Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer?

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer? November 22, 2017

Why God even said “No” to Moses, Hannah, and Paul many others in their prayer requests.

Praying in Vain

Have you ever felt like your prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling? Does it feel like they just leave your mind void and return empty? In truth, God said no to several biblical heroes and heroines in the Bible. These include Moses, Hannah, Paul and even Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, so if you can overcome these three major barriers to prayer, then your prayers will not only be heard by God, but they will be answered, however we must accept God’s answer if it is no, not yet, or there’s something better for you, so here are three reasons our prayers might fail.

Sin

Prayers, including our prayers of thanksgiving, go directly to heaven and are heard by the Father because of our access into the Holy of Holies made possible by Jesus Christ. Our prayers are described to God as a sweet savor, like incense, but more important than giving thanks is living in obedience because obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22), so sin may cause us from being heard by God, so even a ton of good works is useless when there is willful, unrepentant sin in our life. Sin can also make us feel unworthy to prayer, so ongoing, unconfessed sin inhibits prayers. If my children ask me for something and I know they are being disobedient during the time they’re asking, then I first address the issue of their disobedience before answering their request. Unless this is taken care of, their requests aren’t going to be fulfilled, and in a similar fashion, why would God reward us with answered prayer when we are sinning knowingly, and without repentance? The fact is, He won’t. Psalm 66:18 states that “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” First, go to God and take care of that sin and confess it (1 John 1:9), and then, and only then, begin your prayer requests.

Selfishness

If you pray and the first and foremost words that come out of your mouth are “me,” and “I,” then this is obviously a prayer that is only concerned about self and not about others. If I only pray for my needs, my desires, my wants and my wishes, then I am the central focus of that pray, and God is under no obligation to answer it. In the Lord’s Prayer, which is really Jesus’ model prayer, He starts off with adoration and praise of God, by giving Him thanks, but Jesus also prays for God’s will to be done, so I must ask myself, “Are my prayers more about glorifying Jesus or about getting glory for myself…or getting things only for me?” What is my real intent? Am I more interest in what I want than in what God’s wants? For example, God wants us to share the Gospel, but if I am witnessing by slamming unbelievers, my motives are not sincere and in their best interests.

PrayingHandsTwo

Un-Forgiveness

I have caught myself praying as a hypocrite. What I mean is, I was praying but had not yet forgiven another person who I had an issue with. There I was, asking for God’s forgiveness, yet still holding on a grudge against someone else, but how can I ask God to forgive me when I am not forgiving others? It’s like me asking for your forgiveness, but I refuse to forgive you. A spirit of un-forgiveness can exist in many forms: jealousy, anger, revenge, grudges, gossiping, and avoidance. Jesus tells us what to do in a situation like this. He says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23-24). Imagine what this looks like to God: we want to be forgiven, yet refuse to forgive others. No wonder our prayers are blocked in such cases.

Moses 

Moses wanted to go into the Promised Land with Israel, but Moses was disobedient when God asked him to speak to the rock to provide water for Israel. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff (Num 20:11). The water still came out, but he directly disobeyed God, so Moses’ request to cross the River Jordan into the Promised Land was denied. Disobedience prevents prayers from being answers or it produces a no answer.

Hannah

Hannah desired more than anything to have a child. Her womb was barren. In fact the Lord was said to have closed Hannah’s womb (1 Sam 1:6). This occurred during the time of the judges when Israel had no king, and a time that the Bible describes as “every man did what was right in their own eyes, (Judges 21:25), so God’s answer to Hannah’s prayer for a child was delayed because God wanted so much more for Hannah and her soon-to-be-born son. She prayed so desperately and passionately that she even told God that He could use her child in His service, and maybe this was what God had been waiting for. Hannah would later have a child that would change the history of Israel and the world with the birth of Samuel. Samuel would later become a mighty prophet of God and he would anoint Israel’s first king, Saul, and later David, the greatest earthly King that Israel ever had. It would be through David’s seed that the Messiah would come, which is Jesus Christ. God delayed answering Hannah’s prayer, perhaps because God wanted to do more than Hannah was asking for. If God delays answering our prayer, perhaps it’s because He wants much more for us than we are even asking for.

Paul

Paul desperately wanted the thorn in his side to be removed, praying three times to God, however, God’s answer to Paul’s prayer was no. God knew that Paul might become prideful because of all the revelations he had seen, so God allowed that thorn to remain. Apparently Paul knew this was the reason, as he wrote, “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Cor 12:7). God intended that this thorn in the flesh would keep Paul humble and in need of God’s grace; and it did! Paul’s prayer for healing was answered with a decisive “No,” even though Paul prayed three times over it. God knew His greater plan must override that of Paul’s.

Jesus

I think part of the reason Jesus prayed for this cup to pass is because it represented every heinous, wicked sin that humanity has ever sinned, and since Jesus is completely holy and without sin, it is contrary to His nature to take upon Himself the sins of the world, so I don’t believe it was the suffering of Calvary that Jesus dreaded…but bearing the sins of humanity, so he prayed three times saying, “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39). Jesus repeated this prayer request three times, the other two in verse 42 and 44, however, Jesus’ request was secondary to His desire to follow the Father’s will. That’s how we should pray too.

Conclusion

When we have sin, this blocks our access to the Father’s throne. If we have not sinned but ask only for our own selves, and not for the will of God, then the answer may be no as well. When we still have un-forgiveness in our heart, this hinders our prayers, however, sometimes our prayers are delayed for a very good reason. What we ask for in prayer may not be what God wants for us. He knows better than we do and won’t answer a prayer with something He knows will hurt us. Besides, He may want something much, much greater than what we are asking for. For example, if we ask for a new job and don’t get it, He might have a job that is closer to our hearts desires. God knows best, so delayed pray might be “No,” “not yet,” or “wait for the best timing my child,” but it could also be, “I have something better for you.” God may have bigger plans for you than what you’re praying for. In fact, to glorify Jesus’ name, He may even give you something far greater…something that greatly surpasses even your own imagination.

About the Author

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The book of Job begins, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” That story makes clear that it’s not just sin that’s the problem. We can be blameless and still not have our prayers answered (despite Jesus claiming, “Ask and you shall receive”).

  • Funny how God’s willingness to answer prayers is about the same as it would be if we prayed to a desk lamp or an old phone book. It rarely seems to cross any Christian’s mind that maybe God doesn’t answer prayers because he just isn’t there; and when he does answer prayers, maybe it’s because the desired result was likely anyway, or perhaps it was just luck.

    • Jonathan Garner

      Prayer: The Failed Hypothesis

  • pud

    “What we ask for in prayer may not be what God wants for us. He knows better than we do and won’t answer a prayer with something He knows will hurt us. Besides, He may want something much, much greater than what we are asking for. For example, if we ask for a new job and don’t get it, He might have a job that is closer to our hearts desires. God knows best, so delayed pray might be “No,” “not yet,” or “wait for the best timing my child,” but it could also be, “I have something better for you.”

    What about the starving child whose mother prays it doesn’t die? Or the child with cancer and the deluded parents begging your celestial dictator for help? Well, guess it’s just his ways not being our ways! bhwaa!! YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61PleeLOR1L._SY450_.jpg

    LOL!! This clearly is THE most infantile collection of absurdities you’ve ever written!

  • God cannot answer prayer, if he doesn’t exist. If God exists, does he answer prayer? What kind of a god is he/she/it if such a god exists? Maybe he/she/it doesn’t answer prayer. How many prayers go unanswered? Is this because god says wait, no, or I have something better for you? And, does prayer work any better than the lottery?

    As a devout Christian atheist, I do not believe in any intervening god. I am a Christian humanist, who sees some value in some of the ethical teachings of Jesus. If prayer helps some people to cope with life, who am I to disagree. The miracles of Jesus, answers to prayers, the existence of the devil and demons are most likely to be myths. If myth is an ancient literary device, why should the bible be devoid of this literary form?

    I believe that, if God exists then it is the “force” of compassion, healing mercy and loving kindness. By practising meditation, we can concentrate our minds on loving kindness. This helps heal mental and emotional wounds and is a greater answer than “prayer” to many of our problems.

    Of course, no one knows whether what is happening is purely happening in our minds and hearts, or whether there is an external, invisible being beyond ourselves that is operating on our hearts and minds.

  • forbol

    It’s rather scandalous what counts as good writing in Christian circles. lol

  • Tree Kangaroo

    Anyone who has raised children knows that you would be a horrible parent – a monster, in fact – if you granted their every request. God is a Father, not a genie in the bottle that we can call forth to fulfill our every ridiculous want.

    • pud

      Demonstrate that any “god” past or present ever existed or exists….try.

      • One Truth

        Very Simple. Its called your Conscience. Its the very voice of your Creator and everyone hears it. Obeying His voice……well, that’s ones choice.

        • pud

          LOL!! You infantile lunatics are a riot! Demonstrate the existence of ANY creator, that this “creator” whispers in your ear and that this “creator” is your particular invisible celestial make believe deity.

          You can say any nonsense you want but if you can’t show it, you don’t know it.

          Made up juvenile superstitious nonsense. Does the “devil” sit on your other shoulder? LOL

          • One Truth

            Where did your conscience come from and who speaks it into your heart?

          • pud

            I normally don’t argue with stupid people but I’ll humor you.

            The “heart” is a muscle that pumps blood.

            “Conscience” or “morality” the sense of right and wrong is taught mostly and is a product of culture. It didn’t come from your “god” who didn’t exist via your superstitious religious cult until a couple of thousand years ago vs. the several million years of human evolution

          • One Truth

            “I normally don’t argue with stupid people but I’ll humor you.
            The “heart” is a muscle that pumps blood.”

            Matthew 15:1-20 Notice verses 16-20. So….Just as the brain looks to be a simple mass of grey matter, there is more than meets the eye. You are not the Almighty Creator so I do not expect you to understand the invisible attributes of the human body, soul and spirit.

            ” “Conscience” or “morality” the sense of right and wrong is taught mostly and is a product of culture. It didn’t come from your “god” who didn’t exist until a couple of thousand years ago vs. the several million years of human evolution”

            Your a fool to even suggest such stupidity regarding the “Conscience” as being a thought that has been taught and indoctrinated into all individuals from beginning until now. That statement in itself is just plain childish.

            A couple thousand years ago? The earliest Old Testament writings date back nearly five thousand years.

            Evolution? You mean the ridiculous “Theory of evolution” which has already been debunked many times over through various scientific discoveries such as the law of bio Genesis and the law of thermodynamics?

