If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
SHOULD A MIRACLE BE DEFINED AS A VIOLATION OF
Is a Miracle Natural or Supernatural?
What do we mean by miracle or violation of nature?
Miracles are acts contrary to the usual workings of natural law or acts according to some definitions that are natural but beyond our understanding of nature. In other words, an event like blood coming from the eyes of a statue without trickery would be a miracle or a statue coming to life. A miracle is what is not naturally possible. It is a supernatural occurrence. It is paranormal.
Miracles are either against the laws of nature or they are not. It's that simple.
Science argues that nature works within the framework of something like law. Science would be impossible if there was insufficient regularity and trustworthiness in nature.
A miracle looks like a violation of a law of nature.
The question arises, is nature broken or interfered with? In other words is the law replaced with a non-law?
Religion says no for the normal law resumes after the miracle. But that has nothing to do with it. That is not an argument.
A law that appears for a second is still a law. The normal law is replaced temporarily - perhaps for a few seconds - with a new law?
A law being replaced by an opposite law even for a second denies that a miracle is a violation of nature.
You cannot see if a law was temporarily replaced or violated. You cannot have any evidence one way or the other.
The hidden assumption
The doctrine that miracles are not violations of nature is based on the notion that God controls it all so there can be no violation. It already assumes God is in control. It’s a circular argument. So as it is irrational to deny it is a violation then If it looks like a violation
What is wrong with thinking nature is violated?
Believers in miracles and non-believers and the undecided don't want to think that nature can be violated for that implies it goes out of control some magic has to fix it or take control. It implies the magical power is not very competent. It does not fit belief in an-all wise and all-powerful God.
Correct Christian belief says that miracles that violate nature are impossible for God is in control. He cannot lose control of nature so that he needs to change its laws to fix the damage.
Many believers say miracles are not violations of nature for God set up natural law and will not change his mind about it for he is always right. If miracles violate nature then they mean that God is not God but stupid and incompetent and mad. He has to force natural law to go against itself as if he is not in control.
The believers fear that you cannot be sure what is real if violations happen. But the miracle believers want to have their cake and eat it. They fear violations of nature but do not admit that practically speaking a miracle which looks like a violation and acts like one is as bad as a violation even if it is not. We don't know if it is not or if we are not meant to take it as a violation even if it is not. And in terms of how it makes us think, it might as well be a violation. You still lose trust in nature.
For a believer to care about evidence for a miracle is akin to looking for the abolition of evidence. Evidence is useless if it points to something that is either possible or impossible and you do not know which. That is the same as believing it is half-impossible.
We have learned that IF an event might be a violation, then you don't know if it happened or not. This means you don't know that if it is a miracle if it was possible or not. Again, even evidence doesn't help. To seek evidence for it would be an insult to evidence. The evidence presented for miracles is really just window dressing to impress the unwary.
Also, evidence is always naturalistic. It ignores the supernatural. Evidence is assuming that there assume there is no supernatural interference. It is nonsense then to accuse those who say they don't believe in miracles of bias. They are not biased for they simply have to reject the supernatural in order to take any evidence for anything seriously.
Violation scientifically impossible?
A violation of nature is scientifically impossible. Miracles that are violations of nature do not happen. So if a reported event looks like a violation, it might be impossible. It could be a violation and that could be itself is bad.
If an event is a violation, then the evidence for the event is wrong no matter how good it is. If violations are not real then the miracle is not real.
A miracle belief is not a belief but an opinion
You simply can’t believe in miracles. At most, you can only be of the opinion they happen.
Extraordinary but natural things happen. There is no need for the miracle hypothesis or belief in miracles.
Somebody says they saw a miracle. It is because you DON'T SEE that you consider it possible that they really did see it. And you decide it possibly or probably happened because they say so. People prefer to run after miracles that others tell them about to actually wanting to see for themselves. That is because they might see it for themselves and see that it is unconvincing. It is easier to believe in what you want to believe if you choose to depend on hearsay.
If violations of nature are impossible then miracles are impossible. Some believers still seem to bleat, "But if the evidence says a miracle happened then it happened." They make as much sense as those who would argue "It is impossible for there to be a God and no God at the same time. But we see the evidence for God in creation and evidence against God in the evil that happens. There is evidence for God so we are wrong to think his existence is impossible". Many say that miracles happening does not mean they are non-violations. Even if violations of nature are possible they may not happen or have ever happened. They would be very rare.
Some define a miracle not as an event that is against the laws of nature but against the usual laws of nature. That translates as saying that there are laws of nature that only take effect occasionally. Though infrequent the miracles are still natural for they are not against the laws of nature. They are not real wonders or signs or miracles at all if nature does them! Those people are trying to obscure the fact that a God having to go against nature after he set it up is not much of a God.
