The (il)logic of intercessory prayer

Suppose the standard OmniGod exists: omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

Now suppose that Mary contracts a serious illness.  Her family and friends pray for her health.  This makes them feel better, and it also makes Mary feel better.  The knowledge that others are praying for her may even affect her body in a way that contributes to her recovery.

The question is whether those prayers have any effect on God’s actions.  Being an OmniGod, he will always do the right thing, without fail, regardless of whether anyone asks him to do so.  How can prayer ever change what God does, if he always does the right thing in all circumstances?

In other words, is it ever possible that God is prepared to let Mary die, but decides to intervene simply because her family and friends pray for her recovery?

Theists out there: Do you believe in the power of intercessory prayer? If so, how do you resolve the problem described above? Ex-theists, I’m also interested in hearing about how you dealt with the problem back when you were still among the flock.

42 Replies to “The (il)logic of intercessory prayer”

  1. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    I grappled with this question when I was still a theist, but my resolution was not very satisfying.

    Here is how I would have expressed it in terms of Mary’s illness:

    There are many possible situations. In situation A0, Mary is ill and no one prays for her. In situation A1, Mary’s mother prays for her. In situation A2, Mary’s mother and brother both pray for her, and so on for A3, A4, …, An.

    In each of those situations, God’s choice will have an effect, and the effect it has depends on the individual situation.

    For example, God may be perfectly willing to let Mary die if no one prays for her (situation A0). However, the mere fact that several people are praying for her changes the situation from A0 to A6, say. Now God may decide that the best thing is for Mary to live, not for her sake — he was willing to let her die, after all — but for the sake of the people praying for her. Perhaps God sees an opportunity to strengthen their faith, and decides that it outweighs whatever purpose he had in letting Mary die. Note that in this case the prayers actually make a difference: they cause God to let Mary live, though not for her own benefit.

    The problem is that this argument applies equally well to the opposite scenario. God may have been willing to let Mary live in situation A0, with no one praying for her, because he decided that it was best. Unfortunately, several people prayed for her, changing the situation from A0 to A6. Now God decides that it is best for Mary to die, perhaps because the supplicants need to be taught that their prayers will not always be answered, or for some different, completely inscrutable reason (the ways of the Lord are mysterious, after all). So Mary dies, and the reason she dies is that people were praying for her life.

    It should be obvious why my ‘resolution’ of the problem was unsatisfying. If God is an OmniGod, then intercessory prayer can backfire, causing God to do the very thing we dread.

  2. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths, not sure if you are American or like country music, but here’s an answer to your OP…from Garth Brooks:

    “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
    Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
    That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
    Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

    Or for something more recent (at least in video form), which speaks to your “serious illness” or “death” scenario:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJlN9jdQFSc

    Also, perhaps you could select a passage from the Scriptures of one of the Abrahamic faiths regarding “How can prayer ever change what God does?” to help in the discussion. Since you “used to be a theist,” probably there are some passages you remember on this topic.

  3. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,

    Also, perhaps you could select a passage from the Scriptures of one of the Abrahamic faiths regarding “How can prayer ever change what God does?” to help in the discussion. Since you “used to be a theist,” probably there are some passages you remember on this topic.

    Here’s one of the most notorious examples:

    Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

    Matthew 18:19-20, NIV

    Notorious, because obviously false.

  4. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths, That doesn’t really seem to address your question: “How can prayer ever change what God does?”

    Are you suggesting Matthew 18:19-20 makes God beholden to or bound to answer *all* human prayers, iow, that God *must* answer prayers about “anything they ask for”? If so, how would that explain ‘unanswered prayers’ or the notion that people don’t know what to pray for or how to properly pray?

    You might want to choose another passage, like Job 42:10, closer to the question above. Or perhaps closest to your illness/death/health/life example, James 5:13-16, in case the type of ‘theist’ you used to be was a Christian theist and you are still open to learning about that Abrahamic faith even as a ‘born again’ atheist.

  5. SophistiCat
    Ignored
    says:

    I find the idea revolting. People are moved to grovel in front of the Lord in order to placate him and maybe induce him to do an act of grace that he could have done of his own accord, since he knows all, and without so much as exerting himself. I know that theologians have tied themselves in knots trying to put a more attractive spin on this. But I am also inclined to think that most of those who pray see the situation pretty much the way I described it – and frankly, that is what matters, not the demagoguery from ivory towers.

    (Note, I am not condemning those who pray – I would be doing the same thing if I sincerely believed as they do. The life of a loved one is worth some groveling!)

  6. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,

    That doesn’t really seem to address your question: “How can prayer ever change what God does?”

    Sure it does. The verse says “truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Do you think that no two people have ever asked God for something he wasn’t going to do already? If they have, and if that verse is true, then God changed what he was otherwise going to do.

    Are you suggesting Matthew 18:19-20 makes God beholden to or bound to answer *all* human prayers, iow, that God *must* answer prayers about “anything they ask for”?

    The verse says that he will, not that he must.

    If so, how would that explain ‘unanswered prayers’ or the notion that people don’t know what to pray for or how to properly pray?

    The Bible isn’t the inerrant word of God, so why be surprised that it contains falsehoods?

    Also, there’s no reason to focus on scriptures, inspired or otherwise. The problem of intercessory prayer is a problem for any theist who believes in an OmniGod (as defined in the OP) who supposedly answers prayers.

    There are plenty of educated theists who understand that their scriptures are the work of fallible humans, not the inerrant word of God. That doesn’t eliminate the problem of intercessory prayer.

  7. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s a bit like a horoscope, the Bible on the subject of prayer.

    It can’t be wrong because it fits every case.

  8. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Sophisticat,

    I find the idea revolting. People are moved to grovel in front of the Lord in order to placate him and maybe induce him to do an act of grace that he could have done of his own accord, since he knows all, and without so much as exerting himself.

    It’s easy to see where they get the idea. If God is just a celestial version of the local tribal chief or king, then a bit of brown-nosing and groveling makes perfect sense. The Catholic practice of praying to saints also makes sense in this context, since they can put in a good word for you with the Big Guy.

    The problem is that what makes sense for a tribal chieftain doesn’t make sense for an OmniGod, but believers typically don’t think this through very carefully, if at all.

    With an OmniGod, the only petition that makes sense is “Thy will be done.” Even that is redundant, since an OmniGod will guarantee that outcome regardless of whether we like it or not.

  9. Cristian Pascu
    Ignored
    says:

    The general problem you’re raising is that of the foreknowledge and free will. With an added thing, which is “the right thing to do”.

    There’s no satisfying answer to this problem for the simple reason that God is not a doer and knower as we are.

    We are free agents. At any step we take in life we change what God does in relation to us. We, God and us, are in a relationship. We mutually influence our acts. We do things in response to God and God does things in response to our acts. That’s because we all are persons.

    “The right thing to do” should be evaluated in the light of the purpose for which God created us. And this is not easy thing to do. Every religion or, more specifically, every christian confession has slightly different views on what is the exact purpose of our being. “Salvation” doesn’t really catch it, because it’s too broad and differently defined.

    However, I don’t think it’s illogical at all to pray for someone. Praying for someone changes something in you, in your relation with the person you’re praying for, and in your relation to the person you’re praying to. This new state of thing (souls) creates a new horizon of possibilities.

    But, in the end, being only God that has foreknowledge, and being in God’s power to takes some decision, we can safely assume that the God knows better.

  10. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    As I said, it can’t be wrong because it is content free, like a horoscope.

    My own prayer — call it a wish — is that we continue through hard work to make progress in medicine.

    One person beating the odds doesn’t change the odds. The ratio will remain the same and someone else will be unfortunate. Unless we change the game.

  11. Robin Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    This particular issue irks me more than any other regarding Christian theistic belief and behavior. As a person with a serious illness – kidneys that did not develop from birth – I’ve had countless people, including devout family members, pray for my health. When I was younger and a devout believer, I too prayed for God to intercede and give me health. Of course, every year that I struggled to survive – every additional year of dialysis or successful transplanted kidney function – was evidence of the positive effect of the pray. Ugggh! It becomes so belitting, because suddenly nothing I did and nothing technology did actually mattered. I’d point out that the vast majority of other transplant or ESRD patients did not fair as well as I, though they all received as much prayer (if not more in some cases), yet this was just evidence that God Had A Plan for You! I have gone so far as to point out that if these people’s prayers really had any actual effect, God would just have regrown my own kidneys, sparing me from any more surgeries or other medical treatments. Better still, an omniscient God would have known about all the prayers I’d be receiving before I was born and would have fixed the abnormality in utero!

    I wholly reject intercessional prayer at this point. Give me good old human medical knowledge and expertise any old day!

  12. Cristian Pascu
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka:
    As I said, it can’t be wrong because it is content free,like a horoscope.

    My own prayer — call it a wish— is that we continue through hard work to make progress in medicine.

