Since it says you're from the U.S., and because I went to Christian school, I'll just use Christianity as the example religion here.
I'm not a Christian at all, but seeing this makes me wonder what kinds of Christians YOU were exposed to, so I mean it literally when I say I'd like to know. Because when I was a kid I went to Christian schools and went to church, and based on my experience, this is totally wrong. It sounds as if you've never actually heard the content of a real life prayer before, in context Maybe my experience is weird, because you and I have probably been to many different places from each other, but in my experience, the main things Christians prayed for were Safety Strength/Courage Victory Forgiveness Healing of someone.
Now, aside from that last entry, (and perhaps the first one, depending on how you look at it) does that sound like prayer going hand in hand with doing nothing?
When a Christian prays for strength, they're not asking God to solve their problem. They're asking Him to give them the strength or courage or whatever they need to solve it themselves, and if they pray for success USUALLY they already have their actions planned out and just hope they work out.
Let's say a person is truly faithful and a strong believer, and they try to do something, but find they can't because they're petrified with fear, so they run away and pray for the strength and courage to do it. If they truly believe, then they could get a shot in the arm from their prayer because they believe the being they prayed to granted them courage. Then they go on to do the thing they were too scared to do before. If that happens, can't you argue that, even if the being they prayed to was imaginary, the prayer did, in fact work? They may not get the competence they needed to do the deed, but they got the courage.
Also, have you heard of the placebo effect? That's actually documented enough by science that medical researchers have to worry about it in the back of their minds when doing clinical trials. With certain things, it is actually proven to be possible to get additional physical healing because of a positive belief that one is going to be healed by the thing one believes in. The trick though is that you must truly believe it for it to work. If there's doubt in your mind, the placebo effect fails. I think prayer can be the ultimate placebo, because no matter how much you try to tell a believer that their beliefs are either imaginary or just plain wrong, they'll still believe, and thus get the placebo effect bonus every time it is applicable and they have the faith.
So my questions in the end are, do you view religious people as people who do nothing but pray a large percentage of the time? Did you ever really listen to the content of everyday prayers? Also, did you ever research the placebo effect? If you've ever read studies about that, and a connection between that and religion, I'd love to know what you found and where. I'm wondering if a large-scale study into the healing rates of religious VS non-religious has been done, and I'd prefer to get a recommendation from a human rather than only jumping on the Google.
What I, in general, am referring to here is the use of prayer when something occurs, like a natural disaster or a terror attack. Many people I know who are Christian find prayer to help the situation. They find that praying for people to get better or for less people to die will actually solve the problem. Though the situation is not actually resolved, they feel better that they at least prayed for those who are injured and dying. Now I think it would be rather arrogant for me to view ALL religious people like this, as I am sure many do help out when the time comes, but this was mostly in reference to people I know personally who do this kind of thing. Who would rather sit home and pray that things get better rather than physically doing something about it. Also, I am sure real prayer, honest prayer, is so private and personal that asking if I listen to the content of people's actual prayers is ridiculous. I am speaking about prayers people post on Facebook or Twitter. The shitty prayers which, as I state above, are there simply to make someone feel good for doing nothing. Most of what you have listed above is missing the point I am making. Your 'question' asking if the list you gave "sound like prayer going hand in hand with doing nothing?" is missing the point of what I was saying. The actual act of prayer is nothing. By this I mean it is not an action; it is wishing on a star. What becomes of that nothing, however, is someone feeling better. Safety, Strength, Courage, Victory etc. Your suggestion of the placebo effect is quite an interesting one. I am well aware of the placebo effect. And though it has been shown to work sometimes, I think it would be quite irresponsible to use this in lieu of actual medical help, much like how it would be silly to opt for prayer in lieu of actual physical action. Praying for all the cancer to go away or starving children to be fed isn't going to actually lead to these outcomes, but it will make one feel like they did something to help someone else. It gave the person praying strength, but that doesn't mean much to those still starving or dying.
TL;DR Do you view religious people as people who do nothing but pray a large percentage of the time? Not all of them, no. Did you ever really listen to the content of everyday prayers? Only ones which are made public. Did you ever research the placebo effect? Yes. If you've ever read studies about that, and a connection between that and religion, I'd love to know what you found and where. I haven't read any studies which specifically made connections between this and religion, but found a few opinion pieces which either connected them, implied them, or spoke about the danger of placebos.
Thanks for your reply. Sorry I spent so much my time missing the point and wasting yours , but I'm glad something I said in all that turned out to be interesting at least. Your reply was interesting to read also, and I'm glad everything stayed civil from the beginning. So often, discussions like this erode to name-calling, but it never happened.
Also, I totally would not have been offended if you'd explicitly said way too many people just pray and do nothing... the picture kind of implies that, so... yeah...
And yeah, placebos totally should not be used in place of actual treatment. If simply changing one's mind, while doing absolutely nothing else actually increases the body's potency against deadly bacteria by 4%, well, that's actually an amazing thing that that's possible, and if the battle is close enough, that could save your life, but... if medicine improves that by 80% I think I'd rather have the medicine, side effects or no. And of course if the 4% stacks with the 80% I'd want that 4% too!
Thank you for staying civil as well! I agree that far too many internet interactions turn to name calling and random insults. That never gets one anywhere! I'm glad this was not one of those interactions haha
And yeah. I wanted to make it clear what I meant to say. I felt the typography spoke for itself, but if you had a problem understanding it, I wanted to make sure you understood where I was coming from in detail.
Exactly right. I find people put far too much faith in faith.
The "request form" prayers are the worst. "Pray that I'll get this job," or "Pray that my teacher will change his mind about my final grade." At least prayers for abstract things like strength or wisdom are at least somewhat of a placebo, because they make the person feel empowered. But to ask for specific things is to say that if there is a god up there who created the whole vast limitless universe, I've basically reduced that god to my own personal vending machine.
The whole idea of prayer is flawed anyway. If god already has a plan, praying suggests that you are asking god to deviate from his perfect plan. You are, therefore, bringing into question the validity and omnipotence of god and his perfect plan. And to suggest that you have been given these things because god heard you, deviated from his plan, and granted it to you is borderline blasphemy! This is because it suggests god's plan wasn't planned out in the first place after all, which makes god not perfect and, therefore, not god.
Duuude, seriously!! The "Pray For Japan" trend is bullshit. They're a Buddhist country for one thing, and for another, praying for Japan isn't gonna do shit...And that goes for everything else in life too. Fucking prayers....
Haha, yes, true. Even though it has its flaws, as does every religion, I think Buddhism is the best religion because of their view on accepting everyone no matter what they beleive in, and their intolerance for death, and their love of peace, and things like that. The Dalai Lama is even pro-choice, and a self-proclaimed feminist, and he says he gets along well with atheists. That kind of attitude proves to be very helpful in society, given the calm and sharing response of the Japanese during the Tsunami. Buddhists often either become hard-core Buddhists, or atheists. XD