On Guard

Miracles ? Purpose/Aim many others on both sides have produced much greater efforts than me. Eg see Kevin Rogers article on the RFA website demonstrate that non-belief in miracles is a purely philosophical one define miracle promote rational scepticism a guarded open mind differentiate between atheist and Christian apriori rejections

demonstrate that belief in miracles is perfectly rational not look in detail here at specific miracles promote rational thinking & proper examination of the evidence If miracles are real they can stand rigorous examination. If they are not then they need it. So

Are miracles possible? Can miracles happen? Have miracles happened? Do miracles happen? What exactly is a miracle? What do we mean by the word?

again Are miracles possible? Can miracles happen? Have miracles happened? Do miracles happen?

What exactly is a miracle? What do we mean by the word? Miracle?

Something that cannot happen? The least probable explanation for any given event? A happening contrary to the laws of nature? A highly unlikely good event (eg. winning the lottery) Chambers Concise Usage Dictionary: 1. something which man is not normally capable of making happen and which is therefore thought to be done by a god or God: Christs turning of water into wine was a miracle.

2. a fortunate happening that has no obvious natural cause or explanation: Its a miracle he wasnt killed in the plane crash A miracle is an event described by those to whom it was told by people who did not see it. Elbert Hubbard Miracles do not happen Matthew Arnold Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot

explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles. George Bernard Shaw Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you'll see them all around you. Jon Bon Jovi David Hume Scottish philosopher 1711-1776 "Of Miracles" is the title of Section X of David Hume's An Enquiry concerning Human

Understanding (1748) Hume starts by stating that he believes that he has "discovered an argument ... which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion He defines miracle as: "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent. Laws of nature, however, are established by "a firm and unalterable

experience"; they rest upon the exceptionless testimony of countless people in different places and times. "Nothing is esteemed a miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of nature. It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country."

"In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue. Ethan Allen Refuting Hume (see RFA website article by Kevin Rogers) Observations and the age of the universe

How do we know that something is contrary to the laws of nature? Just because we have never observed something does not make that something impossible. According to Hume any proven miracle is, by defn, no longer a miracle. Thus his argument becomes meaningless. Atheist Miracles big bang - creation of everything from nothing

spontaneous generation of life from non-life ability of random aggregations of matter to develop consciousness with the capacity to observe and reason validly quantum mechanics - spooky action at a distance Schrdingers cat... Random Faith Can we trust our senses? Our observing, our thinking, our

reasoning, ? The existence of optical illusions seem to imply: NO. Rotating Window See Rotating Window It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions

of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds Scepticism is a good thing Most sceptics limit their scepticism to a

collection of their pet hates or personal biases. They rarely, if ever, question their own presuppositions It is important that we question everything It is imperative to recognize and acknowledge that we all have incomplete knowledge/evidence. Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows. - Robert Green Ingersoll

Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist. - David Ben-Gurion For all his learning or sophistication, man still instinctively reaches towards that force beyond. Only arrogance can deny its existence, and the denial falters in the face of evidence on every hand. In every tuft of grass, in every bird, in every opening bud, there it is. - Hal Borland The foundation of our religion is a basis of

fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge. Simon Greenleaf The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. - David Hume

Apriori Rejections Atheists (and others) dismiss out of hand any possibility of miracles, refusing to even consider the evidence. Why waste time and effort on something when there is only one possible outcome anyway? Christians What about: (a) fairies at the bottom of the garden?; (b) The Great Pumpkin?; (c) Easter bunny?; (d) Perpetual motion?; (e) Horoscopes?; (f) ... Are we any different?