            Life must be created for it is IMPOSSIBLE for life to evolve from non living matter. Absolutely Impossible and everyone knows it.

          • Mr. A

            “Evolution? You mean the ridiculous “Theory of evolution” which has already been debunked many times over through various scientific discoveries such as the law of bio Genesis and the law of thermodynamics?”
            http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB000.html
            http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF001.html

            But hey, in regards to the law of biogenesis, feel free to propose a tested mechanism that makes it impossible to go from non life to life. Be sure to back it up with experimental evidence, so that I can be sure it isn’t an assertion you came up with just to win an arguemnt. And before you ask, yes, creationists make such common arguments that we literally have a list of them and how to debunk them. The thermodynamics one in particular makes it clear you know nothing about the law itself or indeed how evolution works.

          • One Truth

            “- http://www.talkorigins.org/
            http://www.talkorigins.org/…”

            One should never accept the first answer that pops up on a Google search. Do some real research and don’t be so lazy. Seriously, you look like a fool posting that silly link.

            As to the rest of your reply, its simply meaningless chatter from an angry anti-christ. Am I shocked???

            The time is coming and you yourself will find out soon enough, trust me, God Will Not Be Mocked.

          • Mr. A

            Lol so in other words “You’re wrong but I won’t explain why your arguments fall flat, they just do somehow.” and then the rest of it is a vague threat Christains have been saying since the 1st century. Also a rant about how anti Christian I am, as if yours is the sole religion ppororting a creationist myth.

            Yes, that will convince me to change to Christianity for sure.

            Also I find it incredibly suspicious that you just posted two links to their homepage instead of thier two specific taking points like I posted originally.

            Finally let’s get one thing clear. I am not against Christianity. I’m not even against you (I don’t even know you). I am against two specific arguments you try to claim as evidence against Evolution.

            1. The law of Biogenesis disproves Evolution.
            2. The 2nd law of Thermodynamics disproves Evolution.

            That is all I am against. You have no right invoking the entire Christian tribe over this.

          • pud

            OH NO!!!! Believe in the loving “god” OR ELSE!!! Sick

          • One Truth

            Use all of the hyper drama you like, BUT…..you have a choice and God has given you that freedom to choose.

            Sick? What is Sick is to know that Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be beaten and crucified on a cross for your sins out of pure love for you and you despise Him for no reason other than your own selfishness to live life as you please while thumbing your nose at your Creator who loves you.

            John 3:16-21 & 3:31-36. Again, its your own decision.

          • pud

            You should be flogged for using the word “truth” in your name as you clearly have no clue about how to arrive at truth nor do you care.

            That your made up invisible celestial dictator would demand a human sacrifice is completely SICK on its face!

            That you are so warped, gullible and stupid so as to not see that your “god” sacrificed himself to himself to fix the problem he himself created is mind numbing

            That your make believe deity would demand you love and obey him under threat of eternal torture is SICK on its face!

            It’s worse that some low IQ idiot like you “believes” in a Bronze Age moronic superstitious book without a shred of evidence to support a single nonsensical claim you make is mind numbing!

            You clearly are stupid…cheers!

          • One Truth

            “It’s worse that some low IQ idiot like you “believes” in a Bronze Age
            moronic superstitious book without a shred of evidence to support a
            single nonsensical claim you make is mind numbing!”

            Without evidence??? The Bible is The Most highly esteemed and most widely distributed History book in the world, museums and institutions hold a plethora of documented eyewitness accounts, scrolls, parchments, etc…

            The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that at the time they were discovered, would be dated back to be over three thousand years old and matched the Old Testament in our bibles word for word.

            Out of over 100 prophecies in our Old Testament, just about every one of them concerning Jesus Christ have already come to pass from where He would be born, to where He would grow up, to how much He would be betrayed for and as to how He would be put to death in the greatest of detail, including being crucified on a cross which had not even been thought of yet and would not be used for hundreds of years.

            Lets not even get into how all of His disciples ( except Judas Iscariot of course ) , along with hundreds of other eyewitnesses at that time and thousands upon thousands of other followers for decades after allowed themselves and they’re entire families to be Martyred without even raising a fist.

            Yea, I’m stupid!?! But, I’m forgiven and I have inherited Eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ and the washing of His precious blood.

          • pud

            Hahhahahahahha! The only thing you’ve gotten right in that babble is that you’re stupid!

            There are NO eye witness accounts of ANYTHING! It’s a collection of stories ripped off from many previous religious cults and codified into a volume by the priests at the council of Nicea by a VOTE! They couldn’t even agree!

            There are NO prophecies whatsoever dummy as the “new” book was written after the “old” book to make the “old” book look valid! There are NO demonstrable prophecies whatsoever

            Name one eyewitness to anything…LOL! Your “paul” had psychotic visions! No one even knows who wrote the new testament! The names are MADE UP and they were all written up to 100 years after the made up story!

            Muslims martyr themselves all the time…proves NOTHING except how fucked up religion is

            Demonstrate that any character name of “jesus” ever existed….I challenge you to try

            You are a delusional lunatic nothing more

          • One Truth

            Eternity….It is a very long time.

          • pud

            Right! You better get right with Allah!!

          • Satanic_Panic

            which has already been debunked many times over… the law of thermodynamics?

            You’re an idiot who has no clue how the 2nd law works. For your information, moron, the Earth is not a closed system and the 2nd law applies only to closed systems. So, please, shut up.

          • One Truth

            Satanic Panic??? Whatever that means. Besides, there is no satan, right?

            Anyway…are you telling me that you believe that you derived from apes, which came from marmots, which came from amphibians, which came from a blob of goop, which by chance was birthed from some bubbling brew stew millions, whoops, I forgot, it was changed, billions and billions of years ago?

            That’s awesome.

          • Satanic_Panic

            Yes, it is awesome; and a lot more coherent than magiczombieskyfairy did it. Do you have any evidence that evolution isn’t true?

          • One Truth

            Evolution? Its still a ‘theory’ because every scientist with half a brain knows that it is absolutely impossible for life to come from NOTHING.

            “magiczombieskyfairy” ?……. Your arrogance toward God Almighty is more proof than anyone needs that God is real. If God were not real, you would not be so angry toward Him nor would you waste your time in such a persistent manner to argue that He does not exist.

            You sir are filled with a vengrful spirit and you will realize in the end that it was a total waste of your time to act as a spokesperson for the one who was defeated at the cross of calvary. Read Revelation 20:7-15. The time is coming.

          • Satanic_Panic

            you’re an idiot who doesn’t know anything. The Theory of Gravity is ‘just a theory’ too; does that make it untrue as well? What about the ‘germ theory of disease’? Is that not true because it’s ‘just a theory’? You’re so ignorant it is hilarious. Please continue making an absolute fool out of yourself.

          • mike

            Actually theories are not facts and they never become facts. The attraction of bodies having mass is the fact and gravitational theory, which is always subject to change, attempts to explain the fact. Even now gravitational theory is being considered for a major revision; gravity might not even be what we have so long thought that it was. In like manner, biodiversity is the fact that the theory of evolution is attempting to explain. Evolution is not and will never be a fact…it is a theory. The thing that matters is, “How well does a theory explain the existence of the fact and answer the questions that the fact gives rise to?” Evolutionary theory appears to address some questions well. There are others it does not answer well and still others it cannot account for at all. Only an indoctrinated mind will chastise another for calling a theory into question, and that is not in the spirit of science.

            If gravitational theory might be radically wrong…..

          • Satanic_Panic

            Do a 2 second google search and you’ll learn what the satanic panic was (hint: it was a cultural hysteria propagated by idiot christians such as yourself). No, satan doesn’t exist. It is as much a figment of your (deluded) imagination as “god” and “jesus” are.

      • Jean Camille

        You are still demanding “proof”?

        Once again, Father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, let Pud experience You in a way meaningful to him, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to His glory.

        A comment: if ever you consider that God may exist, opportunities for self-harm might increase. Look out for reckless acts of bravado, drunk driving, unintended speeding, extra liquor on fishing or hunting trips. You may also experience sudden surges of hatred, explosive frustration, steely anger and a raging desire to hurt.

        One of my past questions you did not respond to: Who lied to you as a child? Ask yourself why you did not notice that question.

        • pud

          You people are so incredibly STUPID!

          “Proof” only exists in mathematics, logic and by definition. I demand EVIDENCE! of which you have NONE!

          Everyone lies…on average 12 times per day. You superstitious religious lunatics lie far more than that when you promote your ignorant cult to others especially children

          • Jean Camille

            So who lied to you?

          • Satanic_Panic

            You’re trying to.

          • Jean Camille

            With a question? Cute

          • Satanic_Panic

            With a question? Cute…

            No, with this monstrous gibberish: Once again, Father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, let Pud experience You in a way meaningful to him, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to His glory.

          • Jean Camille

            That looks confused. If my words were gibberish, then they would not have meaning enough to be monstrous or to be an effective lie. So, what criteria are you using to make your judgement?

          • Satanic_Panic

            I said that you were attempting to lie, not that you were good at it.

          • Jean Camille

            I asked the Lord what he wants to say to you. A thought came to mind:
            Get it right with your Mom; she needs it.

    • Myles

      Seven million children starve to death every year. Does your god not hear their prayers or does it enjoy their suffering? Perhaps because they have no money, their prayers are worthless.
      Actually prayers are never answered because their is nobody listening.

      • Linguagroover

        Fifteen people an hour globally, of course many children, die of measles. Given that the disease agent is a (created? satanic? fallen?) virus and there is a human-invented vaccine, you would have thought that the omnipotent omniscient omnipresent benign creator deity complex Yahweh-Jeebus-Spookywoo would have eradicated it by now. Otherwise we’ll just have to wait until human political will to harness the science finishes measles off, as it seems to have done with smallpox. Sadly the Christian and other gods on offer since the dawn of humanity seem to be heartless and/or fucking deaf.

        • Pofarmer

          The evil, secular Red Cross last year helped vaccinate 178 million people against measles. It took money, not prayer.

          • Linguagroover

            Quite.

    • swbarnes2

      A good father would help his children if they were screaming in pain, about to die a preventable death. Your God doesn’t do that.

      Your God sits back and watches people die. Your God arranges for little children to die. Your own Bible lays out the details.

    • What you should do then is change the parts in the Bible that say that prayers are answered. Stick in the appropriate caveats that make answered prayer from God as likely as answered prayer from a jug of milk.

  • Maltnothops

    “Psalm 66:18 states that “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”

    How do you know that the psalmist wasn’t mistaken?

