Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


Prayer thrives on the know it all attitude, "I asked for this therefore God did it" - the notorious fallacy of post hoc propter hoc

The Bible evidence for God is non-existent.  But what it does try to do is make a case for a relational friendly personal God.  Yet a personal God is not necessarily a friendly God.  He could be just a loner.  The evidence is based on prophecy for as God creates all he has the best access to what is going to happen in future.  And it is based on prayer forging a link with God that makes real spiritual changes.  Prayer is like loose prophecy - you expect some kind of connection.  You expect a result of some kind.

Christians say that grace is not magic but God sets up natural law to prompt and teach you. To prompt you, God does not use telepathy but nature. So if you need to know who the saviour is you may find a book about Jesus that somebody dropped. This however is identical to what pagans said about omens and signs! Also, it means science can test for a pattern. Science is about testing for patterns anyway.

The whole argument is taking advantage of how the brain makes you see patterns even if they are not there for there is a comfort in patterns.

This thinking that, Y always happens when I do X therefore X causes Y, is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  Another example one thinking or assuming that just because the bird built a nest in the tree the tree must have caused it to build. 

Or it thinks that because you got the cold after drinking green tea the tea is to blame.

A milder form says that the green tea is partly to blame.

The fallacy is popular for four reasons:

1  Lazy thinking

2  People spread it like contagion. It is something that people want to think.  Its empowering.

3  The human brain is made for survival so it keeps looking for causes and this sometimes leads it to see causes where there are none. If you watch out for causes you can watch out for harmful or nice ones.

4  It is loved for superstitious and selfish reasons you want to think that you will win the boxing again like every other time when you had a statue of Mary hid under the ring. You want luck that has nothing to do with your ability you want to cheat. If your opponent is doing the same thing you want to neutralise their magic. Some however may be not so much looking for help to cheat but thinking they are triggering some magical ability in themselves so the boxing match is turned into a game of bodily ability and also psychic/magical ability. You still want to be superior to the other.

The fallacy poses as an argument. The argument is bad for it is nonsense and is not even an argument.  It is also bad for we only use it when we want to.  We know fine well that b following a does not mean a had anything to do with b.

People say a prayer to God.  Jesus defined prayer as saying, "You have the power not me and you know best and you know what is right so your will be done not mine."  That is to underpin all prayers.  Prayer is sacrifice offering yourself to be the instrument of the divine will.  It by default says, "Give me cancer if you see fit." In this light the good feeling that comes from praying is some kind of mistake.  Is the good feeling going to happen anyway? 

To ask God for a good harvest and not care if it is his will or care about him is an insult not a prayer.  Its a counterfeit prayer.  Anything can be counterfeited.  People feel they get something they ask for say a bike.  They may get a good feeling. They may think they are better people.  It is evidence and truth that should lead you to think you are better not just praying.

Praying to God and thinking the prayer has worked if something good happens afterwards is pure post hoc propter hoc.

In a way it is worse for there is always an excuse.  Oh God didn't get me the bike but he will get me something better. 

You could say is really the useless logic that is the placebo not prayer as such.  I take the view that prayer is the post hoc propter hoc fallacy treated in solemnity. 

It is cruel arrogance to be careless in assessing, "Did God give me this bike because I asked"

The post hoc propter hoc involves an argument from ignorance. It is possible God gave me the x so he did.  This is really about trying to control your idea of God and you will form that idea to suit yourself. That is not devotion to God but a version of God that you make up in your head.

God is not able to tell you if the result asked for really was a result.

This is really about what you want to think.  You don't even think of what is plausible or what the evidence says.  You ignore the point that a possibility does not count.

If you make a big deal of a possibility then be honest that the possibility that you don't want should be the one you should focus on.

For example, maybe Satan answered your prayer and intercepted your prayer to God.  Maybe Satan is trying to sweeten you for some terrible reason. You have no right to encourage anybody to agree with your possible.  If they say its Satan then you cannot complain but have to celebrate their point even if you disagree.

Free will believers seem to contradict themselves for they keep assuming that if Amy is good she will be good tomorrow.  John is honest and he will be as honest tomorrow as today so he can look after my briefcase containing millions of euro.  Hard free will belief means you refuse to say what a person will do in a minutes time what they always do.  What about the softer notion that people may be good and sensible but have the potential at any minute to be different?  Is it really a softer notion?  No.  It is not soft for it affirms the saint can be evil in ten seconds.

Most of us have a bad idea of probability if it is 1 every minute for the last billion years it does not mean it will be 1 in the next minute. It does not even mean it probably will be 1. It could be 2.

That is a problem that is shows exactly why post hoc propter hoc is rubbish.  And our perception of probability is worsened if we depend on the fallacy at all.  It is blind in itself and leads to blindness.  Thoughts are tools.

Given that it is unfair to fear people over their past for they cannot change the past, free will belief leads to fear and is linked to abuse and hate. 

What has all that got to do with prayer?  You cannot get an answer to prayer unless God nudges the free will of others in the direction you want or need.  It is all related.

The post hoc propter hoc of prayer leads to countless new ones.

God as creator is the creator of the future so he knows what is in it.  He can tell us what will happen without making a mistake.  This relates to prayer for God has to own the future to answer it.  As we said a fulfilled prayer is like a loose prophecy.

A prophecy when it has not come to pass yet should not be believed even if the prophet or forecaster has never been wrong. The dice coming up with a six forty times in a row does not mean AT ALL that it probably or will come up a six the next time. It would be a sort of near miracle if it did that forty times. But as nature comes first and any paranormal or magical or supernatural ridden suppositions do not even count in the face of nature and should not.  Without prophecy we have no reason to believe any book is written by God or inspired.  We have no reason to trust in prayer.  A miracle claim opposes the truth: the dice comes up 40 times as a six but that has nothing to do with what it is going to come up the next time.

It does not matter if you mean miracle as in something dramatic such as a man coming back from the dead or something more subtle such as the man slipping into a coma and recovering.  Intervention is the issue.  It is the miracle.

We conclude that prayer and the issues that surround it and its framework are based on a lie - a fallacy.  Prayer is dangerous for it is trying to feel safe when maybe you should not.  You have no right to try feel safe about another person unless they really are safe.  Prayer cannot assure that.