Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:09am PT
Norton-

We've been over this ground before. Some studies have found that prayer works, others haven't. Many more studies show that people who believe in prayer are healthier, happier, and live longer lives on the average than those who don't. Whether it is the prayer itself, the belief in the prayer or the support of a small close community of like minded people that brings this about we don't know.

Currently the longest lived people in the U.S. are Seventh Day Adventists living in southern California. A materialist would argue it's their community support system, their vegetarian diet and the mild weather. They themselves believe their religion is responsible and their healthy life style is a result of that.

Whether prayer can affect the outcome of events, I've seen things I can't otherwise explain. Even if it is all a delusion, I think that the person who prays for the world's welfare their whole life is a better person than someone out there screwing over people for profit, let alone doing some of the horrors we see on the news every day.

moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:09am PT
I am asking about behavioral differences, like love, empathy, humor, etc.

We all have different DNA composition, btw.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:10am PT
Some would say of course, that the difference is the source of the empathy, whether evolved animal empathy or some sort of extra empathy coming from a higher source. Others would say that the animals are more spiritual in the sense that they just do, without thinking about it, whereas humans with all our conniving cleverness have to relearn through spiritual practice what we once knew and forgot. Mostly I think we haven't got a clue.

And yet you spoke with such certainty about human spirituality, that it requires specific kinds of actions.

Would you accept the "mostly I think we haven;'t got a clue" for the human realm as well? If not, why not?

Btw, no offense to you but those two answers up there are evasions. Not saying they're yours, just that they are evasive 'I don't knows.'

My take... these animals are NOT apiritual in the seeking god and meaning and all that attendant stuff. Not at all. And this is the chasm that spirtualists cannot span.

Cheers
DMT

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:14am PT
Largo that rant felt good I must admit. I will ponder your response. But off the cuff, smoking opium is also a tradition that has gone on for centuries. I do not think the answers to the cosmos will be revealed in The Nods however.

But I could be wrong.

Cheers
DMT
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:15am PT
We all have different DNA composition, btw.

We were discussing distinctions between humans and other animals.

The behavioral attributes you mentioned are also different between humans and other animal species. In some cases ,very different.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Keeping in mind that the non-discursive mind is likewise limited---as amply demonstrated daily by its crusading proponents. Not surprising for a way of thinking and experience that identifies "emptiness " as a destination.
--------------

Have another drink there brother. The first one ain't working so well.

moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:19am PT
Whether prayer can affect the outcome of events, I've seen things I can't otherwise explain. Even if it is all a delusion, I think that the person who prays for the world's welfare their whole life is a better person than someone out there screwing over people for profit, let alone doing some of the horrors we see on the news every day.

I think if that time spent on prayers were used to help others, the outcome would be somewhat greater, don't you think?

People often pray for themselves instead just taking care of their business. "I believe some higher spirit will just take care of me. I don't need to do a thing!" Really?

IMHO
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:22am PT
Have another drink there brother. The first one ain't working so well.

LOL

You are probably having difficulties considering yourself a "crusader" I see.
Lol
Norton

Social climber
the Wastelands
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:26am PT
Some studies have found that prayer works, others haven'

Jan, you also say that "we have been over this before"

I have been following this thread from the beginning and do not recall reading of any credible studies proving that prayer works...

yet you now say that yes there are such studies

I don't believe it but am quite willing to be open minded

so, because I have failed in my google and bing searches to find such conclusive evidence as you state is there, would you kindly name the studies (plural) and show your links ?

thanks in advance, I am VERY interested in viewing what your findings are on this issue
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:29am PT
I have been following this thread from the beginning and do not recall reading of any credible studies proving that prayer works...

Same here.
WBraun

climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:41am PT
Prayer works 100%.

There's infinite knowledge even thru the internet.

One will only find on the internet the truth depending on how much their heart is purified.

The truth reveals itself of its own not that one can make truth or force truth to reveal itself by their own doing alone ....

The mental speculators, envious Nortons and academics will always fail ......
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 14, 2013 - 12:52am PT
Prayer 'works' by standing the word 'work' on its head. You'll see.

DMT
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 14, 2013 - 01:12am PT
DMT -

I never said that human spirituality requires anything other than compassion for one's fellow beings (in which I include the animal world). I thought I gave a pretty wide ranging list of human actions that are considered spiritual ranging from praying for the welfare of the world, to hugging love starved people, to working for a specific ethnic group, to supporting social justice in general. I'm clearer on human beings because I am one.

As for being evasive, I've taught too many comparative religion classes and traveled too much to think there is only one answer to anything. All I can hope for is my own answers and I still have many more questions than answers even there.

