Proof that prayer is superstition

At Captain Cassidy’s suggestion, I checked out a website called Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?  I was soon directed to a 10-minute video claiming to prove that prayer was a superstition — and, here it is:

I was disappointed to learn that I had heard this argument before — contrary to some accusations I have received over the years, I actually much prefer hearing new stuff that challenges my faith.

Here’s the basic argument from the video:

Premise 1: If something does not have the advertised effect on actual events, then it is a superstition.
Premise 2: The Bible says that if we pray for anything, we can expect it to happen just as we prayed (citing Mark 11:24John 14:14, and later Matthew 18:19).
Conclusion 1: Therefore, if prayer works, we should be able to pray in Jesus’ name, for example, that a certain value will be returned when we roll six dice — namely, in this case, six values of six.
Premise 3: Prayer has no measurable effect on the values of rolled dice.
Conclusion 2: Therefore, prayer does not effect actual events as advertised.
Conclusion 3: Therefore, prayer is a superstition.

The argument may be valid, but it is not sound, because it employs a false premise — namely, Premise 2. (more…)

Sin kills

Objections to Christianity: The Doctrine of Sin

A common objection to Christianity involves the doctrine of sin.  The particular position I would like to address is the assertion that the doctrine of sin is inherently abusive.

In a way, this blog post is a follow-up to a discussion I was having with Captain Cassidy on her blog.  I thought the subject matter too important and involved to bury it in comments — so here we are 🙂

Before we start, I want to make clear that the discussion will center around whether or not the concept of sin is inherently abusive — it is abundantly clear that the doctrine has been (and is being) used in abusive ways.  But that could be said of all kinds of things — in the wrong hands, even the most benign philosophies can be used for the purpose of abusing another.  I think it’s heinous to use the doctrine of sin (which to me is a blessing) for the purpose of abusing another person; nevertheless, I think it is important to note that Christians are not on trial here — the doctrine of sin is.

The way I see it, the doctrine of sin can only be called inherently abusive if two things are true: 1) the doctrine is knowingly false, and 2) it can be shown that an accurate understanding of sin and its role in human life inevitably leads to some kind of mental or emotional trauma. (more…)