Author Topic: Another Rationalization [#2727]  (Read 1871 times)

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Offline pianodwarf

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Another Rationalization [#2727]
« on: March 05, 2013, 07:14:40 AM »
I was reading the book "Letter to a Christian Nation" and came across your site in its pages. After reading various rationalizations, it seems that you clearly forgot one. Most of your miraculous answered prayers for cancer and rabies and tumors share a commonality that amputees do not...death. Cancer and rabies and tumors kill people, amputations can be lived with. As your site interests me, I'm very interested to hear your point. I also would like to note that I am questionable when it comes to religious beliefs, I'm not some glorified Christian here to wrong you. I'd be interested to hear your take on this. Do you have any other proven examples of unanswered prayers that can actually be fatal? I'm a nurse and I realize that amputations can become infected and such; however, it would be obvious to me that the culprit of death would be infection, not the amputation itself.
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Offline Tonus

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 07:53:47 AM »
What happened to the goal posts?  They were right here just a second ago!

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 08:09:13 AM »
.....After reading various rationalizations, it seems that you clearly forgot one. Most of your miraculous answered prayers for cancer and rabies and tumors share a commonality that amputees do not...death. Cancer and rabies and tumors kill people, amputations can be lived with......

That bit there in bold.....there's the crucial part.

Your rebuttal is, in essence "god answers prayers when people would otherwise die, and will answer SOME prayers where the person will not".   Not the worst response that ever comes, but one that still misses the point - and raises some vital questions of its own.

Firstly, it relies on god answering ALL prayers that would otherwise cause death.  Only a moment's thought should reveal that as a fallacy.  You're a nurse, so chances are you will see impending death quite a few times.  Has god always answered your prayers to save the person concerned?

And it also misses the crucial point in the question.  This question does not ask "does god answer death/non-death" - it asks "does god answer all prayers with the same degree of approval?"  In other words, does he answer 20% of prayers for cancer, AND 20% of prayers to re-grow limbs.

The answer, of course, is no.  Christians who claim prayer works are claiming a non-zero approval rating of prayers from god, both terminal and otherwise.  But the percentage of healed amputees remains at a steadfast 0%.  So we are left with just two possibilities.

That there IS no god, and all the "answered prayers" are the result of conicidence.

Or that there IS a god, who DOES answer prayers....but who has never, ever, ever answered a prayer by or for an amputee.  The Christian who claims ANY answered prayers needs to answer this question.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Nick

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 05:25:08 PM »
We do have an active forum you are welcome to look at and maybe join.  Lots of lost souls searching for "truth". ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline grant

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 03:41:13 AM »
So let me get this right. If I were to be shot and died from loss of blood, it wouldn't be the gunshot that killed me, but the blood loss? Or if I fell from a 4 storey balcony and sustained a broken neck, it would the broken neck that prevents me from walking, not the fall?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 09:18:00 AM »
It's not the fall that kills you.  It's the sudden stop.
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 10:03:59 AM »
I was reading the book "Letter to a Christian Nation" and came across your site in its pages. After reading various rationalizations, it seems that you clearly forgot one. Most of your miraculous answered prayers for cancer and rabies and tumors share a commonality that amputees do not...death. Cancer and rabies and tumors kill people, amputations can be lived with. As your site interests me, I'm very interested to hear your point. I also would like to note that I am questionable when it comes to religious beliefs, I'm not some glorified Christian here to wrong you. I'd be interested to hear your take on this. Do you have any other proven examples of unanswered prayers that can actually be fatal? I'm a nurse and I realize that amputations can become infected and such; however, it would be obvious to me that the culprit of death would be infection, not the amputation itself.
-Ever eagerly awaiting a smart response-
[name removed]

First of all, there is no evidence to suggest that, in cases where someone has cancer, rabies or tumors, are being prayed for, and make a remarkable recovery, that the recovery is caused by any sort of divine agency. It is just a coincidence.

