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01/19/2009 09:26:58 PM · #201
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

I think to sum up this argument, I'll go back to the electron analogy...

One very important distinction: educated people all over the world, regardless of culture, language or background, generally agree that electrons exist.


Wow. That was a deft changing of the conversation. Do you think I'm somehow arguing that everybody believes God exists? Come on. That was quite weak.

For the purposes of the conversation (that it is possible to use analogies or ideas that aren't fully truth to help describe a more complicated reality), your distinction is hardly "important".
01/19/2009 09:44:58 PM · #202
Originally posted by DrAchoo:



To go back to the Trinity, there are examples that can be helpful, but only take them as far as they are helpful. The Irish like to point to a clover. It has one leaf with three lobes. How many leaves? One. How many lobes? Three. Very simplistic, but helpful.

Jesus is called the "son" of God to help denote something about their relationship. God does not have a penis. Jesus does not have a divine mom. John 1 tells us as long as God existed, so did Jesus. One never existed without the other. Perhaps you can think of them as different aspects of the same being. The phrase used to describe it is, "The one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."


But even Jesus didn't know he was the Son of God in his childhood, right? At what point did Jesus become aware of his divinity? And if Jesus existed all long, although we don't hear about it until he's made man, how did he not understand the will of his father as he struggles with it at Gethsemane? On the cross he asks "My God, why have you forsaken me?" as if he was feeling abandoned by his father and again, not knowing what the future holds. It appears to me that God the father knows or knew things that Jesus the son did not. If they are all part of the same entity, that doesn't make much sense.
01/19/2009 09:56:35 PM · #203
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

To go back to the Trinity, there are examples that can be helpful, but only take them as far as they are helpful. The Irish like to point to a clover. It has one leaf with three lobes. How many leaves? One. How many lobes? Three. Very simplistic, but helpful.

Jesus is called the "son" of God to help denote something about their relationship. God does not have a penis. Jesus does not have a divine mom. John 1 tells us as long as God existed, so did Jesus. One never existed without the other. Perhaps you can think of them as different aspects of the same being. The phrase used to describe it is, "The one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."


Originally posted by scarbrd:

But even Jesus didn't know he was the Son of God in his childhood, right? At what point did Jesus become aware of his divinity? And if Jesus existed all long, although we don't hear about it until he's made man, how did he not understand the will of his father as he struggles with it at Gethsemane? On the cross he asks "My God, why have you forsaken me?" as if he was feeling abandoned by his father and again, not knowing what the future holds. It appears to me that God the father knows or knew things that Jesus the son did not. If they are all part of the same entity, that doesn't make much sense.

This is why I am CONSTANTLY PUZZLED!!!!!

I finally came to my own relationship with what I know to be God simply because I tired of trying to make sense of my beliefs and couldn't decide who to believe when it came to Scripture.

The Trinity makes no sense to me, and though my faith and beliefs aren't entirely rational from a facts standpoint, I have enough evidence, and belief in what I perceive to be an answer.

Yeah, I have my doubts, but I also have made choices based on info and experiences, with some of what appears to me to be signs of Grace thrown in, so that I have something that I grasp onto for a beliefe framework.

I have long since given up trying to search for MY faith and beliefs in someone else's version.

That really doesn't seem to me to be a sensible way for me to strive for my life's aspirations.

And before you go there, Doc, I mean in the aspirations of what *I* understand God would have me be.

I am interested and curious about what you believe, and I support your quest for a spiritual path, but I'll keep my spiritual path between me and God.
01/19/2009 09:58:12 PM · #204
Originally posted by scarbrd:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:



To go back to the Trinity, there are examples that can be helpful, but only take them as far as they are helpful. The Irish like to point to a clover. It has one leaf with three lobes. How many leaves? One. How many lobes? Three. Very simplistic, but helpful.

Jesus is called the "son" of God to help denote something about their relationship. God does not have a penis. Jesus does not have a divine mom. John 1 tells us as long as God existed, so did Jesus. One never existed without the other. Perhaps you can think of them as different aspects of the same being. The phrase used to describe it is, "The one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."


