Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


NATURE IS EVIDENCE AND EVIDENCE IS NATURE AND TESTIFIES AGAINST EVIDENCE FOR MIRACLES

Really good evidence is needed to back up extremely demanding or seemingly magical claims such as instant healings from incurable diseases or people coming back from the dead. As magic smacks of superstition, believers will call them miracles instead.  You would need to see all the laws in the universe and how they work together before you could dare to say that a stone spoke to you even if you are not saying its a miracle. That is a huge claim though it might look small. If one stone in the universe could speak any one could so you are challenging the fact that stones don't talk. You would need bigger evidence still if you said it was a miracle. For anything we say to have meaning and to be intended to have meaning we must believe in the historical method of investigating evidence - that is assume the natural explanation that is the simplest to be the truth. Even the smallest miracle claim denies this so all miracle claims are false or unacceptable. No God would do miracles if they are meaningless and if they are meaningless to us though we may imagine they mean something. Miracle beliefs are founded on arrogance on pretending you know more than you do.

Nature needs to be presumed reliable and regular before you can notice a miracle.  Even if nature is more fluid than what you think you treat it as acting as if it were law.  It is a reasonable supposition.  Miracles are parasitic on now nature and the way it works cannot change and yet it contradicts that regularity and our need to assume that regularity. 

A miracle being a parasite on natural "law" means it is something we should oppose ....

A miracle being a parasite on how nature has made us assume natural "law" means it is something we should oppose ....

Discussions about miracles focus a lot on human testimony for the miracle but nature is a testimony too.  It is the bigger voice.

A miracle is just magic under a fancy name that tries to hide the superstitious and insane underpinnings.  Examples of miracles include Jesus coming back from the dead, bread and wine turning into Jesus' body and blood at Mass, the sun spinning at Fatima in 1917, priests forgiving sins and the Angel Gabriel giving Muhammad the Koran.  By natural law we mean how ordinary things are, they just follow a pattern that can be predicted.  You know for example that drinking water hydrates you.  A miracle is a violation of that or an exception or whatever way you want to put it.

Believers say the definition matters and they reject the notion of a violation because that suggests that God sets up nature and then has to defy it to do the miracle as if he had lost control and had to reassert it.  That would imply a bungling God.

But notice what they are doing.  The sensible thing to do is to just look at what happened and forget about defining it as a violation or an exception.  That is only important if you want miracles to say what you want them to say.  It is dishonest and unethical.  So the believer should just present evidence for the miracle and leave it undecided if it is a miracle of violation or exception or whatever.

Sceptics doubt that a miracles are real - they could be mistakes or lies.  The true sceptic does not merely assume that but takes it on a case by case basis and sees if there are holes in the evidence that indicate lying or error.

Believers are sceptics too - about any evidence that says the miracle is false or inadequate.  They are also sceptics about any miracle they don't want to believe in.  They are sceptics of any miracle that claims to be a violation of nature.  A miracle suggesting it might be a violation should be dropped but they won't do that.

Suppose there is no way to decide between being a sceptic or a believer.  Then it is wise to stand with the sceptics.  With magic and miracle you end up with nowhere to draw the line.  You cannot tell the person who is convinced that some magic power is telling them the chemo will kill them not help them they are wrong.  It is that serious.

Belief in miracles such as the resurrection of Jesus is really opposition to evidence, nature's testimony and therefore truth. All the evidence might do is show that Jesus was alive after he died on the cross. It cannot tell us that it was down to him being raised from the dead by God. Maybe it was a lookalike. Maybe aliens raised Jesus. It cannot tell us that it was a miracle but perhaps that it may have been a miracle. However, if you will not argue that a witch may have turned your missing cat into a toad you will not argue that a miracle is possible.

Whether a miracle is a suspension of natural law, a violation or just a manipulation of natural law or whatever, it is partly a suspension. Something is suspended. It is always a suspension in one way or sense if not another. So a miracle regardless of how you define it is always a suspension of evidence. People say it is a suspension of nature. But nature is evidence. Evidence is nature. A miracle cannot be its own evidence. The evidence of nature that it cannot do the miracle is what you have to listen to. A miracle being its own witness would be begging the question. When you are talking nature you are talking evidence. Jesus rose but the evidence is that dead men donít rise and the evidence is that the evidence claiming they do is false. So Jesus rose again as evidence for an exception.

Now an exception only proves the rule if you prove both the rule and that the exception happened and that it was an exception.  None of that criteria fits any miracle.  Naturalism the denial of miracle is the only choice.  And we will leave aside the fact that no rule really can have exceptions.  Instead of saying, "I feed no poor but Josh is an exception", say, "I have one rule for the poor and another one for Josh."