  • Gregory Moonsamy

    I’ve been praying for along time for basic desires nothing has come yet? If you can live without it you can do without it

  • hisxmark

    Maybe the tooth fairy won’t leave money under your pillow. Maybe Santa Klaus won’t bring you a pony. Maybe the leprechaun won’t show you his pot of gold. And for the same reason, perhaps God won’t answer your prayer. Or maybe, just maybe, God isn’t as interested in what you want as he is in what you actually do. Hands that are raised to heaven aren’t accomplishing much of anything.

  • Linguagroover

    1. He doesn’t exist (the atheist position); 2. Yes, he got everything going then took a huge step back and obviously doesn’t give a rat’s arse (the deist position); or 3. Let’s invent some excuses for random perceived, utterly capricious behavio(u)r from a sky daddy who, despite all the evidence available to anybody rational, really really really does care. Honest… (the professional apologist position).

    • pud

      Only one of those makes $$$$$

      • Linguagroover

        Yep. It’s that difficult to understand. 🙂

  • rtgmath

    Hmmm. Okay, this question. Why doesn’t God answer the prayer of the starving child? Or of the child whose parent is abusing him or her? Or of the child stolen and sold into sexual slavery? Or of the parent who finds his factory closing because the owners are moving it overseas, and there are no jobs to be had, whose family faces ruin and desolation?

    You didn’t answer these questions, and they have nothing to do with the sin of the person praying, selfishness, or praying in vain. Can you answer?

    • Jack Wellman

      Since you must not believe in God, then how would you answer to the problem of suffering? Who is responsible if there is no God? Mankind! Why does mankind allow such suffering? They can fly to the ends of the solar system but not stop suffering.

      • Pofarmer

        Suffering is a problem for theists, not for athiests. No one is “responsible” for suffering, it’s a product of where and what we are.

      • Paula Okeefe

        Jesus entered into solidarity with our suffering. He asked us to pick up our crosses and follow.
        Furthermore, He did heal the sick, possessed, blind and more. And it happens today when the Holy spirit is asked surrounding us. I have seen toooo many unexplained miracles personally. God answers prayers and heals those He chooses. Doesn’t mean others are not important. If that were so, Jesus crucifixion would be unimportant.
        Surrender to His will brings deep peace and compassion for hurting humanity.
        Prayer has layers or levels of depth. Focus on your relationship with Him in prayer and let Him lead. Answers to prayer will happen and if no answer you will still be at peace.

        • Jack Wellman

          Excellent response Mr. Okeefe. Thank you sir.

      • rtgmath

        Wow. Such deflection. I guess you can’t answer and have only judgmentalism. Ask a question, Get accused of unbelief. And you call yourself a pastor?

        Sure, men do a lousy job alleviating suffering. But quite a few actually try, limited as we are by mortality and an inability to control catastrophic events.

        But God? He is supposed to be Good and Omnipotent. So why do the prayers of the innocent get ignored? Or why does He approve of the Suffering He is Responsible for? Because you are right. If God exists, then he is Responsible.

        So quit acting like a coward and answer the question.

        • One Truth

          First of all, Jack cannot answer your question and neither can anyone else here. Its a bogus question and you know it. You asked a question that blankets the entire planet and refers to scattered individuals that no one here knows because you have given no names, addresses or telephone numbers so that they might be asked if God HAS answered they’re prayers.

          Secondly, there are plenty of real live people out there who have true and inspiring stories concerning answers to your question. They completely fill the shelves of bookstores all over the world for anyone who cares to look for them and actually read them. And these are only from those who have chosen to write a book.

          It always amazes me how so many ‘so called’ atheists will spend so much of their precious time throwing smear at a God that they say they do not believe in. Smear that contains the sins of man such as murder, rape, robbery and starvation.

          God’s ears are open to anyone who cares to call on His name with a sincere heart and He certainly will and does answer their prayers when they seek healing and comfort. I know. I am one of them. He does not however answer to the likes of the proud, self righteous and arrogant individual who does not seek Him with sincerity and honesty from a believing heart.

          You sir are a wretched, sin filled man who has thus far found no place for repentance in your heart and will never be heard by God until you do so. Besides, it is your own conscience, or what little you still hear, that gives you your proof that God is alive and well, for your conscience is the very voice of God. Though He may not currently hear you because of your hardened heart and your lack of interest in Him, He certainly has spoken to your heart throughout your life in an attempt to draw you to the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for your sins on the cross. Therefore, your fate and destination lie in your own hands and where you end up when you leave this world will be of your own choosing.

          • rtgmath

            You, sir, are an idiot. You neither know me, nor an honest question. The fact that a very few people get help does not negate the fact that millions of children starve to death across the world, thousands of women are victims of domestic abuse — many actually murdered by their abusers. And uncountable multitudes of young people are sold into sexual slavery, including some in your town. The fact that these people exist — and they do — demonstrates that their prayers for deliverance are not being answered. For no one in those situations desires it.

            The question was an honest one. Were I not already a Christian (and I am), I would be mightily tempted to turn away from Christ by your answers. You are a reprehensible example of a believer, without compassion, without mercy, no desire to teach or to help, but only full of accusation.

            There are hard questions out there that need answering.

            Oh, and may I remind you of the words of the Lord Jesus? You shall be judged even as you judge others.

          • Jean Camille

            I responded to your post, but the bot decided it was spam.
            They never reinstate such comments. So, if you’d like to read it, please click my profile box.
            Cheers

          • One Truth

            “You, sir, are an idiot. You neither know me, nor an honest question.”

            I may not know you personally, but I most certainly know your type and whom you speak on behalf of.

            “The fact that a very few people get help does not negate the fact that millions of children starve to death across the world, thousands of women are victims of domestic abuse — many actually murdered by their abusers. And uncountable multitudes of young people are sold into sexual slavery, including some in your town.”

            Yes, we live in a sin filled world where people sin. This is very obvious to everyone.

            “The fact that these people exist — and they do — demonstrates that their prayers for deliverance are not being answered. For no one in those situations desires it.”

            The fact that these people exist Does Not demonstrate that they’re prayers are not being answered, for you do not know whether they have ever prayed or not, let alone whether they even believe in or want to believe in God.

            This is your own statement from your above post….”You didn’t answer these questions, and they have nothing to do with the
            sin of the person praying, selfishness, or praying in vain. Can you
            answer?”

            And of course you are wrong. God is not entitled to answer every single prayer from every single person on this earth regardless whether they are a faithless, godless, arrogant, self willed and unrepentant sin filled individual or not.

            “Were I not already a Christian (and I am)”

            Your not fooling anyone here. A Christian who denies that God hears or answers prayers, and does so on a public platform?

            These are your own words…..
            “But God? He is supposed to be Good and Omnipotent. So why do the prayers of the innocent get ignored? Or why does He approve of the Suffering He is Responsible for? Because you are right. If God exists, then he is Responsible.”

            So….you’re a Christian??? Not possible. You sir have shown yourself to be an unbeliever who has set out to destroy the hope of the faithful and you have shown this by your own words on this very blog….( Revelation 21:7-8 )

            A truly ‘Born Again’ Christian would never suggest such an outlandish accusation against God. To go to the Lord in prayer and question Him is one thing. To deny that God answers prayers and blame Him for the sins of the world is another.

            The true believer knows their God and has immersed themselves into a relationship with God through complete trust, hope and faith in Christ Jesus……( Hebrews 11:6 ) Why? because God lovingly reveals Himself to the faithful believer, not to the world. Not to a world that continually rejects Him through rejecting His Son, the Christ…..( John 14:13-24 ). Oh, God has revealed Himself to the world through creation by all that He has made, as well as by giving the world an opportunity and a capacity to love one another, but God reveals Himself in a much greater magnitude to the believer. Unfortunately, much of the world chooses to reject God and His love for them, thus following the enemy.

            “You are a reprehensible example of a believer, without compassion, without mercy, no desire to teach or to help, but only full of accusation”

            No sir. I am the example of what a true believer Should be doing. Speaking out against false teachers and liars who have chosen to work for the enemy by attempting to tear down the faith of the faithful and slander the very name of God Almighty. Its called a rebuke…( 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ) and you asked for it when you came onto a Christian blog and began ( without compassion and mercy might I add ) attacking believers out of your hatred toward God.

            Just because God may not have answered Your prayers ( And you have made it very obvious why He would not ), does not mean that He does not answer the prayers of His faithful children, and believe me, He knows who they are…( John 6:59-71 ).

            No desire to teach or help? The very believers whom you have attacked here with your faithless rhetoric, these are the ones who are being helped and taught. They will be taught what I am sure they already know. To stand firm in their faith, even under pressure and persecution from wolves…( Matthew 7:15-23 ).

            “There are hard questions out there that need answering.”

            Was that YOUR answer? That God does not hear or answer prayers? So Am I to believe that you are actually here to edify the body of Christ with your hopeful words of wisdom? Lifting them up with love and compassion?

            “Oh, and may I remind you of the words of the Lord Jesus? You shall be judged even as you judge others.”

            There is a huge difference between ‘Judging’ and ‘Admonishing’ and while many do not know the difference, I do.

          • Jean Camille

            Second Try
            “You, sir, are an idiot. You neither know me, nor an honest question.” I am glad to see it was an honest question, but it was hard to see your honest heart through your abrasive style, honestly 😉

            Yes, it is a hard question. I have given up on a tidy answer. Instead, I am seeking a perspective that allows me to be at peace with a messy world.

            The world is not as we would like it and much of our distress comes from unmet expectations.

            Strictly logical and consistent materialists solve that distress by denying any meaning at all. A bullet in the head is equivalent to dying by a falling tree. Millions starving and dying are simply the detritus of ongoing evolution. If these are facts with no inner meaning, we can accept that as simple reality, and unemotionally try to avoid that fate ourselves. That is an expensive road to inner peace.

            We can accept the facts without the nihilism: “We live in a broken world; expect things to be broken.” That helps me live day to day.

            So how can a ‘good’ God allow it to stay broken like that? Why has He not answered our distress by now? I do not seek an answer but a response, one that makes no sense to a non-believer:

            I do not know the answer, but I do know God. If the problem was so bad that God had to allow His Son, Jesus, to go through such torment, then I can trust Him that the suffering we see was absolutely necessary to avoid something even worse. And why such a mess at all? I do not know, but it must have been the only way to get the perfect—and only worthwhile—outcome.

            Continued/

          • Jean Camille

            /Part 2
            Then I saw something terrifying about God, and what ‘good’ really means. If I hire a gardener, I do not pull weeds or sow plants for him. God put us here partly as caretakers of the planet. So we can mature as spiritual beings, God will not do our job for us.

