Are miracles possible?
No, according to an atheist acquaintance of mine. Here’s why:
1. Miracles are not repeatable events. Therefore they are not scientific.
2. For any supposed miracle, there is always, always a natural explanation, even if we don’t know what it is (yet).
3. Eye-witnesses who believe they’ve seen a miracle are always gullible, mistaken, sometimes even fraudulent. Religious people, especially, are prone to see what they want to see.
In reply, I say this sounds very dogmatic.
To take an example, my wife Sharon had an inflamed shoulder for six months. At church, Michael and Rachel prayed over Sharon and she was cured that very day.
A Christian could investigate Sharon’s claim of divine healing and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, based on the evidence of dramatic physical change and the credibility of Sharon’s testimony.
If either were in doubt, the Christian would doubt the miracle. Otherwise, there is no reason to doubt.
But the skeptical investigator (my acquaintance mentioned above) would automatically disbelieve Sharon’s report, no matter what. In fact, since the exact conditions of her healing cannot be replicated in an objective laboratory environment, there is no need to even investigate. The miracle did not happen. Case closed.
* * *
In his short book, Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton remarks, “Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them . . . because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them . . . because they have a doctrine against them.”
Orthodoxy Part IX: Authority and the Adventurer
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