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Ugh...blatant Religious Propaganda


Amethyst
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Praying to God is like talking to a friend

 

IS PRAYER just another kind of friendly conversation? Yes, says Uffe Schjødt, who used MRI to scan the brains of 20 devout Christians. "It's like talking to another human. We found no evidence of anything mystical."

 

Schjødt, of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues, asked volunteers to carry out two tasks involving both religious and "secular" activities. In the first task, they silently recited the Lord's Prayer, then a nursery rhyme. Identical brain areas, typically associated with rehearsal and repetition, were activated.

 

In the second, they improvised personal prayers before making requests to Santa Claus. Improvised prayers triggered patterns that match those seen when people communicate with each other, and activated circuitry that is linked with the theory of mind - an awareness that other individuals have their own independent motivations and intentions (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsn050).

 

Two of the activated regions are thought to process desire and consider how another individual - in this case God - might react. Also activated were part of the prefrontal cortex linked to the consideration of another person's intentions, and an area thought to help access memories of previous encounters with that person.

 

The prefrontal cortex is key to theory of mind. Crucially, this area was inactive during the Santa Claus task, suggesting volunteers viewed Santa as fictitious but God as a real individual.

 

Previous studies have found that the prefrontal cortex is not activated when people interact with inanimate objects, such as a computer game. "The brain doesn't activate these areas because they don't expect reciprocity, nor find it necessary to think about the computer's intentions," says Schjødt.

 

He says the results show people believe they are talking to someone when they pray, an outcome that pleased both atheists and Christians: "Atheists said it shows that it's all an illusion," says Schjødt, while Christians said it was evidence that God is real.

Brain scans reveal that people believe they are talking to someone when they pray

 

Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford points out that the study proves neither: "This has nothing to do with whether God exists or not, only with subjects' beliefs about whether God exists."

 

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Seems to me this is propaganda. I am a tad disappointed that a scientist would be so biased. Obviously it was written as a fluff piece for Easter.

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From what I've read here it seems dead-on to me.

 

When I was xian many of my prayers were very much like conversations with a friend only they were held in my own head. I'd talk about this and that and they could go on for some time. I honestly felt that I was "talking" with a real person. I wasn't just "going through the motions" as I would if I were asked to do something similar with Santa or some other character that I knew, deep down, was fictional.

 

Now, what would have happened if they'd have asked me to "pray" to an angel, saint or maybe a dead relative? Something that I personally found to be forbidden? Even though I honestly believed that they existed in "heaven," the same as God/Jesus, and could probably even listen to what I had to say I don't think I'd actually attempt a "real" conversation with them because I'd find it wrong. So I'd fake it. I imagine I'd scan like I would for Santa. Though people in groups that don't have issues praying to saints or others probably would scan just the same as before since they'd still be having "real" conversations.

 

The people that do some of these studies don't truly consider the differences among religions, or should I say they don't consider the differences between even the sects in the religion, because if they did they could probably come up with more nuanced tests that are better than the "real" Jesus versus the "fake" Santa. The "real" Jesus versus the "real" St. Peter or the "real" mwc's grandma seem like better tests since all "true" believers should test positive for jesus but only some for the others (I'd be shocked if they all showed positive no matter what the individual believed).

 

mwc

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Seems logical, they believe theyre talking to a real person.

 

The real results would be if the auditory region lit up with an answer.

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This really isn't new information. I can't find the study right now but there was one where scientists concluded that "god" is really "yourself." So basically, you're talking to yourself.

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This really isn't new information. I can't find the study right now but there was one where scientists concluded that "god" is really "yourself." So basically, you're talking to yourself.

And it does every bit as much good! :P

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I don't know. When I pray to myself I answer my prayers. ;)

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Christianity differs from the other two Abrahamic faiths in that it teaches that G-d does magic tricks. Like, G-d is the guy you ask for a new car.

 

"Dear G-d,

 

I went to church a WHOLE LOT. New Car, PLZ?

