If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
Miracles and Assumptions
Question your magical and supernatural assumptions more than anything else. What seems to be against or bigger than nature needs the most examination.
Many think they believe in miracles when they do not. Assuming something is true is not the same as believing in it though it can look like it.
If somebody tells you they believe you have the right to test them for assuming.
Believers in miracles say unbelievers just assume
miracles are not believable or not true. The Christians say that the
unbeliever argument that Jesus probably did not rise from the dead for dead
people stay dead is a fallacy and a mere assumption thus a useless argument.
They say nobody can rise naturally from the dead but that there could be a
power, usually understood as God, that is bigger than nature that can raise you
up. Notice what they are doing here. They are saying God will not start making
it naturally possible! They are telling God what to do with nature. They
accuse unbelievers of saying that if there is a God then he should not tamper
with nature and does not do things any differently from how he set up nature to
do them. But surely even if that is a mistake then what they do is a bigger
It is vital that we question and test our assumptions for assumptions can colour what we think and lead to us depending on wrong information. The assumption that magic or miracle happens is top of the list for questioning. If natural assumptions need revising supernatural ones need it more for it is so easy to get wrong. And the supernatural demands investigation for you cannot start believing magic reports just because somebody says so.
A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It
is paranormal. 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.
Believers have to presume that miracles happen. They never know one way or the other if miracles happen for sure. Also, if they think miracles happen they cannot prove that they have selected the right miracles to try and believe in. They object that they are not 100% sure miracles happen but they are sure enough because there is evidence.
Occam's Razor says that if you find a pool on your floor then the water got there naturally. You can't assume that it might have been a ghost that put it there. Occam's Razor recognises that you must assume things are natural even if it is hard to see how. If you don't you lose the reality check. What happens then if you do? You should be given the same credibility whether you said the pool was the result of a spill or whether you say a goblin miraculously created the pool. The Razor is for putting a check on making assumptions that will get you totally carried away and make you totally ridiculous.
If I have the right to presume that a statue of Jesus can drink milk and eat a steak I cannot complain if somebody presumes that 2+2 are miraculously 5. I cannot complain if the police assume that a poltergeist robbed my car even though the notorious local thief was seen loitering beside it. The whole world will be a place of chaos if too many follow my example. People will suffer and die. I should have the sense to avoid exotic presumptions instead of complicating things more than I need to.
If miracles do not happen or are impossible then the evidence is misleading. If I believe in miracles, it is not because of the evidence for miracles - even if I have it - but because I PRESUME THAT MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE THEREFORE I INTERPRET THE EVIDENCE AS POINTING TO THEM. It's all personal interpretation. To base God and his deeds on your own interpretation is really to make an idol - you worship the mental representation of God you have made and not the real God if there is one. If the pro-miracle presumption is reasonable then we render reason useless.
You can never prove that if a miracle happens that it had anything to do with the direct action of God. You will have to give primacy of place to the most straightforward and uncomplicated explanation. You can never prove that a simple supernatural explanation will do. You can never prove that if there is a supernatural explanation that this explanation is simple. Just because something is supernatural does not prove that it is less complicated than a natural explanation.
Religion accuses those who are sceptical of miracles of assuming they do not happen when they have not considered the evidence. This ignores the fact that most sceptics have done so. It ignores the fact that the sceptic tries to be neither pro-miracle or anti-miracle and gets down to examining the evidence. It ignores the fact that every religion is sceptical of miracles except a few miracles. Catholics deny the existence of the tooth fairy simply because she is a miraculous being. But they believe Jesus rose again in the miracle of the resurrection. This is pure blatant bias and prejudice. And its setting such prejudice as an example to others particularly the vulnerable and the uneducated and the thoughtless. Suppose a man went to a heritage centre at night and experienced apparitions of people dressed in old fashioned clothes and saw them walking around glowing with light. The investigators go and they see that there are statues there of people of olden times. They reason it was an over-active imagination that was behind it. They ignore the man's clear testimony that the beings were moving around and glowing and were not the statues. They are right. Yet religion argues, "We believe in miracles because we trust the testimony that they have happened." Bad methodology religion bad! It only leads to cherry-picking of what testimony to miracles you will accept and what one you will not.
