Tag Archives: Prayer

Explaining the Unexplainable

god did it

Things happen that defy explanation.

I spent a good part of my life within a religious structure that took great pains to explain the unexplainable.

No matter the issue or the circumstance that couldn’t be explained, the answer was always the same.

God.

God did it.

To God be the glory.

Usually, the God did it answer was reserved for unexplainable things that were perceived as good.

Bad things?

God was never held accountable for what was perceived as bad.

Sometimes God would be given credit with a disclaimer. God was testing us, trying us, or punishing us.

Usually bad things were attributed to the Devil, to the flesh, to sin.

Every unexplainable thing that happened was explained.

To God be the glory great things he hath done, the old hymn says.

God is sovereign.

God is in control.

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

In simple words God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and always present.

Prayer.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Then out of nowhere an unexplainable answer comes.

God.

As I reflect on 50 years spent thinking God was the answer to every question, I am forced to ask myself “how many of those God sighting in my life were just human sightings or Bruce sightings?”

I can count on one hand the things I have experienced in life that have no explanation.

Everything else that I attributed to God can just as easily be attributed to self or another human being.

I prayed for countless numbers of people who were sick, dying, mentally afflicted or bankrupt. I can not point to one prayer over 50 years where I can honestly say “there is no human explanation for what happened.”

All of the dying people I prayed for died.

All the prayers in the world didn’t keep my wife and I from going bankrupt.

All the prayers in the world didn’t keep me from debilitating illness.

Either I was a bad prayer-er or their was something amiss in the whole “let go, let God” kind of praying.

I prayed every day for 35 years.

I read my Bible almost every day too, reading through the Good Book dozens of time.

I witnessed, preached on street corners, and preached almost 5,000 sermons.

I worked for a pittance of money, believing that my self-sacrifice was pleasing to God.

I sincerely committed my heart, soul, and mind to following Jesus.

Yet, God was silent.

Oh, I attributed many things to the hand of God, the voice of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit.

All lies.

Well intentioned lies, but lies nonetheless.

I really thought God filled my mouth with the words to say when I preached.

But I always wondered, if the Bible is the Words of God why not just read the Bible to people? Wouldn’t it be better if people heard directly from God without an intermediary?

I pastored a lot of people who had unexplainable things happen to them.

The answers were always the same.

God.

Satan.

The flesh.

I have come to see that most things in life, even the surprising things, can be attributed to  human volition.

And those, count on one hand, things I can find no explanation for?

They are just that, unexplainable.

God never enters the equation.

I have no desire to rob anyone of their God.

I know the power of having God as the answer to the great questions of life.

It is comforting.

If God is always on the job there is no need to lose any sleep over what may come our way.

But for me…

Life happens.

Shit happens.

Unexplainable things happen.

Life is what it is.

Let me finish this post with quote from Ecclesiastes.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Published: July 21, 2014 | Comments: 3

Do Atheists Want to Turn America Into an Atheist Nation?

separation of church and state

I do not know of any atheists who are working to turn the United States into an atheist nation. I do know a number of atheists who are working very hard to stop theocrats from turning the United States into a Christian nation.

Most atheists want neutrality. Theocrats want authority, domination, and control. When it comes to government and public education, atheists want Christian dogma checked at the door. We want science taught without creationism and other mythical Bible stories being part of the curriculum. Christians are free to learn about creationism at home or at their houses of worship and they are free to home school their children or send them to a Christian school. However, when it comes to the public schools, evidence-based science is the only science that should be taught in the classroom.

We want oaths and prayers to God banished from the halls of Congress and any place secular government does its business. We want the first amendment and the separation of church and state strictly applied. We recognize that the United States is a secular state and we expect the government to function as a secular state.

Atheists promise to fight those who want to make the Christian God the God of the government and public school classroom.  We promise to fight those who try to import God into the public school classroom by teaching religious dogma as science. From Scopes to Dover and beyond, we expect public school children to be taught religion-free science. We expect public school classrooms to be free of sectarian prayers. Bible readings, and attempts to proselytize school children.