            When the Biafran famine hit the news, the same papers told us that agricultural interests were dumping grain in the Gulf of Mexico to keep up grain prices. And the Nigerian military were blockading Biafra anyway. God gave the food. Our job was to distribute it and we refused. God did not take up the slack. He allowed us to see the dreadful consequences of our misdeeds.

            That is shocking but realistic. Have you ever seen people allowed to grow up protected from the consequences of their misdeeds? They are usually dreadful people.

            This is one simple example. God has given us authority we hardly ever use. He will not answer prayers that allow us to avoid our responsibilities, even if the failure kills us. That fact about God is terrifying.

            Do you want to see what happens when we do work with God and use the authority He gave us? Read Paula O’Keefe’s post, read it slowly and carefully.

  • candide

    God doesn’t answer prayer because he does not answer prayer. He is not. Just not.

  • swbarnes2

    I guess compared to the evangelicals’ favorite president, this article is a masterpiece of grammatically correct phrases that contain all their nouns and verbs, and carry out one thought across the course of a few sentences. (Doesn’t it embarrass you that you you and your kind put someone into the highest authority of our country who literally could not write this well no matter how hard he tried?)

    But it’s pretty appalling that this is what passes for intelligent thinking in evangelical circles. Always a thousand excuses for why God won’t say, cure the fatal cancer of a beloved and heavily prayed-over young minister. A kid who never does his chores always has an excuse, right? The kid thinks they sound convincing, but the adults are just embarrassed by the attempt to explain away the simplest answer.

    And gotta love how small the evangelical mind thinks about women. Yeah, God could not have made Hannah a poet, or a scholar, or a doctor, a judge, an artisan, or prophet. No, your God doesn’t dream that big for women. The best thing a woman can dream of is incubating a man who does one of those things. Well, if Hannah did pray to be able to do any of those things herself, you are right there with all the answers as to why that didn’t work out, I suppose.

  • Pofarmer

    If God has a divine plan for each
    of us, then he had a divine plan for Hitler too. It is when you stop to
    think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

    Now let’s imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What
    difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down
    its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who
    died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death
    had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they
    would still die. The idea of a “plan” makes the idea of a
    “prayer-answering relationship with God” a contradiction, doesn’t it?
    Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the
    irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

    Think about what God’s plan means for you personally. If the plan
    happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that
    terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four
    times, then that’s what will happen. It would be the same with any
    disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months
    later, that is God’s plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a
    waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed
    the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the
    plan — no amount of prayer will help — because your death will have
    meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the
    plan.

    http://godisimaginary.com/i6.htm

    • Jack Wellman

      God uses prayers as a means to achieve His planned purposes. Jesus told us to pray, saying, “Men ought to always pray.” Even if I don’t understand all the implications and intricancies, I am commanded to “pray always.” That is enough for me. Obidence preceeds understanding in many things. I don’t exactly know how the CPU does all things it does, but that’ doesn’t mean I never turn it on and use it.

      • pud

        LOL…Doesn’t take much for you ya gullible old fool. “Obidience precedes understanding”….The perfect definition of dictatorship

      • Pofarmer

        God uses prayers as a means to achieve His planned purposes.

        That doesn’t even make sense, in this context. God’s planned purposes are going to happen regardless. Praying isn’t going to change that.

        Jesus told us to pray, saying, “Men ought to always pray.” Even if I
        don’t understand all the implications and intricancies, I am commanded
        to “pray always.”

        Honestly. Meh. This is circular reasoning.

        Obedience precedes understanding in many things. I don’t exactly know
        how the CPU does all things it does, but that’ doesn’t mean I never turn
        it on and use it.

        That’s actually the point in reverse. No one seems to no how “prayer works”. And every actual indication is that it doesn’t. “Answered prayers” are indistinguishable from chance. PLUS, in the presence of an omniscient, omnipotent God, prayers are pointless. Is your prayer going to change a perfect God’s perfect plan? Doubtful. This is prayer used as a pacifier.

        • mike

          I’ve always found that we tend to envision God as smaller than He probably is and therefore our questions and answers are often too small as well. God does have a plan but the plan is not the genesis. The plan is according to His foreknowledge; He knows the end from the beginning. Before He created anything at all he already knew not only the moment by moment location of every electron ever but also every actual free will decision that any person would ever make as well as the infinite, subsequent consequences of same. That’s already mind boggling. With that foreknowledge in hand he then created, thereby instituting His plan. In this paradigm a prayer offered or withheld by free choice is part of the plan while at the same time never diminishing the free will aspect of the prayer choice itself. In this paradigm prayer can be answered (or not) as part of the plan as well. In God’s economy He is not surprised or changed by any of these things but we who pray can be strengthened, taught, chastised and tested in faith by what we perceive as answer or silence. In this paradigm God can use prayer as a means to accomplish His purposes as Jack said. Of course we are going to encounter roadblocks and apparent paradox as we try to fathom these things. Our brains are not big enough to encompass the infinity of any divine attribute.

          To push toward the headwaters of this stream is ultimately to ask…Given God’s foreknowledge of all this beauty and anguish, why did God create? A wiser man than me once said that it makes no sense at all to talk about the benefit or detriment of nonexistence. My humble opinion is that, since the anguish is the result of free will choices and since free will is necessary for love to exist, love must be worth the pain. Not just our pain but God’s pain as the Lamb of God was slain from before the foundation of the world. God is outside of time. Essentially, in His economy, He became a man and died for us before He created. To us in time it happened 2000 years ago.

          • Pofarmer

            Did that seem compelling when you wrote it?

          • mike

            Upon rereading I may have ventured off topic a bit but as to the salient bits, yes.

          • Pofarmer

            Yeah. It’s typical pulpit glurge.

          • mike

            If I respond with something other than agreement then it’s glurge? Well then, glurge on you. Engage me.

          • Pofarmer

            Engage with what? You could put Larry the Dancing Chicken in everywhere you put God and it wouldn’t change a thing.

          • mike

            Funny! I’m being serious. I really did laugh.

            I thought the topic was how prayer could possibly work in the economy of a God whose perfect plan wouldn’t be perfect if it could be altered by prayer. My suggestion is that the foreknowledge which births the plan has accounted for the prayer already without diminishing choice.

          • Pofarmer

            Then the prayer still doesn’t matter and now you’ve hijacked your vaunted Free Will.

          • mike

            It’s how prayer CAN matter without having God respond to requests that take him by surprise. As to the second part I’m not sure I follow you; do you think foreknowedge negates choice?

          • Pofarmer

            That doesn’t make any sense. If the prayers are already God’s plan. Then they’re pointless, and you didn’t have any choice in making them, as it was already pre-ordained that you would do it. They whole exercise is ultimately pointless.

          • mike

            On a very much smaller scale than we are considering I can know what desert my child will ask for (although they might surprise me because I am finite) and plan to go to a restaurant that either has that desert or not depending upon what I decide, as Dad, is in thier best interest. My plan has incorporated thier future request without diminishing the freedom inherent in thier choice.

          • Pofarmer

            Then you did, indeed, diminish their Free Will, by your own example. You also controlled them. We’re told that God doesn’t want Automatons.

          • mike

            Please explain what you understand free will to be.

          • Pofarmer

            The theological doctrine of divine foreknowledge is often alleged to be in conflict with free will, particularly in Calvinistic circles: if God
            knows exactly what will happen (right down to every choice a person
            makes), it would seem that the “freedom” of these choices is called into
            question.[1]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_will_in_theology

          • mike

            I’m sorry but I really don’t care what Wikipedia thinks about free will. The reason I’m asking you to explain how you understand it is because I suspect we understand it differently and if we are both going to use the term then we should agree on a meaning.

          • Pofarmer

            Need to tailor your apologetics?

          • mike

            I really just want to know what you think free will is.

          • Pofarmer

            Free Will, at it’s simplest, would be the ability to make choices unhindered.

          • mike

            Would you accept…The ability to choose unhindered from among a limited range of options?

            When I was young I wanted to be a dog so that I could avoid school but I could not choose that…it wasn’t an actual option.

          • Pofarmer

            Sure, you can open up whatever cans of worms you like, and that is the typical way it works. We seldom
            have access to all options in real life.

          • mike

            So with limited foreknowedge, in taking my child to a restaurant that doesn’t offer the preferred desert, I’ve not impaired the freedom of the choice but merely changed the options available to freely choose from.

            Try to envision this type of process brought about by infinite foreknowledge.

          • Pofarmer

            Right, so if God have infinite forenowledge, he could have just not have the tree in the Garden of Eden, and all the rest of it is avoided. But, even without that, it’s still controlling. And, if God could limit choices to just a few, then why does evil exist at all? He could limit choices to just the good.

          • mike

            We seem to be leaving the immediate topic of prayer answering but that’s okay because the answer depends on this foundational stuff anyways.

            In Eden, Adam had only good things to choose from save just one in all creation and so it’s fair to say he had just one choice to make. Adam’s first choice in the garden wasn’t really about a tree. If you look at the temptation (You will be like God, knowing good and evil) you can see that the choice was between trusting God to make the determination regarding what is good for him or assuming that role for himself.

            If God had not created that choice then Adam would have had no choice but to trust; like a preprogrammed robot. God wants a real relationship with rational beings and that both necessitates choice and risks heartache. Free will is created by availability of choice.

            The primary choice is;
            true God/some other god. Adam chose some other god…himself (no god at all).

          • Pofarmer

            I just spent the last minute, quite literally, sitting with my head in my hands looking down at the keyboard at the utter stupidity and futility of this.

          • mike

            It’s a difficult conversation even when both parties share the same fundamental worldview.

          • Pofarmer

            So, now, you’re assigning intentionality to God. In other words. You claim to know the mind of God. Who’s making God too small? This seems to be an issue.

            And, it wouldn’t have been that Adam had only good things to choose from. It would have been after he ate from the tree he would have KNOWN the difference between good and evil. Not that he wouldn’t have done it. He just would have been unknowing.

            And, at any rate, God is omnipotent and omniscient right? So he would have known that Adam and Eve were going to eat from the tree. So he could have just created them with the knowledge of good and evil and left the act out, since it was going to happen anyway.

            If God had not created that choice then Adam would have had no choice but to trust; like a preprogrammed robot.

            Uhm, no, he would have never known. It wouldn’t have been an issue. God could have created a world with only good choices as easily as one with both good and evil choices.

            God wants a real relationship with rational beings and that both necessitates choice and risks heartache.

            Once more, you said we make God to small. But you’re claiming to know the mind of God. And, anyway, God is perfect, which would entail no wants. You are simply creating your own God.

