SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
WHAT DOES A MIRACLE WANT US TO LEARN FROM IT?
The central message of miracle, according to the Church, is that prayer is needed and miracles are said to happen in response to prayer. Miracles would be meaningless and just curiosities unless they invited and claimed justification for prayer. But prayer is evil. Prayer has insulting implications. Read the relevant pages on www.excatholic.net . If miracle justifies prayer then there is nothing more to be said. Miracle is poison and whatever is responsible is evil. Whatever is evil is hardly a good source of information!
We have to assume that miracles don't happen until we see evidence that they do.
We have enough to be afraid of without introducing the supernatural. It is something extra to be worried about. We have burglars and terrorists to frighten us so why would we want to believe in evil spirits?
The Church says that miracles are to be defined as events that the laws of nature cannot do meaning that God (or a being he has empowered) could do them. The arrogance and deception of this definition is plain for the Church claims to know that nature cannot have the freak laws to create seeming miracles and to know that God is the only explanation when he is really just one of many. The Church would need to be scientifically omniscient to achieve all that knowledge. Yet what other definition can the Church choose for the Church says miracles are signs from God that point us to the things he has revealed in religion? To say miracles are a suspension of the laws of nature is still saying they are against nature because natural law is not supposed to be changeable. Besides if you unfairly dismiss a pupil from your school against the rules, you cannot say you are suspending the rule not breaking it. Same difference. To settle for saying that miracles are just inexplicable occurrences means you cannot know if they are supernatural or from God or not for inexplicable does not necessarily mean supernatural. Lightning was inexplicable to cavemen but now we know that it is not supernatural.
Using miracles as pointers to the true gospel results only in chaos for competing miracle claims can and do cancel each other out. Anybody could fake a few books that they perhaps said they transcribed from an angel in visions that speak of another dying and resurrecting saviour who condemns Jesus as a fake and seem credible for the same reasons that religious nuts say they find the gospels credible. All they need then is a few sworn affidavits from two or three others who are generally trusted but who have a crafty side to say the angelic visitations occurred. It isn’t overly hard to authenticate false miracles for we authenticate loads of things that are not true. Those who say miracles authenticate their religion are simply telling you to trust them and nobody else which is thoroughly nasty.
The Church lies about miracles being signs from God that Christianity is the true faith. The Church says we cannot dismiss miracle reports as mistakes or lies or the meanderings of deranged minds for that would be like saying human testimony is worthless. And then the Church turns a blind eye to the fact that most miracle reports, for example, alien abductions and ghosts, indicate that miracles are just freak events that happen without a purpose for that denies its dogma that miracles are signs. Reliance on miracles as signs is a sign for only two things: arrogance and deceitfulness. With these nice attributes the Church cannot be trusted in verifying miracles.
It is sectarian arrogance to say that miracles which indicate that say the Roman Catholic Church is true are real miracles while the ones reported by rival religions are trickery. To say miracles are pointers to the truth is saying just that. It is also arrogance to say that miracles point to the one true faith because there would be many unreported miracles that do not support this faith. Frankly, anybody using miracles to make his religion win the argument is a liar.
There are many miracles that refute the view that miracles are meant to be signs. The “Floating Wonder” Reynard Beck astounded America in the nineteenth century with floating in mid-air. No expert was able to debunk him or catch him out hoaxing. He even vanished in such a manner that it appeared that he had floated up to the sky and died. He is one of millions of examples of a miracle report that is better verified than any Catholic or Christian miracle, which indicate that miracles are freaks of nature. He did better than the witnesses of Mary at Fatima and the witnesses of Jesus risen from the dead. Why? For all one had to do to see his miracle was go to see him and so one was not dependent on witnesses one didn’t even know personally. You need to refute all the miracles like Reynard Beck that say miracles are just freaks of nature before you can dare to use your miracles as evidence for your religion being true for the simple reason that they cannot be evidence until the evidence that miracles are not signs is dealt with. Until that is done – and nobody and no Church has done it - nobody can let miracles dictate to them what they should believe. But the trouble is the case against miracles being signs is stronger than the case for them being signs simply because there are more miracles that are freaks of nature than ones that seem to be signs. Miracles then that are supposed to be signs do nothing but increase human arrogance and duplicity and all the evil things that go with them. That is all they are for.
