A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.
Religion uses miracles as evidence for the truth of its claims.
Miracles are events that seem to be against nature or the way natural law usually runs. In other words, they cannot be explained by nature. Examples are the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing to children, the unexplained cure of incurable illness, blood coming out of nowhere on Catholic communion wafers, the sun spinning at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 and most importantly Jesus Christ coming back to life after being dead nearly three days. It is thought that only God can do these things.
Most people do not care why miracles happen. They are only interested in healing miracles for they want healing for themselves or for another person. And most believers do not care what or who cures them as long as they are cured.
Christians sometimes claim that Satan does miracles of healing to lead people away from the truth as taught by God. They say that if he heals you one way he makes you sick another. If he cures your stomach ulcer, he might give you schizophrenia instead. But nobody says healing miracle means the healed person cannot suffer something else. If Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead it did not stop Lazarus dying of cancer a year or two later. So Satan's healings and God's cannot really be distinguished as far as we are concerned. And if Satan heals you of one thing to hurt you another way how do you know that hurt must be in the form of another sickness? What if he makes you have an accident or he compensates himself for healing you by hurting your baby? To look for a healing when you don't know if it is Satan or God who is offering healing is to be open to it being Satan.
If religion is right that miracles are signs of God's love then the following mystery occurs. Why is Johnnie boy cured of deafness in one ear and why is toddler Tanya who is dying of lung cancer overlooked? Obviously religion has to say that God puts himself and his own will first. So they will have to say miracles back up the doctrine that God should be put first by me even if it means I have to endure extreme torment forever to help others. That is a horrendous doctrine. And the excuse could be used by any healer. He could say he had a psychic revelation as to why one child he supposedly cured should be cured and other dismissed. It is insulting to use excuses to justify human suffering.
Wrong objections to miracles need to be avoided for our devout enemies can make much use of our mistakes. They can be turned against us.
 Some people say that miraculous cures cannot happen because they knew somebody that wasn’t cured. It seems that by itself this argument is no use for there might be a divine plan which explains that. For the argument to work, the doctrine that God cares for his creation has to be demolished. Luckily we can do that.
 If you were a holy enough saint, God would do a miraculous healing for you because you have such a crucial and indispensable role to play in his plan so by helping you he helps his plan to make others holy. Helping somebody like you would be worth more than helping many people for if he helps you many will be helped anyway. So if you are not healed you can blame yourself for not being holy enough and God says all can be saints though it is hard. He promises his assistance. Miracles are cruel. To support them is to sanction cruelty whether you realise this or not. Attaching credence to them can only be inspired by trickery or error or by demons.
That miracles make the question, "Am I good enough and holy enough to fit in God's plan?" arise is disturbing in itself. And more so if it is a vulnerable person asking it.

People are ashamed to be seen as healers and miracle workers for they know that these claims imply that they are special people and are superior and more valuable than others. So what they do is indulge in some mischievous misuse of language and claim that some force working through them does these things and not them and that the force is not making them better than anybody else. This is unreasonable. If some force supplies healing energy and you use that energy you are a healer just as much as the other force is. A doctor may get his medicines from a drug company. Does that mean that the drug company and not him is what is helping people? No. The healers and miracle workers would be far better and admit the truth about what they do. Their attempt to steal the label of humility makes them worse not better. Chances are that when they are like that they are exploiting statistics and faking and exaggerating their powers too! There has to be something special about a person before they will be chosen as they put it. For God to choose somebody at random would be as bizarre as him doing miracles at random which would be beneath his dignity. We conclude that anybody who claims to be a miracle worker of any kind, healer, psychic or saint, that person is claiming to be a superior human being and is wholly opposed to our notions of equality. Such claims have to be forbidden. The devout Catholic will prefer Padre Pio or Jesus Christ to some ordinary person. If there is a choice between Pio/Jesus or an ordinary person being phased out of existence they will choose the ordinary person. To choose a person such as Pio or Jesus to remain in existence just because they have preternatural powers is purest unjust discrimination.
You need seriously good evidence to back up a miracle claim. If miracles are signs from God, then it follows that we must ask on God's behalf that people believe in them. The more extraordinary the claim you make, the more extraordinary the evidence must be.
In the light of Jesus' teaching that God's works produce good fruits and by the fruits you will know it is from God, extraordinary evidence will primarily or solely consist of extraordinary spiritual and moral heroism in the person touched by the miracle. The person then becomes the miracle. But this hardly ever happens. The people with the best potential for heroism and transforming others are the ones that never seem to experience miracles.
Whoever murders believes it is the best thing to do. The belief is the real cause of the crime. Our beliefs set what our actions will be. If a religion can believe in miracle cures, then it can tell people not to go near doctors and to pray for a healing instead. Even if nobody seems to be risking that now – it is still wrong to promote the risk in principle. So if God heals some he should heal all instead of forcing a risk on us.
If miracles are done by God they will happen only to people who are heroically holy who can be relied upon to convey the message of the miracle efficiently and effectively. But all we see is the bizarre randomness. He is not the cause.
Miracles are signs of God’s love and power according to the Church.
In theology, if God heals a sick child miraculously and suddenly in front of witnesses then the miracle shows that God loves and wants to heal the child and reveal to the witnesses that he loves and wants them to come to the truth. Naturally if miracles are signs they have to take place in a religious context.
God healing the child proves nothing about God loving the child at all. An amoral God would heal. So the miracle happens to show that God has power. Moreover, if miracles only happen in one religion they do not necessarily show that religion to be true even if the clergy say they do. An amoral God might perform miracles only in one religion. When the religion is still left to assume that miracles happen to show that God is lovingly directing people to show them the one true religion – so they are still left guessing so it follows that the miracles are a waste of time. If miracles are signs of God’s love and we have to assume that they express God’s love then they are not signs. If we see Jesus appearing in the sky telling us to obey the pope his Vicar on earth, we can ignore him with a clear conscience for miracles are not signs. And as for them showing God’s power, no sensible God would do them just for that. An amoral God might. But who cares if an amoral God has power or not?
If miracles are signs then they are signs that God has the power to help all suffering on earth. If people suffer then it is for his will. He plans to bring some good out of it which is why he lets it happen. So the suffering then is not bad for it is needed for a greater good. This repulsive idea refuses to see how terrible human suffering is and proves that miracles encourage evil disguised as good. A good person sees suffering as totally bad. There is something vulgar about a clergyman who has an easy life holding that a country full of starving babies is somehow lucky. When the notion that people are not cured for a purpose is so bad, clearly we have to insist that God should heal all.
Religion says that miracles today are uncommon. Most seriously ill people going to Lourdes will not rise from their beds miraculously cured. Correct information on all conditions is not possible. There will be cases concerning claimed miracle cures that are perfectly natural but the verification has been lost. They can pass for miracles though they are not. Miracles by definition are uncommon but possible miracles are uncommon and that is what we would expect if miracles don't really happen at all. Saying miracles are rare and being careful not to verify something as a miracle when there is evidence for a natural cause can make it look like miracles happen when they in fact are only nonsense. The sick are cynically manipulated by the Church. The fact that logic does not endorse a claimed miracle for a real one means God cannot expect us to be impressed if he heals one person and not the next person.
Religion starts with the fact that not all sick people who pray for help to get better get better. Then it sets about justifying this despite the existence of a supposedly loving God. That is using people's agony to build up religious doctrine. It is the total antithesis of the view that religion should be about people first and foremost. It is like seeing how the doctor is useless and denying that the sick patients prove he is useless.
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
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 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


The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier

No Copyright