But even Jesus didn't know he was the Son of God in his childhood, right? At what point did Jesus become aware of his divinity? And if Jesus existed all long, although we don't hear about it until he's made man, how did he not understand the will of his father as he struggles with it at Gethsemane? On the cross he asks "My God, why have you forsaken me?" as if he was feeling abandoned by his father and again, not knowing what the future holds. It appears to me that God the father knows or knew things that Jesus the son did not. If they are all part of the same entity, that doesn't make much sense.


Jesus probably had to check his godliness at the door of heaven before his flight to destination: Mary's womb. If I recall I had to do a similar thing. :P

Message edited by author 2009-01-19 22:01:00.
01/19/2009 10:20:41 PM · #205
Originally posted by scarbrd:

But even Jesus didn't know he was the Son of God in his childhood, right? At what point did Jesus become aware of his divinity? And if Jesus existed all long, although we don't hear about it until he's made man, how did he not understand the will of his father as he struggles with it at Gethsemane? On the cross he asks "My God, why have you forsaken me?" as if he was feeling abandoned by his father and again, not knowing what the future holds. It appears to me that God the father knows or knew things that Jesus the son did not. If they are all part of the same entity, that doesn't make much sense.


Well, we have to recall Jesus is also fully man. He was human, not just God pretending to be human.

If you have trouble with the Trinity, then let it go. It seems a silly thing to get hung up on. Personally I'm not sure it's the "deal breaker" a lot of other Christians think it is. The word itself never shows up in the Bible.

That quantum electron seems to be helpful in so many ways. Once again it's a particle and a wave but not really either. The particle idea describes one nature and the wave idea another. God, the father, and Jesus, the son, are two aspects of the same being.
01/19/2009 10:26:52 PM · #206
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by scarbrd:

But even Jesus didn't know he was the Son of God in his childhood, right? At what point did Jesus become aware of his divinity? And if Jesus existed all long, although we don't hear about it until he's made man, how did he not understand the will of his father as he struggles with it at Gethsemane? On the cross he asks "My God, why have you forsaken me?" as if he was feeling abandoned by his father and again, not knowing what the future holds. It appears to me that God the father knows or knew things that Jesus the son did not. If they are all part of the same entity, that doesn't make much sense.


Well, we have to recall Jesus is also fully man. He was human, not just God pretending to be human.

If you have trouble with the Trinity, then let it go. It seems a silly thing to get hung up on. Personally I'm not sure it's the "deal breaker" a lot of other Christians think it is. The word itself never shows up in the Bible.

That quantum electron seems to be helpful in so many ways. Once again it's a particle and a wave but not really either. The particle idea describes one nature and the wave idea another. God, the father, and Jesus, the son, are two aspects of the same being.


Except we know an electron exists so it's not fair to use that as a comparision. A more appropriate comparison would be classification of the unknown behaviors of a unicorn.

Message edited by author 2009-01-19 22:34:41.
01/19/2009 10:42:52 PM · #207
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

For the purposes of the conversation (that it is possible to use analogies or ideas that aren't fully truth to help describe a more complicated reality), your distinction is hardly "important".

The distinction is valid: you're trying to explain assumptions, not observed reality. To illustrate:

Is Horus in control? Yes. Are we responsible for our actions? Yes. It is possible the true reality is a third option that is difficult to grasp? Most certainly. Should we chuck all of Egyptology over this mental paradox? Personally I don't think so.

Obviously, that paradox has little to do with whether anyone accepts Egyptology. Whereas wave-particle duality attempts to explain observed phenomena, you're trying to rationalize an assertion that is in no way a given. Though you apparently don't see it, your analogy is like using an example from physics as a possible explanation for Superman's powers- ignoring the likelihood that Superman doesn't exist and therefore requires no complicated explanation in the first place.
01/19/2009 10:42:54 PM · #208
Originally posted by yanko:

Except we know an electron exists so it's not fair to use that as a comparision. A more appropriate comparison would be classification of the unknown behaviors of a unicorn.


Don't let Shannon dupe you with his misdirection. Having the electron actually exist yet needing two aspects to fully describe it is icing on the cake. See, something can exist in our own reality which has two apparent natures! Why is it so hard to think God can't have the same quality?
01/19/2009 10:49:31 PM · #209
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

For the purposes of the conversation (that it is possible to use analogies or ideas that aren't fully truth to help describe a more complicated reality), your distinction is hardly "important".