We promise to fight attempts to use government funds and programs to support churches and private religious schools. Our fight is direct and to the point…there is no place in America for state sanctioned, state funded religion.

Atheists respect the right of religious people to believe what they want. We wish Christians would give atheists the same courtesy. We have no desire to turn the United States into an atheist state and we sure as hell do not intend to let theocrats turn the United States into a Christian state. We know that history clearly shows us that when church and state are one people die and freedom is lost.

Notes

I speak generally about atheists and atheism. I know I can not speak for all atheists.

Published: July 7, 2014 | Comments: 13

I Said a Prayer but God Didn’t Answer

yeshua house of prayer weston ohio

On our way to Marblehead/Port Clinton, Ohio we passed by an interesting sign at Yeshua House of Prayer outside of Weston, Ohio. Here’s the sign:

yeshua house of prayer weston ohio

I stood right there and prayed a prayer…..I waited, I waited, OK I waited for three seconds, but God did not answer my prayer. Then I glanced up at the other church sign and I saw why my prayer didn’t get answered. Silly me, the Yeshua House of Prayer God ® only answers prayer from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM. I was there at the wrong time.

 

Published: July 6, 2014 | Comments: 11

What Has God Done For You Lately or Where Oh Where did God Go?

where is god

One of the hardest things for me to do as I went through the deconversion process was to give an honest accounting of the God sightings or God moments in my life.

For 50 years I was a card-carrying member of the Christian Church.  With gusto I sang  songs like “Oh How I Love Jesus” and “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” Jesus and his Church was EVERYTHING to me. I ate, drank, and slept Jesus. If there was a 110% Club for Christians I would have been a charter member. There wasn’t anything I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for the sake of the call.

I believed I was a God called, Spirit anointed preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I “felt” God when I preached. I “saw” God work in the churches I pastored and in the personal affairs of my family. 20 years ago I would  have told anyone who asked that I bumped into God everywhere I went.  Like David, no matter where I made my bed God was there.

After I left the ministry and began to deconvert I had to give an honest reckoning of the times and circumstances that I called God sightings or God moments: unexpected money in the offering plate with my name on it, mysterious food baskets left on our porch, getting thousands of miles out of old, junk cars. preaching sermons where dozens of people came to the altar to be saved or get right with God.

Over the course of my Christian life I accumulated thousands of anecdotal stories that proved God and I were on a first name basis. We were best buds. God and I were friends. I sincerely believed God was but a thought away from me. When everyone else abandoned me God was there . After all, he promised to never leave me or forsake me. (evidently God didn’t count on me leaving or forsaking him)

As I began to carefully and honestly look at  these things, I came to the conclusion that what I thought was God being God was actually the work of other human beings or myself. I found no proof, no circumstance where there was no other answer but God.

It was a hard place to come to when I finally admitted that all my prayers were nothing more than Bruce talking to Bruce.  It wasn’t easy to admit that my spirit powered sermons were nothing more than the work of a man who knows how to craft a good sermon and deliver it. Virtually everything I accomplished during my life as a Christian could be explained without a deity entering the explanation. The few unexplainable things that have happened in my life are not enough proof to me that God exists or that there is a God who is intimately involved in the affairs of the human race.

Recently,  I saw the following sign at a nearby Christian Church::

No One is Hopeless Whose Hope is in God

I pondered for a bit the hopeless times in my life, those times when I really could have used a God moment or a God sighting. In those difficult and dark times God was silent. God was AWOL. The God of the Bible was no different from the God named Baal that Elijah mocked in 1 Kings 18:21-39:

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

Elijah mocked the god Baal. The Bible says:

Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

Elijah had a fun time mocking the worshipers of Baal. I suspect Elijah had a smirk, a mocking smile on his face, when he said that perhaps Baal was not available because he busy talking with someone else, on vacation,using the bathroom, or taking a nap. (or busy shooting an episode of SG-1) Funny guy, that Elijah!