It also needs to be said that not everyone prays to the same god for these types of things. Suppose you have 4 people of different faiths, all with the same type of cancer, let's say, esophageal cancer, since under the best of circumstances, a person has a 38% chance of surviving for 5 years after diagnosis. So, we have a Christian cancer patient praying to God/Jesus, a Muslim praying to Allah, a Hindu praying to Dhanvantari, and a Native American praying to Kumugwe. Suppose each of these individuals makes an astonishing recovery, and after 5 years is entirely cancer free. Each one certainly could attribute their convalescence to an affirmative answer from their respective deities. If we are to accept that God/Jesus is real and responsible for healing the Christian, then we also have to accept that Dhanvantari, Allah and Kumugwe are also real and responsible for healing their respective followers. This does not do much good in establishing the existence of such a deity. At most it would have to be admitted that each of these deities is just as likely (or not) to be real as any other, and there would be no means to differentiate between them. The efficacy (or otherwise) of prayer would be just as valid, regardless of the deity. Note that Christians think they are right, Muslims think that they are right, etc. and each would say that only their God does these sorts of miraculous things.

Of course, in the case of Christianity, explicit promises are made by Jesus. He promises that anyone who really believes in him will be able to heal people with a touch of the hands, that nothing is impossible to his true followers, that they will do even greater works than restoring vision to the blind and raising the dead. There is no "fatal maladies only" clause to this at all, since many of the people allegedly healed by Jesus were not afflicted with fatal conditions. Blindness and infirmity are not a death sentence, though assuredly inconvenient to those afflicted.

In other words, we should have every expectation that people who are either born without limbs or lost them due to injury or infection will have these lost limbs restored in response to prayers asking for such a thing to happen. But they don't. There has never been a single, documented, verifiable instance of this happening. Now there are those who would say that maybe these things are in fact  happening, but we just don't hear about it. I don't buy this at all, since it would necessarily be a sensational, unprecedented, and fantastic event, and would also do much to convince many people that the deity responsible was real and really does answer prayers to those who are properly faithful. We would hear about. In the information age, if someone sees Jesus in a piece of toast, the whole world knows about it by the end of the day. You can't expect me to believe that an event of much, much greater importance would not be boasted up and shoved in our faces.

So to say that God doesn't heal amputees because he is only concerned with fatal conditions is futile. Nowhere in the Bible does it even remotely suggest this. The Bible also says that someone who believes can be harmed by nothing. Correct me if I am wrong, but having your legs blown off by a landmine, or being born without arms, or losing your fingertips in an industrial accident (like Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi) falls under the category of "things that cause harm". If God can't even restore a few knuckles length worth of finger, he is either impotent, does not care, or is non-existent.

Also note that many, many Christians feel that God answers their prayers for things that are not related to fatal illness or injury at all. "I prayed that I would get this job that I really need, and BAM! God comes through for me. God is Great!" or "I prayed that my daughter would make it onto the varsity basketball team, and she did! God is Great!" or "I prayed that God would help me sell this house, and I did! God is Great!". Note that such statements rather obviously imply that these people would not be able to get a job, make the team, or sell a house without direct assistance from an all powerful superdude. If you can't get a job without divine intervention, you probably are not qualified to be in that position. I personally would not want to be operated on by a neurosurgeon who only got this position due to supernatural influence. I would much rather have a straight A neurosurgeon from Harvard than a straight C neurosurgeon from Georgetown University any day. If you would rather go with a straight C neurosurgeon because you think that they have God's approval, well fine then, as Syd says in Ice Age: The Meltdown, it's your funeral.

Let's go with another example of prayer. Here in Erie, there has been a 17 year old boy missing for over a month. Last night, a prayer vigil was held in hopes of his safe return. Presumably, the boy's family as well as a great number of Erie's faithful have been praying for this same outcome. He has not yet been located, and, tragically, odds are at this point that if he is found, it will not be alive. Who is going to say that God dropped the ball in helping this boy? Nope, it will be "God answered our prayers, just not in the way we had hoped for" or "God works in mysterious ways" or "God has a greater purpose for him in heaven" or some other completely dishonest and irrational excuse for why God doesn't even give a damn about saving a 17 year old. And if the boy is located, safe and whole, alive and well, it will be "Hallelujah! Praise be to God! Our prayers have been answered! God has smiled on us this day!" even though it took the all powerful master of the entire universe over a month do deliver on something that he could have done at any time.

