27 Aug 2012

A Religious Skeptic

Submitted by Stephen Winters

As I write this in August 2012 I'm 61 years old, and I can truthfully say that I'm a religious/spiritual/faith skeptic. For example, when you want to claim some religious doctorine (or any other opinion) I would say, prove it to me here in front of my face, where I can see it with my own eyes, touch handle and hold it with my own hands, disect it and examine it. (1 John 1:1) Do it slowly so that I can watch each step closely, explain it to me so that I can understand the process for myself. If you can't or won't do that, don't bother trying to convince me, I won't believe it.

 Throughout my life I've seen so much stuff done in the name of faith and religion that I just don't believe much of what religions say nowadays.

For many years as I grew up we used to watch all the faith healers, including Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, and in later years I watched many of the healing services of Benny Hinn. During all those years of watching hundreds of healing services I saw a lot of showmanship, charisma, and emotional excitement. However I never saw anything that I would consider a provable undeniable healing or miracle. I never saw anything that couldn't have been faked or manipulated. For example, I never saw any missing legs or arms restored.

If faith healers could genuinely heal people, then why do the not go to where sick people are, such as the hospitals, and heal them? They could just go from room to room, touch the sick people, and they would be healed. The doctors could verify that they were actually healed before they left. No, I have never seen any a faith healer do this. This does not get them the publicity and the offerings that they crusades and healing meetings give them.

I've been sick and have had people lay hands with me, anoint me with oil, and sincerely pray over me.  They had done what the thought that they were supposed to, but that had no affect on me. I left there still sick, but eventually got well in the normal time.

I've been to countless religious meetings, both in church and in homes, where people have prayed for something or someone. I've seen no outcomes any more that just the law of averages. Sometimes people get well, and sometimes they don't or they die. If the people get well, the people who prayed take the credit. If the people don't get better or they die, that "failure of prayer" is put aside and not counted.

My dad died of Lymphoma cancer when he was about 63. During his long illness and treatment I saw no improvement in his condition which I would attribute to prayer.

My mom considered herself a prayer warrior. She prayed long and hard for many things

When my mom was sick with many ailments she went to healing meetings and received prayer literally dozens of times. She claimed that she was healed of several of her ailments (which could have been psychosomatic), but she kept repeatedly going back with her list of ailments for which she wanted prayer. She never was healed of the majority of her prayer requests.

Later on she had overian cancer. The cancer was removed during her hysterectomy. It wasn't because of prayer.

 My mom eventually died of a brain tumor while her church was praying for her recovery.

If prayer really worked that way that it is claimed, then it would work every time, no excuses. There would be no sick people, doctors and medical staff would be out of work and would have to go into another profession.

I don't think that our faith is supposed to give us any more "power" than anyone else in this life. Our faith is not an instant ticket out of any troublesome situation so that we never experience any hardships. Instead, our faith is meant to give us meaning and purpose in our lives and to give us perseverance .... so that we work through the troublesome situations in our lives.

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