Praying for a miracle in a crisis: Jesus would not approve

I’ve been thinking about death lately, first because of the situations of two of my racquetball buddies, Jerry Davidson and Dale Snesrud, and then because of the sad drama of Luke Bucklin and three of his sons whose bodies were found after their small plane disappeared over a week ago in Wyoming.

I loved seeing the community and family support activities for the Bucklins (Star Tribune: Holding on together), the posts and comments to the company blog, and the messages of support from around the world for the search and rescue teams.  Likewise, the outpouring of affection (and fundraising for medical bills) from Northfielders for Dale (photo album).

It’s pretty common for people to "pray for a miracle" in situations like these. Dale Snesrud told me a few months ago that his pastor and some members of his church gathered in the sanctuary, laying their hands on him while asking God to intercede on his behalf in his fight with cancer. It’s likely that at several area churches today, local ministers led their congregations in prayer for Jerry Davidson’s safe return. The Prayers for Luke site has several of these prayers posted, for example:

Pray for a miracle – that the search and rescue team is able to quickly locate the plane.

Pray for Saturday’s search. There will be three ground search teams in addition to the surveillance aircraft in the area. Pray that they would see more and that the weather system predicted to move in would hold off and allow a full day’s search.

But it’s always troubling to me when people pray for a miracle in situations like these. Why?

Serenity PrayerWhat’s the seed that often takes root in people’s heads when the miracle doesn’t happen?  God couldn’t be bothered. They/I didn’t deserve God’s intervention. Despair. Faith shattered. Talk to any level-headed member of the clergy and they’ll tell you that many of their counseling sessions deal with bad reactions to unselfish unanswered prayers.

More importantly, I think prayers for miracles bring God down to the level of Santa Claus, Wizard of Oz, and Far Side cartoons in people’s minds, contributing to  the incorrect interpretation of Jesus’ words, "Ask and ye shall receive."   People then miss out on the power of true prayer, like the Serenity Prayer and variations.  And agnostics and atheists assume that prayer has nothing to offer them because of its association with the idea that God can intervene in the physical universe and human affairs, an anathema to them.

And that’s bothersome to a spiritual atheist like me.


  1. john george said:

    Griff- These are excellent observations and an excellent start to a thread. I don’t know of anyone who has not struggled with all these issues with prayer. There is not a simplist, universal answer to any of these questions. In fact, there are many scriptural references to all these experiences. One really good one is Heb. chap. 11. If you get a chance, I invite you to read it sometime.

    November 7, 2010
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    John, I’m afraid I’m not much of an Old Testament fan so you’ll have to translate!

    November 8, 2010
  3. David Ludescher said:


    What is a spiritual atheist?

    November 8, 2010
  4. laurie cowles said:

    Griff, I really believe we are to ask for everything in God’s name – the safety of our children, food for the hungry, peace thruout the world and relief for those in crisis. Every request is heard, but perhaps not “answered” as we had hoped. These prayers cannot be made as a way to prove God’s existence, but as a way to express our own thoughts, worries and fears. And hopefully,to grow closer in understanding our Creator’s wishes for us. There are too many stories of prayer requests that have been fully answered that easily trump our “unanswered” ones. Faith is filled with mysteries for which there are no easy answers. We spend a lifetime trying to figure it out. I look at the amazing kindness of strangers, the stripes on a tiger, the power of forgiveness, the haunting beauty of a full moon, and I know there is a power behind it all. We are often strangers to our spiritual side, but prayer helps! Laurie Cowles

    November 8, 2010
  5. David, I cannot say with any certainty what Griff means by spiritual atheist, but I can refer you to my essay written after a visit to the memorial for John Lennon in Central Park (Strawberry Fields). At the end, I write

    “The glow of my impromptu self-designed ceremony still warms me at times even today, remembered as one of the many times when I let myself enjoy the mystery without requiring the rationality that I normally demand. ”

    This after I have written about a spiritual connection without ever having to be a believer in the Dualist world view. Note that this is Dualism as a model of existence, NOT in the sense of good-evil, yin-yang, male-female.

    So, I suspect a spiritual atheist is a philosophical materialist (not the property grubbing materialist) who experiences the mystery in even though they exist in that monadistic realm.

    November 8, 2010
  6. john george said:

    Griff- Hebrews is a New Testament book, just before James. Here is a link to just the chapter I was refering to:
    The writer of this book has not been verified, but it has some earmarkings of the Apostle Paul’s writings.