The distinction is valid: you're trying to explain assumptions, not observed reality. To illustrate:

Is Horus in control? Yes. Are we responsible for our actions? Yes. It is possible the true reality is a third option that is difficult to grasp? Most certainly. Should we chuck all of Egyptology over this mental paradox? Personally I don't think so.

Obviously, that paradox has little to do with whether anyone accepts Egyptology. Whereas wave-particle duality attempts to explain observed phenomena, you're trying to rationalize an assertion that is in no way a given. Though you apparently don't see it, your analogy is like using an example from physics as a possible explanation for Superman's powers- ignoring the likelihood that Superman doesn't exist and therefore requires no complicated explanation in the first place.


And down the rabbit hole we go.

This is all I'm going to say. The question was, "I don't get how both X and Y can be true about God. They seem paradoxical." It doesn't matter if the God we're talking about is Horus or the flying spaghetti monster, the problem the questioner was posing was the apparent logical paradox of X and Y. I answered, you know, it IS paradoxical, but don't sweat it. Neither X nor Y is likely to be 100% true, the reality is probably Z which is much more difficult to grasp. Use X and Y to aid your understanding, but realize they are not reality in themselves. And knowing this sounds a bit like telling the questioner to just drink the kool-aid I pointed out the very grounded, rational and scientific analogy of the electron. We say that X and Y are true yet they seem paradoxical. We don't discard the X or Y model, we just point out that while they are helpful, the reality, Z, is much more difficult to grasp.

End of argument.

So the fact that lots of people believe in electrons doesn't matter. I was never arguing electrons. I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.

Sorry if it was a bit over your head. :P
01/19/2009 11:14:52 PM · #210
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

The question was, "I don't get how both X and Y can be true about God. They seem paradoxical." ... I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.

The problem is that it was in the context of two extreme absolutes. Either God is omnipotent or you have free will. Unlike wave-particle duality, these are mutually-exclusive. As I already explained, if there is even the slightest bit of actual free will, then all possibilities cannot be known and omnipotence is eliminated by definition. Likewise, if all outcomes are known and everything created, then free will cannot exist. Take the aforementioned example of Adam and Eve... if God didn't already know the eventual outcome, then omniscience must be ruled out; if he did, then there was no possibility of success and the entire staged exercise and guidance were completely pointless. Your analogy does not work.
01/19/2009 11:17:06 PM · #211
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

The question was, "I don't get how both X and Y can be true about God. They seem paradoxical." ... I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.

The problem is that it was in the context of two extreme absolutes. Either God is omnipotent or you have free will. Unlike wave-particle duality, these are mutually-exclusive. As I already explained, if there is even the slightest bit of actual free will, then all possibilities cannot be known and omnipotence is eliminated by definition. Likewise, if all outcomes are known and everything created, then free will cannot exist. Take the aforementioned example of Adam and Eve... if God didn't already know the eventual outcome, then omniscience must be ruled out; if he did, then there was no possibility of success and the entire staged exercise and guidance were completely pointless. Your analogy does not work.


Wait, you don't think being a wave and being a particle are mutually exclusive?
01/19/2009 11:23:27 PM · #212
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Wait, you don't think being a wave and being a particle are mutually exclusive?

Nope. "Through the work of Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, and many others, current scientific theory holds that all particles also have a wave nature."
01/19/2009 11:30:47 PM · #213
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Wait, you don't think being a wave and being a particle are mutually exclusive?

Nope. "Through the work of Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, and many others, current scientific theory holds that all particles also have a wave nature."


Simplifying as always. "A central concept of quantum mechanics, duality addresses the inadequacy of classical concepts like "particle" and "wave" in fully describing the behaviour of small-scale objects."

But honestly, you can run along now. This post was meant for people with genuine questions about their neighbors. I'm not here to argue with you. I'm not doing that any more until I hear you tell me you actually value what I write and could possibly consider it worthwhile. I've seen you too often just argue until you are blue in the face and you aren't even hearing what the other person is saying.
01/19/2009 11:44:36 PM · #214
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So the fact that lots of people believe in electrons doesn't matter. I was never arguing electrons. I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.


I get your point. The reason why I didn't think it was fair was because to use another analogy, electrons are like the dinosaur bones when they were first discovered. We know they exist now we just need to figure out what the heck those bones belongs to, where as with the holy trinity we are jumping past the discovery of it going straight to describing it's nature.

