Gideon Didn’t Have True Faith

This baby is so cute, anything she prays for will happen

This baby is so cute, anything she prays for will happen

My current situation reminded me a lot of Gideon’s story, from Judges 6. To sum it up, here is what happened:

Gideon: (beating wheat in the winepress)

Angel of the Lord: Hi, Gideon, God is with you.

Gideon: Really? If God is with us, why have all these bad things happened? God has forsaken us.

Angel of the Lord: Go save Israel; I’m sending you.

Gideon: How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest, and I’m the least of them.

Angel of the Lord: I will be with you.

Gideon: Show me a sign, so I know you really are God.

Angel of the Lord: (shows Gideon a sign)

Gideon: Wow okay, you really are God.

Later…

Gideon: Hey, God? If you really meant what you said, look at this fleece I’m laying on the ground. If there’s only dew on the fleece, and none on the ground, then I’ll know you are telling the truth.

God: (does the thing)

Gideon: Okay…please don’t be angry, but let me have one more test. This time, if the fleece is dry and there’s dew on the ground, I will know.

God: (does the thing)

If you listen to modern Christians make excuses for why God doesn’t keep his promises about prayer, it sounds a lot like Gideon should’ve been struck dead for daring to test God.

In the bible, we have straightforward promises that 1) if two people pray in agreement for something, God will do it; 2) if you believe, you will receive anything you ask for; and 3) if you pray for the sick, they will get well.

Any Christian can provide plenty of examples of times when the first two promises weren’t fulfilled. During my time as a Christian I asked for many, many things, with absolute faith, and what I learned is that if I want the promise to be fulfilled, I should only ask for things I can get for myself.

Studies have been done where devout Christians were asked to pray for one group of patients, and another group of patients were not prayed for. The results showed that prayer had no effect at all on the recovery rate of the patients, and in fact, the patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of complications.

The excuse I’ve been given is that if you approach prayer scientifically, with the honest goal of learning the truth, God will suddenly stop honoring his promises. Maybe he has performance anxiety? Or maybe he’s petty enough that he’ll break his promises just because you want evidence that he exists. This doesn’t sound to me like a God whose greatest desire is to save everyone. If he really wanted people to know him, he wouldn’t hide any reasonable evidence from people who look for it.

If the Christian bible is infallible, then you would expect to see a measurable difference in the recovery of patients who are prayed for, whether or not you are running a scientific experiment. Either the promise is false, or God forgot to add the terms and conditions (you need to have a certain motivation, you need to only pray for things that he already wants to do, you need to ignore logic and just blindly believe, you can’t ask for something because you want proof of his existence).

Why are Christians so strongly opposed to modern-day Gideons? Perhaps asking God for evidence that his promises are true usually results in evidence that they’re not, so they need some way to disregard the data. It must be disregarded, because that’s the only way to keep believing that everything in the bible is absolute truth.

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4 responses to “Gideon Didn’t Have True Faith

  1. I’m not forgetting anything. You seem to be assuming that God is saying that all who are prayed for will be healed. Can you tell me where it says that?

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    • James 5:14-15

      Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

      So, perhaps we need a more rigorous study that does the anointing with oil and brings in the elders.

      But Mark 11:24 says “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This is an unequivocal promise and since it doesn’t have any conditions applied to it, we can include healing of sick people in the realm of things that are promised.

      If you ask for a sick person to be healed, and believe, then they will be healed. So why are people still dying from cancer? Christians had better get busy, if the bible is really true. I’ll be watching the news for widespread eradication of sickness. Heck, while you’re at it, why don’t you ask for global peace? He said whatever you ask for. Why do you think you have to only ask for “reasonable” things? Because he won’t actually stand behind his promise?

      I’d like to see a few mountains moved by prayer. That would be cool.

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  2. I agree up to a point…

    The studies prove nothing.

    If by holding an experiment you could force God into taking part in that experiment, or if God was some sort of impersonal force that always acted the same way, then there may be some justification in the tests.

    God created the universe. God is both inside and outside the universe. God is so, so much bigger than the universe. To say a test within the universe proves something about God just does not make sense.

    So far I’m with you.

    Where I disagree is that Gideon and the scientists are not doing the same thing. In the book of Judges, God told Gideon to attack the Mideonites. It was God who instigated it, Gideon then tested the specific revelation to see if it was from God.

    In the experiments it is people who are the instigators. There is no specific call from God that he will heal one group (and how can the experimenters know that no one outside the group of prayers were praying for the people in the control group? The scientific experiment isn’t scientific either).

    We have different things:
    1. God instigates a course of action, Gideon tests it.
    2. God has not revealed a specific plan, People claim to be testing it (testing what? There is nothing to test). Then claim their non-scientific study is scientific.

    It is conflating there people with “modern day Gideons” where the blog falls down.

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    • You seem to have forgotten that god specifically promised to heal people who are prayed for. In doing so he instigated the whole thing and, if the promise is true, made himself an active participant. Gideon asked for proof that god’s promise to use him to save Israel was true. People like me ask for proof that god’s promise to answer certain prayers is true.

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