    There are three verses here that speak to the thread topic:

    “36and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.

    37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated

    38(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”

    I think these people probably prayed about their situation, but they evidently weren’t delivered from it. It is hard to do any in depth study of this in a blog post, as whole books have been written about prayer and why some appear to go unanswered. We do know from the gospel accounts that even Jesus asked that his “cup” could be removed, but He knew God had a greater plan if He would be obedient to the end. We often just don’t understand a set of circumstances and what eternal significance they have for us.

    November 8, 2010
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    John, one would think that my spending 8 years in a seminary would be enough to know which books are in the New Testament. I want my money back!

    It makes no sense to me that when one is a horrible situation, it’s best (spiritually helpful) to believe that there’s eternal significance to it. Extreme example: genocide.

    I think it’s more helpful to believe that A) bad stuff just happens (eg natural disasters); and B) we sometimes get caught in man’s inhumanity to man (eg, wars). True prayer can help us deal constructively with these situations that are out of our control. Asking God to change the situations leads us down the wrong path.

    November 9, 2010
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    David, for me, spiritual atheism means A) recognizing that there’s a reality beyond my physical self and beyond my thinking self; and B) engaging in practices that tap into its power to help align my thinking and behavior in ways that increase my well-being (and by extension, other people in my life).

    There’s just no supernatural being there.

    November 9, 2010
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Laurie, if some prayers are, as you say, “a way to express our own thoughts, worries and fears,” then it seems to me that some are going to be false or worse yet, destructive.

    How can making a trip to the casino and praying for a big payoff ever be a helpful type prayer?

    November 9, 2010
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Bruce, the mystery and "sense of wonder" that you describe in your Strawberry Fields piece sounds similar to what Richard Dawkins just said about spirituality. See this interview in which he says:

    Spirituality can mean something that I’m very sympathetic to, which is, a sort of sense of wonder at the beauty of the universe, the complexity of life, the magnitude of space, the magnitude of geological time. All those things create a sort of frisson in the breast, which you could call spirituality.

    I don’t see how that definition of spirituality is helpful, though, as it doesn’t give any direction on how to better think and live, eg, Buddha’s Eightfold Path or Jesus’ Beatitudes.

    November 9, 2010
  11. Having just read up on the Buddha and the four truths and the Eightfold Path I would say that for the most part any spiritual activity we engage in is our own projection of our own needs through the prism of our own cosmologies. That is, my personal cosmology gives me a physical understanding of how we exist, but I then have to impute the why from what I take on faith, since I do not have access to the scientific tools to conduct the peer reviewed tests necessary to establish those faiths as actionable theories.

    An actionable theory is a theory that I can use to guide behavior comfortable in the thought that the universe behaves according to that theory. My comfort is that I know that my specific application (itself being a mini-experiment) will probably come out as expected. For example: I believe in the theory of gravity to the point that I will not step off a cliff expecting to hover like the road runner. I believe in the theory of evolution to the point that I will not misuse antibiotics because I know that life adapts, and microbial life adapts much faster than we can.

    An unactionable theory is one that does not guide my daily or even life-long life. For example, the theory that stars go through a life-cycle that ends in black holes, novas, neutron stars, brown dwarfs, dead rock, or some other state. This theory does not change my day to day life except in the joy that I get out of the associated imaginings. the theory that there is a host of angels riding on my shoulders does not change my day-to-day actions either … I still wear seatbelts (99.99% of the time, I managed to get ticketed recently so I guess my feet are of clay just like yours).

    Then, the Strawberry Fields experience. This comes under the heading of an application of an unactionable theory (that the ceremony meant anything to anyone/anything else) to make my personal experience more meaningful. This is not unlike the experience a True Believer gets out of prayers, ceremonies and the like. In fact, the placebo effect suggests that we don’t care whether prayer works so much as we care that it changes the way we feel about our circumstance. Buddhism answers this not by suggesting that prayers are answered so much as to say they are attempting to change the very fact that cannot be changed – which is that suffering exists and it is universal.

