If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
PROVING MYSELF RUINS "MIRACLES ARE SIGNS" THEORY
The only think I can prove to myself 100% is that I exist. I can prove myself and my existence is the one thing I am most sure of in the fullest sense. It follows that all the loving I do must be a manifestation of the love I have for myself for what is most certain comes first. When I start with my happiness I begin to help others better and they enjoy being with me.
Religion says the love of self and God and others go together. If I can't love others without loving God and vice versa it follows that the surer I am that God exists the better. It follows that atheists are scum.
Religion says that God is all that matters. I am to care for myself and others for his sake and not mine or theirs. If that is my motive then it is clear that I don’t really love myself or others at all. I love God and commit myself to him but the only sense I love myself and others is in doing what God says is good. The results are good for people but my motivation is not their well-being but God's.
You need outstanding and incredible and unattainably good evidence to be able to teach doctrines like that with a straight face. They are extremely serious.
I can only love God in so far as I believe he exists. Those who believe little love little.
What is the evidence then that I need to bolster my belief and my love? Religion says it is miracles. A miracle is God doing something like making a person foretell the future or making a statue come to life or giving a person a vision of the Virgin Mary.
From this it follows that I have to experience apparitions and miracles to justify and help me to love God. They have to be so powerful that they can nearly prove God as much as they prove me
And these experiences need to be frequent. I need nearly constant apparitions and miracles to justify me loving God. They have to be frequent for to experience something most or all of the time makes it more sure than something you experienced before but don’t any more.
Would these miracles be harmful to us? Even if they are, God comes first and he is in control of the whole universe so we can’t worry about the harm. He made us for himself and to harm ourselves if need be for his sake. The miracles are harmful for we must love others just because we love them and not because the love is moral or an obligation or divine command or whatever. But the miracles - allegedly - all call us to put God first at least by implication.
If the miracles call me to put God first when I should put me first then miracles are not the signs of God's love and truth believers say they are. They are actually signs that God should NOT come first or be loved for they ask something that is immoral for me to give. They are like mad wacky tricks for there would be less devotion for God without them and the less of that the better. Whatever does them is not able to do them for us all and that is strange and betrays that those who authenticate them are lying if God exists for he would not be doing them.
I should not believe in miracles as signs telling me what to believe when I can only prove myself unless I see them myself. To inconvenience myself to love a God more than myself and a religion more than myself when I am most sure I exist would be degrading if I do it just because of the miracle testimony of others. What I see and hear comes before the testimony of others. My experience of life may give me the wrong perception but it is my perception and I have nothing else to go by so if my perception is that miracles do not happen then I degrade myself by accepting the testimony of others that they do happen.
If I see a miracle myself I will have some level of certainty about it. I may be very certain or totally certain about it. There are many degrees of certainty. But God could make me wholly certain. He has the power to make me see mystically and rationally that the miracle was real and totally convincing just like he makes me totally sure that I exist which he should do if he wants me to love him with all my heart.
I have to believe what the evidence says about normal non-miraculous things for I need to. It is because I am so sure of my own existence that I have to do this in order to be as safe as I can be. If I think a miracle has happened that means chemotherapy will kill me if I ever have it, then I could be at risk of dying from cancer without treatment. I have to accept reliable testimony in ordinary things. But with miracles it is different because they are so unnatural and difficult to believe. There isn’t a miracle yet that might not be a hoax and to start saying that the laws of nature or the supernatural can interfere with nature's normal way of functioning is making my world less certain. It is therefore undermining my need to be totally sure. To disbelieve in the testimony in order to be more sure of nature is right and does not mean I’m being arbitrary and guilty of rejecting human testimony just because I do not like it. I cannot accept human testimony that everybody is a liar. Neither can I accept human testimony when it speaks of miracle. How do I know that my memory of people testifying to a miracle wasn’t a miracle itself? Perhaps it was a false memory planted in me. Once I admit miracles I cannot be sure what the miracle was!
Miracle believers say you are denying the worth of human testimony if you refuse to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Yet they are the ones that reject human testimony when it is testimony to fairies or something that contradicts their dogmas.
I am fully entitled to refuse to listen to any testimony about miracles for God could make me know that he is there and that whatever religion the miracle supposedly supported is true. He could do it by increasing my liking for theology and my understanding. Many of our desires are implanted in us anyway. The desire of the homosexual cannot be changed.
Therefore to believe in a miracle is degrading unless it can be proved and not just proved but proved so that no needless doubt is possible.
The God of miracle and the miracle and its witness degrade me by asking for my faith so all three are evil and are hucksters and I am evil too if I listen to them.
Belief/unbelief in miracles is not just a matter of belief/unbelief but also of decency and virtue. We have to forbid and condemn belief like we condemn somebody’s derogatory remarks. If God expects you to degrade yourself by accepting somebody’s miraculous testimony then why go as far as to believe that miracles indicate the existence of God? Why not just think they indicate the existence of some psychic disorder that causes a miraculous hallucination?
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
The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier