We should pray

October 6, 2016, 9:19 pm

Agree17 Disagree19

47%
53%

The debate "We should pray" was started by blakelovesjesus on October 6, 2016, 9:19 pm. 17 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 19 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most people are against to this statement.

neveralone posted 5 arguments to the agreers part.
neveralone posted 3 arguments, Nemiroff posted 2 arguments, TheExistentialist posted 4 arguments to the disagreers part.

blakelovesjesus, neveralone, dalton7532, phantrash55, jack_tim_45, metheonlyme, Eruptionz and 10 visitors agree.
Nemiroff, subrata, TheExistentialist, historybuff, makson and 14 visitors disagree.

who says it replaces action? also some people can't do anything but pray and say God (or I) will be there for u

2 years, 7 months ago

Yes we should pray because if you believe that there is a god then pray for him! It is your right to have faith and no one can argue with that. Everyone has a belief, so let them believe it.

2 years, 7 months ago
TheExistentialist
replied to...

I have no problem with prayer as an adjunctive method of helping. My problem is when prayer replaces action, or is treated as being somehow equal to actual work.

Prayer rallies for flood victims for example. They are being touted as a way of "helping". It's fine to try and find support in prayer or meditation or any spiritual ritual, but to equate it to actual work is absurd.

Again, your methods of using prayers may be different, however, you can't honestly tell me that prayer isn't used as an excuse for work by a large segment of the religious population. There are plenty of organizations that couple volunteering with prayer and that's great. We should all applaud their work, however, their prayer isn't work and shouldn't be convoluted as such. It cheapens the real work people put in to help out.

I'm not arguing that prayer is somehow harmful to society or that some people don't find some comfort in it, I'm arguing that it's literally the least one can do. It's not effective in any culturally meaningful way; on an individual level it's nothing that can't be replaced by proven methods of effecting change (counseling, therapy, meditation, etc....) and so is nothing special in and of itself.

2 years, 7 months ago
neveralone
replied to...

it shows u care even though u might not physically be able to help. also I pray for people but I also help them physically. we have physical needs but also psychological needs. both are needed to be taken care of and prayer is one of many ways to help psychologically

2 years, 7 months ago
TheExistentialist
replied to...

@neveralone
I'll go through some of your questions.

First the factors that were controlled for.
The larger sample study (20k participants) had no blind control. So the people receiving the prayers or praying did so voluntarily and with full knowledge, the other group did the same. So hospital patients were simply given a questionnaire about their practice, then patients with similar acuity scores were lumped togethet to form groups which then had their short term outcomes evaluated.

The older and smaller study had a control group (a group which was being prayed for and had no knowledge about it). These people had the same outcome as those that received no prayers. This seems to substantiate the position that something about the groups knowingly receiving prayer is making them more susceptible to complications in the short term.

As for the belief:
In the newer study (20k patients) there was no organizational structure to force people to pray or to have someone pray for them. These were activities the participants were already doing, so I'd wager its save to say that they were believers. The older study had an organizational structure to it which assigned prayer. I'd say that in the second study it is likely that some of the participants weren't believers. However, if the assumption of the researchers is correct (that prayer causes stress which causes complications) it would actually help the numbers if non-believers were praying/being prayed for. Since they don't have an expectation of prayer helping, they wouldn't be stressed over the subject.

As to how prayer is used:
I think your anecdotal evidence and specific way of praying isn't really a valid argument for its effectiveness. It's simply a personal preference of how to engage in the activity. The feelings you garner also only speak to the subjective portion of the study however, the data still shows that prayer is objectively ineffective.

The question I'm left with then, is why should we pray? Prayer studies have all shown that it's ineffective at producing any kind of result. So why should we pray when we can act? Wouldn't society be better of if we spent the same time volunteering as we spend praying? What harm would come from not praying? It seems non. If the only benefit of prayer is a personal feeling of spiritual connectivity, then it's not really any different from meditation and we should treat it as such rather than a methodology of affecting reality.

2 years, 7 months ago
TheExistentialist
replied to...

