I continue to be concerned abou what is happening in the atheist community. Since I'm perceived as an enemy of their community, or at least not member, they tend to not listen to me. I have hinted at the pure hatred I've found vented against me while seeking good message board discussion. Now I find a website that is so brazen in its attempt to wish away God that it realy exceeds anything I thought I would see. They have developed a real talisman which is a magic formula to wish God away. It's a magic King's X. Here is a problem no Christian can answer, and until one does, God is disproven. How? By wishing:
Think about it this way. The Bible clearly promises that God answers prayers. For example, in Mark 11:24 Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." And billions of Christians believe these promises. You can find thousands of books, magazine articles and Web sites talking about the power of prayer. According to believers, God is answering millions of their prayers every day. Prayer seems to be especially powerful in the medical arena -- God eliminates cancers, kills viruses, reverses the effects of poisons, heals internal organs, repairs injuries, etc.
The question, therefore, is simple: If God promises to answer prayers, and if God is healing cancers and solving all of these other problems in response to prayer, then what happens if we pray to God to restore amputated limbs?
It is easy to see what happens: Nothing. You can simply look at the world with a scientific eye and note that amputees' limbs are never restored through prayer. If you want to be more rigorous, you can search every medical journal electronically. You will find that there has never been a documented case of an amputated limb spontaneously regenerating.
wow, empirical proof! Right before your eyes, God is provne not to exist, and scientific experiment the whole works. Now why didn't I think to do that?
I have also ventured onto their message board. I find there a very curious thing. I was immediately attacked as a troll. All the threads are bitter attacks against Christianity. I was trying to raise civil discussion about certain issues. Now in all fairness the administration did not tell me I was doing wrong. In fact they were very fair. But the posters unanimously attacked me. I find they define troll as "sowing discord" and that means raising questions they don't want to hear. I am not making this up. They are so battered and bruised by apologists that they can't allow a contrary view. They just want to be left alone to simer in thehir juices and hate God in peace. One guy said to me, when out flanked with gobs of evidence, "you are are just raising things we've put to rest before." The issue was my temporal beginning argument. They argue that there is no such thing as cause and effect. They also argue that time is not marked by change, but change is marked by time. So causes dont' proceed effects and the future is acting upon the past. If that's the case how can they tell if amputees are healed or not? Maybe the time before they lost their limbs is their healing?
The site goes on:
Why would Jesus promise to answer prayers in so many places in the Bible, yet completely ignore every single prayer to regenerate a lost limb?
(1) The Bible promises to give us anything we want in prayer
(2) This doesn't work
(3) therefore there is no God.
The hallmark of the argument is puntuated by the "close your eyes, pray real hard fora bannan split to appear before you...did it? No. see, God is imaringary, this proves it." I prayed for a banna split, and I got one. Just my luck it as "Flegal" from the old "bannsplit" live actor saturday morning cartoon of the late 60's.
There are several fallacies involved here:
(1) Bad assumption about the nature of God
The assume is that God is big wish fulfillment machine in the sky, or Santa clause or Dr. feelgood to old grandfather just waiting to give us whatever we want. The Bible never promises any such thing.It also assumes that God is the God of the fundie, big guy on a thorne who thinks through ratiocentenation and who is just waiting for each of us as him for a pink Cadillac.
God is none of those things. Prayer and healing or not happiness dispensers. The point of healing is never just the particular individual who get's healed. The point people make "why doesn't God empty all the hospitals" is part of the general theodicy problem (the problem of pani and evil) and that is still answered by my soteriolgoical drama argument.Read the whole article. Prayer is communion with God. Petitioning and imploring God for aid are part of that process but they are not the only part. God heals out of compassion but always with a larger plan in mind. God is not seeking to empty the hospitals. Read the link and see why.
(2) Bad assumptions about the Bible.
this site takes the most literalistic approach. The bible said it, I believe, (except I don;t but to prove a point) and that settles it. what a fundie! The person who wrote that site has a narrow literalistic reading of scripture that would put the most narrow fundes to shame.
There are verses that say things like "if you believe and do not doubt you can say to that mountain be cast into the sea and it will be." But, barring interpolation, which is entirely possible I really haven't checked, these are clearly not literal passages. Why? Mountains are usually symbolic in the Bible, so moving mountains is a symbol of moving problems, moving obstructions. It's clearly hyperballie, because said moving would clearly depend upon God's purpose.
James "says why don't you get want you want when you pray? Because you pray amiss. Why? you pray selfishly and without faith. God is not a wish machine.
If I was an inerrantist and thought there could be no mistakes in the Bible that might be a point. But the Bible is not a memo dictated from the "big man upstairs." The Bible is a collection of writngs which reflect human/divine encounter. Some of these are directly inspried in vergabe, some are not. Some are mythical some are poetic some are historical. We can't just assume this say this therefore that's that. It's only a problem for an inerentist.
(3) False assumptions about healing
A lot of people assume that healing is just to cure all sickness and God isn't up to it. Or that God would heal everyone he has some petty motive, people or too sinful, or something.. The point of healing is not to end all sickness. The point is the relation between the spiritual and the way the sick person is guided in life. this sort of answer is mocked by that website because it requires subtle understanding. It's easier to mock things rather than try and understand complex subtleties. God is trying to bring together everything in our lives at a point that will give us the optimum chance to know him, to get our lives together and to find ourselves.
this process requires a lot of things. One must be "in the zone" to be healed. What is that? (my own term, not standard theological parlance). Several things have to stack up at once, not just faith, although that is one, but also being in God's timing, and other things.we don't necessarily know all the things that have to stack up. The overall point is that God uses healing like a tool toward a higher purpose, it's not just chart Blanch on healing.