If religion is right that miracles are signs of God's love then the following mystery occurs. Why is Johnnie boy cured of paralysis and why is toddler Tanya who is dying of lung cancer overlooked? Obviously religion has to say that God puts himself and his own will first. So they will have to say miracles back up the doctrine that God should be put first by me even if it means I have to endure extreme torment forever to help others. Do miracles seem as attractive now?
When miracles are so needless and therefore ridiculous and ridiculous in their own right they make us less sure that a person found guilty of murder really did it for a demon or something could have pretended to be him and did it and that is bad for the surer you are of something so serious the better. The less miracles people believe in the better and why we must try to find alternative explanations remembering that if there is any doubt that a supernatural event has happened we must not believe in it for if we start preferring supernatural explanations when we can do without them we will have to believe anything at all to be consistent. Human testimony alone can verify a miracle. If ten people see a miracle and one liar says they are frauds then we can’t believe in the miracle even if he is a liar for we don’t know if he is and God wasted his time.
If a miracle is a sign from Heaven that a doctrine is true and tests persuade you that a miracle has taken place, then you believe the miracle happened more strongly than you believe the message. The message cannot be tested like that and you can’t prove the message was given as reported. And even a miracle cannot guarantee that the message was true just like even a driving licence doesn’t prove you are a good driver. When miracles are more interested in getting you to believe in miracles than in the message it is clear that miracles are just a deity childishly showing off. The answer that God can’t do anything else and that it is a Hobson’s Choice is wrong for there are plenty of other easier bad ways to get a message across.
If miracles are signs confirming the truth you have to work out this truth theologically first. You have to work out the theology without obvious miracles but with the help of the inspiration of God before a miracle can verify it so what do you need miracles for? Even miracles cannot make nonsense to be non-nonsense so their message needs independent checking. So miracles are random and arbitrary though they don’t look it. Therefore man who says he did not kill his wife though he was caught holding the gun and that the gun miraculously fired could be telling the truth. Miracles weaken our faith in human testimony – the very thing they depend on! (They contradict themselves!) If you assume that miracles like that don’t happen then you are saying you will only believe miracles if they fit your presuppositions which is very biased and unfair and dishonest. It would not be right to jail that man if there is any doubt of his guilt so your belief in miracles gets you marked as an evil person if you do.
Christians believed in what their religion said were miracles so they were believing the religion more than God. There is a difference between trusting in God and in trusting in God because of the Church. So miracles are not about helping God get converts but to get the Church more power.
If the Turin Shroud and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe are miraculous then they should be burned. If tests show that the children of Medjugorje are seeing something then they should not be disclosed to the public.
Christians say miracles call you to obey the Christian faith with its doctrine of the cross and heroic self-sacrifice. All miracles are malignant and unfair because you are surer that pain exists than you are that a miracle happened and miracles call you to suffering on the grounds of religious faith. All religions say you have to suffer to obey them, so you undergo what is certain, namely suffering, for what is of inferior certainty, namely faith. This is still true if you have seen the miracle yourself. The miracle asks you to trust in a revelation suggesting that we need help from above to determine right and wrong and cannot do it ourselves meaning doing what you are told matters more than stopping pain even if you are told to stop pain. It is even worse to take a miracle or revelation seriously when you have not seen it so people reporting miracles are trying to make you evil. Miracles that look for a big focus such as the resurrection of Jesus are vile when we consider that the miracle of a truly rotten life seeing transformation into one of remarkable philanthropy is far more important.
The miracles of Christianity are alleged to be the best verified and the Christians boast about their investigative scientific approach. These miracles are supposed to bolster the evidence for Christianity. But Christianity’s main doctrine teaches that the resurrection of Jesus was the supreme and therefore the best verified miracle ever which is not true. There are many miracles which have better evidence than four short books (the four gospels) of unknown authorship with loads of gaps and twelve witnesses whose alleged deaths by martyrdom we can know nothing about for sure. No God would raise Jesus who was so evil that he claimed that sinners who die will go to Hell forever. We see and touch one another and we cannot be as sure as that that God exists and yet we are expected to have faith that people we know can go to Hell and this should be approved of all for this God. When Christian miracles verify error, nonsense and doctrinal contradictions it is clear that miracles are not signs and should not be considered as such. Naturally, modern miracles would be more credible for people know human nature better and know science better these days.