Nemiroff
I agree that the conclusions they came to as for the cause of the slightly worse outcomes for those that pray/receive prayers was largely subjective. Patient interviews aren't a good measure, but at least it seems like a reasonable explanation for the phenomenon.

I would argue the importance of these studies is not so much that prayer negatively effected the patients (although it's an interesting twist), but rather that it was objectively useless in multiple studies. This is of social importance since we can point to these kinds of studies and show that prayer isn't a substitute for being a contributing member of society. I'm sure everyone here know people who use the "I'll pray for 'x' " line instead of going out there and helping out. The danger of prayer to society is that it becomes a substitute for actually doing good work. We shouldn't accept or celebrate prayer as a way of achieving change, yet people do.

Prayer rallies for rain, natural disasters, etc... Are in and of themselves a waste of time. That time and man power would be better put to use actually doing work.

2 years, 7 months ago

also on ur thing are they all believers? did they do a mix?

2 years, 7 months ago
neveralone
replied to...

it's not always seeking help. sometimes it's just to talk which is really what prayer is all about. it doesn't nesasarly need the clasping of the hands. which on a side note how does it hurt ur hands? I am a believer in u reap what u sow and in my faith it's the same thing. there is a verse in the Bible that says if u sow evil into others that's what u will get out but if u sow good then good will come out. and a lot of the proverbs go agaisnt laziness so really I don't pray for things but if I do it's in a situation I can't find a way out and I pray for wisdom to see the way.

2 years, 7 months ago
neveralone
replied to...

that's people assuming that what they want is directly God's plan. also did that study factor everything because in my personal experience I have always found prayer to be helpful. for example when I'm sick and my family says there praying for me these are like words of encouragement. they help me feel loved and safe. unlike if they dont which I wouldn't do have no clue on that since it doesn't happen.

2 years, 7 months ago
neveralone
replied to...

can't hurt. might feel stupid but again can't hurt anything but ur pride. not saying that it's to big just the only thing I can think of that it might harm anyone

2 years, 7 months ago
Nemiroff
replied to...

hmm

I have not looked into these studies, but the conclusions reached by the first one seem suspicious. kinda like the the vegan studies that found them healthier (on the sole metric that they lived longer despite chronic fatigue and increased illnesses). I'm of course not disputing the data atm, just their explanation of it.

furthermore, my assertion was that an individual's prayer does not hurt society as a whole, no mention of the individual. I do believe it hurts the individual as it occupies their hands and their time seeking help isn't of helping themselves.

certainly it can be argued that something that hurts numerous individuals individually hurts society as a whole, but I am against the regulation or deminization of such practices against the will of the "victim".

2 years, 7 months ago
TheExistentialist
replied to...

Actually there may be some harm in praying. Prayer may actually be harmful to the individuals engaging in the act.

A study published in 2014 looked at 20,000 people with half praying regularly and the other half not praying at all. The individuals praying regularly had more mental and physical health problems than those that didn't. The study goes on to explain that prayer tends to cause stress when the prayers aren't answers. The stress then manifests into physical symptoms.
http://witscience.org/study-shows-harmful-effects-prayer/

In another study, cardiac surgery patients were divided into 3 groups. Group A was told they were being prayed for, group B was not being prayed for, and group C was prayed for but not told about it. Group A had the most complications post surgery while group B and C had similar rates (group B was 1% lower). The study concluded that the expectation of getting better faster in group A caused undue stress and higher expectations which may have contributed to complications.
http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31step.html

Most prayer studies have found prayer to be ineffective at best and harmful at worst. So there is actually some scientific merit to discourage prayer especially in cases where someone is already sick.

2 years, 7 months ago

if I don't believe in a god, why would I weight in on prayer.

there is no hypocrisy or damage to society from praying in general. so go ahead.

2 years, 7 months ago

nemiroff do u have an opinion on this?

2 years, 7 months ago

would praying actually hurt? sure u might feel stupid but u would get an answer if u look for it. though should is a little rough because I won't force u to but I would like it if u did and if u didn't that's fine it's ur choice

2 years, 7 months ago
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