Message edited by author 2009-01-19 23:45:18.
01/19/2009 11:53:01 PM · #215
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So the fact that lots of people believe in electrons doesn't matter. I was never arguing electrons. I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.


I get your point. The reason why I didn't think it was fair was because to use another analogy, electrons are like the dinosaur bones when they were first discovered. We know they exist now we just need to figure out what the heck those bones belongs to, where as with the holy trinity we are jumping past the discovery of it going straight to describing it's nature.


I get what you are saying, although I'll point out the concept of the Trinity wasn't really ironed out for over 300 years. There was great debate among church fathers over the years. In a way there was philosophical discovery going on in that time.

The other interesting thing about electrons is that the more we know the weirder they get. Nobody could have forseen quantum mechanics even 125 years ago.
01/20/2009 12:48:29 AM · #216
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

So the fact that lots of people believe in electrons doesn't matter. I was never arguing electrons. I was arguing paradoxes and learning how to live with them.


I get your point. The reason why I didn't think it was fair was because to use another analogy, electrons are like the dinosaur bones when they were first discovered. We know they exist now we just need to figure out what the heck those bones belongs to, where as with the holy trinity we are jumping past the discovery of it going straight to describing it's nature.


I get what you are saying, although I'll point out the concept of the Trinity wasn't really ironed out for over 300 years. There was great debate among church fathers over the years. In a way there was philosophical discovery going on in that time.

The other interesting thing about electrons is that the more we know the weirder they get. Nobody could have forseen quantum mechanics even 125 years ago.


That's kind of what I'm getting at. I don't have a problem with the concept of the Trinity, but I think it is more of a product or discovery of the Council at Nicene. In part to reconcile the differences in the writings of Paul and the 1st commandment.

My mother-in-law's religion is Christian Science (no, not Scientology for those wondering). They do not believe in the Trinity or that Jesus is God. They believe he is the Christ, just not divine.

The Nicene Council did as much to define what we know as the Christian religion as did Paul or the New testament. Especially in light of the council being largely responsible for what was included in the New Testament.

01/20/2009 12:49:35 AM · #217
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

But honestly, you can run along now. This post was meant for people with genuine questions about their neighbors. I'm not here to argue with you. I'm not doing that any more until I hear you tell me you actually value what I write and could possibly consider it worthwhile. I've seen you too often just argue until you are blue in the face and you aren't even hearing what the other person is saying.

Ah, your trademark ending to avoid tackling any hard question. Very nice. :-)

I value any discussion I engage in (with the caveat that baseless assertions and logical fallacies WILL be called out as such), otherwise I wouldn't bother. Try answering the Adam and Eve free will vs. omniscience paradox I pointed out and let's see how far you get. Or maybe you can answer what exactly we celebrate on December 25th with any biblical reference to that date? Or maybe you could address the power of prayer... if there's any significant benefit, then surely there must be some devout group from the "correct" religion that rarely gets ill or suffers misfortune and has no need for doctors? How about a firsthand account of any direct quote or miracle attributed to Jesus- something that isn't hearsay? These are fair questions, well within the scope of your OP, and the latter three should be simple matters of record.
01/20/2009 04:53:08 AM · #218
Originally posted by DrAchoo:


I get what you are saying, although I'll point out the concept of the Trinity wasn't really ironed out for over 300 years. There was great debate among church fathers over the years. In a way there was philosophical discovery going on in that time.


The concept of the trinity was never 'ironed out.' Some christian sects believe in it (most of those rooted in catholicism), some christian sects don't. There is still no agreement nor consensus 2000 years later. The bible doesn't explicitly state that it exists, though there are references to the idea, depending on your interpretation. What philosophy has to do with it, I have no clue - philosophy as a method of study was pretty dead outside of christian theology until you get to the later middle ages and the Islamics like Avicenna and Averroes.
01/20/2009 07:46:54 AM · #219
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Originally posted by david_c:

On what possible epistemologic basis can you now dismiss Muhammad and Joseph Smith as having provided genuine revelation?


I think you miss my argument with you and Barker. I am not arguing that I can prove "genuine revelation". I am, however, arguing that you cannot dismiss the Easter story as mere "myth". There is very strong circumstantial evidence that 2,000 years ago there was a guy named Jesus who had followers and was executed. That's all I'm saying, but this is enough to refute Barker's ultimate point that the Jesus story is a myth.