    So, Griff, to your question. How does this sort of spirituality give us direction? For me, it is in the mathematics of conflict and evolution (game theory and the genetic algorithm). These tools give me a set of beliefs about how the world acts and reacts. I then, for cultural reasons, override those prescriptive models when I see fit. For example, the whole Selfish Gene argument and the altruism is just selfishness buried deep in the mathematics of evolution argument. Because I believe in those algorithms, I also know that the cultural rule to turn the other cheek is not the mathematically preferred action. So be it. I choose, for irrational reasons, to rise above that prescriptive model to apply the culturally preferred choice to forgive trespasses. I do so in the full knowledge that in the long run, the mathematics will punish me. But, as Keynes said, “in the long run we are all dead”, so I suppose that my finite horizon lets me hope to use the short term gain (of acceptance by my peers) that I can experience in the three-score and ten that we all hope for (plus or minus a score or two) to avoid the long term punishment.

    Freedom, peace, justice.

    November 9, 2010
  12. When someone passes over, or passes away or leaves this planet, to me it is not a terrible thing, even though I may sorely miss the person. To me it is their release from this life, as good or bad as it may have been for him or her. To me, it means they are loosing the concerns of the material and emotional world and joining with the Great Spirit from whence we came. A place of perfect knowing and understanding of all possible worlds. Something our present pea brains cannot possibly fathom, except maybe in small tiny bits…like when we fully realize the universe is held in each and every mustard seed.

    Praying is communication with a Being Who is always there to hear you, to help you through your day, it is about adoring the Date what brought you to this dance and being grateful for it all. When you are in this place, your heart opens to the wealth of knowledge and understanding you need to make the best of your place on earth, to live a life of love and happiness and giving and joy.

    It is a place where attitude has no altitude, where greed has no need, where opinions have no minions.

    November 9, 2010
  13. john george said:

    Griff- You and I are on the same page. See this verse in Eccleasties 9:11 (that is Old Testament)
    “11 I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.”
    Where we possibly differ is in the area of our expectations. If I’m in the path of a tornado, I will definitely seek shelter, but if I find none, I would definitely ask God to intervene. Afterall, He did calm the storm on the Sea of Gallilea. Of course, we have larger lakes here in Minnesota than that sea. I’ve seen it from Mount Arbel. But, just as Jesus prayed in the Garden, “Not my will but yours be done,” so we can pray the same today when faced with a natural disaster. We just need to keep our expectations in line with God’s word. Psalm 139 is a comfort for we believers, especially vv. 15&16-
    “15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
    16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
    Since God has given me a number of days, I have assurance, by faith, that He will do everything in His power to see that I get every one of them.

    November 9, 2010
  14. David Ludescher said:


    You said, “And, that’s bothersome to a spiritual atheist like me.” What is bothersome? Is it that people believe that a supernatural being exists, that people pray to God, that people believe in miracles, or that people pray for miracles? (or maybe all of them?)

    Does it bother you that kids think Santa Claus exists, or that kids ask Santa Claus for gifts, or that kids ask for all kinds of junk for Christmas? Do we plant false seeds of hope in our kids by leading them on regarding Santa Claus?

    What do you think about God having a placebo effect upon people?

    November 9, 2010
  15. Greg Burnett said:

    Griff, as a non-spiritual atheist I have to take issue with this:

    And agnostics and atheists assume that prayer has nothing to offer them because of its association with the idea that God can intervene in the physical universe and human affairs, an anathema to them.

    Atheists know that prayer offers nothing to us because there is no magical being with which we may communicate through prayer. We don’t think God intervenes in anything any more than unicorns or fairies intervene in human affairs, because none of them exists. I think the term you are looking for is Deist, as they are the ones that believe that there is a god or other supernatural being, but that they don’t (can’t be bothered to?) interfere in human affairs.

    Praying is just talking to yourself and hoping something comes of it. It is literally the least you can do for another person. If someone is hurting, do something for them rather than mumble to yourself and somehow hope that eases their situation.

    November 9, 2010
  16. What some call a miracle today, others will discover as something substantially of this world tomorrow. Thoughts, words, prayers, all have the power of creation behind them and can speak to power and can become powerful given the right intent and circumstances.

    How many other men’s words and prayers still speak to us from appox. 2,000 years ago with such power to lead mankind and with such continual pervasiveness, if not the words of Jesus of Nazareth?

    November 9, 2010
  17. Griff Wigley said:

    From a former Northfielder via email, pointing me

    "to several resources you might find helpful or at least interesting."

    From atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, website:

    Tim Keller has some links on Prayer 1/2 way down this page: // Tim Keller is one of my favorites.

