Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Miracles Debunked

I can disprove the existence of miracles. Of course, you have to be open minded! I'm not asking much. Just be as open minded as you are towards the possibility that miracles do happen.

For the sake of definition, what is a miracle? If a child loses their pet, prays to god for it's safe return and a day later it shows up at the back door, did we witness a miracle? Some would say, yes, in a way. Others might need a bit more. How about if you were about to lose your family home to the bank, prayed for a miracle, and hit the lottery jack-pot that night? That would convince a lot more folks. How about if a doctor has declared that a child suffering from cancer is a hopeless case, will be dead within 2 months, yet after prayer there is absolutely no sign of a tumor ever having been there? I think even a mildly religious person would be likely to see signs of a miracle here.

If any of these examples fit your definition of a miracle then I probably can't disprove miracles to you. I will, however, suggest that there is a much surer definition of a miracle. It would be something that you pray for that absolutely can not happen in the natural world, yet it does happens. I have a couple of good examples, but there are many such. 1) A young soldier loses a limb in a battle and the limb is destroyed. Intercessory prayer commences and one day he awakes to find his or her arm back on their body, intact. 2) A child dies from after a doctor concluded that this would be the outcome of the disease. The child is prepared for burial and, several days after the death, rises during the funeral, fully alive. Now, in this second example, it is very important not to bring in to the equation any "death" that was followed within a day by a "rising from the dead". This can happen in the natural world. Physicians and medical examiners make mistakes. But if a body has been laying in a death state for a few days and prepared for burial, then we know that the person is indeed dead. Should they "rise" at this time, it would truly be a miracle.

There is no doubt that in the above listed scenarios, people have prayed and prayed mightily, with all of their faith in god, for him to deliver just exactly such a miracle. There is no reason for a faithful person not to in such a situation. There is nothing in the holy scriptures that would indicate that god does not perform these sorts of miracles. To the contrary, there are examples of folks being "raised from the dead" in the bible, provided as proof of miracles. There is no time limit on gods powers, one assumes, and he could surely just as easily raise someone from the dead a week after death as a day after. The bible encourages believers to pray for whatever is in their heart and that god can provide it. Should we assume there are no grieving parents who continue to pray with all their strength for the return of a lost child, even a week later? And certainly soldiers who have had an amputation prayed to be restored.

Why is there not a single case of "miracle" that can live up to this standard? Simply because there is no such thing as a miracle. All other "miracles" were simply coincidences that were possible in the natural world. This should be sufficient to prove to anyone that there is no such thing as a miracle. Unless, of course, someone can provide evidence of this type of miracle ever having happened. If this interests you, please check out this short video called "The Best Optical Illusion in the World" and visit the website for Why Won't God Heal Amputees?


Renegade said...

Hey! the prayer wasn't sincere.. thats an excuse they can always come up with...

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

My reply would be - you mean in the history of prayers for dead people or people who lost limbs, EVERY "prayer wasn't sincere"?

All I need is one confirmed example. And I'm confident they can't provide it!

Tsunami said...

I'll provide an example, although your definition may need some work:

The tilma of Juan Diego, which carries the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has been preserved naturally (i.e. no attempt at artifact preservation; it simply hasn't rotted) for 478 years so far. This despite the fact that any cloths placed in the same environment have lasted no longer than 10. The tilma was originally set out in the shrine where it was housed without any protection for 116 years, in a humid and salty climate, surrounded by tens of thousands of candles bathing it in UV radiation.

In 1785 someone accidentally spilled a 50% nitric acid solvent onto the tilma, but it was not eaten through; on the contrary, not even the color was compromised where the acid spilled.

There was a bomb blast near the tilma in 1921, which destroyed windows 150 meters away, but neither the tilma nor the glass were destroyed, although a brass crucifix twisted in such a way that people thought the statue was protecting Our Lady.

Tsunami said...

Addendum: Of course, you will say that therefore this CAN happen in the natural world, and therefore isn't a miracle, which is your definition's fault. By that logic, if it happens, it doesn't happen as "it", which makes no sense, because your definition contradicts what was taken up as the given.

It's like saying "Apples don't exist, because existing things aren't apples." Circular.

PatricktheRogue said...

Superb post!