151 thoughts on “Does This Make Any Sense At All?”

  1. Oh, Nate. Those are the kinds of things (and I only have a few on my Noseybook feed who would put something like that on there) that I have a very hard time ignoring. But I must. Sensible, logical discourse in retaliation to these sorts of things are blatantly, rudely dismissed. . . I mean, was that last comment (“prayer is a blessing”) meant to make the baby’s mother feel better?? Really??
    The thing is, if the baby gets better who will get the credit? Not the doctors and nurses whose expertise and diligent work probably saved the baby. . . nope, (their) god gets all thanks and praise. And if the worst happens, (their) god gets exonerated.

    Like I say, I have a hard time keeping my fingers from the keys (you know, like clamping your jaws shut, person-to-person)

    . .. sigh. . . why can’t people just say, “I share your pain and wish things could be different” ?? 😦

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I’m not sure how the act of talking to one’s self can in any way dilate constricted blood vessels but I suppose it’s worth a shot, as long as it’s seen for exactly what it is, a form of magic known as the ‘Hail Mary’, in which a telepathic message, or ‘prayer‘, travels through space and time to an invisible entity who lives in an invisible kingdom with many mansions; the entity then thinks the blood vessels into a dilated state, for which the praying person sends the entity a telepathic message of gratitude.

    If that makes sense, I doubt that constricted blood vessels are the greatest of your problems.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Yes, I guess it makes sense in an odd way.

    It’s a placebo. But there can be a “placebo effect”, so it can be a useful treatment.

    In this case, it is not treating the child. It is a treatment for the frustrated adults.

    Prayer as placebo would not work for you or me. But it can be effective for those who believe in it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Those kinds of posts drive me nuts. I am bothered that people give God the credit when they get the outcome they prayed for, but don’t blame Him when they don’t. This kind of inconsistency can be maddening. In my mind you can’t have it both ways – but they won’t get that until they are willing to actually THINK it through.

    That said, while I agree that what is referred to as prayer in that stream neither changes God’s mind nor directly dilates constricted blood vessels (although I would buy that more than option 1), there are enough studies out there to convince me that there is more to this than meets the eye. There is a supernatural (beyond physical measurement and quantification) aspect to our lives that I am not willing to ignore altogether. We are more than a collection of physical cells – my own ability to analyze my own thoughts tells me this (‘who’ is analyzing ‘who’?). And I have seen some pretty weirdly amazing shit firsthand myself in terms of spontaneous healings that defy medical explanation.

    There is too much mystery within the human body alone for me to completely discount anything supernatural existing at all. This is no defense of God’s existence, just a belief that there is ‘more’ out there (be it spirituality, higher self, or whatever you want to call it), and perhaps what the poster calls ‘prayer’ CAN actually affect the outcome, whether it is the effect (or how) they think or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with makagutu, it makes sense. My interpretation of their possible logic goes like this:

    “We suffer and imperfect world due to our fallen nature, and the Devil may play a role, thus this baby is sick. Doctors don’t have the answer, so this is a chance for God to get the glory. But we can only ask and pray. God will answer in his own time. And we can not doubt the outcome for God’s ways are above ours. Our holy duty is only to pray, trust and obey.”

    And I agree with Neil and others about the placebo affect and Christian jargon to express hopes and comfort fears.

    Do I dislike it — yeah, but then I turned of the theist switch decades ago.

    Once, on my flight to Guatemala, an elderly woman was obviously having a heart attack. People were nervous and disordered, so I got out of my seat, identified myself as a medical provider, and stabilized the situation with aspirin, oxygen and notifying Guatamala to have an ambulance ready for transport to a hospital with possible stenting options available. The woman arrived comfortable and stable. And while being transported out of the plane, the woman said “thank you” to everyone. The woman in front of her (quiet the whole time) said, “You’re welcome sweetheart. I was praying the whole time and God answered my prayers.”

    Argggghhh

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Well, it is obvious the “God’s plan” for Titus has a mistake in it and God needs correcting. The people praying, therefore, know better than God what His Plan should be and prayers are just memos, sort of, bringing that fact to His attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sabio, an interesting reply to the prayer lady in your plane story might’ve been something like, “I know, right?! The goddess Artemis heard my prayers – she is in our midst, protecting this vulnerable woman!”

