If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
God should not do miracles just for a few to see
them. He should show a miracle to the whole world. Maybe then all would believe
or at least get the option.
The Catholic Church claims that some visionaries who have seen Mary appear though nobody else could see her or touch here were telling the truth. But if we think carefully, there is no justification for holding that it makes sense for God to make Mary appear when only the visionaries can see anything.
When Mary allegedly appeared at Guadalupe in Mexico in 1531, ten years after the conquest of Mexico by Cortes, she made Castilla roses bloom out of season - in winter to be exact – so that the sole witness, Juan Diego, could take them to the Bishop, Juan de Zumarraga, as a sign that he was telling the truth.
The Queen of Peace, at Medjugorje, promised that a sign would be seen by all the world showing that God exists and hates sin. This miracle will convert millions.
The Virgin of Garabandal has made a similar promise.
Jesus promised to perform a miracle that would justify belief and that it would be a wonder the entire world would see (Matthew 12:39). He also said to the Jews that they should believe in him because they have seen his miracles and signs (John 5:36).
Heaven believes that miracles can convert the unbelieving sinners. If God exists then he either does miracles for nothing or to convert unbelievers because being all-powerful he must not be doing them to repair the harm done by his mistakes. If he does miracles to keep a person believing, that is converting an unbeliever in a sense.
The apparitions etc we have looked at are inferring that the relation of miracles to alleged divine revelation is an apologetic one. If correct then God would do worldwide miracles that all see so that all may believe. This argument is right if we have free will. The following is disproves the apologetic role of miracles if we don’t possess free will. When we have no free will no God would be doing miracles to help us believe for then it wouldn’t matter if we believe or not as long as he programs us to be perfectly good! If a person such as a personal God is behind miracles and does them to enable us to believe, he is a liar for he is implying that we are free.
Also, it is better to have us see the miracle and believe in it because of God than to believe in it because of some alleged witness. It is letting a person tell us what God is instead of letting God tell us. God would never confine a miracle experience to just a few if he is good.
Christians have dubious answers against the idea that God should do miracles to draw all to belief.
One, this would be in contravention of our right to free agency.
Giving a person a reason to believe is not forcing that person if that person is free.
No matter how strong a proof we have for something we can still find an excuse for denying it. We can see the evidence that Bill Clinton is the president of the United States and still believe that it is wrong. We can believe that Clinton has died and has been replaced by an apparition or a double created by plastic surgery. There is simply no excuse for God failing to give us the best and greatest possible proof. Religion only wants you to believe that he can’t because there is none. Priests and clergy and theologians know fine well that if their little creeds were true we would be surer of it than we are that the world is beneath our feet. God can make us smart to understand what is presently a mystery to us.
If the proof is given it is given. How we respond is up to us. To say God can't give proof for many will still not believe then makes no sense. It implies there is something wrong with a proof that many reject.
Beliefs are forced on us all the time anyway. And belief is not faith but can lead to faith. Faith is believing in God and availing of his promises by changing your character for the better. There is no reason why we cannot be forced to believe even if we can’t be forced to have faith. And giving us reasons to believe is not forcing us if we are free. Faith is supposed to be what saves us along with hope and charity so it is independent of mere belief for it is belief that is held because God is loved and the heart is given to God to serve him and is supposed to be an unnatural gift of God according to the Bible. When it is unnatural then who cares if we have belief that we cannot help for is that not God forcing himself on us? He has to make some kind of alteration to us so that we can believe. Our inability to believe right without him implies that he has to supply us with some spare part so that we can believe. This doctrine destroys the alleged importance of freedom in faith.
If a belief is forced on us, it is forced. If we are ordered to believe on inadequate grounds that is even worse. There is far more forcing then. Yet the Church praises the system where we are expected to forsake all things and bear our cross for inadequately supported beliefs.
The Catholic Church claims to be able to prove the existence of God. They don’t really believe the reason, reason one, when they do that for such proof would actually be more compulsive than a miracle. If Catholics think they have proved God and are wrong then it is even more compulsive and meant to be. To be compelled by the truth is compulsion but there is far more compulsion and loss of freedom if the thing is not the truth but mistaken for it.
It is not right that the Church should be allowed to say things it does not believe in order in order to impress unbelievers.
