Nothing Fails Like Prayer
Setting the Bar
The bible is crystal clear in its claims of the efficacy of prayer:
- “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” – Matthew 21:22
- “I tell you the truth, 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.” – Matthew 17:20
- “Ask and it will be given to you…For everyone who asks receives.” – Luke 11:9- 10
- “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 18:19
Clearly, all of this is pure unadulterated bullshit. But before we get into it, check out the website WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com.
Prayer: The Most Mind-Numbingly Stupid Concept Ever Conceived
You know, at first the question sounds a little silly, but asking why god won’t heal amputees in light of all the other miraculous prayer-inspired healings is a perfectly legitimate question.
Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and acute myelogenous leukemia have been cured. Magic Johnson is alive and well with HIV since 1991. Deafness and vision have been restored in thousands of patients all around the world. Various stages of paralysis have spontaneously been reversed. Stroke victims have regained their ability to walk and speak fluidly. The list of seemingly miraculous medical survival stories is endless.
Christian homophobic crackpot Dinesh D’Souza weasels out of the question like the little coward he is by suggesting that god uses only natural forces to interact with man. Colossal fail, Dinesh. There are far too many precedents to cite, such as Jesus healing the blind (Mark 8:28). The laying of hands to heal is like the wave of a magician’s wand; it’s not a natural force, but rather a supernatural one.
But even putting that little problem aside, we have many observable natural precedents that chew up and spit out Mr. D’Sousa’s weak and faulty excuse. A salamander, newt, starfish, and flatworm (all of which are god’s miraculous creations, by the way) can regrow lost limbs all on their own. A salamander can even regrow part of its spinal column. Plus, medical science is already regenerating body parts in the lab, so your all-powerful god has no excuses for not providing the same kind of natural healing for his human creations.
But nice try, Dinesh.
By the way, the name Dinesh is derived from “din” (meaning weak in any quality or dimension) and “esh” (meaning supporter of the weak). Quite appropriate, I’d say!
What Probability Dictates
Given the world population of over 7 billion people, plus the 100 billion who preceded us, it is an ABSOLUTE THEOLOGICAL CERTAINTY that people having every single disease, condition, and ailment known to man have been prayed for. And at one time or another, each and every one of these afflictions has been cured or brought into remission allegedly by prayer.
Even more commonly is the miraculous sustaining of life without a cure or remission received. Yet lost limbs remain the only medical tragedy-related prayer request to be ignored by god – if he was ever even asked to fix such a thing.
And anyone dumb enough to argue that lost limbs have actually been restored spontaneously should stop reading right now and seek a mental health professional. Your compassion for the argument is admirable, but you’re just too deluded or intellectually dishonest to partake in a rational discussion.
So the question must be asked: Why won’t god heal amputees?
It’s a totally fair question.
So I thought about it. And then I thought about it some more. And then I came up with a fun idea while I was taking a crap. I decided to put this question to a test – a test of intellectual honesty. But as everyone knows, the Godless Bastard refuses to let you lie in his world. And neither is he concerned with what you are willing to confess, admit, or concede to him. His only interest lies in what you are willing to confess, admit, and concede to yourself. So spare yourself the hassle of sending me your patently disingenuous answers or commentary about the test itself because I already know what they are. Lie to yourself if you must, but I won’t buy an once of your self-deception or inane rationalizations.
The Christian Prayer Delusion
Answered prayers are nothing more an illusion. They’re independent acts of coincidence. Pure chance. Every patient miraculously healed by the alleged power of prayer was in actuality cured through the efforts of their doctors (or other medical practitioners) and the tools of their trade. And those who received no treatment owe their good fortune to spontaneous remission and this crazy little thing called luck.
Many diseases, not just cancer, become dormant without inductive treatment. It happens all the time and there’s a wealth of medical research to back that up. But those who promote the power of prayer give ultimate credit to their sky daddy who apparently pulls all the strings from high above. Remember, he’s in control and he knows what’s best for us. (Isn’t that what they say?)