That definition treats miracles as exceptions to the law of nature and not violations. It means nothing for it is just a guess. A real definition cares about what the thing actually is - this cares only about what one wants to think.
Are miraculous events violations of nature and God?
The definitions that deny a miracle is against nature don’t change the fact that miracles may be a violation of natural law. If they are then miracles disprove God’s existence because no rational God will make natural laws and break them as if he didn’t set up the laws right in the first place and needed to change them. If they may be violations then they do nothing to help us realise that there may be a God. They are not evidence for his existence.
Miracles blaspheme God. I believe that miracles, if they happen, speak against the existence of God.
Christians object that miracles are not necessarily a violation. But how do they know? Christians make an assumption about miracles that they are exceptions to natural law and exceptions prove the rule and not violations. And in the light of that, they assume that miracles are signs of God’s love and presence. They say they believe in God and religion because of miracles which is a lie. It is because of what they have assumed about what a miracle is. And even if miracles are exceptions to the rule they are certainly not exceptions that prove the rule. Exceptions only prove the rule when you understand why they were made. And we don’t know why God does what he does. So they are back where they started. The only possible definition for them is that miracles are God changing his laws because he didn’t have them set up right in the first place!
God has the right to change nature if he wants
Another view is that God sets up nature and can change it if he wants. God is free and being free means you can restrict yourself or your freedom. God has to self-restrict. His being free does not imply that he has no law for himself. If God sets up a law that dead men will never rise, and then raises Jesus from the dead he simply cannot make his mind up.
Religion likes to say that God is not confined to his natural law. But when he changes it he makes a new law temporarily. For example, if the law is that statues do not bleed, then he temporarily makes a law to let one bleed. He is still exercising law. He is not confined to keeping it the same but he is confined to law in itself. When God has to keep law and self-restrict himself, surely he will not suspend or alter nature after setting it up?
Christians say that some sceptics seek to define miracles as a violation of natural law so that they can argue, “Natural law doesn’t change. God set it up. Then God has to force change on it to do miracles. If he is really all-powerful he shouldn’t need to force. He is not much of a God.” The believers object that this view makes God a prisoner of the laws he set up which is absurd. But nobody is asking or expecting God to be a prisoner of his own laws. God will make laws not to imprison himself but because they are needed. A God who knows what he is doing will not make a law of nature that he ends up forced to change. A God like that is a prisoner for he cannot do the perfect or best thing. Their argument is nonsense.
If God creates a law of nature and then breaks it then God is going against himself and is far from being competent. Then miracles would prove there is no God. The nearest they would get to proving God would be proving the existence of a clown with supernatural powers. Those who say that miracles are an exception to the laws of nature are merely changing the wording and pretending they are saying something different. Miracles lead to lies. If I am on a diet and I eat chocolate I have broken my diet and pretending its an exception makes no difference. Its a violation.
Religion sometimes argues, "A miracle is not a violation of nature when God does it for a reason." It is still a violation and that is that. Suppose it isn't. Then miracles happening without sufficient reason then must be violations of nature. And miracles that happen for no reason are even more against nature. We can only guess why God might do a miracle. Thus it follows that if there is no violation because there is a reason then we cannot know what the reason is.
Miracles would be violations as far as we can see.
Religion says that if miracles are violations then they do not happen or should
not be believed in. Let it say that then if it wishes!
If miracles are impossible if they are violations of nature, then the believers are agreeing with sceptics who say that miracles that are violations of nature didn't happen no matter how much evidence there is for them. They are agreeing with the sceptics that natural law is fixed and immoveable and cannot alter - though this is the major criticism most miracle believers make against the sceptics. If the believers really believe, they believe that if for example a prophet predicted God would part a river and a strange wind took place that blew a gap in the water that this would count as a miracle. That would be God using nature and not changing nature. God did not use nature to restore Jesus to life after three days dead. That was a contradiction of nature. They cannot accept the resurrection as a non-contradiction of nature.
Some sceptics would say that the scenario with the prophet fails to be compatible with nature. They would say that God still violated nature though he used it to make the miracle. They would say that a transsexual uses nature to change gender but this is still a violation of nature. They would say that just because nature was used does not mean that nature wasn't violated. Also nature might only SEEM to have been used. Just because it looks like the wind had natural causes that doesn't mean that it did. Strange coincidences do happen but we don't think of most of them as miracles so why should we think of a few coincidences in a religious context that happen even more rarely than non-religious coincidences as miracles or as religiously significant?
Religion complains, "Critics say that the laws of nature are fixed and that miracles cannot happen for they are a violation of nature. This is just dogmatically dismissing the possibility of miracles without even considering the evidence for them. Its an unfair approach. It is passing sentence on miracles before investigating them."
But most critics say that miracles are naturally impossible though that in itself does not mean they are supernaturally impossible as well. But they say as a miracle is a violation, it is not believable even if it does happen.