If God accepts those who feel forced by things like the Turin Shroud and Fatima to believe in the Catholic Church then he may as well force everybody to believe. When he allows people to be scared into belief by these things and the threat of Hell for those who do not believe we can safely take it that he is not adverse to forcing people to believe. He is as good as doing it himself. I felt forced by misinformation and selective evidence to believe by these things.
The Church says that creation of all things from nothing is an undeniable miracle. Many Christians argue that when God can do that one and we can all see it, it is plain that it is madness to believe God does not want to force us by doing miracles in front of us all.
Two, it is better to believe without seeing. Jesus said that those who have not seen but yet believe are more blessed than those who have seen and believed.
He did not. He blessed those who had not seen but he did not say that a lesser blessing was for those who had seen. To be able to spring from goodwill, faith has to be based on sensible and sound evidence.
It is impossible for it to be the case that the less evidence you have the more sensible you are for believing.
You can love your child and know it exists. You can love yourself though you are totally certain you exist. The notion that you cannot love something if you know it exists is mental. So you can love God and know he exists. God, according to Jesus, wants us to love him with all our hearts and minds which can only be done if you are totally sure that God exists. The weaker the belief the less the love for you have a degree of uncertainty that hinders the love from being any stronger than the belief. The idea that it is more altruistic to follow beliefs that are not that persuasive is terrible for you should only act on things you are certain as you can be of.
Three, God could try to convert the world but he is right not to bother for most people would still resist faith. If he did a big sign in the sky the sceptics would think of some excuse for not believing because of it.
But God cannot know this when he hasn’t tried it! It is absurd to proclaim that God knows what would happen in a future that does not exist. And that absurdity is sanctioned by the argument. God should try. Even if he knows it is not likely to work he should do it just in case. You should offer to help a person who might refuse that help when they are very ill so God should try. At least, they admit that Answer One is right, that forcing belief is not doing away with free will.
Four, we don’t know why God won’t do a miracle to convert all people.
Four is saying that there is an answer but we don’t know what it is. Beliefs like that are only permissible when they are not assumptions. God is an assumption so they are merely presuming that there is an answer for the miracles problem. One has as much right to assume that a tyrant is justified in exercising a cruel and murderous reign for though nobody can find an excuse for him there is one. The answer is evil for it makes evil right. If you want to believe that miracles infer where the true faith is to be found then you cannot believe this answer for it attributes miracles to a shady source.
Reason One is the only one that might be called an effort. It says that doing a miracle for all to see is forcing us. It is such a basic objection that once you refute it you don't need to refute any of the other ones. Restricted miracles are saying that it is right for the miracle can't be seen by all. And they are also saying it is wrong for they deny that they are forcing the few witnesses. So the miracles are lying to us.
Five, God wants our commitment and it is what God really wants not just belief for even Satan believes.
If belief in God is good for us then all should see a miracle if they need to see one to believe.
Some say people will not believe even then. That is judging people over faith and is intrinsically sectarian. The only way to know is if it happens.
Some say that if people believe that is not enough. They will not commit to God in a loving relationship. They say God wants our commitment not our belief. But even if we don't commit surely belief is the next best thing?
Argument five shows God in fact should be doing a miracle for everyone in the world. To say he should not for he wants our commitment is really just using people's devotion as an excuse to cover up an indication that there is no God.
There is no universal sign so there is no God and miracles are not for raking in converts to holiness and the truth. If an evil force did miracles it could do one to convert the world so miracles don’t happen. It is idolatry to believe in God because of somebody’s miracle story because it is really believing in that person not in God. For us to be able to believe in God he would have to do a miracle for each and every one of us to see and prove for ourselves. If he does not want us to believe then there is no God for if there is a God he deserves to be known and loved.
If somebody tells you they see Mary down the garden and you see nothing, do not believe them.
A God is who for all people and who makes a religion for all people will only do obvious and simple miracles if he does miracles at all. That is so that even the person with poor intellectual faculties can see and understand.
Miracle stories are enjoyable. People find lies more interesting than the truth. So there is a danger of those stories being lies. Another attraction is how people think that when they experience miracles that they are favoured by God and those who do not have experience are not favoured or not favoured yet.
To say that some are chosen to experience miracles is to say that they are favoured over others. It boosts their egos which is why you can be in big trouble if you tell a religious believer in miracles to have some sense.
For people's safety, they should not be encouraged to depend on second-hand testimony for miracles. They should see it themselves. To say different is to say that absorbing and believing the miracle testimony of others is better than seeing the miracle yourself. And that does not make sense.
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