I was in Sunday school at my home church this Sunday. We were discussing faith, and there was a question of what you would say to a skeptic or someone who didn’t understand faith in God. One woman answered; I’ll call her “Janet.” She and her husband are probably the most dogmatic and fundamentalist people in our church.

Her story was that she’d always had seizures ever since she was a kid. She ran into a new Christian friend once at McDonalds. This friend is just full of the spirit, Janet said. Janet said how she can’t drive because of the seizures, and the woman asked if she wanted to be healed.

Janet said she was filled with all kinds of emotions then. She told her friend that she’d been prayed for before, and she really didn’t think anything would happen. But the friend insisted that God could do all things.

So they sat down and prayed right there in McDonalds, and the friend laid hands on Janet. When they were done, the friend said she knew Janet would be healed. She didn’t think it would happen right away, but she knew God would heal her in His time.

 I never would have thought it was possible, Janet said, but now look at me. It’s been close to a hundred days since I’ve had any seizures. Ever since my operation, I’ve been cured.

Yes, you heard that right. This woman recently was in the hospital for some MAJOR brain surgery to treat her seizures. They cut her head open and everything. And so far the surgery’s been successful.

This to her is a miraculous answer to prayer.

And she didn’t try to downplay the surgery, or act like she’d “really” been healed before it. She knew she’d had surgery, and that was when the seizures stopped, but she still called it a miracle.

Everything just fell into place for the surgery to happen, she said; I didn’t even ask for it, my doctor just knew that I needed it. Yes of course, because a trained medical professional who is being paid to take care of your health wouldn’t possibly figure out that you might need surgery unless God whispered it in his ear.

She was just blown away that, all it took was prayer and faith by this righteous woman in McDonalds, and hey presto, she gets healed. She seems to think she got surgery and the surgery worked entirely because this woman prayed.

Where would I be, she said, if I hadn’t believed that day?

And remember, this was the part where they were supposed to say what acts of faith they had seen which they could share with a skeptic.


Then Janet’s husband speaks up. He says, as accurately as I can remember, “I don’t see how these atheists can deny God. When you look at history, all these seemingly unconnected events – you see God in history. God is the author of history. When they deny God, they’re denying history.”

I don’t even understand what he means by that.


I am not completely atheist yet. Sometimes I still think Jesus is out there, and I’m just not seeing him. Sometimes when I read apologetics or Christian experiences, I start to think I might be on the wrong path and I’ll have to repent. But whenever I go to Sunday School at my home church, I come out thinking more than ever before that there is no god out there.

I only wish I had the courage to say something to some of these people. I will someday.  

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"to be as bright and good a person when I'm not paying attention as I am when I am paying attention"

... however I think a master might phrase it a little differently. He (she) might say to practise and get used to paying attention all the time. At first it might burn a few extra kilojoules, but that's a good thing, isn't it? Personally I'm a LONG way from this, but I can see that, like anything one tries to learn, practise is critical. And, after enough practise, the art of paying attention becomes easy, second nature - which, I think, is pretty similar to what you said.

A master would say that, but I never claimed to be such a thing.

According to a book I've just read by Ruby Wax, "Sane New World", which is largely about mindfulness:  the goal is to be able to be mindful and attentive when you need to be.  I guess she means, judge for yourself when you need to be mindful.  To me, this means when you're doing anything.  She says that the mind has two modes of operation: automatic pilot, and mindfulness.  Automatic pilot is fine when you know what you're doing.  The implication is that while you're learning to do something, mindfulness is needed so that the new skill becomes efficiently hard-wired into the brain. 

Thanks. That actually feels righter than trying to be constantly attentive; on the other hand I can see that, even in casual situations, the opposite of mindful is thoughtless . How many times have I (inadvertently) caused offense through thoughtlessness (i.e. automatic pilot), then found, upon reflection, I'd have done much better had I been mindful.

For me I think the objective is to step through the looking glass and "reflect" upon my every act before engaging. Ctrl-Z is not an option in real life.

I believe we need to be watchful all the time, rather than mindful.  Mindfulness is only needed some of the time. 

Hear, hear Mr. Long. Supernatural silliness indeed.

Please do. That lady has some serious learning deficiencies if she thinks that the doctor wasn't involved in her cure.

I am not completely atheist yet. Sometimes I still think Jesus is out there, and I’m just not seeing him. Sometimes when I read apologetics or Christian experiences, I start to think I might be on the wrong path and I’ll have to repent. But whenever I go to Sunday School at my home church, I come out thinking more than ever before that there is no god out there.

Wanting to believe in Something, especially Jesus, is completely natural, especially with our cultural bias.

But, just remember these things....

If you believe that Jesus is "out there", then you've also got to believe in the Bible, or it just doesn't work.  Believing in the Bible will having you believe in talking snakes and virgin births.  It will also have you believe in some god's approval of outrageous atrocities against other humans (See the Book of Leviticus!), just as Jesus accepted it as part of his faith.  Which, of course, assumes that he was a historical figure at all; something that I don't accept.  

That's the trouble with the whole Jesus thing... If you believe in him, or in his existence, then you are, in fact, accepting the Bible as a historical document.  

It isn't.

If you want to have a surprise, try speaking to her left side of her brain. The common procedure for seizures is to cut the Corpus Callosum (if not changed), this leaves the left and right brain mostly unconnected to each other and it's known that you can get different responses to the same question depending which side of the brain you ask.

For example, one of the first experiments with patients after this procedure was asking them if they believe in god. When asked to the right side, they would respond yes; when asked to the left, they would respond no.

How do you address a specific side of the brain with a question? Surely it is not which ear is used!

That's exactly how. Unlike eyes, hearing happens in the side of the brain. Here's a video explaining about that was asked if he believes in god.

Another very good reason not to go to MacDonalds, aside from the appalling so-called "food" they sell ! Praying in the middle of MacDonalds would get the koo-koo for Coco Puffs cops paying you a visit here !


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