The believers assume an event is a miracle while the sceptic says that it is a mystery and might be. The sceptics refuse to believe because there is no evidence. But they are to remain open to belief and to further light.
The believers lie that there is evidence for the miracles. Sceptics realise that if something magical is tampering with nature then the evidence might have been tampered with by it. It is for the sake of the evidence that they choose to keep supernatural assumptions out of it and avoid religious ideas that would be prejudicial.
The believers assume that the supernatural is the best (least complicated) explanation which means they are only guessing that it is really is. If they say they believe it - how can they? They are only guessing. How can they know that a supernatural explanation is less complicated than a conspiracy theory explanation?
The believers in miracles are making the biggest assumptions not the sceptics. The believers are necessarily biased and untrustworthy. The sceptics are the voice of reason. If both sides are guilty of believing what they want then the believers are worse.
THE PROBLEMS IN DETAIL
The sensible Christians go in search of evidence to show their belief in miracles is justified. They do not guess or assume that a miracle has happened. They only consider miracles when somebody has experienced a possible miracle and claims a miracle happened. But do such Christians exist? One wonders!
It is wrong to use miracles as explanations for mysteries. And that is what Christians do - they think something cannot be explained so they assume it is a miracle. A notorious example is the alleged apparitions of Mary at Lourdes in 1858. They claimed no explanation was possible but the supernatural. If you don't understand how the Turin Shroud was made, that does not entitle you to say its a miracle. Saying it might be is bad but you could say worse. To say its a miracle is to merely assume that it is. It is too big of an issue to simply assume. You need strong evidence. It is dishonest to say that you have evidence that something may be a miracle and then to say that this is evidence that a miracle happened. You are trying to hide the fact that you do not believe but merely assume.
It is wrong to use miracles to get around facts one does not like. For example, if your local saint is caught abusing children sexually, don't say, "I believe a demon possessed him and made him do it. He is therefore innocent." If you say that, you are only assuming. You are not believing.
Religion is often guilty of assuming that miracle x is evidence for the truth of religion and miracle y is not. That would be arbitrary and thus a dishonest way to approach evidence.
TESTIMONY TO MIRACLES BY RELIABLE WITNESS STILL LEAVES US ASSUMING THEY HAPPEN
What if miracles are reported by honest and reliable witnesses? Should we believe?
Religion says we should at least in some cases. This position in reality urges us to be agnostic about what reports are genuine and what are not and what cannot be decided. You could get a dossier about miracles and the evidence for them but say that some of the miracles are authentic and from God but you don't know which. If that is the right approach, then religion is not justified in saying that miracles show its claims are true. For example, the Catholics say, "Look - this holy wafer bled miraculously and it proves that our priests can really turn bread into God's body without it seeming to be any different from ordinary bread." Saying that it makes religion biased and dishonest for it refuses to be agnostic about what miracles are real. If we cannot know if miracles really happen or what reported miracles really are miracles then the best we can do is assume that some miracles happen. We cannot believe. We cannot base a religion on miracles.
The vast majority of Catholics are guilty of self-deception even if they never seem to tell lies or steal or seem dishonest. Consider how rife the lie is that Jesus said we must never judge others and that means never tell others that they are wrong. Nobody could imagine a stance more inconsistent with Catholicism than that! We have the right to be considered to be reasonable people while being neither convinced or unconvinced by those Catholics of honest reputation who testify to miracles. Even when there is good testimony supporting revelation, it remains true that those who accept the revelation are STILL assuming that it is true. Testimony makes acceptance no more or no less reasonable.
It is said the public accept one's guilt if the court finds one guilty. They do this without knowing the evidence and the details. The Church says there is nothing unfair about that so many in the Church say we may or should believe in miracles without evidence. They are wrong. It is putting the word of a few before the evidence. It is letting others speak for the evidence instead of you examining the evidence and letting it speak for itself. It is better and fairer for you to seek and examine the evidence yourself than to depend on somebody else. And it does not really matter if you agree with the court or not in the sense that you are not obligated to agree. It is up to the court to get it right. It is up to you to get it right too.