The reason the believers want us to deny that miracles are a violation of nature is because miracles being a violation means they are impossible. They do not want us to realise that a God who violates the law he set up is a mess of contradiction and incompetent and not a God. They are doing sleight of hand with facts and reason as they always do. They are being dogmatic on what a miracle is!!
If people who are dead stay dead and we are asked to believe Jesus didn’t stay dead then we may be dealing with a violation. If religion can assume it’s not a contradiction of nature or a violation of nature but a supernatural event outside of nature then we can assume it’s a violation. When you can assume one why not the other? Why not give the preference to the most natural understanding? And especially when the believers are saying no violation of nature has taken place and then they define miracles as saying a miracle is supernatural and changes nature which is saying it IS a contradiction of nature.
Therefore the accusation that we are being dogmatic is slander for they are being dogmatic themselves. It follows then that miracles promote the immorality and arrogance of dogmatism. Since they are not signs from a loving God we are more entitled to believe they are violations, and therefore impossible, rather than supernatural events. A bad god wouldn’t waste time doing them.
The believers are saying that we must look at the evidence for miracles before we can decide if they are a violation and impossible. That is like saying, "Miracles are not a violation of nature because there is evidence for them". That is unfair for if the idea that if "miracles are a violation therefore they don’t happen" is right then the evidence is wrong. Evidence doesn't always point to the truth.
The requirement that you be solid in what natural law is before you can identify a violation
You need to be sure what natural law is before you can put down any event such as a dead woman appearing to a child as being against the law of nature. So natural law is fixed and God changes the law to do something strange. This implies that God didn’t set up the laws right in the first place. How then could miracles be signs from Heaven coming from a God like that? What right would we have to think miracles are supernatural when it could have been one of the laws that came about from God’s mistakes that did the miracles? If miracles are violations of nature then miracles are unintelligible and the definition as given here makes no sense. If nature is broken you don’t know what nature is so you can’t describe anything as a violation of nature!
There is a contradiction between saying you must be solid in what natural law entails and then must recognise violations. How can you? You are getting a mixed message.
If miracles are against nature, then God has to change nature to do them. He sets up the law for instance that anybody dead for three days cannot rise. But if he allows an exception - whether that exception is a violation of the law or not - then the law isn’t true any more. Its not a law. Then natural law is nonsense. Christians will reply, "But exceptions prove the rule." Not in this case. An all-powerful God should be able to create a universe in which he does not need to suspend his laws. If he doesn't then he is a bit of a show off and unfit for worship. God would be in charge of everything. If we abuse free will, we do it because of him and not in spite of him so he is ultimately responsible for all that happens. A God with that amount of control has no need to change the way nature works. If he does miracles, he has no need to make them known. Surely if Jesus had to rise from the dead to save us this resurrection could have taken place in secret and still do its job? We should be doing good works instead of investigating miracles. God by doing miracles infers that the miracles matter most. Evil.
Be agnostic on the source if miracles are violations
To admit miracles are against the law of nature means there could be a law against nature that is not divine in origin but which could be doing them. We are saying we cannot understand how miracles happen or the force that causes them meaning the cause could be any bizarre thing or it could be a law that is able to break nature for miracles are bizarre by definition. The definition does not support the view that miracles are indicators that God exists and where the true religion is to be found. When it fails to do it we cannot expect the other definitions to help for they are less extreme.
If miracles are not against the law of nature then there is no need to bring in God as an explanation for them. Perhaps some kind of invisible intelligent computer is doing them. We can invent whatever possible explanation we wish and nobody has any business saying, “God did this or that”.
Watering down law
Another problem is the fact that laws do not cause things to be the way they are. They only describe the way they work. Laws are merely descriptions of what happens and the way nature works uniformly and with regularity. Believers say that the laws of nature are merely generalisations about ordinary events caused by God and miracles are events that happen outside the ordinary i.e. are supernatural. But this problem can be safely ignored. Religion is only raking up the problem because it wants to argue, "There aren't really any laws of nature. We only think there are. It only looks that way. The statue in the Church then down the road could have come to life like some people said." But that is saying there are no miracles in reality. The acorn falling off the tree is much of a miracle as the statue having tea and scones.
If you deny the validity of natural law then to talk of miracles is ridiculous because a miracle is by definition something that varies from or conflicts with natural law. If there is no natural law, the word miracle means nothing. Miracles do deny that natural law is valid which is the same as saying natural law is not law for they break it and claim that nature is unstable. Miracles even imply that we should abandon our most important belief, that nature works by laws for the sake of a less important belief, that God communicates through miracles – events which change nature! They are anti-person and therefore pro-evil. Yet miracles need to assume natural law is valid and fixed before they can break it or be an exception to it.