Religion just assumes that God would not deceive through or in his miracle signs. You know it is bad to trust anyone without knowing a bit about them first so miracles are bad. A stranger who asks for trust except in an emergency is up to something. Yet miracles are the only way God can talk and when they happen so rarely and are hard to verify it follows that we cannot trust God. He might be trustworthy but we don’t know that. When you see a miracle you should get evidence that God can be trusted before you trust it for you have no evidence that it can be trusted. Some people say you should assume when somebody tells you something that it is true even when there is no evidence that the person is being truthful. But that is what you are doing, assuming not trusting or believing – assuming is trusting yourself not the other person and not trusting yourself to be right about what is being assumed but to be doing the right thing. If you assume A and B follows from A and you say you believe B it follows that you do not believe B at all for when its foundation A is an assumption it must be one too. No God is going to do miracles to have us assume that he tells the truth. He’d want better than that when he goes to the bother of doing miracles. If miracles act as evidence and just get us to assume then they are failures and are not done to convert us at all. If miracles lead us to assume that religion is true then they hamper the faith that the Bible asks for and they do what the Devil wants – to destroy faith and loyalty to God. Who do you think then is doing them now?
The Bible says God speaks through stupendous miracles which makes you wonder how the resurrection of Jesus when nobody was about on a sleepy Sunday morning can be called much of a sign in the way the ten plagues of Egypt were. The Bible also says that God did a strange gale and so on to convey to the Prophet Elijah that his voice might not be in them. It wasn't. A still small inner voice came to the Prophet and God was present in that. The message is that what goes into the heart is the real miracle. Not one mentions how Jesus appearing to them turned them into transformed beings in the Bible!
The most important thing about a religious miracle is that it is non-random. That is the first hurdle. Then you can test if it is really a supernatural event. But you cannot test that it is non-random. You would not test the whole universe to be sure and you cannot do that. If a statue of Jesus is bleeding on earth that means nothing if a stone is bleeding on Jupiter. No miracle then can be tested properly. No miracle is tested properly.
To believe in miracles as signs is evil and a thoughtless insult against all who live on this planet and any God out there if there is one. Miracles or supernatural events are hopeless when it comes to searching for support for any dogma or system in them.
Further Reading ~
A Christian Faith for Today, W Montgomery Watt, Routledge, London, 2002
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1980
Apologia, Catholic Answers to Today’s Questions, Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent, CTS, London, 2010
Apparitions, Healings and Weeping Madonnas, Lisa J Schwebel, Paulist Press, New York, 2004
A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Veritas, Dublin, 1995
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Enchiridion Symbolorum Et Definitionum, Heinrich Joseph Denzinger, Edited by A Schonmetzer, Barcelona, 1963
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Miracles, Rev Ronald A Knox, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1937
Miracles in Dispute, Ernst and Marie-Luise Keller, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1969
Lourdes, Antonio Bernardo, A. Doucet Publications, Lourdes, 1987
Medjugorje, David Baldwin, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2002
Miraculous Divine Healing, Connie W Adams, Guardian of Truth Publications, KY, undated
New Catholic Encyclopaedia, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc, Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
Raised From the Dead, Father Albert J Hebert SM, TAN, Illinois 1986
Science and the Paranormal, Edited by George O Abell and Barry Singer, Junction Books, London, 1981
The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan, Headline, London, 1997
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000
The Encyclopaedia of Unbelief Volume 1, Gordon Stein, Editor, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985
The Hidden Power, Brian Inglis, Jonathan Cape, London, 1986
The Sceptical Occultist, Terry White, Century, London, 1994
The Stigmata and Modern Science, Rev Charles Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1974
Twenty Questions About Medjugorje, Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. Pangaeus Press, Dallas, 1999
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier
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