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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 16 2013: Like many I’m spiritual and not religious; that is to say I believe in god, but not any one churches views on god their set a prayers. You have a false premise in your understanding of how prayers are answered, in that you’re assuming that the prayer had to be given and that the answer had to have been yes.

    I’ll give you an example from my life; 11.5 years ago I laid-off form a high stress, long hours, good paying job, and at that time I prayed to get that job back or find one equal to it. Well 6-months later I went with a low stress, easy hours, low pay job, and by your measurements that prayer would be considered as not answered. BUT a little over a year into that job, I had some weird muscle spasms and because I now had great health insurance I made an appointment neurologist. After making the appointment I had not more spasms, but keep the appointment anyway. 4-months later I went to it and two weeks after that I was diagnosed. And will just say that having a low stress, easy hours, good health insurance, job was an answer to a prayer that I had even ask for.

    If god wanted us to have proof, then we would have proof. So if you go with the premise god is real and that god does not want us to find proof, no matter how good you are you’re not going to be that good.
    And if god is not real and nothing comes after death, proving nothing happens is not possible ether.

    There is an eastern religion that teaches; that we should not think about god and just focus on our lives here, because spending time on the unknowable is a waste of time. Or something like that.
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      Jan 16 2013: re: "you’re assuming that the prayer....

      You're assuming there is a "higher power" No god equates to no one answering prayers.
      The suggestion here is that in the absence a god the brain creates the type of agency to cause and effect. This is the root of any discuss about the origin of religions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_origin_of_religions

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology_of_religion

      Neuroscientist would say that it is our unconsciousness that is a guiding influence, but since we are oriented around our consciousness we fail to recognize this.
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        Jan 17 2013: No, I was saying that your method of measuring is flawed.
        In that prayers are not answered in that same manner as a placebo effect could account for.
        I gave an example, and offered reasoning as why. Questioning as to what does or does not come after death is not provable.

        As I said in my last statement, spending time on the unknowable is a waste of time.
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        Jan 17 2013: Thank you, God is known by many names and has many faces with evolution being one of them.

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