Yet, as many Christians turned atheist can attest, the absence of Baal in 1 Kings 18 is not much different from the absence of the Christian God in their life. When all of our supposed God sightings and God moments are rationally and exhautively investigated, we must conclude that what we thought was God was actually other humans being or self. Sure, there will always be things that happen that we can’t explain. But, do these rare unexplainable moments rise to the level of believing the Christian God of the Bible is behind everything that happens in our life?

While God’s presence, according to praying Christians, is seen in grilled cheese sandwiches,water towers, weeping statutes, game winning scores, and being elected to congress, when it comes to the things that matter, things like sickness, disaster, starvation,and abject poverty, God is nowhere to be found.

God was able to get an extra 20.00 for me in the offering plate but he couldn’t do a thing for me when my health began to decline.  God was able to get my family an extra bag of groceries but he couldn’t do a thing about my mom’s suicide, my dad’s untimely death, or my way-to-young sister in-law’s death in a motorcycle accident. In the things that mattered, God was AWOL.

I know all the arguments that Christians might give at this juncture. Perhaps they will accuse me of arrogance. How do I KNOW God wasn’t there for me? I have no doubt some well-meaning Christian is sure to say “Perhaps things could have been worse for you but God stepped in and made things easier.”

Imagine a man beating the hell out of his girlfriend in broad daylight on a public street. Imagine me seeing this and doing nothing to stop the man from beating the hell out of his girlfriend. After he has beaten her into a bloody pulp, I rush up to her and offer her my handkerchief to wipe the blood from her face. Most people would rightly chastise me for doing nothing. What the girl needed was deliverance from her attacker. She needed someone to stand up for her. She needed someone to put an end to the beating. What kind of man am I if I do nothing? (and BTW this is a true story except for one difference. I stopped the man and then reported him to his parole officer and they threw his degenerate ass in jail)

If God can do something and doesn’t, what kind of God is he? I find no comfort in Bible verses and preacher talk when what I really need is deliverance from the pain and suffering I face every day. It seems, based on all the available evidence, that God is never around when it matters. God is like the absentee father who can’t understand why his children call him by first name and think he is a prick. No matter how many trinkets the absentee father gives his children, what they really want is the one things he can not or will not give them……..his presence and help in time of need.

My wife and I raised six children. Our oldest son turned 35 this year and our youngest son just turned 21. My kids don’t need me much these days. They are all grown-up. But, there is one thing they know for certain, WHEN they really need me, no matter the pain and agony I am in, I will be there for them. I won’t put their call through to voice mail, nor will I pick up the phone and give them nothing but silence. They KNOW I will do all I can for them. Why? Because that’s what a good father does. (and let’s be honest,  God the Father’s behavior towards the human race, (found in the Bible) and even those who are Christian, is hardly stellar. He should not expect to get a Father of the Year award anytime soon)

Some days I am sad that my God died several years ago.  I miss him now and again. I miss that warm, fuzzy feeling I used to get when I sensed that God was near. Reality doesn’t give me that warm, fuzzy feeling, but I know when I really need help in time of need I will know where to turn: my wife, my children, my sister and brother, and my friends. They are the real gods of my life. When I cry out in pain, when I desperately need help, they are there for me. They expect me to handle my own grilled cheese God sightings, but if I need help buying a house, putting in a new bathroom, fixing my car, planting trees in the yard, or getting a ride to a specialist in Toledo, I know I can count on them. They have promised to never leave me or forsake me and so far they have kept their promise.

Published: June 7, 2014 | Comments: 2

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, A Book Review

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Book Reviews

boy who came back from heaven

(please make sure you read this update)

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life Beyond this World is written by Kevin and Alex Malarkey.

At the bottom of the front cover are the words A True Story. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven recounts the story of six-year-old Alex Malarkey who was seriously injured in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed.  While in a coma, Alex was taken to heaven and given the grand tour. He returned to earth and reentered his body so he could later share with all of us what he saw and heard. The book also records post-coma trips to heaven by Alex and even includes an angel appearance to Alex’s father Kevin Malarkey.

