Prayer and Meditation

Summary of a conversation on Google+.

Jokester

Prayer flowchart showing that prayer is useless

Christian

Prayer has moved the hand of God, it has changed His mind. If you read His book, you will know this. Prayer works!

Atheist

... Prayer may work, but if it does so it will regardless of what whatever holy book you refer to says.

Buddhist

Prayer works by Cause and Effect. This is the Law of Attraction. The mind is the Cause. The thing is the Effect.

Atheist

You must explain what the Law of Attraction is and exactly how it is a mechanism by which prayer works.

Bystander

The Law of Attraction is interesting concept. There is a documentary on Netflix called The Secret that explains it. I'm not completely sold, but prayer can change your attitude and approach to life, so in that regard it can change things.

Atheist

Either explain what the Law of Attraction is or stop using it to back up your points.

Bystander

Stop being lazy and look it up on Google or Wikipedia.

Me

Prayer is useful for a variety of reasons. So much so that non-Christian philosophies have re-invented essentially the same concept, calling it "meditation".

Atheist

Prayer is typically defined as a personal appeal to Yahweh or some other deity. Meditation is typically defined as a practice in which the mind is essentially cleared of distractions. By typical definitions, no, prayer is not meditation. If you're not using typical definitions, then you should explain what your definitions are. And you have not stated what prayer is specifically useful for, nor have you stated whether it works.

Me

Sorry; I'm here for agreement. If you're looking for an argument, try up the hall and to your left, just before the abuse department. But anyone who has engaged in both prayer and meditation should be able to recognize the similarities.

Atheist

I'm not looking for an argument; I'm looking for what you said to make sense. By normal definition, prayer and meditation are not the same thing. You hold that they are the same thing; thus you have a different definition than what I offered. What is prayer, and what is meditation according to you?

Me

On the charitable assumption that you are really asking for information's sake and not just trying to pick a fight, here goes. Both prayer and meditation are consciously reviewing your life goals in a private and honest manner. Prayer has a slight advantage in this regard. Because God knows when you're lying, presumably a believer will be more likely to be honest in self-evaluation.