Skip to comments.Atheism and Amputation - (A new obsession of anti-Christian atheism)
Posted on 11/30/2007 7:51:42 AM PST by xzins
A national weekly news magazine recently featured a debate between atheist/author Sam Harris and author/pastor Rick Warren ("The Purpose Driven Life"). As part of his debate, Mr. Harris threw down a challenge to prove God's existence by finding a deserving amputee and having 1 billion people pray for God to grow the leg back. In trying to disprove the existence of God, it's unclear why Mr. Harris chooses to focus on amputees growing limbs back rather than looking for a sea to split open or fish and loaves to multiply, and it's equally unclear why Harris specifically asked that it be a "leg" amputee versus an "arm" amputee. Nevertheless, that was the challenge.
A few weeks ago, C-Span featured a speech given at the annual meeting for American Atheists by a former "Saturday Night Live" actress. This group gave her a standing ovation and even presented her with a special plaque to honor her courage as an "atheist celebrity." The actress joked, "There is evidence for God, just not very good evidence." The audience was shown patting themselves on the back, laughing, applauding and apparently reveling in their ability to declare, "There is no God." Days later, on CBS' "Sunday Morning," the same group was featured, along with the same actress, again celebrating the "joys of atheism." Once more, the interview brought up the "amputee challenge" of Mr. Harris.
My wife of 21 years, Gracie, is a double-amputee (both legs), and our organization, Standing With Hope, is, to our knowledge, the only evangelical prosthetic limb outreach in the world. We travel to West Africa and work with the government of Ghana to train and equip their workers on building high-quality prosthetic legs. Gracie's definition of high quality is summed up in her statement, "I will not place a leg on someone that I am not willing to wear myself." It is hoped that Mr. Harris will agree that Gracie, who has undergone 70 operations and still finds the will and ability to help others struggling with limb loss, is a suitable "deserving" candidate for his challenge.
Atheists seem to insinuate that the ministry and comfort my family depends on, and shares with individuals across the country and overseas, is misguided and only a mirage. It is interesting to note that this group seems to take greater issue with the God of the Bible and Christian faith than with other world religions. They don't seem to put the Muslim faith to the test with the same sarcasm they save for Christianity.
According to this group, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, King David, Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus were deceived at best, or liars at worst. Of Jesus' remaining 11 disciples, 10 of them, and eventually the Apostle Paul, were tortured, beaten and died horrible deaths, without ever renouncing the resurrection. There are Islamic extremists who allow themselves to be killed, but they believe in their cause. The disciples were in a position to know whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead.
His crucifixion is a matter of history (so is His resurrection). One simple question for atheist is: If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the disciples allow themselves to be killed so horribly?
Conspirators at Enron wouldn't even face jail time without turning on each other. Michael Vick is going to jail because his friends turned on him over a dog-fighting ring. I have never heard of anyone willingly enduring torture or execution for a lie they perpetuated. If one of the disciples recanted, maybe history would have a case. But they all went to their deaths (skinned alive, crucifixion, sawn in two, beheaded) praising Jesus Christ. According to American Atheists, all of those disciples were wrong.
These atheists seem to suggest that they are more enlightened than every rabbi, pope, priest, Martin Luther, the Founding Fathers, Isaac Newton, John Milton, Billy Graham, C. S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Dr. Martin Luther King, Queen Elizabeth and billions of others. One prominent atheist went a step further to suggest that if Mother Teresa had been an atheist, her deeds would have been "more noble," since she wouldn't have been doing them with the thought of an afterlife as a reward. (You can't make this up; this is actually what they are saying.)
It appears atheists can claim an exhaustive investigation into the entire universe that leaves them with the overwhelming evidence that ...we are here by random chance. There are forests and whole stretches of land across the United States that haven't been totally explored, but atheist can lay back the entire cosmos with complete conviction that since a deserving amputee didn't grow a leg back, then, therefore, no deity exists.
To the atheists so concerned about amputees, it is difficult to understand why a good and loving God hasn't made Gracie's legs grow back.
That difficulty in understanding seemed to be part of the platform that led American Atheists to applaud an actress for having the courage to proclaim her conviction that "God doesn't exist." But while atheists applaud mocking comments about people of faith, amputees in Ghana are walking, going to school and taking care of their families all because Gracie's courage as an amputee to proclaim her conviction that, "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Peter Rosenberger is the president of Standing With Hope Inc., which is the non-profit prosthetic outreach he and his wife, Gracie, founded in 2002. Peter has been a public speaker for many years on such topics as health care, marriage and family issues, and evangelism. Peter and Gracie, along with their two sons, have been the subject of numerous media interviews and features including People magazine, the "Today" show, Headline News, TBN and the Associated Press
Actually, he isn't looking for just a "healing." What he wants is a NEW LIMB REGROWN where an old appendage had been before. I'm not real sure why the restoration of a severed limb does not qualify, but he insists that a "healing" God would also be able to "grow" a new limb.
There are stories of restored body parts.
The first is Jesus restoring the soldier's severed ear in the garden of Gethsemene. My relative rejected that as not "regrowing a new ear." I'm not sure why healing a severed ear with an entirely new ear is necessary, but those apparently are the ground rules for this current athist obsession.