    Here’s a blog post (geared for Christians, so may not be appropriate) that addresses the issue :

    November 10, 2010
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Greg, you’re assuming that my definition of prayer is the same as those who believe in a personal God. It’s not. I never “pray for” anyone, including myself.

    November 10, 2010
  19. Griff Wigley said:


    Probably just one other besides Jesus: Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

    November 10, 2010
  20. john george said:

    Griff- This is what James 4:1-3 has to say:

    1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    Note the second part of verse 2. This section is by no means exhaustive, but there are some good overviews of prayer herein.

    November 10, 2010
  21. Griff Wigley said:

    John, that’s helpful. James 4:1-3

    Might you allow for a more liberal definition of ‘wrong motives’ and ‘pleasures’? That would support my point that praying for a miracle in a crisis as I described above is exactly that.

    See my blog post a while back re: the interpretation of Jesus’ words, “Ask and ye shall receive.”

    November 11, 2010
  22. Griff Wigley said:

    Coffeehouse discussion this morning centered on this question:

    If a person experiences a ‘feeling of peace’ after praying a false prayer, is that helpful or unhelpful?

    I’d argue that it’s more than unhelpful. It seems to me that true prayer should always lead one to greater understanding, or at least not inhibit it. Prayer presumes a relationship, even for an atheist like me, and greater understanding is always the route to a deeper relationship.

    November 11, 2010
  23. David Ludescher said:


    If prayer presumes a relationship, and you are an atheist, with whom is your relationship?

    November 11, 2010
  24. john george said:

    Griff- I suppose you might interpret “praying for a miracle in a crisis” as being from a wrong motive, especially if you caused the particular crisis, like trying to pass off responsibility. The other aspect is if you pray ONLY in a crisis and don’t give God the time of day the rest of the time. This might be more presumptious than “wrong motive.” Take a look at Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27 & Luke 18:27. They are the same event in three of the different gospels. When we are faced with a need that is greater than our abilities, then it appears that God is the one to call upon.

    November 11, 2010
  25. David Ludescher said:


    I have conducted some informal (Catholic) research. Praying for miracles falls under the general heading of prayers of hope. There are many other types of prayer, including adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, and petition.

    Prayers of all types should be encouraged regardless of their perceived merit. On the whole, prayers of hope tend to make people more hopeful; prayers of thanksgiving make people more thankful, etc. Prayer does for the soul what exercise does for the body.

    I am reminded of time when I was studying abroad. I asked my companion who was a native why beggars who had so little money would buy lottery tickets when the money could go to better and more urgent causes. He explained to me that that the beggars weren’t really buying lottery tickets; they were buying hope. Praying for a miracle is buying hope at a bargain price.

    November 15, 2010
  26. john george said:

    David- One of my pastor friends once said that the most spiritual prayer he had ever heard was, “God! Help!” I guess that one word pretty much sums up our abilitites and our needs.

    November 15, 2010
  27. Griff Wigley said:

    The relationship is with reality, David. The laws of the universe that govern our external world also govern our internal world. So the more understanding I have of these “laws of being,” the more likely I’ll be able to live in harmony with them and increase my well-being.

    It actually does help to think of it as a relationship, much like I assume you think of your relationship to God. The concepts of ‘asking’ and ‘surrender’ work reliably for me as for you. There’s just no ‘being’ at the other end.

    November 16, 2010
  28. Griff Wigley said:

    David, I can see how prayers of adoration and thanksgiving are helpful, and maybe even forgiveness.

    But I think Jesus would disagree with you that “prayers of all types should be encouraged regardless of their perceived merit.” He was pretty clear in his condemnation of the prayers of the Pharisees.

    “Thy will be done” seems best translated to “help me to want what I have” which is the antithesis of prayers of hope, intercession and petition which are really prayers of desire/I want MORE.

    November 16, 2010
  29. Griff Wigley said:

    John, yes, “God, help!” can be a very good prayer if the implication is “help me understand what I’m not understanding” vs. “help me get what I want.”

    November 16, 2010
  30. David Ludescher said:


    Many people came to Jesus asking him to perform miracles, and he didn’t turn them away. And, for most believers, Jesus did perform miracles.