Not in my opinion. All you've done is to suggest that there may have been a guy named Jesus with some followers who might have been executed. You've said nothing to the point that Barker was making, which is that the gospel stories of the Easter thing are not in harmony and pretty close to mutually exclusive. Although Barker may believe Jesus to be myth, I don't think this "easter challenge" was being used as an argument to that end.

Even granting "circumstantial evidence" of a Jesus executed (based on the gospel stories, I presume, unless you have a different source), that leads back to my point...there is also circumstantial evidence of Muhammad's Night Flight to Mecca and Joseph Smith's visitation with the Angel Moroni. Where can one be reasonably expected to draw the line?

Message edited by author 2009-01-20 07:52:57.
01/20/2009 12:44:53 PM · #220
I'll try to tackle a few posts in one:

David: I think it was exactly Barker's point and I would point to his closing line, "But first things first: Christians, either tell me exactly what happened on Easter Sunday, or let's leave the Jesus myth buried next to Eastre (Ishtar, Astarte), the pagan Goddess of Spring after whom your holiday was named.?" We can leave the gospels out as circumstantial evidence. I think Paul's life and testimony offers much stronger evidence.

Did you read Ron's link? It seemed to do a fairly good job to me in answering Barker. Certainly it doesn't seem the gospels are "mutually exclusive".

Dahkota: You make the division sound far too large and important. The doctrine of the Trinity, as presented by the Nicene Creed, is nearly universally accepted. Only fringe groups deny it and do so usually for the purpose of disagreeing with Christ's divinity (which, for the vast majority of Christians excludes them from the Christian umbrella in the first place). These groups, in no way, represent a significant proportion of Christianity as a whole, either by numbers of adherents or numbers of various competing creeds. I welcome evidence presented to the opposite.

Shannon: I don't shy away from argument, as I'm sure you know. I just get frustrated when you play these little games and totally turn things on their ear. Could you not see we were discussing paradoxes? You decided to then vault into the basic argument of calling God's existence into question. The two had little to do with each other. We've had many, many arguments about God's existence and people can just search old threads for those arguments. I wanted to set this thread up to get beyond that and offer myself to be available to answer questions about the nuts and bolts of Christian life. I think the hardcore constituency doesn't really care about that (for many they lived it themselves at one point), but there is a much larger population that has a softer view of the faith but have never been able to ask the simple questions on their minds because they either don't know any Christians or don't want to risk some social faux pas by asking someone they deal with in everyday life. Discussing religion is often considered taboo.

That said, your questions about prayer are interesting. Personally, I think prayer changes us, not God. Far too often we want to treat God as some celestial vending machine. Insert prayer and press B2 for healing, wealth, status, etc. I highly doubt it works that way. When the Lord's Prayer says "thy will be done" it indicates, to me, that the job of prayer is to align us with God's will and not vice versa. Further, I think prayer can be divided into perhaps two categories. First is Grace, which we say at dinner or meetings. The purpose of Grace, to me, is to give thanks for our circumstances. It is a reminder to us that God has given us everything we have. Second, I think there is Prayer, which is communication with God. I don't often use this to ask God for things (although certainly I can be caught falling back on those habits). I have faith God has the best plan for me. Why should I ask God to potentially veer from his plan? I could only guess it would be worse to do so. Prayer, as I mentioned, changes us and allows us to reflect on God's will not ours.

Just my 0.02 there.
01/20/2009 01:27:04 PM · #221
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Far too often we want to treat God as some celestial vending machine. Insert prayer and press B2 for healing, wealth, status, etc. I highly doubt it works that way.

Jesus, and therefore apparently God himself, seems to claim otherwise. Among many similar quotes– "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Now granted, every quote attributed to Jesus is hearsay and he might not have said ANY of those things, but the "pray and you'll receive" theme is both widespread in the Bible and obviously widely held by the clergy and the faithful who pray for all manner of help for themselves and others. If it didn't work that way, then prayers would rightfully be along the lines of "Help me to accept that no help is coming..." If it does, then my question about demonstrable effectiveness within the "correct" group remains.
01/20/2009 01:28:37 PM · #222
Originally posted by scalvert:

How about a firsthand account of any direct quote or miracle attributed to Jesus- something that isn't hearsay?

