Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Miracle of the Ice Cream Cake

[If you haven't done so already, please read this introduction to give you some background for this account: http://whorechurch.blogspot.com/2006/12/do-you-know-mumble-man.html ]

During the time I was trusting God to provide all of our needs, we consistently had enough food, rent money, utilities, gas for our car. But we didn’t have any extras. Like pretty much everyone else is the US, we were used to occasional “treats”—a night out, a dessert, etc.

After a while you miss those things.

One morning as I was praying I was impressed with the idea of God speaking to me asking “what kind of treat would you like?” It seemed silly that God would ask anyone such a question, but I answered anyway.

“I would LOVE a piece of Dairy Queen ice cream cake.” I really enjoy ice cream cake—when it’s my birthday my wife always gets me one.

“Is that all? Do you want anything with it?”

“You know what would be cool? If it came with hot fudge to put on top of it.”

While I noted the exchange in my journal, I figured I was just being nuts. Surely God had bigger things to do than provide me with ice cream cake with fudge topping. I was a little embarrassed to have prayed such a prayer, and I didn’t tell anyone.

I didn’t give it much thought throughout the day.

Later that evening we were going to have some friends over for dinner (we had scored a beef brisket.) When they arrived they brought with them half a Dairy Queen ice cream cake and a jar of hot fudge.

I didn’t “need” the cake. I didn’t “need” the topping. The combination was not only tasty, but reminded me of God’s very specific care for me.

As I think about this I see several possibilities:

1. It was just a wild coincidence. Improbable, but possible.

2. I really did hear this from the Christian God and God answered my prayer.

3. There is some sort of psychic/spiritual/common consciousness that allowed me to “know” this couple was going to bring the cake and hot fudge.

4. I’m nuts.

5. I’m lying.

I think had I not written this down in my journal 12 hours ahead of time or if I had not shown it to my wife as soon as our guests left, I might think I was nuts. The written record seems to demonstrate otherwise.

My wife was also there to witness the event so she knows I am not lying.

I think it's tough to explain this kind of thing as other than a supernatural event--especially since it was not simply an isolated coincidence but a regular occurance. I will document more later.

9 comments:

Kristine said...

Well...far be it for me to be Ms. Killjoy. There were times when I predicted (I don't pray) something would happen and it did, exactly as I envisioned. People have called me psychic but I don't believe it. I do wonder if we unconsciously pick on cues that help us "predict" the future. I don't hear anyone speaking to me though.

Worrying about problems while you're having them is unproductive. That's counterintuitive, but I do think there's value in not looking for a job every single moment, in not hustling for food or whatever and just letting possibilities happen. Religious people call this "putting it in the Lord's hands" but to me it's just not trying to exert too much control over one's life.

Surrealism is a nontheistic philosophy of life (at least it started out that way before Salvador Dali got a hold of the movement) that believes in an unpredictable, playful, nonrational realm called the Marvelous which lurks behind logical reality. I don't really believe that but I do think that the physical universe is more surprising than we give it credit for.

Kevin Scott said...

Kristine,

Thanks for the comment. I appreicate it.

You're in no way a killjoy--and please don't worry about offending me!

I allow for the possibility of some "common conciousness". All I know for sure is the events I will describe here came as the result of me seeking the Christian God as understood by the writers of the Bible.

One event is hardly convincing, but I will write about dozens more as well as the "daily provision" of things like groceries and rent. Eight months is a long time to feed, house and clothe a family without any income.

Corporal Kate said...

Kristine, if anyone calls you a killjoy, they can deal with me.

That won't be pretty.

:)

Lou_FCD said...

Hi Kevin.

An interesting anecdote. While I would not rule out some sort of supernatural influence (because I have no evidence on which to base such an assertion), I would lean toward a very cool (pardon the pun) coincidence.

Plus, is God suddenly so poor that he can't cough up enough for a whole cake? What's up with that? Cheapskate.

(I hope you know I'm joking.)

Corporal Kate said...

Hey look! It worked! (I had to log Janie out of her account first, and then use the "other" option.)

Crap. It isn't working again.

I'm trying anonymous.

That didn't work either, so I'm borrowing Kate's account.

Lou_FCD

Kevin Scott said...

Lou,

I agree that it could be a very unusual coincidence. If something like this had happened once or twice, then I wouldn't make much of it.

But at the risk of sounding like "it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you" at some point the number of improbable coincidences add up to be so improbable as to point to a different explanation. I'm not saying it proves the existence of God, but it begs a better explanation.

I'll post other incidents in the days to come.

Kevin

keiths said...

Hi Kevin,

To echo Lou, we certainly can't rule out a supernatural explanation for your ice cream cake. (I'm willing to bet that the preceding sentence has never before been uttered in the history of the English language). The best we can do is to find the most probable explanation that fits the facts.

Humans are notoriously bad at estimating probabilities objectively. I suspect we'll end up discussing this at length when you reveal some of your other experiences.

For now, let me point out some hidden assumptions in your list of possible explanations. Your possibility #2 is that "I really did hear this from the Christian God and God answered my prayer."

1. You're assuming that since you prayed to the Christian God, that any answer must have come from the Christian God. But why couldn't Zeus, Ahura Mazda, or some other non-Christian God be responsible? God, even if he is not the Christian God, might still have wished to answer your prayer. Besides, Christians certainly are not the only ones who believe that God answers their prayers in a very specific way. And I have it on good authority that Zeus and Ahura Mazda like ice cream just as much as Jesus. :-)

2. You're assuming that it takes God to answer a prayer. But what about a team of angels, or Satan, or an advanced mind-reading extraterrestrial?