    November 16, 2010
  31. john george said:

    Griff- Webster defines miracle in this way:
    “: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
    2: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment”
    It is interesting that his first definition includes “divine intervention in human affairs.” This could mean anything from the restoration of a dying man to moving the sun back ten steps (see II Kings 20:1-11, just one example)

    Refering back to your thread title, we have this verse out of Matt. 18:19-
    “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven,”
    and this verse in I John 5:14-
    “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
    From these two verses, I have a hard time supporting your conjecture as a universal verdict.

    November 16, 2010
  32. David Ludescher said:


    I’m not sure that my God is much different from your god, Reality. According to the Bible, when asked his name by Moses, God replied, “Tell them I am sent you.”. God is the reality, the one who is.

    According to traditional Christian teaching, God entered both time and space in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, God become real in the sense that you use reality.

    Further, the sense that God is a “being” has been mitigated not only by the person of Jesus Christ, but by the Christians recognition that God’s “beingness” also consists of the Holy Spirit.

    Miracles are, by definition, a unlikely, but real possibility of good. There is nothing wrong with praying for a miracle as a prayer of hope.

    November 17, 2010
  33. kiffi summa said:

    with regard to 11.2.1; I am not questioning the existence of God, but I would like to know how it is proven?

    There is no element of this belief that can be established, except by the faith of the believers, and faith does not exist without doubt.

    November 17, 2010
  34. I will speak to two ways of living. There is the doing, where you cold call everyone under the sun to see if they will buy into your world of whatever, and then there is the not doing, where you sit there and people will call you, stumble upon you, or someone will do for you. Both are legitimate paths. In the first, you are agitated and active, in the second, peaceful and passive.

    Peace is a state of mind of not doing. It is one of the observer, and most Americans feel guilty or pressured to be doers. A Hindu guru might suggest American form of meditation, where the American would be dancing during the meditation session just to keep the active mind busy while the true business of getting in touch with the universe or God is going on inside the mind.

    Peace is a state of mind of knowing and becoming and growing and being aware of knowing. So I would argue that peaceful prayer and peace are true understanding without all the arguing about it.

    November 17, 2010
  35. john george said:

    Kiffi- You have made this statement before, “…faith does not exist without doubt,” and I have puzzled over it a little as to exactly what you mean?

    In my own faith, there are a few things I have chosen to believe as sure: 1)There is a God, and I am not He. 2)He does care for me and wants to be involved in my life. 3)He paid the price for my own sin, as I could not pay for it myself. As I ruminated on this, I was reminded of this passage:

    1.Mark 9:24
    Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

    Now I can identify with that father when it comes to appropriating God’s promises on a daily basis.

    The other thing that came to mind is the difference between hot and cold. In the scientific world, there is no such thing as “cold.” It is just a matter of an absence of heat. Could the same hypothosis be applied to faith? There is not doubt, just an absence of belief? I haven’t washed that thought through the scriptures, yet, but it is an intriguing concept.

    November 17, 2010
  36. kiffi summa said:

    John… just think about the definition of faith… and how ‘faith’ differs from ‘belief’.

    I of course know that one is not supposed to use the word to define the word , but in this case it is necessary if one is to be at the most simple level.

    One can believe for what ever reason or rationale substantiates that belief, but faith requires HAVING faith, because it is inherent in the definition of the word that there is NOT proof.

    Faith is belief WITHOUT proof; that is what makes it ‘faith’… ergo: ‘faith’ requires doubt.

    November 17, 2010
  37. Phil Poyner said:

    John, I wouldn’t consider myself a Christian, but questions of faith and religion interest me. If you and Ms Summa wouldn’t mind, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on this topic.

    I happen to agree with the idea that “faith does not exist without doubt”. To me this doesn’t mean that doubt must always exist in a person for that person to have faith, but rather that at some point (or points) in a persons life they choose to believe.

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20)

    It’s the concept of free will, I think. If you have two choices, it would be human nature to question which is the right path (the moment of doubt). At that moment many undergo an inner experience, a spiritual up-lifting, that removes all doubt. The path is chosen. For some the doubt never returns. But we are imperfect, and some deal with and overcome the doubt at various points in their life.

    I often wonder about people that have never felt they exercised free will with regards to their faith. Do they truly believe, or are they just conditioned (for lack of a better word)? I imagine that the answer may just vary from person to person.

    Anyway, I hope I didn’t offend anybody.

