I am curious if any former religious types have the same problem...

Every now and then I find myselft starting to pray for something. I'm not acutally praying. However, I hear the words forming in my brain. For example, a friend of mine is waiting to hear about a job promotion this morning. I REALLY want him to get the job. All the sudden I realized I was about to say a silent prayer for his success. I shook it off quickly. It's not that I think prayer is bad, just pointless. I guess after 28 years or so of the practice, it's a hard habit to break.

Anyone have a similar situation and would care to share their experiences?

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That used to happen for a split second.  Now I simply hope.  Which probably does as little good as prayer.

I hear that! I guess it's just something that goes away over time.

Maybe I should have prayed lol j/k. My friend did NOT get the promotion.

Same here.  Took me a couple of months.

I think this runs far deeper, psychologically, than religion.  One of the most powerful facets of the human mind is the very concept of the mind itself - theory of mind.  Anyway, long story short, one of our biggest evolutionary advantages is being able to interpret/evaluate the motivations of 'others'.  So you see tracks, realize the animal is heading to the water hole, and you take a short cut to get there first - lions cannot do this and must therefore follow the tracks.

This tool is very powerful but also very expensive (in intellect) and therefore we get the best bang for the buck by using it as often as possible.  This leaves us pleading 'start start' as we turn the key in our cars on a cold morning.  It leaves us shouting 'no no no' as we rush to stop a vase from falling off a shelf.  In other words, we treat inanimate objects, and even abstract concepts like 'situations', as another conscious mind that can be interpreted, predicted, and with which we can plead or argue.  It's just human nature, and important to realize but not necessarily religious residue still polluting our minds.  I wrote a blog about it here.

Interesting, Heather, and maybe too intellectual.

What say you to the idea that people live on a continuum between dominance and submission?

The most dominant are likely to say "I want that!" and figure out the value of tracks. Seeing others using the tracks, they might lie in wait and ambush them. The most submissive are likely to follow tracks and maybe get ambushed.

We are the offspring of the more aggressive blue-green algae. (The most aggressive evolved to become Republicans.)

Finally! An explanation for Rick Santorum!

pax vobiscum,

For a perfect example; watch a PGA match. Every golfer believes that leaning, shouting or gesticulating while the ball is in the air will somehow alter the balls flight.

That is a damned good article Heather wrote (linked at the end of her comment).  It is an important distinction between the most intelligent animals (including us) and the merely intelligent animals (dogs, cats, etc.).

No harm in it, as long as you are aware how pointless and silly it is to pray - and you seem to be.

Sometimes, just for fun, when I'm alone and hoping for something to happen I throw my hands in the air and do a raindance while chanting "Jeeezusss chrrriist the lloaard almighteeh will do theeh miracle-aah I belieeeve-ah!"

It's funny as long as you're not actually praying.

Once I was about to sacrifice a goat but snapped out of it just in time. Still didn’t win the lotto though……….

My dad sent me (and my sibs) to Catholic schools, where nuns and priests taught me to be helpless and depend on prayer.

At home my parents insisted on quality work and I gained some self-confidence. I was not then aware of a contradiction between my school-taught helplessness and my home-taught confidence. It may have been my first step toward disbelief.

Other early steps? My decision that parents have to earn honor, my realization that I have only two cheeks to turn, and my realization that doubt is necessary to thinking.

During eight years in college (I changed major twice and worked part- or full-time jobs), existentialism helped me leap into what then seemed like the void of non-belief. I soon realized that non-belief is vastly richer than belief.

What remains? Fifty years later I still like the sound of a pipe organ playing New Orleans jazz or other spirited non-church music.

RE: "I have only two cheeks to turn" - actually, twice that if you don't mind getting kicked.

It's true though, from Spirituals - the mother of Jazz and the Blues - to Bach and Beethoven, some of the most incredible music of all time has come from religion - validity aside, religion has inspired Humankind to do amazing things.

pax vobiscum,


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