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Thu Sep 25, 2014, 11:32 AM

Pray Tell: The Hocus Pocus of Happy Thoughts



Heads up: This may offend you because Iím hurting and I havenít the composure for caution or the patience for sensitivity just now.

Iíve never understood prayer. Donít know the point of it, how itís accomplished, or what the word means exactly. Iím atheist, so itís probably not important that I understand prayer; itís rarely aimed at me or asked of me. And yet ó itís all around me.

--snip--

How does prayer differ from superstition ó from crossing your fingers or spitting three times? Can we all agree it would be insulting if you told the mother of a child on life support, ďIíll knock on wood for you and your familyĒ? ďIím so sorry. Weíre all knocking on wood here.Ē

Whatís the difference between wishing something and willing it? Between hoping and praying? Whatís the difference, honestly ó if not self-importance? And if prayer does nothing more than make us feel less useless, then isnít it worse than pointless? Isnít it narcissistic and inappropriate?

http://www.independent.com/news/2014/sep/24/pray-tell-hocus-pocus-happy-thoughts/


Please read the full article. These few paragraphs do not adequately represent this author's work. Powerful stuff.

56 replies, 4726 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Pray Tell: The Hocus Pocus of Happy Thoughts (Original post)
cleanhippie Sep 2014 OP
rug Sep 2014 #1
upaloopa Sep 2014 #2
phil89 Sep 2014 #3
upaloopa Sep 2014 #4
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #5
upaloopa Sep 2014 #8
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #11
upaloopa Sep 2014 #12
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #14
upaloopa Sep 2014 #16
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #17
upaloopa Sep 2014 #18
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #19
upaloopa Sep 2014 #21
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #25
upaloopa Sep 2014 #27
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #29
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #6
upaloopa Sep 2014 #9
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #13
rug Sep 2014 #10
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Sep 2014 #28
rug Sep 2014 #31
okasha Sep 2014 #36
edhopper Sep 2014 #38
okasha Sep 2014 #39
edhopper Sep 2014 #49
okasha Sep 2014 #50
edhopper Sep 2014 #52
okasha Sep 2014 #53
edhopper Sep 2014 #54
mr blur Sep 2014 #7
TygrBright Sep 2014 #15
okasha Sep 2014 #20
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #22
okasha Sep 2014 #23
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #24
okasha Sep 2014 #34
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #43
okasha Sep 2014 #44
cleanhippie Sep 2014 #51
edhopper Sep 2014 #30
okasha Sep 2014 #33
edhopper Sep 2014 #35
Warren Stupidity Sep 2014 #32
okasha Sep 2014 #37
Warren Stupidity Sep 2014 #42
Starboard Tack Sep 2014 #40
Warren Stupidity Sep 2014 #41
Starboard Tack Sep 2014 #56
trotsky Sep 2014 #26
Arugula Latte Sep 2014 #45
trotsky Sep 2014 #46
Arugula Latte Sep 2014 #47
Goblinmonger Sep 2014 #48
DeadLetterOffice Sep 2014 #55

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 11:37 AM

1. Starshine is an honest journalist.

 

Iíve never understood prayer. Donít know the point of it, how itís accomplished, or what the word means exactly.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:00 PM

3. So in your reality

 

The physical laws are somehow different than in mine?

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Response to phil89 (Reply #3)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:31 PM

5. Oh, it's been resolved.

You just haven't accepted it.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #5)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:45 PM

11. Reality is what is true for everyone.

Physics is the way we define it.

You can choose to ignore physics all you want, but facts remain facts despite what you believe.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #11)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:54 PM

14. You are most certainly wasting our time.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #14)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 01:41 PM

17. I'm already quite happy.

Getting a "win" over you , whatever that means, won't change that.

What do I want? Universal acceptance o reality the way it actually is, not the way some believe it is. We all get along better that way. YMMV

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #17)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #18)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 01:55 PM

19. Seems like you're not being honest with your interpretation of my point.

Let's go back to reality being what is true for us all, regardless of what we believe.

Do you see this as me telling you what to think or a statement of fact? Howso?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #19)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #21)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 03:47 PM

25. So you wouldn't even if you could?

That you don't even understand your own position is understandable. Your unwillingness to even try is befuddling.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #25)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #27)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 04:22 PM

29. Your words are there for all to see.

I'm not saying bullshit at all, unless you are attributing that same BS to your own posts.

As if it's such a waste of time, why do you keep responding?

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Response to phil89 (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:33 PM

6. Apparently.

I find it amazing how so many seem to live in a reality were physics mean nothing.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #6)


Response to upaloopa (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:53 PM

13. You've gotten me all wrong.

I don't believe something doesn't exist, I've concluded that it probably doesn't due to the complete lack of empircal evidence to support the assertion that it does.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:44 PM

10. About as amazing as how many live entirely by physics.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 04:15 PM

28. I live entirely through physics.

That doesn't mean I actually understand all of the physics that enables me to live, or make all of my decisions based upon my understanding of physics, limited as it is. It just means I recognize that nothing I do or can do is independent of or 'beyond' physics.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #28)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 06:00 PM

31. I don't view music as physics even though I have a rudimentary understanding of acoustic waves.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #31)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:26 PM

36. Likewise.

I don't view art as physics. Part of the process of making some art--photography, for example, or firing pottery--is physics, but the laws of physics won't help anyone make a painting.

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Response to okasha (Reply #36)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:43 PM

38. Actually they do

The optics of color is particularly important.
Of course the whole discussion of art and music comes down to brain function, which is....physics.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #38)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 10:12 PM

39. The laws of optics may apply to how one observes a painting,

but a complete understanding of physics will not make anyone a painter. The difference between Renoir and Kincaid has nothing to do with how light is reflected off pigment particles suspended in a binder, but everything to do with emotional and artistic perception. If physics ruled such things, they could be taught. They can't be.

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Response to okasha (Reply #39)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 05:04 PM

49. Are you an artist?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #49)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 05:57 PM

50. Yes.

I work in watercolor, pastel and graphite, and ceramics.

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Response to okasha (Reply #50)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 06:10 PM

52. And you didn't train?

Didn't learn the fundamentals about color and value?
Learn drawing skills, composition and anatomy?
Learn the principles of color mixing and how they interact?
Learn how light affects color?
You know, physics?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #52)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 06:17 PM

53. Yes, and yes.

And I addressed those questions. I pointed out that optical properties apply in color perception.

Drawing has nothing to do with physics--it's motor skill. Anatomy is biology.

The only use I've had for actual physics in art is in ceramics. The wheel functions on the principle of centrifugal force, and other principles govern what happens during vitrification in a firing.

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Response to okasha (Reply #53)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 06:30 PM

54. Got it.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:35 PM

7. We might not be all the same, but,

 

Reality is not a democracy.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 12:57 PM

15. Prayer means different things to different people.

The most widely-recognized definition, particularly in mainstream journalism, is (more or less) "An extra-powerful nickel to put in the Wish Slot and get what you want."

However, the widespread nature of that recognition does not mean that other definitions, interpretations, practices, and value for prayer are not important and useful to those who hold them.

diffidently,
Bright

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 02:10 PM

20. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one.

If you don't believe in prayer, don't pray.

Simple.

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Response to okasha (Reply #20)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 02:12 PM

22. WHOOOSH!

That was the point going over your head.


Or did you duck intentionally?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #22)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 02:14 PM

23. My post was my point.

I don't really care what yours was.

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Response to okasha (Reply #23)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 03:44 PM

24. That you don't care what others have to say is obvious.

Your need to respond with such vitriol at every turn isn't.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #24)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:14 PM

34. "You" does no equal "others."



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Response to okasha (Reply #34)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 10:47 AM

43. Yet here you are, continuing to respond, concerned about what words I use.

You DO care, okasha, you really DO care.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #43)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 10:56 AM

44. Not you words.

Your math.

