Why Won’t God Heal Amputees? Because He Doesn’t Exist.

The most logical answer to why God won’t heal amputees is that either God doesn’t care or doesn’t exist. This would also explain the lack of miraculous healings for people with Lou Gehrig’s diseases, long-term quadriplegics, untreated AIDS patients and those with Parkinson’s disease, mental retardation, Down syndrome, and a host of other maladies.

Christian apologists offer different explanations to try to make sense of why bad things happen to good people. Among their explanations for why people who have lost limbs are never made whole by God (also detailed on the “Why Does God Hate Amputees?” website): healings for amputees aren’t part of God’s plan; the lord answers prayers by saying “No”; God needs to remain hidden, and regenerating a limb would display the Lord’s miraculous powers too openly; God has a special purpose for amputees—just the way they are; and God answers the prayers of amputees by having scientists develop artificial limbs.

These explanations remind me of my parents’ answers when I started to question whether Santa Claus was real. How does he get down our chimney when he’s so fat? He can squeeze himself down to fit. How can he deliver presents to every child in the whole entire world in one night? He moves faster than we can imagine. How big does his bag need to get to carry all the presents? It’s a magic, bottomless bag. How can he eat cookies and milk in so many homes? He just does. My parents’ valiant but ultimately weak explanations held off the truth for a year, but eventually, like all children, I had to face the truth.

—William Lobdell, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America—and Found Unexpected Peace (2009), p. 210-211

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  • Michael D. Hafer

    A couple typos in this one, Daniel, but I still enjoyed it.

  • GeekGirl

    That always seems to be the case. The loving and forgiving God always allows suffering because he is mysterious and that’s the way he works and DON’T QUESTION IT!
    I used to get in so much trouble for asking why in catholic school.

    But, since you brought this up, there is a sort of mystery associated with this topic that I always thought was pretty wild, which is phantom limb pain. When I used to work downtown, there was a guy who worked around the corner from me who had lost both of this legs below the knee, and I remember him complaining that sometimes his ankles would just hurt. I always found that phenomenon fascinating.

  • Brian

    @ Michael: Really?! I don’t think he needs someone to point out typos. I just started reading this GREAT blog, and I couldn’t care less about typos!

    @ Daniel: THANK YOU for your blog and I DON’T CARE about typos!! However, I would LOVE to share your entries on my Facebook page, but don’t see that option. I’m not sure how complicated it was to add the Stumbe and Digg options, but there are buttons that allow the user to choose where to share it. Here is one: http://www.addtoany.com/

    @GeekGirl: I have heard of phantom limb pain. It is an odd phenomenon. I recall seeing a show about it once, and they were trying to treat it using mirrors. Somehow, using a mirror to show the reflection of your “good” leg, made your body think that the leg was there and eliminated the phantom pain.

    It is very interesting. From what I can understand, it is caused by your body or mind not “understanding” that your limb is gone.

    • Daniel Florien

      Actually I appreciate it when people point out typos — but it’s very helpful if they tell me what they are. ;)

      The digg/stumble options are on this page, under the entry. And you can share entries on your facebook page by going to your wall, choosing link, and then pasting the post url.

      • Michael

        You say “Among their explanations for why people who have lost limbs are never made WHO by God.” You also put the semicolon outside of the quote in ” ‘No’;” but I think that is actually standard in some places. In the third paragraph, you say “How does get down our chimney when he’s so fat?” missing the pronoun (should say “How does HE . . . “). “Whole entire” is also quite redundant, but maybe you are trying to give the impression of a young child asking his parents these questions?

        There are also some odd stylistic choices that make, for example, the first sentence a bit tough to read. And while the clauses in the second sentence ARE in fact all parallel, it is hard to see how without looking more closely.

        • Daniel Florien

          Well first it’s a quote by Lobdell, not me, and second, it pains me that you would rather use “whom” than the shorter, better “who” ;)

          • rA

            I think Michael meant that “who” should be “whole”, not that “who” should be “whom”.

            • Daniel Florien

              Ah. Probably should have read the “whole,” er, sentence instead of scanning. ;)

  • Durr Hurr

    This is essentially just an extension of the problem of evil (why is there suffering if God truly is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-benevolent). The amputee version of it is a little easier to get across to everyday people than sophisticated philosophical arguments, though.

    The problem of evil is the single most damning evidence against the existence of the traditional Christian God (although it doesn’t rule out an evil God or a dumb God). I suppose that’s why the problem has never been satisfactorily answered even though it has been around for thousands of years…because there is no way to answer it. Evil exists, therefore God is evil, stupid, not all-powerful, or (most likely) simply doesn’t exist.

  • http://stupidstatus.posterous.com/i-want-a-miracle b

    Why doesn’t God heal amputees? Feed the hungry? Stop genocide? The list goes on and on. It’s amazing that so many people won’t stop to think about their religion.

    • http://www.vidlord.com VidLord

      The response I’ve seen is basically: well the length of our lives are nothing compared to eternity in heaven. How petty of you to complain about earthly pains and sufferings. They mean nothing in the big picture.

      • rA

        How petty of you to complain about earthly pains and sufferings.

        How arrogant of you to dismiss them.

        (I know you don’t, it’s just more forceful phrased as if that’s not a summary/quotation.)

  • shroōdur

    The Santa story is, unfortunately for believers, the quintessential analogy.

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11

  • claidheamh mor

    Keep posting some of William Lobdell’s excerpts. I found out about his book when your site offered a prize of 5 of his signed books free, didn’t win one, read it later that summer, and think he writes very well, with a quality that hits home in the feelings.

    And I still remember dwade from Night of the Living Fundies saying that he witnessed God healing an amputee, but he didn’t have his camera. God is such a sneaky little shit!

  • http://faiththeory.wordpress.com Michael Honza

    I think this hypothesis can be supported under theism or atheism:
    Humans make choices that result in problems for themselves and others.

    • http://faiththeory.wordpress.com/ Michael Honza

      What I mean by this is that amputees suffer because of human choices.
      Humans are part of a created system, whether by a naturalistic process or a deity.
      When we chose to ignore the rules of the system we hurt either ourselves or others.

      For example: it would be pointless to “blame” gravity or god when we fall. We fall because of the choices that we make that led us to the situation which put us in the position of falling.


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