            Just like everybody else.

            That’s why this is futile. You’re willing to tie yourself up in whatever knots necessary to rationalize your beliefs.

            Oh.

            And it never happened. It’s a story in a book probably based on an earlier astrological tale and given increased significance.

          • mike

            Hey man, you brought up the garden of Eden not me. I am just responding.

            The temptation was “You will be like God”. The knowledge of good and evil was merely the offered means to that end and it was a lie: Satan’s words not God’s. Adam already knew how to differentiate between the two: Good=do what God says, Evil=disobey. Satan was telling Adam he could break out from under God’s authority and, in this area, be like God and Adam went for it.

            The fruit was just fruit. If God had said “ride any animal except the elephant of the knowledge of good and evil” the choice would have been the same. Adam’s sin wasn’t in eating the fruit it was in trying to make himself equal to God.

            God did know beforehand that Adam would fall. If God had not created the opportunity for Adam to choose disobedience then Adam could never have chosen to obey because there would have been no choice. It is not possible to choose to do good if there is no option to do otherwise. Could God have created a world with only good options? I suppose so; a choice-less world of automatons. Remember, it wasn’t about deciding what kind of fruit to have for supper, it was about choosing to stay put under His authority or to try and dethrone God. We all have exactly that same primary choice…it has never changed.

            As for assigning intentionality or knowing the mind of God, in a very limited way I do. I believe He exists and has revealed certain things about Himself. If He didn’t exist or didn’t reveal himself I’d have nothing to go on. I endeavor to take Him at His word and apply reason to what I am given in the same way as you believe He does not exist (if I read you right) and apply reason to what you have. I realize we disconnect sharply at this point but there it is.

          • Pofarmer

            . I endeavor to take Him at His word and apply reason to what I am given in the same way as you believe

            Uhm, no. You aren’t applying reason. You are attempting to rationalize a story that you’ve been told is real since probably birth.

          • Pofarmer

            Adam already knew how to differentiate between the two: Good=do what God says, Evil=disobey

            Actually no, no he wouldn’t have. That’s the whole frickin point.

            God did know beforehand that Adam would fall. If God had not created
            the opportunity for Adam to choose disobedience then Adam could never
            have chosen to obey because there would have been no choice.

            Then the whole exercise is pointless. There was only one way it could go, and God knew it before hand. THere is no choice in the scenario. It’s already been determined at the beginning. The rest is just toying with something. Omniscience, remember?

            It is not possible to choose to do good if there is no option to do otherwise.

            There could be a plethora of good options, and no possibility of evil options. No one would ever know the evil options weren’t there. It would just be the way things are.

            Could God have created a world with only good options? I suppose so; a choice-less world of automatons.

            Oh. Exactly like Heaven. If God could create a perfect Heaven, he could have created a perfect Earth. Easy Peasy.

            in a very limited way I do.

            Bully for you. So do lot’s of other folks who disagree with you.

            If He didn’t exist or didn’t reveal himself I’d have nothing to go on.

            Oh, come on. Scientologists make the same argument. It’s ridiculous Stop it.

          • mike

            It’s really not the point. Read the story again. God gave a command and outlined the consequence for disobedience. It was the serpent who introduced the idea that there was some lack in Adam and that God was holding out on him. The temptation was to meet that perceived lack by doing the very thing God commanded against. In other words, you don’t need to rely on God for that info…kick God to the curb and be God for yourself, Adam. The only thing that Adam lacked and gained from eating the fruit was the experience of having done evil. That was the trap.

            – THere is no choice in the scenario. It’s already been determined at the beginning.

            I could have sworn we had previously agreed that foreknowledge does not nullify choice. God didn’t determine the choice he just knew what it would be. Huge difference. God did not make Adam choose to disobey. He knew he would but he did not make it happen. You can argue that he made it happen by creating the scenario with said foreknowledge but that is a category error. In creating the scenario He created choice itself. The specific choice that Adam made is on lower level.

            – There could be a plethora of good options, and no possibility of evil
            options. No one would ever know the evil options weren’t there. It
            would just be the way things are.

            But we’re talking about choosing good over evil. If there’s no evil option then there can be no choice of good over evil. The evil option for Adam (and for us) was doing what seemed right in his own eyes rather than looking to God for the distinction. The only way to have no possibility of evil options is to have no prohibitions forcing a choice between obedience and disobedience. But if there are no prohibitions then there is no choice so the only way to have no evil options is to have no choice.

            – Oh, come on. Scientologists make the same argument. It’s ridiculous Stop it.

            What could possibly be said about a non existent anything?

          • Pofarmer

            What could possibly be said about a non existent anything?

            REally? Let’s have a nice conversation about Invisible pink Unicorns. They are the most powerful force in the Universe.

            Holy shit.

          • mike

            I’m sorry, I should have been more precise (rolling my eyes). What could accurately be said…

          • Pofarmer

            Literally anything. Which is what we get with your theology.

          • Pofarmer

            But we’re talking about choosing good over evil. If there’s no evil
            option then there can be no choice of good over evil. The evil option
            for Adam (and for us) was doing what seemed right in his own eyes rather
            than looking to God for the distinction. The only way to have no
            possibility of evil options is to have no prohibitions forcing a choice
            between obedience and disobedience. But if there are no prohibitions
            then there is no choice so the only way to have no evil options is to
            have no choice.

            Oh, and congratulations. You’ve now backed squarely into the horns Epicurius and the Problem of Evil. I kinda told you not to open this can of worms.

            Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.

            Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

            Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

            Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
            Thus spake Epicurus, the Greek philosopher who lived from 341-270 BC. This is what you might call a tight spot argument.

          • mike

            It’s not a tight spot at all it’s just that Epicurians don’t seem to like the answer.

            Is he able to prevent evil?…yes.

            Is he willing? Obviously not in any ultimate creative sense. He could have created a world with no evil options by creating humans with no choice. Is there an Epicurian out there willing to define their ability to choose as an act of divine malevolence? What rational being longs for a choiceless existence?

          • Pofarmer

            Yeah. That ain’t the problem. The problem is that you are trying to deal with a God who is said to be OMNI potent and OMNI benevolent and OMNI scient.

          • mike

            Yes. And he OMNI gave us choice and we are not omni and we struggle.

          • Pofarmer

            If you have an omnipotence, then that omnipotence could achieve anything possible through suffering without the suffering. And there is certainly tons of suffering. An benevolence wouldn’t want suffering for his creation. So, given that anything achievable through suffering would be achievable without it , and that there is suffering, your God thingy goes poof. I’m sorry. You can prattle on about Free Will, even though you seem to believe in a deterministic universe anyway. If God knows everything that’s going to happen in advance, then you were going to do it any way. You had no free will, only the illusion of it. Your God is malevolent.

          • mike

            The creation of choice itself and the consequence of any specific choice are different orders of things. The error of your argument and Epicurius’ as well is that it fails to treat them as such and attempts to bring them to bear in the argument as equals.

            God’s foreknowledge of a second order event (a specific choice) does not neuter the first order event (the creation of free choice) nor make him responsible for the third order event (consequence of free choice).

            On Friday, if we have extra money, we will order from pizza joint A and my wife will get a large ham and pineapple on a Brooklyn style crust. If we have even a bit extra money we will order from pizza joint B and she will get medium rare steak tips and small spicy fries. I know it beforehand but my knowledge doesn’t make her choice. Foreknowledge does not nullify freedom of choice but is able to account for it.

          • Pofarmer

            nor make him responsible for the third order event (consequence of free choice).

            English Revised Version
            I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things.

            For starters.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q-387Zb54Q

          • mike

            Don’t make too much of that verse all by itself, man; it’s got to be understood in it’s larger context and Isaiah was one verbose, poetical dude: he carries this current thought on from chapter 43 to 50 at least. In that one verse God is merely claiming, as creator, the right to make distinctions and act upon them. The same One who distinguishes light from darkness and prosperity from calamity will raise up and empower Cyrus to vanquish Babylon (even though Cyrus does not acknowledge Him) so that Cyrus can later command and support the rebuilding of Jerusalem for the benefit of His people Israel.

            It’s the same One who distinguished good from evil in the issuing of a prohibition and the consequence tied to it. In choosing to eat from the tree Adam chose to incur the consequence. A prohibition without a consequence makes no sense. “Don’t eat from that tree Adam because if you do nothing will happen.”

            Sam Harris presents his argument well but this clip, at least, is downstream of what we are considering. I’ll listen to more of his debates for sure but I think he doesn’t get what actually happened in the garden of Eden. His argument, in this clip at least, seems to be, “Really, really horrible stuff happens and so a good God cannot be true.” Epicurus at Notre Dame.

          • Pofarmer

            His argument, in this clip at least, seems to be, “Really, really horrible stuff happens and so a good God cannot be true.”

            Not really. The argument is along the lines of, God is said to be omnibenevolent, but millions upon miillions of us die in the most horrible ways. God is also said to be omnipotent, so he could have created a world where these horrible ways to die don’t exist. Therefore, God is either not omnipotent or not omnibenevolent.

            It’s the same One who distinguished good from evil in the issuing of a prohibition and the consequence tied to it

            Once again though, knowing Good and Evil was the consequence of the act. Neither Adam nor Eve would have understood the consequence before they ate the fruit. Plus, God already knew exactly what would happen – so – pointless.

            the right to make distinctions and act upon them. This isn’t claiming the act of making distinctions. It’s claiming the act of creation itself. God made everything, remember? So if he made everything, then he MADE evil. He didn’t have to make evil. Life on Earth didn’t have to suffer. Your desert examples actually show this.

          • mike

            “Once again though, knowing Good and Evil was the consequence of the act.
            Neither Adam nor Eve would have understood the consequence before they
            ate the fruit. Plus, God already knew exactly what would happen – so –
            pointless.”

            You are still reading it wrong. Knowing good and evil, and in that way being like God, is what the serpent (the tricky liar in the story) said the consequence would be. God never named that as the consequence.

            “So if he made everything, then he MADE evil.”

            No. He made choice and consequence. If He had made Adam take that choice perhaps He could be implicated but He did not.

          • Pofarmer

            So, what was the consequence?

            Did Adam know Good and evil beforehand?

          • mike

            Death was the consequence stated by the giver of the command.

            I would say that Adam knew good experimentally through obedience up until he disobeyed at which point he knew evil experimentally.

          • Pofarmer

            The problem that you/I/we have here, is that, as another poster has said, “Theology is a subject without an object”. You can say literally anything, make up whatever you want, because you don’t have anything really constraining you.

  • Satanic_Panic

    Silly nonsense.

