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Can an atheist pray?

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Can an atheist pray?
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NemesiahPosts: 429Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 8:00 amLocation: Mexico Gender: Male

Post Can an atheist pray?

Sometimes, when shit is just about to hit the fan, or if my brain takes me down a particularly dark path I hear myself thimk "Please God, No!".

I have been an atheist for 20 years now but I used to be very religious as as a child and as a teenager. I do not believe in God, yet in my language his prescence polutes many common phrases "¡Dios mio!", "¡Oh! ¡Por Dios!", "Si Dios quiere." etc... and so I say them regularly.

Now far from just being an idiom, I can feel myself at times hoping somethig goes my way. I know that there is no invisible wish granting genie, and yet I may think "Please make it so".

Aside from early age indoctrination (which is particularly hard to kick to the curve) I believe this may be a normal response. I alienate my own power of action and give a "something" else that power so it might help me. Is this my brain trying to get a parent figure to do something I can't? Is this a remanent from my infant times when I couldn't do anything by my own thus I need others to act for me?

Have you experienced this phenomenon? I am specially interested in the experience of life long atheists, maybe if they never got indoctrinated they lack this mechanism.

Have a nice day.
Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:55 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Well clearly you're not a true atheist TM. You should go back into the hole whence you came.

No wait, that's a crazy response, sorry.
Yes, of course I know that situation. I'm 23 and I've been an atheist for at least half my life now. German too is littered with biblical metaphors (old as Methuselah) and references to God. (Thank God, for God's sake, etc. etc.) There's just very little alternative if you're not prepared to swear. (For fuck's sake, etc.)

In situations of great distress, I also find myself thinking "If there is a God, please do X". Then I think for a second and I'm over that. I believe it may be the automated, reptilian parts of your brain taking over. (Amygdala, was it? Dang, forgot.)
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:16 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatar
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Posts: 3243Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

My language is littered with theistic references. Inferno makes a good point that unless you want to replace many of the references to god with curse words; it is kind of going to have to stay. I also throw in god with many curse words as well, just for fun.

I grew up a catholic, so I do find myself in certain situation saying, “Please god help me.” I usually catch myself and say, “And Allah, and Santa, and Travolta’s guy too.”
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Gila GuerillaUser avatarPosts: 13Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 3:29 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

The things we say don't necessarily reflect our beliefs, and may be nothing more than idioms or turns of phrase. Once I lived in a flat where the door knob stuck out, into the doorway. As I went through the doorway, it would often jab me in the arm. I'd yell out to the knob: "Stupid f*****g door knob". Yet the truth is, I know that the door knob couldn't be stupid, and was equally as intelligent as the majority of door knobs!

I'd say, don't worry about mindlessly using terms which mean nothing at all in the grand scheme of things.
Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:33 am
keenidiotPosts: 14Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:14 am Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

You know, I never really prayed reflexively when I was religious. Must be why I lost my faith.
I do use words like "goodbye" that I know a very few atheists try to stop using. I also take the Lord's name in vain given the opportunity.
I've picked up the habit of saying "ye gods and little fairies.
Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:06 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Inferno wrote:Well clearly you're not a true atheist TM. You should go back into the hole whence you came.

No wait, that's a crazy response, sorry.
Yes, of course I know that situation. I'm 23 and I've been an atheist for at least half my life now. German too is littered with biblical metaphors (old as Methuselah) and references to God. (Thank God, for God's sake, etc. etc.) There's just very little alternative if you're not prepared to swear. (For fuck's sake, etc.)

In situations of great distress, I also find myself thinking "If there is a God, please do X". Then I think for a second and I'm over that. I believe it may be the automated, reptilian parts of your brain taking over. (Amygdala, was it? Dang, forgot.)


Lmao
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:56 am
Estheria QuintessimoUser avatarPosts: 67Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:36 pmLocation: EVE Space Gender: Female

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

I grew up in a European Dutch Roman Catholic culture. But we never went to church, nor did my parrent force religion on me. I am now 42 and actually still do not know if my parents believe in god. I never bothered to ask, neither have they ever seen a need to tell me.
This will tell you instantly how important god or the concept of it was during my upbringing, for them bringing me up from baby to manhood.

ZERO.

But it does not exclude me from the need to have desires and wishes. To have these things is only natural. A living human being is more then a stacked up buncha atoms and molecules.

We all are our own minds. Reality is always beyond our own experiences. The reason linquistic concepts such as Objective Reality exist, is because smart people in the past realized that each person has its own mind and experiences of reality.

When I was an innocent uneducated toddler to small child, I thought I saw angels in the light bulb that lit my room up. I could only communicate with them as long as I saw them. So every day, prior my mother turning the light off in my room I stared in the light bulb on purpose so I would see the angels. When the light was off I saw the angels and I talked to them. Ofcourse now I realise it was only the effect of the light on my eyes that caused me to see these angels as a toddler-small-child.

But I told these angels lots of things and desires back then and for me they were real. I only had a minimal understanding of angels as my family never was a church going roman catholic family,... but it was enough for me as a child to experience the presence of angels.

I now know better as an adult, but I still am not immune to human needs and desires.

Is telling yourself how you wish things to be a prayer to a divine entity?
Or is a prayer nothing more then your human wishes and desires, wanting to make it so, regardless of the potential to influence the outcome, of you wishing it so to be?

My 2 cents is on the latter.
Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:04 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2948Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

I feel like an idiot invariably each time it happens, but I'll often catch myself saying or thinking "please God let such and such happen"...

