Why Doesn't God Heal Amputees?
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Spiders regrow severed legs. Regeneration in spiders is not just limited to the legs. They also have the ability to grow new pedipalps, mouth parts, silk spinners and more. God clearly loves spiders more than humans...
The 'Amputee's Dilemma', as I understand it, is largely targeted at the belief that modern faith healers are legit. The fact that works of fiction describe amputees being healed doesn't really matter in this respect, IMO.
Hi think tank. You asked, “Do we have to give up using the 'Amputee's Dilemma' once and for all?”
Apparently I am not one of the ‘we’ to whom you’re referring as I’ve never used it as an argument. I am curious, though, who is included in the ‘we’.
Thanks for the honesty. The 'we' would be any atheist who has used the argument. Honestly, I have seen it thrown around in the debate room in the past.
I’m quite sure you’ve seen it in the past. I made that comment because I have an aversion to ‘we’ (and other collective pronouns) being used to herd folks identified as atheist. Actually, I dislike those collective pronouns used about theists (and others) as well. Each of us is an individual. My preference is to be approached as an individual as well as to approach someone else the same way.
Completely understood. As I was writing my comments, I was actually thinking that my use of 'Christians' and 'Christianity' was doing the same thing, as not all Christians believe the same thing. Especially when it comes to their concept of god and/or their interpretation of the biblical texts. I, of course, do not believe all atheists are the same, and everyone uses different arguments. I will keep this in mind in my future posts. Thanks!
My response has two parts. First a quick answer to your question and second a response to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB) - What The Bible Says About Amputation if you are interested in that. Just for your consideration, no need to feel obligated to go over it.
To answer your question. Healing in the Bible was either done because a prophet, with the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit, had a purpose to fulfill and some event transpired where they could heal someone. It was rare, like maybe two times that I can think of in the Hebrew / Aramaic scripture. In the Christian Greek scripture it was different. Jehovah was demonstrating to the people that Jesus and his disciples were approved of by him. That his favor had switched from the Jews to the Christians. So these healings and other works were signs for the newly interested or the weak in faith. All of those people would eventually die. As Paul pointed out, all of these works would end upon the death of the disciples because they were no longer necessary. (1 Corinthians 12:8, 9, 28, 30; 13:8)
On the subject of what the Bible says about amputation, the SAB uses Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (KJV). The SAB says that a woman's hand must be amputated if she touches a man's genitals, but touching isn't what the scripture is suggesting. The KJV suggests she takes the genitals in her hand. In the struggle to defend her own husband she grabs the genitals of the other man in order to crush them.
It is important to realize that this was a law for the nation of Israel only, and they agreed to the law. (Exodus 24:3 KJV) Breaking the law was an offense against their King and God, a religious offense and lèse-majesté. The Law of Moses was also temporary, until the more perfect law of Jesus, (Galatians 3:19-24 KJV). What this means is that the Law of Moses was applicable to the nation of Israel until Jesus came and from there on, the Law of Moses was a guide. (Romans 7:6 KJV) It was a standard of perfection marking the one who could keep it as perfect, but none could keep it except Jesus.
To commit adultery brought the penalty of death to the ancient Israelite. To a Christian it would bring only a removal from the
congregation until they repented. Adultery was still a sin of God, but not applicable to the laws of a nation unless the nation where the adultery was committed had its own laws regarding the matter.
The skeptic as well as the believer often overlooks this very important fact.
The nation of Israel was brought about by God for the purpose of demonstrating the law and bringing about the Messiah, who would
remove sin and bring about life everlasting for those who would have it. Therefore man's right and ability to procreation was extremely important.
At Judges 1 4-6 Judah and Simeon clashed with 10,000 troops of the Canaanites Perizzites at Bezek. Adonibezek was a powerful
ruler who had previously amputated the big toes and thumbs of 70 pagan kings. It was a practice used by the ancient Athenians so that their foes could row but not handle a sword or spear. The Israelites did to him what he did to others. Toe for toe, thumb for thumb. That is why Adonibezek said; "Just the way I have done God has repaid me."
At Ezekiel 23:25, 34 (KJV) there is a symbolic reference to the amputation of ear, nose and breast which the SAB has taken as
being literal. Chapter 23 of Ezekiel deals with the figurative prostitute sisters Oholibah (Jerusalem; the two tribe kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as capital) and Oholah (Samaria; the ten tribe kingdom of Israel of which Samaria was the capital.) Oholibah means "my tent is in her," since God's temple was in Jerusalem, and Oholah means "her tent."
Oholah (Israel) had been unfaithful by seeking security in political alliances, leading her to adopt the false worship of her allies. This caused her to defile herself with their dungy idols. She ceased to exist when she was overthrown by the Assyrians in 740 B.C.E.
