Praying Atheist

Atheism, secularism & freethought etc.

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Re: Praying Atheist

#81  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 13, 2017 2:23 pm

Coincidence should be accepted as an entirely logical position between unrelated phenomena but this is not always so. The problem is not with it as such but the human obsession with wanting an answer to everything. Some things are coincidences while others are not but still defy explanation. Gaps in understanding should not be filled just for the sake of it. Knowledge acquisition is a work in progress. One that will span the remainder of our existence as a species motivated by curiosity. And also we must avoid that other very popular obsession of preferring answers that are satisfactory on some philosophical level A true answer that seriously fucks with us is always preferable to a false one that offers comfort in abundance. Now science of course doesnt know everything but unlike other disciplines it doesnt care what anyone thinks. It just shows things as they are. And so whether we actually like it or not is neither here nor there
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Praying Atheist

#82  Postby John Platko » Aug 14, 2017 1:59 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
A point that is not being made by your treatment is in what way religions and their practice accidentally yield the same results. What are the mechanics here?


Surely it is not accidental, it's human psychology common to humans of all creeds and eras. Whatever the mechanics they are quite possibly the same whether the participant thinks they are speaking to God or not.

Yup. That is the point. Though many people are mislead because they can't imagine a mechanism, hence they are off believing in very dangerous things.

I have a very frequent discussion in AA groups. The 'what am I praying to if I'm an atheist discussion'. I try to explain that it doesn't matter and in fact it works best when you have no clue what you are praying 'too'. It is the act not the target that gets the result.

In most religions the god-idea is sufficiently obscure and mysterious that it has the same effect. My theory is that people who have a well defined sense of a god and they try and talk to it like they would a person, are not praying well at all.


That would explain why prayer is often less effective for many than it might be. The nonsensical dogma people hold infallible throws a crowbar into their mental processes and gums up the works. But because there is still some room for mystery they get enough effect to think that it is working - and then they pass this marginally functional prayer system on to the next generation.
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Re: Praying Atheist

#83  Postby John Platko » Aug 14, 2017 2:12 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
John Platko wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
John Platko wrote:

Much of the "shit" is being secularized. Many people engage in mindfulness meditation, CBT self talk, etc. without thinking they are borrowing ideas that religions have evolved. Sadly, most can't connect the dots of how their practice relates to religious practice and both sides seem to have strong biases which make it hard for them to see the linkage between the different forms of essentially the same human activity. In fact, when I brought up the linkage between prayer and CBT self talk some time ago it was an idea that seemed to cause many members to :puke:.

Sadly, I think your idea is a bit too advanced for most in 2017.


One can only try. It's so damned important that we get this right now that I have trouble shutting up about it.


I applaud your enthusiasm for the subject. And I certainly think it's helpful to understand this. When I think about the religious figures from the Bible (JC etc.), and being Catholic, saints of all flavors, that I learned about when I was young, it changes the way I interpret those stories now that I'm aware that these psychological processes were driving the experiences of those people. No supernatural sauce needed. Just normal, albeit sometimes extreme, human psychological processes at work and the dynamics of how humans interpret and deal with such things.


So the message is 'no sauce needed'. It takes a long time to get all this across to a believer. I must say that I have actually won a few believers and agnostics over on all this. Not by denying they have a religious experience but by carefully getting them to imagine the naturalist psychology of the mechanism.


You've had more success explaining this to people than I have. It will be interesting to see how well you do here. It's amazing how much resistance there is, from all sides, to the simple idea that religion has some useful core mental practices which are usually overshadowed by mistaken ideas that people who didn't understand the basics added to the process.



BTW. That avatar pic you have is the same cat I used to have back in the Sixties! He would only come out when we partied though. :scratch:


My cat comes out a lot. ;)
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