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Prayer and Cancer

I have some honest questions for my Christian readers. If I am misunderstanding what you believe, please correct me.

Do you believe that your god knows about a cure for cancer and yet refuses to share that information with humans? If he knows everything and is capable of communicating with humans (two ideas most Christians would agree with), then why is he holding out on us? Millions of people have prayed fervently for the god's help in the fight against cancer. There are any number of ways he could communicate this vital information: A full-page ad in a major newspaper, a half-hour special on network television, a semester long class at a university, a press conference at the Mayo Clinic, or if subtlety were important he could anonymously scribble the some hints on a whiteboard in a cancer research facility.

What would you think of a team of researchers who discovered a cure for cancer and then refused to share it? I think it would be a vile thing to do and I don't see how it's any better if the perpetrator were a deity. Of course, a cure for cancer is just one of the many pieces of information that humans are desperately seeking. An omniscient deity could have revealed all kinds of information throughout human history and saved millions of lives. But so far those answers have come from the painstaking work of scientists and inventors, not from religious texts or traditions.

How do you reconcile the idea of praying for someone who has cancer with the idea that your god is withholding the information that would answer your prayers?

52 comments

As a person suffering from cancer myself, I would like to know the answer to this myself. I am looking forward to reading the evolution of this post.
Thanks for posting this Dan!


Dichotomi [Visitor]  09/21/10 @ 07:43

Not only is He withholding info on curing cancer - He is also directly responsible for creating it.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.


La Cuidad [Visitor]• 09/21/10 @ 08:07

I strongly suggest you read the book, ‘When Life is Hard’ available here:

www.WhenLifeIsHard.com

The author speaks from personal experience, as he also has cancer, and was dealing with other major stress issues at the same time.

You will find excellent answers to all your questions there.


Eric [Visitor]• 09/21/10 @ 11:14
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/09/21/10 @ 11:22

Are you assuming death to be the worst fate…or pain? I’m just trying to establish why, exactly, it is cancer you are asking about…not all of the other atrocities that could be stopped by an all powerful God.


katie [Visitor]• 09/21/10 @ 20:44
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/09/22/10 @ 08:08

@ Dan

How about this: If God does exist and he is who he says he is, and we are what he says we are, would we then have the capacity or capability to understand the reasons for everything that he does?

And if we did understand everything about God, wouldn’t we then be comparable to God in our mental capacity?

I propose that it is impossible for humans to understand concepts like time, space, life, and most other physiological and philosophical concepts in the same way that an omnipresent and omnipotent God not bound by the laws of science. We can try our best, but I think God knows more about what’s going on then we do and I’m okay with that because I know He loves us for who we are.

But yeah… I don’t know why cancer exists. I mean why does anything exist when you really come down to it? It’s because God made it. I mean come on… let’s get real, Satin didn’t make cancer. Satin isn’t the creator, he is the destroyer.

I guess I would say that… well God made water and we drink it to survive. Say I drown in a lake. Is God responsible? If I jump off a cliff is God responsible for my death if He doesn’t intervene and save me? I’m sure we’ll get cancer figured out… in the mean time I would guess that praying people stop eating food that is full of manufactured chemicals would be a good idea. I mean geez… we’re human, life is pretty dang good. Think about it, this world could be a LOT more dangerous than it actually is. Like what if volcanoes were 1,000 times more common and we never knew where they would pop up? And what if there were all kinds of human eating animals always on the hunt for us? Overall I would say this world is a pretty decent place to be living.


Stephen [Visitor]• 09/23/10 @ 21:12

By the way, your comment about religious texts and traditions is a little bit of a straw man debate. Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to have this idea that Christianity is founded on rules that were created by a god who kind of acts like a prick and that Christians form meaningless traditions based on those rules. That’s kind of what I think when I hear the word “religion".

Christians who are actually reading their Biles will tell you that Christianity is not about rules and TOTALLY not about traditions. Christianity is about being Christ-like.

Part of being Christ-like is acknowledging God for who He is and accepting that Christ died as a sacrifice for our fallen world. But that is more of an internal thing between you and God. Other ways that we can be like Jesus would be treating each other nicely. So don’t take things from people, don’t cheat of your wife, don’t be deceptive towards each other, don’t kill anyone… you know, all the sin stuff. It’s not about rules, it’s about being good to other people.

One way we have seen Christians throughout history really hitting the nail on the head with this is through scientific discoveries by Christian scientists (the majority of scientists are Christians dude). I also know that God has really been able to work through the charitable attitudes of his followers. You mentioned funding… how about funding aids relief in Africa or the homeless among us in the states? Not to mention all of the charitable Christians who, because they are living the lifestyle of a Christ follower, have built thousands of hospitals and medical research centers around the globe.

So is God really ignoring his people? Are Christians really just focusing on dusty old books while the atheists get all the real work done? I hate to be forward with you Dan but suggest that you read your history, look around yourself, and think about it. I get the impression that you’re a pretty intelligent guy. I just think you’re looking at things from the wrong end of the telescope.

By the way, I hope you don’t get the impression that I am defending my faith. I’m not. I’m selling it to you. God is real dude. Ask a mathematician, all if this matter didn’t come from nothing and it was’t always here.

Like I said, you seem like a pretty smart guy (which is kind of why I am taking the time to explain my thoughts to you). I think you should have no trouble realizing how much denial is required in order to look at your hand, look at the stars, and deny that there is at least some kind of a supernatural architect who came up with all this. And since we know this is true, we’re gonna assume this creator is one smart dude that we’re gonna wanna to listen to. When He says theres this game called life and we can either be on His team and hang out at His place, or we end up on the other team hanging out with Satin, I say you’re a pretty stubborn dumb-ass if you go pass him up on the invite.

