On CBS Survivor God Had a Chance to Show the World He Answers Prayer and Blew it!

Last night God blew it. Plain and simple. He had a chance to show the world he answers prayers. But he was a no-show, which is par for the course, again. The episode took place during the reward challenge and starts at 3:30 through 14:40 seen here in this link (sorry about the ads). Natalie and two others prayed to win the challenge, calling herself a "prayer warrior." Watch what happened. Oh, but nothing will change the mind of a believer, right? It just wasn't God's will, right? Failed prayer is always explained away like this. But then what could ever count as evidence against faith?

55 comments:

Brad Haggard said...

really, John? Are you saving this point for when you debate WLC?

John W. Loftus said...

Brad, when it comes to the need for evidence, why not? I suppose you too explain this away. How much explaining away will it take? At some point the spinning plates you try to balance on top of sticks just come crashing to the ground.

Tommy Holland said...

Prayer is the only industry in which product failure is entirely the fault of the end user.

Joshua Jung said...

A theory which proposes an effect which can be any effect and then the interpretation is applied post hoc is completely useless.

That goes for prayer.

Sorry silly kids, prayer is just a neat mental illusion.

supernatural: not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material.

magic: any art that invokes supernatural powers.

Therefore,

Prayer is magic, by definition

Tada!

srizals said...

Hitler killed himself, Stalin is no longer a hero and Madoff went down in spite of being a billionaire. Some prayers are answered in an instant, some took some times, and some reserved to be answered in the afterlife. Some would not be answered because it would have a negative effect on the prayer himself. It's a test anyway. What would a test be if it is all too easy. A test for babies?

Larian LeQuella said...

srizals,do you even realize how utterly moronic your post is?

Hitler killed himself because Americans and Russians were surrounding him. No god(s) required.

Stalin died, and the entire culture of Russia changed gradually over many years, and through an education of the people of Russia and the political and economic actions of the West. No god(s) required.

Madoff was caught by investigators and tried through the legal system. No god(s) required.

Is there ANYTHING your god has ever actually done? No, we did it ourselves, and by attributing it to some psychotic sky zombie, you cheapen ouw own accomplishments. Heck, your type of dogma has even held us back on numerous occasions, so please just go away!

Joshua Jung said...

srizals, see my previous comment.

Brad Haggard said...

John, I don't need to explain this post-hoc to keep a plate spinning. Why would God feel compelled to act on a TV reality show? This doesn't even count as "evidence", especially in light of James 5.

I get the feeling that most people look at prayer as some sort of magic, cause and effect. The prayer studies look at it this way, but the praying people aren't the subjects, increasing the validity of the study, God is the singular subject (since it is His response). I think they are wrong-headed from the start.

The most powerful argument I hear against prayer is someone's personal testimony of unfulfilled prayer, but that, of course, is personal experience and can't count as "evidence".

I just think you should stick to the stronger arguments, posts like this bring down the quality of the site.

John W. Loftus said...

Brad, it seems to me you've never said any of my arguments aimed at your faith are good ones. Which ones did you have in mind?

Brad Haggard said...

John, I'm not convinced at your failed apocalyptic prophet argument (I don't think you allow for the understanding of apocalyptic literature enough, and it still doesn't explain the rise of the Christian movement), but it does draw on solid scholarship and tries to deal with the evidence at hand. Discussion on that seems fruitful to me.

I can't really argue against and OTF, even if I dispute your contention that it inevitably leads someone away from faith.

Discussion on the theology of Genesis is interesting, even though I don't think you read the text closely enough.

Umm, I like having to think through theology more closely, like atonement, so those polemics on your side are helpful.

That covers a wide swath of what I think is useful. I guess you just have to decide whether you want this blog to be really substantive or more popular.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Brad what you miss is that the woman identifying herself as a "prayer warrior" is arguably an example of an average American believer. How many other believers stand in righteous judgement towards policy issues (e.g. gay marriage) with the same level of efficacious criteria? I think John's point is well made and your responses demand a "subject" beyond examination for the test of prayer's efficacy.

John W. Loftus said...

Brad, didn't you just sort of prove the rhetorical point of my question? Nonetheless, I cannot always please everyone, that is, if I ever please you at all. I do not write on the same level all of the time nor do I revisit the same arguments over and over again. I suppose if I did I would still get criticized from you.

The point is that if you were God wouldn't you want people to know you exist? What best explains the fact that apologists are scraping the bottom of the barrel for another piece of evidence to show God exists but that when God had an opportunity to help them out he was silent. If God did the greater deed by sending his son to save people, then why doesn't he do the lesser deeds by answering a prayer in front of the world? Just think how it would confirm your faith if he had done so? And certainly it would be used to show others that he existed. "See," apologists would crow, "look at what God did when Natalie prayed!"

