Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Do Atheists Compare Prayer to Winning the Lottery?

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original Lourdes Miracle



Atheist love that comparison but it's totally daft. I think their love it demonstrates their hatred of God. This real proof they are not bright, becuase it shows they can't think analogously. The analogy is obviously about the rate of probability. yet there's no way to consider the probability analogs because one is the result of blind chance the other of a will that meets a designed purpose. The hit rate alone does not make two outcomes analogous. There is no way to calculate the frequency. First of all we are warned in scripture not to "ask amiss." This gimmick the atheists website about amputees has so ridiculously created as a straw man; "close your eye really tight, demand that God create a candy bar in your had, no candy bar, therefore, no God," that gimmick is a straw man because it bears no resemblance to prayer. Prayer is not about getting stuff. So if you ask "god please heal my mother" and she dies anyway you can't assume "God let me down.' Yes didn't get your mother healed and you feel let down but that doesn't you are acutally let down because you don't know what God had in mind or why he did it. There is something to be said for the old cliche that we always get answers but sometimes they are "no."that in itself is stupid, but It points to the fact that there is much more to be considered in prayer than just getting something.

Meta:

"Winning at a slot machine is not more than nature by itself would produce. An incurable disease disappearing over night is."
Hermit:

I disagree. It's unusual, it's against the odds, and we may not fully understand why it happens, but it's not impossible.
It's not really analogous odds. you can't say that the same odds exist for a will as for blind luck. Even if the hit rates are both based upon very small percentages of hits that doesn't mean they are the same or that they alike or that you can even calculate them the same way.

Meta:
"Obviously there is or you wouldn't be arguing about it. The only variable that changes (Lourdes rules rule out drugs)"
Hermit

Except we've seen that visits to Lourdes actually DECREASES the rate of cures, so the only correlation you can assert there is actually a negative one, which doesn't help your case.
Total poppycock. I don't know where you just such bull shit but it's not true. With emprical reuslts you have to go case by case. you are still trying to assume that God obligated to heal every time you ask so you are treat God like a drug or a slot machine. It's automatic he has to do it on pain of being called "non existent." that's just stupid. You are not goign to intimidate God. You are not going shame him into doing it your way. He's not a drug, he's got his own will he will do it his in his time, nothing you can do about it. That is not a vaild comaprision to try and make out like it can be calculated in probability.

Meta:
answer my theodicy position
Hermit

Read the question more carefully, this one isn't answered by any theodicy.
Yes it does answer it. sorry you are too lazy to read it but ti does answer it. If you will stop being lazy and read the theory you will see immediately it explains all instances of non healing at least to the extent that it's a classifiable reason why God would allow pain and not heal all the time. You are too lazy to read about it so you just assume it's no good. you dont' even know what it is. Because you wont click on the link I'll explain it again:

Basic assumptions


There are three basic assumptions that are hidden, or perhaps not so obivioius, but nevertheless must be dealt with here.

(1) The assumption that God wants a "moral universe" and that this value outweighs all others.


The idea that God wants a moral universe I take from my basic view of God and morality. Following in the footsteps of Joseph Fletcher (Situation Ethics) I assume that love is the background of the moral universe (this is also an Augustinian view). I also assume that there is a deeply ontological connection between love and Being. Axiomatically, in my view point, love is the basic impitus of Being itself. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that, if morality is an upshot of love, or if love motivates moral behavior, then the creation of a moral universe is essential.


(2) that internal "seeking" leads to greater internalization of values than forced compliance or complaisance that would be the result of intimidation.

That's a pretty fair assumption. We all know that people will a lot more to achieve a goal they truly beileve in than one they merely feel forced or obligated to follow but couldn't care less about.

(3)the the drama or the big mystery is the only way to accomplish that end.

The pursuit of the value system becomes a search of the heart for ultimate meaning,that ensures that people continue to seek it until it has been fully internalized.

The argument would look like this:


(1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices

(4)The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.


This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama:


(5) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.

(6) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us

(7) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart.

(8) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.


In other words, we are part of a great drama and our actions and our dilemmas and our choices are all part of the way we respond to the situation as characters in a drama.

This theory also explains why God doesn't often regenerate limbs in healing the sick. That would be a dead giveaway. God creates criteria under which healing takes place, that criteria can't negate the overall plan of a search.

Objection:

One might object that this couldn't outweigh babies dying or the horrors of war or the all the countless injustices and outrages that must be allowed and that permeate human history. It may seem at first glance that free will is petty compared to human suffering. But I am advocating free will for the sake any sort of pleasure or imagined moral victory that accrues from having free will, it's a totally pragmatic issue; that internalizing the value of the good requires that one choose to do so, and free will is essential if choice is required. Thus it is not a capricious or selfish defense of free will, not a matter of choosing our advantage or our pleasure over that of dying babies, but of choosing the key to saving the babies in the long run,and to understanding why we want to save them, and to care about saving them, and to actually choosing their saving over our own good.

