What if God did heal an amputee, what then?

This is a common objection among internet Atheists.  It seems like they believe this one challenge to Christians really backs them into a corner.  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.

Suppose God did heal an amputee.  Let’s say you, the Atheist, was convinced it happened and became a believer in God.  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 reported to be 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. This is the first that I hear of this objection. Too many what ifs. I do not require any proof one way or another. I make my way through the world my way. Others do it their way. I’m sure we could hobble alongside quite happily without this constant back-and-forth.

  2. vincedeporter says:

    May I respectfully point out that this classic objection is usually tied to claims of miracle healings — I used it myself. If you look at the context of this argument, the point made is that if God did heal so and so of cancer, why can’t he heal amputees. Do you see why the argument is made, and in what context?

    One thing this argument is not, is an argument to disprove the existence of God, which is impossible to do anyway.

    You did well to point out however, that even if an atheist would see such miracle, it does will probably not compel him or her to worship God.
    Before I felt that it was likely that God didn’t exist, I had already detached myself from Him, because I could not in good conscience rationalize His behavior anymore.
    But that of course, is another story and perspective. I’m still trying to understand, as I know I may have missed something…

    I just wanted to place this “amputee” argument in the right context. In short, it is an argument against Miracles — not God.

  3. I haven’t heard this argument often, though apparnetly there’s even a goddoesnthealamputees (or something like that) website. Frankly, I think it’s a silly and misleading argument.

    My first question to someone using this argument is, define “healing.” Amputees do, of course, heal. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t survive the amputation. What they are really asking is, why doesn’t God regrow lost limbs, or something along those lines. To which I would ask, why is *that* their litmus test? Why do they assume that the only way God can prove he’s a true and caring god is by regrowing limbs? Perhaps the only way for a person to heal is by first losing a limb!

    You see, the asker of the question not only makes assumptions about God, but assumptions about amputees. They are assuming that amputees don’t eventually discover losing their limb (or some other disability) to be a blessing. That becoming an amputee was necassary for their own “healing.” (It’s also incredibly offensive and condescending to people with disabilities, but that’s another issue.)

    To use an example, I have a friend who is a quad and she was able to take me to a fundraising dinner for parapalegics and quadrapalegics. I met several of my neighbors there. One of them, a man born with severe cerebral palsey that hasn’t stopped him from doing marathons regularly (pushing himself backwards!) and winning Olympic medals, recieved a reward. He had to get someone else to read his hilarious acceptance speech, which he typed out with his nose, because of speech difficulties.

    The guest speaker was a young man who became a quad after he, a highly athletic person, and a friend went on a drinking binge. He passed out in the back of his friend’s truck, but his friend didn’t know he was there. When his friend got into an accident, he was thrown into a river and came very close to drowning before he was found and rescued. His neck had been broken.

    Today, he travels the world giving talks like the one I saw him at, takes part in all sorts of events, and plays wheelchair rugby. Who knew there even was such a thing? And the friend who unknowingly put him in the wheelchair? They are now closer than ever and constant companions. As he told his story, he described a day when he and his friend were in Greece, turning to his friend and asking in awe and wonder, “did you ever think we would ever end up here?”

    The accident that made him a quad, with only partial use of his arms and none at all of his legs, opened up a life to him he would never have experienced, learn more about himself, learn that his strength was not in his body, but in who he was, and learned to care about those around him in a way he was incapable of before. He described it as the best thing that ever happened to him.

    He’s also an atheist. Clearly, not one who would ever ask such a question!

    By asking a question like “why doesn’t God heal amputees,” people are basically saying that only a life with a whole and perfect body is worth living. A flawed or damaged body means a worthless life. (The same assumption can be made by other tragedies of life.) They are dismissing the reality that our difficulties and challenges are what we need to grow and become stronger, better people.

    If nothing bad ever happened, we would never learn how strong we are, nor would we learn to appreciate the blessings of life.

    • Kunoichi

      Yes, I find many skeptics do not consider that God may be allowing turmoil in a persons life to humble them to bring the person to Him. Ultimately, that is the chief of all goals.

      I have heard some quadriplegics (not most, but many) say they never would have “found God” if not for their condition.

  4. My sister-in-law was a quadriplegic and God healed her – her body remained twisted and useless from the auto wreck that put her in the wheel chair for her remaining years, but her heart and spirit returned to God. He healed her of her rebellion that marked her youth. And God used her to teach the rest of the family how to care for the utterly helpless – a painful but valuable lesson.

    • What a “nice” god to punish her to teach others a lesson. “Dear god, thank you for all of the starving children in Africa. I will never forget to love you for not letting my own children starve. I would have never had compassion for those worse off than me without those starving children. Thank you for providing me a lesson. I learned much. Ps, please don’t hurt me so you can help others. I love you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. “

  5. The entire amputee-argument is one made to remove ambiguity from the so-called “medical miracles”. That’s it. It’s not one against the existence of the god of your choice.
    So instead of producing a stream of red herrings, answer the argument.

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