If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
DO MIRACLES COMFORT OR DOES BELIEF IN MIRACLES COMFORT?
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.
Miracles are said to be God showing his love by doing
In Catholic circles, if somebody is seriously ill and
dying, the Catholics appear with relics and prayers to pray over them for their
healing. Not just any relic or prayer may do but specified ones. There is no
concern for giving the family false hope of a miracle. They act like they are
trying to do magic to work a miracle. No matter what they say, that is the
impression they give and the impression they want to make. It's disgusting.
Miracles and prayer go together. What is the use of God
doing miracles if not to call us to pray? God will do what he does, which is
supposedly the best, whether he is asked to or not. Praying then is not helping.
Some say praying makes spiritual energy. If so, praying is putting bad energy
into the world. It is about wanting people to feel helped when it does nothing
and makes no difference. People fear opening themselves up to spiritual forces
through the occult and religion that may be harmful or deceitful. Prayer is
certainly at least implicitly trying to do that. Prayer would be vile and
dangerous despite the peace and comfort that the deceiving powers may instil in
the person who prays. This is a trick to get them to pray more and end up in a
People who fear the unknown or the future may read the
gospel accounts of a God who intervened a lot in the world in the three years of
Jesus' ministry. This comforts them though they think there is no such
intervention today. But that does not matter. What matters to them is the
evidence that God is in control despite appearances. So they would not trust God
without the miracle stories and if there were no such stories. They would not be
satisfied with a God who just guided nature to run its course and who did not
intervene. This is not trust at all. It is trust with conditions. Would you say
a husband who said, "Unless my wife wears blue I do not trust her" really trusts
her? Religious believers bleat that critics of miracles attack and ruin their
faith. That is a slander - the critics upset them for they show up how they are
pretending to be happy. That offends them for it means they are hurting and
encouraging others to participate in the deception.
Miracles are a mystery - they are supernatural so we
cannot understand them. A miracle by definition cannot be understood. Religion
says we cannot understand God's ways for the picture he sees is so complex so if
he tried to explain the reasons to us we would never be able to take much in. So
God might command that we engage in capital punishment for some reason we might
not understand. We have to obey without understanding the justification. So the
reasons for miracles are also a mystery. It is foolish to take comfort in the
supernatural for you never know where you fit in the divine plan. Maybe God
needs to put you out of existence or make you suffer forever for the sake of
others so that the plan will work. Those who say they take comfort in miracle
tales and signs merely take comfort in their own assumption/belief that God will
make it all good for them. It is not the miracles that comfort them but their
own attitude that God must look after them even if he should not. It is their
own arrogance that comforts them. The miracles are useless as comfort. That is
not what they are for by any stretch of the imagination. If a religion says they
are for that then the religion is lying or mistaken.
Miracles should be rare. If a miracles are signs from
God, then only one good and well-attested sign is necessary. God doing more
signs would imply that God has a lack of confidence. People are comforted by
miracles and that is strange for they imply that if there is a God then he is a
Miracles seem to do some good such as making people feel
consoled. Actually, people make themselves feel good on the occasion of an
alleged miracle. The miracle has nothing to do with it. They do it themselves
therefore they can do without the miracle. A god doing supernatural wonders
would not realise that. He would not be much of a god.
Jesus said that God is to be loved totally. Christians
claim they put God first. Some when they see people in need of comfort focus on
them not what God wants. You do not tell a cancer patient, "You suffer for a
reason. I wouldn't want you to think that God is wrong in letting this happen to
you." Yet you should if God really comes first. Proving God right and defending
his ways comes before saying things to try and comfort the sufferer. Even
miracles that seem to comfort are in fact indirectly opposing comfort.
People who have come through crippling depression may say
they are not glad that they experienced depression but happy to have learned
some lessons from it. But if they learned how good you can be when they suffer
depression they did not learn it from the depression. Depression by definition
never teaches you anything. You learned it in spite of the illness. Evil never
teaches you good or helps you. The good arises in spite of it. The Church needs
the callous view that evil leads to good for God brings out out of it. Otherwise
it ends up with no way to make the existence of evil fit the existence of a
perfectly good God who has the power to stop all evil.