A few years ago, I was involved in what could have been a very tragic accident. As I braked to slow down due to the car in front of me making a left turn, my car skidded on the icy, slippery road directly into the path of an oncoming PennDOT plow truck. These are gigantic dump trucks with enormous steel blades attached to the front. I knew that this was NOT good. I made no requests to the almighty to save me from this. My only thoughts were that my son might have to grow up without a father, how can I minimize potential harm to others on the road, and I hope I can somehow get to the Týr/Korpiklaani concert next week, since I already have tickets. My car collided with the truck, bounced off of it like a billiard ball, fishtailed around and came to rest on the side of the road. I was not injured at all, and neither was the plow driver or the driver of the left-turning car in front of me, which my car apparently also struck when it bounced off of the plow truck (I really don't know for sure when/how my car struck this other vehicle, it happened very fast, and I was slightly more concerned with the 20 ton steel bladed instrument of destruction into whose path I was headed). I put my lack of injury down to the fact that I was trying to regain control of my vehicle, the plow driver attempted to miss me, I was wearing my seat-belt, and the car's momentum following the collision was cushioned by the significant amount of snow on the side of the road. Now, if you want to tell me that God intervened to spare the life of a godless bastard like me, while ignoring the children dying of AIDS in Africa, then all I can say is that He has a pretty twisted sense of humor, and not in a very amusing way.

So, as can be seen, the problems regarding the answering prayers to heal amputees (or any other prayer) are numerous, and instances where the praying parties receive what they wish for are statistically no different than what could have just happened anyways. Well, except that persons who know that they are being prayed for are actually likely to be worse off than someone not receiving prayer at all.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 10:05:29 AM »
It's not the fall that kills you.  It's the sudden stop.
Yup. MacGyver once said this, so it has to be true.

EDIT: Forgot to include the word "said".
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 10:20:23 AM »
Hah, reminds me of something I read in a story.  Something along the lines of "one can avoid being murdered if one commits suicide quickly enough".

Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 10:23:01 AM »
Hah, reminds me of something I read in a story.  Something along the lines of "one can avoid being murdered if one commits suicide quickly enough".
That's kind of like "Convert to our religion and we will kill you quickly and relatively painlessly, or don't and we will torture you in the most barbaric ways we can imagine until you die anyways. Remember, it's all because God loves you."

EDIT: Spelling/grammar. I really need to do a better job of proofreading this morning. Maybe I will pray for grammatical assistance.

Second edit: Forgot to actually make the changes. Wow, need more coffee.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 10:24:40 AM by kaziglu bey »
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2013, 02:32:32 PM »
Do you have any other proven examples of unanswered prayers that can actually be fatal?

There are wars? (Yes/No)...Yes.
Do people die in these wars? (Yes/No)...Yes
Do people who are religious participate in these wars? (Yes/No)...Yes
Do these people pray not to die? (Yes/No)...Yes

There you go.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2013, 04:07:57 PM »
Good grief.

Every plane that has ever crashed surely had people on board praying their brains out to be saved from the crash. And the plane crashed and the people died anyway.

Every parent of a starving child prays that there will be food soon. And the children starve to death anyway.

There are zillions of instances where prayer does absolutely nothing or even makes things worse, but we are supposed to ignore those and count the handful of cases where people prayed and something positive came about.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline kcrady

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 03:24:32 AM »
Why do you think Yahweh needs to carefully conserve his use of miracle-energy for some limited number of potentially fatal cases?  Does he have a limited number of Miracle Points he can use?  Maybe he squandered them all in Biblical times, and the regeneration rate is so slow that he's pretty much limited to "face-on-a-tortilla-chip" kinda stuff, instead of pillars of cloud and fire and stopping the Earth's rotation and the like?
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Online Mrjason

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 11:03:45 AM »
I was reading the book "Letter to a Christian Nation" and came across your site in its pages. After reading various rationalizations, it seems that you clearly forgot one. Most of your miraculous answered prayers for cancer and rabies and tumors share a commonality that amputees do not...death. Cancer and rabies and tumors kill people, amputations can be lived with. As your site interests me, I'm very interested to hear your point. I also would like to note that I am questionable when it comes to religious beliefs, I'm not some glorified Christian here to wrong you. I'd be interested to hear your take on this. Do you have any other proven examples of unanswered prayers that can actually be fatal? I'm a nurse and I realize that amputations can become infected and such; however, it would be obvious to me that the culprit of death would be infection, not the amputation itself.
-Ever eagerly awaiting a smart response-
[name removed]

People don't die of cancer, rabies etc
They die of brain death caused by asphyxiation, caused by cardiac arrest, caused by... caused by cancer
In death from an infected amputation the culprit is... brain death caused by...caused by etc...clinical negligence (for example)

If god heals only potentially fatal illnesses at which point in the causal link do you need to pray in order to be saved?
Is it the point that you are exposed to a carcinogenic substance which triggers the chain of events winds up with death? Or is it at the point of brain death at the end of the sequence of events?