An open mind combined with proper scepticism is needed. False Miracles there have been many false claims from both Christians and others. Some outright frauds, some genuinely believed. eg. weeping statues/pictures; healings; apparitions; unthinking interpretations of actual events/images based on

unexamined pre-conceptions Yankalilla Anglican Church wall Kakadu rock wall Miracles and Magic Any god we can control is, to some extent at least,

acceptable. The difference between miracles and magic is that miracles are believed done by this divine being, while magic by me, under my control. Miracles are always presented as being good Magic can be good or evil (black magic?) because it comes from the human heart. Magic, ESP, etc. appear similar in nature to miracles, and so official scepticism is very high. But since they are believed to be intra-universe (if real) then the imperative

to deny or debunk them is less. Christians and Magic God is Spirit ie. different substance to the material of this universe God created other spirit beings, some of whom rebelled against God. Magic is not a part of this naturalistic universe, and so, if it exists, must be due to the actions of these malevolent spirit beings

(since not of God). We must remember that Satan has his miracles, too. - John Calvin Aliens & UFOs It is those who are most eager to find extraterrestrial life who seem to be the most opposed to believing in God or in any sort of supernatural Many people believe in UFOs spacecraft piloted by aliens who come to visit our planet.

Physics and evidence and logic refute this, but many insist on believing anyway. Do Christian (and other) claims of miracles fall into the same category? Christians and Aliens Christians believe God could create life on other planets, but consider it unlikely. What about claims of alien abductions? Not every such report can be dismissed as

insanity, hallucination, drug-induced, or deliberate deception, or the like. Christian belief in malevolent spirit beings (as applied to magic above) would then be appropriate here too. Miracles Performance magic (illusions created by performers) appear impossible; but only because we don't know the trick. Similarly miracles which

appear to violate the laws of nature may just be so because we don't know what is actually happening If miracle is defined as something that cannot happen, then miracles dont happen. BUT a miracle is generally considered to be a rare event, a good event, and something requiring external input of some sort where external beyond the control of anyone involved. Miracles are not contrary to nature, but

only contrary to what we know about nature. - Augustine Miracles & God If God exists, he may or may not perform miracles. BUT if miracles are real, then this implies that God must be also. Thus if your apriori position is that God does not

exist then miracles MUST be rejected out of hand, no matter what the evidence. One genuine miracle is enough to obliterate the foundation of everything you believe in. Since this cannot be allowed, miracles must be denied no matter what. Miracle in the Bible

The Greek words translated miracle in our Bibles are and (dunamis and smeion). Generally translated as power and sign. What we call miracles were then considered to be acts of power, and/or signs to verify the status or claims of the one displaying them. Thus a miracle is something that would not happen by itself in the normal course of events but requires the input

of power from some external source. Consider also popcorn, electric lights, man on the moon. A miracle is no more contrary to the laws of nature than any of these normal things. Creator and Creation If God exists then it stands to reason that he would take an interest in his creation and involve himself in it. Such a God sufficiently powerful to create the entire universe from nothing is not lacking in the where-withal to tweak things possibly in ways we may be totally unaware of. Some interventions (tweakings) may be apparent to human

observation. Some may even correspond to or follow human intercessions or requests. We may call these miracles. Why some things and not others we may think equally or more worthy? But (by defn) his grasp of the big picture must be incomparably greater than ours, and he always does what is right and best. Examples There are multitudes of claims world-wide; some written up. Some very doubtful, some

highly credible, some extensively documented. Just because you claim to have never seen one doesnt mean they dont exist. I personally believe in many things I have never seen (eg. Moscow, Grand Canyon, neutrons, ...). You can understand why I'm a believer. I have seen miracles. - Benjamin Carson Examining Miracles

According to Stephen Jay Gould the "nonoverlapping magisteria" of science and religion must be kept distinct. Miracles are a valid topic for religious discussion, but should be excluded from any empirical or rationalistic study since they are not a part of the real or material world. Related to this are the claims of the effects of prayer, since prayer is clearly a request to a deity. One problem with the idea of running live studies is that it assumes we can control God (assuming he exists) with our prayers. But if God is truly God then we can never control him.

