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Old 08-17-2006, 11:28 AM   #61
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Sorry to pull the discussion back so far, but I wanted to be able to answer the questions here...

Originally Posted by toms
I assume that by Surveys you mean the scientific studies mentioned earlier?
In which case i don't understand your logic. The results of a study of a few thousand people are definately more accurate than the annecdotal evidence of one or two stories.
I agree with you here, actually. I'm just saying that there are more than 6 billion humans on the planet. Considering that, a few thousand people may be more accurate than one or two, but you still can't expect a study of that size to be as accurate as most people like to pretend it is.

Originally Posted by toms
What you are basically saying is that god's answers change nothing. Or they change such a minute number of things that asking him to change anything is pointless. That kind of makes sense... because if there is a god (and no-one is saying we can prove that there isn't only that there is no evidence either way) then you'd have to figue he'd planned everything out that way for a reason.. so your uninformed pleas wouldn't change much.
Hmm... I hadn't thought of it that way, actually. It just makes sens to me that, if God really is the supernatural being we've all been told he is (as in, all-powerful, all-knowing, exists outside of time, ect.), then he must know what's best for us more than we do. Think of it like a parent-child relationship. The kid wants to have a bunch of candy. Why? It tastes good. The kid can't yet understand that, if he's going to have a bunch of candy, it will probably make him sick. So the parent has to understand it and tell the kid, 'no'.

Originally Posted by toms
Though, if, as you say, god is unlikely to ever change his plan simply because someone asks him... and the scientists back you up on that... then it does rather make nancy's initial post invalid... and make the whole process of prayer rather pointless too.
Well, that's not quite what I meant. I could give you a few examples of how prayer has changed lives, but you're just going to tell me that it's only a couple of people and therefore inaccurate on average, so I'll just allow us to skip over that.

If you believe the Bible (particularly the Old Testament), then there are several examples of God listening to the words of His people. I said 'if' because it seems like the majority of us here don't. At any rate, you have Abraham, who asked God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah because that's where Lot was living; God spared the cities long enough for Lot to get out.

Isaac prayed that God would lead a woman to the well he sat at who'd be willing to give him a drink of the water; there came Rebekah (alright, this is a cheezy example...). There were a couple of times where God threatened to destroy the Israelites and Moses pleaded with him to change his mind.

If I had a Bible handy, I could list more. But my understanding is that prayer isn’t meant to capture God’s attention. After all, doesn’t he know everything already? My understanding of prayer is more that we need to say it than that He needs to hear it. It can be comforting to get your problems out on the table… even if God decides to answer ‘no’.

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