But ironically, Christians seem to tailor their praying proclivities to match their own opinion about what god will (and won’t) deliver. Consciously or not, they pray for only those things that could come to fruition by other means. The deck is stacked. It’s stacked by people who can’t afford to let logic, reason, and chance interfere with the efficacy of prayer.
So why do Christians pray for some things and not for others? Well, that’s simple. Their prime motive is to protect their intellectual integrity and maintain their faith in the thing they want so desperately to be true. In short, these faithless people are just playing it safe. They’re setting up the rules of logic and circumstance such that whatever the outcome – good, bad, or neutral – the efficacy of prayer cannot be impugned.
Praying for someone to survive breast cancer, for example, is always intellectually safe because everyone knows that breast cancer is often cured or beaten into long-term remission via chemo, radiation, and/or surgery. And sometimes it just goes dormant all on its own.
From an intellectual or faith perspective, there’s zero risk in offering a prayer for someone to survive cancer. Regardless of the outcome, neither faith nor intellect is compromised because so many people survive even multiple recurrences of the disease. One dies but one lives, prayer works, there’s a god, we win, blah, blah, blah. Hell, even if it’s one in twenty you could still claim triumph through prayer.
For those who believe, it’s intellectually safe to give healing credit to the power of prayer because we’re all aware (at least subconsciously) that there’s a chance the prayer will work…or at least appear to work.
Cancer is cured, marriages succeed, finances and businesses rebound, flood waters recede, broken hearts mend, bad guys go to jail, and sometimes the home team rallies in the bottom of the ninth to score the winning run.
Oddly, lost limbs don’t enjoy even ocassional victories. Hmmm. I wonder why.
A Godly Stipulation
Let’s assume that there is a god and that he’s the god of the bible. He’s eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, omni-present, and omni-benevolent. There’s nothing he doesn’t know and nothing he can’t do, so at no time will I ask you to even wager a guess as to what he will or may do. It is presumed that we can’t speak for the big guy. He’ll do what he’ll do and we won’t question if, when, or why. He hears all prayers and responds as he sees fit at a time and place of his choosing. (Remember kids, god’s in control!) And while we know what he can do (i.e. anything), we certainly can’t know what he will do. No one can. No one. (Remember this.)
But god is watching and he’s listening and we can ask for his help with neither shame nor fear. He knows what’s best for us and we have absolutely nothing to lose by asking for his help. Again, WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO LOSE BY ASKING. (Remember this.) And I know you have no problem agreeing with any of this because you just can’t seem to keep your mouth shut about it at any other time. I might as well use it to my advantage now.
Disclaimer: With regard to my previous statement about god being able to do anything, spare me the lame “god can’t lie” routine. It’s a pathetic subterfuge that will provide no escape from forced intellectual honesty. At no time will lies or deception enter this conversation. I’ll even stipulate it for you. Fine. God can’t lie. Better now?
This test, like most tests, is a series of related questions. But I’m such a nice guy that not only will I provide the questions, but I’ll also provide the answers. Sounds a tad unfair, doesn’t it? Not at all. You see, there’s only one intellectually honest answer for each question.
Pay close attention. Throughout this test I will ask only what you would do – and that is a question from which you cannot hide. No one can plead such ignorance. Speak for god? Never. Speak for yourself? Always. And anything less will be taken as an admission of intellectual dishonesty.
A Little Q&A
Does god answer prayers?
Sometimes? Hmmm. That’s a very carefully worded answer. Let me rephrase. Can god answer prayer?
Is there any prayer that god can’t answer?
No. Nothing is beyond his abilities.
Do atheists triumph over the same adversities as Christians?
Do atheists survive failed marriages, bad career choices, poor financial decisions, etc.?
Do atheists overcome these challenges without prayer?
Of course. Besides, atheists don’t believe in god, so to them prayer is pointless and has no affect on any life circumstance.
Can a Christian survive a failed marriage, a bad career choice, or a poor financial decision?
Can a Christian overcome these challenges without prayer?
But do Christians pray for help anyway?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the faithful often do pray for help from above and then leave it in god’s hands.
Compared to the loss of both arms and legs, is a failed marriage, a bad career choice, or a poor financial decision trivial in the grand scheme of things?
[rolling eyes] That’s a rather stupid question.