Oholibah (Judah) had been even more sinful and suffered devastation at the hands of the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.
The ear is sometimes used in the Bible to signify spiritual deafness. (Isaiah 6:10) The nose is often related to anger, in fact the most common Hebrew word for anger is aph which means "nose / nostril" due to the snorting of an angry person. (Proverbs 30:32-33)
Beating of or tearing out of the breast was a figurative term to denote extreme humiliation, stress and grief. (Isaiah 32:12 /
Matthew 5:29-30; 18:8-9 and Mark 9:43-47 are of course, figurative. If it were not figurative we would see a great number of people running around without hands and eyes. Jesus indicates the spiritual importance of deadening the hand and eyes in reference to sin. It would be better for a person to remove the offending parts but that isn't literally necessary; all that is needed is to repress the sin those parts would be used for.
Thank you for the lengthy response, Empedocles.
Forgive my ignorance, but I do not fully understand the response. I thought I was with you, until your last paragraph.
"Matthew 5:29-30; 18:8-9 and Mark 9:43-47 are of course, figurative. If it were not figurative we would see a great number of people running around without hands and eyes. Jesus indicates the spiritual importance of deadening the hand and eyes in reference to sin. It would be better for a person to remove the offending parts but that isn't literally necessary; all that is needed is to repress the sin those parts would be used for."
How did you conclude that these versus are figurative? My understanding is that the healing that Jesus did was both literal and figurative, as much in the bible is. The people were literally healed, and it provided a lesson to those who did not know Jesus like you said. What am I missing?
Jesus did undoubtedly literally heal people, as did some of the Jewish prophets, and Jesus' disciples. The figurative application in Matthew 5 given in my last paragraph to which you alluded was to Jesus' remark that we should cut off our hands or pluck out our eyes in a literal sense rather than allow them to cause us to sin. That was figurative. His healing was literal, however.
Okay, we are on the same page. This is my understanding of it also. Although there are Saints within the church that have literally done this haha. St. Simon the Tanner comes to mind.
"Jesus did undoubtedly literally heal people,"
There's no contemporary evidence he existed at all, and absolutely no evidence for any of the risible supernatural claims the bible makes. the rest of your post is coloured bubbles, as usual.
I mean, if we are being honest here, there is certainly documentation that Jesus existed. I think the bigger debate is whether he performed miraculous acts or not. And what's kind of scary is that these same sources (non-christians) make mention of Jesus doing strange things. I have copy/pasted from one article below. If you google it you will find multiple writings like this. Some, of course, are disputed, but I find it hard to dismiss all of them.
Tacitus—or more formally, Caius/Gaius (or Publius) Cornelius Tacitus (55/56–c. 118 C.E.)—was a Roman senator, orator and ethnographer, and arguably the best of Roman historians. Tacitus’s last major work, titled Annals, written c. 116–117 C.E., includes a biography of Nero. In 64 C.E., during a fire in Rome, Nero was suspected of secretly ordering the burning of a part of town where he wanted to carry out a building project, so he tried to shift the blame to Christians. This was the occasion for Tacitus to mention Christians, whom he despised. This is what he wrote—the following excerpt is translated from Latin by Robert Van Voorst:
"[N]either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular."
Could you post some contemporary evidence that shows Jesus existed?
@Sapparo. Please read my post above for evidence.
Those references don't refer to a Jesus. They are also dated to a time after Jesus is commonly said to have lived.
" there is certainly documentation that Jesus existed. "
What does "documentation" mean? There are claims, but they are hardly definitive. There is no contemporary evidence whatsoever. That was written long after Jesus was alleged to have died? How is that contemporary? Is there even any corroborating evidence?
Even if this weren't the case, none of the supernatural claims are lent any credence by posthumous anecdotal claims.
This isn’t true Sheldon. Most scholars (who are unbiased) agree there is enough recorded documentation from non Christian sources that Jesus Christ existed. You tell me what would qualify as “contemporary evidence” and I will provide it. The reason I’m disputing this as an atheist is because if we are going to win this fight we have to at least be honest and acknowledge the truth where it lies.
@ Think Tank
No they don't and I will pre-empt you: if you have any other references by writers before 95CE then please let me know.
What is more telling is the writers contemporary to the alleged events and those alive just after the alleged events of a Jesus' life DID NOT write about any of those unusual events.
Here's a list for you, BTW look up "contemporary" it might clarify your muddle. Most sources are not 'contemporary' but reports of events that happened some 50 to 160 years before.
Here's the most popular apologists "sources"
1> Tacitus, writing some 40 - 60 years after the events refers only to the beliefs of the jewish christians in Rome blamed for the Great Fire in 60CE.
