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?

 


SHOULD A MIRACLE BE DEFINED AS A VIOLATION OF NATURE?
 
Is a Miracle Natural or Supernatural?
 
What do we mean by miracle or violation of nature?
 
Miracles are acts contrary to the usual workings of natural law or acts according to some definitions that are natural but beyond our understanding of nature. In other words, an event like blood coming from the eyes of a statue without trickery would be a miracle or a statue coming to life. A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.
 
Miracles are either against the laws of nature or they are not. It's that simple.
 
Science argues that nature works within the framework of something like law. Science would be impossible if there was insufficient regularity and trustworthiness in nature.

A miracle looks like a violation of a law of nature. Commonsense says the believer should just go no further than saying, "It looks like a law of nature is broken"  She is not saying if it is or isn't.  There is no need to go any further.  In many things, we just have to go by face value.
 
That aside, the question arises, is nature broken or interfered with? In other words is the law replaced with a non-law?
 
Religion says no for the normal law resumes after the miracle. But that has nothing to do with it. That is not an argument.
 
A law that appears for a second is still a law. The normal law is replaced temporarily - perhaps for a few seconds - with a new law?

How do you know that the old law has really picked up again?  It looks the same but that does not make it the same.  The miracle could be, "Give John the power to work his legs again.  A permanent miracle is needed to keep him walking after."

To assume the walking is not a miracle but based on a miracle is assuming that a miracle hardly counts in the face of nature so you may as well take the step of saying you believe in no miracles.
 
"A law being replaced by an opposite law even for a second denies that a miracle is a violation of nature."  Some say that.  The idea is that replacing the money in the piggy bank is not violating anything.  But if the replacement should not happen then it is a violation so we are back where we started.  Believers only give one half of the argument all the time.
 
You cannot see if a law was temporarily replaced or violated. You cannot have any evidence one way or the other.  If miracles have to be criticised but not for being silly they definitely have to be criticised for making evidence useless.
 
The hidden assumption
 
The doctrine that miracles are not violations of nature is based on the notion that God controls it all so there can be no violation. It already assumes God is in control. Itís a circular argument.  If it is certain that nature does not change and bricks do not turn into cheese then a violation has to be dismissed as an illusion and as not real.  We argue that nature is certain which is how we are able to dismiss things as illusions.

Believers say that it is irrational to surmise, "Nature is inflexible so violations do not happen so miracles being violations do not happen."  But are they any better?  They say, "Nature allows for miracles therefore miracles may happen."

Some hold that though God controls all, he is still able to let nature-self control.  They say, "God lets nature be self-made which is why its regularity is final". 

So God could exist and set nature up so that miracles will be impossible.

So God could exist and set nature up so that miracles will be possible.

Maybe God does not exist.

Maybe miracles are not miracles but random. 

Three assumptions reject miracles so it makes more sense to reject them than to assume they happen.

If it is a vicious circle to assume miracles don't happen it is a worse one to assume they do.

A miracle can be a suspension of natural law or regularity and be a law itself or not a law at all but just pop into being from nowhere.  If it is a law even a two second one it contradicts and opposes science and if it came from nowhere it is no good to either science or religion either.

What is wrong with thinking nature is violated?
 
Believers in miracles and non-believers and the undecided don't want to think that nature can be violated for that implies it goes out of control some magic has to fix it or take control. It implies the magical power is not very competent. It does not fit belief in an-all wise and all-powerful God.
 
Correct Christian belief says that miracles that violate nature are impossible for God is in control. He cannot lose control of nature so that he needs to change its laws to fix the damage.
 
Many believers say miracles are not violations of nature for God set up natural law and will not change his mind about it for he is always right. If miracles violate nature then they mean that God is not God but stupid and incompetent and mad. He has to force natural law to go against itself as if he is not in control.
 
The believers fear that you cannot be sure what is real if violations happen. But the miracle believers want to have their cake and eat it. They fear violations of nature but do not admit that practically speaking a miracle which looks like a violation and acts like one is as bad as a violation even if it is not. We don't know if it is not or if we are not meant to take it as a violation even if it is not. And in terms of how it makes us think, it might as well be a violation. You still lose trust in nature.
 
For a believer to care about evidence for a miracle is akin to looking for the abolition of evidence. Evidence is useless if it points to something that is either possible or impossible and you do not know which. That is the same as believing it is half-impossible.

We have learned that IF an event might be a violation, then you don't know if it happened or not. This means you don't know that if it is a miracle if it was possible or not. Again, even evidence doesn't help. To seek evidence for it would be an insult to evidence. The evidence presented for miracles is really just window dressing to impress the unwary.

Also, evidence is always naturalistic. It ignores the supernatural. Evidence is assuming that there assume there is no supernatural interference. It is nonsense then to accuse those who say they don't believe in miracles of bias. They are not biased for they simply have to reject the supernatural in order to take any evidence for anything seriously.

FINALLY

If a miracle happens you can guess that it is a violation or nature or it is not.  If it says it is not it might say that anyway.  Nature can be loose but not loose enough to allow for a miracle.  You don't know if you see the miracle or a miracle is making you think you see one.  You cannot pinpoint.  So if it is not a violation that does not matter.  Its irrelevant for it may as well be.  What about the view that ontologically a person is saying the universe is a closed system so that no violation of nature as in miracle can happen for say God cannot intervene?  God may refuse to intervene so even if there is a God it can still be a closed system.  A miracle being a violation would mean that some force struggles with nature so the miracle would actually refute God.  Miracles are no help if you want to make a case for the universe not being a closed system and that it is all mechanical.