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Old 10-16-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Dallas,Texas
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As an atheist in Texas I run into quite a few Christians who make claims that their lives have been transformed by their "relationship" with God and Jesus. The common thread is that their lives have been changed for the better and that in some cases there is a belief that certain things would not have happened to them if they had not become Christian. Is there anyone who believes that there is some kind of "placebo effect" going on here? Are they ignoring all the people for whom their lives do NOT change appreciably or who still suffer and die in misery after converting. We can imagine this scenario I would think in certain very poor parts of the world.

BTW, one of the best "atheist prayers" I have ever seen on the internet is the one below. Quite moving and powerful if you ask me.

Please Forgive Me? - Ex-Christian.Net
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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Yes, I believe that religion-changed lives are really a placebo effect.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Metromess
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Texan2008: That was a very sincere and moving prayer, although the person praying ends it as if she still believes to some extent. Hedging her bets in any case, still fearing hellfire.

I wouldn't call faith a 'placebo effect', since the belief is real and affects the person the same whether it is based upon anything real or not.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:56 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
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It's called "confirmation bias".
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: OKC
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There's a lot of emperors new clothes going on, too.

But I don't discount the idea that there are some people who have used religion as a tool to become a better person, regardless of whether what they believed in was true.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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I don't believe that "prayer" was written by an atheist.

An atheist wouldn't try to talk to an entity that the atheist doesn't believe exists.
An atheist wouldn't wish to have faith in an entity without evidence.
An atheist would never ask this entity for forgiveness.
An atheist would never say that s/he is angry at a god that doesn't exist.

I could go on, but this is really more like a parody of atheism composed by someone who doesn't understand it.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:35 AM
 
Location: OKC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I don't believe that "prayer" was written by an atheist.

An atheist wouldn't try to talk to an entity that the atheist doesn't believe exists.
An atheist wouldn't wish to have faith in an entity without evidence.
An atheist would never ask this entity for forgiveness.
An atheist would never say that s/he is angry at a god that doesn't exist.

I could go on, but this is really more like a parody of atheism composed by someone who doesn't understand it.

I disagree.

This looks very convincing to me as coming from a person who just lost their faith. I remember a very similar prayer I had right before I made the plunge. It's kind of like a breakup letter. I knew then, just like I know now, that it doesn't strictly speaking make sense to pray to a god you no longer believe in, just to tell him why you are letting him go. But there's something cathartic about it. Religion is not logical, and this type of prayer is the type of illogical thing one might do when letting go of it.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Dallas,Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I disagree.

This looks very convincing to me as coming from a person who just lost their faith. I remember a very similar prayer I had right before I made the plunge. It's kind of like a breakup letter. I knew then, just like I know now, that it doesn't strictly speaking make sense to pray to a god you no longer believe in, just to tell him why you are letting him go. But there's something cathartic about it. Religion is not logical, and this type of prayer is the type of illogical thing one might do when letting go of it.
Boxcar has it right because of the site that it is posted to which is www.ex-christian.net, which is a website geared primarily to those who are in the process of leaving behind their Christian beliefs or who have already done that.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
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I believe the christians when they say that their life has changed. But the same can be said if a person becomes an atheist.

My life changed when I became an atheist. I was relieved of fear and guilt. I was able to use rational thought to make decisions in my life, rather than being worried about whether or not those decisions adhered to some sort of religious dogma.

Obviously I disagree with the christians as to why their life changed. I do not believe it was the power of god, but simply a dedication to living their life in a particular way.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:03 PM
 
12,887 posts, read 15,424,246 times
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Texas2008...I do tend to agree with your op for the most part...there DOES seem to be some kind of placebo effect for some people..., but I'm not sure about "faith" ...... as for the the prayer...I really don't care for it....and I agree with jack mccullough that an athiest could not have written it, it sounds like it was written by someone who still believes in who they're writing to.
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