What's your intellectual opinion on prayer?
Good parts, bad parts.
Why are said parts good/bad.
Y'all get the gist, aye?
2. War is not a universal evil. Wars can and have brought about good.
They have brought about good, to certain people, through evil. It's like torturing people to get answers to save a few other people. It saves people, which is good, but it also hurts others.
That depends upon your definition of evil. Mine would be for example that if the war is for a good cause, and the methods are sufficiently controlled, then the actions of the soldiers can be said to be good. EG some parts (though not all) of world war two.
But killing is inherently "evil"
Explain? I would say that yes, no one should be doing it in the first place, but in situations like a righteous war, then it becomes different.
Define righteous war, if you don't mind.
Well self defence would be a starter. Beyond that, things get more complicated, but a genuine humanitarian intervention would be another example. Removal of a threat to international peace and security, after repeated earlier sanctions and warnings etc. This is just a very general list, but I'm sure that given enough time I could come up with something more comprehensive.
So coming back to the main point of prayer, and your statement that you cannot pray for evil, how do you define that? In this example, how do you discern what God's stance on international relations are. Does God support the War on Terror? What's his stance on the conflict in Palestine, especially considering they both claim to have God on their side?
If that came across as sarcastic, I didn't intend it as such, these are all genuine questions when you bring moral absolutes into things, especially when said moral absolutes come from a deity.
Well very simply, you cannot pray for success to sin. So I imagine on a very basic level, militarily speaking, you cannot pray for success to kill civilians not involved in the conflict. So in so far as the war on terror is concerned, I imagine God would support anyone trying to stop people who are themselves trying to kill civilians. In terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I imagine he is less concerned with the end result and more concerned with the methods they use to get there. IE he doesn't want anyone intentionally killing civilians. Ideally I expect he doesn't want civilians to accidentally die either, but that's a different issue.
Personally I don't believe He wants the killing of military or civilians.
On the topic of prayer... To say that someone can not pray for evil is taking away the God given right of free will. We can pray for whatever we want, from a new car to the health of an ill child to the genocide of entire civilizations. The act of praying does not mean that we are asking for the betterment of anything or anyone. Saying that I do not mean to demean the sanctity of prayer but rather add the fallibility of humanity.
Prayer is a wonderful thing, but just because you ask God for something it doesn't mean He is going to give it to you or if he does it doesn't mean He will do it in the way you expected.
Hi by the way.
Coming back to it, the nature of anecdotal evidence is that it is just that: anecdotal. On the other hand here are some examples of empirical studies that seem to indicate that God, assuming for the time being that God exists, isn't listening.
The problem with that study is it's treating prayer, and God, like a physical phenomenon. IE that if we put X prayer in, Y result should come out. The Bible is repeated in its statements that this is not how prayer works. Furthermore, to look into it like that, is to basically say "I can study God, I can master him, I can understand him and make him work for me!" etc. You cannot study prayer because God is not someone you can put under a microscope. The point is that not all prayer will be answered. However, when prayer is answered it will often be answered in a supernatural fashion. Hence, God.
You gave us all of that anecdotal evidence for prayer. Those stories, you claimed, were examples of "put X prayer in, Y result should come out." Right? shouldn't we expect, in a scientific study, that more of those impossible coincidences should happen to those who prayed? If not, than prayer doesn't work.
I think the picture of prayer you have painted in unfalsifiable. I'm sorry, but if you can't put prayer under a microscope, than I can't believe in it.