Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Swinburne on petitionary prayer

Swinburne on petitionary prayer

6 comments:

  1. Wow,

    This was just as poorly argued and blatantly circular as his previous discussion on mind/body dualism.

    In Christ,

    Marcus

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  2. i liked the article. the study on prayer did violence to my confidence in prayer. things like this article help a lot. missing your blog, evan may.

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  3. Monty Bristow1/18/2007 5:15 PM

    And how do you know God din't ordain them to delete it, mush?

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  4. Anonymous,

    I'd love to see your reasons for your claim, especially in regards to the mind/body dualism interview (i.e., an *interview* which no doubt was based on arguments found in his *book* which would need to be consluted if one were to really critique the position).

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  5. I'd love to know how Swinburne is able to claim that the people praying were not doing so out of compassion and love. It is also not clear from the study that they informed the praying persons that they were part of a study. Double-blind controls are often used for that very reason.

    Racheal,

    I really don't see how this is supposed to rebuild your confidence in the point/purpose/efficacy of petitionary prayer:

    So what is the point of petitionary prayer? The answer must be that sometimes, perhaps often, it is equally good that what we should pray for should occur as it should not occur; and that God wants to interact with us by answering our requests, so long as we ask for a right reason. God surely wants to do for the person praying what that person wants just because that person wants it for a right reason. One right reason is that he prays for a particular sufferer out of love and compassion for that sufferer. In the Benson prayer study, the people praying were NOT praying out of love and compassion for the particular sufferer for whom they were praying- they did not even know who that sufferer was.

    Basically, God gets the credit when things go well, the praying person feels better about themselves, and God gets no blame when the person dies, because the purpose was to engage the praying person in a prayer of love and compassion.

    How is this in any way distinguishable from this portrayal?

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  6. daniel said...

    "I'd love to know how Swinburne is able to claim that the people praying were not doing so out of compassion and love."

    Actually, Swinburne explained his reasoning. Daniel doesn't bother to interact with the argumentation. Indeed, Danny interacts with precious little of what Swinburne said.

    "It is also not clear from the study that they informed the praying persons that they were part of a study."

    If the answer to that question isn't clear to Danny, then, by his own admission, he doesn't know enough about the study to offer an educated opinion. So why is he mouthing off?

    "I really don't see how this is supposed to rebuild your confidence in the point/purpose/efficacy of petitionary prayer...Basically, God gets the credit when things go well, the praying person feels better about themselves, and God gets no blame when the person dies, because the purpose was to engage the praying person in a prayer of love and compassion."

    Notice how Danny disregards the evidential asymmetry between answered prayer and unanswered prayer. The evidence of unanswered prayers doesn't negate the evidence of answered prayers, any more than the absence of Polar Bears in sub-Saharan Africa negates the presence of Polar Bears in the Arctic Circle.

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