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Author Topic:   If god has a plan, then doesn't that make prayer worthless?
Angeldust
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 63 (197678)
04-08-2005 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by StormWolfx2x
04-04-2005 1:36 AM


There are various ways that different Christian traditions handle this:
1. prayer does not effect the outcome of events, because if it did it would violate gods plan.
This is kind of a Calvanist view point. Calvanists believe that God pre-ordained everything from the beginning of the universe. So prayer does not effect events because God has already decided everything including whether you prayer or not, or whether he will answer the pray he decided to let you pray.
2. God does not have a plan, is omnipotent, all powerful, and infallible and as such can influence the outcome of events, and he chooses to do so based partially on prayer.
This is kind of Arminian. Arminius believed that God did not pre-ordain everything, but can see everything that will ever happen. He may or may not answer prayer depending on what the prayer is and how he can work it into his overall scheme. He does have a plan, but not nearly as rigid as in the Calvanists view of God.
3. God has a plan and can effect outcomes, choosing to do so partially on prayer, but he is not omnipotent, all powerful, and infallible so his plan may be altered by the actions of mortals, and he counters this by answering prayers.
If I understand the view correctly, this is kind of like the open-theists. God is all powerful, infallible and does have a plan. However, he willingly limits his view so that he experiences time in the same way we do. Prayers are answered for various reasons than, to make change to move along with his plan or simply to bless his people because it doesn't have to move into the whole overarching theme, as long as it doesn't contradict what he's trying to do
I'm definately not a Calvanist. I think I currently exist in a state of curiosity between Arminianism and Open-theism. Let's say I'm a seeker. I do believe God answers prayer. But perhaps C.S. Lewis was right when he said "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by StormWolfx2x, posted 04-04-2005 1:36 AM StormWolfx2x has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by StormWolfx2x, posted 04-09-2005 3:28 AM Angeldust has replied

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18343
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 17 of 63 (197706)
04-08-2005 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by StormWolfx2x
04-08-2005 3:12 AM


Re: Prayer is part of the plan
God has a plan, god is infallible, mortals have free will.
Cannot, logically, be true at the same time.
Well..in the context of free will having the freedom(ability) to cancel out God or His purpose, I guess that free will cannot coexist with destiny.We have a limited free will in that we can choose our destiny within the choices created.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by StormWolfx2x, posted 04-08-2005 3:12 AM StormWolfx2x has replied

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Nicked
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 63 (197724)
04-08-2005 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Phat
04-08-2005 12:32 AM


Re: Prayer is part of the plan:Nicked>>>>
I have just tried to summarise the website that you linked. I was offering my summary for you to critique. I assumed that because you linked to the website you agreed with its ideas regarding prayer? I would also be interested to know if any other christians agree with this summary.
To clarify my questions are...
1. does my summary agree with the website you posted the link for?
2. If so, is this how prayer works for christians?
You might want to address your contradiction in items 6 and 8. If we can agree then it might be possible to condense this further because I can see some overlaps.

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StormWolfx2x
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 63 (197838)
04-09-2005 3:11 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by riVeRraT
04-08-2005 7:33 AM


Re: Jesus prayed
I never said he did, personally I don't like the idea that god has a plan because it obviously interferes with free will. I also don’t think something being or not being in the bible is a huge piece of evidence in proving anything.
But if god does not have a plan, then you can refer to #2.

This message is a reply to:
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StormWolfx2x
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 63 (197843)
04-09-2005 3:28 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Angeldust
04-08-2005 12:01 PM


Analysis does nothing to change the logic of my post, still one of the three must be correct. However when you said
But perhaps C.S. Lewis was right when he said "Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me."
Then C.S. Lewis just plopped himself in option #1.

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StormWolfx2x
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 63 (197847)
04-09-2005 3:50 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Phat
04-08-2005 4:01 PM


Re: Prayer is part of the plan
I mean free will as in we have the abilitly to change the outcome of events, If free will exists, then at the very least god has a plan that does not encompass everything, and now the whole new problem of defining that line arises.
example:
Does god plan when people will die? IF yes then why get mediacl treatments.
Does god plan when the ecosystem recives damage that in turn hurts life? if yes then why try to stop pollution.
Again does god plan when people will die? If yes than how can we convict murderers of murder, after all they were only following god's plan.