(4) False assumptions about amputees
I don't know that God doesn't heal amputees. I'm sure it's rare, but then it just stands to reason that it would take a lot of faith. Jesus said you only need a little (mustard seed) but he also said you have to use it. It would take a lot of faith to equal a little at times.
Atheists complain about how one never hears of healing amputees. When I do hear of such things, or similar things (growing new lungs, revitalized and raised from the dead from skeleton) all they do is complain about the sources. I can't blame them on the latter. The lungs thing is good evidence. although not best evidence. this is a hobby we have to make due.
St. Anthony is said to have healed amputees, but of course they have a ready made "out" on that one because its' so old it must be a legond! But they can no longer say "I never hear of it." If there is some special reason why God just doesn't heal amputees, and I don't believe there is other than what I've described, it might be that there are natural structures and structures have their limits. But I don't think it wise to limit God and say "God can't do this" Or God doesn't do this. He can, maybe he does, but not often and not around reporters.
The "why doesn't God heal Amputees" site has answers that are suppossedly aimed at the kind of complex spiriutally based answer I've given. Of course they fall woefully short because the author insitss upon making everything as shallow as possilbe.
Here's one of the so called "stock answers." Most of them are not what I argued, but here's oen that's somewhat close, although like I saud, it reduces a complex position to stupidified simplicity.
Here is another explanation that you might have heard: "God needs to remain hidden -- restoring an amputated limb would be too obvious." We will discuss this idea in more detail in later chapters, but let's touch on it here. Does God need to remain hidden?
That does not seem to be the case. In general, God seems to have no problem doing things that are obvious. Think about the Bible. Writing the Bible and having billions of copies published all over the world is obvious.
It would be if God really did it. But using people to do it is kind of a failsafe isn't it? If God really did that then why don't you believe/ Duh? Because he used people. See how it works? Isn't that clever?
So is parting the Red Sea. So is carving the Ten Commandments on stone tables.
Except that it was so long ago and so far away, no one around today saw it. So it's like it didn't happen. what do you need to believe? Hmmm? (the "F" word right?)
So is sending your son to earth and having him perform dozens of recorded miracles. And so on. It makes no sense for a God in hiding to incarnate himself, or to do these other obvious things. Why send your son to earth, and then write a book that talks all about his exploits, if you are trying to hide?
so why don't you believe? If it's all so obvious why are you an atheist?
don't you see how shallow this is? this is not the way to think about this stuff! He's taking the easy targets the stupid people the most fundie ideas, the most ignorant ideas and he's simplified the intelligent ideas so they don't mean anything anymore. playing fast and loose with the facts and just ignoring any kind of obvious refutation.
In the same way, any medical miracle that God performs today is obvious. The removal of a cancerous tumor is obvious because it is measurable. One month the tumor is visible to everyone on the X-ray, and the next month it is not. If God eliminated the tumor, then it is openly obvious to everyone who sees the X-ray. There is nothing "hidden" about removing a tumor. So, why not regenerate a leg in an equally open way? If God intervenes with cancer patients to remove cancerous tumors in response to prayers, then why wouldn't God also intervene with amputees to regenerate lost limbs?
It still has deniability. that's obvious because you deny it.
If that's so obvious what makes you think you wouldn't deny healing an amputee?
also let's be sure not to forget the way the site over simplifies the statments about "promises to work miracles." Almost all of them are figurative, metaphor. Clearly moving mountains is not literal even Jesus never did that. Mountains are often symbols in the Bible.
I will give you the desires of your heart doesn't mean if you want a milk shake to appear before you magically it will. God never promises to be a little magic genie and give you any wish you want.
Some people might say, "Everyone's life serves God in different ways. Perhaps God uses amputees to teach us something. God must have a higher purpose for amputees." That may be the case -- God may be trying to send a message. But, again, it seems odd that he would single out this one group of people to handle the delivery. To quote Marilyn Hickey once again:
My argument wasnt' God is trying to teach you something, but that God puts us in the optimum sitaution to be drawn to him. That's not quite the same. So there may be some people for whom losing a limb does this, but I woudlnt' try to hang that lable on all amputees.
Most of these arguments have to be subtle because you lable people with them and if the lable doesnt' fit you can hur them.
No matter what has happened in your past, no matter what is happening in your present, seek out your heavenly Father in prayer as often as you can. Take my word for it -- He loves you and wants to answer your prayers. [ref]
You see this logic all the time in inspirational literature and hear it every Sunday at thousands of churches: "God loves you! God hears your prayers and will answer them for you!" See this article for an example. Yet, for some reason, miracles never happen when it comes to regenerating lost limbs. It does not seem to make sense that amputees would be cut off from the blessings that Jesus promises in the Bible. And it also does not mesh with all of the prayers that Jesus seems to be answering for other people.
so he's assuming that amputees are just amputees, they have no other aspects to their lives. so if they don't get the limbs regenerated its all over. But I said there may be SOME people for whom losing a limb can help them come to palce where they find God. I dont' know how I'm only asuming it for soem.
why should we not assume God loves us/ If we feel the love of God and changes our lives and makes us better, why should we not assume this is true, that God loves us?
But to say God doens't love this one group because he wonjt change this one thing (and I dont' know that he wont) is just shoallow. Those are people. God can answers any number of prayers they pray and heal them in any number of ways, Just he doens't do that one thing, if indeed he doesn't. I'm not convneced the premise is true.
I know God is real and I know that I know that I know. I've experienced the power of God and I know. I was an atheist, that's why I got saved. I was a very skeptical thoughtful atheist. But the power of God was stronger than my obstinate streak