The Power or Prayer … for skeptics

I’ve been having a polite dialog with a true believer, who when asked, cites a series of supernatural claims as justification for his beliefs. His exact words are …

…God has proven Himself to me many times in my life. Through miracles,healings,Angelic visitations! Before you ask yes Dave I have seen Angels! Seeing is believing !etc and many other tangible things.God has revealed future events to me even years before they occurred …

I’ve attempted to explain that while I’ve no doubts that he truly believes these claims, his belief is not evidence for such a reality, because it is very easy to be both fooled and to also fool ourselves. To illustrate that point, I told him about the Derran Brown program where Derran setup the entire village with a lucky dog, and those that truly believed recounted stories of supernatural luck .. yet it was all fake.

It made no difference, the response was another supernatural story in which apparently god gave him a vision to remind his brother to buy some shoes.

A few folks chipped in. One made the observation, that it was rather odd that god would be concerned about reminding his brother to buy shoes via a vision, but apparently did not give a toss about the 20,000 children who had died that same day from preventable disease and starvation. Another suggested …

…Perhaps you should pray to God and ask him why he had no trouble reminding you about your brother’s shoes, yet leaves so many healing prayers unanswered.  If you get an answer, consider sharing it…

His reply to all this … logic and reason? … nope, just another supernatural claim. This time apparently God told his mother that he would get a house on a road with a bend in it and the house would have a red roof …. sigh! … in some places it is rather challenging to find a road without a bend in it, or houses without red roofs.

So where do you go next when faced with such claims? Well, I presented him with the following challenge …

I have no idea what evidence I would find compelling and would convince a skeptic such as myself in the reality of God. For the stories that you recount, I can indeed think of more natural explanations.

However …
– since god is all-knowing, he should know what would convince me.
– since god is all-loving, he should be willing to provide such evidence
– since god is communicating with you, then we have the means.

All you need to do is to pray and seek guidance on what evidence would convince me.

If god is real and truly talking to you, then this should indeed be really easy.

He went silent for a few days then came back with, “God wants us to believe in Him by faith” … oh and also … “people who reject Yeshua will be eternally damned”, so apparently I need to be gullible enough to believe without any evidence at all and if I don’t, I burn for eternity.

It’s a gullibility test … seriously!! .. that’s his answer to my challenge. It would appear that when you put it to the test, prayer fails, but then you expected that … right?

What we do learn is that prayer is indeed powerful … as a tool for skeptics to deploy to illustrate that when tested, supernatural claims do not deliver.

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