I do think this is a significant problem in and of itself. And this episode of Survivor is just but one example of many when it comes to "counting the hits and discounting the misses" that prayer warriors must constantly do in the face of failed prayers.

So take this as but the one single example you know of. Multiply it by the many other times God failed in prayer and explain it to us all.

Rob R said...

Yes, God should've answered her prayer. There is nothing that honors God and shows his power and purpose in the world than victory on a reality TV show so some person can become rich and famous. Course Jesus mentioned that the poor and meek were blessed in their inheritance of the kingdom of God, the coming of which we are told is to be the anticipation of our prayers but lets not bother ourselves with the details of revelation.

Proffesor, your theology, your dignum deo is compelling and shows that God isn't really active in the world and to echo the words of Homor Simpson to his son Bart, I should like to subscribe to your newsletter.

John W. Loftus said...

Discounting the misses, aren't we Rob? You see there is always a reason why God didn't answer a prayer, isn't there. Tell ya what, give me one observable scenario such that if God failed to answer that specific prayer you would no longer believe God answers prayer. Go on. Tell us in advance. Only if you do can I take you seriously when you continually discount failed prayers.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Rob and Brad,

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

I guess she didn't ask correctly.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

If our expectation of God is that He cannot say "no" then He is nothing more than a mere idol,created to do our bidding. God is not an idol. He doesn't give us snakes -- sometimes we unwittingly ask for what enables ppl to become conceited. If these girls had won, the cynics would have chalked it up to luck - it wouldn't have proved a thing because there have been testimony and witnesses to answered prayer and they have been rejected and scorned. Thx!

Brad Haggard said...

John, I just read my response again and it was kind of lame to qualify all of my responses. Accept my apology.

Hey, you don't have to please me. If you want traffic, you've got it because I thought this was too silly to let stand. I guess I fail there.

But you're still trying to show the importance of this post. I can't see it. I haven't seen one apologetic site (at least the ones I go to) try to use an anecdote like this as an argument.

(I do seem to remember an argument from the design of a banana that I would consider scraping the bottom of the barrel. Was that Kirk Cameron?)

I guess I think your argument cuts both ways. I've heard atheists dismiss accounts of unexplained healings where someone produced x-rays, or documented doctor's diagnoses, by specially pleading for more information. So who is more reasonable? The one who dismisses every answered prayer claim, or the one who nuances a theology of prayer?

I tend to think it's a wash, but an atheist would have to debunk every single instance of answered prayer, accounting for the evidence in each situation. I don't think dismissive apriori approaches work, because just one instance of the supernatural is enough.

Why hasn't God (re)revealed Himself to you? I can't answer that question, only to say that I have consistently experienced His work in my life. You can say that I am re-interpreting my experiences, but I could say the same thing about your "non-experience" of God.

I just don't think there is much of a public argument to be made either way.

Piratefish said...

"Brad Haggard said...
The most powerful argument I hear against prayer is someone's personal testimony of unfulfilled prayer, but that, of course, is personal experience and can't count as "evidence"."

Interesting when you would also say:
"The most powerful argument I hear for prayer is someone's personal testimony of fulfilled prayer, and that, of course, is personal experience and can be counted as evidence."

And I do this just by changing a few words Brad.

Brad Haggard said...

Hey Chuck,

Your point is well taken, especially as prayer is used many times on pretense for political ambitions. (Heck, I even prayed one time for my hometown basketball team to win the national championship, and they did!)

But I still think that just because Christianity and conservative politics were wedded here about 30 years ago doesn't mean that Christianity is bad in and of itself.

Rob R said...

1st post, I will address comments directed to me in another one.

Brad,

I can't really argue against and OTF, even if I dispute your contention that it inevitably leads someone away from faith.

Actually, that's not bad. If the OTF is an objective process, it should have the same results every time. But it isn't and it wouldn't. Even Loftus won't say it will work every time suggesting that it is only likely to lead one to atheism.

John,

The point is that if you were God wouldn't you want people to know you exist?

Well, God bless Mr. Haggard, but I'm not sure what he would do if he were God would be a thoroughly fruitful theology. I don't even fully trust what I would do if I were God, unless I had something that doesn't apply to the context of people that you would pose the challenge, and that is a thorough and absolute knowledge of God's intentions, plans, and the wisdom behind that. I don't have that except only in part though much that is central to it.

But yes, God does everyone in the world to know and acknowledge him and it makes sense that since we fell from Eden according to the narrative of scripture because of a lack of trust in God, it makes sense that the way back involves trust and not irrefutable proof that renders the trust necessary insignificant.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Rob and Brad,

I'm still waiting for you to provide some sort of context to your savior's words. I thought we could ask anything and, wouldn't mass confirmation of god's reality give him glory?

