Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Got Better, Therefore, God Exists

I've been having an on-and-off discussion with a former Mormon who chooses to still believe in god. Just today, this person shared with me the reasons why she still chooses to believe.

When she was a young adult, she was in a terrible car crash that left her in a coma. When she woke up, she had slight brain damage along with severe back pain and terrible headaches. Her right hand was numb.

She related to me how she asked god to lessen the pain. He answered her prayer. Now her right hand is only slightly numb. Her headaches are very infrequent now and her back pain is far less severe. She still has memory issues but is overall pretty normal now.

This is why she believes in god. However, it doesn't have me convinced for a couple of reasons...

1. When your body is injured, it heals. That happens normally over time. Plus, if a belief in god was a guarantee that all your health problems would just go away then there would be no sick believers.

2. How do you know it was your god? How do you know it wasn't Allah? How do you know it wasn't Zeus? How do you know it wasn't Osiris? Since people of all faiths receive healing, it is not proof that YOUR god is the one who did it. If a person of a different faith related a similar story to you, you would immediately justify why his story couldn't be true. If HIS god did it, then that must mean that your god didn't.

3. Why did god only partially heal her? If he's going to do a miracle, why not take away all the pain?

When I was young, I injured my arm. It wasn't severe but it was enough to cause me some discomfort. I was at an indoor swimming pool that had a rope hanging from the ceiling. Someone would swing the rope and you would bounce on the diving board, jump out, grab the rope, swing out over the water, and splash into the pool. It was fun and I did it many times. Well, on one jump, I misjudged how far the rope was and when I grabbed it, my arm was yanked. I don't think my shoulder was dislocated and I could use it, but it was uncomfortable.

Naturally, as a believing Mormon, I believed god could heal me. We were doing baptisms for the dead and I figured that since the temple was the house of god, that it would be very appropriate to pray and ask for healing. Even though it was only in the dressing room, it was still in the temple. So I asked god to heal my arm and within a few days it was no longer hurting.

For a very long time, I truly thought I had experienced a miracle. What I did not realize at the time is that YOUR BODY HEALS ITSELF!!!!! It would have stopped hurting anyway. But it was a testimony builder to me that a sincere prayer in the bowels of the temple would really make my problems go away.

Oh how my thinking has changed since then! Just recently, I was engaging in a physical activity and I fell on my tailbone. Very painful! It hurts to sit; it hurts to stand; it hurts! Guess what? I haven't said one single prayer for recovery and every day it is slightly less painful than the day before. My backside is still sore and is very tender but it is getting better.

How could it possibly be healing if I haven't asked god to do it? For the life of me, I can't figure it out!

Seriously, people take the fact that their body healed as proof of god. I have news for you: your body heals itself! If it didn't, then the entire human race would have been wiped out before it even got started.

Evolution does all the work; god gets all the credit.

I have had discussions with religious people in the past and their main argument for believing in god is the fact that in some rare cases, very sick people who should have died were able to recover. I point out that that this would be impressive IF it only happened to Christians. But since it happens randomly to people of all faiths, then it really proves nothing. There are the occasional unexplained events which appear to be miraculous and which are medical mysteries, but that still doesn't prove that god did it. Often times, what we don't understand now, we will understand later. And when we do eventually understand it, god is never the reason.

Their response, every single time, is to ignore my argument. They just skip over it and go on with their completely illogical ramblings.

This is just as bad as people who find an image of Jesus burned into their toast or a Cheeto in the shape of a cross. There are actually people who will pay thousands of dollars for these food items. Apparently, the creator of the universe prefers to reveal himself in food. Really? Food? Yes, food.

What a waste of a miracle!!! Why not do something awesome like make a mountain float in the air? If there was a day when every single sick person in the world was suddenly healed, then they would have a damn good argument. If stockpiles of food showed up on the doorstep of every hungry child in the world, then I would be very impressed. It still doesn't prove god since he is still too cowardly to come out and say "hi" but I would have to admit that something very unusual was going on.

But no, a damn Cheeto. I wonder how many millions of Cheetos are produced every day? I have no idea, but according to Wikipedia, there are 14 Cheeto plants in the USA. Assuming that they run 24/7 we can assume that millions of them are made every day. Since each one has a unique shape, the chances that a few of them forming recognizable objects is not too far fetched. One Cheeto was shaped like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk. Does that mean we should all fall on our knees and worship the King of Pop? No. So if a random Cheeto looks like Jesus or is shaped like a cross, big whoopety whoop! It proves nothing.

If an "A" shaped Cheeto was found by an atheist, would that prove atheism? No. He would just eat the damn thing!

In fact, while we're on the subject of food, I had a meal the other day that very closely resembled my god and saviour... I had spaghetti and meatballs. Two meatballs to be exact, and they just happened to end up on my plate in about the place were one would expect to find eyeballs on a face. Yes, the Flying Spaghetti Monster revealed himself to me and now I am on a mission to bring his truth to the world!

After seeing this picture, how can anyone dare deny that Medusa doesn't really exist? Accept Medusa as your personal saviour or she will turn you into stone!

Ok, all joking aside, its interesting to me how peoples beliefs are ingrained in their heads and no amount of evidence will change their mind. The girl I was referring to above based her reason for not believing Mormonism on one thing, the Salamander Letter, which, to be honest, I know next to nothing about. But that's not the point. Every time I shared an additional reason with her why Mormonism isn't true, she agreed completely, but whenever I shared a reason why I don't believe in god, she would immediately try to counter what I was saying.

But I was using the same common sense for both non-Mormonism and non-god. People's beliefs are powerful and it amazes me how some people can see the obvious lie in one thing and then turn right around and totally believe another obvious lie.

I've heard lots of people give lots of reasons why they believe and I have never heard one single argument that stands up to... common sense!

Have a great Sunday, everyone!


cara lou said...

Great post. :)

Exhalted Outcast said...

The Salamander letter was a forgery by Mark Hoffman. Basing your disbelief on a forgery is kind of funny and humerous. I understand how the folks that know nothing about the Mark Hoffman issues would see the letter and several other documents he forged as proof the LDS Church isn't true. Sadly, I know it's not but not for those reasons. The lies and fraud are obvious if one opens their eyes.

Mormon411 said...

Cara Lou, thank you. Glad you liked it! :)

Outcast, haha, that's funny right there! Thanks for sharing. The Mark Hoffman ordeal is a whole 'nother reason why the LDS church leaders are fakes and frauds. Gordon B. Hinckley was busy buying up those forged documents to make sure that they never saw the light of day. Talk about dishonesty! And were was his inspiration that the documents were all fake anyway?

Carol said...

Well, I don't know about the letter either but you could have sold that plate of spaghetti on ebay for a ton of money! :)

Brad said...

A few years ago a friend pointed out this site:

Like you, I can't understand how people will praise god for healing them, but, when shit happens, they don't blame him. It's a TEST or part of his plan or a mystery. God created smallpox, it killed 500million people (mostly women and children) in the 20th century, but god is not to blame.

Mormon411 said...

Carol, damn I missed the boat with that one! Actually, I have to confess that this picture is one I found online; however, I really did have a plate of spaghetti that looked like a face.

Brad, yes, I've seen that site before. No matter what god does, people love him and praise him. Hitler was a mass murderer and people refer to him as one of the most evil people to ever live. Yet gods violence makes Hitler look like childs play but he is still somehow awesome and wonderful. Yea, I'm confused by it too.

bubba bookworm said...

It comforts me to believe in God. I have seen bad things happen, but have also have seen miracles happen. The problem is organized religion being used to control people. I try to practice 2 of Jesus's teachings 1)Judge not lest ye be judged 2) Do onto others as you would have done to you. These may not be letter perfect but then I am not theologian. As long as I treat you with respect and kindness I should be treated the same.

Citizen Atheist said...

LOL - I was scanning your blog, saw this picture, and instantly thought of Medusa. Well done.

WingAbouts said...

Love the face plate pic! I am an ex-evolutionist atheist, now Christian. I agree with almost everything you have said in your post here about healing and prayer and gods of many faiths getting credit when you can't really prove any god did any of it.

However, I like the way Jesus healed when He was here on earth -- not with a prayer, because He is God, but by the sound of His voice. It was by His spoken words that the universe came into existence and it is the same way He healed. And the healing was 100% and happened instantly. Everyone who claims to do otherwise is a fraud.

BTW, I'd eat the cheeto too!

Mormon411 said...

Sure, the Bible says Jesus healed people, but that doesn't prove he did. I could show you a text book and show you were it says evolution is true. Would that convince you to believe in evolution?

It's like me trying to argue with you that Superman is real because I have a comic book that says he "can leap tall buildings in a single bound."

The Bible was written thousands of years ago by people who believed the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. Just how trust worthy is it?

WingAbouts said...

No, evolution has been scientifically proven to be false since the 1950's and I'll be more than happy to discuss that "myth" later.

But for now, the writer of the superman comic book has not been martyred for refusing to deny his mythical superman is real.

However, the Bible's New Testament writers were martyred for refusing to say Jesus was a fraud.

The "facts" concerning their martyrdom come from various secular historical documents, in other words -- people with no axe to grind. Is that the sort of evidence you might consider?

WingAbouts said...

Oh, and by the way, yes those folks did believe that the earth was flat and that the earth rotated the sun. And yes, they were in error.

However, the BIBLE does not teach either of those things. The inspired writing of the Psalms clearly tells us that the "ball" we live on "dances" around the sun. But most folks back then just thought that was nice poetry!

God has given us TRUTH. It is us, not the Bible, that is wrong.

WingAbouts said...

oops, my bad -- they thought the sun rotated the earth! LOL But then you all knew what I meant didn't you?

Mormon411 said...

I have written this before. Many religious people try to claim that evolution has been scientifically proven false. Then how come all the scientists I listen to never say that? How come every text book I read doesn't say that? This is a falsehood started by wishful thinking religious zealots and it spreads around like wildfire because they all love a good rumor. If you have references, show me.

The same goes for the martyrs of the New Testament. The problem is that even if you can show me that they really were martyred for refusing to deny Christ, that still doesn't prove he was real. Joseph Smith was martyred for his religion. Does that make Mormonism true?

WingAbouts said...

My evidence for the death of evolution can be read in my blog posting on 2/11/2012 "Creation Matters to Science".

As for Joseph Smith, you make a good point. There are lots of folks who have been martyred over the years for many different beliefs. Not being Mormon, I wasn't aware of Mr. Smith being one of them. But you are absolutely right, that alone does not prove anything.

About an hour ago I was posting on my blog about this very same topic - "Evidence That Demands A Verdict". The martyrdom of many of the Bible writers is part of the evidence that took me from being an atheist to being a believer in Jesus Christ.

Richard Bushey said...

Well I am not sure that she meant it to be persuasive. She was appealing to personal experiences. This is what philosophers call properly basic beliefs, as they are grounded in experience and reality. So the absence of overriding arguments, your friends is perfectly within her rational rights to believe in God on the basis of her experience of him.

You tried to offer some. You said that there was a plausible naturalistic explanation, that she did not know that it was not Allah, and the partial healing.

But the problem with all of these is that none of them prove that it was not God that healed her. They only offer the possibility that it was not God. All of these arguments are non-sequiturs; that is to say, the desired conclusion doesn't even follow from any of them.

So you really have not provided any overriding arguments that would allow your friend or anybody to conclude that belief in God on the basis of experience is false.

Mormon411 said...

Sure, I get you. I can't conclusively prove god doesn't exist. Just like I can't prove the Easter Bunny doesn't exist, or Santa Claus...

The point was, I could use the fact that I got better to "believe" that any number of things did it, when, in fact, none of them realistically did.

I know it doesn't disprove god. But I am showing that an every day occurance is NOT a good reason to believe in him, especially since it happens to everyone of all faiths. Now, if her faith moved an actual mountain, then she would have a good argument.

Richard Bushey said...

I am not saying that you cannot disprove the existence of God, and therefore her experiences were real. I am saying that she is perfectly within her rational rights to believe in God on the basis of those experiences.

I invite you to visit my website. I think I it is fairly conclusive, which way the evidence points.

Ikhouvanje said...

ok. Id like to say that martyrdom shouldnt be enough to move someone to convert to a particular religion.Being a martyr just shows that you stand strongly in your faith no matter what it takes. But people are usually a martyr because someone else is trying to force you to believe in something different. NOT because your religion is true. so you dont see me converting to becoming a part of some old native american spiritual belief because they were killed if they didnt convert to becoming christian. (even though my grandpa is cherokee)

Mormon411 said...

I had a very similar thought just the other day. If a person has strong enough belief in something that he is willing to die for it, it doesn't prove his belief is true, just that he strongly believed it. Thanks for sharing.

Ikhouvanje said...

no problem, i enjoy reading your blogs. I tend to bite my tongue a lot so this is the first page of yours i've actually said anything haha. But yes even the ancient civilizations of south america were killed and looked down upon by spanish conquistadors for practicing such horrific beliefs but the mayans and friends truly believed in their gods.

Mormon411 said...

All throughout human history, religion has been the biggest dividing factor. Everyone believes their god is the one true god and everyone else's is false. It's so easy to pick apart other people's beliefs, but theirs are flawless and true. And everyone's holy book decrees that those who don't follow that certain holy book deserve to die. The Bible, the Koran, and even the Book of Mormon hints at it.

Ikhouvanje said...

I was sayin this the other day. I was having a discussion with my brother (he's majoring in psychology) the other day about the bible and religions. So i said "...of course a holy book would condemn the worship of any other god." It doesnt take a rocket scientist to put that together. It's like the United States saying "of course if you commit treason you will be punished severely". Make sense?