If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
BELIEVING THAT MIRACLES ARE HALLUCINATIONS
Schizophrenia Bulletin Hallucinations
Miracles may be hallucinations. Many undoubtedly are.
Some psychiatrists hold that Bernadette of Lourdes did not see the real Virgin
Mary but suffered from schizophrenic illusions. Indeed the doctors who examined
her could easily have made a mistake when they decided that she was not insane.
Not much was known about the illness back then. It was not even called
As a rule, you have to take the simplest explanation for anything as true. The simper something is the more likely it is to be true.
Religion contends that God has set up laws of nature. At certain times, he will do things such as make a dead man live that seem to go against these laws. Why the change? Because he wants to use the event to say something religiously significant. In other words he uses miracle as a sign that he exists and as a teaching tool.
A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.
We know we should only accept a miracle has happened if
we have exhausted all the natural possibilities and there is no other answer
which never happens for nature can or might be able to simulate miracles. If
miracles happen and we know it then it is simpler to assume that their witnesses
were subject to a form of hallucination that cannot be understood for we will
never understand nature completely or learn every one of its laws or which is
miraculous. Incidentally, this is another disproof of the religious lie that
miracles are signs for the true gospel from God.
A miracle goes against natural law or is something that
nature cannot do so it should only be believed when it absolutely cannot be
denied. Nature testifies that it never happened so it is only accepted when
one’s back is against the wall. You only believe a miracle when it would be more
miraculous if the witnesses were deluded or lying or if you see it yourself. But
this never happens for you can believe that YOU are partly mad and imagining
that they are testifying and that you see it. This approach will appear too
extreme. But the law is that the simplest understanding is the one to be
followed. It is simpler to believe in unknown laws of nature that make you
slightly unhinged than it is to believe in miracles and the supernatural.
Miracles are all opposed to reason and therefore to truth.
To blame miracle evidence on madness is not extreme for
we know that nature exists but have no evidence that there is a supernatural
power or that it has worked in the world.
We do not and cannot understand the human mind completely
so there could be times in which the mind becomes susceptible to illusions about
supernatural events. They could be a form of mass hallucination we know nothing
We have proved that it is irrational to believe in the
vision of Medjugorje or in the return of Jesus from the dead if these are
miracles. Miracles like these can only proceed from a deceptive power if they
are real miracles and not miraculous hallucinations. And if they are miraculous
hallucinations instead it makes no difference except to worsen the whole
situation for believers for it is bad enough to have hallucinations caused by
aberrations of nature but worse to say that miracles happen which implies there
can be hallucinations caused by hidden forces. That would mean a man could be
found sane and not hallucinating when natural techniques of diagnosis are
carried out but who could still be hallucinating due to undetectable magical
David Hume said we could believe in a miracle only if the people lying or being wrong would presuppose a bigger miracle. People who don’t believe in miracles say that it has never been known for it to be more miraculous for people to be lying or mistaken than for them to have experienced what they said they experienced. Quite true. If you find that everybody is saying a second sun has appeared in the sky and you see that there is only one you may conclude that your mind is faulty and that people are not really saying that.
Using miracles as signs that Jesus is the Son of God or whatever is counterproductive in the long run. Miracles are useless as signs.
Further Reading ~
A Christian Faith for Today, W Montgomery Watt, Routledge,
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
The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier