...or at least make a statement!
Here's the idea. Once 2012 is out of the way, and there're no "prophecies" to get in the way, there would be an event advertised. Well in advance, the event is advertised and theists are challenged to pray as much as they want to affect the outcome. This event would be a test of prayer. This is how it might work:
Imagine a large perspex box, say 2m x 2m. The floor of the box is covered, to a depth of a foot or two, with dry wood. A block of ice is laid on top of this, then the box is sealed. A countdown or time limit is given, and the audience watches. The challenge that the theists prayed for is: If (any) God is real, let him burn the wood to ash while leaving the ice intact.
Of course this isn't possible, but if a god exists, if he wants people to know it, and if he answers prayer, there is no logical reason why it shouldn't happen.
So, ideally, when people see that this should have happened but didn't, they'll realise that prayer doesn't work. Ideally though, the test would be something that can also be shown to be possible through scientific means.
Down side is, they'll probably just come up with excuses..
While I agree with the previous posts, the whole exercise would be dismissed with a litany of excuses...it would be interesting to have a public, well-televised test of prayer. Right now people can sort of pretend that the research into this thing is abstract and somehow removed from real life. However a public test would change that.
Still, with the 'wrong' packaging such an event would only serve to harden the stance of many religious people. It most certainly would 'prove' to them that "atheists are out to take away our religion". As such it would have to be seen as being presented by a religious source rather than an atheist or secular one. If you could find a respected religious institution to be the primary backer of the concept and then have an atheist group join as the "group to be humbled by God's power" then you'd have a powerful vehicle on your hands.
Lacking that, it's not a simple calculation. Certainly it would help move some doubters to our 'side' but is that worth even more doubling down for God in the arena of "spiritual warfare"? I don't know about that. I suppose if you think such actions will only serve to further isolate the deeply religious from the mainstream then it will look like a good deal. Instead if you think the deeply religious will tilt what's considered "mainstream" further toward intense religiousity...then it's probably a bad dea - especially since the doubters very well may come to take an atheist or agnostic position without such a stunt. After all, that's already happening in increasing numbers without such an event.
So, this is all that it would take for you to believe in God?
More importantly, you are willing to try to test God's test, with a test.
Remember, God is testing everyone to believe in Him by faith alone.
Consider these facts (and lets just take them as fact for arguments sake.) lets see there was:
and still people are saying "prove it"
Shoot, even Christ was to have healed the deaf, made the crippled walk, and raise the dead. And still he was crucified! Instead of asking for him to start a HMO.
With the right tools, I bet I could burn the wood, without disturbing the ice, but that would not make me a God.
This reminds me of the joke of how a biker made it to heaven:
Three people died and went to the pearly gates. A baker, a pizza-maker, and a biker.
Saint Peter said were not in the book of life; but told them if they could give the devil a task, which he could not perform. The person would get into heaven.
So they met the devil, and the Devil said "who wants to go first?"
The Baker said "make 10,000 cakes, and eat them in 10 seconds."
The Devil promptly made the cakes, and swollowed them whole. Finishing them in time.
The Baker burst into flames, and disappeared.
The Pizza-maker stepped forward, and said "make 20,000 pizzas, and eat them in 5 seconds"
The Devil promptly made the pizzas, and swollowed them whole. Finishing them in time.
The Pizza-maker burst into flames, and disappeared.
The Devil then eyes the biker, and said "you are next."
The biker lifted his leg while farting, and said "catch that, and paint it purple!"
The biker then went to heaven.
*Remember the story of Noah ended with the covenant that God will not destroy Earth with water again, it will be by fire. I predict that the fire could very well be due to our sun becoming a red giant someday, and as far as we know, they did not know the sun will become a red giant thousands of years (hopefully) in the future.
Unless you were there, these things did not happen?
That is my point.
If a pile of wood under a block of ice burned, without disturbing the ice, and I had witnessed it. You would have the same disbelief as you do now. So why bother?
There is a warning to watch out for false prophets, and so it is healthy to not to blindly believe just anyone.
Just it is not healthy to be completely unconvincing.
Or run away from the subject altogether.
I think that anyone who ever been around for a while knows that the Bible says that "no one knows the hour, or the day of His coming" Even if they never stepped in church.
So, anyone hearing Camping would have immediately known he was a false prophet.
Even George Norry saw through that, and refused to accept money for advertising on his show. Because he knew it would have been equivalent to being a partner in the fraud. George kept an open mind, and let them air their belief.
I have heard a comment that gives some credit to Camping. The likelihood that more Bibles have been opened due to his wacky prediction, than any other statement made.
Ok, but then recently the Catholic church came to the conclusion that there is no limbo anymore, or perhaps that there never had been. So that's kind of awkward, because one would hope that the true prophet had some consistency to his/her story, you know?
Even the C of E - the first church to decide that the Catholics were wrong because a King wanted to shag a younger wife or some such shit - recently came to the conclusion that there is no hell anymore, or perhaps that there never had been. That kind of muddles that consistency thing again.
Now I know there are a lot of newer Churches, but then a lot of them formed for fairly arbitrary reasons: like the ones that formed to cater to the growing openly gay population who didn't want to be condemned to hell. The problem there is I sort of have to wonder why, if any of these have the true message, they didn't start up a long time ago - you know, assuming god was trying to put forth a credible image and all.
One thing that sort of plagues me is the question of bacon. Jesus said he was here to fulfill the law, which would sort of go to upholding the prohibition on pork. Paul, on the other hand, seems to have overridden that. Now I would sort of expect Jesus to trump Paul on such matters, but it seems like a lot of Christians eat bacon. I would hate to give up bacon, but I would prefer not to go to hell either. Does that mean the C of E is for me?
Can you clear any of these things up?
So what about the cases where the Bibble directly contradicts itself? Which verse is the word of Gawd and which is the false prophecy? Anyone who reads it critically has to conclude it's completely unreliable for any perspective on history, morality or even good writing.
"Consider these facts (and lets just take them as fact for arguments sake.)"
No, I will not take them as facts, unless you can produce reliable witnesses, evidence, or some method by which they can be reproduced. Really, I'll say it again. Prove it. If you don't understand what counts as proof, then go away. You don't have the tools to hold a debate with rational people.
Science is the new religion?
My point was not whether they occurred, or not. My point is that these things were to have been documented, and the reaction to the "miracles" were also documented.
I have yet to hear anyone say... if I saw that, I would believe!
No one disbelieves the reactions, but they do disbelieve the miracles.