    November 17, 2010
  38. john george said:

    Kiffi- Hebrews 11:1 says this, ” Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If someone can see something, then there is no need of faith, since simple observation defines it. Perhaps I am just dense, but I still can’t connect the dots in your conclusion that “‘faith’ requires doubt.” Are you refering to the starting point? Or, are you refering to a process? Or, are you saying that one will always have doubt? Or, if one questions the concept, then this is doubt? Sorry, I’m just trying to understand. I think we are possibly saying the same thing, just with different terms.

    November 17, 2010
  39. john george said:

    Phil- Thanks for chiming in. I agree with the way you expressed your concept. I, too, would wonder about someone who says they did not exercise their will in choosing their faith. I believe that in the process, questioning one’s choice is never frowned upon by God. I see that as different from unbelief. Even Thomas doubted until he could place his hand in Jesus’ side, and he was not rejected.

    November 17, 2010
  40. kiffi summa said:

    John: for once (IMO), your scripture quote is apt, and in my reading of it (which admittedly may not be the same as yours) clearly makes the connection between “faith” and “doubt” .
    Hebrews 11.1 : “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”
    Pretty plain English.

    Phil : as to having no ‘faith’ in the value of chiming in… it can only improve the conversation … because John and I tend to ‘rail’ at each other. Actually, ‘rail’ is too strong a word, ‘disagree endlessly’ is a better description.

    November 18, 2010
  41. john george said:

    Kiffi- I referenced our friend Mirriam about doubt. Here are his definitions:

    archaic a : fear b : suspect
    2: to be in doubt about
    3a : to lack confidence in : distrust b : to consider unlikely

    Hebrews 11:1 doesn’t really fit into these definitions, IMO. The two terms that stand out are “assurance” and “conviction” of “things not seen.” This would seem to be counter to “lack(ing) confidence”, but maybe I am missing something here. Either way, I can’t think of a better person than you with whom to “continually disagree.” All your arguments are well thought and expressed. I appreciate the challenges.

    November 18, 2010
  42. john george said:

    PS- I have no idea what key I hit to get the italics. Purely chance on my part.

    November 18, 2010
  43. David Ludescher said:


    If one approaches the problem from the other side, the task is even more daunting. Not only is there not proof of the non-existence of God, it is an unprovable proposition. You can’t prove non-existence.

    In the Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant suggested that reason is simply inadaquate to answer the question of God’s existence. Dogmatists assert too much based upon the evidence; skeptics assert too little.

    November 18, 2010
  44. If God did exist, and I believe there is a great consciousness that prevails for lack of a better short description, if God exists, what sort of evidence would you need to believe it? To me, our mere existence, be it by evolution or sudden manifestation moments ago, proves there is an ongoing push of energy and matter, and beyond my comprehension.

    So what would prove it to you non believers?

    November 19, 2010
  45. kiffi summa said:

    Re; Prayer, and especially prayer for ‘crisis relief’ … which is what I believe this thread was originally about…
    has not every human being ‘prayed” in moments of crisis? whether it is ‘Please let me be faster than the sabre toothed tiger’… or ‘please keep the Black Death away from my house”…or ‘please don’t let my kid get killed in a car accident’ ???

    I think prayer is possible/probable/reasonable to have NO religious basis, but simply the realization that humans are simply another big species on the planet, and someday their lives will end, and there are many ways for that to happen, not all as desirable as just not waking up one morning when you have been, until that morning, a healthy 92 year old.

    We are way too arrogant about our existence, and the importance of it in the totality of things; better off to subscribe to what I call “the ants on the planet theory” … but at the same time try to be the best little ant society possible!

    November 21, 2010
  46. john george said:

    Kiffi- I think you are exactly right about praying in a crisis. Seems I heard an adage years ago that there are no atheists in the foxholes. I’m assuming this is a reference to a raging battle in a war. As I said before, a person can pray in a crisis situation and not exhibit any evidence of Christianity in the rest of their lives. As to Griff’s original premise that this is wrong, I personally don’t believe I have to be the judge of that. This is One Who is, so I will leave that judgement up to God.

    As far as we humans being way to arrogant about our existence, I fully agree with that. I may come from a different perspective, but I believe the premise is correct.

    November 22, 2010
  47. Griff Wigley said:

    David, whether or not the accounts of Jesus performing miracles are historically true or just figurative, it seems to me that he had second thoughts about doing more of them because people got the wrong idea, eg:

    “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

    “How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread?”

    November 27, 2010

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