I almost stopped reading the book after reading the Introduction. Kevin Malarkey, an Evangelical Christian therapist in Columbus Ohio wrote:

I’m not here to beat a drum, convince you of a theological argument, or force you to validate Alex’s experiences. But I humbly offer a challenge: suspend your judgment for just a few chapters. I think your life may be changed forever.

If Alex’s story is a TRUE story then why do I need to suspend my judgment? Should not the truth of the story be clear to all who read it?

According to Kevin Malarkey:

Heaven is real. There is an unseen world at work—an intensely  active spiritual realm right here on earth, all around us. And much of this activity keeps us from focusing on our future destination, the place where we will spend eternity. Alex has been there….

The only thing The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven actually proves is that some people believe there is a heaven. Alex’s story “might” be true, but there is not one shred of evidence in the book to prove such a claim. In other words, we have to accept at face value the words of six-year-old (or 11-year-old by the time the book is written) Alex Malarkey; that what he shares is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The story begins with Kevin and Alex Malarkey involved in a horrific automobile accident. Kevin, while talking on his cellphone, turned in front of an automobile coming in the opposite direction. The driver of the other car was a woman with two young children. Alex was injured far worse than anyone else. The accident left him paralyzed and in a coma for 2 months.

At the accident scene unconscious Alex saw:

  • Five angels carrying his father outside the car. Four were carrying the body and one angel was supporting his head and neck. (the police report said Kevin Malarkey was ejected from the automobile)
  • The devil sitting in the front seat of the automobile accusing Alex of causing the accident.

While in a coma, Alex was taken to heaven. According to the book, here is what Alex experienced and saw:

  • His father was in heaven too, but only for a short time.
  • Alex saw the five angels that carried his father’s body outside the automobile. The five angels stayed with Alex so his father could have time alone with God. His father prayed to God to let him trade places with Alex but God told him no. God sent his father’s spirit back to earth and Alex remained in heaven. God told him that he would heal him later on earth to bring more glory to His (God’s) name.
  • While in the emergency room, Alex watched everything that was going on from the ceiling. Jesus was standing right there beside him. Alex felt safe and he was not afraid to die.
  • While in the emergency room, Alex saw 150 pure, white angels with fantastic wings who were all calling his name. After awhile they said “Alex Go back.”  Alex did go back and Jesus came with him and held him  during his time in the emergency room.
  • Alex found himself in the presence of God. God had a human-like body but a lot bigger. Alex was only allowed to see God from the neck down because the Bible says anyone who looks on the face of God dies.
  • There is an inner heaven and an outer heaven. The outer heaven has a hole that leads to hell.
  • There  are lots of colorful, beautiful things to see and beautiful music too.
  • Heaven is a lot like earth but it is perfect in every detail.
  • Angels  are white, have wings, and are sexless.
  • Some angels are short, 2 feet tall, and others are much taller.
  • There are different types of angels with different jobs to do.
  • There are lots of buildings in heaven but Alex only really noticed the Temple. God never leaves his throne in the Temple. There is a scroll in a glass container that only Jesus can read.

After Alex came out of  a coma he continued to see not of this world beings. Angels were present in Alex’s hospital room.The angels helped and talked to Alex and he talked back to them.

One day, Alex told his father that he had something important to tell him. He wanted to make sure his father would not be sad after hearing what Alex had to say. Alex said:

There are two days I look forward to more than any others in my life. The first is the day I die. You see, I can’t wait to get home. It’s not that I want to die right now; I’m not sad…. The second is the day when the devil goes to the Lake of Fire. I can’t wait for him to be gone for good.

According to Alex, demons and evil spirits came to visit him. He is thankful that his father taught him how to pray and how to take authority over the demons.

