timboo wrote:Has anyone else here read about that internet cult (i think on myspace) that has led to the sicide deaths of 16 young ppl in a town in wales (uk here).
there seems to be loads about this subject at the moment- the papers were making out that heath ledger had overdosed i think. either more people are doing it or there is just more publicity.
all of this stuff normalises it and makes it seem almost a regular thing.
the real reason i wanted to post was to ask whether you believe in the power or prayer or not. i have lots of ppl pray for me in the past, with no tangible results i think. obviously you can read whatever you want into events- any positive occurence can be marked off as a helping hand from god. funny how bad events are often conveniently wiped over with 'gods mysterious ways' though.
It goes to the question of free will. God gives us a degree of free will to determine our own choices and destiny. With the power to do good comes the power also to do evil.
Prayer for someone doesn't override their power to make some choices on their own. While we have the power to make choices. We don't have the power to choose the consequences.
I agree that people, even Christians can have a tendency to point to anything good that happens as from God and then to imagine anything that isn't good doesn't come for God. I think that comes from a few different things. First, we judge good and evil from our perspective and assume that because something affects us positively it must be good and if it affects us negatively it must be bad. God's perspective is both different than ours and His nature is above our ability to understand or to judge completely. The fact is, that if God is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing) then there is nothing that happens without his knowledge and either His doing it or allowing it to happen, therefore He is responsible for all things.
We can only know those things that He reveals to us as to why those things are.
There are a lot of people commiting suicide in many ways. Immediate killing of onesself is one way and I suspect there are many instances where someone does it and it is ascribed to something else. People drive cares over cliffs on purpose that are called accidents. Overdoses are called accidental that are really intentional. People commit crime and pretend to draw a weapon so police will shoot them. There are all sorts of instances where only God knows.
Then again, people eat poorly knowing it is killing them. People fail to exercise. People fail to go to the doctor then they are having symptoms. There are elements of degrees as well to the question. Sometimes it's intentional. Sometimes it's neglect.
I do believe in the power of prayer. There is evidence posted on the main board of studies done for patients being prayed for who have better recovery rates than those not. People question whether it is prayer of the benefit of being in a community of caring people or someother elements of combination of it. That's a fair question. It's a hard thing to nail down, but the fact is when someone wants to live, is focused on life which is a gift from God and is open and willing to allow God to work in their lives, I think He does so if it's in accoradance with His greater plan and will. God has give us the power to resist Him if we choose. He certainly can override that, He's God after all, but for reasons i don't completely understand, He's chosen to honor some of our choices and allow us and others to be affected by the consequences. I can't answer why with complete confidence. I know He does step in and perform miracles as well at times. The ultimate miracle is the coming of Christ, His death and resurrection and a future secure with Him. In the face of that, everything else is temporal. In the face of that, I can accept and work within all the consequences of the temporal secure in eternithy.
Some people see that as a cop-out. I see that as the heart and soul of faith and what it means to be a Christian.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender