your reference to the "church" thing. That is what they call a reference to the past. I was sharing my thoughts at the time "I am in a church that teaches..."

Remember I said this happened a long time ago? Really? I can't believe we even had to go here.