Religious Argument Rebuttal: "God Cured Me!"

A frequent claim made by religious people is that "God cured my medical condition...god healed my grandmother of cancer when the doctors said there was no hope...", or some other variation of this. When faced with this claim, a number of questions need to be immediately asked.

First off, how does one differentiate between a healing that god is responsible for versus a healing that the immune system or medication is responsible for? If you're a religious believer, is god given credit for every healing that occurs, whether it's cancer, the common cold, or strep throat? Clearly not, because even the most scientifically-ignorant creationists understand that the immune system and medication play some role in combating illness.

Perhaps we give God credit when prayer is involved? 

If that's the case, how do we determine what was responsible for the healing when a person takes medication, follows the advice of their doctors, has a functioning immune system, and prays for good health? As Jeff Dee once said on The Atheist Experience, when somebody says a prayer and takes an aspirin, which one cured the headache?

It's also worth asking why god is only able to cure conditions that people—including nonbelievers—can recover from naturally or with proper treatment, like cancer. A truly impressive display of supernatural intervention would be a person with a missing limb saying a prayer, and having the limb spontaneously regenerate. 

Why is it that the only things which god allegedly heals are things that god isn't necessarily required to heal?

The answer, of course, is that god has no hand in these sorts of things. Instead, what we're seeing is selection-bias: people have a health issue, they pray about it, and if they recover, they attribute it to god. If they don't recover, and if they instead die a miserable death, even while uttering prayers up until their last painful breath, they or their religious peers will almost never count this as evidence against god's existence.

Instead, they confabulate a number of expalanations that allows them to maintain their faith: "God works in mysterious ways"...or..."I'm being punished for my sins."

Simply put, religious people count the hits and forget the misses when it comes to god healing their medical conditions.

Religious Argument Rebuttal: "Objective Morality Comes From Religion!"

A common argument that one frequently encounters in religious debates is that: without religion, there can be no objective morality. You've probably heard William Lane Craig make this argument before.

The first thing to point out is this: even if we granted for the sake of argument that this were true, this wouldn't do anything to validate a specific religion or demonstrate the existence of god. The Bible may tell us that "thou shalt not kill"; but the fact that the Bible contains this moral guideline tells us nothing about whether any of the stories contained within that book are accurate. 

Not even Ray Comfort would say something as ridiculous as: The Bible says "thou shalt not steal; therefore, Adam and Eve literally lived within the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago." The conclusion simply does not follow from the premise. So when you ask a religious person to provide you with evidence of their gods existence, and they say "objective morality comes from religion", they've just made a non sequitur argument and committed a logical fallacy.

There are more problems with this argument. If we take the Bible as an example, it's clear that the holy books themselves don't, in fact, provide a concrete, unquestionable set of rules. There is so much room for interpretation in the Bible that there are hundreds of different sects of Christianity. Take any moral question—abortion, stem-cell research, contraception, gay marriage—and you will find that there are denominations and members of Christianity that hold contradictory viewpoints on each and every one of these questions. How could a religious text that's so incredibly broad and vague, which allows for such a wide spectrum of beliefs, be called anything close to "objective"? This is about as unobjective as is gets.

And keep in mind we're only talking about one religion here. The problem gets amplified when we consider that there are hundreds of religions, most of which have contradictory beliefs and which differ on their answers to certain ethical questions.

So when you actually examine the moral beliefs that religious people hold, it's clear that religion doesn't provide us with a set of objective morals. And even if it did, that wouldn't do anything to demonstrate the existence of the god that they think provided us with those morals.