The other day a friend told me an amazing story. She had been shopping all afternoon for a new camera, had found one she liked, and had asked the sales clerk to ring her up. At nearly the very moment she was to sign the credit card, a friend called her and asked what she was doing. When she replied that she was just about to purchase a camera, her friend emphatically told her not to sign the credit card. The friend had a quality camera that he had been planning to give her. Amazing, right!
The following Sunday, my friend attended church and testified to the amazing way the Lord had been working miracles in her life. The entire congregation praised God for the clear signs of his power, and marveled that there were unbelievers who could deny such miracles. One unbeliever who was attending confessed that he had finally seen evidence that God was real, and got on his knees and surrendered his life to the Lord.
No, actually the entire last paragraph is a lie. My Japanese friend, in spite of her amazement, attributed it to mere chance. However, had this happened to an American Evangelical, the last paragraph would have been entirely plausible.
This raises an interesting question. If this is truly a “miracle” rather than mere coincidence, why would God be wasting his miracles here in Japan where they are so grossly under-appreciated?
If you take a look at such “miracles” statistically, you’ll notice that they occur suspiciously with the same frequency the world over. Why does God go so far out of his way to map his “miracles” onto probabilities?
Is DNA code? This question has been answered affirmatively by some in an attempt to argue that DNA requires an intelligent author. Therefore the more fundamental question is “Did DNA arise from a natural process or from an intelligent designer?”
This is a legitimate question, but not a unique one. Throughout history, millions of similar questions have been asked, all having the basic form of “Does X have a natural or a supernatural cause?” Plug pandemics, lighting or psychotic behavior into X as examples.
For most of these millions of questions of causation throughout history, there have been 2 basic approaches.
I’m not quite sure why, but miracles have not been faring too well in this age of science. Remember back before science started snooping around? You had miracles nearly every day in some form or other. It was a leper healed here, someone walking on water there. And you didn’t have some skeptical mind trying to apply some rigorous criteria for verification or whatever they call this newfangled scientific methodology that comes outfitted with excessive statistical analysis, probability theory, and the like. We just believed what we saw. Or at least what the butcher’s wife said that her cousin’s plumber said about the afternoon he saw Jesus wither a fig tree in a fit of anger. This is the biblical scientific method. If it was good enough to convince the Crusaders to risk their lives in the killing of the ungodly, it’s good enough for me.
Christians today are in a bit of a logical quandary. Not that they’ve noticed. Logic has never been a necessary component of blind faith in fiction. Humans and their self-deceptive minds have long been able to find a semblance of happiness within an incoherent position. But let me outline the dissonance Christians are attributing to merely the annoying background hiss of logic that they can simply ameliorate with an increase in the volume of their scriptural rhetoric. Continue reading →
On March 9th, Fred Winters, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois was shot and killed by a man who walked into the service and began firing. Bullets hit Winters’ Bible, and the gun jammed after a few shots, but Winters died.
Here are a few questions you might want to consider to determine whether you selectively, arbitrarily, inconsistently or absurdly ascribe phenomena to the power of God.
If the Bible would have stop the fatal bullet, would this have been positive evidence for God’s protection?
Since the bullet that hit the Bible did not stop the fatal bullet, is this negative evidence for God’s protection?
If the gun would have jammed before the fatal shot, would this have been positive evidence for God’s protection?
Since the gun did not jam before the fatal shot, is this negative evidence for God’s protection?
If Fred Winters would have survived, would this have been a miracle?
Was the death of Fred Winters a miracle?
What is your criteria for deciding what is and what is not a miracle?
Is your criteria used consistently among Christians?
Is your criteria consistent with the way the word miracle is used in the Bible?
Comments are encouraged.
You can read a forum discussion based on this post here.
Look at the clearly visible miracles at the center of the picture below behind the five colored rectangles. You and I can clearly see these miracles, but do you know there are some who cannot? These people are often called skeptics. They have no understanding of or respect for faith, and even attempt to disparage faith as something unproductive or detrimental to a healthy understanding of self and life.
The godless would have us believe that the rectangles obstruct the miracles to a degree that they cannot be seen. However, miracles cannot be seen with ordinary eyes. If this were so, faith would have no purpose. God wants us to employ faith to assist our myopic rationality. Unless we go beyond this doubt by accepting God’s gift of faith, we will see nothing but the shadow of the rectangles. It is actually the rectangles that do not really exist. Let me address each of these rectangles that skeptics claim cast doubt on the miracles that you and I experience in our lives every day.