If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
David Hume - Only Superstitious people report
A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a
supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal. The Bible speaks of God miraculously
making Adam the first man from dirt. It speaks of a miraculous world flood -
another miracle is how the scientific evidence challenges and attacks this tale!
In fact, believing these stories is worse than believing the statue of Mary down
the road came alive and spoke to you. At least, you are going by more than just
hearsay and legend.
Miracles are important for believers in God for they are seen as signs from God indicating where religious truth is to be found. The main signs for believers are how God seems to answer prayers and comfort them. So non-obvious miracles are really more important for the message than the obvious miracle.
What good would it do if Jesus rose from the dead if praying to God seems to do no good? A miracle by itself is no good. It has to fit into a context. The main element in the context is how there are indications of the love and presence of God at least much of the time. Clearly there is no need for the obvious miracle and it is really an attempt to compel people to believe.
David Hume said that only superstitious ignorant people
testify to miracles.
The Christian reply is that during the time the miracles
of Jesus were happening, people were not that stupid. For example, we read that
Zechariah didn't believe the angel when the angel promised to cause his wife to
have a baby though she was well passed the age. But even a very stupid man would
know that! The Christians argue that people do not need a great education to
know that a dead man having back to life such as Jesus did was a miracle. So
first we are told they were not stupid and then that if they had poor education
they would still be the perfect witnesses! And surely if Zechariah refused to
believe the miracle promised by the angel, it could be an indication that the
people were not at all good at seeing if something was a miracle.
We do see that very superstitious cultures report
miracles a lot more than less superstitious cultures.
The Christian claims, "People know the difference between
a sick man and a well man and a dead man and a living one. Thus they can easily
assess if a sick man was miraculously cured and a dead man has returned to
life." When you think about it, why believe in the Christian accounts of
healings and resurrection and not in pagan accounts? The Christians act as if
Christians alone are in a position to judge miracles as real!
The Christians do not believe their own argument for they
will not accept a modern account of healing or resurrection unless it is checked
out by science and medicine. No modern Christian miracle is ever put on the same
level as a miracle reported in the Bible. That is dishonest of them because they
want us to accept mere testimonies and gossip from two thousand years ago and
more in preference to miracle tales that have been shown to be at least possibly
true by modern science and modern wisdom.
A doctor has to believe that the chemicals in drugs have
an effect on our bodies. Imagine one of those doctors. Imagine another - a
doctor believed that drugs worked because the stars had decreed that certain
chemicals have certain magical effects. Both doctors could do an amazing job.
But belief-wise one is rational and right and the other is neither. The believer
and unbeliever can see that a man has been sick and suddenly got better. The
only difference is that the first sees it as a miracle and the second does not
make that assessment of it. This disproves the Christians argument. Knowing the
difference between dead and alive and sick and healthy is irrelevant to proving
that miracles happen or are possible.
A lot of people read Hume's arguments against miracles and they ring true. If the Bible is really reliable in its miracle tales, it would contain a wise sage's thoughts on miracles that came up with similar objections and tell us how he refuted them. Without that, we have no evidence that the Bible at least intended to be rational in reporting miracle tales. The "Bible Only" believers have to go outside the Bible to defend a major doctrine - the alleged rationality of miracles. The doctrine is wrong and as the Bible is all about miracles and claims to be one itself the whole book is irrational. And its a major catastrophe how it didn't pave the way to help people to rationally believe. Most Christians believe for superstitious reasons and this is the Bible's fault - it is its big sin of omission. And a bizarre omission when you see that there is a lot of useless material in the Bible such as the genealogies in Kings and Chronicles and its repetitive material.
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.
The Hume Society