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Phat
Member
Posts: 18343
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 22 of 63 (197854)
04-09-2005 4:05 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by StormWolfx2x
04-09-2005 3:50 AM


God has a plan and we have a rational mind.
Think about it. First, for those of us who are believers, God definitely is a reality--a personal reality and a part of our daily verbal communion.(conversation or prayer)
He is wise beyond our comprehension. He knows human nature and He knows how people are likely to act. There could have been far better ways to introduce us to Him than through an ancient book that is a focal point of controversy.
And then there is science and modern reason. Surely God knew that this development would occur, and He knew that people would question His existance more and more. Perhaps this was the plan.
All of this and much more is the fodder of many future discussions.
The issue that I want to comment on is prayer. Prayer is STILL the primary way to talk to God. How else would one address an invisible presence who is the Creator of all things (coincidentally.)
Prayer is only worthless if you want something from God and, indeed, expect it. Where was it ever said that He owed any of us anything?
I think that, rather, He wants us to mature to higher altruistic levels ourselves. Prayer somehow refreshes us and gives us room to grow spiritually. IMHO, that is.
Check this response to similar questions:
oneplace.com writes:
As the father of eight I can tell you that I sometimes know what my children need before they ask me. However, what I as an earthly father only sometimes know, our eternal Father always knows. No need to pull out the prayer beads or attempt to wear God down by need before you ask him!
I fear the very reason that this question is so often posed is that we have been conditioned to think that supplication is the sole sum and substance of prayer. Repeating the same prayers over and over ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
But prayer is not only a means of presenting our requests, it is a means of pursuing a relationship. It is about deepening our intimacy with Him, not just supplication. Just as I want my children to submit their requests to me as a sign of their trust and reliance on me, our Lord wants us to approach Him in prayer for reasons of relationship that go far beyond just learning the nature of our needs.
Again, the key is the developing relationship.
This message has been edited by Phatboy, 04-09-2005 01:42 AM

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jar
Member (Idle past 421 days)
Posts: 34026
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 23 of 63 (197879)
04-09-2005 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by StormWolfx2x
04-09-2005 3:50 AM


GOD's plan.
Again does god plan when people will die? If yes than how can we convict murderers of murder, after all they were only following god's plan.
Sure GOD has a plan, but often people don't follow it. GOD had planned for the person murdered to live to be 100. The murderer missed that meeting. GOD planned for the murderer to live to be 100. The murderer missed that meeting too.
Moral. When GOD talks, you should listen. You never know when there will be something that will effect you.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Angeldust
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 63 (197903)
04-09-2005 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by StormWolfx2x
04-09-2005 3:28 AM


I wasn't attempting to change the logic of your post, merely to point out that there is great disagreement among the Christian community as to which one is right. My personal opinion lies more under option three. Except with God being all-powerful and infallible, but willingly limiting his knowledge to experience time as we experience it.
I am beginning to see that only under a slightly changed version of #3 can God have any meaningful interaction with humanity. If he pre-destines all of time, or even if he merely sees time from beginning to end, all interaction with humanity is from a far removed stand-point and I personally believe that God does answer prayer, and that his interaction with humanity is meaningful. I also believe that enough of the Bible presents a tension between God's love and God's judgement to sustain such a belief. Look at Judges 10, There is a tension there between God's anger at being forsaken by his people again, and his compassion as he sees them hurt. This doesn't indicate someone who has seen it beginning to end. It indicates that he is truly hurt from their idolatry.
I'm not sure I know enough about all the theological outfall to say that I'm an open-theist though.

