What is it about the religious persons psyche that requires anything unexplainable be relabelled miraculous? It seems to me that believers abhor anything they can’t explain or understand, that ‘god’ is the default answer if a rational one eludes us. What is so wrong with saying that something is currently beyond our understanding but that one day we may be able to know all there is to know about it?
Scientists regularly discover things that are beyond our comprehension and that drives them to do research, experiment and postulate hypotheses until there is a theory explaining whatever it was we didn’t understand. I am quite sure that any beliefs regarding ‘the afterlife’ are just another example. Why does the unknown scare people so much?
There was recently an opinion piece in New Scientist titled “Do you believe in miracles?” and as with all articles on the topic of religion the comments section degraded into the usual slanging match between atheists and believers concerning what does or doesn’t constitute a miracle and whether to be a miracle, in the caused-by-god sense, something must defy the Laws of Nature.
For the rational amongst us the fact that anyone would argue that miracles exist and that god causes them is just as ludicrous as people believing the Jonah or Noah tales.
Here’s my take on it. Anything labelled a “miracle” is either simply an occurrence that the observer can not explain or perhaps something intentionally lied about for gain, or just something as yet inexplicable by current scientific knowledge. There seems to be a prevalent feeling in society today that to not know something, or more importantly to be seen not knowing something, somehow implies stupidity. This is very wrong. Being unable to explain something only shows one does not possess the required information, irrespective of whether that is because the information doesn’t currently exist or because one has never learned it. Ignorance isn’t a sin, choosing to remain ignorant certainly should be.
There must have been many things previously thought of as miracles that have since been debunked. Most would be nothing more than coincidences. How miraculous would a solar eclipse have seemed to people in millennia past?
Does David Copperfield perform miracles or illusions? If his act was performed a few hundred years ago it would be called miraculous and/or he would be burnt at the stake. Millions watched as he made the Statue of Liberty disappear that doesn’t make it a miracle.
How does one recognise a miracle as they are indistinguishable from any unexplained phenomenon.
A true miracle would be undeniable. Perhaps a multiple amputee that had been examined and certified as such by several skeptical scientists with no agenda suddenly growing new limbs in a matter of seconds in front of an audience of scientists and doctors that could examine the person again afterward and verify there was no hoax involved. That might qualify as a miracle.
If tomorrow you went to the toilet and excreted the young of ten different species of mammals, fish, birds and insects. That would be a miracle, but only if it was verified beforehand that you hadn’t put them there.
The famous line “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is true.
There is a reason there have never been any verified miracles. There aren’t any. A miracle would require something with the power of a god and as there are no gods there are no miracles.
It would be fair to say. A miracle is in the mind of the deluded beholder.
Please note all references to the word miracle in this article are made based on the current use of the word when concerning religion and supernatural belief not the original meaning of ‘wonderful’ or ‘to wonder at’.
Another post by EvilGod, one of the Unindoctrinated.