SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SHOULD YOU ONLY USE MIRACLES AS EVIDENCE FOR MIRACLES?
A miracle is a sign from God that directs us what to believe.
A miracle claim is a very serious claim. Some say that a miracle is so extraordinary you need extraordinary evidence to verify it. That is fine but they need to be careful with the expression extraordinary evidence. It is best stated that it needs to be as good as the evidence to put somebody away for life in jail. You want to avoid the notion that unbelievers want too much evidence.
There is extraordinary evidence that human beings are prone to deception and lying about such subjects and it stands to reason that many people whose families would swear they never lie have indeed lied about miracles. That is one reason you have the right and the need for decent and appropriate evidence.
Do Miraculous Claims need Miraculous Evidence?
We see then that to state the supernatural has happened requires exceptionally good evidence - evidence whose quality is away beyond the norm.
We must stress that though we would like to have miraculous evidence for miraculous claims the evidence being miraculous is not that important. You need enough normal evidence to make it reasonable to believe and it does not have to be miraculous.
If you need evidence of the miraculous, then depending on faith in one miracle in order to believe some other event is a miracle is arguing in circles. It is true that normal evidence cannot verify a miracle but supernormal or magical evidence does it worse.
Do not forget that religion says it is not fair to demand miraculous evidence for a miracle while it does indicate, in spite of itself, that it thinks that faith in miracles is based on miraculous evidence. Religion is about a relationship with a miraculous being, God. Religion argues that God has to help you with his supernatural guidance to see that a miracle is a sign that he is there calling you. A miracle is not about external evidence so much as internal. The argument that God can be known and found through religious experience is behind it. Now this requires the miracle of God inspiring you. It requires the miracle of how your experience can be valid when that of another person who experiences an evil violent God and becomes a suicide bomber is not even if he can be more convinced than you. Faith in the miracle say of a man rising from the dead is based on even worse miracles. Faith in the miracle of the resurrection is based on miracles that are so absurd that they cause one to think of advising believers to go and get professional help.
The argument that unbelievers want miraculous evidence for miracles is really just an excuse for providing weak or irrelevant or insufficient or inconclusive evidence. If unbelievers want miraculous evidence they should see that they do not need it and should not need it. It would be irrational to want green evidence if you want to show that grass grows. As long as the evidence is fine it does not matter what colour it is.
If you want to believe in miracles without outstanding evidence or remarkably good evidence, then you have no choice but to imply that unbelievers and the unconvinced are guilty of being unhappy with all the evidence they are given unless it is itself miraculous. That is personal and what right have they to insult people over faith particularly when they say faith is good and loving?
If you really need miraculous evidence for a miracle then you can believe in no miracle at all. It would mean the miraculous evidence for a miracle needs miraculous evidence for its being miraculous and that in turn needs evidence that it is miraculous and so on and on forever and ever.
A communion wafer bleeds miraculously. How will the miraculous evidence for that work? You will probably need miraculous evidence that the witnesses are reliable. But you cannot get that so you cannot believe in the miracle. Or are you going to say that the evidence that human nature is not that reliable is miraculously wrong?
Perhaps if you say a miracle happened, you mean that the reason you believe is because of the testimony being reliable miraculously despite the fact that human nature lies and makes mistake and can be deluded. In reality, it is the testimony you believe is miraculous and that is why you believe in the miracle. There is no direct belief that the miracle is a miracle. There is only a direct belief in the miracle of the miraculously right testimony.
But we know there is a God so why not believe in miracles?
Christians say that we have sufficient evidence that God exists therefore ordinary evidence is enough to make it reasonable to believe in a miracle story. The logic is that there is a being to do the magic or the miracle so if a miracle story is told it might be true. Some might say that the evidence needs to be good though it would be nice if it were incredibly good it is not necessary.
God by definition is that which alone has ultimate value. God has to be seen as the source of all good untainted by evil and therefore the being to be loved with all your might. If hypothetically you have to suffer forever to express love for him you have to do it. For such a big doctrine God would provide huge evidence and very good evidence but it does not exist.
If God exists miracles might be possible. If God exists that does not mean that any seeming miracle really was a miracle.
It is believers who demand miraculous evidence for miracles and it is an excuse for believing in them. Unbelievers just want good normal evidence for that is the only real evidence that there is.
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