  • SeeingClearly

    Is it possible that there’s just no one there to “answer your prayers”? That is the single most probable reason…given the fact that there is absolutely no scientific evidence for a supernatural force controlling any part of our universe, let alone looking into our lives and listening to our thoughts.

    • Jack Wellman

      What percentage of the universe have we explored? What percentages is yet unknown to us? The scientific community has an infintely large amount of the universe yet to explore to be dogmaticabout your statement that there is no proof. That perspective is a bit arrogant in attributing that much credit to mankind.

      • SeeingClearly

        Jack, You religionists assert that “god” is omnipresent–everywhere. We are here. Therefore, per you folks, he is here…every day in every way. Yet…science cannot find any evidence of this. Anyway, I am not the one asserting the presence of an indiscernible supernatural being; you are. The burden of scientific proof rests on you. Until science can find it…we have no reason to believe it exists.

        • Lindsay –

          we do have a reason to believe so because the best things cannot be proven or seen physically, they are felt and seen in action on a deeper level

          • SeeingClearly

            Lindsey, If those “best things” you speak of are real, and YOU can feel and see them “on a deeper level,” why can’t science detect them? I think that is because they are not real, but you have been told, probably since you were a small child, as I was, that they are real and that if you JUST believed in them enough, they would be “real” for you. You have now convinced yourself that “they” are real…but, in your thoughtful and realistic moments, you know that they are not. If they were, they would be detectible and reproducible. That is reality…which is where this universe exists, not in some mythological dream world.

          • Jack Wellman

            Since you are so convinced God does not exist, why do you go to so much trouble bringing others down because they do believe? Why have issues with someone you don’t even believe exists? Interesting.

          • SeeingClearly

            It isn’t just me who is not convinced that any god exists; it is all of the scientific community. Stop your ad hominem attacks and just answer my question: if there is a supernatural force you call god at work, why can science not detect it or any of its qualities?

          • mike

            Because science starts with the assumption that the natural is all there is and, looking at the purely natural using purely natural means, it cannot discover the supernatural. That’s fine. It is wrong, though, to then claim the assumption as the conclusion. There is no flaw within science and we would be screwed without the process but it is limited to the natural.

          • Pofarmer

            Because science starts with the assumption that the natural is all there is

            No, it doesn’t. Science started out trying to discover God’s world, remember? Methodological Naturalism is actually a RESULT of us only ever finding natural answers to things. To quote Tim Minchin. “Every answer, to every question ever asked, has turned out to be – Not Magic,”

            it cannot discover the supernatural.

            Sure it can, the same way it discovered Infrared Radiation, by it’s effects. If something “supernatural” were affecting the natural world, we could see it’s effect and quantify them. But we don’t.

            There is no flaw within science and we would be screwed without the process but it is limited to the natural.

            If you mean limited to that which exists, then you are correct. To quote Thomas Jefferson.

            To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the
            human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings,
            or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason
            otherwise… without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and
            phantasms. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things
            which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may
            indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.

          • mike

            You cannot be suggesting that Infrared Radiation is not a natural phenomenon so I must be misunderstanding why you bring it up.

            I do think that what I wrote might lead you to believe that I am down on science and I am not. I am glad you called me out on this. What I had in mind when I wrote what I wrote was science as it is generally undertaken today. I was not at all trying to reference the genesis of scientific process.

            The general mindset coming out of the dark ages (can I call it an hypothesis?) was that if a rational, orderly God exists and created everything then order and reason, principle and law should be discoverable and testable and falsifiable in an empirical way undergirding and permeating that creation. Obvious to us at this point is that this is overwhelmingly, unanimously true. The more and deeper we search, the more that is all that we find.

            Hypothesis: If God is true we should find such and such in nature.

            Evidence: Such and such is all we can find in nature.

            Conclusion: God is not true.

            The fault is not in science.

          • Pofarmer

            The idea, as far as I understand it, is that we should find God’s mechanisms, the way that he controlled the world Except, we’ve found the mechanisms, but we never found the need for a god.

            You cannot be suggesting that Infrared Radiation is not a natural phenomenon so I must be misunderstanding why you bring it up.

            Because when infrared radiation was discovered, we couldn’t “See” it. We didn’t have the instrumentation. It was discovered by it’s effects while looking at other phenomenon. The supernatural should work the same way.

          • mike

            Right. We looked for God’s mechanisms, found them everywhere, and decided that they weren’t God’s anymore. It’s not a conclusion it’s a change of assumption.

            As for IR…natural effects led to the discovery of an unseen natural cause. There is no reason to expect the supernatural to be discovered in this way. It is other than natural. A different order of thing altogether. Natural things are discerned naturally and spiritual things are discerned spiritually.

            To employ science in this way is a category error. We are essentially looking for supernatural effect within the natural, which IS the effect itself. The cause is never within the effect.

          • Pofarmer

            Right. We looked for God’s mechanisms, found them everywhere, and
            decided that they weren’t God’s anymore. It’s not a conclusion it’s a
            change of assumption.

            Actually, it’s a complete change of philosophy. We decided we didn’t need to posit invisible deities to describe the world around us.

            As for IR…natural effects led to the discovery of an unseen natural
            cause. There is no reason to expect the supernatural to be discovered
            in this way. It is other than natural. A different order of thing
            altogether. Natural things are discerned naturally and spiritual things
            are discerned spiritually.

            Define “supernatural”. What are you claiming and how do you support it? Are ;supernatural and spiritual the same thing?

            To employ science in this way is a category error. We are essentially
            looking for supernatural effect within the natural, which IS the effect
            itself. The cause is never within the effect.

            Once again. What are you claiming here and how do you support it? If we can’t detect a supernatural effect with science, then how do you detect it? Show your work.

          • mike

            I totally agree with you. It’s a complete change of philosophy. From this new philosophy comes the new assumption just as the old assumption came from the old philosophy. I’m not denying the right to hold that philosophy I just wish folks would stop trying to sell it as a scientific conclusion. It is entirely possible and not uncommon to do legitimate, hard-core science in any field all the while holding a theistic philosophy and the assumptions that go along with it.

            Supernatural – from Medieval Latin supernaturalis “above or beyond nature”. From the Latin ‘super’ (above, over, beyond) and the Latin ‘natura’ (course of things; natural character, constitution, quality; the universe,” literally “birth,” from natus “born). A good working definition might be: “That is supernatural , whether it be, that is
            either not in the chain of natural cause and effect, or which acts on
            the chain of cause and effect in nature, from without the chain” – Horace Bushnell . It doesn’t have to mean gods or ghosts or whatever it simply means ‘other than what is natural’.

            I would not say that spiritual and supernatural are synonyms but that spirit falls into the category of supernatural in that it operates from outside the chain of natural cause and effect.

            In the context of this discussion empirical evidence of a supernatural creator God cannot be scientifically found within the natural universe because the existence of the natural universe itself is the empirical evidence. In a super limited way it would be like looking
            within the chemical composition of the paint of the Sistine Chapel for Michelangelo when the paintings themselves are the evidence of the painter. What I am claiming is that if the supernatural is the cause and the natural is the effect then the cause will not be found within the effect but can be inferred by it. I’m claiming that science (awesome as it is) is limited to the natural and has no investigative power whatsoever regarding what is ‘other than’ natural.

            If the supernatural cannot be detected by natural processes like science it must, then, if it exists and is detectable, be detected by supernatural processes. How then is a purely supernatural being to be detected by a purely natural being? Either that natural being must become supernatural; must somehow shed it’s nature and take itself outside of nature, or the supernatural being must intrude upon the natural with some sort of revelation pointing not into nature but beyond. Here is where spirit bridges the gap. When supernatural revelation (that intrusion from without) is received by the natural being, it represents an internalization of that supernatural intrusion and produces a new, supernatural element within the natural being. This supernatural element then enables the natural being to detect, interpret, and respond to supernatural evidences because it is now no longer purely natural. This is exactly the Christian claim (John 3:3-8).

          • Pofarmer

            C’mon. This stupidity was dealt with hundreds of years ago by Hume and Paine.

          • mike

            And others have dealt with them. It’s not as though they are the last word.

          • Pofarmer

            If by dealt with you mean “ignored” then yes.

          • mike

            Rightly so. The supernatural and the natural are different compartments. To combine them or disregard the difference is an error.

            All reason is just people. If that invalidates reason then …

            Yes. People can detect the supernatural, just not through natural means (that whole compartment thing).

            If you are asking me to refute Hume in the comment section of a blog will you grant me some time? I haven’t studied Hume in 30 years.

          • Pofarmer

            People can detect the supernatural, just not through natural means (that whole compartment thing).

            What.

            In the Hell.

            Are you talking about?

          • Pofarmer

            People can detect the supernatural, just not through natural means (that whole compartment thing).

            What.

            In the Hell.

            Are you talking about?

          • mike

            Imagine a being that is 100% eyeball in a world full of sound.

          • Pofarmer

            If you’re all eyeball, and I’m all eyeball, you don’t have a more reliable way to detect sound than I do.

          • mike

            Exactly and unless one of us eyeballs undergoes a fundamental change it remains that way.

          • Pofarmer

            And that fundamental change is undetectable?

          • mike

            I wouldn’t say that at all. The changed eyeball is now receiving and responding to an entirely new genre of stimuli and notices the difference. It will appear to the unchanged eyeball that the other one is now behaving strangely; sometimes acting in opposition or without reference to what vision should dictate. If these eyeball creatures can communicate somehow then the one might explain it’s actions as a response to sound, which the other denies the existence of because it cannot perceive it.

          • Pofarmer

            But there’s no physical change in the eyeball?

          • mike

            It’s not a perfect metaphor. Since light and sound waves are natural phenomena and need natural means to be percieved, of course there would have to be. The metaphor will break down here unless it is allowed to maintain it’s metaphorical intent: eyeball= natural, sound=supernatural

          • Pofarmer

            The metaphor is fine, as far asi it goes. It’s the underlying argument that’s crap. I was actually hoping to draw it out some more as a demonstration of multiple problems.

          • mike

            Alright. Maybe if we come at this from the other side. Why would you expect to find what is outside of nature within nature using natural means?

          • Pofarmer

            Don’t shift the Burden Mike.

            What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          • mike

            I’m not trying to shift anything. I’m trying to make headway.

            My claim is that the supernatural (if it exists) can’t be detected by natural means because it is other than natural. I support it by definition.

          • Pofarmer

            Mike.

            If you can’t detect the supernatural by natural means then you’re no further ahead on it than I am.

          • mike

            That’s right. I am no further ahead on it than you are by natural means.

