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March 24, 2006

Comments

Wayne

DC,
Thanks for the pointer to the story. I'm just not sure if these studies and the resulting statistical analysis does more good than harm or vice-versa. No matter what they show, I'm not convinced that they tell us anything about God.

One of the most incisive sites that deal with the whole issue of divine healing is www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com. On the site, the author lays out a devastating critique of the whole notion of divine healing by pointing out the fact that, even though the human body has the information in its DNA on how to make limbs, never once in recorded history is there an instance where people prayed over an amputee with the result that the amputee grew a new limb. This being the case, the author asks why would we think that the correlation between prayer and the recovery of people with non-visible diseases like cancer had anything to do with causation by God?

In other words, if God heals a person with cancer everyone once in a while but never ever heals an amputee, then would this lead us to believe that, for some unknown reason, God dislikes amputees?

D. C.

Wayne writes (paraphrasing another Web site):

This being the case, the author asks why would we think that the correlation between prayer and the recovery of people with non-visible diseases like cancer had anything to do with causation by God?

Very interesting point, Wayne; thanks for the link. The author makes some trenchant points, but his thinking is hobbled by the same all-or-nothing mindset as I've criticized so often among traditionalists:

There really is no middle ground. The Bible has to be an all-or-nothing book. Either the entire Bible came from God, or none of it did.

I guess I have to stand by my original comment: Let's find out what's going on, and face the facts. If prayer is utterly ineffective, so be it; at least we'll know and won't mislead others by claiming otherwise. Likewise, if prayer does turn out to have some effect, knowing this might lead us to still more discoveries. It's all good.

Wayne

DC,
Your critique of the full content of the website it right on, in my book. The author does make the (all too frequent) assumption that Christian = Fundamentalist, i.e. that all Christians take all scripture at face value with no room for grey.

I think it's his main point about amputee healing that is enlightening and not so much the anti-fundamentalist diatribes. (I think many of us around here think the web would be just fine without any more diatribes ;-)

About the studies, I will definitely be interested to see the results. If it turns out that there is a correlation between prayer and certain types of disease remission, it will only add to the mystery, which is fine by me.

Alexander

In response to the main claim of WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com, it must be outlined that amputees, in fact, can not be "healed"; there is nothing to heal in the first place. A lost limb is a dead limb - it is no longer a part of the body. It is simply not God's job to regrow lost body parts - it would be as illogical as healing a lost tooth, retrieving lost hairs during a haircut, or banishing demons out of a dead body. The power of prayer (or placebo effect, if you like) in it's ability to heal and alter physical state and metabolism of an existing, living organism and it's likewise existing and living parts, is actually well documented. Human brain is far more complex and endowed with far more abilities than people like Marshall Brain wants you to believe. I've been there myself, and know many others who have experienced the irrevocable evidence of psychic abilities and specified destinies, that simply cannot be denied or explained away by simple naturalistic/atheist "explanations". That something does not appear to work at one instance, does not ipso facto that it
/never/ works, or that one of the two contradictory events must be "imaginary" - sort of, because plane crashes are so rare, and air travel appears to be so much safer than driving, we can just as well conclude that plane crashes do not exist, that it is, statistically speaking, an illusion - etc. Besides, all the evidence actually points toward a Creator, a Universal purpose of all and everything. Just start with yourself - aren't you a miracle? Isn't it a miracle that something as incredible as a humanbeing would have arisen, all by itself, through a mindless process of some sort, starting with a bunch of restless protein molecyles becoming a cell, then becoming such a complex and intelligent creature as a humanbeing? Or what about the whole world, life, our planet, the sun? The Universe? Physical laws? All by itself, all purposeless, "just there", by an "accident" some 15-20 billions years ago?? Surely, whatever you call it, it must have been a heck of a mircale - either you believe in God or not. I would reccomend the following links for any atheist to examine more carefully:

http://www.evolutiondocumentary.com/

http://www.darwinism-watch.com/

Alexander


Question: Why wont God heal amputees?