If you hate me after reading this. Sorry? Maybe at least looking at Pascal’s “The Gamble” would be a good place for you to start. Pascal was a groundbreaking philosopher/mathematician. Check out this highlight…

The Gamble

1. “God is, or He is not”
2. A game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
4. You must wager. It is not optional.
5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that god is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

You should be a Christian because God is awesome and because you want to build a spiritual relationship with Him. The Gamble is just an interesting way to look at how insane it is to wager that He isn’t. Once you see God for who he is, and you see us for who we are in relation to Him, you start to understand that the whole debate about why God allows us to experience pain is not really as important as you used to think it was. And you will see how focusing on love is really what is important.


Stephen [Visitor]• 09/23/10 @ 22:24

Hi Stephen,

I realise you directed your comment at Dan, and I can only be quick for now, but I couldn’t help but step in.

Pascal’s wager, Stephen? Seriously? You’re seriously using Pascal’s wager as an argument for throwing in with Jesus? Please see (http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Pascal’s_wager) for a thorough debunking of this non-argument that really should be put to bed. There are so many things wrong with it, it wastes far too much time wading through all the wrongness that the debate can’t advance in a timely fashion.

Also,

God is real dude. Ask a mathematician, all if this matter didn’t come from nothing and it was’t always here.

Ok, good idea, hang on a tick…

“Professor? I say, Professor Hawking?”

“………. [Yes?]”

“As a former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, as well as one of the most groundbreaking theoretical physicists and cosmologists of our time, I was hoping you could help me with something. Is a god necessary to explain the creation of the universe?”

“…………[No]”

“Ok, cheers! Enjoy your Presidential Medal of Freedom for being so awesome.”

There. Don’t say I don’t do anything for you! ;o)

Wow, there’s so much I’d like to chat about with you, Stephen, but I’m in a bit of a rush at the moment.

All the best,

Fleegman


Fleegman [Visitor]• 09/24/10 @ 09:22

Sorry you are so very angry about life being hard. No you will never get everything you want, time to come to grips with that.
It really is convenient though to blame God for not giving you all the answers. But since people like you have told God to get out of their lives and out of their governments and out of their schools and out of their science. I say God probably already gave some scientists the cure for cancer and they tossed it out because it didn’t fit with their evolution story.
In Christ their is peace, in this world there never will be. Read the Bible.


Ted [Visitor]• 10/19/10 @ 01:48

Hey Ted,

I thought I’d take it upon myself to answer your comment. You’ll have to bear with me, though, since you’ve managed to cram so much fractal wrongness into such a small space and it’s going to take a bit of work to address it all. I may even miss some, so please let me know if there’s anything I might have missed that you still think you are correct about.

So, onwards!

Sorry you are so very angry about life being hard.

Who’s angry? I’m sincere when I ask that, Ted. I imagined you were directing your comment at Dan’s original post, so I re-read that post thinking I’d missed the angry tone you’re talking about. Nope. Couldn’t find it. What kind of angry person starts off with “I have some honest questions for my Christian readers. If I am misunderstanding what you believe, please correct me?” Does that seriously sound angry to you, Ted? Or do you, perhaps, assume that people who don’t believe what you believe are, by default, angry? It couldn’t be my comments, because, while occasionally snarky and often sarcastic, they are certainly not angry in any way.

What I think you are displaying, Ted, is a psychological phenomenon known as projection.

No you will never get everything you want, time to come to grips with that

The obvious question is: how do you know he hasn’t come to grips with that? Although we’re still near the beginning of your comment, you’ve already hit a real low with that statement. It says a lot about you. It actually makes me wonder if you know what an atheist actually is. You see, atheists aren’t struggling with why bad things happen. For us there is no contradiction; no dilemma. Bad things happen because that’s just what happens sometimes. We don’t have a god to attribute it to, or to defend, or to blame because, and please pay attention: we don’t believe God exists.

As I am fond of saying, don’t you think the world works exactly in the way it would work if there were no god? You know, bad stuff happens, nice stuff happens, some prayers get “answered,” some prayers don’t get “answered.” Seriously, think about it. Everything happens exactly as though there were no guiding force. What is this god that you believe in responsible for in this world?

It really is convenient though to blame God for not giving you all the answers.

One more time, atheists don’t believe God exists. Really. I know that is probably so far out of your sphere of thought to even consider, but it’s as simple as that. The sooner you realise that this is the position atheists are coming from, the sooner your arguments will be taken seriously. Or at least, make sense.

How do you reconcile an all loving god with the suffering that is evidently present in the world? You are the one who must justify the existence of evil because it is you that is saying there is an all loving god. It is perfectly valid to ask why you believe that, given the suffering and death in the world which appears to fly in the face of the “all loving god” bit. It is incredible the illogical twists and dances I see believers make when attempting to explain the problem of evil. It’s quite amazing what people will say in order to justify their assumption that God exists. The level of cognitive disonance is, to put it mildly, astounding.

But since people like you have told God to get out of their lives and out of their governments and out of their schools and out of their science.

Wow, if you actually knew what atheists believed yours would be a very short post, wouldn’t it? I can’t put it any more clearly, can I? We don’t believe God exists, Ted. You sound really silly when you write posts describing how atheists are angry at God, or rejecting God, or telling God to get out of our lives.

In other news, are you American, Ted? Have you read the first ammendment? God was never part of your government. It amazes me that I know your constitution better than most American christians who are convinced that the separation of church and state is a construct made up by atheists. Even if you’re not American, combining the concept of God with government is a recipe for disaster. I refer you to George Bush. I think that says it all.

I say God probably already gave some scientists the cure for cancer and they tossed it out because it didn’t fit with their evolution story.

That’s lovely, but do you have any evidence for this, or did you just make it up? I think you just made it up didn’t you, Ted? Let’s think about what you just said:

For a start, you think God, who is all knowing and all powerful, gave the cure to cancer to a guy that he, being God, knew would reject it. Or did God make a mistake and give it to the wrong person? Do you think God was all “Wow, I really thought he’d use it. I guess mankind is doomed to a few more decades of suffering and death from cancer. My bad.” Or do you think he might have done it knowing the scientist would reject it, just to give you ammunition to write a flippant comment to an atheist?