    One person beating the odds doesn’t change the odds. The ratio will remain the same and someone else will be unfortunate. Unless we change the game.

    It has to do with our epistemic limitation, including when evaluating things post factum. It’s not generally wrong, it depends on each people involved in the events. Some have the ability to better understand or even know God’s will, other don’t. There is no general rule to cover all cases.

    Calling theism false or illogic for such broad subject is silly. It’s like saying Science must be wrong because there’s been cases of bad science.

  13. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Science develops explanations that can be demonstrated to be wrong.

    Theology develops explanations that cannot under any circumstances be wrong.

    But I object to intercessionary prayer because it corrupts the prayer. Asking for a miracle for one person is asking for a bad outcome for someone else. If you could change the outcome for everyone across the board, that would have been noticed.

    We can, of course improve outcomes for everyone. Through science and medicine.

  14. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    I had no idea, Robin. My earnest best wishes for the future. It puts your kind words after my niece’s death into context.

  15. Robin Robin
    Ignored
    says:

    Thank you Alan. On a brighter note, I must confess a certain fascination with the unimaginable (dare I say miraculous 🙂 ) improvement leaps in treatments for chronic kidney disease. Just the difference in the surgical techniques and drug protocols for kidney transplantation between when I had my first transplant (1974 – a ten and half hour open chest procedure and nearly thirty day hospital stay) and now, where transplants can be done in an under-two-hour laproscopic procedure requiring no more than four days in the hospital. Simply amazing! So, it’s not all bad. 😉

  16. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    The Intelligent Designer could be an alien, after all.

    So if you’re praying to the designer of life, it could be a fallible being, albeit a designed one (so it would seem).

    That’s the logic of ID, anyhow.

    Glen Davidson

  17. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Praying is one of the cruelest things. It takes good, well intentioned people and lets them completely waste their efforts, and feel satisfied in doing so.

  18. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Cristian Pascu,

    However, I don’t think it’s illogical at all to pray for someone. Praying for someone changes something in you, in your relation with the person you’re praying for, and in your relation to the person you’re praying to. This new state of thing (souls) creates a new horizon of possibilities.

    It can be helpful to know that people are praying for you, even if you think the prayers are going unheeded. I am not arguing that prayer never does any good.

    But if you are praying to an OmniGod, then (as I noted above) the only petition that makes sense is “Thy will be done”, and even that is redundant and unnecessary. The OmniGod’s will is always done, period.

  19. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    The problem I describe in the OP applies to an OmniGod – omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.

    Interestingly, some of the Biblical authors do not seem to have believed in an OmniGod. Consider the following story:

    20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

    22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[d] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

    26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

    27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

    “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

    29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

    He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

    30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

    He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

    31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

    He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

    32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

    He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

    33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

    Genesis 18:20-33, NIV

    That entire story, from beginning to end, makes no sense in terms of an OmniGod. I can elaborate if the problems are not already obvious to readers.

    How do Bible-believing Christians reconcile their OmniGod with such non-Omni behavior?

  20. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    An old RE teacher once claimed that God always answers prayers – sometimes he says Yes, sometimes No, and sometimes “Wait…”. I have a pebble in my pocket with similar powers!

    That said, I would not argue that anyone was wasting their time petitioning intercession. I don’t think that there is anything in it that assists the prayed-for, but if it helps people feel less powerless, all well and good. Just don’t start believing it’s a substitute for the meds …

  21. Hobbes
    Ignored
    says:

    I think religious intercessory prayer is actually an understandable consequence of the confluence of basically three things: an instinctive human impulse, human cognitive biases, and the human capacity to exploit others.

    I would submit that everyone, even non-theists, have a instinctive tendency toward “prayer”in some sense of the word. People cross their fingers, knock on wood, or, when late for a critical interview say, “Oh, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let there be a front row parking place.” I think what we are basically doing is simply affirming to ourselves in a tangible way what our hopes and fears are. But we, even non-theists, often do that in a way that suggests there is some external power that controls whether it is our hope, or our fear, that is realized. If a non-theist says, “oh, please,” who or what is it they are asking please of? Well, probably it is just a frustrated metaphorical appeal to the indifferent and inscrutable forces of the universe.

    But, if it is one’s hope that is realized in a particular instance in which we made such a metaphorical appeal to “inscrutable forces”, one’s cognitive biases are apt to kick in and make us wonder if maybe there was really some causality between our appeal and the good outcome (not-withstanding all the times we didn’t get what we wanted after just such an appeal — but such is the beauty of cognitive biases). Hence we develop superstitions and rituals, even without theism.

    But this is where the third leg of the trifecta comes in to exploit peoples’ tendencies toward appeals to inscrutable forces of the universe, which have now been augmented by our own confirmation biases into superstitions and rituals because we are hedging our bets and are afraid to deny that there might just be something to it. I come along and sell you a story for why not only are you not just being crazy and superstitious, but you can actually improve on your results if you’re willing to be crazy and superstitious in the specific ways that only I have special insight into. And so on.

    Now having said all this, and while I think intercessory prayer has no causal effect whatsoever, there is an aspect of prayer that I think is valuable. Going back to where I started, I think there is personal psychological value to explicitly naming one’s hopes, fears, and the things we value, and then reflecting on those. And I also think there is communal value to people sharing their collective hopes, fears, and things they value. When theists pray, even though they may be deluded about the literal efficacy of that prayer (and even though it can become downright vile when taken to an extreme; i.e, “Maybe your husband would have lived if you’d just prayed harder”), they are at least acknowledging the important things in their lives, which, I think has some therapeutic value, at least if abstracted from the irrational aspects of prayer.

  22. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Hobbes:

    But, if it is one’s hope that is realized in a particular instance in which we made such a metaphorical appeal to “inscrutable forces”, one’s cognitive biases are apt to kick in and make us wonder if maybe there was really some causality between our appeal and the good outcome (not-withstanding all the times we didn’t get what we wanted after just such an appeal — but such is the beauty of cognitive biases). Hence we develop superstitions and rituals, even without theism.

    Many superstitions are harmless, if the cost of holding them is low enough. For someone who regularly petitions the Parking Gods, the cost of indulging the superstition may very well be less than the cost of thinking about it carefully and trying to eradicate it.

    In other words, it can sometimes be rational to indulge one’s irrationality if the cost is low enough (and if it remains low).

  23. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    Meh. So statistically, those who think others are praying for them tend to do a bit better whether others are praying or not. And those who think others are NOT praying for them don’t do as well, whether others are praying or not.

    I think this probably says something important about bedside manner, keeping up the patient’s spirits, avoiding depression. The intercessory prayer itself plays no role in any of this.

  24. Lizzie
    Ignored
    says:

    Not in that Harvard(?) study. In that study, the ones that thought they were being prayed for did significantly worse.

    I’ll try and check the reference.

  25. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    I think this is the one you’re thinking of. From the press release:

    Some patients were told they may or may not receive intercessory prayer: complications occurred in 52 percent of those who received prayer (Group 1) versus 51 percent of those who did not receive prayer (Group 2). Complications occurred in 59 percent of patients who were told they would receive prayer (Group 3) versus 52 percent, who also received prayer, but were uncertain of receiving it (Group 1). Major complications and thirty-day mortality were similar across the three groups.

  26. davehooke
    Ignored
    says:

    Cristian Pascu:
    We, God and us, are in a relationship.

    I don’t like the silent types. We’ve both moved on. She never contacts me, and I don’t bother trying to find her.

    However, I don’t think it’s illogical at all to pray for someone. Praying for someone changes something in you, in your relation with the person you’re praying for, and in your relation to the person you’re praying to. This new state of thing (souls) creates a new horizon of possibilities.

    What possibilities does praying for someone create?

  27. llanitedave llanitedave
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:
    The problem I describe in the OP applies to an OmniGod – omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.

    Interestingly, some of the Biblical authors do not seem to have believed in an OmniGod.Consider the following story:

    That entire story, from beginning to end, makes no sense in terms of an OmniGod.I can elaborate if the problems are not already obvious to readers.

    How do Bible-believing Christians reconcile their OmniGod with such non-Omni behavior?

    I’ve had a believer reveal to me in all seriousness that God’s purpose in both the Sodom dialogue and in his order to sacrifice his son Isaac was really just to “mess with his mind” and manipulate him into being an even stronger believer.

    Apparently being the most faithful man in the world at the time wasn’t good enough. He had to be strung along even more.

  28. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    For once, keiths and I agree.

    From the cross Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” How illogical is that?

    I guess we can write it off to the pain he was in.

  29. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    llanitedave:

    I’ve had a believer reveal to me in all seriousness that God’s purpose in both the Sodom dialogue and in his order to sacrifice his son Isaac was really just to “mess with his mind” and manipulate him into being an even stronger believer.

    I guess if the rest of the Old Testament doesn’t scare you away — weird and legalistic morality, genocide, bears mauling children at God’s behest — then a couple of cruel lies won’t make any difference.

