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?

 



CATHOLICISM IS BUILT ON MIRACLES THAT ARE NOT IN BIBLE THOUGH IT IS SUPPOSED TO BASE ITSELF ONLY ON BIBLE ONES

The Church is clear that there is no new revelation from God needed since the last time one of the twelve apostles gave the word of God. So if the Church is taught and driven by and built on miracles that happened since the end of the first century then it is guilty of heresy. It is guilty of not believing its own teaching. A miracle can give a revelation or it can simply be one. Either way it is supposed to be communication from God.

Here is what Vatican II said:

After speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." (3) He "speaks the words of God" (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; John 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).

Dei Verbum No 4

The miracles that the Catholic Church claims are inferior to the Bible ones and which are not necessary to faith are often used by Catholics to bolster up their faith and indeed to be the basis of the faith. For example, fans of Lourdes and Medjugorje are interested in Catholicism because of the apparitions and not the Bible. This is very very wrong for it is like ignoring the smoking gun in a man’s hand when somebody is found shot dead to concentrate on weaker testimony. Yet most Catholics are like this. So the God who sends miracles to them must approve. He is sanctioning their attitude. When the miracles are so irrational and they are deceptive because they use weak evidence at the expense of strong what use are they as signs?

Catholics who scoff at all extra-biblical miracles might say that the Devil does the miracles and apparitions for the purpose of distracting people from the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all the Bible says it was the most important sign ever and the mark that proves that Jesus has the power to save and is the foundation of all our confidence in him and his salvation. The resurrection miracle would imply that they are right for it was Jesus’ vindication of his role as life-giver and saviour.

The alleged appearance of Jesus to more than 500 people which is alluded to by St Paul is not stated by Paul to have the same authority as that vision he had that made him an apostle on the road to Damascus. This would be a problem if God has revealed the Catholic doctrine that unscriptural visions and miracles have no authority of themselves but must point to scripture and the Church as the ones having authority. It could be that God inspired Paul to mention the vision of the 500 + but that would not mean it was one that carried full revelation authority. The way the Church distinguishes between miracles of authority and miracles that only point to those miracles of authority and have none of their own weakens the evidence for the resurrection considerably for the Bible fails to tell us what miracles it reports belong in the same category as Lourdes or Fatima would belong to. And when did Our Lady of Lourdes ever say, “Read your Bible for it is the Word of God. Meditate upon the decrees of the Sacred Ecumenical Councils of the Church for they are infallible?” She never explicitly pointed to these authorities so by the Church’s own standard she must have been an illusion or a demon or an alien or a lie.

Some Catholics hold the unorthodox view that visions and voices from Heaven even when they are accepted as genuinely from God by the Church are only binding as towards belief on those who have had these experiences. But that means that St Bernadette was bound to believe she saw Mary in the Grotto at Lourdes just as much as she was bound to believe in the Bible or in the infallible teaching of the Church. In practice, where it counts, no difference is made. Church doctrine is that none of that is binding. So the visionary must be allowed to believe the vision is a hallucination or a magic trick by a wacky spirit or perhaps something that one of the nicer demons in Hell had machinated. That is the only way to safeguard the authority of the Church and the bishops to command and tell you what to believe. But in practice again what it does is infer that God is wasting his time doing miracles when that attitude is permissible. God should only be doing them as a last resort but if we can doubt them then they are never a last resort. So miracles give a completely incoherent and confused signal. They are not signs. Their vindictiveness then when they claim to stand as evidence that Jesus was right that serious sinners will rot in Hell forever is apparent for they are foundations of super-soft sand.

CONCLUSION

A miracle act of God is a miracle act of God. It is hypocrisy to obligate people to accept the Bible miracles and to allow them to be sceptical of well-vindicated miracles just because they are not in the Bible. And even more so when the Bible gives useless or weak evidence for them.

If God does miracles to support Catholic teaching, then he is denying that evidence matters and denying that we should find Jesus' miracles credible!

Believers only examine a small number or miracle claims. They dismiss claims that do not suit their beliefs. Yet they have the dishonesty to attach great significance to miracles and say they are signs from God.

Further Reading ~

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 Case for Faith, Lee Strobel, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000
The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan, Headline, London, 1997
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Encyclopaedia of Unbelief Volume 1, Gordon Stein, Editor, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985
The Hidden Power, Brian Inglis, Jonathan Cape, London, 1986
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008
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 WEB

The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier
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