You wouldn't ask others to believe your alarm clock comes to life at midnight without offering evidence.
Religion does not really believe testimony is enough. It ignores or dismisses the testimony of people deemed reliable when they speak of miracles the religion does not like.
Belief in miracles is based on the testimony of witnesses. Or if you want to put it this way, it is really based on their seeming sincerity about their testimony. The more ridiculous the story the more sincere you can assume the teller of the story to be. This makes acceptance of miracles a recipe for insanity and chaos and rampant superstition. Only the hypocrisy of the believers keeps them in check.
We know that testimony whoever honest the testator is, is not necessarily right. Whether we believe in a testimony or not depends on what our beliefs are already. We believe because of our assumptions about the testimony not because of the testimony. Religion won't admit that for its tantamount to admitting to being superstition masquerading as religion.
Philosopher David Hume stated that miracles are so bizarre or unlikely that no evidence can be great enough for them. The problem Christians have with this is that he was allegedly assuming that miracles are too rare to be believed in when he should have said miracles can be believable if one considers the evidence for them. That is the only thing they can say. If you assume miracles happen then you have no choice but to say what they say. But Hume is not doing what they are accusing him of at all. He is not saying, "I know miracles are not believable without even looking at the evidence for them or against them." He is not saying that there is no evidence for miracles but that the evidence is not good enough to justify belief in miracles. It is they who are being the biased and narrow ones. Clearly is is better to listen to Hume than the believers. It is better both "morally" and rationally. Hume did say miracles can be believable if one considers the evidence. He said that if a testimony to a miracle being wrong would be a bigger miracle than the alleged miracle then you should believe in the miracle.
Even if Hume assumes miracles never can happen (he didn't) that is his right. Religion ties up faith in religion to morality meaning you are somehow bad if you assume what he assumed. God, according to the Bible, commands that we believe in him and the miracles he has done.
THE ARGUMENT THAT MIRACLES ARE NEITHER LIKELY OR UNLIKELY FORCES US TO MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THEM
Religion says: To say we don't know if a miracle is unlikely or not is to say we cannot believe in it but merely assume that it has happened. The unbelievers say that it is too unlikely for the evidence to be right that Jesus rose again for most people stay dead so they cannot be expected to believe. We say they don’t know what is unlikely or not. The world could be turned by God into a blueberry in a moment’s time or all the dead could be back with us tomorrow. It is as easy for God to do that as to turn a dead man like Jesus into a living one. They will answer that we cannot go through life believing we don’t know what is likely. We say so what? Believe Jesus rose.
COMMENT: Miracles do nothing to save you from blind faith or faith that ignores facts. They are pointless. You can’t need signs such as miracles for blind faith for it is “faith” that has no regard for evidence. And it is true that we cannot go through life denying that anything is likely or unlikely as far as we know. They know that and they believe that. They would wreck our lives to get us to believe in miracles. Miracle reports are a force for evil.
If you cannot say a miracle wasn’t believable on the basis that it was unlikely then it follows that you should seriously consider any kind of miracle story to be true or say it might have been true. Credulity then would be the order of the day.
They are saying miracles may be assumed to be true for you don't know if they are unlikely or not. To say you don't know is telling you you may assume. Religion does not have the honesty to tell you that you may assume they are untrue! The Catholic for example is accused of sin if he assumes the resurrection of Jesus never happened. And he is praised and regarded as obeying God if he assumes it did. That is bigoted harassment.
Evidence does not help. Therefore if we should believe in miracles we should believe without evidence. We should give the fanatic the right to believe and act upon the notion that if he blows up 5000 people he is giving them a passport into Heaven.
It is reasonable to assume miracles don't happen.
SHOULD WE ASSUME MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE?
A miracle is an event that is not naturally possible - only God could do it. In other words, a power greater than nature can do it.
A miracle is really an act of magic done by God. Religion bizarrely claims that magic is to be assumed to be nonsense except when we think that God does it. That is hardly fair!
