Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Praying for What?

I am a student of the philosophy that we live in a world of ultimate potential. I also believe in a world of natural law that produces what we request from it, but our request must be available through the application of natural good. The presence of evil, while real, is the illustration to us that we are operating outside the natural law of good. We are choosing evil outside of the natural law, sometimes willfully and sometimes in ignorance. That is a tidy summation in a couple of sentences I know, but I don’t really expect you to understand my beliefs based on the two sentences. Life is complicated and messy, we all know that don’t we?

The logical conclusion of this philosophy is that the one we call God or Creator lives in a perfect balance of always knowing only good. The next step would be to conclude that the total absence of evil from the process of being God render God unable to answer prayers requesting the unnatural because he or she has no knowledge of the unnatural.

Would we consciously pray for the unnatural? Some might. I think a lot of individuals pray for a solution while in the midst of a benign ignorance of what is good natural law and what is not. What do I mean? Assume a ballerina prays that she will dance better than all the other dancers. Assume the ballerina is also the least prepared of the dancers. If God answered this prayer it would mean intervention into the process of ultimate potential I discussed in the first sentence above. Even though our potential is unlimited, it does not mean we gain our skill-sets from nothingness. We must earn them through a world that operates in natural law. If the ballerina prayed, on the other hand, for the strength, stamina and health to practice her craft to her full potential, would God reward this prayer? In my belief system he/she would do so.

Is it possible to conclude that God has evolved to a level that he/she does not recognize the unnatural? Is it possible that unnatural request is not even understood by the Creator?

I think the majority opinion in our culture would dismiss this outright. The common notion in Christian religions is that God operates with full knowledge of all things good and evil and discerns between the two. Still, entertain me, and maybe entertain yourself with the notion that in a world designed to honor the natural law of good is it possible that our highest ascent occurs when the unnatural is totally eliminated from our consciousness? Is it possible that this is when we have become God or God-like?

If we think about the things we pray for and we carefully discern if what we ask for is good and falls under natural law we may find that our prayers become more successful. We can ask to be healed from cancer and we know it works. We know we can pray for the health of others and it works. Can we say that praying we will be the richest man or woman on earth works? No, and for good reason. Such a prayer falls outside of natural law. If we all did this we could not all be the richest man or woman by even the simplest reach of logic. If any one of us were granted this request we would then need to re-define the objective nature of the Creator.

Is it possible that prayer that fits the natural order is answered and prayer that does not fit is rejected because it is not understood by natural law in its perfection? If this premise is entertained it raises the specter that we can learn and understand the natural good and the natural law of the world by the practice of prayer and the faithful observations of its effects.

Do you believe the Creator is capable of recognizing evil? If so, does he/she carry a component of evil or a memory of evil?


Reach said...

Wow, what a post!
First I would like to preface with a link. I am not certain of your familiarity of this topic; however, it is worth the look.

Ok, As for evil being that of the unnatural- would the Gazelle not think the Lion evil? And the Lion not think the nutrition as good? Therefore, I would think that evil is a perception. And understanding perception only hightens ones awareness as to the separations of "Good" and "Evil". Without light, there is no darkness.

A Collegiate study of "Mind over matter" has produced tremendous results with the participants shooting baskets with a basketball. Half of the subjects were instructed to practice every day for a specified period of time. The other half demonstrated and practiced a form of meditation, where their mind witnessed a successful basket on every throw. After the period of practice was concluded and the time of study began, the group who practiced meditation were more successful in their acheiving baskets. Yes, the physically conditioned body is important; but, the mental success is most critical.

Do I believe the creator is capable- yes, the creator created evil otherwise there would be no reason to reference good. Also, without the evil, or memory of evil, the creator would not allow the individual to select their own path toward righteousness.

Just more than a thought,


Reach said...

PS, I shall be in San Antonio this weekend- I hope the wx is great! My son graduates from BMT on Friday for the Air Force.


Steve said...

I am not sure I have an answer to your questions. Actually No I know I don't. But I have a question... does creator judge? OK, another... does prayer require something from us or Creator to "activate" it?
Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Pat said...

I simply think that our individual perceptions of good and evil are rooted in our belief systems -- that is, those that were imposed upon us by others who had theirs imposed upon them, etc.

I believe that evil (or just plain old bad) must exist in order for us to recognize good and make a choice to be happy based on what we perceive to be good (or bad).

