Ok, so I really don't know where to look for information to rebutt this. I mean I know what I want to say, but I want to reply with info that will sink into this person. So here is what he has given me:
As for your rain argument, here's a little thought for you. It's a bit complicated and requires an understanding of Biblical law.
The Bible in Leviticus 25 talks about the "remission year" or "fallow year" that the Israelites must observe every 7th year inside the Land of Israel. (This is called "shmitah" in Hebrew.) The law requires that Jews (including modern Jews living in Israel) not work their land every 7th year... they cannot plant, sow, reap, or otherwise work the land. They cannot obtain food from the land. Which means that they must have enough food reserves from the prior year to last through the 7th year.
That means that every 7 years on the 6th year of the cycle, the land must produce TWICE AS MUCH as usual in order for the people to survive... especially in ancient times when their were living in a subsistance agrarian economy.
Part of God's promise to the Jews was that if they follow these laws, he would make sure they had enough to eat, even though they didn't work the land.
The Bible in Leviticus 25 also requires that Jews observe the Jubillee year every 50th year. ("Yovel" in Hebrew.) One of the requirements of the Jubillee year is that the land remain fallow, just as in the Shmitah year.
Let's do some math for a moment... according to my calculations, the Shmitah year would be in year 7, year 14, year 21... and year 49. The Jubillee year would take place in year 50.
That means that there are two fallow years in a row... years 49 and 50. And that means that, in this ancient subsistance agrarian economy, the land in year 48 had to produce THREE TIMES AS MUCH FOOD AS USUAL... enough for years 48, 49 AND 50. And it had to do so BEFORE lying fallow... at a time when the land has already been used to its fullest potential for the prior 6 years and needs a "rest".
Yet, God's blessing that the land would provide enough for all the people even durring the fallow years has managed to hold true for literally THOUSANDS of years. Throughout that entire time there have been Jews following these fallow laws, and never once has the land failed to produce as promised due to drought, famine, disease... the land has produced in accordance with God's promise every time.
It seems to me that prayer/worship definitely DOES result in good weather as needed. You can't produce twice or three times as much food as normal in bad weather.
How do I know that it never failed? Because if it had failed, the Jewish people would have known that God's promise was fake and would have stopped following the laws. Yet they kept the laws, and still do, because God demonstrates time and again that his promise is the real deal by making sure the land produces as much as is necessary to keep the people alive. The evidence is in the people and their actions.
What this tells me is that prayer/worship does have a real, tangible effect... if you are willing to recognize it as such.
To start with, he is wrong that on the 6th year of the cycle, the land must provide 2 years of food.... what would actually happen is year one would provide a bit extra for year two, year two would provide even more extra, etc. By the time the 6th year comes around, you could easily just eat the remains from years 4 and 5 and store the entirety of year 6's harvest for use in year 7.
No one ever said that the Jews could have only enough land that they could just feed their family for a year off the years produce. This has nothing to with weather and everything to do with good planning.
Heres an interesting though: is the weather "better" historically in the 6th year of the cycle? Better meaning able to produce twice as much (or even three times as much) as in years 1 to 5? if it is, I would consider that fairly solid evidence of something interesting going on.
You beat me to it :)
It's also good farm management to let the fields lie fallow for a year every now and then (or every seven years) to allow the soil to restore itself.
see thats what i was thinking, im no farmer but i remember from school and general knowledge that you have to rotate crops and not farm sometimes. Which by the way, Im told hemp is an excellent crop to rotate in to help the soil...
Ha! I'm liking you more and more :)
Hemp grows quickly and has alot of fibrous material, making it excellent to turn into mulch (extended goodness for the soil).
... also I hear you can smoke some varieties?
Most societies store reserves of food for drought seasons. Every agricultural society rotates it's crops, including fallow years, usually more often than 1 year in 7 being fallow. Synchronizing your fallow seasons would just provide good regulation of communal lands - making it easier to spot people over working the lands, and would have a positive, not negative, effect on long term production.
The fallow years do not prohibit harvesting food from trees - so all fruits and olives would have still been available. The fallow years do not prohibit grazing animals - so more meat would have been available.
Even so, there is no evidence that these practices were strictly observed in ancient times and such practices are irrelevant in modern times given that food trade is so prevalent. Also, modern Israelis do not consider hydroponics to be banned on their fallow years so it's actually created a booming hydroponics industry there.
As others have said, good planning and the fact that this didn't include trees are the real reasons any of that can work. But there's another possibility. Admittedly, I don't know the details of this 'law', but when is the starting point? Does everyone start from the same fixed date, or does the year count start when YOU plant your first crop. If it was personal rather than fixed, the fallow years of one farmer would simply be covered by the bounty of those that are on a different cycle.
Good point, I was assuming the cycle was the same for everyone since it came from, you know, God....
Speaking of crops and farming, early in the morning, as I was on my way to work I was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, I went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then I said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. When the homeless guys saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
I replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.
They they asked me for some spare change and I told them "change must come from within".
And, do you really think that the ancient Hebrews just gave up farming and hoped? Do you have any evidence of this? I guarantee that they were planting something, even if just a veggie garden. But I suspect it was a good deal more than that... It was most likely, as others have alluded to, a rotational crop type, but, I don't think the y just gave up on planting for a year, or 2. If you think it happened, prove it..
What it tells me, is that people will lie and BS, and blame their shit on miracles. Oh, heck no, hubby, I didnt have sex, it must have been god. Oh, hell no, I didn't plant nothing.. For 2 years, I swear! And I never did a chore at all on sunday (name me a farmer anywhere that can take a day off).
It's called people LIE..
Or you could believe people always tell the truth,and miracles happen..
If you jive with the latter, I thought I should tell ya... God came to me and said you should send me a check for 20% of your yearly income, because god said so, to me.. He seriously said that to me. He appeared and everything, just like Joseph Smith style. He said I might give birth to a prophet later.. So, send that check my way... I swear, it'll be a virgin birth... Honest...
Of course I don't really think that...that's why I am a member here asking for help to rebutt..