This subject has been discussed many times here, I know. Still, I am amazed by it sometimes.
Last week a friend and coworker of mine was talking about the dramatic recovery of her aunt. She had been suffering for weeks with crippling stomach aches and weakness. She was nearly dead. One of our best doctors correctly diagnosed the ailment as small intestine infection. He put her on some meds and she got better.....fast.
My friend is a college grad and works as an imaging technologist in a hospital. She is pretty intelligent. Her comment was that her prayer circle had just prayed her aunt back to health, that's the only explanation because she was so far gone. Never mind the doctor. It was the praying.
Seems like she would give her own organization and team at least some credit.
Hi Booklover and VikingDon and everybody-- Here's the thing: I understand why so many religious folks WANT to believe that prayer helps and WANT to see evidence that god is working out the problem stuff in their lives. It's HARD to feel helpless, at the mercy of random events and random illnesses. It's darn SCARY. So the endless prayers are like a talisman or a magic spell or something to IMMEDIATELY resort to when somebody is having an operation or one is scared silly about their teenager and drugs or a young mother is found to have cancer or an infant is seriously ill or a family member is out of work and about to lose their home.
Nobody wants to feel powerless and vulnerable. And many times.. often... maybe most of the time, things do tend to work out, and the folks, who have been comforted during the crisis by assurances that everybody is "praying", then feel confirmation that there is a loving big daddy god who is always in control and who will work things out, and that even if the worst happens it's all gonna be OK in the end in heaven. And the prayers of their family, friends and neighbors "feel" like the best kind of love and support.
Of course to me it's all a crutch and an unwillingness to face the truth about the randomness of life. But these wishful thinkers aren't "bad" people. They're just believing what they've been taught and believing what they feel is the good, wholesome stuff that is the religious tradition in their families. Now I KNOW that there has been much evil done in the world over the centuries in the name of religion, but where I live in the bible belt of South Carolina, really the worst that I see the Southern Baptists do is attempt to scare non believers about "hell". Yeah, I guess that's bad enough, but I don't think that for the average small town Christian there is any evil intent-- they've just never questioned things that would seem absurd if they could EVER look at those beliefs without their cultural bias.
Off the subject a little, but it is so crazy that fundamentalist Christians can SEE that the Mormons believe utter NONSENSE but don't have the distance from their OWN beliefs to see that those beliefs are JUST as nutty!
Hi B.K., I know they want to feel they can do something and that they feel powerless and it's scary. I however, would feel mad as hell that I had to BEG some 'benevolent' 'god' that let my loved-one have, or gave my loved-one something horrible, and then left me in torment while it decided whether or not to grant my wish. Not comforting to me!~ Melinda
Not one bit comforting to ME either, Melinda. And I never will understand why they think it's all cozy and lovely that the great puppeteer allows horrible stuff to happen and then lets people beg for a reprieve. Oh.. ONE of their little gems is that god wants them to pray and gives them bad stuff so they WILL pray and get closer to god. PARDON ME YELLING BUT THE CONVOLUTED REASONING IS GONNA DRIVE ME RIGHT OVER THE EDGE. OK. I'm calm now.
Go ahead and yell B.K.! This is a good place to do it! Sometimes I think I'll lose it too when I hear the stupid crap! Yeah, some great 'father' hunh? Maybe 'he' should be turned-in to child protective-services, lol. When I scream on here, it looks/sounds like this... AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! lol~ Melinda
This is just a thought but I wonder if some of this is just plain habit. I really don't think much when I am brushing my teeth and I wonder if this happens to these people who have grown up with this behavior. I don't mean to diminish our disgust at the practice (because it is disgusting) but I am always trying to figure out how these misguided folks can hold so tenaciously to this belief in the presence of all of the evidence against it.
Yep, Lillie Fleur, I think you nailed it. "They" are SO immersed in their religious assumptions that these are as automatic as brushing teeth. It absolutely, quite simply NEVER occurs to them that the whole shebang is made-up superstition. Religous beliefs are beyond the realm of logic and questioning. The cliches, the mindless pious statements, the praying before meals, it is all so cultural that they don't LISTEN to what they are saying and can't imagine any other way of living and believing. In their world view they know what "nice" and "good" are, and these traits are forever and always all tied up in their minds with their religious heritage.
As someone just pointed out in a comment I read here, the craziest thing is the babbling at times of tragedy when someone feels that "god" saved them and must be PRAISED on national news. Never mind the OTHER people who died, the people who suffered and were lost in that same event or some other disaster.
The answer is NOT that this fictitious god singles out some for miracles but has other plans for those who die, OR that "god" is evil and doesn't care... the obvious answer is that we live in a universe where natural, scientific laws prevail and god is a figment of people's collective imaginations. The universe is indifferent to us, but WE humans have evolved to love life and consciousness and to do what we can to care for each other.