The creator? Hmmmm... Sometimes, while reading the Bible or listening to some fire-n-brimstone preacher, I think to myself, "It sounds like God is a petulant child who throws tantrums when things don't go as he says they should."

But, if you read Indian folklore and spirituality, you get a sense of nothing but pure benevolence.

Frankly, I don't know if I subscribe to the notion of the creator being the author of all the good and bad we see around our world. I think that the good and bad are a result of the choices that we make as individuals, a society, and a race.

Jenn said...

I don't know the answer to your question. I do believe that if one prays/wishes/hopes for something outside the natural flow...and if they get's definitely difficult. I don't believe these things are gotten through prayer...I think it's the free will in all of us that lands us in these situations.

Whenever I go against my gut (and that's tied to the natural flow) I end up in a bad place. I always learn something from it. So that's good. But I'm always left wondering why I chose to do it the hard way. The answer? Free will.

Tying in to Pat's comment - I used to have a problem with the whole God idea and organized religion...and still have issues with organized religion. When I learned about Native American spirituality - I was able to incorporate some of that into my belief system.

And reading "Conversations with God"...I liked that too. That might answer the question you asked.

Lynilu said...

Hmm, Seven, if one assumes the Creator to be, as the title implies, Creator of all, then, yes, of course Evil is recognized in the plan. As Pat indicates, evil is necessary for us (not God) because we haven't developed our spiritual skills to accept total Good as being possible, being a way of life, being all we need. Evil serves mankind like the conscience serves the individual.

"The Secret" referred to by Reach served an an opening for me to bring some order to a number of philosophies that were bouncing around in my head. Since my introduction to it, I have pulled my focus to a more refined place, certainly still not perfected, but more manageable and useful. I'm shunning the negatives around me as much as I can, and I'm finding that the positives in my life are growing in leaps and bounds. So, is evil still around me? Yes, but I call it "negatives." And the more I am able to push it aside, the more peace and joy and blessings I find intimately wrapped in the threads of my daily life. My belief is that my eschewing of the evil/negatives that are around me are possible *only* because I recognize that those energies are present! If I didn't know about the negative energies, how could I reject them?

So yes, evil exists around us so that we might learn about the positive energies and draw them closer, focus on actively bring them into our lives and making the gifts into elements of our lives.

Many religions have positive energies as their core. I am certainly drawn to those. I think it is because I've learned ... no I'm learning ... that it makes more sense, and it actually works. The fire-and-brimstone, fearful religious practices have not helped me. I thing the Creator allows evil to show us what works.

BTW, I'm struggling to write the post you challenged me to do. It may be a while. My head is just to distracted with daily, challenging tasks right now, and when I try to put into words the deep thoughts of that concept, I'm afraid my thoughts go wandering. I'll get to it ... someday!

Enemy of the Republic said...

I am a HUGE believer in prayer! The more we pray, the more we think in accordance to what you call the Creator, God, whatever people may see as the Higher Power. I believe that prayer leads us to the common good, which could also be filed under natural law. Do you pray for a new Lexus? That is not God's job. But do you pray for discipline and maturity in your finances? God will answer that prayer. We live in such a broken, alienated world that sometimes the only good I can do for another is pray for them. I think we have to pray as Matthew says, seeking first the Kingdom of God. A lot of us have trouble with that because we pray about our idols, be they things, people, ideas, you name it. I certainly am learning that lesson the hard way. As for your points on evil, another comment will probably address that. And don't worry Seven, even though CV is temporarily on break, I will always visit you. You are great.

Seven said...

Are you suggesting that the Creator understands evil yet resists it in all forms? And honors no request from those that seek evil? If in fact it is perception that defines evil I wonder out loud here if the perception of the Creator matches the perception of the animals, or are they different? That question may be more complicated than a first reaction may yield. You always make me think.
San Antonio has always puzzled me. It is one of the largest cities in the US yet shows remarkably little urbanity (my opinion)The culture is a hearty mix of Mexican and American. You will find some of the best Tex/Mex food available by consulting the natives. Congrats to your son and have a great time!

Remarkably difficult question that I know none of us can answer. We can only hold an opinion particular to ourselves. In my belief system we follow a process of attainment as we search for perfection within ourselves, moving to a god-like status over the course of eternity. The immediate assumption is that judgment must occur or how else would be attainment be graded. That however may be a mistake in mindset. Maybe the lack of judgment is in fact perfection of natural law and the system functions in its absence.
In my opinion the publication of personal prayer in thought or word is the activation itself. When we pronounce a reality it becomes. It simply becomes. Did the creator activate all in a pre-set? Maybe? Is all activated in the instant? Maybe? Does it matter as long as it works?
This strikes much the same way as trying to examine electricity. It simply is what it is. Use it wisely. Love the energy drawing, btw.