And what kind of cure wouldn’t fit with evolution? Since the fact that all known life on Earth evolved isn’t debated by anyone who has even the smallest respect for evidence or whose judgement isn’t clouded by religious dogma (I’m looking at you, Ted), a cure for cancer would most certainly fit in with the evolution model. Or are you thinking of something like an enchanted dove’s wing, or something? You know, magic?

And if he did give a cure that was somehow outside the realm of evolution, why would he provide the mountains of evidence from so many branches of science that point to the fact that evolution is how we came to be? Why would he do that, Ted? To lie to us?

Why do you want to believe in a God who, by your own admission, is a liar and a fool?

In Christ their is peace

Is this the same Christ with a sword coming out of his mouth ready to strike down the nations of the Earth, crushing his enemies like grapes in a winepress? Or the Christ that took the time to make himself a scourge to drive out the marketers in the temple? Or the one that cursed fig trees for not having figs out of season? Just checking.

in this world there never will be.

It makes me sad that you feel that way. In my opinion, you’re wasting this life in preparation for an afterlife that doesn’t exist.

You know, unless you have evidence for it.

Read the Bible.

Finally something we agree on. I can’t think of a single better method for driving people away from the belief in God than the Bible. Have you read it, Ted? I mean, have you really read it? I mean, do you celebrate in God’s glory when you read about the bears, sent by God, tearing apart the children for calling someone “baldy,” for example?

I think that about does it, for now. I hope you really think about what I’ve said, rather than dismissing it as “just more angry atheist rhetoric.”

All the best,

Fleegman


Fleegman [Visitor]• 10/26/10 @ 02:55

I have a honest question too… seriously.

Exactly which race is furthest down the evolutionary road to perfection?



La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/27/10 @ 10:15
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/27/10 @ 11:05

That kinda goes against da man.

” Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress”

” At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.”

both quotes by Charles Darwin

I know… its not very cool to quote on a blog.

My point being that Evolution does carry with it some things we should be honest about - like for instance the possibility that some races are not as ” evolved ” as others, and might eventually be “exterminate” - ouch!

it that begs the question - which one?



La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/27/10 @ 22:03
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/28/10 @ 05:58

Darwin being wrong about some things or not - doesn’t matter in regards to my question - doesn’t today’s evolution by itself suggest that not all peoples are equal in terms of where they have evolved.

Today, we see only slight differences, but I am really talking about more then appearances…

I think Darwin was getting at the heart of evolution.

Is there a race, that through adaption and evolution, has developed into a more advanced group of people, though ever so slightly ???

Honestly. Is it possible?



La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/28/10 @ 09:05
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/28/10 @ 09:15

But evolution does give license to the idea that one day certain races ” may ” not be able to have fertile offspring.

Therefore instead of different races we might have entirely different species.

Some which would easily be determined to be more advanced.

All I am saying is maybe one race is closer, howbeit ever so slightly, to this…

I dont think your being very honest with your self… PooPoo Pants ;p


La Ciudad [Visitor]• 10/28/10 @ 09:35
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/28/10 @ 09:49

I think you’re confused about evolution, LC.

For example, I burn when I stay in the sun for 5 minutes without factor 50 sun cream. My sister, on the other hand, can bask in the sun’s glory for hours and not bat an eyelid. So her skin is more genetically predisposed to being protected from the sun.

Is she more perfectly evolved? Not really, although I’ve no doubt she’d disagree. It’s just genetic variation within our species.

In order for selection to be made according to such genetic variations or mutations, a species has to be more or less likely to survive as a result of such variation. And this is the piece of the puzzle that you’re missing, I think. Actually, I think a lot of people don’t realise this. As a race, at least in the developed world, we’ve pretty much stopped evolving as a result of natural selection because we control the environment. It’s no longer the case where the person with better natural vision will have a tendancy to survive over the guy who can’t see that well, because the short sighted bloke just buys glasses. On top of that, there are no real natural boundaries anymore. Everyone in the developed world mingles with everyone else, spreading around their genetic diversity as they go.

If there’s no isolation of species, and you remove the pressures of selection, evolution essentially grinds to a halt.

Having said all that, there are still remote and hostile areas of the world where indigenous tribes have been so isolated that they have evolved selection based traits. But to ask about which race is most perfectly evolved is missing the point.

Are cockroaches more perfectly evolved than humans? I would argue that they are indeed, given that in any contest of survival in hostile environments, they would no doubt win given almost any scenario. Or maybe bacteria? They would cream the cockroaches in the same battle. Evolution is a game about survival.

It really depends on what you mean by perfection, but by using the word it implies that evolution has a goal in mind. It doesn’t. It’s just about survival. That which survives, procreates.

Morally speaking, as a species, we’ve outgrown Evolution. Oh, and if one person even attempts to suggest that has anything to do with religion, I’ll scream. I’m glad to report that, slowly but surely, we’re outgrowing so called religious morality too.

So that’s all well and good, but how come there are still ugly people?


Fleegman [Visitor]• 10/28/10 @ 09:57

hmmmm… I see you haven’t seen X-Men.

With the exeption of Dan’s last post you guys seem not to be to willing and to eager to admit that evolution called for and calls for making completely new species out of old ones millions of times over however so slightly different. Each time making whatever needed to advance ( a word I should of used instead of perfection ) that line through time. It isnt ONLY about what ever survives lives to procreates. It is also about changing species if that is what it takes. It doesnt matter if the species are aware or not of this process or if there is a guiding force behind it, but it is a simple fact that evolution teaches that there is more than just the surviving animal passing on His unique traits, it is also about occasionally mutating into something that was not in the previous genetic code.

It is not only about changing around the order of the genetic code, because of the surroundings - sometimes it is about Creating something new.

If we were still in a world of stricter isolation, would it be possible for certain races to be closer than others to this next step in the ladder? Maybe this next step would entail enough intelligence where we could drop this god delusion - I think you would consider that a more perfect species.

If this is possible - it is only reasonable to consider the possibility that certain races under strict conditions are close to this next step that some “might” consider more perfect.

