Praying Atheist

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Praying Atheist

#41  Postby Steve » Jul 29, 2017 5:11 pm

DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#42  Postby DavidMcC » Jul 29, 2017 5:53 pm

Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.

If, by "your delusion", you mean the delusion that there is a god (which, of course, is NOT a delusion I suffer from) then you are the one making a politically motivated claim.
PS, I hope that wasn't some kind of clever word-ploy to make it look as if I am a god-botherer! :nono:
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Re: Praying Atheist

#43  Postby Steve » Jul 29, 2017 8:00 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.

If, by "your delusion", you mean the delusion that there is a god (which, of course, is NOT a delusion I suffer from) then you are the one making a politically motivated claim.
PS, I hope that wasn't some kind of clever word-ploy to make it look as if I am a god-botherer! :nono:

I have no clue what you think about god, and little interest either way. I offer my own experience as a counter to your claim. Accept it or don't makes no difference to me. It is just for the record.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#44  Postby Pebble » Jul 29, 2017 10:25 pm

Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.


So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?
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Re: Praying Atheist

#45  Postby Steve » Jul 29, 2017 10:36 pm

Pebble wrote:
Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.


So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?

Click the link in my signature if you are curious.
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As your deed is, so is your destiny
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Re: Praying Atheist

#46  Postby Shagz » Jul 30, 2017 4:57 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:
So my rule number one is: no getting silly about this shit.

I agree. However, no offense, but it seems to me that you're getting silly about shit and violating your own rule. First you try to paint yourself as a hardcore rationalist; then you confess to having some silly notions about the universe.

Silly notion #1: Because the Earth happens to be in the thermal zone where the sort of life that you expect to find on Earth can exist, it's special.

Er.. no shit. Is Venus less special then? How come you didn't marvel at how special Jupiter is? I think we both know the answer to that: By singling out the Earth, you're implying that the Earth and the life here has some kind of special place in the universe. Has it ever occurred to you that you, a life form from Earth, might be biased when you assume that the Earth and its life are special somehow?

Silly notion #2: We're an organism that resonates with synchronicity.

I don't think we can rationally call humanity an "organism," when we're clearly a collection of organisms. Maybe someone could make the argument that we're similar to a superorganism like a bee hive, but maybe that's pushing it. On top of that, you throw in "resonates with synchronicity," whatever that means. By synchronicity, do you mean the random occurrences that human beings, for one reason or another, attach significance to? In a universe with nonstop random occurrences, isn't it expected that some of them would happen to appear to be related to each other in some meaningful way to us? Why do you keep going on about synchronicity, anyway? Even though you took care to make it clear that you aren't a theist, I get the impression that you think there's something supernatural about it, and that you hold some kind of reverence for it, and that this notion of synchronicity, for you, has replaced the notion of god as the cause of the universe. Or something. Otherwise, why would you keep bringing it up? How come you aren't going on about some other aspect of the universe? Why is synchronicity in particular noteworthy?

Frankly, I suspect that you, sir, hold quite a lot of silly notions that some here would call "woo". I suspect that you aren't quite as hard as you think you are. Therefore, it doesn't seem that surprising to me that you take up praying from time-to-time. Don't get me wrong -- it's interesting, but I would be more surprised if someone more hardcore confessed to praying.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#47  Postby Shagz » Jul 30, 2017 5:05 am

Steve wrote:
Pebble wrote:
Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.


So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?

Click the link in my signature if you are curious.

I don't feel like wading through some website selling your brand of snake oil. Would it be that difficult to just briefly answer his question?
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Re: Praying Atheist

#48  Postby Steve » Jul 30, 2017 5:49 am

Shagz wrote:
Steve wrote:
Pebble wrote:
Steve wrote:
I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.


So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?

Click the link in my signature if you are curious.

I don't feel like wading through some website selling your brand of snake oil. Would it be that difficult to just briefly answer his question?

No we do not pray to the magic man. And you apparently lack much interest. Which is fine - just don't express interest when you don't have the gumption to follow it up. The website is simple and even has a wee demonstration so you could try it. But I would bet you would misinterpret it as you are looking at it from your own preconception. We all do this. It took me, as an atheist, quite some time to get passed my own issues. But that is what the work is all about. It is hard work, which I sense you do not have any interest in. It is only there for those with the interest. For me I see it as one of many options, but having started I see it working just fine so I am not particularly interested in others. But again - if you don't do the work don't be surprised if you don't get a result. Anyway - that website has enough to explain what we do in our group.

Another option for me was Gangaji. Also Byron Katie. But it makes no sense digging little holes all over the place when what you want is depth. For that you need to stick at one discipline. There is mine, right in my signature. Look or don't.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny
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Re: Praying Atheist

#49  Postby Cito di Pense » Jul 30, 2017 8:58 am

Steve wrote:if you don't do the work don't be surprised if you don't get a result.