I'm not advocating any of these alternate explanations, just trying to nudge you to avoid these hidden assumptions and keep the list of possibilities as wide open as the evidence warrants.

I look forward to hearing about the next experience.

Keith S.

P.S. I appreciate the power of Dairy Queen products as a motivator. In college I met a lovely, smart woman who loved DQ hot fudge sundaes. Soon after we started dating, I learned that she was also dating another guy, which was unfortunate since I was starting to fall for her. One night while they were out together I drove to DQ, bought a hot fudge sundae, and left it with a note on her doorstep so she's find it when she returned home (this was in Indiana during the winter, so it didn't melt). A couple of days later she dumped the other guy.

MarkG said...

Is the probability of winning the lottery less than that of your friends bringing over a particular desert?

How many people pray that they win the lottery? If someone did so, and won, would it be due to God's intervention, or just luck?

Also, I don't know how many times you have prayed for things, but how often has God not delivered? Do you keep count of those times?

For me, proof of the power of prayer would have to include something completely unnatural (e.g. regrowth of a limb). Both ice cream cake and fudge exist, and people have been known to take desert round to people's houses, when invited; it's only polite. I don't know how popular ice cream cake is in the U.S., but I suspect it's not rare? Same goes for the hot fudge topping, or is it a bizarre combination that only you and your friends like? Either way, no laws of nature have been broken in this event, so I would put it down to coincidence.

If your friends had brought ice cream cake alone, would you have thanked God? What about if they had brought chocolate cake?

However, if God did intervene to make your friends bring that particular desert, one has to wonder why he didn't intervene to prevent the starvation of the many people that died whilst you were eating it.

I hope I don't come across as snarky. I really like your posts on AtBC, and see you as a reasonable person. However, in this case, I think you're seeing what you want to see.

Kevin Scott said...

MarkG said...
Is the probability of winning the lottery less than that of your friends bringing over a particular desert?

How many people pray that they win the lottery? If someone did so, and won, would it be due to God's intervention, or just luck?


The probability that SOMEONE will win the lottery is pretty good. The probability that a particular person will win the lottery is pretty small. In the US the probability that someone who wins the lottery has at one time or another prayed they would win is probably also pretty good.

No, I wouldn't claim it was divine intervention.

But...

If the same person wins the lottery 5 times in one year and, in fact, never bought a ticket that didn't win I would assume somehow they had found a way to cheat or there was some type of unknown force behind it.


Also, I don't know how many times you have prayed for things, but how often has God not delivered? Do you keep count of those times?


For a period of time between 1984 and 2000 I kept track of specific, measurable prayer requests as well as keeping a record of how many of those were answered positively, negatively or inconclusively over the next 24 hours.

It totaled tens of thousands of prayer requests. Overall the numbers showed around 93% were answered in the positive and less than 5% were in the negative.

However, even though some might find that impressive (especially those inclined to believe), when you look at the hard data it is less so. Many of the requests were based on activities I would be doing that day and would likely have resolved the same way whether I had prayed or not.

So while I am glad I kept those records, they are hardly as conclusive as many would think.


For me, proof of the power of prayer would have to include something completely unnatural (e.g. regrowth of a limb). Both ice cream cake and fudge exist, and people have been known to take desert round to people's houses, when invited; it's only polite. I don't know how popular ice cream cake is in the U.S., but I suspect it's not rare? Same goes for the hot fudge topping, or is it a bizarre combination that only you and your friends like? Either way, no laws of nature have been broken in this event, so I would put it down to coincidence.


I am going to post something about the supernatural at AtBC because I had a bit of a brainstorm and I want you guys to check me out on it. More at AtBC.

I agree that coincidence is a possibility. And I know I haven't written up any more of my experiences other than this one, but at some point if this type of thing occurs regularly, one begins to say it defies reasonable coincidence.

As I said, winning the lottery 5 times in one year would be so improbable as to cause us to look for another possibility than luck.


If your friends had brought ice cream cake alone, would you have thanked God? What about if they had brought chocolate cake?

However, if God did intervene to make your friends bring that particular desert, one has to wonder why he didn't intervene to prevent the starvation of the many people that died whilst you were eating it.


If there had been no hot fudge, then I would have recorded in my journal that my prayer had not been answered. I still would have been happy, but on those types of things I wasn't giving God any slack--if there is a god and he is behind this stuff, he's able to stand up to scrutiny.

Why do people starve and die? Why doesn't a supreme being put a stop to it?

Beats me. Anyone who tells you they have an answer besides "there is no god" is lying to you. That's just one example of stuff (even Bible stuff) I find very difficult to explain.


I hope I don't come across as snarky. I really like your posts on AtBC, and see you as a reasonable person. However, in this case, I think you're seeing what you want to see.


No, you didn't come along as snarky. Look, even though I believe there is some explanation for the experiences I've had, when a Christian approaches me and tries telling me of this "miraculous answer to prayer" I get the heebie jeebies. Typically it is less than convincing.

I knew when I decided to talk about this stuff at AtBC people would be critical of my thinking--that's exactly what I was hoping for.