Hitler certainly thought this about his race.

???



La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/28/10 @ 11:57
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/28/10 @ 12:09

Yes - the people that wrongly conclude that God played favorites with racial groups has definitely had negative consequences. Zionism is a horror.

People can take any ideology and use it for evil.

As far as getting you to use some objective reasoning and be honest and admit that evolution can possibly carry with it some areas that are not so nice… kinda like your trying to do with people and the bible – I give up.

but really how far off topic is that?



La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/28/10 @ 15:11

LC, LC, LC….. Oh dear.

Firstly, the reason people conclude that the God of the Bible played favourites is because it’s explicitly stated over and over again in the OT. How can you with any honestly, brazenly state that people are wrong to come to that conclusion and then leave it as that with the implication that you have the correct secret interpretation? Please put up or shut up.

Secondly, what is it with the Hitler thing and evolution? I am sick to the back teeth of the connection that people try to make in order to bad mouth evolution as though that has anything to do with whether or not it’s true!

As if it mattered, Hitler didn’t buy into Darwin’s theories. This is a matter of record. I’m just going to move on for this point, because I’m trying to maintain some kind of respect for you, and the more I think about you putting that on the table the lower my respect drops. So…

Lastly, what the hell are you talking about?

When did I or anyone for that matter say that evolution was nice? The driving force of evolution is death, for heaven’s sake, with a huge amount of suffering.

You said:

As far as getting you to use some objective reasoning and be honest and admit that evolution can possibly carry with it some areas that are not so nice … I give up

Once again: There can’t be evolution without death and lots of it. I would say that was an area of evolution that wasn’t so nice, wouldn’t you agree? Without death, survival of the fittest doesn’t really work, does it?

The thing is, LC, evolution is not an idealogy or belief system. We don’t have to defend it because it happens whether we think it’s nice or not. How is that difficult to understand?

Let me put it another way. What you are asking is essentially the same as asking “can’t you admit that gravity has some areas that are not so nice? I mean, people die when they walk off buildings! It’s terrible!”

Yes, terrible, but we wouldn’t be here without gravity, and we wouldn’t be here without evolution. Not believing in them or thinking they’re just awful makes not one jot of difference.

Do you have a point to make, or are you just blowing hot air?


Fleegman [Visitor]• 10/29/10 @ 03:11

This post continues to attract the those few members of our population who’s stupidity and self confidence have found their equilibrium. Congratulations to all of you, you’re quite rare.

If macro-evolution were possible and our survival was less of a given, you all would be the first to go extinct, I’m sure.


Stephen [Visitor]• 10/29/10 @ 03:36

This post continues to attract the those few members of our population who’s stupidity and self confidence have found their equilibrium.

And you’re a big poopy head. Do you have anything of substance to add above calling us names?

If macro-evolution were possible…

I know, right?

If only there were mountains of converging evidence from multiple scientific displines to support it.

Thanks for lowering the bar once again, Stephen, with your drive-by ignorance.

————

Disclaimer: Referring to someone as ignorant is not an insult. The word “ignorant” is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware. Since you have demonstrated that you are clearly ignorant when it comes to evolution, it is appropriate to use that term. If I’d wanted to insult you, I would have called you an “ignoramus", suggesting of course that your state of ignorance was overwhelming. Although I suspect that it is, I would be remiss for following you down the low road you that you appear to want to lead this discussion.


Fleegman [Visitor]• 10/29/10 @ 04:15

I know this guy his name is Fleegman.

Through millions of years and passing on of seamen.

He didnt get weeded, maybe alittle conceded

genetically better than his grandpappy by a leap, man.


La Cuidad [Visitor]• 10/29/10 @ 06:53

I don’t have a rationally or philosophically satisfying answer to your question. No one does.

However, I do have a close friend in his twenties who over the last year has ferociously battled a case of acute leukemia. We are a church that prays for healing, and many of us have prayed with him several times for healing. He is still struggling with recovery from the effects of a bone-marrow transplant. From a Western either-or perspective you might say that he is “not healed.” This makes us sad, and he still suffers.

However, after the chemotherapy treatment and before the bone-marrow transplant, my friend was at church on a Sunday morning when the prophetic team praying that morning heard the word “lung” while praying and shared that with the congregation. Because my friend was experiencing severe breathing trouble because of blood-clots in his lungs (a side affect of the chemotherapy) he interpreted this word from God to mean that he should receive prayer about his condition. (The girl who head the word, by the way, did not know what it meant only that she felt that God wanted to do something. She was not acquainted with my friend with Leukemia at the time.) Two other guys started praying for him, and after I got done praying for another person I joined them. My friend was visibly affected by what we believed to be the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. He was shaking, sweating, and if you would ask him what he was experiencing, between coughs he would say, “I feel God doing something.” He coughed a lot, and after praying for about 20 minutes, rebuking the blood clots and begging God to heal him permanently of the Leukemia, he began to breathe clearly without any symptoms of the blood clots he had been experiencing. When he went to visit the doctor the following Tuesday, the x-rays revealed that he had no evidence of blood clots or scarring present in his lungs at that time. The doctors were unable to offer a scientific explanation of this sudden recovery.

Because of his genetic pre-disposition to this type of leukemia developing again, after much prayer and careful consideration, my friend still opted to undergo a bone-marrow transplant. He is still recovering from those side effects.

If you ask my friend, he would tell you that God healed his blood clots. And I don’t think that he could tell you why God didn’t just heal all the leukemia and other side effects. He’s just happy to be alive right now, and feels very blessed by the many prayers of his Christian friends and family as he goes through this experience. Also, he got to experience a degree of supernatural healing in the midst of his struggle that let him know that God was with him.

I don’t think it’s my job to defend God’s gracious healing action or to try to give answers to why sometimes people are supernaturally healed and why others are not. I’m just glad that it happens sometimes.


joshua.goeke [Visitor] • http://christconsumer.blogspot.com/11/01/10 @ 14:04
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/11/01/10 @ 14:13

Well here we are talking about evolution, and race, and how one friend actually got cured, and even Hitler, and not really addressing your question.

