Atheist Amputees?

The question has been asked by atheists before:

Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

Many amputees are told that their disability is a part of God’s plan.

At least one atheist amputee thinks otherwise.

And he’d like to know if there are others like him:

… I was raised as a Lutheran, and while I was once mildly religious, I was never fully caught up in church activities. The church I attended was lots of fun, and was filled with many great people. The problems really started to come about when people tried to justify my lack of a limb. Some viewed it as a “gift from God” that made me special. I hated that suggestion, as it made me feel abnormal. Another justification made by people at the church was that actions occurred that “God wasn’t paying attention to”, and that I could be “healed”.

Bullshit.

This severe contradiction left me baffled and I felt lied to. Everyone seemed to have an answer when I really didn’t need one. Grin and bear it.

So I’ll end on this question: are there any other atheist amputees out there? Let me know!


  • Darryl

    Well, it’s like this: God is kind of picky about what miracles he’ll perform. He won’t regrow limbs, or remove every trace of cancer from a dying person in the blink of an eye, or any such miracle whose explanation could only be that “It was a miracle!” Instead, He prefers to work those miracles that cannot be distinguished from everyday natural or human occurances.

    Take, for example, gas prices. Gas prices go up, and gas prices go down, and there are (as we have all recently learned) many factors involved in their fluctuation. One that you might not have thought of is the miracle factor. Yes, God prefers to involve himself in the price at the pump rather than to heal your missing limb. Just how that crafty Economist on High is able to do that while market forces, oil producers, refiners, traders, speculators, and every mother’s son just keep on doing as they always do I’ll never understand. Maybe He’s that “Invisible Hand” I’ve heard so much about.

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Pray_at_Pump_activist_We_shall_0817.html

  • http://atheistamputee.blogspot.com Jimmy

    Darryl… I hope you’re joking, as I’ve heard that one before.

    If it was sarcasm, I’m laughing my ass off! Thanks!

  • Joseph

    I was born with two hands but I lost my right one when I was two years old. I too have heard the ‘God has a plan for everything speech.’ It upsets me when people say that because they do not have an answer for the question.

    I did the religion thing till I got confirmed in the Methodist religion and soon as I was confirmed I really stopped going and began to question it all and came to realize that its a big sack of crap.

    I will start believing the day my hand grows back and is not transplanted. Until that day Atheist and damn proud of it!

  • Karen

    People say a major tragic loss (limb, crippling ilness, death of someone you love) is Part Of God’s Plan because the alternative is unacceptable to them. As it damn well should be. But this little fiction (hey, it’s “little” to whoever isn’t the victim) helps them keep their faith. Bah.

  • Glen

    I know what Atheist Amputee means.

    I’ve now buried two parents, two step-parents, and a half-brother. Not one could be described as “a good death”; each involved pain and suffering.

    The statement that is guaranteed to throw my youngest half-brother into a near-violent rage is, “God never gives you a cross you cannot bear.”

    Me, too, but I just raise my middle finger: “Tell your God to bear this.”

  • geru

    This is the kind of stupidity it causes when people try so hard to ‘search for meaning’ in things.

    It would be so much easier if they just accepted the most simple explanation: Shit happens. :)

  • Jaroslav Sveda

    The amputee thing reminded me of one thing. In Europe, there’s at least two places – Lourdes, France and Fatima, Spain – that have numerous reports of wondrous healing of disesases. Many saints were said to have abily to heal, some healings reportedly happed even after saint’s death (St. Emeric for example).

    Now, I wonder if any on them involved amputated limbs. E.g. In 17th and 18th century, there were many war veterans that lost a limb. Given that most likely most of them were Christians, and did not enjoy fighting in war (soldiers were recruited), it should be simple, uncontroversial matter to give them new limb to continue living decently. Even without the trip to Lourdes.

    (ironically) But maybe all that God will do is weeping statues, “Virgin” Mary on toast and stuff.

  • Darryl

    I can’t imagine the scope of doubt, anguish, questioning, rationalization, denial, and anger that our troops and their families are and will be undergoing once they are all back stateside.

    I wonder if atheism increases or decreases after a prolonged war. Do most find some rationalization, religious or otherwise?

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    The best hope for replacement limbs is through science, not faith. At the moment we can build some pretty sophisticated (though poor in comparison to the natural limb) artificial limbs. We’ve developed some very basic artificial sensory systems that interface with our own (basic hearing, sight and movement sense) although I don’t know how far this has got with the touch sense. We can interface simple movement into artificial limbs too.

    There is some research to repair or replace lost organs through cloning that could apply to limbs if properly researched. There are also avenues of regenerative therapies involving the stimulation of new cell growth that we’ve barely begun to research. There’s certainly hope in science for amputees.