Offline dloubet

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 03:21:39 AM »
The baseless principle that the god character only heals those maladies that are fatal flies in the face of the Jesus story, and each and every supposedly healing preacher. Supposedly the god heals non-fatal lameness, so the healed get to leap out of their wheelchair. He supposedly heals non-fatal blindness, so that the healed can cast away their walking canes. He even supposedly fixes non-fatal sporting events so that idiots can be doused in Gatorade.

We're not making this up, it's what Christians tell us! Only the god could have healed the lame, only the god could have healed the blindness.

But the god never, ever, heals an amputee so they can leap out of bed. Ever.

Why is that?
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 03:23:33 AM by dloubet »
Denis Loubet

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 04:54:54 PM »
I recently attended a lecture by a Christian woman who claimed all kinds of healing through prayer. She is a well-educated businesswoman who has traveled all over the world getting paid by churches to speak about this stuff. 

Her speech was peppered with many of the logical fallacies listed on Wikipedia. People are healed by prayer all the time (just never in front of a camera or during any kind of controlled study). Medical doctors make mistakes and cause illness, therefore they are worse than nothing (although most Christians go to doctors when sick instead of only relying on prayer).

Anecdotes were the only data: her uncle in the army during WWII was dying of some condition until the family prayed him back to health, her brother was told he would never walk again but later that year played basketball with his team, her mother was in pain and terribly crippled but was healed and lived to a ripe old age, etc. Of course, she produced no videos or photographic evidence of any of these healings, no before and after x-rays, nothing but her sincere and heartfelt words.

Neither she nor the audience seemed to get the contradictions inherent in taking a casually spoken, undocumented medical diagnosis ("they said he would never walk again") as incontrovertible fact while criticizing doctors for making lots of mistakes. Like, maybe saying that someone will never walk again is a misdiagnosis and the kid getting better had nothing to do with prayer?

And of course nothing clear and unambiguous like an arm broken in a compound fracture with x-rays, magically healed instantly, live and on camera with impartial witnesses,  through prayer.  Or a person with Down's syndrome, traumatic brain injury, paralysis due to spinal cord damage, third degree burns getting cured by prayer. Or an amputee getting their same limb back, with the same birthmark in the same place. Since it happens all the time, it should not be very hard to capture a few incidents on film in front of skeptical, secular observers.[1]

Actual real deal cures of the kind that we routinely expect--and get-- from medical science. Not just emotionally made to feel better or helped to adjust to the problem or finding comfort in god's presence or pursuing an unlikely career or talent in spite of the uncured condition.

Can you imagine this:  a Christian goes to a doctor with a  huge Elephant Man-type facial tumor and comes out, still with the same exact horrible tumor, weeping with joy, saying, "I feel so much better! I am healed, because Doctor Samuel says he loves me just as I am! Hallelujah! I am going to apply to be a fashion model!"

Someone should make a parody video like that.... &)
 1. I'm skeptical, secular and available!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 04:59:45 PM by nogodsforme »
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Nick

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 04:58:36 PM »
Was there a Q&A afterwards?  And if so, did you get to ask questions?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 05:04:10 PM »
I was there because relatives wanted me to go with them to the service. It was understood that I would not make an embarassing commie atheist scene in front of them and their friends. (I admit I was bribed with a fancy dinner beforehand.)