Answer: In a sense, this is similar as to asking why does God not commit suicide, or temporary or permanently abolish the laws of gravity. The existing world and the scientifically documented and observed phenomena therein, and what most of the evolutionists/atheists would call a natural world mainly consisting of pure matter, is in fact, a highly sophisticated and complex designed universe, where the existent laws of physics and biology were created by the Creator as a definite set of rules and limits for all the living and non-living matter in our world. In essense, what some may call "supernatural" (ie. an amputated hand re-growing by itself in 24 hour time), as opposed to "natural" (ie. that an amputed hand usually never grows back again), ignores the simple fact that a human hand itself is a miracle, as is the host organism; that the life itself, and the laws of nature are so complex and ordered that it can never be replicated or indeed created by use of human knoweledge alone. In short - our world already is a living miracle - a mystery - bearing all the signs of design, and additionally being the definite creation by God (or whomever/whatever the Designer/Creator must have been). It is therefore obvious, that humans should be cautious being as arrogant as demanding that God should constantly break his own laws, as if they were imperfect because of mere human dissatisfaction and presumed self-righteousness. In reality, we are all bound by the existing physical laws, that simply can not be surpassed by science or "impossible" prayers (ie. preayers that implicitly ask God to violate God's own fine tuned laws). Hence, some of the medical miracles, also known as the placebo effect, and wich include healing from cancer and other internal diseases by means of heavily accelerated immune and waste cleansing bodily mechanisms, mostly triggered by the ALREADY existent/designed psychic/self-suggestion abilities in virtually every humanbeing who is able employing such extrasensory abilities (noting that the average humanbeing only seem to be using about 5% of their total brain power, mostly due to lack of belief and proper training!), appear to concern mostly internal processes of existing living tissue. Therefore in these cases, a prayer may enhance and activate the already existent ability to self-heal, possibly also by the help from God, but with the sole limitation of being unable to re-grow lost body parts (in contrast to a plant, f. ex.) - again, a limitation assigned by God and wich, along with the idea of God commiting suicide or make the sun rotating around the earth, is completely irrelevant and absurd to the highest degree. We are not in the bussiness of asking God violating his own laws merely to satisfy the ego's of folks like M. Brain; nor are the promises wich are made in the NT, and wich Mr. Brain (ab)uses for his own ends, are neccessarily to be taken litterally - it might just as well have been a symbolic metaphor, especially when taken in it's context.

Like languague and social behavior, humans have a vital need in spiritual/psychic development and training, wich among other things makes some of the so-called "miraculous" abilities possible - just as we learn how to speak and behave as we grow up. Unfortunately thanks to people like Richard Dawkins and Mr. Brain, who have their own barrow of pushing Darwinist agenda by means of monopolized propaganda in the mass media,
are appealing to extreme spiritual rationalizing and deconstruction, justifying their passive denial of spiritual awareness and reality God and the "supernatural".

Gurdershank

Why shouldn't the bible be taken at all or nothing? How is it possible for anyone to sit and look at the ancient book and be able to tell just by staring at it which parts are true and untrue? That's like choosing what you will and won't believe. By doing that you're choosing how your religion is going to be for you. An adaptable religion is not a perfect one, or it wouldn't need to be changed.

D. C.

Gurdershank, I responded with a separate post. I appreciate your having taken the time to comment; thanks for stopping by.

PhillyChief

"amputees, in fact, can not be "healed"; there is nothing to heal in the first place. A lost limb is a dead limb - it is no longer a part of the body. It is simply not God's job to regrow lost body parts"

That's great. What an answer. What passage contains the stipulation that lost limbs are not covered under the god policy? Is there an asterik in your bible next to passages like "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" or "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" with fine print at the bottom that says "except in cases of lost limbs or dealing with iron chariots"?


"In essense, what some may call "supernatural" (ie. an amputated hand re-growing by itself in 24 hour time), as opposed to "natural" (ie. that an amputed hand usually never grows back again), ignores the simple fact that a human hand itself is a miracle, as is the host organism; that the life itself, and the laws of nature are so complex and ordered that it can never be replicated or indeed created by use of human knoweledge alone. "
Not yet. There's no reason to believe we won't one day be able to create organs or limbs or even have people grow back what they lost. The answer may lie in stem cells (with tremendous progress so far on that front, especially with growing skin for burn victims) or something yet to be discovered. What a day that will be, and we'll have science to thank yet again, not a god, especially since the fine print of his laws apparently excludes replacing lost limbs or any lost parts (like skin to a fire) and to ask for him to break his precious laws is, as you say, absurd.

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