Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #2 – Amputees?

R.E. Pucket’s article “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer” was published in 2009, but has bounced around the web like a pingpong ball ever since – making its way from Yahoo Voices to Patheos to bakusa, and receiving no small amount of attention in its prime. Pucket makes the rather bold claim that at best, Christian attempts to answer these questions will “…have no basis in verifiable fact or evidence whatsoever, and will be largely based in their blind faith forsaking all reason.”

This article series will attempt to address all fifty of these questions, one post at a time. Pucket’s questions frequently assume views which are held only by a very specific sect of Christian believers, and by no means characterize the whole of Christian views. The questions also occasionally make broad statements which either mischaracterize Biblical teachings, or are backed up with no supporting evidence. Where these mistakes are made, the responses are largely aimed at correcting these mischaracterizations. This is not to say that the attack has no merit, but the attack would need to be re-worked to fit a proper representation of that belief.

Finally, it is worth noting that the questions are sometimes phrased in highly emotive or sarcastic forms. This article will attempt to respond to the fundamental objection being raised, rather than the tone in which they are presented, however the questions themselves will be presented in their original format. Let’s proceed to question number 2:

Amputation

Source

2.) Why won’t God heal amputees?

One type of healing for one very specific kind of physical impairment does almost nothing to solve the larger problem. Let’s say that God healed every amputee as soon as they lost their limb. Why didn’t he just prevent the loss of the limb in the first place? And isn’t this genuinely unfair to people with diabetes, cancer, brain damage and seizure disorders? And say God healed all of these. Does this suddenly make these people impervious or immortal, or do they still age, fall ill, get injured and die? The larger problem extends far beyond simple amputation of limbs. It is a problem of human vulnerability in general. So in order to solve the larger problem, God would have to once and for all eliminate degeneration and death. This is exactly what Christianity claims that God does in the future resurrection of the dead.

At best, this argument may be directed towards those people who claim that the cancerous tumor in their body disappeared through prayer, or that any non-chronic illness healed very suddenly because a number of people were praying for them. These claims and accounts certainly do exist, so Pucket may be asking why God seems to heal less-visible medical problems, but fails to heal the very visible problem of missing an entire limb. The claim may specifically be aimed toward ‘faith healing,’ wherein a person claiming some sort of ailment, or limping up to the stage on a walker, and miraculously recover in front of an audience. If this is the case, Pucket is probably asking the much more reasonable question, “If faith healing is real, why don’t we see the really miraculous, like people growing back limbs on-stage.”

In all probability, Pucket’s question is aimed toward faith healers, as, in upcoming Question #4, Pucket actually questions faith healing directly.

In fairness, this is a question shared by a number of Christians who are also skeptical in regards to faith healing. Christian cessationists, for example, claim that miracles of this kind ended entirely some time after the apostolic period of early Christian history.

Any Christian who does not credit obvious miracles of this kind might take a more Pauline view that, for instance,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)

Or

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 ESV)

 

Since Christians in general disagree on this issue, this question is, by no means, a slam dunk against Christianity as a worldview.

Stay tuned for Question #3.

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