We all know that an orange turning into an apple is impossible. If it is possible, then the word impossible means nothing. If a miracle such as water turning into wine is impossible then no evidence will ever be good enough for the miracle. If something is impossible then the evidence that it happened is wrong or misleading or misinterpreted. The impossible doesn't happen.
Proving that miracles are possible is more important than proving that any individual miracle happened. If the miracle is impossible then the evidence for it is wrong. But religion can't do anything to prove that miracle is possible or even that if it is possible in theory that it actually happens. It admits this.
If there is evidence for the impossible then the evidence is entirely wrong! To say there is evidence for a one-headed frog that does not have one head is to say the evidence is wholly wrong.
The evidence is not partly or mostly wrong. It is totally wrong for it speaks of what is totally wrong.
Until it is proved that miracle is possible, religion cannot use any evidence that miracle happened as a ground of belief.
Christianity says that if somebody says a fig tree withers up miraculously by itself you would need very strong proof for something so strange. And yet when Christianity says Jesus miraculously made a fig tree wither up it does not look for proof at all. So you only need proof when it suits the Church! If that is not assuming then what is?
Religion is just assuming that there is evidence for miracles. It assumes that the evidence really is evidence. It may as well do without assuming that there is evidence. It should just assume miracles happen and forget about evidence.
But it refuses to do that for otherwise it will be seen for the irrational curse that it is.
Some say that the existence of the universe is a miracle. Would it not be better to say that even if it seems to be, that it is not and that we are misunderstanding something? Yes. Christian philosophers state that the notion of God creating all things out of nothing is a faith position and cannot be proven.
You never know if it was strange and unknown natural laws that did the miracles which means they are not miracles or if it was the supernatural. Miracles cannot be intended to convince you that the supernatural exists when you need to assume that miracles are supernatural. Assuming is no good for it’s the same as guessing. You might as well assume the supernatural exists without seeing miracles or hearing of them and if that is allowable miracles should not be happening for they would need to happen for very serious reasons and God would only be doing them as a last resort. The miracle is not as important as its message so when you can assume you have to let others assume what they like even if it is that a brand new faith is true. You cannot use miracles as evidence for God or religion. You cannot believe their message just because you were given it but you have to use your head to see if the message is plausible. In that case, God should not have been doing the miracle but simply discreetly giving you the light that you need. Miracles would indicate that whatever is doing them is an incompetent stupid force. Miracles should not be found to be sources of comfort.
PROVISIONAL ACCEPTANCE OF MIRACLES AS REALITIES
Religion may claim that science cannot explain such and such an event so the event was a miracle. That should mean that in the past when less was known, that people should have believed in more miracles than we can now. It would mean that we should refute many of the miracles they accepted for we know better. If religion were honest it would say, "We accept X as a miracle unless further information comes to light". This is really provisional acceptance. But instead religion bursts with arrogance and says, "A miracle happened".
The more we learn the more we eliminate miracles. Suppose there was a god who seemed to be fulfilling a lot of ancient prophecies. We might think the prophecies were miraculous until another case comes up where it can be explained naturally.
THE MEANING OF MIRACLES IS ASSUMED
God is said to do miracles as signs that he exists and to point us to the true religion for without them no religion can say it has evidence for its claims and no religion can have any hope of coming across as credible. But the thing is you have to suppose that God exists before you can interpret them that way. If you believe in something different perhaps that the world was made by an apathetic intelligence and is run by deceiving spirits you will not take miracles as signs that there is a God but as signs that this apathetic intelligence exists. When you just assume there is a God there is no point in God doing signs because after the signs you are still just assuming. They are not signs when that is all the far they can take you. They are just silly freaks of nature or the paranormal for when they don’t stop you assuming there is no point in them taking place. If God does them to fix his blunders then he should resign for he has no competence. So miracles both imply that the paranormal cannot be trusted at all and that God cannot exist for an incompetent God is not a God at all.