The issues you claim to have gotten past are anecdotal; the claim of 'results' of having gotten past them is anecdotal. I can look elsewhere, e.g., in the stuff you post, to see what kind of 'result' you got. It's not enough to pray, apparently. You apparently insist on telling somebody else about it. Normally, people pray in church so the rest of the congregation can serve as witness to their prayer, and that's the purpose Blue Mountain Retreat serves.

So, no, you don't have to pray to a 'magic man', even the imaginary one, John Platko-style. You can pray to the witness of the rest of the congregation. Most of the time, the congregation will find this praiseworthy. When you're not in that sort of congregation, expect to catch some flak. A lot of times, catching flak is taken as a sign that something is working. That's wacky, but so it goes.

Steve wrote:The website is simple and even has a wee demonstration so you could try it.


By itself, this is not likely to make the sale. I'm not gonna ask you to bend any spoons, just to show some 'gumption' besides the usual butthurt in the face of skepticism. Don't want to face skepticism? Don't quack at the skeptics.

It's no kind of mystery how this gimmick is supposed to work. You adopt it, find (subjectively) that it works for you, and start recommending it to others on that basis. Anybody who ends up on a similar trip confirms to you that your trip is not entirely subjective, but all you have is somebody else's subjective testimonial to confirm it. You don't really go out of bounds until you rag on somebody implying laziness ("it's hard work") if they don't at least try it.

Your sig lines are from the Department of Tautology Department; I'll show you how easy that part is:

Life... is so peculiar: You get so wet in the rain.
You get so warm in the sunshine -- it doesn't pay to complain.

When I get up each mornin', there's nothin' to breathe but air
And when I look in the mirror, there's nothin' to comb but hair
And when I sit down to breakfast, there's nothin' to eat but food.
Life is so peculiar but you can't stay home and brood.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#50  Postby Matthew Shute » Jul 30, 2017 11:35 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:Consider. If I have a math problem, I work on it for twenty minutes and something im my brain records many things about the problem and that work. My brain has changed physical state. Now if I go off and do something without any occurrent thoughts about the problem, when I run into a matching pattern, that same area of the brain lights up again and a solution presents itself.

This too is prayer.


If you want to point at a process that doesn't involve any noticeable praying, and just call it "prayer", sure.

Unless you're working on the maths problem and you say, "this is just too hard; I don't have a prayer." But then you go away and have your Eureka moment, and you finally work it out. "Oh. I must've had a prayer after all."

Beyond that, we seem to be talking about the prayer of the gaps.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#51  Postby John Platko » Jul 30, 2017 12:57 pm

Steve wrote:
Shagz wrote:
Steve wrote:
Pebble wrote:

So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?

Click the link in my signature if you are curious.

I don't feel like wading through some website selling your brand of snake oil. Would it be that difficult to just briefly answer his question?

No we do not pray to the magic man. And you apparently lack much interest. Which is fine - just don't express interest when you don't have the gumption to follow it up. The website is simple and even has a wee demonstration so you could try it. But I would bet you would misinterpret it as you are looking at it from your own preconception. We all do this. It took me, as an atheist, quite some time to get passed my own issues. But that is what the work is all about. It is hard work, which I sense you do not have any interest in. It is only there for those with the interest. For me I see it as one of many options, but having started I see it working just fine so I am not particularly interested in others. But again - if you don't do the work don't be surprised if you don't get a result.


That reminds me of what the Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann wrote in this paper:


And yet it may be the case that hearing God speak and having other vivid, unusual spiritual experiences that seem like unambiguous evidence of divine presence might be, in some respects, like becoming a skilled athlete. In this article, we argue that something like talent and training are involved in the emergence of certain kinds of religious experiences. In particular, we argue that people who enjoy being absorbed in internal imaginative worlds are more likely to respond to the trained practice of certain kinds of prayer and more likely to have unusual spiritual experiences of the divine. We argue that there is a capacity for absorption and that those who have a talent for it and who train to develop it are more likely to have powerful sensory experiences of the presence of God.

The larger project there is to emphasize the role of skilled learning in the experience of God. A new and exciting body of anthropological work argues that beliefs in invisible intentional beings are so widespread because they are a byproduct of intuitive human reasoning. This is the kind of reasoning that Daniel Kahneman(2003)describes in his Nobel speech as “system one”: quick, effortless, and implicit. These anthropologists argue that the biases in these intuitions evolved to enable us to survive



Anyway - that website has enough to explain what we do in our group.


Nice!