  30. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    I see you’re as ineffective at tackling the problem of prayer as you were at tackling the problem of evil, when you argued that “God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it.

    That’ll win converts for sure, Mung.

  31. davehooke
    Ignored
    says:

    What possibilities does praying for someone create?

    *Tumbleweed*

  32. davehooke
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    For once, keiths and I agree.

    From the cross Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” How illogical is that?

    I guess we can write it off to the pain he was in.

    Or an invention of the writer, who wasn’t even born at the time.

    Or on the remote possibility that it was an accurate quote heard by [who? A Roman soldier?], there have been many people in history who have thought they were divine but were not.

  33. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    All of this ties into the problem of evil in an interesting way.

    One characteristic of an OmniGod is that his behavior is tightly constrained. He always and only does the very best thing possible, in every circumstance. To do otherwise would negate his omnigoodness.

    Thus, the only freedom an OmniGod ever has is in choosing between equally perfect actions — if such choices ever arise in reality.

    This can be quite disconcerting to theists who believe in free will of the “could have done otherwise” variety, because it implies that God is less free than his human creations. Humans, after all, can choose to do non-optimal things, while God cannot.

    To salvage God’s freedom, one could argue that God really “could have done otherwise”, but always chooses not to. However, that allows for human free will in which the human could have done otherwise, but always chooses not to.

    If it is possible for humans to always choose the good, despite being completely free in the “could have done otherwise” sense, then the “free will defense” against the problem of evil is completely undercut.

    Most theists, needless to say, are unaware of the problem.

  34. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    davehooke:

    Or an invention of the writer, who wasn’t even born at the time.

    Are you referring to Luke? When do you think the writer was born, and what is your evidence, if any?

    And if Luke, why do you ignore Luke’s testimony with respect to his sources?

    Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,

  35. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:

    I see you’re as ineffective at tackling the problem of prayer as you were at tackling the problem of evil

    I’ve heard of “the problem of evil,” I’ve never heard of “the problem of prayer.” I assume it’s something you just made up because you have nothing productive to do with your life.

    you argued that “God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it.”

    liar

    TSZ is a cesspool, and you are it’s poster child. Elizabeth could care less about the truth so she lets people like you have OP privileges

    Here is the exact quote:

    I never argued that God allows rape because He values free will. If I were to make some sort of assertion, it would be that God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it. So now what?

    An assertion, you fool, is not an argument.

    Your claim here is that I argued that God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it. You cannot defend your lie.

    The fact is, that you are quote-mining. And in this case, it’s particularly egregious.

    Here’s the rest of the quote:

    You need to define rape, and make an argument as to why rape is evil. You’ve done neither. You have no argument.

    I was making a point, one you never responded to.

    You filth. Scum.

  36. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung hopes for “death by cop” so he can claim “TSZ censors too!”

  37. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    This is interesting. Please explain how your full statement is any better than the part I quoted.

    Then you can tell us whether God answers prayers, and how you make sense of it if you think he does.

  38. davehooke
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    davehooke:

    Are you referring to Luke?

    When do you think the writer was born, and what is your evidence, if any?

    Okay, let’s grant him an untypically long life, so that he was born when Jesus allegedly was crucified. We know he wasn’t an eyewitness anyway.

    And if Luke, why do you ignore Luke’s testimony with respect to his sources?

    Luke’s testimony? Hahahahahahahahaha.

    Why do I not give it credence? The same reason you do not give L Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics or the fantasies of Joseph Smith credence. Or maybe you do.

  39. llanitedave llanitedave
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung(I didn’t argue there’s nothing evil about rape, I asserted it, you scum) makes some interesting points, I must say.

  40. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    If I were to make some sort of assertion, it would be that God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it.

    So I didn’t argue it, and I didn’t assert it.

    You scum. 🙂

  41. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:

    you argued that “God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it.”

    liar

  42. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    davehooke:

    We know he wasn’t an eyewitness anyway.

    How do you know this? Wait, don’t tell me, let me guess. You believe his account.

    Except when you don’t. Cherry pick much?

    As kf likes to say, selective hyper-skepticism.

    Why do I not give it credence? The same reason you do not give L Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics or the fantasies of Joseph Smith credence. Or maybe you do.

    But you just did give it credence. Or, what is your source for the belief that Luke was not an actual eyewitness if not his own testimony?

    And let’s follow your logic:

    You don’t know whether or not I give L Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics or the fantasies of Joseph Smith credence

    But you don’t give credence to Luke’s account for the same reason.

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