How about this direct quote from Saul of Tarsus: "ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι ὤφθη κἀμοί."?

ETA: sorry, the Greek alphabet doesn't display well in DPC. Try this link and look at verse 8.


Message edited by author 2009-01-20 13:30:51.
01/20/2009 01:54:46 PM · #223
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Far too often we want to treat God as some celestial vending machine. Insert prayer and press B2 for healing, wealth, status, etc. I highly doubt it works that way.

Jesus, and therefore apparently God himself, seems to claim otherwise. Among many similar quotes– "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Now granted, every quote attributed to Jesus is hearsay and he might not have said ANY of those things, but the "pray and you'll receive" theme is both widespread in the Bible and obviously widely held by the clergy and the faithful who pray for all manner of help for themselves and others. If it didn't work that way, then prayers would rightfully be along the lines of "Help me to accept that no help is coming..." If it does, then my question about demonstrable effectiveness within the "correct" group remains.


It could be Jesus was referring to the disciples alone in that passage. Certainly the most public of Jesus' speaking about prayer is in Matthew 6 and it sounds different. Finally, many of the passages that seem to grant unlimited ability to ask for things has the phrase "in my name". I think we tend to translate this in our minds as "by authority of" but I think it's rather "in the spirit of". One's "name" in Judaism was one's character. In other words, if you ask for things consistent with God's character, they will be given to you, but if you ask for things outside God's character, they will not. To me this rules out lots of the things we ask for.
01/20/2009 02:21:41 PM · #224
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

In other words, if you ask for things consistent with God's character, they will be given to you, but if you ask for things outside God's character, they will not. To me this rules out lots of the things we ask for.

Fair enough, but I referring specifically to the most devout, "correct" group you can find, asking for very basic things like medical help (perhaps even for others). Note also that nearly all of the disciples died horribly...
01/20/2009 02:29:53 PM · #225
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Far too often we want to treat God as some celestial vending machine. Insert prayer and press B2 for healing, wealth, status, etc. I highly doubt it works that way.

Jesus, and therefore apparently God himself, seems to claim otherwise. Among many similar quotes– "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

The effectiveness of prayer is not in the asking, but in the believing. I would opine that the vast majority who pray for 'X', do not truly BELIEVE that 'X' is already received. Rather, they HOPE that what they pray for is granted. The reason that they do not truly BELIEVE is because deep down in their heart of hearts they have to admit that they do not know with certainty that the thing they ask for is in line with God's will.

Originally posted by scalvert:

Now granted, every quote attributed to Jesus is hearsay

While you are entitled to your opinion to that effect, there are many who are more scholarly than you who would disagree. Even the Jesus Seminar scholars concluded that of the various statements in the "five gospels" attributed to Jesus, about 18% of them were likely uttered by Jesus himself, and a number of the statements attributed to Jesus in the New Testament were rated as having a greater than 90% certainty as having actually been uttered by Jesus. It should be noted that the Jesus Seminar is NOT viewed by most Christians as being pro-Christian.

Originally posted by scalvert:

and he might not have said ANY of those things

Then again he might have.

Originally posted by scalvert:

but the "pray and you'll receive" theme is both widespread in the Bible and obviously widely held by the clergy and the faithful who pray for all manner of help for themselves and others.

Those who subscribe to the whole of scripture don't believe that. They believe, as Matthew 21:22 says "If you BELIEVE, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer". If you don't BELIEVE, you haven't met the conditions.

Phillipians 4:6 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God."
If you aren't ALREADY thankful for the answer to your prayer, then you haven't shown that you really BELIEVE.

As I have indicated earlier, there is a HUGE difference between praying for what you HOPE God will grant, and praying for what you truly BELIEVE He has already granted in accordance with your prayer, though the fact of it's being granted may not be manifest for some time, often years.

Originally posted by scalvert:

If it didn't work that way, then prayers would rightfully be along the lines of "Help me to accept that no help is coming..." If it does, then my question about demonstrable effectiveness within the "correct" group remains.

And guess what. It doesn't work that way, so most prayers amount to no more than wishful thinking.
And, since it doesn't work that way, your question is moot.

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