How could a healing be from Heaven when people take it as
an encouragement to listen to and follow religion? Religious faith is bad. The
first Stalin of the 21st Century, George Bush, the fictitious president of the
United States, has confessed that his faith sanctioned his utterly depraved war
against Iraq. Christians will say that it was his own self-will that was behind
it not his faith. They allege that his faith was just an excuse. But the Bible
itself records people who fought with divine approbation and support. There can
be no doubt that he used his faith to make himself willing to do all that evil.
If we are naturally selfish creatures then religious faith is selfish. Therefore
we are fully entitled to blame his faith. Christianity killed the innocents of
Iraq. Jesus takes the responsibility for Christianity so Jesus murdered them.
The Church would say that beliefs in miracles even if
they are false are not completely foolish because they comfort people.
Miracles seem to be about people wanting assurance from God that he is there and caring for them. They could be letting their need for happiness and their experience of the benefits cloud their judgement. The nice miracle tales could be grounded in people's wish for fulfilment and deliverance from fear. But what about the fearful miracles such as the huge percentage of people who think they have been kidnapped by aliens or met demons? What has that to do with those who experience nice miracles? Some people like to believe something awful happened to them, it helps make them appreciate their life more.
And they may like the attention too. And if miracle
experiences are really down to hallucinations, mistakes, imagination and other
kinds of error such as self-deception then we can expect horror stories.
It is sometimes said that Catholics and other Christians
who endured the stigmata would not have inflicted such agony on themselves so we
can eliminate deliberate hoaxing. But people inflict the agony of
self-starvation on themselves and not always for understandable reasons.
Stigmatics nearly always have had a traumatic and horrific past. They are used
to suffering. It could be that if they feel they wasted that suffering by not
offering it to God or for the spread of the Christian faith among those who are
drawn to religion by supernatural claims they may want to make amends for that
by wanting the suffering of the stigmata. Therese Neumann had horrific wounds
but nobody ever saw how they appeared. Thus nobody can prove they were not
self-inflicted. Stigmatist Lukardis of Oberwimar (1276-1309) craved her stigmata
when it was not present and was observed trying to force the holes in her hands
to open with her fingers.
Miracles seem to heal and comfort people. But despite the good - assuming it is good, miracles are a bad thing overall. Belief in miracles has led to more harm than good. For everybody who is helped, there is ten who has been led into superstition and robbed of a lot of money by miracle mongers looking for donations. These miracle mongers range from fortune-tellers to the likes of US Televangelists. Even Jesus warned that fake Christs would come with great miracles and be able to lead even the elect astray. If God were all powerful, he would have things arranged so that belief in miracles would be good.
Whatever the cause of so-called miracles is, it is not
God. Those who promote miracles have more concern for what they want to believe
than in promoting beliefs that are generally wholesome and therapeutic. Miracles
lead more to evil than good. The short-term benefits come at a long-term price.
What is the prime consideration: the comfort people may get from believing in miracles or whether the miracle is real or not? If God comes first then it is the miracle being real. In fact if we are to love God alone ultimately it is the only concern. Christian logic goes that since God is absolutely good he must be our only love for nothing else is as good or important as him.
If a miracle is about revealing love and giving
consolation then the evidence is not important. You need not work hard at
getting evidence to back up the miracle. But you might think its not very
comforting to hear about miracles that there is insufficient evidence for. That
would mean there is no evidence that the consolation is justified. We need
evidence before we can accept it as consolation or find it consoling.
The comfort got from miracles probably evaporates as soon
as the person forgets about religion. And it is a false comfort. The person
needs to be challenged for her own good.
Better to face reality than to live in a dream. What does not kill you makes you stronger. The harder the truths you face the stronger you will be. Others will be inspired by that strength.