The original question is about why God doesn’t provide humanity with a cure for cancer. Of course, that’s a kind of arbitrary place in the progress of things ? as opposed to asking why God created a world in which cancer existed in the first place. Then, in a world without cancer, one still might ask why God allows Multiple Sclerosis. (And then one can always be infinitely grateful that God *didn’t* allow Disease X, which we may define as something even worse than cancer but doesn’t exist.)

To me, this question is at the root of life. Why does God allow evil? Some would say that there cannot possibly *be* a God because if there were he wouldn’t allow it. But tons of people who *do* believe in God and are heartbroken by the evil they see somehow manage to reconcile it.

I have had cancer, and will probably die of it someday. My answer to you, which is today something like this, “I’d rather have Christ and cancer than neither,” will probably be entirely unsatisfactory to you.

But I can also point out that this question can be asked of literature as well. Why did J. K. Rowling invent Voldemort? The wrongs that he does are very real wrongs in the Harry Potter world: and yet it’s abundantly obvious she didn’t *want* Voldemort to do them. Yet, to use a different level of meaning with the same word, she did in fact want him to do them, and she created his character, and every bad thing he did came from her pen.

Don’t know if you’re a Harry Potter fan as I am, but the Big Question is, “Was it worth it?” Are we glad that, given the totality of the Harry Potter series, Voldemort was in there, and it wasn’t just a story about Harry finding new friends and learning magic? Is there some reason in there, hard as it may be to express, that makes it so that it’s OK for us to be OK with the fact that *this* is the story Rowling decided to write?

My guess is that your answer to that question can lead to insight into your answer to the other. My own answer is that there is indeed only one story, one story that we seem to need to tell over and over, and it’s so deeply grounded in the human heart because so much is at stake.

Thank you for being who you are. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

Thoughts?


barry [Visitor]• 11/09/10 @ 00:15

Cancer is a result of sin on this Earth. It’s not a punishment its a result of living a human world. If you didn’t have hard times, pain, or suffering then how would you ever come to know of the good things God has given us? How would you ever be thankful for health, prosperity, etc. if everything was handed to you? God loves us and will help us get through anything, we just have to reach out and ask for it.


Lexi [Visitor]• 11/29/10 @ 21:45

@ Barry - fantastic explanation! Thank you for returning us to the topic.


@barry:

Imagine for a second that the story that was written was instead about Voldemort killing Harry slowly and painfully over the course of several years, at which point Harry finally dies in anguish and goes to heaven (or hell, or nowhere). The end. Doesn’t make for such a great story in any case, does it? Yet this is the reality with cancer for so many people that lose their battle with it despite the advances that science has given us.

This is the reality for INFANTS that get cancer and die. Congratulations, [insert deity name here]! Your villain has defeated a helpless newborn! What could possibly be your next blockbuster hit? Might I suggest “Parasites VS Hungry Sudanese Child"?


Gene [Visitor]• 12/16/10 @ 15:02

Why doesn’t God send the cure for cancer? I don’t think the answer is actually related to God, but if it were this would be my explanation. I should start with the reason for cancer in the first place. In the Biblical sense, when Adam sinned all of creation fell. Thus the reason for disease and sickness - it was a result, or consequence, of man’s choice for sin. Christ redeems us personally from the curse of sin which separates us from God. This is a spiritual redemption. We still live physically in this fallen world so we are still vulnerable to sickness and such. Eventually Christ will return and redeem all of creation and sickness will no more exist. As to why God doesn’t just give us a cure for cancer, I can only give you my opinion. It is His will that ALL would choose him - eternity in heaven versus hell. Those are his words, my translation. If cancer is the only thing that would bring me to a position where His reality could be grasped and accepted, and that made the difference of where I spent eternity, then that would be a good reason for him not to send the cure yet. The more likely reason would sadly be our own greed and corruption, after all cancer treatment is a very profitable business. I’ve read that there are actually several cures for cancer but big pharma makes sure those don’t get to mainstream medicine. $10,000 for an alternative cure vs $100,000 for chemo. I can give you a list of doctors that are curing cancer, but insurance won’t pay for the treatments because they are not approved by FDA as “standard of care.” And how much research money/time/effort would have to go into getting the $10,000 cure approved? It’s just not profitable. The lack of a cure for cancer is more a result of our health care system problems and it being a sickness for profit industry than it is God not giving us an answer.

The one thing an atheist misses out on is that death is not the end. This life is so short in light of eternity. I know you don’t believe that. But just not believing (or believing) in something doesn’t make it true. What if you’re wrong?


mamaK [Visitor]• 02/26/11 @ 13:29
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/02/26/11 @ 14:01

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski - Houston TX
Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez - NY
Dr. Michael Galitzer - CA
Dr. Eric Braverman - NY
Dr. Julie Taguchi - CA
are some.

Suzanne Somers (had breast cancer) wrote a book titled “Knockout, Interviews with Doctors who are Curing Cancer". It’s a great book with a lot of resources. In the back you will find integrative doctors (ones who use alternative treatments in conjunction or instead of traditional chemo) listed by state. There are others that aren’t listed in the book. I currently don’t have a book because every time I get one I end up giving it away. I should buy 2 this time and keep one! Another great resource is LifeExtension (lef.org). Also, one can get a chemosensitivity test before getting chemo, if that’s the treatment they choose, which will test their actual cancer cells with the chemo they will be getting to see if it will even have an effect. Most people don’t get this test because they don’t know it available so they take a gamble with the toxins they are putting in their body. Contact for this test is rationaltherapeutics.com



mamak [Visitor]• 02/26/11 @ 15:00
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/02/26/11 @ 16:25

Wow, lots to respond to here! I’m getting ready to head out for a business trip so I have to be brief for now. Interesting you mentioned leeches. My husband recently lost 1/2 of a finger and while trying to reattach they used leeches to help keep the blood flowing through the finger. Those little creatures are really remarkable. It did work, but only partially. The area where the leech did attach itself actually lived and was able to become the tip of his now shortened finger. The remaining finger did not survive, mainly because my husband has smoked for so many years that even leeches couldn’t overcome that damage. Sorry, got off the subject a bit.