Okay, fair enough. Let me restate that. Do Christians pray for relatively trivial things, like for their team to win the big game (I seem to recall an awful lot of players kneeling on those sidelines), for their lottery numbers to hit, for their falling stock shares or marital problems to rebound, or to lose those extra five pounds?
Not all, but many do.
Without regard to the likelihood of the prayer being answered, is anything fair game when it comes to prayer? That is to say, can you ask god for anything?
Because there’s nothing god can’t do. He’s in control. We ask for his help and he decides what’s best for us and responds accordingly.
If your mother was diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer and the doctors told you that she was untreatable and that the cancer would probably take her life within a few months, would you pray to god to save her (through whatever means he chooses)?
Will god heal her?
Um, excuse me. I thought you said you weren’t going to ask me that question! We stipulated at the beginning that we can’t know what god will do – only what he can do, and that is anything.
Sorry. You’re right. I rescind the question. We can’t possibly know what he will do for us. Mea culpa. But he could heal her if he wanted to, right?
Correct. There’s nothing he can’t do.
Have you prayed for far more trivial things than curing someone from a life-threatening illness in the past?
Oh, most definitely.
Did god answer any of those prayers?
Some of them, yes.
Do you have anything to lose by asking for god to save your mom from this cancer?
No, not at all.
If your spouse was in a car accident and suffered internal bleeding, broken bones, and deep lacerations – his/her life hanging by a thread – would you pray to god to intervene (through whatever means he chooses) so that the bleeding would stop, the bones would mend, and the lacerations heal?
Your 12 year old son was the victim of a shark attack. All of his limbs were lost, but they managed to slow the bleeding and get him to a trauma center quickly. Fortunately, the doctors saved his life. While recovering he said to you, “Daddy, I don’t want to go on living like this.” Would you pray to god to give your son his limbs back?
Because no prayer will make that happen.
I’m sorry, you just told me that god hears all prayers (he’s all-knowing), there’s nothing he can’t do (he’s all-powerful), and that you have nothing to lose by asking. Regardless, I didn’t ask you what GOD would or wouldn’t do. I couldn’t care less if, when, how, or why god might intervene. I asked why YOU wouldn’t pray for your son in this instance. Again, WHY won’t YOU pray for your sons limbs to regenerate?
Well, you said that the doctors saved his life. His life is no longer in jeopardy. God doesn’t need to intervene now.
Irrelevant. You told me earlier that you’ve prayed for admittedly trivial things that are routinely endured and conquered without prayer, yet you won’t pray to reverse this profoundly negative, horrific, life-altering occurrence? You also said that god delivered on at least some of those trivial things and that you had nothing to lose by asking. Given all this, again, why won’t you pray for your son’s lost limbs to regenerate?
Because god won’t intervene in this case.
No. We started off agreeing that we can’t possibly know what god will or won’t do. Regardless, I didn’t ask you if god would intervene. That’s wholly irrelevant. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. We can’t know for sure. But you most definitely know what YOU would do regardless of god’s response (which you can’t presume to know). So I ask again, would YOU pray for your son’s limbs to regenerate.
I already told you, no.
Good. Now tell me why?
Because no prayer will make that happen.
You’re dodging the question. Again, you can’t know that. You can’t speak for god. Besides, you pray for trivial, unimportant things for which you (by your own admission) are well equipped to deal with on your own, but you won’t even ask for some grace to give your son something that neither you nor any other mortal can give?
I could ask, but it won’t happen.
Okay, let’s try a new approach. If you were drowning and I threw you a life line, would you take it?
Good. You’re on a roll. Now tell me why.
Because I wouldn’t want to die.
See? You can answer a “why” question even when it’s hypothetical. You’re not actually drowning yet you were able to tell me quickly and precisely what you would do and why you would do it. Now apply that same logic to your hypothetically limbless son. WHY wouldn’t YOU pray for him to get his arms and legs back?
Is praying for help to repair a failing marriage, a undo a bad career choice, or reverse a poor financial decision intellectually safe? That is, if the prayer isn’t answered, is there any risk of looking foolish or deluded?