 

Amen."

 

Christianity evolved out of Roman paganism where people were taught that they could control the gods by offering stuff to the gods in exchange for a good crop, good luck, whatever. Worship was a way for pagans (and Christians) to control their gods and get free stuff. This is why Christian prayer is so ... pointless. Romans weren't able to get free goodies by making sacrificial offerings to their gods any more than Christians are able to get their own free goodies. Back when I was attending a charismatic church, I watched a couple pray for major appliances for months and not get them. No one much bothered taking up the collection plate, they just prayed along side them for the Holy Appliance Mobile to come along.

 

In contrast, both Judaism and Islam are practical religions. Poor person needs stuff? The Torah and Qur'an say that believers have a Divine Obligation to provide. Like, Divine Socialism, only different. And no humiliating or otherwise vain prayers for the Holy Appliance Mobile to show up.

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Reminds of that song by um... What was her name? Janis Joplin, "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes". Lyrics: http://lyricwiki.org/Janis_Joplin:Mercedes_Benz song:

 

BTW, I would not say Islam as practical. It degrades humans and takes away from human dignity.

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My grandfather wandered around muttering to himself at 98 and they claimed he was senile. I recon he was just talking to his invisible buddies?

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I'm only 38 and I always talk to myself. I answer back, too. Because I AM God and I have all the answers.

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:lol: I'm always ranting under my breath, but I don't answer myself. Of course, some days I get a little loud- like today at work when I was frustrated with the darn register. I'm almost always fighting with it, just like my comp at home. My boss said she didn't want to hear my story, which she said loudly, just ask her for the keys to the draw. The rest of the day everyone was teasing her about not wanting to hear the story. :lol: Hey, I have some funny rants sometimes.
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I'm always ranting under my breath, but I don't answer myself.

That's the thing. "They" say crazy people talk to themselves. Everyone pretty much talks to their self in one way or another. So then they add on that you're crazy if you answer yourself. I always give myself answers to my own questions. So does everyone I've ever known.

 

No. The big problem is when you talk to yourself...and someone ELSE answers back yet you're the only one around (and nowadays this includes tech). There's your problem but this is exactly what religion calls HEALTHY! In fact, it is what they desire most in life. To talk and have not them answer back. To be able to converse with something that isn't them and isn't there. Something that can read their mind and answer their thoughts. This is healthy and desirable. And if it happens no one says shit.

 

In fact they may elevate that person to a position of authority. But if you tell people you don't want that and don't believe in it you become a pariah. An outcast. Explain that. So talk to yourself with the expectation of someone else answering and you just might become important in the church someday but otherwise you just might be crazy.

 

mwc

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I think Pat Robinson is insane. Remember? God spoke to him and told him to tell the Shrub He said to go to war with Iraq? Now that is just plain crazy. That and that Arm-a-get-on-out-of-here theology crap that encourage war with the Middle East. The Muslims have a similar theology too.

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IS PRAYER just another kind of friendly conversation? Yes, says Uffe Schjødt, who used MRI to scan the brains of 20 devout Christians. "It's like talking to another human. We found no evidence of anything mystical."

 

This makes total sense. Yahweh is an imaginary friend. Of course, people act like they're talking to another human! This is what kids do with Santa and whoever else they might have in their little heads. The Gods are what get carried on to adulthood.

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I'm always ranting under my breath, but I don't answer myself.

That's the thing. "They" say crazy people talk to themselves. Everyone pretty much talks to their self in one way or another. So then they add on that you're crazy if you answer yourself. I always give myself answers to my own questions. So does everyone I've ever known.

 

No. The big problem is when you talk to yourself...and someone ELSE answers back yet you're the only one around (and nowadays this includes tech). There's your problem but this is exactly what religion calls HEALTHY! In fact, it is what they desire most in life. To talk and have not them answer back. To be able to converse with something that isn't them and isn't there. Something that can read their mind and answer their thoughts. This is healthy and desirable. And if it happens no one says shit.

 

In fact they may elevate that person to a position of authority. But if you tell people you don't want that and don't believe in it you become a pariah. An outcast. Explain that. So talk to yourself with the expectation of someone else answering and you just might become important in the church someday but otherwise you just might be crazy.

 

mwc

 

That is the crucial difference. I, too, will answer myself, as sometimes I ask questions to stimulate thought. There's nothing wrong with that. It's when, as you pointed out, that someone else in your head answers that there might be a problem. I say "might" because sometimes I might have a thought in another person's voice. Any nugget of wisdom from any character from any movie will serve as an example. I think to clarify this further, it not only has to be another person, but a person that feels totally foreign from you.

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Christianity differs from the other two Abrahamic faiths in that it teaches that G-d does magic tricks. Like, G-d is the guy you ask for a new car.

 

"Dear G-d,

 

I went to church a WHOLE LOT. New Car, PLZ?

 

Amen."

 

Christianity evolved out of Roman paganism where people were taught that they could control the gods by offering stuff to the gods in exchange for a good crop, good luck, whatever. Worship was a way for pagans (and Christians) to control their gods and get free stuff. This is why Christian prayer is so ... pointless. Romans weren't able to get free goodies by making sacrificial offerings to their gods any more than Christians are able to get their own free goodies. Back when I was attending a charismatic church, I watched a couple pray for major appliances for months and not get them. No one much bothered taking up the collection plate, they just prayed along side them for the Holy Appliance Mobile to come along.

 

In contrast, both Judaism and Islam are practical religions. Poor person needs stuff? The Torah and Qur'an say that believers have a Divine Obligation to provide. Like, Divine Socialism, only different. And no humiliating or otherwise vain prayers for the Holy Appliance Mobile to show up.

 

The Qur'an and Torah teach that their god has preordained absolutely everything. Therefore no matter what you do, it's exactly what you were supposed to. If you pray and do nothing else, that was the plan. If you get off your ass and do something more, that was the plan. If you mysteriously win some appliances in a radio contest, that was meant to be, as well. Somehow, though, simultaneously, they argue fro free will! lol... You are free to do exactly what you were supposed to! LOL!

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I remember when I was a kid, I wanted a Game Boy really badly. I prayed for one quite a bit, mostly because I knew that my mom wasn't going to buy me one (she told me so on several occasions) and it felt better than just sitting on my ass, I guess. I also didn't have much of an allowance, so that didn't help. One day, I just happened to come across a pawn shop and they were selling Game Boys there, so I bought one once I had enough money. I had thought that god answered my prayer, somehow, even though the Game Boy I ended up with was the really huge grey version that came out in 1989. It was also missing the back cover that held the batteries in place and the first one I got didn't even work so I had to exchange it for another one. I now have a Nintendo DS that I got with absolutely no help from god. If this teaches me anything, it's that if you pray to god for something, he either totally ignores your prayer or fucks it up so badly that you wish he hadn't. Or he just doesn't exist. I choose the latter.

 

Besides, why would god care if I had a Game Boy or not?

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even though the Game Boy I ended up with was the really huge grey version that came out in 1989. It was also missing the back cover that held the batteries in place and the first one I got didn't even work so I had to exchange it for another one.

 

You ingrate, why isn't God's providence good enough for you? :vent::HaHa:

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If this teaches me anything, it's that if you pray to god for something, he either totally ignores your prayer or fucks it up so badly that you wish he hadn't. Or he just doesn't exist. I choose the latter.

 

Besides, why would god care if I had a Game Boy or not?

 

Um... Reality check... It is the humans who don't listen. Besides, didn't you write a letter to Santa when you were a kid? That should tell you something right there. Mom and/or dad read it and had their own plans of what they wanted you to have. Think about it.

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If this teaches me anything, it's that if you pray to god for something, he either totally ignores your prayer or fucks it up so badly that you wish he hadn't. Or he just doesn't exist. I choose the latter.