As far as the cancer curing doctors, some patients have great testimonies. Some die. Same thing with conventional treatment. Some have success, lots die. I think the statistics on those who are helped by chemo are pretty low. Certain cancers respond better than others to chemo. I’m interested in the subject of alternative treatments for cancer and my research is still in the early stages. But I’m finding it’s out there and worth looking into. Two things that have notable research: Metformin, a diabetes drug, has anti-cancer properties. Cimetidine, (generic form of Tagamet) prevents metastasis of cancer cells after surgery.

When I read your responses to my God/cancer statements I see that I won’t change your mind unless I can give you proof, and that must be scientific. I do have proof, but not the kind you would believe. I actually doubted the existence of God at one point so I asked him to show me if he was real (yeah, so I still must have had a tiny bit of faith left, or at least, hope, to even ask the question.) Then I started researching all religions to find out what they believed because if I did continue to believe I needed to know that I was believing in the “right” one. Two conflicting ideas can’t both be right.

My “proof” came one day when I received a troubled phone call to go to my parents house. My dad was acting “crazy". I have a 20 page write up on this, but to make the story short, he was possessed by a demon. The only reason I found this out is because I spoke the words “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus” to an action he took against me and manifestations began happening and continued off and on for a couple of hours. I was what they call a baby christian at the time and really didn’t have a clue about this kind of thing, just read a story about it once. I don’t know how much more I should bother telling you because I know this is totally “out there” and I’ve probably lost you already. But this pivotal event in my life was the “proof” I needed, the deliverance my father needed, and this is the one thing that whenever doubt rises up in my mind nothing else can explain except the power of God. It’s my proof, but it’s not actually scientific. There is some science in the state of my father before and after, but that’s all. Nothing that’s been researched and picked apart with an attempt to discredit. But it wouldn’t matter because I know what I saw and experienced. This is why I care what you believe - it’s not “blind” faith. If I really truly believe there’s a heaven and a hell, and I don’t tell you then would’t that mean I don’t give a hill of beans if you go to hell? Of course it would. But I do care about you - I think you are an awesome, worthwhile person. I appreciate the challenge you give me to back up what I say and search for greater knowledge in many things - like cancer cures. For now I guess we just agree to disagree about the existence of God, but I appreciate the opportunity to speak my side. I wish you and your family all the best!

By the way, “being reborn as crickets” made me smile!


mamak [Visitor]• 03/05/11 @ 17:24
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/07/11 @ 09:10

@ Dan,

Hey man, I googled something that led me to this web page, and I couldn’t help read your original post. The title intrigued me. Right from the outset I want to acknowledge two things: 1- that I am a Christian. I believe in the Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 2- I believe that the bible is the infallible, authoritative word of God, and I use this text as the basis of my understand. (at least, unto my limited ability to understand it.) Also, I understand that this might not be your persuasion.

That being said I want to respond to your original post. (I haven’t read the comments, other than yours most immediately above this one. So if i repeat… sorry.)

You’re initial question was, ‘How do you reconcile the idea of praying for someone who has cancer with the idea that your god is withholding the information that would answer your prayers?’

Extremely fair to wonder this. Any believer who tells you this isn’t a valid concern is naive and ungracious. Many characters in the Bible are renown more for the questions they asked God than the things they ‘did for Him.’ But I think the Christian response to your question requires us to go right back to the beginning. The orgin of sin- which the Bible says, ‘leads to death’ (cancer, AIDS,.. any agent of death…)- can be traced back to the Garden of Eden. Man was created to live in perfect harmony with God. I’m sure you know the story. Adam and Eve did the only thing they couldn’t do and the Bible says, ‘Through one man sin entered the world.’ And, ‘the wages of sin is death.’ So at the most fundamental stage, we… humanity… CHOSE death. We were given the opportunity to live holy, healthy and free, and we chose the path of destruction.

–I understand you might not go for all of that, but you asked for Christians to give a Biblical perspective. –

So what do we do with the result? (the ‘result’ being our sin condition we inherit at birth.) We must first establish one thing… God is not moved by the needs of men. God is moved by one thing alone. Faith. If he was moved by needs there wouldn’t be any. But God, in all of His sovereignty, knows that an immediate physical healing or the most fundamental human needs -food, water, oxygen- are NOT our greatest need of all. We are spirit first. Humanities greatest need is salvation.

I am not answering your question from someone who is unsympathetic and rigid. I battled cancer myself when I was younger. I fully understand the scare of it. I am happy to say today I am cancer free! Praise God. To him be the glory. But had cancer taken my life from me, and had I departed from the Earth, there is still cause to praise Him and give Him glory knowing that my testimony of faith can strengthen the believers with whom I live in community. More than God cares about my health and fleshly well being- and He does- He cares about my soul. It is not about him withholding what He knows is good for us. It is about Him pursuing us, that we might realize what is BEST for us. And a God like that doesn’t seem tyrannical at all. Rather, it seems like Love in it’s greatest form, pursuing its greatest affection (humanity) by ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

So to answer your question, ‘How does the believer pray for someone who has cancer?’

1- From a perspective of knowing that bodily healing was made available through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah 53.

2- From a position that acknowledges that He is God and I am not. In the same way a child doesn’t understand discipline from his parents in that season. He later understands that what seemed harsh was truly love in it’s greatest from. Have you ever heard a parent say, this hurts me more than it hurts you.? This was God’s reality when, to save a race of people who hated him, He sent His only son. John 3. 16, Romans 5.8, Prov. 3. 11- 12.