John W. Loftus said...

I hope the point of this post isn't lost on people so I wrote yet another one on this same subject right here.

Cheers.

John W. Loftus said...

MMM do not discount the effect that an answered prayer like this would have on cynics. Besides, there are many Christians struggling with doubt out there whose faith would be confirmed if God had answered that prayer. But he chose not to help them. He was silent in the midst of their struggles. Par for the course.

Rob R said...

Chuck,

I guess she didn't ask correctly.

Well, it takes faith. And it's the faith and love of disciples to which your verse is addressed. The problem is that we put a minimum on the content of that faith and the actions that faith entails. For an example of the content of that faith, see what I said above about the beatitudes. Of course the content of that faith is the subject of much of the new testament.



John,

Tell ya what, give me one observable scenario such that if God failed to answer that specific prayer you would no longer believe God answers prayer. Go on. Tell us in advance.

If I live the lifestyle of prayer that is modeled and described in the new testament and God doesn't give me what I need, then I will no longer believe in prayer. But that is a work in progress and a matter of my growth.

I know you want something more objective. This is certainly observable, but assessing the conditions and results requires interpretation of which I am the final arbiter.

Course, for your ultimatum, if you aren't going to take me seriously in this, well okay, but that doesn't tell me that what I say isn't reasonable. But if you mean in general, that's even worse. It's completely possible and in fact a frequent fact of life that people of all walks of life believe or do absurd things and yet still have a degree of wisdom or cleverness that deserves to be taken seriously. That you wouldn't take me seriously here entails that it isn't prudent for you to take me seriously any where else is just the basic fallacy of generalizing from the specific and is far from an objective decision on your part (ironic for you to lack objectivity after insisting on what many might think is an objective standard). What it goes to demonstrate is something that N.T. Wright observed, that skepticism in one area is often paired with credulity in another area.

Well, if there are any other litmus tests I must pass, I'm done for the day as I am supposed to be busy about holiday preperations. Later.

Rob R said...

Just one more parting thought John, but it would've been far more productive for this contestant if she prayed that she would play the game in a way that was consistant with Christian integrity and would allow God to display his glory with wisdom according to his power, purposes that he could have for her in that situation. I just don't see winning a million dollars as an essential part of that and would see it as very likely sending the wrong message along the lines of the prosperity theology that is common in some branches of the church.

John W. Loftus said...

Rob, Natalie and her two friends were praying for FOOD! They were hungry. It wasn't an immunity challenge to help her win a million dollars. These contestants live on an almost starvation diet unless they win the reward challenges.

John W. Loftus said...

The Lord's prayer anyone?

"...give us our daily bread..."

Brad Haggard said...

Chuck, just to give you a little bit of context, read just exactly to whom the words were spoken. Is John giving a blanket statement to all believers or to just the disciples? Even that text has to be read carefully.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Brad,

"Even that text has to be read carefully"

Do you think all believers are all that careful in applying their faith? And if not, why not?

Russ said...

Brad,
You said,

I've heard atheists dismiss accounts of unexplained healings where someone produced x-rays, or documented doctor's diagnoses, by specially pleading for more information.


"Miracle" healings are yet another instance of believers counting the hits and ignoring or simply dismissing the misses. When one of your supposed miracles occurs do you ever make the effort to determine if there exists a natural remission or cure rate for the affliction? Do you look to see if believers get a greater portion of the miracles than non-believers? Believers fare no better in spontaneous healing rates than atheists. Your believing that spontaneous cures constitute miracles suggests only that you choose to self-reinforce your social group's favorite superstitions.

Remember that for every cure you deem a prayer-facilitated miracle, there are thousands of non-miracles over which thousands or even millions of prayers have been prayed. But, those who want a miracle, only look at the hits, the positive outcomes. That's a form of stacking the deck in your favor called confirmation bias. You ignore the back side of the coin whenever it appears, so you only see the face you want. What's more, you know you're doing it.

You said,

I don't think dismissive apriori approaches work, because just one instance of the supernatural is enough.

Even if it were the case that one instance of the supernatural was enough, your approach is one of weaving what you call "supernatural" out of intentional ignorance. You're inventing it. You ignore the full spectrum, the full richness and robustness, of reality, so as to provide yourself with the makings of "miracles." "Miracles" which are then used to sell your particular brand of Christianity to the unsuspecting young and those who are simply unknowledgeable. You cheapen the human experience when you turn a person's honest ignorance and lack of understanding of the world into a religious sales tool.

People like you sadden me, Brad. You concoct tales of miracles from the likes of ignorance, coincidence, and medical misdiagnoses, and, then, you push those tales onto the young leaving them less well prepared to deal with real circumstances as they arise. You and your religious notions diminish us all as you corrupt young minds with wishful thinking.