          • Pofarmer

            So, what are you claiming, and how do you support it? How do you claim that you are detecting the supernatural?

          • mike

            By doing the opposite of what Adam did in the garden; accepting rather than rejecting revelation.

          • Pofarmer

            That’s not a claim. That’s nonsense.

            What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          • mike

            It is a claim and it’s not nonsense but I’ll try to put it in different terms for you. I am claiming that a natural being can detect the supernatural when 3 conditions are met:
            1) The supernatural exists
            2) The supernatural has revealed it’s existence
            3) The natural being accepts the revelation for what it is.

            I support it as a general thesis by the logic just provided.
            It is supported individually by experience.

          • Pofarmer

            What does it mean that something is “Supernatural?”

          • mike

            This feels like well trodden ground. Supernatural is that which is above, beyond, other than nature.

          • Pofarmer

            So then, how does something “other than nature” interact with nature?

          • mike

            It would either be something woven into the fabric of the natural itself or it would be an intrusion into the natural from without.

          • Pofarmer

            Either of these is, in concept, distinguishable by science.

          • mike

            Science isn’t sentient, right? It’s just a tool. We can say a hammer drives a nail but we really mean the person wielding the hammer. Therefore, when at the very beginning I said that science starts with the assumption that there is no supernatural, I was of course referring to the wielder of science because a tool cannot make an assumption nor recognize a distinction. When you say distinguishable by science you must mean the same, right? Hence condition 3 from a few comments back. The revelation has to be accepted for what it is and not reasoned away in obedience to a denial assumption.

            Here’s an example of an intrusion of the supernatural into the natural (perhaps).

            A guy with financial trouble driving down the road with his window down just obsessing over his monetary woes finally gives up and, in actual faith and frustration, cries out loud “Would it kill you to throw a little money my way!” The very moment the last of these words leaves his lips something flies in the open window, ricochets off his forehead, bounces around the truck cab for a bit, and comes to rest on the seat next to him. It’s a penny. Someone could use science to analyze what laws of physics and motion would have been employed in the penny’s trajectory intersecting with the direction and velocity of the truck-bound, mobile man. Someone could then extrapolate and scientifically hypothesize certain potential (even plausible) natural scenarios which might have launched the penny in the first place. It is the underlying assumption of the wielder of science which determines how the coincidence of the penny launch with the verbalized prayer will be handled. The tool of science can be brought to bear on it but how it is brought to bear on it is not a matter of science. It is, for lack of a better phrase, the wielder’s preference.

          • Pofarmer

            Quite a few people lose eyes or are injured by flying debris kicked up by vehicles on the road. So, no, low probability occurrences are not proof of the supernatural.

            Why assume that someone using science is “reasoning something away” when the history is actually the exact opposite?

            If you wanted to be taken seriously on a claim like this. You would need to deduce and identify the “supernatural cause.” Which you say isn’t detectable, even in principle, except by methods you won’t specify.

          • mike

            You have excluded at least half of the relevant data in your analysis. If, given the huge but finite amount of people driving with their windows down, there is already a very low probability of being hit by one of a finite amount of road debris flying around at any given time while driving with an open window, how many orders of magnitude lower the probability of being hit by the smallest piece of money the very moment that “Would it kill you to throw a little money my way?” is vocalized.

          • Pofarmer

            More than magic.

          • mike

            Agreed.

          • Pofarmer

            So then you realize that your scenario has problems. In no particular order.

            1) Occams razor. Basically, don’t posit a supernatural cause when a natural cause suffices. Don’t multiply causes unnecessarily.

            2) Properties of large numbers. With enough chances, even very low probability things happen almost constantly. There are 7 billion people on Earth, so the chance of something happening that is even one in a million is high, relatively speaking.

            3) Natural vs supernatural causation . We have a long history of supernatural causes being overthrown for natural ones. We have absolutely no record of any cause ever going the other way.

            4) You’re still not positing a mechanism with how the Supernatural, or the non-material, is supposed to somehow interact with the material.

          • mike

            I just agreed it was more than magic. Also, keep in mind the purpose of this conversation is not to prove to you that the supernatural exists but only to demonstrate that science has nothing to say outside of the natural.

            I think 1 and 2 work against each other and both cannot be claimed simultaneously. Occam’s Razor says that the cause requiring more assumptions is less probable to be true. Large number theory says that, as opportunities and time approach infinity, all probabilities approach 100 percent. It’s contradictory that William of Occam held pugnaciously to his Razor while at the same time defending infinite regression. Also interesting that he believed in God. In fact he was vehement that science could not prove God and had no business trying.

            3 and 4 are linked also. It is true that the deeper science digs into things the more underlying natural mechanisms are usually found. This is only to be expected as natural mechanisms are the only thing science is capable of finding and nature mostly just plugs along according to it’s intrinsic mechanisms. I would say that the mechanism employed by the Supernatural (can we just call it God at this point?) to intrude into the natural is will and it is only the natural effects of that will that can be detected through science.

            Occam’s Razor, large number theory, etc. are all employed toward explanation, analysis, and prediction of non-sentient natural cause and effect mechanisms. Sentient will is a wild card. If the man in the scenario had shouted “Throw some money my way” to his father as he passed him on the roadside and the father had instantly beaned him in the head with a penny we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation even though we would have to assume that the father instantly recognized the location of the shout, had a penny at his immediate disposal, had incredible aim, preternatural reflexes, etc. Multiple assumptions here overcome Occam’s Razor and large number theory because of the insertion of sentient will.

            Also you accept that earthly fathers exists. 🙂

          • Pofarmer

            but only to demonstrate that science has nothing to say outside of the natural.

            Dude, you and I are natural. If that which studies the natural world can’t say anything about it, then, honestly, shut up about it already. You don’t have any better access to the supernatural, whatever you think that is, than I do.

            and it is only the natural effects of that will that can be detected through science.

            Then we ought to be seeing lot’s of things that don’t have natural causes. But we don’t. We do have a lot of things we USED to think didn’t have natural causes that we now understand.

            Sure earthly fathers exist. Your heavenly father, king of the Universe, font of all being, whatever, has nothing incommon with Earthly fathers. Let me Quote Thomas Jefferson.

            To
            talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the
            human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or
            that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise…
            without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am
            satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without
            tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of
            which I have no evidence.

            — Thomas Jefferson, US president

          • mike

            That’s just it, man. I don’t hold you to be only natural. I believe you to have a soul and a spiritual capacity as well. I don’t have a higher capacity than you to access the supernatural but, in that I deny neither the supernatural nor my capacity, I do currently have more ability. That’s the whole point: The foundational assumption colors the outcome. A person cannot find God by denying him; not by science…not by any means.

            This is now the second time you’ve pasted in that same quote by Jefferson. Have you ever read the letter it’s pulled from? A letter to John Adams from Monticello written in Aug. of 1820. There is a whole section that has been redacted from the middle of what you’ve posted. Right after ‘I cannot reason otherwise’ there is a whole continuation of the thought he is fleshing out. He is not here denying the existence of a supernatural Creator but defending Him against what he calls the heresy of immaterialism: “At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But a heresy it certainly is. Jesus taught nothing of it. He told us indeed that `God is a spirit,’ but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that it is not matter.”

            Jefferson believed that Spirit must be matter of some kind in order to create and interact with the matter we experience. His reason would not let him consider God and spirit as immaterial but neither did he deny their existence. He was a material deist. Will science some day discover some matter that might describe spirit? I don’t think so but then again I’m not a material deist. Jefferson would probably expect so. If so, atheistic science certainly won’t see it for what it is because they deny it before they find it.

            I don’t know if you were appealing to Jefferson as a fellow atheist. I hope not because Thomas Jefferson believed in the existence of God. Here is another of his quotes: “The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society,
            He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our
            hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We
            all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and
            nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His
            discourses”. from a letter to James Fishback in Sept 1809

            We have explained a lot through science.

          • Pofarmer

            That’s just it, man. I don’t hold you to be only natural. I believe you to have a soul and a spiritual capacity as well.

            Then support it. Otherwise it’s just an unevidenced assertion.

            I don’t have a higher capacity than you to access the supernatural
            but, in that I deny neither the supernatural nor my capacity, I do
            currently have more ability.

            Yet another unevidenced assertion. How do you tell a genuine supernatural revelations from a bogus one? How do you differentiate the supernatural from the voice in your head? How do you differentiate the supernatural assertions of those who believe in Vishnu, or Baal, or Jainism, or Mormonism and determine their authenticity? You are making lot’s of claims, but offering no support.

            That’s the whole point: The foundational assumption colors the outcome.

            Uhm, the entire point of the scientific method, as it were, is to overcome our innate biases. This is key.

            A person cannot find God by denying him; not by science…not by any means.

            This is silly. The most powerful non-being in the Universe and if you deny him he’s not there? You find this convincing? It’s just a rhetorical excuse. You can deny gravity all you want, and it’s still there. No one is “denying” God, we’re just saying there’s no good evidence for it, and plenty of evidence contraindicating it. Victor Stenger is a good one here. “God, the failed Hypothesis.”

            If so, atheistic science certainly won’t see it for what it is because they deny it before they find it.

            Yet another assertion with no support. If something is discoverable, and verifiable, there simply isn’t any way for science to “deny” it. It will be investigated though, and, as such, will become part of the natural.

            I don’t know if you were appealing to Jefferson as a fellow atheist. I
            hope not because Thomas Jefferson believed in the existence of God.

            I’m aware Jefferson was a deist. To be fair, there wasn’t really another framework available at the time. Even Hume was deist, of some degree. They didn’t have the Evidence. Jefferson was working nearly 70 years before “On the Origin of Species” would come out. And yet with his apparent beliefs on morality, the Framers still designed a govt based on the consent of the Governed, not on some supernatural decree. It was fairly well revolutionary at the time.

            We have explained a lot through science.

            And nothing through religion. Over time, uncountable religious precepts have been overturned by science, and yet we’ve not seen one scientific discovery overturned by religion. Why is that?

          • mike

            “Then support it. Otherwise it’s just an unevidenced assertion.”

            Science directly detects perhaps only 15% of the natural universe and we are talking about that which is other than natural. You are asking me to scientifically support something that science is unable to speak of. The supernatural is not a natural phenomenon. I don’t know if you have a significant other or children but perhaps you can look that person whom you love the most deeply right in the eyes and tell them that what they perceive as love is merely a chemical reaction and nothing more and that if your chemistry changes you will likely be done with them. My point is that the science of the mind and of sentient will is already a different kind of science than what you are desiring as proof of supernatural or of soul.

