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+--Forum: After the Bar Closes...
+---Topic: Prayer started by Richardthughes
Posted by: Richardthughes on Aug. 20 2008,14:46
It's good that people feel empathy and sympathy. But it's a shame that they pray, because this really does bugger all and yet allows folks to feel like they're making a difference, which they're not. Send money, write a letter or something. You might not even be praying to the right God...
Posted by: Assassinator on Aug. 20 2008,15:14
The only prayer I never really understood, was the prayer before diner. Why thanking an mythological and transcendant being?? The farmer who grew the food deserves the thanks, the supermarket personal who make sure it's available to you, and ofcourse the person earning the money in your house so you can buy the food. Why not thanking the right sources?
As for the other moments, I kinda understand why people do it. Some people simply need to support themselfs, humans are emotionally pretty weak creatures.
Posted by: J-Dog on Aug. 20 2008,15:15
I am in a good mood today,so I am willing to grant that prayers would at least get the same benefit as those repeating mantras. *
But that's as far as it goes.
* Your results may vary.
Posted by: Nomad on Aug. 21 2008,02:54
I'm kind of with J-dog on this. To an extent I think a prayer could be a way to focus your thoughts, a way to take a step back and take stock of your situation. Hell, I saw a sign on a local church recently that was halfway to being an invitation to Buddhist meditation. It said something about turning off the television and computer and sitting in the silence and knowing God.
As for the accomplishing nothing thing, well, in some situations there is nothing (more) you can do anyway, but you're left with the desire to act.
I was once in the unpleasant situation of sitting out a tornado warning in a house without a basement. So I sat it out in the inner hallway of the house with a group of people, and waited.
I can't say I was in mortal fear of imminent death, but the feeling of complete helplessness was overpowering. Perhaps it's wrong, but my impulse is always to get out into the open. I want to see the damn thing coming, I want to be able to act. Sitting in a hallway not knowing if anything is coming and unable to do anything if it was was a tough thing to deal with.
I'm not saying praying to an invisible man in the sky actually protects you, but I can understand that it could be a useful way to cope with the feelings of helplessness.
As it was, my coping mechanism was to babble at great length about anything and everything. Really, I suspect that a quiet prayer to the invisible being in the sky of my choice would have been a lot less annoying to those around me.
On the other hand... I listen to a lot of old time radio shows, either through archive.org or a net radio station that broadcasts that sort of thing 24 hours a day. I've recently been catching a lot of "Family Theater". It's curious in that it didn't have a commercial sponsor unlike most programming of the era. It was sponsored by a religious group.
Despite that the programming wasn't exactly the sort of vapid apologetics you'd expect from such an enterprise today(at least not always), but the beginning and end of the shows have a lot of talk about the importance of prayer. "The family that prays together stays together" was their motto. Instead of a commercial message they'd say that it's important for everyone to pray if we're to achieve world peace (yeah, that one worked out real well, didn't it?), and try to reinforce the idea that prayer keeps families together. Another of the things they like to start off the radio show with is "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of".
With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson, I admit I find that quote kind of pathetic. It always makes me think of all the tests that show that prayer doesn't do squat. So... I guess that line could be correct, if it has an effect we don't know about it.
Posted by: khan on Aug. 21 2008,17:11