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riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 443 days)
Posts: 5788
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 25 of 63 (197909)
04-09-2005 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by StormWolfx2x
04-09-2005 3:11 AM


Re: Jesus prayed
Maybe his plan is for us to have free will.
If God exists in a dimension where there is no time, and He can see all that happened and is going to happen, does that mean we have no free will? Or.. We just do not understand how it works.
Also God may have a plan for us, after all he created us, and knows exactly who we are, yet he let's us go to see how we turn out. I see God trying to steer me along the way. Many times he has reached out to me, but I never responded to his call. I believe he creates all of us with a purpose, and you know that purpose deep inside your own heart, so there is no mistaken it. Your purpose might be, just being a good parent, or being someone who can affect many lives for the purpose of the kingdom. It's not about what we do, but who we do it for.
God gives irrevocable gifts, and how we multiply what he has given us is what determines our greatness. We can learn about it through prayer, and communication with God.
sp check by PB
This message has been edited by AdminPhat, 04-10-2005 09:44 AM

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riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 443 days)
Posts: 5788
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 26 of 63 (197911)
04-09-2005 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by StormWolfx2x
04-09-2005 3:50 AM


Re: Prayer is part of the plan
Does god plan when people will die?
I think God planned for us to have eternal life.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by StormWolfx2x, posted 04-09-2005 3:50 AM StormWolfx2x has not replied

Replies to this message:
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Nicked
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 63 (198017)
04-10-2005 5:02 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Angeldust
04-09-2005 11:32 AM


That's exactly the point!
That first paragraph is the point I was trying to get to in my posts.
I have discussed this before in a Christian Forum and it was impossible, even in that relatively non-fundamentalist forum, to reach a consensus on what the intention of prayer is. This was even before attempting to discuss the logical outcomes of prayer and how their god must 'be', based upon these outcomes.
It is an entertaining debate topic, but how christians personally reconcile an omnipotent, infallible and predestinal god with human free will is their issue...As long as they keep it out of my government and out of my school (unfortunately, they don't seem to be able to do this right now).
One entertaining question is to ask how they reconcile the (sometimes diametrically) opposing opinions between denominations and even themselves. Either none of them are wholly correct or some of them are wholly correct, in which case there are a lot of christians headed for their hell, whatever that is.
Broadly speaking...
Theologically they obfuscate behind denominational and personal interpretations of scripture, that's where this thread will end up btw.
Politically, they hide the problems by sucking moderate* christians into loose coalitions based upon a loose agenda and then use the membership numbers as leverage to push an essentially fundamentalist agenda.
*(Personal definition here but I think of moderate christians as being essentially spiritual but agnostic)
OK, now I'm officially off of my soap box.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Angeldust, posted 04-09-2005 11:32 AM Angeldust has replied

Replies to this message:
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Nicked
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 63 (198019)
04-10-2005 5:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by StormWolfx2x
04-04-2005 1:36 AM


Sources
May I ask for a reference for the source of the logical statements you posted?
I'd like to read more of the essay this was taken from.

This message is a reply to:
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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1426 days)
Posts: 1161
From: Hayward, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 29 of 63 (198030)
04-10-2005 7:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by StormWolfx2x
04-04-2005 1:36 AM


What about...
If there is no God, doesn't that make prayer worthless?
or along the same lines,
If there is no God, doesn't that make religion worthless?
I would answer both questions "no". There can be benefits to the individual, regardless of whether God in fact exists.
And, getting back to your original question, those same benefits are there EVEN IF God exists. No matter if your prayers are answered or not, prayer can have many benefits:
- sense of hope
- sense of relief
- can help people solve / resolve problems themselves by going through explicit statement / thoughts about the problem and their feelings
It's like a session with a psychologist. There are many benefits to simply expressing things explicitly, whether done "in your head," on paper, or out loud.
Stress is real and vitally important to control. Prayer helps with that, no matter if God exist or not.

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 3485 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 30 of 63 (198040)
04-10-2005 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by jar
04-09-2005 10:10 AM


Re: GOD's plan.
quote:
Sure GOD has a plan
Acts 2:23 is the first mention, I find, of God have a predetermined plan.
Jeremiah 18:11
"So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."
Since God is devising a plan, it doesn't sound like he had a plan in place.
quote:
GOD had planned for the person murdered to live to be 100. The murderer missed that meeting. GOD planned for the murderer to live to be 100. The murderer missed that meeting too.
But you don't know that. It may have been the victims time to die.
Does the OT speak of God having a predertermined time of death for people?

"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France

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