            “How do you differentiate the supernatural from the voice in your head?”

            When my eldest was yet preverbal I would get her from her crib each morning and as I carried her she would very deliberately point at various things around the house. I would clearly pronounce the name of that item. We did this for weeks on end. She was learning the names of things, yes, but more importantly she was learning a consistence and continuity in her surroundings over time. She was aligning her thinking with natural revelation and developing an ability to interact with physical reality. In the same way, as I endeavor to align my thinking with supernatural revelation I discover that there is a consistency and continuity over time. If I had misled my daughter in processing natural revelation she would have, at some point later, had to reject some portion of her formative years in order to successfully function in the physical world. We learn what is supernaturally real in the same way as we learn what is physically real…by testing and repetition. Also, please don’t get me wrong…If what I KNOW to be true isn’t actually true then I have gone bye-bye and I’m not coming back.

            “This is silly. The most powerful non-being in the Universe and if you deny him he’s not there?”

            He is there whether you deny him or not. Existence isn’t created by belief. Sure, gravity exists even if a person denies it. We would call that person mentally ill and they would most likely plummet to their death at some point (if they truly denied). The point is that if denial of what actually exists is full then that person is blind to what it denies even though it’s existence is obvious to others.

            “If something is discoverable, and verifiable, there simply isn’t any way for science to “deny” it.”

            If something is discoverable (scientifically), and verifiable (scientifically), there simply isn’t any way for science to deny it. Perhaps this reveals an unsubstantiated claim on your part…that if it’s discoverable science will find it. I agree with your claim regarding the natural universe.

            “And nothing through religion. Over time, uncountable religious precepts have been overturned by science, and yet we’ve not seen one scientific
            discovery overturned by religion. Why is that?”

            First of all religion has nothing to do with this…it’s man-made for the most part and useless at best; don’t get distracted or put off by the shiny lights. Jesus’ harshest words were for the religious leaders of his day. The reason so many supernatural beliefs appear to have been overturned by science is because people on both sides have misunderstood the stark difference and the hierarchy between the supernatural and the natural. Supernaturalists impose upon the natural that which is not sourced there and naturalists expect from the supernatural what it will not provide. There is no crossover between the two from lesser to greater.

          • mike

            Sorry for the hiatus…I had some things to attend to. It’s hard for me to know where to go with this. You want me to support my claim that you have a capacity that you deny having or that even exists in anyone? And the fact that billions of people hold the same claim to be true carries no weight? This is a lot like the larger question. It isn’t that if you deny God then he isn’t there. Of course, if He exists, then he is there regardless of acknowledgement just like gravity. The same is true of your soul and spirit. Unlike gravity, however, he is a non-natural sentient being. Since the beginning of the struggle we have came about through denial of God in the face of abundant evidence (Adam walked and talked with God) the resolution will not come about through presentation of any evidence. Not because the evidence isn’t there or isn’t good enough but because both God and the internal mechanism you possess to connect with him are denied. The problem and solution are not evidence based.

            The problem for any person isn’t that they do not believe or can not believe. The problem is he or she will not believe.

          • Pofarmer

            Sorry for the hiatus…I had some things to attend to. It’s hard for me to know where to go with this.

            All right. I haven’t read back through this whole thread, as I’m currently time constrained here myself.

            You want me to support my claim that you have a capacity that you deny having or that even exists in anyone?

            That would be nice, yes. Then you would have to show why your particular version is the “true” one, and not the ancient religions that lasted for a millenia longer than Christianity has been around. Not Hinduism, or Buddhism, which have also been around longer than Christianity, and why other contemporary religions get it wrong, too.

            And the fact that billions of people hold the same claim to be true carries no weight?

            Does this point to your particular pet god being real or does it point to a common evolutionary function that Humans typically share? One of these is testable. One is not. You might look up Hyperactive Agency Detection, for a start.

            Unlike gravity, however, he is a non-natural sentient being

            This doesn’t mean anything. Is Gravity material? What do you mean by Non-natural? How do you detect it? How does something non-natural interact with the natural?

            Not because the evidence isn’t there or isn’t good enough but because
            both God and the internal mechanism you possess to connect with him are
            denied. The problem and solution are not evidence based.

            Actually, the problem and solution ARE evidence based, you’re just highly invested in denying the evidence. Lol.

            The problem for any person isn’t that they do not believe or can not believe. The problem is he or she will not believe.

            This is essentially victim blaming. It’s not nice. You seem to have realized that you don’t have any basis for your beliefs that you can point to in reality, then you blame me, or any one else for not believing your claims. Does this actually work on people?

          • mike

            Virtually every objection, question, and challenge you have voiced here can, I believe, be satisfied in the Scriptures; in their content and historicity, and in the incarnation. Many individuals of much higher intellectual capacity than myself have, through honest inquiry, come to belief therein though they did not desire it nor expect it. I personally did not come to faith in that way but perhaps that is an avenue suited to you.

            And let me also say that, given the ill tenor of so many of the conversations in comment sections the world over, I am deeply appreciative of your civility, patience, and candor.

            “Let [the Gospel’s] testimony be sifted, as it were given in a court of justice on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth” – Simon Greenleaf – founding father of Harvard Law School and author of what has been called the ‘greatest single authority on evidence in the entire literature of legal procedure’.

          • Lindsay –

            SeeingClearly, no, they cannot be detected by science because there is a spiritual relm that goes beyond human understanding and quite frankly any and all human understanding is limited. I was not in fact raised in a background of ‘just believe’ but when I matured I decided to rediscover what had been missing from me for the majority of my life and I found my soul was home with this awesome being named Jesus who cares and is working out my best for me and all my fellow human beans 🙂

          • SeeingClearly

            Lindsay, one question: What things have happened to you since you acquired your faith in this supernatural being? I would posit that all of those supposed rewards you feel simply result from convincing yourself that something supernatural is happening to you…when what is happening is no more and no less than the natural power of positive thinking. What proof do you have that Jesus is causing them? What proof do you have that another supernatural power is not…if you must believe in the supernatural? Over the millennia, mankind has prayed, given sacrifices to, or in some other way bowed to literally thousands of other supposed “gods”…with absolutely no provable result…because they are nothing more than imaginary beings. Can you PROVE with verifiable, measurable, and falsifiable methods that Jesus or some other supernatural power has caused your good feelings? I think not.

  • Lindsay –

    Or it’s not the time for the prayer to be answered, but it will happen at the right time. Or God has an even better plan for you that you cannot even imagine compared to what you are asking for. Or God is testing your faith for your benefit etc etc, we don’t always have to pin blame on people for their ‘being bad’ being the reason this and that

    • Jack Wellman

      True. Thank you Lindsay.

  • Jean Camille

    There is another reason God does not answer some prayers: He wants us to mature through the work He gives us.

    When we hire a gardener, we do not pull weeds for him. God created us to take charge of life on earth (Gen 1:26-28). He will not do that job for us.

    Jesus calmed the storm (Mat. 8:23-27), and He said we will do greater things (John 14:12). Even angels are here to help us (Heb. 1:14).

    We are to exercise authority over material and living things (Mark 11:22-24; Luke 17:6), and that extends to spiritual authority (Mark 17:14-20). He has ordained that our moral authority will apply in heaven also (Mat.18:15-19).

    Our main task is making disciples in godly power (Mark 16:14-19). If God’s power is not obvious in our lives, perhaps we should ask, “God, are You waiting for me to do something?”

  • Mika Nomi

    truth be told you have no idea why i just pray for god to forgive me after i ran away from him for 6 years i basically fell away and i think god doesn’t want anything to do with my anymore like said in Hebrews 6:4 people really should stop trying to figure out why god is silent because they just don’t know nobody knows but god

  • Satanic_Panic

    Because ‘god’ doesn’t exist.

    • Jack Wellman

      prove it.

      • Satanic_Panic

        Aside from being self evidently obvious, I ran an experiment for you. I called ‘god’ a piece of shit. it failed to smite me, therefore, ‘god’ doesn’t exist.

        • Jack Wellman

          Failed to prove it. Sorry.

          • Satanic_Panic

            Oh no, jack. it’s proof. Have you any proof that any sort of ‘god’ exists?

          • mike

            Existence is binary. A thing exists or it does not and our belief about it is irrelevant at this level. We do not create existence by belief.

            We are severely limited by time, space, physicality, etc. If God exists, and I mean totally transcendent of the physical G O D (infinite, eternal, blah, blah, blah), then the only way we could KNOW is if he revealed his existence to us. If he doesn’t exist then we can never KNOW because non existence cannot reveal itself. God is non-disprovable and so we are left with this:

            If God does not exist then atheists are correct but cannot be sure while theists are wrong and unsure no matter how sure they claim to be. Nobody will ever KNOW.

            If God exists but has not revealed himself then atheists are wrong and still unsure while theists are correct and yet can never be sure. Nobody will ever KNOW.

            If God exists and has revealed himself then atheists are wrong and unsure while the theist now can possibly be both correct and sure.

            From a strictly logical standpoint only the theist has ground to claim surety. The theist might be wrong, deceived, misled, etc. but he might also be right AND sure of it…he has a logical claim. The atheist can only ever be unsure and the most honest of them will concede this point.

            Maybe the piece of shit didn’t smite you because he isn’t there or maybe he loves you and doesn’t want to do the whole “ant/boot” scenario right now or maybe it amuses Him to watch you walk around shaking your fist at something you say you don’t believe in. The point is you can’t know from where you are; but that doesn’t mean you can never know.

            Anyway, I am sure God exists and has revealed himself. Logically, I might be right and that makes it your move. Fair enough?

          • Pofarmer

            To quote Homer Simpson “Maybe God does exist, but we’ve been worshiping him wrong, and he just keeps getting madder, and madder……..”

          • mike

            Sounds like Homer has read his Bible.

          • Satanic_Panic

            logic – I don’t think you know what that word means.

  • Jess Jack

    I have a sister who did something terrible to me. If she asked for me to forgive her, I would, but she hasn’t and she probably thinks that what she did wasn’t a sin. As a result of this, I usually avoid her. In fact, it’s been years since we have seen, or even spoken to each other. My mother recently passed, and It makes me think of the fraility of human life. Even though she was 75, we still have to think of how no one is guaranteed to live 75 or 80 years. I could say, I feel that “you got involved with the wrong crowd and I forgive you”. And she’ll look at me confused and say something like, “forgive me? forgive me for what?” If she would say that she was wrong and regretful and wanted to be forgiven, I would. But she hasn’t said anything and we usually avoid each other, anyway. Is this unforgiveness?