Double A said...

Ridiculous supposition that God blew it. First of all, you don't test God. Second of all, if it was as easy as that we'd all have everything we ever wanted in our sinful little hearts. Lastly, the incredible prospect of effective prayer is amazing and personal and private and believing is a requirement. So y'all haters are right, in a way. Prayer ain't gonna work if you don't believe.

gap said...

I don't know blank about shinola but that particular prayer seems manipulative, silly and self serving. I wouldn't have answered it either.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Russ said,

"People like you sadden me, Brad. You concoct tales of miracles from the likes of ignorance, coincidence, and medical misdiagnoses, and, then, you push those tales onto the young leaving them less well prepared to deal with real circumstances as they arise. You and your religious notions diminish us all as you corrupt young minds with wishful thinking."

Just another reason why I am a fan of his mind.

Good to see you Russ!

Chuck O'Connor said...

Double A you said,

"Ridiculous supposition that God blew it. First of all, you don't test God. Second of all, if it was as easy as that we'd all have everything we ever wanted in our sinful little hearts. Lastly, the incredible prospect of effective prayer is amazing and personal and private and believing is a requirement. So y'all haters are right, in a way. Prayer ain't gonna work if you don't believe."

How do you know the "Prayer Warrior" was testing God or doesn't believe. It seems to me you are placing yourself in a position of God. But, I find that is what most believers do when they are confronted with an event that demands detached analysis.

Russ said...

Rob R,
You said,

If I live the lifestyle of prayer that is modeled and described in the new testament and God doesn't give me what I need, then I will no longer believe in prayer.


Can you apply this criterion to others who pray in earnest but don't get what they need? Food, clean water, clothing, health care, shelter. How about if you pray for others to get what they need, but they don't get it? Then, should prayer be believed? Or, will that failure of prayer simply be passed off as part of your god's plan?

How about the millions who never pray a prayer, who, as point of fact, actively disbelieve in your current god as well as all others past and present, and yet who get what they need? I don't pray and I don't believe in gods, yet I get what I need and most of the other things I want.

The least religious countries in the world, the Scandinavian countries, are the healthiest and happiest as well as the the most generous and least criminal. Clearly, they don't need your god or prayers to it to have lives at least as good as yours. Aren't they sufficient counterexamples for you to abandon the superstition of prayer?

Gandolf said...

Double A said... "So y'all haters are right, in a way. Prayer ain't gonna work if you don't believe."

Hi Double A ... So whats going on here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/18/african-children-denounce_n_324943.html

These kids hate god or dont believe?.Even though they are scared shitless of possibilities of having acid poured down their throat or something..Doctor faith, is your simple diagnosis maybe that they just aint sincere enough or something?.

Surely your christian god seems rather harsh if he really does have such stringent requirements,that he cant even be seen to be a little decent and fair and forgiving and atleast make some allowances for suffering children like these,and get off his arse!! and start doing something about their situation.... Specially when (his name) is what is being used in these childrens demise!.

How unthoughtful and (unresponsible) can a god be?.

However im pretty sure no god exists which is why he dont answer their sincere prayers and help these kids. So no i dont lay any blame on something i honestly think is non existant...That would be foolish wouldnt it.

No these children really still suffer even in the year 2009 . Only because thoughtless uncaring folks of faith worldwide, continue to also be involved in helping keep these silly ignorant deceitful superstitious faith beliefs alive.

Thats right .Because of folks like yourself and Brad Haggard and many others keeping these false beliefs afloat in our world ...Kids somewhere in this world must continue to suffer like this, and pay for the ignorance of such ignorant faithful superstition.Next time you are in church feeling so wonderful about your faithfulness and full of glee at the thought of your supposed salvation .... Spare a thought for these children ....who pay so darely for your continued ignorance!

And you can choose to continue to be "faithfully blinkered" all you wish,but its got nothing to do with hate of gods.

Its reasons like these kids sad situations that drive me in trying to do what ever little i personally can, to be also involved with many others in trying to get as many folks of faith as possible to start thinking beyond their old habits and indoctrinations.To cast aside the stifling chains of faith mindcontrol,so as to remember they have a brain for reasons its supposed function is to be freely used.

Im so glad and thankful that personally im no longer also involved with others in helping keep these dangerous superstitious faith beliefs afloat, that often end up causing so many so much unhappiness suffering and pain and often even death.

I feel much better atleast knowing, the blood of these children lays on the hands of those that willingly continue to seal their fate.

Yeah many folks of faith feel so very smug and smart dont they, when they quickly fob us atheists off as supposedly just being the god haters,or those who supposedly just didnt have enough faith.

But they forget these innocent children, who then continue to suffer for such faith blinkered wrongful observations and judgments.