2> Josephus makes only one direct reference to "jesus" and that is a late 3rd century interpolation, aka fraud. Neither is it contemporary. The other reference is to James at the Jerusalem Temple. Scholars are still debating which Jesus is referred to, also the phrase brother 'in' christ or brother 'of christ' Again Josephus was writing many years after the events. Not contemporary.
3> Pliny was writing in 112 CE...hardly contemporary and was writing about the legal status of christians, he didn't mention a physical Jesus or christ.
4>Lucian: You are joking aren't you? I quote: "Lucian's statement was written near 170 CE (about 140 years after the crucifixion), and Lucian himself was born in 125 CE (about 95 years after the crucifixion). It seems rather unlikely that Lucian was an eyewitness."
5> Babylonian Talmud a 3rd century CE (at the earliest) document that parodies the gospel stories and christianity in general. Not contemporary and contradicts most of the gospel narratives.
Once again I state there are NO contemporary references to a jesus as described in the gospels.
Sorry, Old Man, you left out my favourite, Philo of Alexandria who was a member of an influential Jewish family in Palestine.
Philo, the Hellenised Jewish priest, a contemporary of Jesus, who he apparently never met or heard of, and who wrote much of what would later become part of christian doctrine concerning the after life despite not being a christian, also wrote a history about the troubled governorship of Pontius Pilate detailing the problems his administration caused for the Jews and vice versa and not one reference to Jesus, or Barabbas, or that fateful 'washing of the hands" day.
edited for clarity
I agree...but Philo ( He of the Logos) is on my list as "writers who would have written about jesus...but didn't" along with about 30 or 40 others.
"You tell me what would qualify as “contemporary evidence” and I will provide it."
I don't understand the question, you know what contemporary means don't you? Not one single word was written about Jesus until after he was alleged to have died. If you believe you have contemporary evidence by all means post it.
There is no definitive evidence Jesus existed at all, he may have, but any claim he was anything other than human is completely unevidenced. I'm not saying Jesus didn't exist merely pointing out the evidence is sparse at best, and thus far from conclusive. Most scholars are religious, and that in my experience does not suggest objectivity, though there is Bart D. Ehrman, who believes an historical Jesus is probable, and he is widely respected as a biblical and historical scholar, and of course he is an atheist.
This doesn't change the fact there is zero contemporary evidence that Jesus existed.
"I don't understand the question, you know what contemporary means don't you? Not one single word was written about Jesus until after he was alleged to have died."
- Well, obviously. Who would write about a low class preacher during his approximately 3 year long ministry? The question though is why are we looking for contemporary evidence for Jesus but for other historical figures, we're content with mentions from later writers? Why this special treatment of Jesus?
Good question. I think that atheists who stress the importance of secular histories are often fairly ignorant of history. They think that the Bible isn't an accurate historical record because it contains alleged mythology. All histories contain mythology, legends, errors, spurious passages, bias, questionable content and even the supernatural. Whales and squid were once supernatural.
Atheists will find any reason to dismiss the Bible and it's message, sometimes while digging around in the dirt for pottery shards and tablets that contain the very same thing in order to more thoroughly understand our past. It's always puzzled me, but the few atheists that I have known online who had a superior understanding of the Bible would never question it's historical significance.
One such conversation I had, as Guest, at the SAB forum in 2009 with an informed atheist named Rambo. A very interesting discussion if you are interested. Go Here.
If you think the bible is accurate portrayal of history I have a nice Opera House and Bridge to lease you.... It most certainly is not.
One of the most prestigious Jewish Unversities ( Tel Aviv) had a Dept of Archeology endowed to research and prove the historical basis of the bible. You you should read the published papers on their website and in other libraries. In short nearly every bible story of importance was debunked or absolutely nothing (no archeology) was found. What they did find was fascinating, from the pre biblical Israelis worshipping Ashera as "Mrs God" in their Hearths to finding that Joshua (if he existed ) sent his time conquering already abandoned cities.
You are making totally unfounded assertions about historical accuracy and attempting to reduce the modern methods of archeology and Historical research "as digging around in the dirt for pottery shards and tablets that contain the very same thing"
I can assure you except in very few cases the sherds and tablets bear out nothing of events as described in the bible.
Dismissing such foundations of faith as the Flood, Exodus, The conquering of Canaan, the slavery in Egypt, the Davidian "Empire"....what is left? Apocryphal stories? ( Arakish much more your field than mine)
The Bible including the modern NT, apocrypha and Gnostic gospels are, of course, historically significant which is a long way from historically accurate which you are trying to conflate.