    Not creationist science. That’s just horse manure and if you let the IDiots teach it then you could lose generations of potential scientists who could help millions of others and rob them of that hope.

    Or you could eat the Jesus toast and send happy thoughts to the invisible man in the clouds.

  • Darryl

    Man, I sure hope moderate people come around so we can get religion out of politics and we can put the fundies back on the margins where they belong (and keep them surveilled). Otherwise we may have to fight them–I mean really fight them!

  • cipher

    “God never gives you a cross you cannot bear.”

    Yeah, I HATE that. There’s always a rationalization. What that tells me is that, from their end, it isn’t about helping you; it’s about protecting their belief system.

    The Buddhists do it, too, with the doctrine of karma; if you’re suffering, it’s your own damn fault (actually, a lot of theists find ways to incorporate blame as well) – although, I’d like to think that with them, there’s at least a little altruism involved.

    The best hope for replacement limbs is through science, not faith.

    HoverFrog, I understand some significant progress also is being made along the lines of growing replacement limbs and organs.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I don’t know any atheist amputees, but my wife is a Christian and has been missing her left hand since birth. Here are her thoughts on her disability as it relates to her faith.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Cipher, that’s good news. I also forgot to mention the idea of transplanted limbs. Organ transplants are a very recent medical advance. I would think (from a layman’s point of view) that transplanted limbs would be the logical next step, given that limbs can sometimes be reattached when severed.

  • Brian E

    This is the site that was my final push into atheism several years ago, and I am very grateful for it and I defend this site vehemently in several forums and blogs.

    This question (why won’t god heal amputees) is founded on the observation that god will never answer an unambiguous prayer, despite all kinds of promises from the bible. I’ve heard every kind of christian explanation/excuse in the world, but absolutely nothing I’ve heard can explain this phenomenon. I truly believe this to be the Achilles heal of christianity.

    MikeClawson: I read your wife’s thoughts on her disability and faith. To be honest, I’m surprised she’s not an atheist already; she certainly sounds like she’s well on her way.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    MikeClawson: I read your wife’s thoughts on her disability and faith. To be honest, I’m surprised she’s not an atheist already; she certainly sounds like she’s well on her way.

    LOL. Not even close.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Mike, I read your wife’s entries too. It seems that she’s got a very positive outlook, thanks for posting the link.

  • cipher

    Organ transplants are a very recent medical advance. I would think (from a layman’s point of view) that transplanted limbs would be the logical next step, given that limbs can sometimes be reattached when severed.

    Jack Kessler of Northwestern has made some hugely important advances in growing nerve tissue. His greatest obstacle right now is that he’s using stem cells – and, of course, he comes up against the brick wall of the Bush administration.

    He was the subject of a documentary film recently, Terra Incognita. It was on PBS’ Independent Lens, so it isn’t available online (as a Nova episode would be), but you can read about it here: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/index.html and here: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2008/A-Docaand-a-Dad/

  • joel

    I’ve actually talked to Christians who have claimed they’ve seen amputee’s limb grow after the laying of hands and prayer, to which I replied, “Why didn’t your god finish the job then?” I guess they weren’t praying hard enough. It’s amazing how much power the false hope of religion has over some people. I’m glad I finally open my eyes.

  • http://www.mindblink.org Linda

    It would be so much easier if they just accepted the most simple explanation: Shit happens.

    I’d like to think of it as “Life happens.”

    We go through so much in life. People are basically survivors, along with the rest of nature. Despite all the “shit” that happens, we continue to grit our teeth and live.

    I saw this video of a two-legged dog with my jaw to the floor.

    The miracle is not that his legs grew back, but that he forgot he was even missing those legs. Is he that special above the rest? I don’t think so. I think it’s just how life works. The will to live and thrive is a powerful force.

    To me, that is of God. God is life. What we cannot even fathom in our narrow and pessimistic view, the God that I see as the very life-force in us performs miracles.

  • Jason

    Perhaps I should make a site called “Why won’t God eliminate AIDS, malaria and smallpox?”

  • Siamang

    I want a site called:

    Why won’t God make me a sandwich?

  • Noss

    @Siamang, simple:
    su god
    ****
    make sandwich

    (sometimes I think xkcd ruined us all, in a good sense)

  • Emily

    Well, he’s not an amputee but my dad’s leg was rendered useless by polio when he was a baby.

    God never made it better, either.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Shh! Don’t let anyone know there are for-real atheist amputees! Otherwise it stops being a rhetorical device and Christians can just accuse atheists of being “mad at God”.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X