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If God Knows Everything Why Do People Pray for Anything?
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Posted 5/12/08 , edited 5/12/08
If God knows all things, he cannot change his mind nor can he even make a decision. The quality of omniscience effectively turns God into a machine, since he already knows all actions he himself will take.

An omniscient God who cannot change his mind or make a decision is a God who cannot be affected by the prayers of humans. In other words, the prayers of men cannot affect his thoughts or his behaviors.

Yet, many believers seem to be convinced that their prayers can, in fact, inspire or persuade God to do good things for them. Not only that, but believers seem to also be convinced that the more people they can get to pray for a certain thing, and the more fervently they pray (or beg), the more likely God will be convinced to do what it is they want him to do.

Here's an interesting bit from the New Testament, regarding prayer (one of many interesting bits on the subject):

Quote:
James chapter 5:

16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months.


Those verses claim that praying to God can have an effect on his (God's) will. It insinuates, with the use of the word 'insistent', that being more fervent and unrelenting in prayer will help to yield better results. An example is given about the possible effects you can obtain through 'insistent' praying.

Christians are faced everyday with the reality of prayer (i.e. it does nothing), vs the claims about prayer made in the bible (it does everything).

Of course, what ends up happening? Christians almost invariably say something like, "God isn't a cosmic genie. our prayers must be in accordance with his will" This is the same thing as saying that prayer really doesn't do anything, since the outcome is going to be "God's will" regardless. My question is: why does Jesus and other bible characters go to such lengths to describe the "power" and efficacy of prayer, if it is useless outside of what God wants anyway?

Over and over, and I'd be happy to cite specific examples for anyone who wants them, Jesus uses the phrases "the desires of your heart", and "whatsoever things you ask for", when speaking on the uses of prayer. He offers no restrictions. These are false promises, and deep down, every Christian knows it.

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Posted 5/12/08
which do you think would be more damming to christianity? if their god was not omnipotent or if their prophet was wrong in what he preached?
Posted 5/12/08
Religion is a load of bollocks. the end!
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digs 
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God knows everything, but the Bible also says to ask God for the desires of our heart. God knows that we will pray for things, and He will give them to us according to His will God is not changing His will in the present when we ask, because He knew everything from before we were even alive. Just because we ask, doesn't mean we will get it. James 4:3- When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Rom 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. God hears the prayers of His Children. He wants us to have faith and to pray so the Holy Spirit can work. True God is all knowing, but prayer shows devotion and love to God, we shouldn't only pray for our desires, but for others things as well (like praising God and praying for others)

Btw to the 2nd poster, what do you mean by prophet? Do you mean Jesus? Jesus was not a prophet, Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.
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Posted 5/12/08

digs wrote:

God knows everything, but the Bible also says to ask God for the desires of our heart. God knows that we will pray for things, and He will give them to us according to His will God is not changing His will in the present when we ask, because He knew everything from before we were even alive. Just because we ask, doesn't mean we will get it. James 4:3- When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Rom 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. God hears the prayers of His Children. He wants us to have faith and to pray so the Holy Spirit can work. True God is all knowing, but prayer shows devotion and love to God, we shouldn't only pray for our desires, but for others things as well (like praising God and praying for others)

Btw to the 2nd poster, what do you mean by prophet? Do you mean Jesus? Jesus was not a prophet, Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.

God knows what you want so when you pray for things your wasting your time. BTW Dig maybe you should know that prayer has no effect, or at least all studies I have seen suggest this.
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Posted 5/12/08 , edited 5/12/08
God already knows what we need before we ask something.


YouAreDumb wrote:


digs wrote:

God knows everything, but the Bible also says to ask God for the desires of our heart. God knows that we will pray for things, and He will give them to us according to His will God is not changing His will in the present when we ask, because He knew everything from before we were even alive. Just because we ask, doesn't mean we will get it. James 4:3- When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Rom 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. God hears the prayers of His Children. He wants us to have faith and to pray so the Holy Spirit can work. True God is all knowing, but prayer shows devotion and love to God, we shouldn't only pray for our desires, but for others things as well (like praising God and praying for others)

Btw to the 2nd poster, what do you mean by prophet? Do you mean Jesus? Jesus was not a prophet, Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.

God knows what you want so when you pray for things your wasting your time. BTW Dig maybe you should know that prayer has no effect, or at least all studies I have seen suggest this.