Alex had this to say about the devil, demons, and evil spirits:

  • They are evil, scary, and ugly.
  • They accused Alex of things, bringing him doubt, making him feel sad, telling him he will never be healed and that God won’t protect him.
  • The devil has three heads and all three heads have hair of fire. (is the devil a redhead?)  Each of the heads speak different lies at the same time.
  • The devil has beaming red eyes with flames for pupils.  His nose is nasty and torn up.
  • The devil speaks English to Alex. His voice is screechy like a witch and changes into different sounds.
  • The devil’s mouth is funny looking with only a few moldy teeth.
  • The devil’s body has a human form but has no flesh.
  • The devil wears a torn and dirty robe.
  • The devil personally appeared to Alex. Sometimes the devil came along with evil spirits but other times he came alone.
  • Demons are often green and have hair made of fire. Their skin and robes are just like the devil’s. Their eyes are like the devil’s and they have long fingernails.

According to Alex, demons walk around telling lies. In Frank Peretti style, Alex says that there is a spiritual war going on—angels against demons.

Towards the end of the book Kevin Malarkey lets readers know that Alex has continued to take periodic trips to heaven. Readers are also told that Kevin himself had an experience where an angel named John appeared to him.

The angel John gave Kevin  a message:

I have anointed you with a message of hope…for the church….for the body of Christ…and for those who will be the body…..that He will be raised up and seen in His true glory…This is the word of the Lord given to you by the angel John.

Speak of Me, for Me, and about Me. Use Alex to show who I am. I have chosen him as a screen upon which to show myself. (a precursor of the book being made into a movie?) I am unity, the Trinity, a complete circle. Your story  will lead to praise and worship, there will be altar calls. Your bills are the least of my worries. I will be with you all the days of your life. I will speak to you, I will guide you, I am in you. I am about you, you be about me. My love is unconditional. My vengeance is restricted for the holy. My apostles died for Me, will you die for Me? I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.

Most of the book is Kevin Malarkey’s explanation of Alex’s trips to heaven and how God is using them to reach other people. One chapter is devoted to the things that Alex knew about while he was in a coma. To many people, this is proof above all proof. Alex talked of things that were not possible for him to know.

The story is what it is. Either you believe it or you don’t. Just like the book Heaven is for Real, you have the story of a young child being taken to heaven. Both boys waited for years before their story was put to print. Both stories show clear signs of being shaped by adult human hands. (whether by parents or book editors)

I have no doubt that the Malarkey family believes what is written here. Like many Christians, they are desperate to know  their lives matter and that when death comes there is a new life that awaits beyond the grave.

As a non-believer, the story said little that I would consider proof of the existence of the Christian God, the devil, heaven, hell, or  life after death. I found The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven to be the story of a mythical God  who paralyzed a young child  in an automobile accident so he could get some sort of perverse praise and glory. With all the suffering, sickness, disease, and death, in the world it seems to me that God has done very little that is worthy of praise and glory.

My conclusion? Kevin Malarkey asked me to suspend my judgment as I read the book. I could not do so. I found the book to be, from a Christian perspective, heretical. From a non-Christian perspective, I found the book to be laughable, another sorry attempt to sell the public the Christian myth of heaven, hell, and life after death.

Published: June 6, 2014 | Comments: 17

What Jesus Thinks of Recent Supreme Court Decision on Prayer

Jesus said in Matthew 6:6-8:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

steve benson graphic

Steve Benson

Published: May 15, 2014 | Comments: 5

A Few Thoughts From the Couch

guest post

A guest post by Ian

I am sitting on the couch at 6:30 in the morning. In my lap is my 5-year-old. He has had a dry, hacking cough for two days. Last night, he coughed all night. My wife held him until 5:30, then I got up to take a turn.

I feel bad for the little guy. His belly hurts from coughing. He hasn’t slept well. He doesn’t want to eat. We are keeping him hydrated and letting him eat all the snacks he wants to keep his calories up. There is no comfort here, just a dad holding his little guy.

