If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
The Kind of Evidence DEMANDED By All Miracles
A miracle is an event that is not naturally possible eg visions and voices from God or instant healings. That does not mean it is necessarily impossible. There could be a power greater than nature such as a god that can do it. A miracle is supernatural. Its really magic and superstition under a different name. If a power can instantly remove an incurable terminal disease, then it can guarantee bad luck for those who walk under ladders.
The person who says they got a revelation from God that the world is to end next week and the person seeing the Blessed Virgin and getting a harmless message to repent from her, demand the same level of evidence. Why? Doesn’t the first person have a more important message than the second? Yes the content is more serious but that is not the point. The method by which both messages came is equal in that it is supernatural. The two revelations, irrespective of content, equally need to be proved reliable and supernatural because they claim to be supernatural. The point is not the importance of the messages but the medium of the message – that is, how the message was given. The content messages can have no importance at all unless the supernatural nature of the message can be proven and the supernatural can be proven reliable. Think of it this way, we can’t listen to the world end message or the other one just because of what it says. The supernatural has to be proven to exist and be reliable before we can heed such a message. Therefore small miracles need to be treated as scientifically or sceptically as big ones.
If 1 plus 1 is 3 in a village in Spain that calls for as much attention and examination as 1 plus 1 being 3 in the whole of Europe would be. A miracle challenges the way things happen in the same way that that would challenge mathematics. For example, if 1 + 1 = 3 is true anywhere it is true everywhere. It’s a universal law. If somebody can instantly cure the incurable that means the diseases cured are no longer incurable and this becomes a universal law too.
Imagine that when two natural laws are brought together they result in a specific result that we will call result X. You could say that law 1 plus law 2 is equal to result X. If a miracle interferes with this then the two laws bring about a different result. It’s the same scenario as 1 and 1 = 2 being changed to 1 and 1 = 3. Believers say that this is wrong. Its law 1 plus law 2 plus miracle law 3 = a different result from X.
It’s a matter of worldwide concern when a miracle takes place – though the world wouldn’t be concerned it ought to be.
Ask if an event claimed to be a miracle really is. This will need very strong verification regardless of whether the miracle is small.
The view that the bigger the miracle the greater the evidence is a mistake.
The claims made by a miracle are to be distinguished from the miracle. A miracle can outrageous claims. These claims need verification on their own merits. The miracle needs verification and the claims it makes need verification too. That is two separate jobs.
You need almost unattainable evidence for claims made by a miracle. But for the miracle itself a small miracle needs as much backup as a mammoth one. Why? The form of the miracle may differ but the nature of the miracle is the same, it defies what we know of nature.
Religion does not want you to think that big and small miracles alike need huge evidence for that distracts from the miracles it wants you to believe in - the ones it uses for propaganda reasons. This evidence is so difficult and time-consuming to verify that clearly all believers in miracles are inferring that evidence isn’t so important and if so, then we should believe crackpots who claim revelations about the end of the world!
It is not how big or small a miracle is, it is that it is a miracle. That needs verification.
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