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?

 


PEOPLE WANT FAITH IN MIRACLES FOR FAITH ITSELF IS NOT ENOUGH - WHY DO THEY REJECT FAITH FOR THE SAKE OF RELIGIOUS FAITH?

Faith is not necessarily religious.  Religion opposes faith and wants religious faith in its place.  Paradoxically you can oppose religious faith in the name of faith.

We live by faith. The atheist takes it for granted that fire will burn him even though he never experienced a burn in his life or saw anybody getting burned. Religious faith is said to be an extension and application of our natural tendency to have faith. The atheist has faith that fire will burn. We cannot ask the atheist to have faith that Mary is appearing to young children around the corner. We can ask that then why not something different? There is nowhere to draw the line.

The Church praises the conversions at Medjugorje and other spiritual playgrounds based on alleged apparitions. These are not down to people finding the Church convincing but their finding the apparitions appealing and believable. Yet the Church uses them as an example of conversion to real Catholicism. The Church takes advantage of the counterfeit faith when it suits itself. That is why it has not suppressed those apparitions. It does not care how it gets converts as long as it gets them or in this case: seems to get them. The Church cares more about power and money and doesn't mind if it wins them through fraud. The apparitions could be fraud and the Church does nothing about them. The bishop did condemn the apparitions but the Church did not really give him much help and has declared that it is overjoyed at the conversions taking place in Medjugorje.

Christians know that miracles are very serious for they as good as suspend or change natural law and you need nearly - if not actually - impossible evidence to believe in them. Imagine the evidence you would need to justify believing in the tooth fairy Ė a miraculous being. A miracle that doesnít have amazingly brilliant evidence backing it up isnít worth talking about. The failure of the Christians to prove every individual miracle in the gospel accounts and Jesus' failure to prove the miracles reported by God in the Old Testament, prove that the miracles never truly happened. It is blasphemy against God and reason to say that they did. A God who does miracles should be able to preserve the proof for them. If Jesus does ten miracles to prove he is from God and you can only prove nine of them then the one that canít be proved proves that whatever did the miracles it was not God so we can dismiss Jesus from our minds with a clear conscience. One failed proof proves that the resurrection, even if supernatural, was not a miracle from God.
 
If God is love and miracles are done to improve our understanding of him then we have a duty to believe in them and understand. Some say that miracles are done by God not as evidences that he exists or as signs but to improve our understanding of him. Thus miracles would be meant for believers and not for unbelievers. But God can give a person a conviction that he loves and suffers with the sick person. He does not to make a show of healing that person magically to do that. Indeed doing that would be about power. Thus the argument that miracles improve our understanding of God does not work. They block that understanding and the only message they give is the stark message that God shows off and is as immature as a twelve year old. Worse belief in miracles imposes a duty to believe and understand that is not there. That is oppression.

Religion usually discourages looking for miracles and miracle cures in particular.  It encourages people to be more in line with "God" instead of looking for miracles from him.  But the fact is that trying to get in line with God and have a relationship with him is looking for a miracle.  Without miraculous evidence from God you cannot really know anything about him (assuming miracles work as signs from God).  If your miraculous evidence is just a sense that God is inspiring you to experience his presence and his truth that is the bare minimum and the one essential.  So to look for God is to look for a miracle.  It makes no sense to look for such a basic miracle and then not look for others of a more physical nature.  The real reason you are put off looking for physical style miracles is because the Church knows they do not happen and does not want you to find out!!
 
Belief in miracles is dangerous and unhealthy and has led the world into the hands of dangerous religious leaders. Anything that promotes bad thinking or wrong thinking is bad.
 
Conclusion
 
Miracles donít assist in faith. People that say they help them to believe should realise that it is not the miracles that do that but their assumptions about miracles that does it. They assume miracles are evidence and that is no good.


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 Todayís 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
Philosophy of Religion for A Level, Anne Jordan, Neil Lockyer and Edwin Tate, Nelson Throne Ltd, Cheltenham, 2004
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