In my journey out of theism, I have learned many things, one of which is that the existence or nonexistence of the Judeo/Christian God is a non-falsifiable claim. But, unless I’ve got the wrong end of the stick many of the claims of the bible are, such as James 5:14 Is any sick among you? 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:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Clearly, this claim is false (it was always accompanied by vigorous mental gymnastics when discussed at Bible college)… A list of similar falsifiable claims would be handy when debating theists.
The Gospel of Mark has a strange geography at 7:31. Jesus leaves Tyre and goes through Sidon to get to the sea of Galilee. You wouldn’t do that: Sidon is north of Tyre, it’s the wrong direction. That’s falsifiable enough.
Clearly if we were to try the experiment today, the claim is easily falsified. That would lead us to believe that any previous claim would also be equally false; however, it would be fallacious to assert that conclusion with 100% conviction. Still, I would scoot about as close to 100% as a monkey can scoot.
Well it’s certainly falsifiable. Two problems immediately occur to me.
Research money is not easy to come by, wasting it on falsifying superstition seems insane, given how many worthy areas of research are underfunded, see cancer research for example.
2 Religions have zero interest in facts evidence or research that disprove any aspect of their superstition, so would find some way to ignore the results anyway.
It should also be worth noting, that just because a claim associated with a deity is falsified, does not rational falsify the claim a deity exists, even that deity.
An apologist might argue that if the sick are not healed it is because they prayed claiming to have faith but they don’t have real faith and the question becomes what is real faith or what is faith. How do we measure faith?
Another argument will be that it was not God’s will and God’s will overcomes the will of the ones praying.
What if they pray and sometimes the person gets healed? How do you falsify that it wasn’t prayer of faith unless the same person is also under scientific/medical scrutiny?
I see your point, but this passage does not rely on the faith of the recipient, it simply requires the elders to pray for them. And yes, it is very easy for the faithful to ignore the plain meaning of these verses. But even the most devout Christian has moments of clarity and that was my intention with this thread. Reading the bible multiple times led me out of theism, most Christians don’t read their bibles and are spoon-fed by the clergy. People questioning their faith may well end up on this forum (I did) and the best argument for non-belief is the truth.
That’s a rationalisation at best, these kind of claims are always anecdotal of course, and as with your example, this is quite obviously selection bias.
In the one clinical study of the efficacy of intercessory prayer I’m aware of, the research used a double blind trial, with a placebo group. The results showed that the prayers had no discernable effect. It returned the same results as those not prayed for at all. With one exception, one part of the prayed for group were told they were being prayed and one were not, the group that were told had a slightly worse rate of recovery. One possible explanation is that those told experienced additional pressure from the knowledge.
A deity that Grant’s wishes out of pure caprice, while millions suffer and die, is not rationally compatible with a perfectly moral or merciful being. And again this is no more than a desperate rationlslisation. Occam’s razor applies here, and far simpler explanation exists without the need for unecessary and unevidenced assumptions.
You can’t that’s the point, but one such test has been conducted, and the prayers were demonstrated to make no discernable difference.
The faithful don’t want their beliefs falsified, so they ignore negative results, that’s called selection bias. Had the research mentioned above returned positive results, you can guarantee they’d have leaped on it.
Awww come on Algebe, it was only one little empirical study. We all know God works in mysterious ways. He knew the study was going to happen before it happened. Matthew 4:7 "Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
All of this is clearly explained away in the Bible.
Matthew 4:7 "Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”