If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
unfalsifiable and therefore inherently lack credibility
SUPERNATURAL IS ABOUT PUTTING BELIEFS BEYOND CRITICISM
A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.
Miracles are kept out of the reach of evidence that may disconfirm them or show them to be doubtful or false.
Believers can go as far as saying that the problem of evil or the falsity of miracles is a claim made by unbelievers in God. Not so. They make claims about evil and suffering and miracles and those claims invite a response. They want to put people off examining the case against their doctrines.
Miracles are unfalsifiable for the following reasons:
-Believers tend to ignore evidence that the event may not be a true miracle.
-They cannot be repeated.
-You can't verify them though scientific experimentation.
You can never prove that a man who died and rose in a week did this by
supernatural powers - maybe it was a trick of nature.
- Science has to assume that the inexplicable must have a
natural explanation though we may never know what it is.
-Belief in them is based on human testimony - yet there
are many miracle accounts we reject even though there is good solid testimony
-The person who says a miracle happened guesses about
what the actual miracle was. The apostles supposedly said Jesus miraculously
rose from the dead but we should say the miracle was that they thought he did!
-They cannot be falsified for believers formulate their
teaching of miracles in such a way that it cannot be refuted even if it is total
rubbish. They do this as follows
# When there are no miracles of regrowing limbs or people being dead for a week returning to life, they say it is not God's plan to do these. They say he chooses to do miracles that are not as obvious as those. Though nobody denies that lots of people lie that miracles happen, the liars are careful not to say anything too unconvincing. Religion is careful to expect "miracles" that will happen or be reported anyway. For example, Catholicism tells you to expect healings but never asks you to expect God to make the sun stand still next Tuesday as a sign for the world. Witches and those who pray are careful to ask for things that will probably happen anyway. They want to convince themselves. In doing that they empower and prolong their cognitive dissonance, their availing of a placebo and their escapism. This has a ripple effect on others. It invites them to be as bad.
# When evidence against a miracle appears, believers invent a new miracle - they say that the new evidence is a miraculous intervention by Satan to discredit the miracle. Joseph Smith lost his 116 pages of the Book of Mormon forever. He claimed that Satan was behind this and that God permitted it to happen to test people's faith. Believers without any evidence say that Padre Pio's cologne was miraculous and he was not using perfume. They just take his word for it. What could prove Pio to be unreliable is explained away. When you prove to a believer that the resurrection tales about Jesus are uncompelling they will say that even if they are, they feel that Jesus rose and this feeling is a sign from God that he did. This inventing of miracles to disarm evidence leaves you with only one reason why you might reject one miracle tale and accept another. That reason is preference.
# Belief in miracles is never down to hard evidence but to human testimony - you believe because witnesses say they have seen miracles. You cannot catch every person who is erring or lying out. So you cannot prove the miracles didn't happen.
# Even truthful witnesses of miracles will fear not being believed and may encourage belief in other witnesses many of whom may be suspect or secret frauds. They feel that the more they normalise belief in miracle wonders the safer they are.
# When God makes a statue bleed instead of healing a child from cancer which seems more fitting, again we are told it is because of his plan and we cannot understand his plan. People will say that that is fine in theory. But if you were God, would you want people taking miracle witnesses word for it that you made a statue bleed when a child was dying nearby? You need better evidence than that. Would you take people's word for it that a mother let her seven year old daughter drive a car on a motorway even though it could be true and though there might have been a reason why she had to do it? You need something better than testimony. God making the statue bleed while the child is in agony would be a necessary evil assuming God is all-good and all-powerful. You would need very strong evidence that it happened. You don't want to risk making excuses for the inexcusable and you don't want to say God did this necessary evil without you being able to prove it.
# Evil people and sceptics sometimes plant evidence that a miracle is not a real miracle. Satan is smart and he inspires them how to succeed. Sometimes he plants the evidence against a miracle himself. The supernatural gives excuses for ignoring evidence and proof that a miracle is spurious.
Religion often teaches doctrines and makes miracle claims but puts them in a context that makes refutation difficult or impossible - because the religion wants to believe nonsense not the truth it protects it from the possibility of refutation or from anything that shows it is implausible. Doing that is a sign that deep down they don't believe and don't care about truth. They have grave suspicions. They set it up to make it look convincing when it is not as if they are trying to convince themselves. When an idea is made irrefutable all you can do is guess that it is true. You are not accepting it because of logic or evidence so it is a guess. It is impossible to take an assumption or guess seriously unless you are brainwashed or adept at self-deception. You are trying to perceive your assumption as your belief. And you do this to fool others and to get some kind of comfort from them. The person who believes rubbish is consoled and comforted and validated when others seem to believe the rubbish as well.
The Catholic Church professionally investigated Padre Pio and found that he was no saint but a dodgy psychopath who exploited peoples' credulity. Much later, the Church ignored this research. It never debunked it but settled for saying that Pio was a saint. The Church does not require anyone to believe in the miracles claimed by and for Pio. The Church recognises some miracles allegedly done by Pio after his death as it takes them as a divine sanction for the canonisation of Pio as a saint. No recognition exists for the wonders he supposedly did when he was alive. Even the stigmata is not an officially accepted miracle. Believers say that Satan tricked the Church to make it think Pio was not really holy. He rigged the evidence that Pio was fake. This is an example of how belief in magic and the supernatural can be used to detach you from reality and make you disbelieve what the evidence points to.
Spirit mediums are regarded as doing miracles when there is no obvious fraud. When they are caught cheating and using props it is argued that they are possessed by some evil spirit which made them cheat. It is reasoned that if you tally with spirits you risk occasional interference by evil spirits who want to discredit spiritualism.