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Response to okasha (Reply #44)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 06:08 PM

51. Still here, still caring.

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Response to okasha (Reply #20)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 04:29 PM

30. If you believe abortion is genocide

Don't you have a moral obligation to stop it for everyone?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #30)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:11 PM

33. Forced abortion for anyone is a violation

of a woman's right to choose whether or not to have a child. (If it's not forced upon a particular population, it's not genocide.) Yes, that should be stopped.

Voluntary abortion, at the woman's option, is her right. Forcing a woman to bear a child against her will is no one's right.

Speaking out in favor of or against abortion is a Constitutionally protrected right.

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Response to okasha (Reply #33)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:19 PM

35. Point

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
You.

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Response to okasha (Reply #20)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:03 PM

32. that analogy really doesn't work.

 

People who are opposed to abortion don't disbelieve in abortion, they fully believe in abortion and they think it is morally wrong. Similarly people who are not opposed to abortion also fully believe in abortion but think abortion is not a moral wrong. The issue with abortion is not an issue about the reality of the abortion act, nor about the reality of the consequences of an abortion. All sides agree that abortion is both real and has real consequences. Prayer not so much. Certainly we can all agree that people who are praying are doing something, but that is where agreement stops. For believers, praying causes supernatural effects, for non believers it is as effective as using a tin foil hat to protect yourself from government mind control rays.

What some of us find so disagreeable in public acts of prayer, from random people offering to pray for this or that to government officials skirting constitutional prohibitions to engage in acts of prayer is that it is pretty much equivalent to how I characterized it above: effectively people are offering to put tin foil hats on and then righteously demanding the rest of us to not laugh at them. Behavior that would be cute in a four year old is embarrassing in an adult, or worse in a head of state, but we are supposed to pretend that instead it is not only not embarrassing, not only "normal" but admirable.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #32)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 09:32 PM

37. "Behavior that would be cute in a four-year-old

is embarassing in an adult."

That includes your attemped imitation of the OED.

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Response to okasha (Reply #37)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 07:34 AM

42. I'm sure that is very insulting somehow, as dialog and discourse it is not working.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #32)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 12:30 AM

40. Warren, do you really believe this?

For believers, praying causes supernatural effects, for non believers it is as effective as using a tin foil hat to protect yourself from government mind control rays.

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Response to Starboard Tack (Reply #40)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 07:33 AM

41. um yeah.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #41)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 08:54 PM

56. Then you have a very bizarre belief system

Your beliefs appear to be based on a presumption of what you think others believe. Sounds like you live very vicariously, which is very ironic, considering you present yourself as an atheist. Very telling.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 03:50 PM

26. Nice article.

As you say, it really helps to read the whole thing.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 11:49 AM

45. Prayer makes more sense in the context of pantheism.

 

Pantheism: "Dear Shiva, hey, could you help me out? Kali has screwed me over so give me a hand, okay?"

Monotheism: "Dear Loving Asshole All-Powerful God, um, could you maybe be just a little bit less of an asshole? We'll take any crumbs you want to throw us. Mkthanxbai."

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #45)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 11:56 AM

46. LOL, that reminded me of the scene from Monty Python's Meaning of Life.

Chaplain and students:
O Lord! Ooh, you are so big! So absolutely huge. Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell you.

Chaplain and students (singing a hymn):
O Lord, please don't burn us.
Don't grill or toast your flock.
Don't put us on the barbecue
Or simmer us in stock.
Don't braise or bake or boil us,
Or stir-fry us in a wok.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #46)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 12:05 PM

47. Ha ha! I remember that.

 

Brilliant.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 12:43 PM

48. Reminds me of

 

Pray in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first. (I know the "original" is hope or wish and not pray, but it applies here.)

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Fri Sep 26, 2014, 06:56 PM

55. That was an amazingly honest piece of writing.

Thanks for sharing it.

My own humble suspicion is that prayer (as a behavior) serves to allow humans to feel like we have some measure of control in an uncontrollable world.

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