To illustrate the antimony between nature and miracle, I draw attention to what I wrote in the past, “I believe that miracles – alleged events like Jesus rising from the dead, if they happen, speak against the existence of God. Some believers say they are not violations of nature for God set up natural law and will not change his mind about it for he is always right. If miracles violate nature then they mean that God is not God but incompetent and mad and we cannot trust his natural laws. Now if miracles are natural then it follows that we should always assume that there is a natural explanation for them even if we don’t have one yet which means they are not miracles!"
Miracles are not evidence for God but there is more.
It is only the evidence of physics and its proofs that has the right to declare if a natural law has any fluidity. Believers have no right to declare it fluid so that they can make room for miracles. That is religion telling science what to teach instead of letting science do its job.
Evil of miracles
Miracles are either compatible with natural law or they are not. In other words, some natural illusion could make a statue seem to cry tears of blood. It might be inexplicable but natural. But if its a magical event then the blood is coming out of nowhere and its supernatural. Many say, even religionists, that if miracles are against the laws of nature then they are ridiculous and impossible and the reports that they happened are wrong. So to keep believing they deny that they are against natural law. They have to believe that miracles are not a break in order. If they are right then miracles are not intrinsically evil. But if they are wrong then miracles are evil.
When a miracle report is judged credible, believers only assume it is not a violation of nature. They assume so they don’t believe its a non-violation though they lie saying they do. They are only guessing. When we have to guess that so-called miracles are not anti-nature what is the point of any God doing them for they are just left guessing? They would prove his unintelligence which amounts to disproving God! They prove he is the kind of God who would set up laws to break them. Miracles still may be a violation of nature which means that their assuming is as reckless as assuming that triggering a nuclear bomb won’t make it go off. It is less serious to trigger the bomb than it is to question that natural law is free from supernatural interference because it is our belief in nature that enables us to have a life at all. Belief in nature is our basic need. It is absolutely necessary to hold that the supernatural has a natural explanation for holding to anything else is evil.
Without miracle being a sign from God, we have no reason to take the God concept seriously or to insult sufferers by looking upon their suffering as the mere absence of evil and non-existent for God must be blamed. And if a miracle is a violation of nature then it is evil how it won't violate nature as to end all suffering.
Believers have to pretend they know more than they know in order to proclaim miracles as part of their faith. In reality they are being arrogant and using faith to channel that arrogance.
Nature violates itself?
If God does not do miracles that violate nature, then it follows that if he does do miracles they happen for sound reasons and because of that they do not violate nature. For example, its a violation of the law to preserve life to kill a man at random but to kill him in self-defence is not a violation of the law. It is down to the reasons. It follows that if a miracle was accepted as genuine and it never happened at all then religion is putting forward evidence that a violation of nature has happened. False miracles and claimed violations of nature amount to the same thing.
Some Christian philosophers state that the supernatural violates nature and even sometimes that nature can be made to violate itself - eg when somebody is beamed down from a spaceship as in sci-fi. Thus they say that there is no such thing as a law of nature that says a man cannot die and rise again in three days.
Their argument is a trick. It is because of the laws of nature that the beaming down can happen.
It is all in the looks!
Miracles look like they break the law of nature. If it looks like a man committed murder we have to call him a murderer. Saying that the man could have been possessed by evil spirits to kill so that it wasn’t him or that a demon or alien did it while disguised as the man doesn’t help at all. How it looks is what we must go by. And so it is with miracles – assume they break natural law.
I would add that when a miracle looks more like a violation of nature than anything else, miracles would have to prove they are not a violation to be acceptable. That would mean only top scientists with an IQ so high that it can’t get any higher would witness miracles for they would be in the best position to verify that no violation took place. But even these wouldn’t know enough so it seems silly to believe that miracles are non-violations. Most people will not and never will accept miracles as non-violations. Those that do wouldn’t accept them as non-violations if they knew better. Miracle believers say that real miracles verify human beliefs as agreeable with the word of God so logically what most people make of miracles is what miracles intend most people to make of them. So whatever does miracles must want them to be seen as violations of nature.
A miracle must be believed to be a contradiction of order and therefore evil.
When a miracle is reported and accepted by the religious, they are forced to assume that what looks like a violation of nature is not. But they and we can assume that it is. It's 50/50. Assuming will not take away the fact that it is 50/50.
Miracles are violations of nature and are absurd for they both need a God and deny his existence. They are impossible if there is a God and if there isn't. And there are sinister and harmful implications to accepting them and to making them sacred as religion does.
Miracles are a violation of natural law. Even if they are not necessarily we do not know so to believe in them is to violate a natural law that needs us to have confidence in natural law. If miracles were possibly violations of nature but not necessarily violations, it still remains true that when a miracle happens it lessens our faith in natural law. This is evil for the stronger our perception and acceptance is of natural law the better.