At least most atheist know more ACCURATE history than ANY Religious Absolutist alive today, or has ever lived. And you are correct. If you were to truly research the Bible, you find a much older myth/legend for every story in the Bible, including your precious magic lich virgin named Heysoos, King David, David and Goliath, Solomon and his temple, EVERY LAST STORY IN THE BIBLE IS PLAGIARIZED FROM FAR OLDER MYTHS AND LEGENDS.
You seem to forget that you were once atheist who has brainwashed himself into being a Religious Absolutist.
“Religion is not merely a tool to oppress the masses, it is a self perpetuating scam that leads the masses to oppress themselves.” — Micheal Sherlock
This definitely applies to you. Especially the bold text. Think Critically about it Empedocles.
There are comparable figures to Jesus in the Near East who were mentioned in contemporary sources.
It is thus odd that Jesus is not mentioned, especially considering the noteworthiness of the events attributed to him, e.g. the empire-wide census just before his birth, the Sun darkening at the time of his death, his resurrection from the dead as well as numerous other corpses.
"There are comparable figures to Jesus in the Near East who were mentioned in contemporary sources."
- Interesting. Who? Are they contemporary or also written after their deaths? I know Josephus wrote about possible Messiahs but as it turns out, those passages are merely hearsay in this thread. Or at least it's considered hearsay when Josephus mentions Jesus. Though really, please tell me who. Thanks!
"It is thus odd that Jesus is not mentioned, especially considering the noteworthiness of the events attributed to him, e.g. the empire-wide census just before his birth, the Sun darkening at the time of his death, his resurrection from the dead as well as numerous other corpses."
Interesting you point these out. An empire-wide census wouldn't have been attributed to Jesus at all, I would think as he would've been a mere peasant child at that time. The sun darkening at the time of his death (though the translations just say the a darkness came over the land) could simply be attributed to a dark cloud passing (noteworthy to his followers and practically no one else). Although, even if someone wrote about this, this account wouldn't be contemporary as Jesus would've already been dead by this time. So we still don't have contemporary sources (even if we had this account).
@Old man shouts at clouds could answer you more extensively than I can. I think the best answer I can give you is to refer you to:
and the various works cited.
There was no empire-wide census at that time. The bible gets a basic fact wrong about Jesus' parents in an attempt to show how he could have been born in Bethlehem.
The gospel attributed to Luke says "and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour THEN the sun was darkened/obscured", which is a distinct darkness from the earth being darkened.
The gospel attributed to Matthew also says there was an earthquake which caused visible damage, and that many saints raised from the dead and appeared to many.
"There was no empire-wide census at that time. The bible gets a basic fact wrong about Jesus' parents in an attempt to show how he could have been born in Bethlehem."
Have you ever considered the possibility that the census story is just a variation of the 7th Commandment?
Exodus 34:23 (CEB) = "23 All your males should appear three times a year before the Lord God, Israel’s God."
The census story serves as the introduction to the Jesus character, who is supposed to be the messiah (Israel's God). The arrival of the wise men is an example of the males appearing before God. And they brought gifts, satisfying the clause in the 4th Commandment about not appearing before God empty handed (Exodus 34:20).
The biblical stories need to be associated with the relevant Commandments or else they won't make sense. In some ways it is like a riddle.
And now dishonesty gets the better of you again ( the victim card) when you are having your argument refuted. There are two references to a Jesus in Josephus, the first , a direct reference " Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. This is now accepted as being a 3rd Century CE interpolation..in blunt terms a later fraud possibly by Eusebius.
The second entry (which I will not quote) refers either to James the Brother 'OF' Christ or James the Brother 'IN' Christ...referring to the Temple in Jerusalem. Scholars are still arguing the point but it is not hearsay and is likely to have been written by Josephus.
It doesn't matter as Josephus in the second quote was writing in the History of the Jews many years after the events and it does not reference the specific Jesus of the gospels.
Here is the list of self styled Jewish Messiahs who actually (unlike Jesus have specific, independent 3rd Party writings or mentions): If you bother to look them up, one was crucified by Pilate...hmmm...and a couple claimed 'Virgin Births"
Simon bar Kokhba
Moses Botarel (Egyptian prophet)
Judah ben Shalom
Shukr Kuhayl I
Menahem ben Hezekiah
Menahem ben Judah
Moses of Crete
Nehemiah ben Hushiel
Judah Leib Prossnitz
Simon of Peraea
It wasn't. It was attributed to the Roman Emperor, but, and here is a surprise...There was no census at that time. And guess what: the Romans never ordered people back to their "hometown" ever...it would cause far too much disruption in the Empire.
If you want the list (again) of all those who contemporaries who could have written about Jesus but didn't I can supply that as well...
(Edit to fix tags)