    Liked by 5 people

  8. and then there is this:
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/10/17/vatican.teresa/index.html

    “I am really astonished,” he said. “This is nothing, but a farce.”
    The controversy centers on a woman, Monica Besra, and her claim that in 1998 her large stomach tumor vanished after praying to Mother Teresa.
    After months of study, including lengthy interviews, Rome cleared it as a miracle.
    One doctor who treated Besra told CNN there was no scientific explanation for her recovery.
    But the doctor who first diagnosed Besra, says the church should not push Besra’s case because it was medication, not a miracle that cured her.
    “It is scientifically proven that the tumor that she had was linked to tuberculosis,” he said. “And it responded to an anti-tubercular drug.”

    oh, jeeeezzzzuuuuuuuussssss!!!!!, merry Christmas ya’ll!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nate, I feel like I can make some sense of it. My take is similar to Sabio’s.

    For one who already believes, there’s likely no questioning of the god propositions. Taking those as a given, prayer provides comfort and confidence that it’ll all work out for good in the end – even if that end is in heaven, and I hurt now and I don’t understand why why why is god letting this happen, sky daddy will fix everything eventually.

    It’s not about making a case for the existence of the alleged deity. That question probably doesn’t even occur to her. When challenged, defenses likely go up, and many believers probably find the notion that they’re possibly mistaken as absurd, and dismiss it out of hand.

    …There was a caller once to “The Thinking Atheist Radio Podcast” that sticks out in my mind. IIRC, the show was on dealing with loss, and the caller was describing a situation where a believer was using a loss in the caller’s life (perhaps a loved one) to proselytize. The phrase he used was “my tragedy is not your soapbox”.

    I find it offensive (if understandable) when believers use such events to push their religion on others. But by the same token, I’m not inclined to use their tragedies to challenge their notions of god(s). I feel that there are other times and places for that.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Some of the books I read as I was leaving the church talked about the effect group thinking (not necessarily the term used) could have on events and circumstances. The point being made that when several people focus their thoughts on a desired result, it can affect the outcome.

    Of course the big difference is this line of thinking does not credit any supernatural forces as being the impetus for change.

    Like

  11. Reaffirming that stupid is as stupid does, did anybody catch this?

    http://d2uzdrx7k4koxz.cloudfront.net/user/view.act?p=MTYyNDQ=&c=MzYyNjU5Mjg=&fuid=MjExNTI2NDI=&showDate=true

    Augusta County schools and all administrative offices in Virginia closed on Friday because of parental objections to a controversial high school geography assignment involving the complexities of Arabic.

    So the schools completely shut down.

    It all began over a homework assignment at Riverheads High School which some parents considered to be Islamic indoctrination.

    WTVR reports:

    Kimberly Herndon said she felt her rights as a parent had been violated when her ninth grade son came home with the assignment.

    “It asked him to copy the Shahada, the Islamic statement of faith which translates to “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” said Herndon.

    The assignment said it is meant to give the students, “an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”

    Dozens of people went on to meet at Good News Ministries.

    Herndon said she has not sent her child back to school since the incident happened last week.

    “I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian, and I’m going to stand behind Christ,” Herndon said.

    On Facebook, Herndon writes, in part,”This evil has been cloked [sic] in the form of multiculturism [sic]. My child was given the creed of the Islam faith to copy.”

    Augusta County Schools released a statement which reads, in part, “the school division began receiving voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area” and that, “based on concerns regarding the tone and content of those communications, Sheriff Fisher and Dr. Bond mutually decided schools and school offices will be closed on Friday, December 18.”

    “We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution,” the statement reads.

    Watch courtesy of WTVR:

    “As we have emphasized, no lesson was designed to promote a religious viewpoint or change any student’s religious belief,” the statement continues. “Although students will continue to learn about world religions as required by the state Board of Education and the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning, a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future.”

    Herndon’s Facebook post concludes, “Blessed be the name of THE LORD. THE LORD OF LORDS AND THE KING OF KINGS. THERE IS POWER IN HIS NAME AND HE IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE.”

    It’s like the War of the Fundamentalists. β€˜My God is better.’ β€˜No, MINE is!’

    When in reality, it appears the class was just teaching what it said it was teaching: the complexities of Arabic and different religions.

