Hey all.  I was wondering what your take is on the questions below.  How do your Christian acquaintances answer these (or how would they if you could get them to answer)?

 

Does God intervene in daily affairs today?

  1. If not, what is the point of prayer?
  2. If so:
    1. Why do we see no evidence of intervention?
    2. How can he intervene without occasionally interfering with free will (which most of my Christian friends assure me he does not do)?

 

I understand he could intervene for a disease to be cured without necessarily affecting free will, but I've had Christians tell me that they pray for a promotion in their job, which seems rather difficult to grant without affecting free will.

Anyway, just wanted some thoughts on possible Christian explanations to these questions because I've never gotten any decent ones (not a rare occurrence, I admit).  Thanks.

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There is no place in religion for logic or reason.

The implications generated by these questions are exactly as troublesome as you suspect-- and believers avoid such trouble by either deliberately not following the questions to their logical conclusions as you have, or inventing explanations after the fact. Never lose sight of the fact that religious doctrine was created in an ancient, low-tech society and that everything about it was at one point taken literally. If, later on in history, a scientific approach to solving the same problems generates better answers, religious beliefs must adapt or perish. The ideas of heaven and hell, prayer, miracles, transubstantiation, immaculate conception, ascension to heaven, resurrection and atonement were once, believe it or not, plausible-sounding explanations of how the world worked. Though we will never be able to disprove any of these things, it's much easier to disbelieve them because we know, for example, that based on simple physics and chemistry, bread will not spontaneously become flesh. The idea of supernatural processes is actually qualitatively different today than it would have been before the Enlightenment.  Back then, modern science (and indeed, some contemporary science) would have been indistinguishable from magic to most people; when there is that much about the world that is not understood, it is more excusable to make silly assumptions like those of the alchemists, or those of the geocentric school of thought. When you don't know how the process of fertalization works, its less silly to assume that an immaculate conception is possible.  And, to bring the discussion back to your question, when you don't know how the mind works, it's easier to believe in telepathy or omniscience (or in 'prayer'). Now that we do have a substantive understanding of thoughts and brain patterns, we can conclusively say that there is no possible physical mechanism for prayer to work within. Anyone who maintains a belief in prayer must thus invent explanations to justify the belief after the fact.

So how does the "the Golden and Blessed Perfection of Jesus Christ" make a decision between two athletes about to compete in a race against one another? I see it all the time: they look to the stars, kiss their cross around their neck, and make the obligatory 4 point tap on the chest. As if the grand sky fairy would actually have an interest in which follower was to win the race. 

Woe is me for I suffer not from senseless indoctrination.

A guess at Christian answers:

Does God intervene in daily affairs today? Yes

  1. If not, what is the point of prayer?
  2. If so:
    1. Why do we see no evidence of intervention? Oh, but we do, just open your eyes and your heart.
    2. How can he intervene without occasionally interfering with free will (which most of my Christian friends assure me he does not do)? But he doesn't interfere with free will.

Have they prayed to a milk jug?

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/video8.htm

Love this! Prayer is an illusion. Brilliant Video! Totally sharing.  =D

I love the video too, and I try to share it whenever an opportunity arises.

Why do we care what theists think?

Do theists think? How big is the 'script' that theists use?

Not believing in the existence  of a 'God', does place atheists in something of a pickle. We are not looking for disconfirmation.

 

Does God intervene in daily affairs today?

My response is, do unicorns offer any solutions to our economic crisis? 

  1. If not, what is the point of prayer? 

    I cannot find any use for prayer, meditation I can understand. The idea that christians or for that matter any religion, who believes God has a plan, but then in turn prays is saying to God "hey I don't like your plan, since I know better than God what I need, I'll have to ask for it.."
  2. If so:
    1. Why do we see no evidence of intervention? 

      I think if it did exist we would see some type of predictive model, just out of seeing God's methodology in choosing which prayers to answer and which prayers God didn't answer.

    2. How can he intervene without occasionally interfering with free will (which most of my Christian friends assure me he does not do)?

      Well nobody can have free will within religion, as if there are religious rules and dogma, it asserts that God has a plan and one must follow the rules/dogme in order for God's plan to work correctly. Or if one prays or has free will, God has no plan. 

Heh... it's great... but I doubt it will work at all on theists.because they are impermeable to any sort of logic that runs counter to their beliefs. They would answer with a cop-out along the lines of "God works in mysterious ways that we can't understand." 

God speaking!!!  Why in H.E. double chopsticks, would I give my creations “free will”?  If I did something stupid like that some of them might not even believe in me.

You're not god. Not impressed

Regarding 2.2: How can he intervene without occasionally interfering with free will?

Setting aside all the contradictions involved in the properties of free will, let's say that through His Omniscience, God know what is and what will be, including what you and I will do as well as what He will do. If free will exists, and if all mankind has it, one can be sure that God does, too. So, He already knows what every person will do, and he also knows when and where He will interject Himself in our affairs.

Don't confuse prescience (foreknowledge) with predetermination (everything already laid out, some having already happened, some happening, and some yet to happen).

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