Brad Haggard said...

Chuck,

I think that believers don't carefully read those texts because the prosperity gospel and nationalism has crept into popular theology. It's worse in some denominations/churches than others.

Russ,

You made me smile. It feels eerily powerful to know that I can "diminish" you even though I haven't ever met you. (I'm sure six degrees of separation applies here).

Ahhh, confirmation bias. Although I've never "pushed" these "concocted" stories on anyone, I wonder if someone produces dated x-rays showing a total healing in a broken bone, who is more rational? I haven't seen the documents in question, but if they are produced, and they are denied by the naturalist (which in this case they were), who is looking for confirmation?

The Circle of Naturalism
1. Miracles are a violation of the natural order and as such cannot exist because of uniform testimony.

2. Various miracle accounts must be false because we have uniform testimony (see the irony?)

3. Rinse and Repeat

Confirmation Bias runs both ways, just look at all the atheist echo chambers around the net today.

BTW, where do you get your information that the remission rates of believers and atheists are the same? I'd really be interested in that study.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Brad,

You said, "I think that believers don't carefully read those texts because the prosperity gospel and nationalism has crept into popular theology. It's worse in some denominations/churches than others."

Thanks for your honesty.

Brad Haggard said...

Chuck,

Even though I still claim Christ, I've let go of quite a bit of (bad) theology in the past two years. We're not completely different, I think.

Russ said...

Brad,
Yes, you are powerful. Believers believer they could move mountains if one of them ever chose to do so. Unfortunately, real true believers choose instead to do things like blow up buildings, like all those wonderful Christians who bombed other Christian churches during the civil rights movement, or the wonderful Christians blowing up abortion clinics. Seems that faith to move mountains is hard to come by, but explosives are the indolent Christian's alternative.

You said, "(I'm sure six degrees of separation applies here)." I think you're fishing, so I'll bite. We share a common acquaintance in Lexington.

Brad, you say, "I've never "pushed" these "concocted" stories on anyone," but as a youth minister at a church that holds to Biblical literalism that is exactly what you are required to do to. Force, inculcate, prod a lack of understanding of the real world onto young people who are coming of age. That is the very mechanism of contemporary religious survival. Realize that the claims of Christianity do not convince outsiders, so for the churches to survive, they must force their nonsensical worldview onto children. If it made sense, people would flock to it, but, alas, it doesn't.

You said,

Ahhh, confirmation bias. Although I've never "pushed" these "concocted" stories on anyone, I wonder if someone produces dated x-rays showing a total healing in a broken bone, who is more rational? I haven't seen the documents in question, but if they are produced, and they are denied by the naturalist (which in this case they were), who is looking for confirmation?

I've actually seen the documented "proof," Brad. The x-rays, the blood work, the pathology reports. Fortunately, I have the expertise to see it for what it is. Inconclusive at best and otherwise outright fraudulent. Many of the analyses have dates, times, names scratched out or otherwise altered. We are not dealing with an honest bunch. We are dealing with Christians with a social agenda, who will do whatever it takes to manufacture a miracle. Do you honestly think you could keep it quiet if Christians had better medical outcomes than non-Christians, Brad? The very reason we do not hear about these "medical miracles" more often is the simple fact that manufactured miracles are difficult to keep secret.

Brad, you admit to not having seen the documents, so how can you think you are justified in saying the naturalist is looking for confirmation bias. You haven't seen them and then the question remains of whether you would have the wherewithal to adequately analyze them if you had.

You want to claim that confirmation bias runs both ways, Brad, but you underscore your own lack of trustworthiness by making claims against materials you have never seen.

Russ said...

Brad
You asked,

BTW, where do you get your information that the remission rates of believers and atheists are the same? I'd really be interested in that study.

Here in the US, Brad, the remission and spontaneous cure rates for many maladies are nearly identical for believers and non-believers. When you leave the US, however, and look at say, Denmark where almost everyone is an atheist, the remission rates for atheists are much higher in Denmark atheists than they are in US Christians. Why? The Danes are a far more caring, compassionate society where the health of all citizens is more important than it is in the US. In the US, we got all the Jesus we can stomach, but we observably do not actually care about each other(note that Christian churches are the staunchest opponents of a national health care system). The Danes on the other hand got almost no Jesus, but they actually care about each other. So, in Denmark, almost all measures of personal and social health far outpace those in the US. Believing in Jesus, observably, is of no health benefit whatsoever. Access to quality health care is.

You don't understand much science, do you, Brad? I can tell from the question itself. If you understood science, maybe a bit of statistics, you would understand how the numbers on remission rates are arrived at. While your Jesus wants to kill or burn forever those who don't believe in him, statistical sampling has no such inherent hatred, disdain or bias.