There is the story of St Winifred, but it, too, is restorative rather than regrowth.
St. Winifred Feastday: November 3 According to legend, she was the daughter of a wealthy resident of Tegeingl, Flintshire, Wales, and the sister of St. Beuno. She was most impressed by Beuno, was supposedly beheaded on June 22 by one Caradog when she refused to submit to him, had her head restored by Beuno, and sometime later, became a nun of the convent of a double monastery at Gwytherin in Denbigshire. She succeeded an Abbess Tenoy, as Abbess and died there fifteen years after her miraculous restoration to life. A spring supposedly springing up where Winifred's head fell, is called Holy Well or St. Winifred's Well and became a great pilgrimage center where many cures have been reported over the centuries. She is also known as Gwenfrewi. Her feast day is November 3.
Raising Lazarus from the dead doesn't count. Healing the blind doesn't count. Healing anything doesn't count.
All that counts is "regrowth."
That got me to thinking about the perfect healing of Lepers by Jesus. These had to go show themselves to the priest. They were declared clean.
Since lepers have their appendages fall off entirely irretrievable, and since these were declared entirely "clean" by the priest, does it make sense to see a "regrowth" in these healings.
I think so, but, of course, I cannot prove it. It is rational, though.
This author suggests artificial limbs as an answer to the amputation-obsessed anti-Christian variety of atheists. (Isn't that the only variety....if WE didn't exist, they would go out of business. :>)
I see his point, and I agree with him. These folks won't accept that, though. I know my relative would argue against it.
They want an appendage regrown and they're sticking with it.
Pretty much missed the point right there, didn't he?
bizarre — I agree. It is an odd obsession to want an appendage regrown.
Actually, I meant that atheists are bizarre, and this story is a vivid illustration of it. :)
He certainly did miss the point. I wonder at a pastor wallowing after pearls with swine, but I guess we've got to rationally present the faith to those who don't believe, even if only every now and then.
Those who come to faith are enlightened by the Lord. I think that's what Jesus meant when He said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine."
It's obvious that some have not yet been touched by the Holy Spirit. And some of them will always resist.
This is equivalent to a 16 year old brat telling his parents, who have provided everything for him, that unless they buy him a new Corvette they don’t love him. Tis the same with these “atheists” and God. Just as the brat does not see that his parents love is the greatest gift, but focuses on the material, so do these people.
Truth is, if an amputee did grow a limb back, they would not accept it as a sign from God, but just a scientific oddity.
Thanks. I did understand your point about atheists being bizarre. I was just adding some thoughts.
“Actually, he isn’t looking for just a “healing.”
Luke 16:24-, “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame....Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
Saint Padre Pio and the healing of Giovanni Savino
That is such a great insight, sample.
Wasn't that Abraham's response to the rich man....something like "Even if one came back from the dead, they still wouldn't believe."
Excellent point, b-d
Calling for redemption, in a way.
See #8 and #12. You and sample man are on the same page.
can you provide a link?
Do not tempt the Lord your God.
This fellow is heading for a warm eternity.
A snowball free zone! :>)
note: Bernard Ruffin is a Lutheran minister who was initially very skeptical of Padre Pio The eye reappears More astounding still may be the thoroughly-documented cure of a construction worker named Giovanni Savino, who was severely injured on February 15, 1949, in a dynamite mishap. When Dr. Guglielmo San- guinetti, a physican, and Padre Raffaele, another Capuchin, and Father Dominic Meyer rushed to the injured man's side, all three men noted that among Savino's numerous injuries, his right eye was gone entirely. They agreed that 'the socket was empty', reports biographer Bernard Ruffin. Other doctors confirmed that the eye was completely annihilated and the other one badly damaged. It looked like Savino was also going to be totally blind. For three days, the worker lay on a hospital bed with his head and face bandaged. When a surgeon entered the room three days later, Savino reported that Padre Pio had visited him something Savino recognized because he had detected the beautiful aroma so often reported around the priest. A week later, at about one a.m. on February 25, 1949, Savino felt a slap on the right side of his face the side where the eye was completely gone. I asked, 'Who touched me?' testified Savino. There was nobody. Again I smelled the aroma of Padre Pio. It was beautiful. When later the ophthalmologist an atheist came to examine the remaining eye, there was a shock. To their amazement, writes Ruffin, the doctors found that his shattered face was fully healed and covered with new skin. Savino, however, was most delighted at the fact that he could see. 'I can see you!' he said excitedly to the eye specialist. And indeed, as is medically documented, the doctor saw, to his utter astonishment, that Savino had his right eye back. Somehow, the eye had materialized. (Now I believe too, exclaimed the doctor, because of what my own hands have touched!) As Ruffin notes, it's one thing when diseases disappear; this is exciting. It's tremendous to hear of diabetes or arthritis or even cancer leaving a person. For a missing part of the body to be restored, however, is another matter, noted the expert biographer.
Planting seeds. When speaking to some “that Christian made more sense than I thought he would” is a victory.