There is no need to believe that God does any miracles. All the Christians can say is that we should for he might have done the miracles that we have heard of. Maybe the Devil, who likes to look good, does them all and for some mysterious purpose known only to himself. The Devil could do loads of good healing miracles just so that freethinkers might attack religion more so you never know if the source of a miracle is good or bad. Maybe it’s a good-hearted god but one who does not see much value in honesty. Why assume it is God? Assuming is no use and any miracle that asks you to do it is definitely of the Devil. If assuming is okay then you may assume that the feats of top magicians are really miracles.
ASSUMPTIONS FOR OR AGAINST MIRACLES
A miracle is something that is not naturally possible - only God can do it. The believers assume that its not naturally possible and so that only God could do it. In other words, only a power greater than nature can do it.
OPTION 1 - Miracle is naturally impossible but it does happen.
Its a mere assumption that its naturally impossible - there could be laws of nature we know nothing about that made the miracle seem to have happen. In that case it would not be a real miracle at all.
We must not merely assume that miracle happens - we need evidence to back up belief in miracles. We need to be reluctant to believe but compelled by the evidence. In the same way, you need to be reluctant to believe that the suspect is guilty and you need to be compelled by the evidence. This is a safeguard against the tyrannous notion that nature can be changed easily and often by magic or miracle.
OPTION 2 - Its naturally impossible and it does not happen.
Its a mere assumption that its naturally impossible - there could be laws of nature we know nothing about.
Its also an assumption that miracles do not happen.
The believers say OPTION 2 is unfair because it does not take account of the evidence for miracles.
Evidence is only what shows that something seems more likely to be true than unlikely. We can reject what the evidence points to - under certain circumstances. If miracles are very unlikely then how can the evidence show that they are likely?
Evidence is to be understood as the assumption that no magic or miracle has taken place. For example, suppose a doctor diagnoses a person as dying from cancer and the cancer vanishes when the patient drinks holy water. The doctor declares this inexplicable. But if he assumes a miracle, maybe the miracle was the mistaken diagnosis? Maybe a miracle fooled the doctor into diagnosing cancer? To have evidence and to perceive evidence, he needs to keep the supernatural out of it.
OPTION 2 is not unfair. Its the best assumption to make. Therefore its the only assumption to make.
Do you have the right to share your faith in specific miracles? Should you hide this this faith? Yes because it is not faith but an assumption. It is telling others, "Believe in the event!" while you only assume and are unable to believe yourself.
Religion upon reading this may start to say that as
science can do many of the things that are classed as miracles the miracles are
not violations. Science can make "blood" that liquefies like that of St
Januarius. That is really saying that miracles are not miracles.
A miracle does not need examination because of the (alleged) demands it makes of us spiritually but because it asks for examination. It would be insane to imagine that you need to test a miracle to see if it is true if it asks you to be more responsible with say money or sexuality. That would imply you don't want to be good unless you get magical evidence that you should be. What kind of goodness would that be? A miracle demands to be seen as evidence and thus asks for us to verify that it is at worst probably true and and best proven.
Since millions of people seem to believe in the authenticity of some miracles it
may appear that you cannot say miracles are fraudulent beyond all possible
doubt. But a miracle can be false and still believed in by millions. And if the
miracles cannot be refuted beyond all possible doubt they could still be refuted
beyond all doubt. The believers could be suffering from blind credulity.
People do not and cannot accept miracles because of the evidence for them. They assume they happen. Their acceptance is just an assumption. They are never motivated by the evidence no matter how good it is.
The religionist who wants us to believe in miracles without proper evidence is never well meaning. The less evidence offered the worse it is. This marks the majority of religion teachers and clergy as "immoral".
Religious believers are equal to those who assume that upon reading Cinderella then that the story is true. The evidence they present for miracles is not the reason they endorse belief in miracles. They are only fans of miracles because they assume they are true. The evidence serves only a cosmetic purpose.
The miracle followers accuse us of assuming miracles don't happen or are not believable even if they do across the board. They accuse us of making unfair assumptions while they make unfair assumptions against us. And besides if we are doing that, at least its ideas we are being unfair with. We are unfair to those who hold the ideas but in an indirect fashion. But they directly inflict unfairness on us. Who is the worst then?