 

Besides, why would god care if I had a Game Boy or not?

 

Um... Reality check... It is the humans who don't listen. Besides, didn't you write a letter to Santa when you were a kid? That should tell you something right there. Mom and/or dad read it and had their own plans of what they wanted you to have. Think about it.

 

I was mostly being facetious. I'm an atheist, and I definitely got the memo that prayer doesn't work a long time ago. This was just one step on the road to that knowledge. Oddly enough, I didn't believe in Santa. My parents told me when I was too young to even know who Santa was that he didn't exist, and the concept of Santa didn't even make sense to me anyway. Same for the easter bunny, tooth fairy, all of that crap. They did it because they "didn't want to lie to me", and yet they told me that god exists. The hypocrisy is laughable. So yeah, if my mom said that she didn't want to get me a Game Boy, I knew that "Santa" wasn't going to get me one, either. I just had to buy one with my own money, which I ended up doing, but still attributed it to "god".

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Besides, why would god care if I had a Game Boy or not?

Hello??? God DID care. He didn't want you to have one. That's why you were broke and he make sure your parents and everyone else never gave you one. When you got one yourself it was broken and so you got another and it was all shitty. It was all this way because you kept going against his will and sinning. You were an evil little sinner then and you're so bad now that Satan himself is rewarding you with properly operating merchandise even though it is still against god's will.

 

mwc

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Besides, why would god care if I had a Game Boy or not?

Hello??? God DID care. He didn't want you to have one. That's why you were broke and he make sure your parents and everyone else never gave you one. When you got one yourself it was broken and so you got another and it was all shitty. It was all this way because you kept going against his will and sinning. You were an evil little sinner then and you're so bad now that Satan himself is rewarding you with properly operating merchandise even though it is still against god's will.

 

Of course! Why didn't I see it before? LOL. I had to get glasses about a year or so after that and my mom is probably still convinced that the Game Boy screwed up my vision. Just another example of my egregious sin! I wonder what would happen if I tried to make a burnt offering of my DS to the lord LOL. Though, I'm pretty sure burning plastic doesn't smell anything like burning flesh, so he might not accept it.

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Though, I'm pretty sure burning plastic doesn't smell anything like burning flesh, so he might not accept it.

Yes, he does love the sweet smell of burning flesh. And if you have a brother and your offering is rejected...well...think Cain and Abel. If we don't hear from you again we'll just assume you killed your brother, have grown horns (or something) and are off wandering the land of Nod (presumably looking to hook up with your sister before founding a city). :wave:

 

mwc

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Ive been wondering about this for a while. My dad every morning goes out to talk with "god" and I remember doing it. It seemed rather like you were talking to a seperate person.

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?

Since we all know that Santa isn't real, I would love to see a similar study done on Children who still think Santa Clause is real but who might know that a character in a book isn't real like someone from Aesop's Fables. The children would have to be instructed that Santa Clause could hear their thoughts and they didn't have to make a list this one time. They would also need to be instructed that Santa Clause could respond to them. Of course these children would have to be debriefed...

 

If the same areas of the brain lit up then it would seriously nullify any arguments Christians could make that their "God" was necessarily real because those areas of the brain light up in communication with "God". Of course one cannot truly argue that "God" is real just because the human mind perceives itself as talking to another person, but it would be nice to show these people that it's not necessarily another person.

 

 

Another idea would be if Children were tested when they were developing "invisible friends".

 

I would also like to add in closing that I sincerely think that whatever happens in the brain with Invisible Friends on a neurological level somehow ties into neural activity with "God" later on in life. I mean if you stop and think about it we (adults) all know Invisible Friends aren't real and are quite harmless, even those of us who are believers. While belief in an Invisible Friend as a child is usually not harmful and usually quite harmless, the same cannot be said about the belief placed in Deities. There needs to be a way for the human race to come to a better understanding of such things on the scientific level. Maybe a new field? Or a new series of experiments?

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