It seems that Voter’s idea of a debate is ignoring the opposition’s questions and points, and only saying “I’m not impressed with your arguments”. There are no rebuttals, no demonstrations of tautologies, nothing. This is expected and quite similar to University Pastor’s attempt to ignore what the WWGHA website was saying and to address an argument not brought up by it. If I say that something appears “baseless”, this should be the time when Voter provides evidence. He does not.
The debate topic is “Current healing of amputees would be an unambiguous miracle which can be expected if the God of the Christian Bible exists.” We have seen Voter try to claim that the healing of amputees would not be an unambiguous (clear, precise) miracle that could be expected if the God of the Christian bible exists through the attempts to redefine the words “ambiguous” and “unambiguous” and the claims that there is some type of tautology involved. There has been no presentation of this tautology nor any rebuttal to what the correct definitions of “ambiguous” and “unambiguous” to do his claims.
The new question is “can we expect unambiguous (clear, precise) miracles to result from prayer to the God of the Christian bible?”. Voter has stated it as “Let’s consider whether, from reading the Bible, we should expect unambiguous miracles to result from prayer.” IMO, one could rephrase this as “is there anything in the bible or in reality that would preclude such unambiguous (clear precise) miracles to happen, assuming that this God exists as claimed?” Voter can post any oppositions he has to the rephrasing.
Assuming that the Bible offers an accurate picture of God, I say yes, there is plenty of verses that indicate that God, as an omnipotent (Revelation 19:6), omniscient (Hebrews 4:13), and omnibenevolent (Mark 10:18), has said that any request made of him will be fulfilled positively and quickly. Many Christians wish to add a caveat onto this by saying that the request must be aligned with God’s will, or the prayer won’t be answered. They also often add other caveats, depending on the particular magic decoder ring, that God won’t answer prayers for reasons of “free will”, that the request is not in the “best interest” of the person praying, or that he has some mysterious other “plan” that this would conflict with. This is the usual “yes, no and wait” claims of any theist who claims the efficacy of prayer. Christians often accuse former theists of not praying “right” as an excuse why prayers aren’t answered, that the prayer wasn’t offered in some certain formula or for selfless ”enough” reasons. Or that no human is “pure” or “faithful” *enough* for God to answer. So we see immediately that Christians themselves can’t agree on the point of prayer or how one should accomplish it.
The bible itself does have the “lord’s prayer” that Voter mentions. Does it say “your will be done”? Yes it does. Even if one takes this as a necessarily qualifier, not that the rest of the bible supports this, many Christians, and Voter, have the problem: “Does God’s will *never* align with a human’s prayer?” since this is what evidence supports and its follow-up, “If not, what is the point of prayer if God already knows what will be requested and has it already in his plan?” The “lord’s prayer” has requests in it, “give us….”, “forgive us…”, “lead us…”. Why is God being asked if requests are not answered? If God already knows his “plan”, these requests are pointless since the die has already been cast. (and why God’s leading people into temptation intentionally is a good question too. Please God don’t lead me into something I may not be able to resist.). Voter claims that the “The only material thing mentioned is our daily bread.” As if this makes a difference. The prayer is full of requests.
Voter has said that all prayers should be made in this format, that nothing matters except God’s will be done. But all requests of God aren’t made like that and supposedly those requests were answered. We have direct requests for healing, no subservient “thy will be done”. The centurion just asked for his servant to be healed and it was done so. The woman who was bleeding simply touched the robe of JC and was healed without him willing it. It is speculation but do you really think she wasn’t praying to be healed? We have the father of a ill boy saying “Lord have mercy on my son.” And the boy was healed. Now, just above this, the leper says “If you are willing, you will heal me.” JC was willing and was done. So we have people simply asking in faith for a special act from God and people asking if God is willing to do the act. It seems to depend on the situation or it is a simple contradiction to Voter’s claim that everything has to be in God’s will. Are any prayers that do supposed come true (none can be shown incidentally) simply considered automatically “god’s will” and those not, not “god’s will”. This appears to be quite a circular argument along the lines of “God is good because God said he was good”, the answered prayer is God’s will since God’s will has only answered prayers.
We also have the verses (the first one incidentally right after JC heals the boy whose father asks for mercy):
Matthew 17: 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Do no Christians actually have this faith? This is indicating a request made by faith that will happen as soon as it’s asked. There is no “say to this mountain “move from here to there”, and by the laws of physics it will erode and eventually move a bit.”