Another option for me was Gangaji. Also Byron Katie. But it makes no sense digging little holes all over the place when what you want is depth. For that you need to stick at one discipline. There is mine, right in my signature. Look or don't.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#52  Postby Steve » Jul 30, 2017 1:23 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Steve wrote:if you don't do the work don't be surprised if you don't get a result.


The issues you claim to have gotten past are anecdotal; the claim of 'results' of having gotten past them is anecdotal. I can look elsewhere, e.g., in the stuff you post, to see what kind of 'result' you got. It's not enough to pray, apparently. You apparently insist on telling somebody else about it. Normally, people pray in church so the rest of the congregation can serve as witness to their prayer, and that's the purpose Blue Mountain Retreat serves.

So, no, you don't have to pray to a 'magic man', even the imaginary one, John Platko-style. You can pray to the witness of the rest of the congregation. Most of the time, the congregation will find this praiseworthy. When you're not in that sort of congregation, expect to catch some flak. A lot of times, catching flak is taken as a sign that something is working. That's wacky, but so it goes.

Steve wrote:The website is simple and even has a wee demonstration so you could try it.


By itself, this is not likely to make the sale. I'm not gonna ask you to bend any spoons, just to show some 'gumption' besides the usual butthurt in the face of skepticism. Don't want to face skepticism? Don't quack at the skeptics.

It's no kind of mystery how this gimmick is supposed to work. You adopt it, find (subjectively) that it works for you, and start recommending it to others on that basis. Anybody who ends up on a similar trip confirms to you that your trip is not entirely subjective, but all you have is somebody else's subjective testimonial to confirm it. You don't really go out of bounds until you rag on somebody implying laziness ("it's hard work") if they don't at least try it.

Your sig lines are from the Department of Tautology Department; I'll show you how easy that part is:

Life... is so peculiar: You get so wet in the rain.
You get so warm in the sunshine -- it doesn't pay to complain.

When I get up each mornin', there's nothin' to breathe but air
And when I look in the mirror, there's nothin' to comb but hair
And when I sit down to breakfast, there's nothin' to eat but food.
Life is so peculiar but you can't stay home and brood.

So it's not for you. Fine. But you do feel a strong need to preach about it. There is no escaping your own tautologies. We all have them.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny
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Re: Praying Atheist

#53  Postby Pebble » Jul 30, 2017 4:14 pm

Steve wrote:
Pebble wrote:
Steve wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:The strange case of SoS aside, most people who pray presumably think they are actually communicating with some magic man in the sky. Obviously, that is, on the face of it, delusional behaviour. However, it does seem to provide many people with some kind of much-needed hope, even though it is false hope.

I personally know a lot of people who pray (I have a group email list runs over 60 names) and I am pretty sure not one of them fits your delusion. I think such delusion is more of a political opinion than a spiritual one.


So do you 60 'friends' not pray to a magic man? To whom then are they praying and more interestingly if not for magical interventions, why?

Click the link in my signature if you are curious.


All I see there is if a million flies eat shit, it must be good:

e.g. "Taking the timeless teachings of the great mystics, he created a practical program for spiritual living in our modern world."

No actual insights. No clarity in respect of magic men, just no overt instruction to pray to one.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#54  Postby Shagz » Jul 31, 2017 1:34 am

You guys must have more tolerance for bullshit that I do. I couldn't be bothered to investigate beyond the title page. If that makes me lazy and closed-minded, so be it -- it's better than having to investigate every bullshit claim I encounter in my life.

I have a suggestion for steve: If you don't have the gumption to defend your claim, don't make the claim! Particularly on what is supposed to be a skeptic's forum. Expecting others to do the research is unrealistic. By telling us to go to your website when asked a question, it's either just laziness on your part, or evading the question, or a crass attempt at getting more eyeballs on your website.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#55  Postby John Platko » Jul 31, 2017 12:09 pm

Shagz wrote:You guys must have more tolerance for bullshit that I do. I couldn't be bothered to investigate beyond the title page. If that makes me lazy and closed-minded, so be it -- it's better than having to investigate every bullshit claim I encounter in my life.

I have a suggestion for steve: If you don't have the gumption to defend your claim, don't make the claim! Particularly on what is supposed to be a skeptic's forum. Expecting others to do the research is unrealistic. By telling us to go to your website when asked a question, it's either just laziness on your part, or evading the question, or a crass attempt at getting more eyeballs on your website.


... or a good way to provide in-depth information, and even a little way to experience, what the member was talking about. :thumbup:
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Re: Praying Atheist

#56  Postby Shagz » Aug 01, 2017 12:53 am

I was going to say something along the lines of "gee, if he has in-depth information and experience, why not just share it with us instead of expecting us to do the research to support his own claim."

But then I thought about it a little, and I realized, that, gosh, you're right, John Platko! After all, is not the internet a beacon of light guiding us through a sea of chaos towards the shores of rationality? I mean, websites are all about providing information and experience, and rarely about hawking bullshit, right? That was really kind of goofy of me to assume otherwise.

By the way, did you know that, every night, I have an out of body experience, and I astral travel and walk upon the red plains of Mars? I can confirm that the face is indeed a real face!!!

What's that? You have some doubts? I can't be bothered to answer any of your questions. I doubt that you're ready for this knowledge, as it takes hard work and gumption to fully understand where I'm coming from. If you're really interested, I suggest you waste several hours of your life researching the works of Gumbla Booglabulshitsoie; or better yet, just visit this website, as it's a vast repository of experience and in-depth information on the subject.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#57  Postby John Platko » Aug 01, 2017 12:24 pm

Shagz wrote:I was going to say something along the lines of "gee, if he has in-depth information and experience, why not just share it with us instead of expecting us to do the research to support his own claim."


The website is interactive and gives a personal demonstration of the type of meditation afoot. I got a very nice :scratch: well lets just call it, poem, to meditate on.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#58  Postby GrahamH » Aug 01, 2017 12:46 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:Consider. If I have a math problem, I work on it for twenty minutes and something im my brain records many things about the problem and that work. My brain has changed physical state. Now if I go off and do something without any occurrent thoughts about the problem, when I run into a matching pattern, that same area of the brain lights up again and a solution presents itself.

This too is prayer.


If you want to point at a process that doesn't involve any noticeable praying, and just call it "prayer", sure.

Unless you're working on the maths problem and you say, "this is just too hard; I don't have a prayer." But then you go away and have your Eureka moment, and you finally work it out. "Oh. I must've had a prayer after all."

Beyond that, we seem to be talking about the prayer of the gaps.


I read SoS as saying not that thinking about maths problem is prayer, but that thinking about something, anything, has physical effects in the brain that can modify how it later performs in finding solutions, and praying might also do that.

It doesn't seem unreasonable that just putting things into words of a prayer might do that. Talking a problem through to yourself aloud might do that. Getting to an answer is complex and not principally conscious. We have to prime ourselves to allow the solution to come, and when it comes it often seems a little bit miraculous. Voice your problems and desires aloud as if to God and it could help you find solutions for yourself that will surprise you.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Praying Atheist

#59  Postby aliihsanasl » Aug 01, 2017 3:29 pm

In my opinion the mechanism working during prayer, meditation or listening religious speech is the usage of a switch in our brain to alienate ourselves from daily problems and responsibilities and switching ourselves into a deep relaxing state of mind. In short its self hypnose with the internet we're learning more and more about our bodies and psychology. What Im wondering is, are these new relaxation methods will replace traditional prayer methods probably not in short term because religions have heaven promise and hell punishment.

What surprises me is an atheist person's practicing worships which have more long term promises. For example a student can pray before an exam and this can calm him right before the exam or right after a close relative's death you can feel very depressed and pray for his/her soul. But my uncle who I know an extreme atheist sacrificing 1 year old lamb when he bough a new car and rubbing its blood to numberplate thinking that this blood will be last this car interfere and wont have accident. He did the same when he bought a new house. This is so ridiculous imo from one side you say there isnt any superior power controlling things around us and then sacrificing an animal to it.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#60  Postby GrahamH » Aug 01, 2017 5:08 pm

aliihsanasl wrote:In my opinion the mechanism working during prayer, meditation or listening religious speech is the usage of a switch in our brain to alienate ourselves from daily problems and responsibilities and switching ourselves into a deep relaxing state of mind. In short its self hypnose with the internet we're learning more and more about our bodies and psychology. What Im wondering is, are these new relaxation methods will replace traditional prayer methods probably not in short term because religions have heaven promise and hell punishment.

What surprises me is an atheist person's practicing worships which have more long term promises. For example a student can pray before an exam and this can calm him right before the exam or right after a close relative's death you can feel very depressed and pray for his/her soul. But my uncle who I know an extreme atheist sacrificing 1 year old lamb when he bough a new car and rubbing its blood to numberplate thinking that this blood will be last this car interfere and wont have accident. He did the same when he bought a new house. This is so ridiculous imo from one side you say there isnt any superior power controlling things around us and then sacrificing an animal to it.


You don't have to believe in god or follow a religion to be superstitious and none of these beliefs are really rational. It doesn't seem that surprising that some people who don't believe in a traditional religion/god might still have superstitions about non-sentient supernatural forces. In that case the sacrifice wouldn't be 'to' a god or a plea heard by a sentient, it could be thought as a magic potion that affects a blind unfeeling universe. Humans are strange and make up all sorts weird nonsense.
Why do you think that?
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