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11/26/09

Fundamentalist Theologian Asks: “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” and “Why Does God Hate Amputees?”

Indeed, a rigidly dogmatic theologian has demanded answers to the questions “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” and “Why Does God Hate Amputees?”

The theologian has even advanced the issue by proposing an experiment that will, once and for all, ascertain the answer.

The theologian has authored a website titled, “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” This person will remain nameless because they remain nameless on their website (they used to title the website “Why Does God Hate Amputees?”).

The dogmatist proposes that “Is God real, or is he imaginary?” “is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.”
He concludes that “If God is real and if God inspired the Bible, then we should worship God as the Bible demands.” But that “if God is imaginary, then religion is a complete illusion.”
Guess what? Religion is a complete illusion even though God exists. Unless we are employing the only definition of “religion” with which the New Testament agrees,

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).

Of course, the theologian reasons that “Belief in God is nothing but a silly superstition, and this superstition leads a significant portion of the population to be delusional.”

Now comes the invitation to conduct an experiment:
But how can we decide, conclusively, whether God is real or imaginary?

Since we are intelligent human beings living in the 21st century, we should take the time to look at some data. That is what we are doing when we ask, "Why won't God heal amputees?"

If you are an intelligent human being, and if you want to understand the true nature of God, you owe it to yourself to ask, "Why won't God heal amputees?"

Note the qualifiers: if you are intelligent, a human being, and if you want to understand the true nature of God. If these things apply then you will ask “Why won't God heal amputees?” Fine, but is the question the point? Cannot many answers be proposed? It would seem that the answer is more important than the question. Yet, the question is the starting point.

This fundamentalist theologian has actually devised the experiment whereby to scientifically determine whether or not God exists.

The experiment is prescribed thusly:
For this experiment, we need to find a deserving person who has had both of his legs amputated. For example, find a sincere, devout veteran of the Iraqi war, or a person who was involved in a tragic automobile accident.Now create a prayer circle like the one created for Jeanna Giese. The job of this prayer circle is simple: pray to God to restore the amputated legs of this deserving person.
I do not mean to pray for a team of renowned surgeons to somehow graft the legs of a cadaver onto the soldier, nor for a team of renowned scientists to craft mechanical legs for him. Pray that God spontaneously and miraculously restores the soldier's legs overnight, in the same way that God spontaneously and miraculously cured Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey's mother.

Let us take a moment to note that the references to Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey’s mother. Jeanna Giese is referenced due to the fact that it was reported that via a “prayer circle…Jeanna was the first human to survive rabies without the vaccine.”

Marilyn Hickey is known in Christian apologetics circles as a health and wealth teacher aka prosperity “gospel” preacher aka name it and claim it proponent or sarcastically stated: blab it and grab it.
Marilyn Hickey claimed that upon finding out that her mother was found to have a brain tumor she was out of town and so she “sent God's Word long distance to my mother's brain.” Shortly thereafter, “she was X-rayed again by her doctors, there was no evidence that any tumor had ever existed!”

It should be noted that if God healed these people then praise be He! If not then they may have been mistaken, seeking to defraud, etc. Yet, overall; God can heal people and can do so even if the evidence is not sufficient to convince an atheist.

Now, I have responded to this issue in the essay Evilbible - the Polemical Saga Continues, part 1 of 5. Thus, my concern in this essay is to focus on the details of the proposed experiment.

Why do I refer to an obvious atheist as a fundamentalist dogmatic rigid theologian? Because he is speaking as such. How so? Allow me to repeat the terms of the experiment adding emphasis and then parse them in order to elucidate:
For this experiment, we need to find a deserving person who has had both of his legs amputated. For example, find a sincere, devout veteran of the Iraqi war, or a person who was involved in a tragic automobile accident.Now create a prayer circle like the one created for Jeanna Giese. The job of this prayer circle is simple: pray to God to restore the amputated legs of this deserving person.
I do not mean to pray for a team of renowned surgeons to somehow graft the legs of a cadaver onto the soldier, nor for a team of renowned scientists to craft mechanical legs for him. Pray that God spontaneously and miraculously restores the soldier's legs overnight, in the same way that God spontaneously and miraculously cured Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey's mother.


Note that, in keeping with the spirit of experimentation, the proposal is extremely detailed. We will instantly begin to realize why this atheist is, in reality, a theologian:

1) The God whom the theologian has in mind is one who is subject to experimentation—this represents a theological position: God may be experimented upon or be otherwise subject to experimentation.

2) The amputee must be “deserving”—this represents a theological position: God considers some people “deserving” of healing (apparently if you are not healed then you are not deserving).
2.1) We must first ascertain this God’s standards or else we would not know who this God considers “deserving” (except, perhaps, base it on who is healed).

3) The “deserving” person must have had both of his legs amputated—not just one and it cannot be a female (alright, “his” may be taken generically).

4) The examples are even more rigid: one must be sincere, devout, a veteran and it must be the Iraqi war. Not, for example, a veteran who fought in Desert Storm only in order to have the US Government pay for his college (alright, being an example we may disregard this).

5) Examples two: must be a person and must have been involved in an automobile accident that may be described, perhaps by definition, as having been tragic. It could not be a horse, could not be a motorcycle accident, etc. (alright, being an example we may disregard this).

6) Next a “prayer circle” must be formed, not a square—ok, just kidding with this one :o) but…

7) The prayer circle must, you got it, “pray to God”—this represents a theological position: God may be prayed to, God hears prayer, God responds to prayer.

8) The prayer is prescribed as requesting (or demanding?) that God would (or should?) restore the amputated legs—this represents a theological position: God can do such a thing, God will do such a thing (technically the experiment is meant to prove this but let us state it this way since it is the presupposition of the hypothesis).