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
This indicates that the answer will be as soon as it is asked. Who expects to knock on a door and have to wait years for it to open or the window to open instead several counties over? It also states that God will answer the request positively in that a father will not give something not asked for to his son. If I would ask that an amputee be healed and made whole, why is this prayer not answered?
This is repeated in Luke 11, just below the prayer that Voter cited which in this version has nothing about God’s will:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
So we see here, there is one more problem, how are we to pray if the gospels can’t even agree with Voter and his claim “We’re supposed to first praise God, then pray that His will be done – not ours.” Which is the “correct” way to pray?
We also have John 16
19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
And 1 John 5
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
This does have the caveat of “his will”. If something is according to God’s will, it will occur regardless, correct? So again, the point of praying is what? And we get back to that circular argument.
Voter mentions the request in Gesthemene, where Jesus says “not my will but yours be done.” So we have various claims in the bible, where anything one asks will be answers and where only if it’s aligned by “God’s will” will it be answered. God turned down the request from himself who knew what supposedly had to happen according to the rules it set up. I would say that this is rather a special case since there is no way the request could have been accepted *if* God’s will was indeed in play and this *had* to happen.
As for Paul, he boasts about a “weakness” like a job interviewee boasts about how their flaw is that “they work too much”.
This reads as doublespeak “war is peace” “power is weakness”. We don’t even know what this supposed “thorn” is. It is a handy excuse on why God does nothing if even an apostle can’t get healed. It suddenly becomes God’s will. But if he had been healed, would you think that Paul would have proclaimed it across the land? You see, to bring this back to the claims of ambiguousness and unambigousness, Paul can try to have cake and eat it too. Suddenly, no matter what happens Paul can claim that it was “God’s will”. That’s what all Christians do.
Here, God further gives a reason that he may deny such requests. He wants us to rely on His spiritual strength, not our own physical strength. A mature and sincere Christian understands these principles when he prays.
this is very common. The only “real” aka “mature and sincere” Christians don’t rock the boat and wonder where their god is. They ignore the verses of the bible that say that those who believe and have faith are healed. Again we see the “yes, no and wait” of Christians who are left without any evidence of their god in these modern times. But Paul had no problems with praying for things
Ephesians 6: 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
If everything was only by God’s will, why the effort to pray for Paul?
Voter goes on to say that
Moving on, let’s note that, while God occasionally performed unambiguous miracles, he directly says that, in general, we shouldn’t demand such miracles
Occasionally? Not per the bible, John 21:25. And he also says that miracles are to be believed even if someone doesn’t believe in JC, John 10:37-38. He has no problem in giving signs left and right, promising signs of far more than the “sign of Jonah” but says *asking* for them is “wicked”? He certainly didn’t think Thomas “wicked” in asking for a sign since there was no damning of Thomas at all. It doesn’t say “Because you have seen me, you have been damned; blessed are only those who have not seen and yet have believed.
” We also have Paul claiming to have done “2 Corinthians 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” Per Paul, they didn’t stop when JC died and he did them to get believers.
Voter then brings up the frequency of miracles and that they didn’t’ happen all of the time. I’m not quite sure what this has to do with the question “can we expect unambiguous (clear, precise) miracles to result from prayer to the God of the Christian bible?” First, JC was supposedly around 3 years per the bible? And he did approximately 27 miracles. That’s about 1 and a third miracles a month. Seems like quite a few in a fairly short time especially when the bible claims “john 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” I agree with Voter, there weren’t so many back in the OT over supposedly thousands of years (no evidence for a single one of them though). How this is a tautology, I have no idea. Voter, please clarify. We do not know anything of the sort that there were 400 years between the patriarchs and Moses or the last prophets and Jesus, miracles or not. They did become pretty common when JC supposedly exists. This lack of miracles and then a bunch does not say we cannot expect an unambiguous miracle from Bible God. It is interesting that Paul does tell Timothy not to expect to be healed by God but by wine. Again it seems that the faithful have to rely on reality rather than some god.
At the end, Voter is trying the common Christian claim that for some mysterious reason God decides to “phase out” miracles. This is always amusing when you have other Christians sure that miracles are happening all of the time. Who do we believe? Christians who claim that God is not performing miracles or those who say he is? Reading and considering the bible, which I have done, does not indicate that we should not expect unambiguous (clear, precise) miracles to result from prayer to the Bible god. In fact, even if we allow for just the faithful to be responded too, it does indicate that prayers will be answered by God and miracles will commence.