In any case you can get the numbers from PubMed, the NIH or the CDC. Also, some Christian polling groups, like Barna, publish some of their data. Also, various Christian academic institutions like Princeton Theological Seminary, Baylor, and Notre Dame publish scholarly works on such data, as do various medical schools in journals like Lancet and the NEJM.

Brad, you have a socially enforced body of superstitions that you are coerced to abide by, nothing more. If your version of a god or your version of a Jesus were differentially benefitting you, it would be overtly apparent in the numbers. It's not. You're living out a socially fabricated, socially enforced fairy tale.

Holmes Family said...

Matthew 18:19 "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."

He didn't let them win because he is not real. Even my 5 year old can figure that out.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

John wrote this, "MMM do not discount the effect that an answered prayer like this would have on cynics."

Since you guys love "evidence" and "proof" so much, just look around these comments to affirm the empirical data that personal testimony is consistently rejected and scorned! ha! I do not trust that your heart would soften if this girl had her prayer request met. Don't get me wrong - you are all worth suffering for, but not by sending a corrupted gospel message of human exploitation and degradation.

"Besides, there are many Christians struggling with doubt out there whose faith would be confirmed if God had answered that prayer. But he chose not to help them. He was silent in the midst of their struggles. Par for the course."

Again, I don't place my trust in human nature, I place it with God. He doesn't set traps or send condemning messages such as debate opponents do.

One of the ways that God is delivering me from the cycle of victim / victimizer is to reveal how I unwittingly cooperate with that cycle. Do you believe that this girl on Survivor could have made a choice to not be a part of the television program? Do you think that a God Who values human life should encourage and condone daredevil pursuits for entertainment purposes? I think that is exploitive and would be encouraging ppl in the wrong direction. This girl's suffering is consistent with the program that she enlisted in. God doesn't condemn ppl who engage in these pursuits -- He sees them as already suffering enough by engaging in a degrading lifestyle.

There are plenty of challenges in caring for the ppl in our own neighborhoods that can provide for a full life story,much more engaging than a television show.

bye,
3M

Rob R said...

Professor Loftus,

Rob, Natalie and her two friends were praying for FOOD!

Well that is certainly a more interesting and compelling dilemma. That certainly is a more challenging question than why God didn't let them win a million dollars or why he doesn't give every child a pony who prays for it for Christmas.

The reality is though that she already had what she needed in an artificial context in which she placed herself where she knew she would be facing the possibility of near starvation. It is still part of the game and while I don't think there is anything wrong with a believer asking God to help them in a game, I just don't buy that silence in the issue should constitute anything approaching a faith changing matter. And in this game, CBS is not going to let anyone starve to death. It would be bad publicity for them. But if they would, then it is the responsibility of believers not to put themselves under their authority if they don't have to.

And my next point is a response to this:

The Lord's prayer anyone?

"...give us our daily bread..."


So, how should we take this in the context of scripture? Is Jesus implying here that Christians should never fast because it's contradictory to this basic quintessential prayer? Our religion is a very physical one and spiritualizes even physical food as a medium for the compassion of others towards those in need as well as something that plays a spiritual and meditative role in the sacraments that teach us to internalize Christ even on a base level such as taking care of the body's needs.

Jesus explicitely refers to spiritual sustanence that transcends the physical and the thing is, this isn't some obscure observation but it commonly recognized by Christians who refer to the bible or devotionals as their daily bread.

So is there no spiritual benefit in the experience she is having. Unlike 99 percent of Americans (and perhaps more) she knows some of the terrible extent to which starvation can go and she knows what it is to suffer with the suffering. This is not a small issue in religion that places so much importance in the matter that God shares in our suffering (granted there are theologians today and through history who are profoundly ignorant of this).

Rob R said...

Russ,

Can you apply this criterion to others who pray in earnest but don't get what they need? Food, clean water, clothing, health care, shelter.

Yes. They pray in earnest but that doesn't mean that they live the lifestyle of prayer. And when I spoke of needs, I wasn't speaking of the only needs that atheists can concieve, of physical needs. God can give us what we need even in the worst circumstances. I conclude this from the experiences of Christians living in the worst possible circumstance such as demonstrated in Richard Wurmbrand's "Tortured for Christ." Wurmbrand was a Jewish man who also became a Lutheran minister and suffered imprisonment and torture first under the Nazi's and then under the communists. Wurmbrand always had enough that he could still tithe. He'd get something like a slice of bread a day and sometimes a bowl of soup, but every tenth piece of bread or every tenth bowl of soup he would give to another prisoner. God gave him what he needed, and in spite of seeing unspeakable evil's, through God's providence and sustenance, he noted that the Christians in those situations saw unspeakable beauties. When Christians in the west secured his release, they expected to recieve a broken and sorrowful man and they were quite shocked at the joyful and peaceful person that they met.