It's not a waste of time. Even if he already knows what we need. God wants to hear, he wants to see and feel our faith and love to him.
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Posted 5/12/08
So what? God still wants you to pray, maybe you receive it because God knew you would pray for it? Prayer has a big effect, it brings in the Holy Spirit, and it is talking to God about your life and your desires. If it wasn't for prayer, we couldn't repent and would still be sinners. Prayer is not useless from a Christian perspective. How have studies proven that prayer has no effect?
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Posted 5/12/08

digs wrote:

So what? God still wants you to pray, maybe you receive it because God knew you would pray for it? Prayer has a big effect, it brings in the Holy Spirit, and it is talking to God about your life and your desires. If it wasn't for prayer, we couldn't repent and would still be sinners. Prayer is not useless from a Christian perspective. How have studies proven that prayer has no effect?


One I read that was quite interesting took two groups of people with cancer, and got one group prayed for by a large group of people. The death rate was about equal, and there are many cases such as the one with the little girl who died a shot time ago, when her parents did not get her care.
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Posted 5/12/08
that doesn't disprove prayer. James 4:3- When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

they wanted to test God, their motives was not healing, it was trying to test God.

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Posted 5/12/08
This is kind of like asking "whats the point of doing anything if we're all going to die eventually?" or even "whats the point of believing in religion?" People do it because it's what their religions tell them to do. Even if he supposedly knows everything, people still feel like they have to prove their faith to him, and prayer is one way of doing so.
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Posted 5/12/08

digs wrote:



Btw to the 2nd poster, what do you mean by prophet? Do you mean Jesus? Jesus was not a prophet, Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.


jesus was a prophet. any man that preaches for a god in its stead, in any religion, is considered a prophet.

and i'm no bible expert, so correct me if i'm wrong, but i think i recall jesus saying something about us all being sons of god or something.

also, what do you think of my originial question? which would be worse for christianity....or any religion for that matter? a god that is not all-knowing, or a prophet who was wrong about the god he represents?
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Posted 5/12/08 , edited 5/12/08
My memory of this is blurry but it is stated somewere *maybe the bible* that Jesus is the son of god,he only preached that we were God sons too since God created us!, but Jesus was supposedly Gods own actual sacred blood, if god has blood that is :/.I also seem to remember that God granted us the ability too make our own choices in life,weave our own fate which most likely meant that he´d stop interfering so its useless to ask him for a brand new bike or perform any wether altering miracle,or stuff related to love or anything for that matter...
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Posted 5/12/08
Jesus is the Son in the Holy Trinity. Not all of us are children of God, just those who are saved. Anyone can become a child of God though. Jesus preached for God and was God Himself as the Son, but Jesus was not a prophet. In Jewish teachings it teaches of the Messiah who will save the sins of the world. Jesus was the Messiah. And to your original question; If God was not Omnipotent, then God is not all powerful, meaning that God is in confusion of His creation. God has omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. If God is not omnipotent, then Christians do not worship the true God, and our faith would be void. If the teachings of Jesus were false and Jesus was not the Messiah and did not atone for sins and create a way for salvation, then we are still under the Law. Meaning we would have to preform sacrifices and go to the Temple for forgiveness of sins. We would all be Jewish.
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Posted 5/12/08
Even when I was a Christian, I felt the same way you do about prayer.

Anyway, we might reduce this to yet another futile attempt to reconcile free will with determinism. One would think any argument pointing out the inherent contradictions of such a philosophy would be effective, but, sadly, it is not.

While we could attribute troublesome positions on prayer to confirmation bias, the truth is that they have a system that cannot be broken because it accepts all possibilities, i.e. it is God's will regardless of the results of the prayer. The real problem is, as you say, that the Bible itself encourages activity that is futile by virtue of that very same will. Since you have provided quotations that prove the Biblical standpoint on prayer, could you provide us with quotations that firmly establish the traditional attributes of God, i.e. omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence? If you cannot, we must consider that the problem is not on the side against which you are arguing, but in fact in the definition of God itself, thereby striking a heavy blow (at least in theory) to Christianity as it is known today. If you can, then we simply have yet another paradox that was strangely ignored by the writers of the Bible.
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Posted 5/13/08 , edited 5/13/08
because everytime people pray they feel that they are talking to god and some hope that while they pray, someone will actually talk back >.<

P.S. whats with the sudden increase in threads about god? lol
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