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?

 


Is a miracle best assumed to simply refer to that which natural causes are incapable of?

When an occurrence does not line up to what we know of nature it gets our interest and attention.  A visionary who looks at a rock formation in the shape of Jesus and says it is talking to him and is Jesus will not get any interest except to be laughed at.  But if he gazes into space and says he sees a real man who nobody else sees he can become a religious star.

While many consider it to be true that a miracle is something nature cannot produce they say it is not enough and we need to add in that a miracle is a less common way God works in the world.  They don't want a definition of miracle that says nothing about God.  They want him included,

They don't tell us everything.  What if miracle style events suddenly became common?  That would mean if God works in the universe in a very rare way and very infrequently then these miracles are not his work.  Thus miracle as a marvel or magical event would have nothing to do with showing there is a God.

It only works if the person decides that God is going to act rarely.  But surely it is up to God to decide that?  Jesus said not to test God but is not saying to God, "Don't do miracles often or you upset my theology!" testing him?  Of course it is.  Miracles being rare today are one thing but what about tomorrow?  What if cures become as common as loaves of bread?

Many complain that if you just call a miracle something that cannot be accounted for by natural causes you are assuming,

"God will use no natural causes at all in a miracle." They retort, "Why can't he let smelling salts revive a dead man?"  So there is a gap and they fill that gap with God! 

They worry that limiting miracle or divine action to events that are above nature and beyond what nature can do, is ignoring many miracles which can be accounted for by natural causes such as stunning answers to prayer.  They worry that this leads to you failing to see how much God is involved in the world.  This increases doubts about all miracles.  It leads to valid miracles that don't seem obviously magical being cast out.  To reduce the believability of miracles which deserve believing is to increase scepticism.

A miracle in religion is a message.  Thus it is first and foremost a message to nature that it cannot do this thing.  It cannot be a message for anything else unless it is that first.  A lighthouse needs a light.  Turning it on is a message.  Using it to direct ships is the message based on that message.

While we said the wonder gets the attention, it is really the witnesses and their supporters that get it.  That makes us wary for human beings can be motivated by a wish for fame, money or simply attention.  Wanting to be part of a good story that will go down in folklore or history is a strong temptation.