Q: If God healed amputees would you believe? A: Probably not

This common objection among internet Atheists goes something like this: Does God just not care about amputees?  If God existed He would heal amputees, or even one amputee.  None are healed, therefore God most likely doesn’t exist.  If only God would heal an amputee (in a scientific lab, on video, in the presence of many scientists, and repeated on command) then I would believe. You know what? I doubt it and here’s why.

Let’s say God did heal an amputee.  Let’s also say you, the Atheist, did believe.  What would happen to that belief if the amputee (possibly yourself or a loved one) fell victim to another tragedy?  What if you were in a liquor store while it was robbed and were shot by the assailant and became paralyzed from the waist or neck down?  Would your belief waiver?  I bet it would, even after you saw that God healed an amputee.

Here’s the thing, If your belief were based solely on what God does for you, it’s pretty likely you’ll give it up when it seems like He stops giving, like some religious gold-digger.  Remember the Jews of the Old Testament were direct witnesses to the miracles of God and yet some still wouldn’t bend the knee.  The same happened in Jesus’ time.  The same would happen in ours.

Fortunately, you the Atheist, feel like you can make that boast firmly believing you’ll never be faced with the healing of an amputee.  That’s OK, I’ve made vacant promises knowing I wouldn’t have to pony up too.  I promised my oldest daughter I’d give her $1000 if there were no school dances this year.  She is convinced there wont be, I already know there are.  It’s easy to offer a concession on conditions you think will never obtain, but there’s no nobility (or integrity) in that.  Just keep that in mind.

Comments

  1. The problem with “heal an amputee” type demands is that they get to set the perameters, and the cirucmstances, and the definitions, and the… and on it goes. The first hurdle against this argument is the notion of “healing.” The wounds on an amputee do heal, but the only “healing” they seem to define as acceptable is the regrowing of a new limb.

    Some time ago, a friend and I were at a charity dinner to raise funds for para and quadraplegics. The star guest speaker was a young man who, after some drunken frolics with a friend, ended up in a horrific accident caused by the friend that left him a quad with limited arm mobility. This was followed by years of treatments, physiotherapy, etc. In time, he went on to bigger and better things (including wheelchair rugby). One of the things he said on stage struck me. He described how he and his friend – the same one that put him in the chair – were in Greece together. He talked about how amazed he was that he was in Greece at all, and of all the amazing things that happened to him over the years; things that would never have happened, had the accident never happened, and he had gone on to live the life he had planned. Turning to his friend, he told him that the accident and being in that chair was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he wouldn’t want to go back to his old life.

    Healing happens in many forms. Sometimes, it happens in ways that cannot be seen or measured.

    • Kunoichi

      You’re right, dealing with Atheists who make the silly “arguments” like this one often tend to believe it is their right to set all the parameters as to what needs to happen for legitimacy. What a wonderful coincidence that the evidence always falls just out of reach.

  2. If the atheist who demands to see sees exactly what was demanded, they’d be just another crazy believer like the rest of us. Imagine a staunch, logical atheist telling his story to his friends. “You’re nuts!”, they’d say. “You were tricked!”. I believe they’d feel better if they came to terms with their conflict if they just convinced themselves that it wasn’t actually a real miracle.

    Humans have a great capacity for disbelief.

  3. Great response John. I’ve seen this issue popping up on a few blogs recently and I really appreciate your response about “what would happen to the belief when the next tragedy strikes?”. The reality is that we will die – some of us in very tragic ways. For some reason, this is the way God set up our world. No matter how much the proof for God’s existence, some people will always fall back on this issue of suffering disproving God.

    In a lot of ways, I view this as simple arrogance. The underlying assumption is that “if *I* were God, I wouldn’t have made the world this way.” In essence, they are playing the role of God and deciding that since God doesn’t think in the same manner than they do, He therefore must not exist! Very poor reasoning in my opinion. But then again, it is hard to argue against this reasoning because many of us haven’t come face-to-face with horrific suffering. It’s easy to argue against this logic with someone in abstract terms. It’s much harder to argue against this logic with, say, a parent who has lost a child and therefore doesn’t want anything to do with God. In my opinion, this issue is by far the hardest challenge for an Christian apologist to address without being condescending or trite.

  4. yes….i would believe….as long as it is god healing the amputee, not a doctor. Than I would be fully convinced. The only two questions that would be left for me is: Which God are you? And what do you want out of me to do?

    also, if we were to consider your hypothetical story, we would also have to concede that your God is not all-loving, because he had designed and appointed a person for a life of suffering. And for no reason.

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