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Theodore A. Hoppe


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Is prayer a form of placebo or is there evidence of divine intervention in the answering of prayers?

It was recently suggested to me that I conduct an experiment on whether prayer "works." The suggestion was that I keep a journal , direct my prayers to Jesus, and keep track of whether my prayers get answered. This is hardly qualities as an experiment in a scientific sense, but it does raise interesting questions.
My question, which prompted the suggestion, was "Which god would one pray to since every religion has (or has had) a god(s)." Clearly, people pray to all gods, and they might even claim their prayers get answered.
Considering this question further seems to indicate that there must be a mental aspect to prayer, irrespective of religions.

Therefore, this is not a debate about religion, rather it is a discuss about the brain and the mind, and whether a placebo effect is a part of praying.
Why does prayer "seem" to work?
Hopefully, this debate can explore praying in a scientific way.


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    Jan 15 2013: Hi Theodore.
    Prayer works for me, & many of my friends. I have tried in the past to give details to " Scientific Types", but met with such scepticism & derision, that I am not about to try again.

    Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
    But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

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      Jan 15 2013: Hi Peter

      If prayer works, it must mean that a deity manipulates probabilities or other peoples choices in order to grant your wish.

      Logically this must also mean that this deity can manipulate probabilities at your expense; and that this deity can manipulate your choices. Ergo free will does not exist.

      Let's say a person has applied for a job and prays to a deity that he will get it. If the person succeeds in this, he or she will claim that it is due to praying. So this means that a deity influences the employer in making the decision, and thus bypassing this employer's free will. Do you believe this to be the case?
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        Jan 15 2013: re: "Do you believe this to be the case?"
        Any answer still falls into the realm of belief. There is no evidence that it "works."
        The more telling question is a version of the one I originally posed, ""Which god would one pray to since every religion has (or has had) a god(s)."
        Do all gods grant answer prayers?
        There would certainly be no shortage to people from different faiths that would witness that their prayers were answered, and we would be forced to conclude that praying to one god is just as good as the praying to the next one. But scientifically, we would still need to determine if their prays were answered, or if they merely believed they were.
        This is why I'd prefer to avoid the thorny issue of religious beliefs.
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        Jan 16 2013: Hi Faisel,
        I can only deal with the God of the bible. He claims to be outwith time. This means he can view the whole of history as a single entity. We are trapped in the river of time. We make our decisions one at a time, but God knows them all beforehand. Given that he has infinite intelligence etc., it is logical that he can orchestrate things while still allowing us free choice. A bit of a mind-bender, but that's as close as I can get to understanding what's going on.

        Hi Theodore,
        Your scepticism is understandable. So many god's to chose from, they can't all be real. Only our creator could conceivably answer our prayers. For me it was a matter of deduction. List the available gods, & work through the evidence pro & con. For me there was only one possibility at the end of this exercise, so I put my faith in Him. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. If you have proof He doesn't exist, I will recalculate.


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