9) That God would do this for the “deserving person” was covered in 3).

10) The “healing” could not be done via a “team of renowned surgeons.” Could it me one renowned surgeon but not a team? Could it me a team of surgeons as long as they are not renowned?

11) The “healing” could not come about due to successful grafting of the legs of a cadaver. Could it be the grafting of the legs of a living donor or two?—this represents a theological position: God would not (or is not being allowed to?) work through “team of renowned surgeons” through grafting.

10) The “healing” could not be done via a “team of renowned scientists.” Could it me one renowned scientist but not a team? Could it me a team of scientists as long as they are not renowned?

11) The “healing” could not come about due to successful crafting of mechanical legs—this represents a theological position: God would not (or is not being allowed to?) work through “team of renowned scientists” through crafting.

12) God must perform the healing “spontaneously.” Oddly, spontaneous means occurring without apparent external cause but the experiment is proposing the action of an external cause. Yet, I would imagine that what was meant by spontaneous is instantly—this represents a theological position: God’s miracles are (or should be?) instant and cannot taken any longer than an undefined span of time.

13) It must be done “miraculously”—let us just say “Granted” and yet—this represents a theological position: God can perform miracles (miracles that are spontaneous).

14) It must be done “overnight” and apparently not during the day, or over two nights—this represents a theological position: same as above.

15) Lastly, the miracle must take place “in the same way that God spontaneously and miraculously cured Jeanna Giese and Marilyn Hickey's mother”—this represents a theological position: God may be experimented upon in that it is expected that concocting the same circumstances will produce the same results.

Number 15) may actually be the most important presupposition in that it also plays off of a misconception. The misconception is that there is a formula whereby we can get God to do as we please—yes, even things which we considered benevolent. The misconception is that we can pray anything, throw in a “In the name of Jesus” after it and it is a done deal (or is it, “In the name of Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus!”).

Succinctly, I will simply state that this misconception is premised upon a misunderstanding and misapplication of certain texts of scripture which, only upon their surface (the un-contextual surface), seem to imply as much. Yet, since I have already dealt with these with relation to evilbible.com’s contention that Jesus Lied I will leave the interested reader to consider that essay.

The concocter of the experiment, the one who asks “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” and “Why Does God Hate Amputees?”, is a theologian because he presupposes what God is like before even determining whether God exists, and then concocts an argument whereby to seek to prove that his particular concept of God exists.

If the experiment were ever to be realized and failed it would only disprove this particular atheist theologian’s contempt of God.

Atheist must understand that the moment they state, “Why does God…” or “Why doesn’t God…” or “If God was then God would…” or “God wouldn’t…” or “God should…” or “God shouldn’t…” or “If God existed then God would want to…” or “God would surely…” or “If God was love then…” etc., etc., etc. they are expressing opinions about their own theology and there is no reason to call into question God’s existence due to the atheist theologian’s God being disproved by experiment or logic.

A detailed debunking of this theologian’s assertions is found at God isn’t imaginary….

10 comments:

  1. You just keep getting more brilliant, Mariano. This one made me pee a little.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Mariano, that comment was not from me, someone is having a game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah, what an excellent post, no wonder the 'Stuart' imposter had no real response to make.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oi vey!

    Pseudo-Stuart,
    Blogs are free, feel free to start your own or come on back and post with the original pseudonym of your choosing.

    May God richly bless you.

    aDios,
    Mariano

    ReplyDelete
  5. God DID heal an Amputee at Lourdes & there was some other guy in the 16th century. I could look it up but this objection bores me.

    It's not hard people.

    OTOH next the Atheists will complain that prayers didn't bring their Grandmother whose been dead 20 years back to life.

    Worst than morons are the New Atheists.

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  6. Well said. I particularly like how you ended it, in pointing out how the author (Marshall Brain of "HowStuffWorks.com" in case anyone was interested) is merely expressing his own theological opinions.

    I've devoted a great amount of time to refuting each essay on this particular website. I don't know if you have plans to do the same, but this is a good start!

    Patrick
    http://brainisignorant.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I liked your take on this. I never really thought of the angle of flipping the "theology charge" but in essence that's exactly what atheist who use said strategy do. As far as online discussions go, my approach to "miracle-demanders" has traditionally been to grant them whatever hypothetical miracle they wish, then explain why their pre-commitments are actually special pleading which require them to reject it. Good read though, your post.

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  8. ...is a theologian because he presupposes what God is like before even determining whether God exists.

    How is a nonbeliever supposed to determine whether or not God exists without first figuring out what God is like?

    When someone explains their god to me, based on the properties they describe, I ask, "Ok, if such a thing truly does exist, what should I expect to find when observing the world?"

    This is the way I would evaluate all kinds of claims, even supernatural ones like ESP or astrology. And considering how often I hear from theists that the evidence of god is all around us, it seems like a reasonable way to approach the problem of determining if this god exists or not.

    Now I'll grant you that it would be useless for me to describe a different god than the one proposed, and then knock it down. But I see no problem with attempting to recapitulate the properties of God that have been expressed to me by people who believe in him. It just seems absolutely necessary to pin down what we're talking about before we can have a debate on existence.

    Do you have an alternative method for a nonbeliever to evaluate the evidence for God? How should the nonbeliever go about his investigation without first assigning some properties to God?

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  9. How about a believer conducting this experiment? I don't see a reason why a believer would not run it to make sure that god actually "doesn't like amputees" and "never grants" them miraculous limb regeneration.

    I think god screwed up and gave salamanders the DNA for it - they can grow limbs and digits.

    As for humans? - I think that god was drinking the night before with his fellow Mormon gods on another planet somewhere in a Galaxy far far away.

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  10. Its great to come across people on the web with a startling intellect. Very well written respons. /matt

    ReplyDelete