Candy Gunther Brown (Testing Prayer, Science and Healing, Harvard University Press) has found ways to conduct successful and rigorously valid clinical trials that have shown much greater results than expected from such a study. Miracles & Coincidence Some miracles are not so much considered miraculous by their nature as by their timing or high degree of unlikelihood. Thus some miracles are dismissed as merely coincidences. Christians who believe in miracles also readily acknowledge

that many unlikely events that take place are in fact genuine coincidences. Coincidences are real. BUT there are definite situations where the circumstances point so clearly to an external influence that, aside from apriori assumptions that this is not possible, miracle is clearly the best and most reasonable explanation. Growing up closes so many doors. The modern world doesn't allow for miracles, so we don't see them. It's a very precious gift, an open mind, but

it's not passive. You've got to nurture it like a bed of roses; otherwise it will wither and die. Make sure you don't close off your mind to things you find strange. Sometimes they may be the only truth. - TIM LEBBON, Fears Unnamed Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. - CS Lewis Summary/Conclusion

If God does NOT exist and the material universe is all there is, then no matter the evidence, miracles do not exist, but merely natural phenomena which we do not understand. This is, however, begging the question and assumes the conclusion. If God DOES exist then he has every right and all necessary power to influence/affect/engage with his creation in any way he sees fit. Any such action would be in keeping with the natural order which he created and NOT contrary to the laws of nature. Clearly, it would also result in a different effect than if he had not so acted just the same as when any of us does anything.

This is thus (a) an exercise of power and (b) a sign to us of his existence and involvement. Thus for anyone prepared honestly and with a guarded open mind to properly examine the evidence, belief in both miracles and miracle worker is rational, reasonable, and easily the best interpretation. Questions / Comments ?

Recently Viewed Presentations

  • HHS Tumbling Unit - Physical Activity is for Today; Physical ...

    HHS Tumbling Unit - Physical Activity is for Today; Physical ...

    3.4 Chun Weng just started learning how to tumble and decided she really enjoys it and wants to improve enough so she can join the school's gymnastics team. She will need all of the below emotional factors to achieve her...
  • PowerPoint Presentation

    PowerPoint Presentation

    Why study? "The purpose of the industrial lands analysis is to understand the importance of industrial lands to the regional economy, to assess whether the region has an adequate and appropriate supply of industrial land for the future, and to...
  • The Essential Conflict between "Computer" and "Forensics" Eur ...

    The Essential Conflict between "Computer" and "Forensics" Eur ...

    The Essential Conflict between "Computer" and "Forensics" Eur Ing Matthew W A Pemble CEng FBCS CITP FICAF MIET CISSP CFE CISM What does "Forensic" mean We understand "forensic" (adv) Of, pertaining to, or used in a court of law, now...
  • Matter and Measurement - Columbia University

    Matter and Measurement - Columbia University

    Vibrational excitation: infrared Organic Chemistry Chemistry of carbon-containing molecules Carbon: has four electrons and four valence orbitals, and so its compounds have neither too few electrons, requiring electron deficient structures, nor too many electrons resulting in excessive lone pair-lone pair...
  • Kaszubi - historia, język, tożsamość.

    Kaszubi - historia, język, tożsamość.

    Kashubs' homeland spanedalmost across entire Pomerania - From the lower reaches of the Vistula river in the east, as far as today's German . Vorpommern in the west and the to the river Notec in the south.
  • Subcultures - Sociology at Girton

    Subcultures - Sociology at Girton

    A youth subculture is a youth-based subculture with distinct styles, behaviors, and interests. Youth subcultures offer participants an identity outside of that ascribed by social institutions such as family, work, home and school. Youth subcultures that show a systematic hostility...
  • PowerPoint Presentation

    PowerPoint Presentation

    Sandstone changes into quartzite;Sand grains recrystallize to form a hard mass of quartz. Metamorphic Rocks. HOW ROCKS RECYCLE? The rock cycle is a general model that describes how various geological processes create, modify, and influence rocks.
  • Department of Agriculture Organizational Chart Dr. Rob Rhykerd

    Department of Agriculture Organizational Chart Dr. Rob Rhykerd

    Hort Center . About Us . The Horticulture Center is a recent addition to the Agriculture Department at Illinois State University. It encompasses 10 acres and is located on Raab Road, north of the University Golf Course.