Rob R said...

How about if you pray for others to get what they need, but they don't get it?

You mean their real need to repent and love God with all their heart and soul and mind and benefit from God's grace and love or just their temporary physical needs? The real need is up to them. The temporary need is a result of a broken world and God is fixing that even now and yet not fully until it is in his own time.

How about the millions who never pray a prayer, who, as point of fact, actively disbelieve in your current god as well as all others past and present, and yet who get what they need?

They should be grateful to God and they should take advantage of the context of redemption in which we live where they can take their plenty and help those in need.

I don't pray and I don't believe in gods, yet I get what I need

No. No you don't. You don't have what you need most.

The least religious countries in the world, the Scandinavian countries, are the healthiest and happiest as well as the the most generous and least criminal.

Good for them. It's too bad that their good fortune is only one one side of the human situation, the side that does not and will not last.

Gandolf said...

Rob R -->"Yes. They pray in earnest but that doesn't mean that they live the lifestyle of prayer. And when I spoke of needs, I wasn't speaking of the only needs that atheists can concieve, of physical needs. God can give us what we need even in the worst circumstances."

Yes Russ ..Crikey .Cant ya even grasp it for once ?? ..bahhhh ..Meh

Those silly kids in Africa for instance, getting themselves slaughtered, by superstiotious christians fearing them as being witches .

Simply obviously cant have been just living a lifestyle of prayer in enough earnest .Bingo ! see its a easy religious scientific calculation to make Russ...Quite reasonable and logical too !! as long as you remember to always keep a religious slant to making it

And kids who die through parents who refuse medication for religious reasons,just need to be far more ernest in living a life of prayer a little more.They should pray "please dear god give my religious parent some fucking brains",10 times a fucking day instead of just once or bloody twice!.

Sheeeze what were they thinking its a fuckin holiday camp or somethin???

After all God makes no allowances for children !.

See Russ the problems with atheists is they are forever always only fuckin worried about these physical needs,such as not getting acid poured down yer throat by ignorant brainless superstitious christians in Africa who are hell bent of killing witches.

Rob R said...

Simply obviously cant have been just living a lifestyle of prayer in enough earnest

What were they Christians? If they were accused of witchcraft, it's not clear that they were.

If they are Christians and if they are persecuted for their faith, well Gandolf, this was promised to us by Jesus himself. They crucified our lord and we can expect more of the same from your fellow haters of Christianity.

Course if we are speaking of criminals who are distorting Christianity, well it should be noted that such people are distorting the teachings into something that they are not.

And kids who die through parents who refuse medication for religious reasons,

God gave them responsible parents. So the problem is with the parents who responsible for their own actions. I know you must think that being a Christian and praying for others means removing their free will. Well you can think that but the topic here is prayer with regard to real Christianity, not lets see if Gandolf can grab anything including the kitchen sink to throw and hope he makes a good point.

See Russ the problems with atheists is they are forever always only fuckin worried about these physical needs

The problem is that in their spiritual poverty these are the only needs that atheists know of.

So Gandolf, these people have suffered greatly and now some of them are dead. You have no hope for the situation. The idea that this is some sort of tragedy that should not have happened is now pointless. They are gone and there is nothing that can be done. The atheist solution to these is only half measures. Lets see what we can do for the people only in our sphere of influence and what we can do for tomorrow. What we don't fix will forever be a tragedy. Well, you are welcome to that view and you can keep your enlightenment for yourself. And I'll stick to a view that stresses the importance of acting in the world and contributing to the kingdom of heaven which when it arrives will result in the end of all tragedies including the ones that have passed.

srizals said...

{Joshua Jung said...
srizals, see my previous comment.}

Hmm. Gonna take sometimes to locate your comment Joshua Jung, and since you're not writing anything in your website, blogs or anything that I can find at the moment of speaking it would be quite impossible and time consuming for me to do so, but I will try my best.

Larian, you look nice in your uniform. How many Muslims have you killed?

srizals said...

What's your opinion on today's modernity dogma? Sex is killing, I mean little unborn babies in your country man. Any logical explanation?
Brushing aside my comment is easy, dealing with me directly is something else, I assure you.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Okay, I don't watch Survivor,and I am only going by the post here and the newsflash about this Natalie girl, BUT, I was way wrong to judge that God didn't answer Natalie's prayer!

Apparently, from what I read on the posts here, Natalie prayed for one meal, but today I read that the winner of Survivor (and,apparently a way hefty paycheck!!) is Natalie!

It looks like God chose to let Natalie win the whole shmeal deal challenge so that now she has enough for wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y more meals!!! That is just like Him!! I bet she's gonna share her winnings with the poor too! Yay!!! Sorry God for getting infected with doubt!