If you claim your urine cures cancer, you can say it has a mind of its own and it always works though it looks like it does not for it works in mysterious ways. If you really believe it works, you will tell the gullible not to go to the doctor or to hospital. If it works then doctors and hospitals are a waste of time and you are better to let them spend time treating somebody who doesn't have cancer. You will charge a fortune for urine if you feel like it.
Once you encourage and get people to believe that any evidence against a belief is to be dismissed or ignored, you make it very hard for them to find truth again. People lose their life savings and their health and their lives over it. When the Inquisition decided a girl accused of witchcraft was guilty, they reasoned that if witnesses turned up that she was a good person who helped many, that Satan was inspiring those witnesses to lie in such a way that they could not be found out. If a witch had supernatural powers, she should be able to protect herself from pain during torture. If she didn't, she was believed to be using her powers to simulate pain and suffering. Or she was allowing herself to suffer so that she could offer the pain as a sacrifice to Satan to give him more power to hurt people.
You might say that it is okay for people to remain unaffected by the evidence against their beliefs as long as it does not make them do harm. But that is saying that truth does not matter and that kind of attitude always leads to harm. Disconnecting a person from his or her reality even if it seems to bring more happiness is still doing harm. It is like claiming you do a person a favour by making them blind. It is not doing them a favour even if hypothetically they could be happy to be blind and better off. It harms the people by depriving them of the chance to embrace truth with dignity and be themselves, to be really themselves. A lack of concern for truth has a ripple effect in your community and even if it feels good, it will create trouble for others and a bad example where bad things pave the way for worse things.
If a doctrine is made non-falsfiable and is considered sacred, that means that questioning or doubting that doctrine is sinful and thinking critically about it is a waste of time. Non-falsifiable doctrines and bullying go together. The bullying may not be obvious but it is still happening. It is tacit bullying. And whoever encourages you to disbelieve the doctrine or doubt it is to be avoided. It impacts on relationships. The victim of religion is blamed for trying to free her or his mind.
To create a mental disconnect between a person and her place in the world is also to create an emotional disconnect. To oppose truth willfully or unwilfully is to give evil people permission to harm. Why not if truth does not matter? If you condemn them you will make them worse for they will see you as hypocritical and unfair. The condemning makes you worse not better. A faith that causes evil to flourish is actually better than one that does not but which allows evil to flourish. When your faith allows the evil of others to flourish, it is worse than one that lets the evil in you flourish.
People who make a supernatural claim and who tell you to make excuses if it seems to be false are trying to stop you from seeing that it is false if it is indeed false. They do not inspire trust.
The convincing miracles are only superficially convincing. The spin-doctors in religion are careful to make them look persuasive.
Beliefs in the supernatural are really about putting certain allegations and claims beyond the scrutiny of reason with the intention to forestall attempts to show the beliefs are wrong or probably incorrect.
Imagine a rich woman lost her son in a car accident.
Soon a man appears claiming to be the son in another body.
The woman in time begins to believe him. She leaves him her entire fortune at his behest.
Does it follow that because he was after money we can be sure he was a fraud?
No. Perhaps the he was the son and just got greedy. Or perhaps he thought it made her happy to think her son wanted her property and to be her heir. Or perhaps his asking for the fortune was not his doing but down to a miracle causing him to do it.
What this shows us is that miracles are unfalsifiable. Evidence then is eliminated as being of any value in relation to miracles. We are only making fools of ourselves by checking out testimony to miracles and checking them out.
Religion uses miracles as evidence for the truth of its claims.
We see then that belief in miracles is really circular. "John said the sun turned to the colour of blood for no reason. John is honest so I accept his testimony that this miracle happened. His testimony is right because miracles happen." The acceptance of the miracle is really just an assumption. The miracle is not believed in because of the evidence at all. The evidence is window-dressing. The decent and honest unbeliever then has no choice but to assume that miracles do not happen. At least the unbeliever is basing his view on evidence. The accusation of bias against the unbeliever is unfair. Its the believers who are biased and unfair.
The unbeliever says, "It stands to reason that we could be wrong about John's honesty in this matter. It is more likely that we are wrong than that a miracle really happened. If a miracle happened, how do we know that the miracle was not in the sun but in John's brain? Was it a miraculous hallucination?" And the believers believe it themselves. They just make random exceptions which again proves that they are not the servants of reason and evidence and truth they say they are.
People do lie to themselves, believe their own lies and commit fraud in religious and paranormal matters. There is a limit to what they can do to fool us. A magician is limited by his resources in relation to what tricks he can perform. Suppose the religious miracle doers have any supernatural abilities or paranormal powers. It follows that they have more resources with which to fool people. Maybe they used telepathic manipulation to make people think their powers are better than what they actually are. If you are lying for example about seeing the Virgin Mary in a miracle apparition, you could send a telepathic image to the mind of a friend to make them think they see it along with you. See the point?
Miracle reports are not to be automatically trusted. Every test to eliminate trickery must be applied. A person who has no powers then is not to be trusted until the evidence is good enough that they can be. A person then who may have supernatural powers then is deserving of even less trust!
Miracles might as well not happen at all. And they lack the power to help us genuinely believe. Religion encourages people to say they believe in miracles when in fact they do not. They only guess they have happened.
We conclude believers merely assume that a miracle is a miracle. There is no real belief in miracles where people are merely assuming they happen. We are suspicious of a claim that cannot be falsified - and a miracle claim is that kind of claim!