I totally agree with you on the choice explanation. I see it in my world as a choice between natural and unnatural evading the tag of sin so handily used by those that wish to judge and control. Without free will and choice we remain in limbo in a life of nothingness without goals or motivation. Yes, we are a product of our environment, teaching and training, no question. There are things in your life however that you have questioned, re-trained and re-examined. There we are, back to our old friend choice. Natural choice v unnatural choice; we all intuitively undrstand when we are on a false path, at least on some knowing level, even if we persist. I do it all the time...:)

I very much like your third sentence. I challenge your notion that we cannot acquire through prayer, but only choice. (2nd sentence)Challenge may be an overly aggressive word. I can tell you I acquire all the time through prayer and choice (combination).
Are you speaking of Native American Indian spirituality? I'm regret I have only a nodding acquaintance.

Silver Lovely,
I have no doubt evil is a component of my world. It is integrally tied up with the concept of free will which is a staple of my belief system. What I am suggesting as a path of thought is that the attainment of total natural law as an understanding precludes the consciousness of evil. I have an eternity to go to get there I grant you; just thinking on a solar system scale.
I have heard of "The Secret" because you and Reach have talked about in the past, I obviously need to check it out!
Re the concept and post we discussed, I may take it on this weekend. I sent an off-line email to you.

Sweet Enemy,
So beautifully stated. We are standing on common ground. Again.
Love ya back.

Jenn said...

Ahh...let me clarify...I do believe we can acquire through prayer...those things we should acquire. Similar to what you mention in your post...prayers for strength and courage as opposed to prayers for a specific result...that's what I believe.

I believe free will is what sometimes leads us to choices that are our best interest. I was specifically referring to when we end up in negative situations. Example...I could have prayed til kingdom come for what it would take me to find success in my marriage...but it wasn't meant to be. It was my free will (or stupidity) that landed me there...against both my better judgement and my instincts.

I totally agree that a combination of prayer and choice works. So instead of praying for a successful marriage - I prayed for strength and made choices to get back on track.

Yep to the Native American Indian spirituality question. I started learning about it when I was in my early bridged a gap for me. I was an atheist for a little while before that because a lot of bad stuff happened and I couldn't reconcile. Now I practice 'jennism'...kind of a mish-mash of different beliefs.

Seven said...

Very wise sentiments. I agree with your choices position completely.
I like "jennism" that's a refreshing way to look at things. I hear people say they are this or that. Really I think all of us are a composite of assimilated beliefs from reading, observation,experience, prayer and thinking. I applaud your honesty in calling it 'jennism', I love that.
I wish I knew more about native Indian spirituality.....:(

Jenn said...

What are ya? An old dog? Never too late to learn new stuff.

You can use 'Sevenism'.

Seven said...

Indeed an old dog...perhaps a mutt...a cross some would say between a greyhound and a bulldog...with silver gray hair about the snout...a mutt indeed, but nonetheless lovable and cantankerous.

Sideways Chica said...

"natural law" - This phrase hit my radar rather strongly, with a loud ping.

It reminds me of another term that hit my radar a long time ago: "manufactured genocide."

Finally I am reminded of a quote by (I think)Nietzsche, and I loosely paraphrase: "Man is the only animal that has to be motivated to live." And, "Man is the only animal whose existence is a problem to solve."

If I even attempt to connect the dots, perhaps my radar is telling me that we have all moved so far away from "natural law," that we no longer have true natural law.

Yes, rather deep and sideways, and not really on subject with your post, but it's what came to me with just that one phrase. I know...I'm pretty scary. ;)

Seven said...

Hi Teri,
Indeed we can move away. The fact about natural law in my opinion however is that it is impossible to destroy or control. It would be the same as hoping to control the rain, lightning or the formation of mountains. We can move away by making choices outside the law, but the law remains. Its my manner of philosophically identifying or finding the justification in free will and choice. There is a way for each of us to choose that is in accord with the positive natural law spun out by the Creator. The choice of the unnatural is the darker side of our nature.
You're not scary. I find you entertaining, thoughtful and diplomatic. Have a great weekend.