    We wonder how Ms. Herndon would feel about a Muslim student having to learn about Christianity in the classroom. Apparently, Herndon will not be indoctrinated into grammar or spelling either.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. It’s clear they used this class as a way to sneak religion back into the classroom, but by ‘religion,’ they envisioned only the Christian version – now the hillbillys know that ‘backfire’ isn’t restricted to rusty pickup trucks —

    Like

  13. Hi Nate,

    Every atheist blog has to have a token christian to be the whipping boy (it’s a cosmic law!), so I guess sometimes I have to be it! πŸ™‚

    I can agree with the feelings behind everyone who has commented here. I often find those expressions embarrassing, difficult, whatever. I am deeply troubled by the pain I see around me in the world, and I cannot explain how a loving God allows so much. (I believe much of it is caused by the fact that God gave us the gift of autonomy and choice, but this much suffering??)

    Nevertheless, there is good evidence that prayer does sometimes, perhaps often, change the way things happen, including keeping people safe, healing them and giving them peace of mind. Just as you can find websites like this that decry the possibility of God, you can find others that give accounts of healings. You will be unable to accept these, but I can, because I have investigated some healings and found the evidence points to the accounts being true, and I have a friend whose website is one that includes first-hand accounts of healings, and I trust him.

    So there are two different realities, two different belief-systems or worldviews, and it seems, unfortunately, that rarely do the twain meet. But if you believe, as I do, in a different reality to the one here, you will pray. And if that other reality is actually true, you will sometimes receive answers, even quite miraculous ones.

    Those people might be corny in some ways, but they’d be mad NOT to pray!

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  14. UnkleE

    Every atheist blog has to have a token christian to be the whipping boy (it’s a cosmic law!), so I guess sometimes I have to be it! πŸ™‚

    Martyr complex much?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. No, Nate, none of that makes sense. However, many of us were once like them. We tried so hard to believe.

    If the whole reaping what you sow theory applies here, Christians are implying that this child must have “sinned” while in the uterus. If not, the baby must be paying for the “sins” of the parents then. And if the little baby isn’t paying for his/her sins, or the parents’sins, then he/she must be paying for the fall due to Adam and Eve. If god exists, he is not a just god, he is the ultimate sadist.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Imagine a small child who has experienced terrible abuse at the hands of his drug addicted or mentally ill parent. In a desperate attempt to maintain his sanity, the child invents an imaginary friend; an imaginary friend with amazing supernatural powers; an imaginary friend who promises the child that no matter what his evil parent or anyone else does to him, that he (the friend) will be there with the child, helping him to get through it, and promising amazing, future rewards for the child as long as he never gives up; as long as he keeps believing and trusting in his “friend”.

    What is the child’s alternative? Answer: a world of absolute hopelessness and unimaginable terror.

    For a variety of reasons, many adults need an imaginary friend, and no amount of evidence that questions the existence of this “friend” is going to convince these people to let go of him.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. The good news for adults, is that we can call the cops when someone is abusing us, unlike the small child. Adults have choices. We can cower in the corner, afraid of the scary, dangerous world that we were born into, or, we can live our lives enjoying all the beauty and thrilling experiences awaiting us in this amazing, but scary and dangerous world. It’s our choice.

    I choose to face this dangerous world with a positive outlook. I intend to do my best to protect myself from danger, but I also choose not to cower in the corner. I choose to make the most of my life, realizing it is all I have. I choose to treat others well, because it makes me feel good to do so, and because it encourages others to treat me well in return. It is a win-win situation.

    And I choose not to create an imaginary friend.

    I don’t need him.

    —Gary

    Like

  18. I find it odd that so many Protestant Christians appeal to personal experiences of miracles and healings attributed to Jesus as absolute proof that he is alive and is the one, true God…but the tens of thousands of similar personal experiences of miracles and healings attributed by Roman Catholics to the Virgin Mary, by Muslims to Allah, and by Hindus to Krishna or to one of their other gods, are viewed by these same people as sheer coincidence and an over-worked imagination.

    Strange coincidences happen, folks. Just because Uncle Bob recovered from his sinus infection after you prayed to Jesus for his recovery, is not proof that Jesus performed a miracle in Uncle Bob’s sinus cavities.

    If Christian prayer was really as effective as Christians claim it is, we should see dramatically lower illness, accident rates, and death rates among Christians compared to members of other Faiths (or no Faith) in the same society and social class.

    There is zero evidence that such a disparity exists.

    Liked by 1 person

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