Hey John, It sounds like God heard your complaint and decided to show you how He answers prayers. You were probably expecting Him to give Natalie one lousy meal - but no!!! Now, are you convinced???

Ya know, this has really reminded me of something ---while we're all here debating and talking about God, He's out there preparing a banquet -- I think I'm gonna go and accept the invitation ---

See ya!

3M

srizals said...

Blogger Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...well you know

thanks man, any comments Larian?

John W. Loftus said...

MMM what Natalie prayed for was not answered. So now you switch gears and claim God answered her prayer after all, when that was not what she had prayed for. Here folks, is the mind of a believer. Nothing can falsify such a faith.

Now you'll claim she prayed to win too, which she surely did. Plenty of these contestants prayed to win along with their families, especially Brett and his family and friends. God cannot answer hundreds of thousands of prayers simply because it would be impossible to do so with so many believers praying for the same things.

If Natalie did not win you would still maintain God knows best, so don't kid yourself. You'd be claiming that a million dollars would not be good for her somehow.

And even though she won I have plenty of others reasons for doubting God answered her prayer.

The bottom line is that scientific studies on prayer show us that prayer does not work. Why do we need scientific studies? Because no matter what happens you will not see the truth. Prayer does not work. It never has. It never will.

If prayer does work then why not pray to change the past, but that's another topic.

Gandolf said...

Rob R -->"God gave them responsible parents. So the problem is with the parents who responsible for their own actions. I know you must think that being a Christian and praying for others means removing their free will"

Dont be silly Rob.God cant have given the children responsible parents,do responsible parent keep their children away from medication.No one said anything about free will Rob.We are talking about prayer, and i suggest its likely these kids pray their little hearts out to god to help them.But obviously god being the non existant being that he is,cant do nothing to help them.

Rob-->"What were they Christians? If they were accused of witchcraft, it's not clear that they were."

Look up kids being killed as witches by African christians.Superstitious ignorant idiotic folks of faith dont need proof to believe their own stupid god faith, little own need proof before believing somebody might be a witch.And these kids sincere prayers to your non existant god for help,was worthless.

Rob -->"So Gandolf, these people have suffered greatly and now some of them are dead. You have no hope for the situation."

No admittedly i cannot resurrect somebody Rob.However you have no option to help them either,the only pitiful hope you offer is your ignorant foolish pipe dreams of hope of some bullshit afterlife.

There is hope however in the future that we can one day rid this world of the superstious ignorant faith believers...Which would atleast allow all these kids in future the life they deserved on this earth,without the need to be cursed by the presense of ignorant superstitious parents and faithful folk surrounding them who are so ignorant they sometimes even kill them.

Rob -->"And I'll stick to a view that stresses the importance of acting in the world and contributing to the kingdom of heaven which when it arrives will result in the end of all tragedies including the ones that have passed."

Kingdom of Rob more like it.These kids pay with their lives on this earth, so ignorant faithful fuckwhits like you Rob get to continue to keep your bullshit superstitions and pipe dreams of some salvation and afterlife.You and your faith pals wager with the lives of these kids, by supporting the continuation of faith and superstitions on our planet .The blood of these kids lives on earth, continually pays for faithful folks gamble on pipe dreams Rob.

Not that i think you will care that much Rob.Those who are addicted gamblers are usually extreme selfish types.No body matters more than them.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Hi John, you said, "Prayer does not work. It never has. It never will. "

Well, that would be, quite frankly, a sensationalized, but quite false and condemning assumption. It simply is an inaccurate statement. Although as a nonbeliver, I kept looking for miracles in my surrounding environment, I never actually needed verification of God's existence in someone else's life --- I needed if for my own life.

I have to say, that after years of cynicism and atheism and God's intervention was like a visit to the dentist after many years of neglect and dental rot and ruin. Deliverance is not something that I am aware that is commonly covered in casual church services but I am grateful and forever indebted for His grace.

Because of faith, I know He doesn't hate you or condemn you -- if I accomplish my purpose of writing here, you will be comfortable in heaven when you arrive there and you won't be offended by God or all the ppl you'll see there. The Outsider test is manufactured by man, not God, so be prepared! (of course, you are welcome to adhere to your preference).

ttyl,


P.S. I just wanted to address this issue as well: "If prayer does work then why not pray to change the past, but that's another topic."

God progresses out of darknesses into light --- that is how He saves us - He doesn't condemn or make ppl relive or redo events or hold a record of wrongs against us. In the book of revelation, He addresses OT villains in an invitational manner -- resurrection allows us to move forward and not have to go back and correct everything --- ppl do that and are focussed on that , but God progresses forward and invites us along.

Of course, once again, you are entitled to your perspective.
3M