If I had been alone I would have asked some questions, at least of the speaker privately, even if there was no formal Q and A session.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 11:29:56 AM »
I was rereading this, and it suddenly occurred to me - what if the writer was speaking of a rationalization that Christians have for why prayers for amputees don't work while prayers for people dying do, rather than trying to offer it as a rationalization for "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?"  I mean, not giving it as an excuse, but rather pointing out something that might have been missed on the website?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2013, 05:59:37 AM »
I was rereading this, and it suddenly occurred to me - what if the writer was speaking of a rationalization that Christians have for why prayers for amputees don't work while prayers for people dying do, rather than trying to offer it as a rationalization for "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" 

Non-starter, I think, because even if you accept that rationalisation, they still have to explain why other non-fatal prayers are answered when amputee prayers are not.  If a Christian ever attributes the finding of their keys to prayer, then the WWGHA question stands.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2013, 12:40:43 PM »
I was rereading this, and it suddenly occurred to me - what if the writer was speaking of a rationalization that Christians have for why prayers for amputees don't work while prayers for people dying do, rather than trying to offer it as a rationalization for "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" 

Non-starter, I think, because even if you accept that rationalisation, they still have to explain why other non-fatal prayers are answered when amputee prayers are not.  If a Christian ever attributes the finding of their keys to prayer, then the WWGHA question stands.

Non-fatal. Like healing the Lame and Blind, but why would a christian believe in healing of the lame and blind? &)
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Tero

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2013, 06:52:10 AM »
The mind over matter thing is curious. You can probably affect moods with your beliefs. Perhaps you can affect chemicals in your body. So it is possible that if you yourself pray, you could for example slightly improve your immune system. Also, depressed people may not eat properly. They may have low levels of nutrients.

But, other people praying for you should have no effect. Just may kerp you more optimistic.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Another Rationalization [#2727]
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 05:15:59 AM »
I was reading the book "Letter to a Christian Nation" and came across your site in its pages. After reading various rationalizations, it seems that you clearly forgot one. Most of your miraculous answered prayers for cancer and rabies and tumors share a commonality that amputees do not...death. Cancer and rabies and tumors kill people, amputations can be lived with. As your site interests me, I'm very interested to hear your point.

Um .... what? I'm not even sure what your point is. Are you saying that it is okay for "god" to kill people, but if you are an amputee then "god" blesses you by making you live with your shortcoming? (no pun intended)

I'm not sure what you want further points on because I don't understand yours. Please elaborate.


I also would like to note that I am questionable when it comes to religious beliefs, I'm not some glorified Christian here to wrong you. I'd be interested to hear your take on this. Do you have any other proven examples of unanswered prayers that can actually be fatal?

I'm not sure what you mean by a "proven example". Do you mean the kind of unanswered prayers when a hostage asks god for help but the kidnapper shoots him anyway? What about the people who pray for relief from depression but hang themselves anyway?  Are the only "proven" unanswered prayers those that end in a fatality?

I'm not sure what you are looking for in this regard.


I'm a nurse and I realize that amputations can become infected and such; however, it would be obvious to me that the culprit of death would be infection, not the amputation itself.
-Ever eagerly awaiting a smart response-
[name removed]

If you think that the point of this site is to state that amputees die unless god answers their prayers to live, then I think you have missed reading large sections of the book.

The point of the book is that there is no god answering anyone's prayers. Any kind of prayers. You pick the kind of prayers that you want to pray -- pray for money, forgiveness, life, death, restoration of health (including limbs), and your prayers will not be answered. While many people will look toward any gift to them as an answer to a prayer, which is a matter of opinion, the example of an amputee is a prayer that "god" never answers. Humans do not regrow limbs, and there is no god granting them a miracle of a returned limb. The book discusses at length the different ways one could measure the efficacy of prayer, and the obvious cases, the "proven" ones to use your term, are those of amputees.[1] There have been scientific studies completed that show that patients in a hospital actually fared worse when they learned that there were many others (typically individuals unknown to the patient) praying for their recovery. This implies that there are psychological factors that negate the power of group prayer. If only prayers from individuals are answered, then why aren't amputees' prayers answered? The results of their prayers being answered would be obvious, wouldn't they?



 1. The original title of the book was Why Does God Hate Amputees? but through this forum we recommended changing the title because it sounded negative. We wanted a more positive outlook of rational thought, and the title was changed to Why Won't God Heal Amputees? As a footnote to the footnote, no matter what we do or say, even this attempt to be positive in our rationality (nee atheism) is not recognized by believers who can only view us as being constantly negative. I'm not sure why we bother.
John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.