As a Christian, I would have prayed and asked for healing for him. I would have prayed for his cough to stop. In fact, I did this for each of my other kids. When the cough wouldn’t stop in a half hour or so, I would pray again. I would get on social media and ask for prayers. I would text and call people and ask for prayers. I would feel better knowing people were praying for him. I could feel God’s presence calming him. Then, the coughs would start back up. I would pray more earnestly, to no avail. I would realize God was doing this for a purpose. Then, I would give him more medicine, since it was four hours later. This would go in for days until he was better. At church, I would publicly praise God for healing him.

Now, as an ex-Christian, I sit here on the couch. I gave him some medicine that helped quite a bit with the cough. We put Vicks on his feet and turned on a humidifier.

My wife is tired, so she went to bed for a nap; this way she will get a little sleep before going to church. She can’t skip today because there will be no one to play the piano. Also, so many people are gone right now, it would just be the pastor and his immediate family, with one other family, if she wasn’t there. That is a bit of guilt to carry around. Of course, there is no guilt for one of the other families going to another town, so they can go to a relative’s church and watch the Big Game afterwards.

So, here I sit with my little guy. No one to pray to. No one to comfort me. He is finally sleeping, that is all of the comfort I need. Real, tangible results. I realize that the prayers never did a thing. In fact, my little guy asked me, “Dad, how do prayers make people better?”.  I told him I didn’t know, sometimes people just get better without prayers. I can honestly tell him that the medicine helped him get better, though.

Just a few thoughts from a dad who his holding his little guy. A little guy who didn’t get any relief from prayer, but fell asleep after taking medicine.

Published: February 4, 2014 | Comments: 5

The Similarity Between Answered Prayer and the Gifts Santa Brings

guest post

A guest post by Richard. He blogs at RichardMarlowe236.

I grew up as a fundamentalist Christian.  A church three times a week, the Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God, evolution is a lie type of Christian.  I have since deconverted and consider myself an atheist (I prefer the term free-thinker).  I plan to write a later post detailing my journey.

A few months ago I had a conversation with a family.  The family member is a fundamentalist Christian.  I had just revealed my loss of faith to her.  Needless to say she was surprised.  She seemed unable to fathom how anybody could deny the existence of God. So, the conversation turned to proof for God’s existence.  Her reasons for believing were personal experience, scriptural authority, creation, and answered prayer.  While the first three reasons played a part in her belief, answered prayer was the most convincing to her.  She never said this directly, but it was the primary emphasis of the discussion.  Her logic for answered prayer as proof of God is as follows:

  • She had a need or want for something.
  • She prayed to the Christian God for this something.
  • She received this something.
  • God is why she received it.
  • Therefore, God exists.

Answered prayer is a common “proof”  by theists for the existence of God.  Sometimes it can be difficult to convince believers that answered prayer may have a natural explanation or may be a coincidence.

Yet this logic is flawed.  I witnessed this exact same logic unfold before my eyes except it was not to prove God’s existence.  It was proof for Santa’s existence.  (I know, I know!  Atheists always equate belief in God with belief in Santa.  Please keep reading as I am just using a personal example to demonstrate the flaw in the above-mentioned logic.)

I have three young children.  The oldest two believe in Santa Claus.  Starting in November, they began picking out toys they wanted for Christmas.  They went to see Santa and asked him for those toys.  On Christmas morning they awoke to these toys under the tree.  Automatically they attributed this to Santa.  To them it was “proof” for his existence.  Their logic was as follows:

  • They had a want for something.
  • They requested (prayed) for Santa to receive this something.
  • They received this something.
  • Santa Claus is why they received it.
  • Therefore, Santa exists.

See any similarities to the answered prayer logic?  It is exactly the same.  Actually you could use this logic to prove almost any being’s existence.

This does not even take into consideration unanswered prayer.  When this is brought up, many believers will say sometimes God says “No.”  Basically it boils down to this:

If I pray to God for something there are two possible outcomes.

1.  It will come to pass.

Or

2.  It will not.

How would this be different if there was no God?  If you made it this far… Thanks for reading!

Published: December 28, 2013 | Comments: 10