3- From a platform that acknowledges that my greatest need is not temporal or fleshly. My greatest need is the kindness of a savior that leads me to a repentance so great that in all things I may rejoice because I am His- regardless of circumstance. Ephesians 6. 12, Romans 2. 1-4, Philippians 4.4

I hope this helps. Please contact me if you have any thoughts. I would love to hear them. I have made myself available for contact through a message. Again, I am not trying to be pushy. I just wanted to offer the Biblical perspective on the issue, and I understand you may differ on some things.


Reggi Beasley [Visitor]  03/26/11 @ 12:32

This is silly too. Everything on this planet heals - including the planet. Trees, water, animals. To assume its the work of a God is really niaive and primitive. everything unexplained seems to rest on gods shoulders. Cant explain Pyramids? God. Cant explain birth of planets? God. Cant explain why people DONT heal? The will of God.
Additonally, youre making a circular reasoning error. You cant use bible quotes to explain your proofs. What if I dont believe in the bible? Why must I accept this?
The bible is full of what I term 1st order logic errors. Thanks to the big 5 eggheads i call them - Plato, Aristotle, Hipocrattes, Socrates etc they messed it up for everyone now we have to suffer as western thinkers from thier faulty rationalizations and ideology. This is how we assume that because 2 rabbits result in 4, then 8 then 16 etc there must have been only 2 ppl to start off with and they were white and lived under a tree and was told to eat some fruit by a talking snake. this is why there is porn and drinking and chemical warefare and stock crashes and tsunamis and volcanoes. Thank you big 5, smash up job you did. NOT.


lee [Visitor]• 04/03/11 @ 04:08

growing up in the mormon religion, I was always taught that God gave us weaknesses and trials to teach us to be humble and rely on him. I always thought that was strange because if it weren’t for the weaknesses that he gave us then we wouldn’t need to rely on him anyway. What kind of sick God would give somebody weaknesses just to force them into worshipping him? -i think this relates a little bit to the cancer dilemna

I don’t accept the idea that since God is so much smarter than us that we just don’t understand his methods. He would have to explain to me why he gives people cancer and other diseases. I shouldn’t have to figure it out on my own, especially since I am apparently too dumb to understand his methods with my own reasoning.

A great read about religion and God is “The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine, it pretty much confirmed all of my doubts about organized religion.


Eric [Visitor]• 04/11/11 @ 06:06

The better question is: Who did Jesus leave in charge. He told his disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, and cleanse lepers. No where did Jesus, who is the perfect representation of God and the standard for the normal Christian life, ever pray, beg, or plead with God to heal anyone. He commanded sickness and disease to leave and it did. He commanded life and the dead lived. He told us that if we believe we could tell a mountain to throw itself into the sea and it would. Jesus is the cure. Believers are the one’s responsible to re-present Him to the world. Jesus said we would do the same things He did and greater. Why is there still sickness and disease? Because the Body of Christ is currently out of proportion with the Head.

Check out these sites for more information:

www.ibethel.org
www.ibethel.tv
www.charismaministries.org
www.revivalorriots.org
www.escapetoreality.org
www.healingherald.org
www.globalawakening.com

Great books include:

Jesus Manifesto
When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson(any of his books for that matter)
The Naked Gospel
Always Enough by Rolland and Heidi Baker

The Greek word for save in the New Testament is the word SOZO which means save, heal, and deliver. Jesus didn’t simply pay for a ticket to heaven. He paid for Heaven to come to earth. He paid so man could be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. He became what we were so we could be who He is. He said “it is finished” on the cross because He accomplished all He was sent to do…RECONCILE all to God. There are no deficiencies on His end of the equation. He left us in charge to walk with Him and see His Kingdom come and will be done on earth as in Heaven. There is no cancer in Heaven and He wants no cancer on earth.

Next question: Isn’t He the one in control? Isn’t He sovereign?

Sovereign means ultimate authority. The owner of a business is the ultimate authority over his business but does everything always happen in his business the way he wants it to? Probably not. The Bible says that God isn’t willing that any should perish but all come to repentance(change their thinking). But people still perish and refuse to change their thinking. Therefore, His will isn’t always done on earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus is perfect Theology. If you see how He dealt with “sinners", sickness, disease, demons, the “religious", His disciples, and even those who put Him on the cross and mocked Him, then you have seen the heart of God the Father. He is crazy about everyone and loves enough to bankrupt heaven to be with us. All we are required to do is believe. He isn’t interested in rules or regulations. He is simply desiring a relationship. He is the answer to all the problems and the expansion of His kingdom will never end.

I hope this helps someone. :)


Justin Hopper [Visitor]  04/20/11 @ 22:08

Hmmmmmmph. Do you have proof of this? My grand-dad was a magician, he sawed my mother and her sisters in half and resurrected them later. David Copperfield makes whole planes vanish in a hangar in front of millions of ppl.We sewed a mans hands back on in Germany and now he plays classic Piano. I have done these things with my colleagues and seen our results. Some of our cases thank us, the balance ignore us and praise god and jesus for giving them hands and life again, an extended life. We don’t mind - I get my fat cheque, they get their self-perpetuating-re-affirmations. Everyone is happy. If Christians are true to their convictions, please don’t seek me for aid - visit your Savior Jesus first. Failing that, come to me. I will try my best to cure you, I swear. My oath.Hippocratic. Unless it is too late and your maker really wants to meet your stunning soul. But don’t be an asshole. Choose on or the other. Refuse science and rather pray. Don’t work on the Sabbath, your Lord will provide you with a another Job. Do not kill- just barbeque vegetables and soya after the game. Don’t say Jeepers Creeepers or flippin hell or goodness gracious or oh my GOSh! THats taking the lords name in vain yeah?Go for it. Enjoy your life. Retards.


Lee [Visitor]• 04/21/11 @ 14:30

Life is not what we strive for. Death is part of living. There are many ways to die. There is only way to live, to accept God ask for forgiveness and enter the Heavens. Satan gets many to come to him with lies, implanting questions where there are no answers. Our cross to bare is to have faith, that we have the love of the father above and the living down here on earth is not the prize.