In deciding what values outweigh other values we have to be clear about our decision making paradigm. From a utilitarian standpoint the determinate of lexically ordered values would be utility, what is the greatest good for the greatest number? This would be determined by means of outcome, what is the final tally sheet in terms of pleasure over pain to the greatest aggregate? But why that be the value system we decide by? It's just one value system and much has been written about the bankruptcy of consequentialist ethics. If one uses a deontological standard it might be a different thing to consider the lexically ordered values. Free will predominates because it allows internalization of the good. The good is the key to any moral value system. This could be justified on both deontolgoical and teleological premises.

My own moral decision making paradigm is deontological, because I believe that teleological ethics reduces morality to the decision making of a ledger sheet and forces the individual to do immoral things in the name of "the greatest good for the greatest number." I find most atheists are utilitarians so this will make no sense to them. They can't help but think of the greatest good/greatest number as the ultaimte adage, and deontology as empty duty with no logic to it. But that is not the case. Deontology is not just rule keeping, it is also duty oriented ethics. The duty that we must internalize is that ultimate duty that love demands of any action. Robots don't love. One must freely choose to give up self and make a selfless act in order to act from Love. Thus we cannot have a loved oriented ethics, or we cannot have love as the background of the moral universe without free will, because love involves the will.

The choice of free will at the expense of countless lives and untold suffering cannot be an easy thing, but it is essential and can be justified from either deontolgoical or teleological perspective. Although I think the deontologcial makes more sense. From the teleological stand point, free will ultimately leads to the greatest good for the greatest number because in the long run it assumes us that one is willing to die for the other, or sacrifice for the other, or live for the other. That is essential to promoting a good beyond ourselves. The individual sacrifices for the good of the whole, very utilitarian. It is also deontolgocially justifiable since duty would tell us that we must give of ourselves for the good of the other.

Thus anyway you slice it free will outweighs all other concerns because it makes available the values of the good and of love. Free will is the key to ultimately saving the babies, and saving them because we care about them, a triumph of the heart, not just action from wrote. It's internalization of a value system without which other and greater injustices could be foisted upon an unsuspecting humanity that has not been thought to choose to lay down one's own life for the other.

Hermit
If there is some purpose behind these miracles, something to be learned, then we should be able to see some consistency, some pattern, some sense to them. But there is none; they are indistinguishable from random chance.


Obviously there is, that's why I brought up theodicy. Clearly that is it. That explains it and in explaining it gives us a way to understand. That sort of understanding is closed to those of you who want nothing to do with inner life. it's only open to people who have an inner life and who know God and seek God. For the result it's a gibberish becuase you no idea of the depth of being. But that theodicy thing gives a damn good hint. Too bad you are too lazy to read about it.

2 comments:

a-hermit said...

"Obviously there is, that's why I brought up theodicy. Clearly that is it. That explains it and in explaining it gives us a way to understand."

I have read it, and commented on it, more than once but there's no answer to the question I'm asking. How can we learn a lesson about anything, whether it's free will, or faith, or morality, from an inconsistent, arbitrary process which is indistinguishable from random chance? If there is no consistent connection between prayer or faith or morale choices and miraculous healing how can we possibly learn anything about prayer or faith or morality from these so-called miracles? How can anyone be expected to establish a "moral decision making paradigm" on the basis of something that is apparently arbitrary, inconsistent and capricious?

Telling me I'm too lazy or stupid isn't an answer either; in fact it would seem that YOU are the lazy one, since you think that just cutting and pasting the same argument over and over again is enough to answer the questions about that argument. The problem isn't that I'm lazy or stupid, the problem is that your argument has some serious flaws which you apparently are unable to admit. (You've never answered my questions about suffering which is unrelated to moral choices either, by the way...)

Metacrock said...

I have read it, and commented on it, more than once but there's no answer to the question I'm asking. How can we learn a lesson about anything, whether it's free will, or faith, or morality, from an inconsistent, arbitrary process which is indistinguishable from random chance?

by not looking at it with nose pressed up against it and assuming one aspect of it is the whole thing, and step back and look at the whole. Prayer is not about getting stuff, it's communion.



If there is no consistent connection between prayer or faith or morale choices and miraculous healing how can we possibly learn anything about prayer or faith or morality from these so-called miracles? How can anyone be expected to establish a "moral decision making paradigm" on the basis of something that is apparently arbitrary, inconsistent and capricious?


that's like saying there's no connection between a human will and the decisions he makes. Not that God is analogous to a human will. God is transcendent, we don't know anything. We move by faith and deal with metaphors. Its' about experiencing God not words on paper.

you don't base a moral decision making paradigm on prayer. You base it on moral philosophy. That means you have to work out a moral philosophy. That can should be informed by theology but is certainly is not based upon prayer.


Telling me I'm too lazy or stupid isn't an answer either; in fact it would seem that YOU are the lazy one, since you think that just cutting and pasting the same argument over and over again is enough to answer the questions about that argument. The problem isn't that I'm lazy or stupid, the problem is that your argument has some serious flaws which you apparently are unable to admit. (You've never answered my questions about suffering which is unrelated to moral choices either, by the way...)


you are not stupid. If I said that I apologize.I know you up around my age is it's not lazy it's just lack of energy.

why are you not helping me with need more shovels? are you looking at it?