Moosedrool-

Not necessarily. Not every action, no matter how well intentioned is beneficial. In general though, I think apathy is far more threatening to getting good done than is prayer. And of course, many people do pray at a very materialistic low level and use their beliefs to justify other motives and act irresponsibly. There are plenty of others who act that way in the name of other idealogies as well.

Norton-

Wikipedia has a pretty interesting article on prayer with references to scientific studies and the various objections raised to them.Research often produces disagreement over results and further studies contradicting previous studies. Caffeine, various vitamins and food items, birth control pills and women's hormones are all issues I've followed over the years which all have studies which contradict each other and the results of which seem to change from year to year. Studies of prayer are not alone in this regard. A lot of it still comes down to what and who you have faith in, to determine which study(s) you believe.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 01:41am PT
A few recent studies tracking the effects of prayer seem to generally parallel those effects elicited by meditation.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501193204.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514184139.htm

They have determined in at least a few studies that "relaxation response" activities like meditation and prayer suppresses the chemical pathways that produce the highly inflammatory cytokine ,NF-kappa B --- a species of protein associated with stress, trauma,and cancer.

moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Dec 14, 2013 - 02:05am PT
Jan, I don't believe that praying for something can help it materialize. I know of a controlled study that showed that prayers didn't improve survival rates for the cancer patients. I have never heard of one that proved the prayers worked, though.

Although, we all pray one way or the other. I "pray" by wishing that my actions will bring good results. It is in our genes to think about the future and hope for the best. Worring about the future is stressful. So, prayer in this regard does make you feel better. I also want to point out that it doesn't have to be a ritual, or something associated with a belief in a higher power. And it shouldn't replace responsibilities we have. I witnesed it many times when people didn't put enough effort and justified that with "it's gonna be fine!". Then, when it does turn OK, they say, "my faith/prayer worked". When it doesn't turn out OK, they don't think my "prayer didn't work. Why??? I think it is irresponsible for spiritual leaders to tell people that prayers work.

I can also see how faith and prayer can uplift your spirits in difficult situations; and they are much better than alcohol or drugs. Many times I wished I had faith, but it is just not my thing :)

Edit: Good articles, Trotter. Meditation/prayer have positive impacts on our stress levels and can help modify our behavior. Still, no prove that prayers can help the subject of the prayers.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2013 - 02:34am PT
Interesting results of a Chimp Study released today:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213094902.htm
go-B

climber
Hebrews 1:3
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:11am PT
The truth reveals itself of its own not that one can make truth or force truth to reveal itself by their own doing alone ....


Matthew 5:2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

...God bless you!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:22am PT
Jan to be clear I had no wish to insult you. I did not say you were being evasive. You held that 'some think.' This while 'others think' that. I said both answers are evasive. Ok? :) No insult lobbed. If you were insulted I apologize for not being clear.

Is a person walking out in a beautiful valley Spiritual simply by enjoying the feeling and taking delight in observation?

Can that same person be just as spiritual doing the same thing on an NYC subway car?

By this I mean no prayer, no meditation, no appeals to a greater power, no kind deeds nor acts of charity, no emptiness, none of the trappings of others' thoughts on what constitutes spiritualism. Can a person manufacture their own spiritualism?
S
I say YES.

Your thoughts?

DMT
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Dec 14, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Dingus-

I never for a minute thought you were insulting me, so don't worry. I'm familiar with and enjoy your ironic style, having enjoyed many of your trip reports. As fructose noted, the resident posters here are all used to give and take.

As for making your own spirituality, in the end we all have to do that, sometimes with the help of institutions, and sometimes in spite of them. Of course you can create your own spirituality. If you don't then you're just going along with social custom.

The beginning of doing so, from everything I understand is gratitude, so yes, appreciating nature is a form of spirituality. If you can feel spiritual on the New York subway I would say that's a higher level even. Higher still, is if you interrupt your first ascent to help on a rescue, or you intervene to stop someone being mugged on the subway.Or maybe something more mundane like helping an old man limp off the train or say hello to a homeless person that others shun.

Dr. F.

Trad climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2013 - 11:11am PT
So Jan, what you are saying is that spirituality is just another "feeling", and has nothing to do with God.
drool

You are correct moose
It's a "warm fuzzy feeling"

nothing more
and yes, apes can have the same feeling

These guys are just working on a million different ways of saying the same thing, and no matter how they say it, they are just saying the same thing about nothing
but it gave them a warm fuzzy feeling, so it was the most important thing in the universe because they couldn't explain how it was that they got that special warm fuzzy feeling again.
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