It's ingrained in our culture and language.
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Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:59 am
ldmitrukUser avatarPosts: 229Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:47 pmLocation: Edmonton, Alberta Gender: Cake

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Inferno wrote:Well clearly you're not a true atheist TM. You should go back into the hole whence you came.

No wait, that's a crazy response, sorry.
Yes, of course I know that situation. I'm 23 and I've been an atheist for at least half my life now. German too is littered with biblical metaphors (old as Methuselah) and references to God. (Thank God, for God's sake, etc. etc.) There's just very little alternative if you're not prepared to swear. (For fuck's sake, etc.)

In situations of great distress, I also find myself thinking "If there is a God, please do X". Then I think for a second and I'm over that. I believe it may be the automated, reptilian parts of your brain taking over. (Amygdala, was it? Dang, forgot.)


I wasn't brought up religious so the closest I come to prayer has been the distress situation. So I think saying or thinking of asking for help of a deity is culturally embedded in us. One thing I do find myself saying every once in while these days instead of swearing is "For FSM's sake" or "Thank FSM"
Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:03 pm
MilktoastUser avatarPosts: 12Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:28 am

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

ldmitruk wrote: So I think saying or thinking of asking for help of a deity is culturally embedded in us. One thing I do find myself saying every once in while these days instead of swearing is "For FSM's sake" or "Thank FSM"


I never say any of that. But praying is likely to be a mind mode, a variant of meditation. They have done brain scans on Tibetan Monks and find what the old hands do is very, very different than novices. Something apparently is happening up there, and I prefer the science explanation. As far a praise deity goes, that is likely just habit and culture as others have said.
Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:22 pm
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Nemesiah wrote:Sometimes, when shit is just about to hit the fan, or if my brain takes me down a particularly dark path I hear myself thimk "Please God, No!".
Have you experienced this phenomenon? I am specially interested in the experience of life long atheists, maybe if they never got indoctrinated they lack this mechanism.

Have a nice day.


Heck yeh!
Laurens wrote:It's ingrained in our culture and language.


Yes, I totally agree.

Gila: yes exactly!
Inferno wrote:No wait, that's a crazy response, sorry.
Yes, of course I know that situation. I'm 23 and I've been an atheist for at least half my life now. German too is littered with biblical metaphors (old as Methuselah) and references to God. (Thank God, for God's sake, etc. etc.) There's just very little alternative if you're not prepared to swear. (For fuck's sake, etc.)


*thumbs up*

I do the same thing all the time...

One of my university professors once said "there are no athiests in foxholes".... I'm still wondering about that foxhole.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:30 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

W00t, Andi! Where have you been for the past... 2? 3? years? How are you doing and jazz?
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:43 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

I've got a lot of living to do, really. :D
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:50 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Estheria Quintessimo wrote:I grew up in a European Dutch Roman Catholic culture. But we never went to church, nor did my parrent force religion on me. I am now 42 and actually still do not know if my parents believe in god. I never bothered to ask, neither have they ever seen a need to tell me.


This will tell you instantly how important god or the concept of it was during my upbringing, for them bringing me up from baby to manhood.


When I was an innocent uneducated toddler to small child, I thought I saw angels in the light bulb that lit my room up. I could only communicate with them as long as I saw them. So every day, prior my mother turning the light off in my room I stared in the light bulb on purpose so I would see the angels. When the light was off I saw the angels and I talked to them. Of course now I realise it was only the effect of the light on my eyes that caused me to see these angels as a toddler-small-child.


Why are you calling them "angels"?

What is an 'angel' in Dutch?" No offense, I'm just genuinely curious.

But I told these angels lots of things and desires back then and for me they were real. I only had a minimal understanding of angels as my family never was a church going roman
catholic family,... but it was enough for me as a child to experience the presence of angels.


You know this because...? I really want to know.

now know better as an adult, but I still am not immune to human needs and desires.

Is telling yourself how you wish things to be a prayer to a divine entity?
Or is a prayer nothing more then your human wishes and desires, wanting to make it so, regardless of the potential to influence the outcome, of you wishing it so to be?

My 2 cents is on the latter.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:01 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

now know better as an adult, but I still am not immune to human needs and desires.

Is telling yourself how you wish things to be a prayer to a divine entity?
Or is a prayer nothing more then your human wishes and desires, wanting to make it so, regardless of the potential to influence the outcome, of you wishing it so to be?
My 2 cents is on the latter.



Well, I suppose yes. This is a big question.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:08 am
DanDareUser avatarPosts: 14Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 11:34 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

I am a lifelong atheist.

At times I "negotiate" desires with "no one", speak out a plea in mind talk.

When I was young it was enough to make these "prayers".

As I got older I found the prayers became a call to action and then I would answer my prayers more often than not. I found I could make things so.
Tue May 19, 2015 1:46 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2310Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

That you, Danny?

Either way, welcome.
Tue May 19, 2015 8:29 pm
DanDareUser avatarPosts: 14Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 11:34 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Yeah hack, 'tis I.
Wed May 20, 2015 4:20 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2310Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

Ladles and jellyspoons, say hello to an extremely good friend of ours. :mrgreen:
Wed May 20, 2015 8:31 am
DanDareUser avatarPosts: 14Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 11:34 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Can an atheist pray?

:oops: aaaaw shucks.
Sat May 30, 2015 2:36 pm
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