Carma [Visitor]• 10/05/11 @ 20:33

maybe this will help. as humans, we sin. the penalty of sin is death. eternal death in hell. I believe in God. and I’m trying to understand your view on this. God died on the cross, taking on all of our past present and future sins. saving us from eternal death. He says if we accept that he saved us then we will have eternal life with him. He doesn’t revel the cure for cancer because frankly, we don’t deserve to know unless we find it for ourselves. He doesn’t give it to us because he has already done so much.


Chris [Visitor]• 11/29/11 @ 14:16
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/11/29/11 @ 15:24

im just saying we don’t even derive the right to live in the frost place. we lost our right to a perfect world when we sinned.


Chris [Visitor]• 11/29/11 @ 21:54

Stephan posted: “Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that god is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.”

This is Pascal’s wager. It is invalid. It is not a case of if you are right you are OK and if you are wrong you are still OK. What if the Hindus or the Moslems or the worshipers of Zeus are right then as Christians you are screwed. Remember this. If you had been born in India you would likely be a Hindu. If you had been born in Iran you would have been a Moslem. This thing of worship Christ just in case Christianity is right is just a cowards way of covering his tail. Don’t you think God could sort out that kind of phony belief?


John Menuis [Visitor]• 12/25/11 @ 12:45

“God the Father” “Father” Ultimate creator is the ultimate parent and sometimes when a parent says “No” it upsets us because we can not see what they do. I got cancer at age 19 when a young wife and mother. I also knew that God had helped me in the past as well as trusted me to work it out some thing for myself. I have faith in Him as He has in me. This is less about why won’t God do what we want when we want it, it is more about having faith in Him and in yourself to have the courage to face what you must do. To do what must be done on a daily basis, to get up and do what it takes to strive for a cure and still have a smile for another. I believe firmly that if a person does not believe, then all the miracles won’t work because lack of belief is a shield nothing can penetrate. And I believe that even when He says “No” he is still with by our side guiding us toward where we need to be. I have had astounding miracles in my life and soul-crushing sorrow and I still believe in God. Those who do not believe will no doubt jump on my writing and tear it apart but my belief does not depend on what others think. So if you feel it important to dissect what I wrote that is alright because I can still smile over the memories I have of miracles that have taken place in my life. God is a comfort to those who believe and we all seek comfort in different ways; this is mine♥


Sara [Visitor]• 01/14/12 @ 14:39

I was just thing of this same thing. My oldest Daughter who is 13 love to watch Sunday morning. One of the stories on it was how wonderful botox was. It had only one line where it said it was proven to cause cancer in mice. Then they just fluffed over it and talked how wonderful it was. My daughter was like why would anyone put that in there face when they even said it can cause cancer. I was like I don’t know. Has anyone every thought that maybe is its our own demise that cause cancer. Of all the crap that in our food, we put pesticides on our food and ingredients that we cant even pronounce. My mother in law did some cancer research and our deodorant has chemicals in it that actually cause cancer. We cant go on like this with out consequence right? As for the God Question fine he created cancer but we are the ones who choose to feed it. Why dose he not give us the cure? Why would He? Look at what we have done, things in the world is all gone to hell and people would probably use it for self gain and profits. Save the rich and poop on the poor. As a race we are selfish, conceited and stubborn and think we are own own gods. We think we know everything. In the end it is us killing our own selves.

As for the faith. To me its more about trust. I left the church for many reason. I do believe that a lot of Christian are being led blindly. They believe every word that the pastor says and don’t bother to look for them selves. I’m not say that it true for every Christian but at lest the church I came out of. I hate religion I hate the whole idea of it. I’m not talking about what I believe but about the whole church religion system. Pastor says one thing and then you find out he is lying his ass off. I know that there are a lot of wonderful good Christian people. I really don’t know what I’m am I know I do believe in God but I just don’t believe is some of the stuff they preach in the church.
I believe that there is a God, because well I just cant fathem the thought that we are from monkeys it sounds so stupid. If were are from monkeys why is there no between. There should be monkey, monkeyman ,Man Why has only monkey and man survived.

Think about it.

1 tiny organism figured out how to make a male and a female to make a whole new species. On accident Really?

we breathe in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide. Plant breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen. All on accident Right?

I do believe that a higher force God created an environment to allow us and other beings to habit the earth. Everything is perfect for us to live on earth. It all happen by accident. I don’t by it.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein

I think Science just prove God is real. I don’t know why Christians believe that to believe in God you cant believe in Science.
I Believed in a God that created a world that was perfect for us, but as humans we take, take , take and don’t give and now we are suffering the consequences.
I’m a Christan that believes in Christ but I don’t believe in man’s version of the Bible. Man wrote the bible and man is not perfect. I believe there are great stories and history in the bible I love reading it but there are just somethings I think the writer got wrong and misinterpret before he wrote. Faith for me is trusting that God is GOOD and my relationship with him and not what others think I should believe in.
Think about it The New Testament contradicts the Old Testament. Really it dose. In the old Testament we here of the Gods of wrath and I will smite you down if you don’t follow the rules and New New Testament Jesus is invited all to be with him. Sitting at the table with sinners and whores. The Old Testament kills whores. So personally I’m going to go with the New Testament God and Jesus. Now with that Yes I believe in Christ Jesus, I just think that the people who wrote the Old Testament really protraed God wrong. I could be wrong and The New testament was written wrong and God is really that mean, but if that’s the case I guess we are all domed. But that’s what faith is Trusting. As far as evolution well if we don’t change something. I don’t think we will be here 500 years from now or we might become fat slobs that cant move like that movie Wall-E. Then we will ask our selves who is the the more evolved species. Ok I know what I said probably did not make sense to Christens but it dose in my head. Ok my vent is done.


April [Visitor]• 05/03/12 @ 15:39

Ok I’m sorry for venting. Danny made some points in a early conversation that I got out. I guess I’m tired of the Christians is against everyone thing. Whos right whos wrong thing. I don’t think anyone is %100 right.


April [Visitor]• 05/03/12 @ 16:22

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