Here is my take. God knew these people were going to be amputated. He knew they were going to lose a limb. If he didn't want them to he wouldn't have allowed them to lose a limb in the first place.
I admit to being intrigued - this idea of a certain amount of godly perfection is a direction most theists don't go. The issue with it, of course, is free will - are you, perchance, a Calvinist?
You see, if the above is true, then - by extension - the idea has a fundamental problem. You can extrapolate it fairly easily to say that what God intends is what exists - I am an atheist, in this construct, because God knew I would be an atheist and, in fact, made certain I would become one.
This gets to be fairly ugly fairly quickly - John Calvin was one of the first to point it out: if predestination exists and hell exists, then God is essentially responsible for creations that a) are destined not to worship him and b) will be punished eternally for something outside of their control. Just as killing the firstborn of Egypt wasn't actually a result of the Pharoah being the sort of idiot that willfully ignores miracles, but was, rather, a function of the fact that God insisted until he got his bloodbath... the entire existence of every nonbeliever is mandated by God unto destruction.
This turns God into the sort of deity that is akin to the young child pulling the wings off of flies.
Does that make sense? If everything is 'part of god's plan', then so is my eventual eternal torture and damnation. Thus, God is evil.
Why should God heal amputees anyway? Is there some reason he should?
Yes, actually. It hinges (as so much does) on Matthew and Mark:
Matthew 7:7-8: 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. "
Mark 11:23-25: "23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” "
It's actually quite simple: God says that he will give you all that you pray for, if you have even the smallest iota of faith - up to and including grand things like mountains moving. However, when what is asked for is absolutely unambiguous - like an amputee healing, something impossible to happen by simple chance, God never comes through. Thus the point of the question - since God says unambiguously that prayer is this powerful, how is it that only ambiguous miracles occur?
... snip - stuff about Jesus and what he did and didn't do:
However, all of these things were absolutely unambiguous. No such modern miracles take place, despite assurances that followers of this Christ will be able to do so - Mark 16:15-19 (though it is apocryphal): "15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Your faith says that if you have even the smallest shred of faith
that you can do these things unambiguously. If you have not, then you do not believe.
BTW on your introduction page Matthew 18:19 is about church discipline and not about prayer, you really should read the verses before it and after. I know it's cliche but it's true you really shouldn't take things out of context. There are several verses out of context there and all over this site. I'm assuming you really don't know this. I'm assuming none of you know Greek or Hebrew or have access to it. Here's help http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm
... yes, we know. The verses are fun and have their own problems (e.g., Jesus ate with Tax Collectors, yet v.17 tells you to 'treat them as you would a tax collector'. Entertaining, at the very least.
), however, v.19 and 20 are another exhortation for prayer: " 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” The point is, of course, that in dealing with the church that whatever you ask God to do to the apostate, he will do.
Given that several church congregations have prayed for my death over the years, I'm rather glad this promise is as false as any other.
Also Jesus used Metaphors too and you should learn some textual criticism and Apologetics it would help when talking about the bible. I read Atheist authors regularly.
Yes he did (or he was attributed to have done so). However, you cannot simply look at a passage and declare it 'metaphor'. Take, for instance, the classic passage "this is my body which is given for you; whenever you eat it, do this in rememberence of me." You and I would both immediately go "metaphor". The Catholic church, on the other hand, believes this to be literal truth; in their faith, when a priest blesses the Eucharist, it Transubstantiates
into the actual body and blood
Apparently, he was made out of tasteless crackers and grapes - but the point is still there: unless you have specific cause to declare something metaphorical (like a parable - those are good) there is a Christian sect out there somewhere that disagrees with your assessment.
Another example? A few miles from my house are people that pass rattlesnakes around during the church service - see the passage above. I think they're absolutely crazy, but they view it is as a requirement and proof of their faith.
One more thing. from your front page.
Key PointHow can you possibly know this? I know you BELIEVE this and it sounds like you BELIEVE it's an absolute fact which I didn't think Atheists held. Anyway I'd like to see your scientific studies that you've done on this with all the faithful Christians you've tested it on.
No matter how many people pray, no matter how often they pray, no matter how sincere they are, no matter how much they believe, no matter how deserving the amputee, what we know is that prayers do not inspire God to regenerate amputated legs. This happens despite what Jesus promises us in Matthew 21:21, John 14:14, Mark 11:24, etc.
There are scientific studies right? You didn't just put this statement up there because you BELIEVE IT BY FAITH DID YOU?
*sigh* You have absolutely no concept what 'belief' and 'faith' really are - and this is oddly sad, to me.
When you let go of a rock and it falls, did you 'believe' that it would fall in the same way you 'believe' in God? It is unlikely - every single time you have ever dropped a rock, it has fallen. Every single time anyone has ever dropped a rock here on Earth.. it has fallen. It falls in the same way and at the same accelleration, it has calculatable air resistance. We can predict what will happen to that rock every time you let it go before you do, to several decimal places of certainty. In fact, the "only a Theory" of Gravity is, essentially, a fact.
Gravity is. You don't go around trying to fly as you understand how useless flapping your arms can be.
"belief"? Sure! Yes. I believe that, given the preponderance of evidence in the world around me, Gravity exists. Of course, it doesn't matter if I do or not - things will still fall.
In the entire applicable history of humanity, in every medical case recorded to this point with any sort of reliability, no amputee has ever been healed. In fact, dramatic miracle healings of all stripes have gotten rarer and rarer as medical science progresses and we learn more about the body, healing, and medicine. It isn't much of a stretch to say that, a) given that the human body does not have regenerative properties that extend to amputations and b) no recorded case of amputations being healed has ever been verified, despite the larger number of safer amputations these days and better reporting from hospitals, that God doesn't heal amputees.
If God did, at some point in the distant past? It has no bearing on whether God does now.
Given the promises in your bible, if God existed as written we should see at least the occasional healing, don't you think? Shouldn't someone, somewhere, praying for someone without a limb, have the faith of a mustard seed that would enable them to perform miracles in the name of God?
I'm not trying to start trouble here. I would just like to have a discussion based on Logic Reason and scientific facts about your conclusions. That is what Atheists are all about right?
Most of us, yes. However, you have to begin a little differently - if I may be so bold as to offer a starting point:
- Rather than assuming your bible is true, can you instead offer evidence that validates any of its claims? My basis for reality doesn't include your holy book.