No, not at all. These are normal, human failings and there’s absolutely no shame in any of them, so the effect of my prayers will have no impact on how I appear in the eyes of those who reject the efficacy of prayer in general.
Is there any shame in losing ones limbs?
Would you look foolish praying to god and asking him to spontaneously regenerate your son’s lost limbs?
I told you that I wouldn’t pray for such a thing.
That’s a very convenient response. Now would you mind answering my question?
I asked you earlier if there was any prayer that god couldn’t answer and you said, “No. He’s all-knowing, all-powerful, and nothing is beyond his abilities.” So why not pray for the regeneration of your son’s limbs? Do you have anything to lose?
Then why not pray for it?
[argumentum ad nauseam]
Why the Argument for Prayer Fails
Okay, so here’s the rub. Your average Christian will refuse to tender their only intellectually honest answer:
“I won’t pray for anything that I know can’t come to fruition through earthly [read: non-divine] means because acceptance of that reality would necessarily destroy the validity and efficacy of prayer, and that would have far greater implications for my entire belief system. Please allow me to maintain that which brings me comfort by tailoring my praying proclivities to that end.”
Adding insult to injury is the bitch of a question that you probably didn’t even give a second thought about. I asked, “Do you have anything to lose?”
With this seemingly innocuous question the Christian is put to a nasty decision. Because they can’t defend both in this instance, the subject is forced to protect either their faith or their intellect.
In order to protect their faith they are forced to say yes, but they’d do so at the expense of their intellect – and that ain’t gonna happen. They know that no prayer will ever yield that result, but they just can’t go down that road without looking like a moron or without completely destroying the entire foundation of prayer. I mean, what idiot would pray for such a thing? So they can’t answer no. But if you believe in the power of prayer then you must accept that anything is possible through it. No excuses remain.
So what to they do? They always dodge the question. Always. Browbeat them and see for yourself.
For me, the fun starts when you goad them into providing a reason for why they won’t pray for lost limbs to be regained. Because they don’t want to look like a flaming moron, they really have no choice but to say that god won’t provide such a thing. Once you remind them of their initial stipulation that we can’t know what god will or won’t do, the mindless obfuscations start because they have nowhere to go with it. This gets me hard every single time. Fun!
So what’s the answer to the damn question? Well, to thinking people god won’t heal amputees because he heals no one. And he heals no one because he either doesn’t exist or because he just doesn’t involve himself in our lives.
Self-interrogation is a dangerous thing. Just ignore all logic and common sense and maybe, just maybe, the question will go away on its own.
But unfortunately you can’t win a debate with a delusion. The moron at this blog writes:
“God won’t heal amputees, I believe, because then no faith would be required. It would be proof of God’s existence and power if he works in such a definite, inexplicable (by natural laws) way. God remains hidden because faith is crucial, and this is of course is also outlined in the Bible.”
So let’s get this straight. God will occasionally answer prayers to put cancer into remission – but he’ll never provide even a morsel of healing relief to amputees because he wants to keep us all faithful. Okie dokie.
Listen up, moron. No one can possibly know god’s will or intent for the foundation of faith. Regardless, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by deconstructing it. Read why you can’t have your cake and eat it too here.
Pulling the Strings
I won’t address the flaccid excuse that “god sometimes works through doctors to deliver miraculous cures” as it doesn’t really help their argument. So what? Add to that the fact that no man can know such a thing. At the end of the day, Christians still tailor their praying proclivities to protect the efficacy of prayer and shield it from any kind of skeptical inquiry. They’re too afraid to play anything but a zero-risk game. And until the day comes that they start doing otherwise (don’t hold your breath), my statement will stand.
My work here is done. [dusting off hands]
Addendum: Man Does What God Can’t
God-hating scientists are nearly able to do what the allegedly all-powerful sky daddy who hears and answers prayers has yet to deliver. Check it out here.
You can bet your sweet ass that once this procedure has been perfected and rolled out to the limbless masses, Christians will conveniently start praying for the regeneration of lost limbs. You see, god decided to give those godless “men of science” the ability to fulfill these prayers by proxy. This is just the way the almighty choose to do it!