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"Miracles happen all the time"

This was part of a response to my "faith can move mountains" question.

The member went on to say that some are obvious, while some are not, but they do happen "all the time".

This is an extraordinary claim, and as the quote goes, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

What sort of miracles "happen all the time"?

An accepted definition of 'miracle' is:  A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.

Therefore, these "miracles" that "happen all the time" cannot, by definition, be explained by natural or scientific laws.  Not knowing to what "miracles" the member was alluding, I can only guess that the definition of 'miracle' probably disqualifies most of them.

However, for the sake of argument, let's say that miracles do happen all the time.  How do we know which divine entity deserves the credit?

Here's a personal story:  One of my brothers and I got into a discussion about my atheism.  He told me a story about my grandmother that turned him back to religion.  He never said that he was atheist, and I sincerely doubt that he was, but he did imply that religion did not play any significant role in his life.  He implied (as many "converts" love to do) that he was atheist, like me.  Anyway, he said that he was visiting my parents over the Christmas holiday.  My grandmother, who suffered dementia, was living with my parents.  My brother said that as he was walking past her room one night, he heard her having a conversation, but no one else was in the room with her.  He stepped into her room to see if she was alright, and she said that she was, that she was just talking with her husband (deceased) and her sister Hazel, who lived in another state.  She said that they were telling her that they were okay and happy.

The next day, we received word that Hazel, my grandmother's sister, had just passed away.  This was all it took to convince my brother that the Holy Trinity is real, and that heaven exists.  He considered it "evidence" to prove the myths we had been raised to believe in were true.

The story might give one goosebumps without further examination.  First of all, my brother couldn't say whether my grandmother had had similar "conversations" with her dead husband, and other members of her family and friends.  These might have been nightly occurrences, and he just happened to hear one that seemed to coincide with the death of her sister.

Also, my grandmother and my brother were raised in the Lutheran traditions and mythologies.  These are the background for which all their ideas of life, death, and the "afterlife" were formed.  Had they been raised Hindu, or Native American, or in any other tradition, their understanding and fantasies would be colored and shaped by those beliefs.  Their superstitions would have been different, and the "conversations" with people who were either living far away, or deceased, would have had different meanings.

In addition, my grandmother did not mention that they were in heaven.  My brother just inferred that, again based on his upbringing.  Perhaps she really was communing with the dead.  How does that prove or disprove any of the world's religions - or exclude other explanations?

So, I am suggesting that most "miracles" can be explained scientifically.  In fact, I'd say that all "miracles" have some natural explanation.  However, for those who insist that miracles are real, how do you attribute them to the god(s) of your specific beliefs, keeping in mind that other belief systems would be able to attribute them to their god(s) just as easily?  In simpler terms, how do the "miracles" you might believe to happen prove the existence of your particular god?

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 11:13 AM on Feb. 10, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (70)
  • I did not say, or even imply, that people do not question those things they are told to accept without question.  That was an assumption on your part that I meant more than I said.  If I say, "Have a nice day", I do not imply that people would have a bad day without my instruction to do the opposite.


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 5:05 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • "As I said, question everything - especially those things you are told to accept without question."

    I copied this right from your reply.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 5:09 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • i dont believe in miracles and the dumbing down of the word is a pet peeve of mine. birth is not a miracle, sunsets/rainbows are not miracles, getting a close parking space in a down pour is not a miracle.

    i use to watch that show "i shouldnt be alive" and often times they call it a miracle & praise their version of God for saving them. i understand that. when you're life is spared in a less than 1% chance of survival, you're gonna view it as your God's work. personally, i see it as simply that small percentage of likelihood that one can survive coming true, luck if you will.

    Answer by okmanders at 5:09 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • Yes, RyansMommy, and where do I say that no one questions what they are told never to question?  You are making inferences based on your own assumptions, not on what I actually wrote.


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 5:22 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • Unexplained things happen... Would I say its a miracle from god no. Just think how what some may have considered miracles from god 100 years ago can be explained today.

    Answer by skinnyslokita at 5:50 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • I believe I have seen a miracle in my life, but I realize that somebody who wants to think otherwise will not be convinced by what I say, and that's okay because I've got nothing to prove to anyone.

    My ex and I were in a desperate financial situation because he'd fallen ill and couldn't work. With $350 to live on each month, there often wasn't enough money for food. One night, we had two small potatoes, four hot dogs, and a half an onion. That was it. I started slicing everything into my electric skillet, and a neighbor came by and said he was hungry, too. He'd been eating nothing but pancakes after his money ran out. I figured two of us wouldn't get full on what I had, so asking my neighbor to eat with us wouldn't make things much worse. I thought of Jesus feeding the five thousand with the loaves and fishes. I invited the neighbor to have a meal with us, then went back to stir the food in the skillet.

    Answer by Ballad at 5:55 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • For me, any act of G-d is a miracle, whether we can explain it or not. Sure, we can give an "explanation" for pretty much anything, it doesn't mean that it has been explained. It may just jean we rationalized it precisely to avoid seeing it as an act of G-d.

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 5:56 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • When I took off the lid, the skillet was full to the very top. So full I had trouble stirring the food, and I couldn't get the lid back on at all.

    I don't know why that happened to me. I realize there are many people who starve to death in this world, or don't have what they need. I don't believe I'm more special, or have more faith, than anyone else. But if there's a scientific explanation for the full skillet, I haven't found it. People have suggested the food "cooked up"--but potatoes get smaller as they fry; they don't expand. I've tried to replicate the same meal in the same skillet several times, but the pan has never again been filled to overflowig. I even had leftovers that night it happened. So, I believe my God provided for me, my ex, and our neighbor in a divine way. I've looked back on that incident many times and felt cared for.

    Answer by Ballad at 6:02 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • Musicmake I don't believe I have done anything of the sort. I simply answered the question.

    Dardenella, I did not mean for you to think I was implying you were trying to convert me. I apologise if I was not clear. I think it is great that you have faith. My point was that the reason it seems some non believers seem hostile toward believers is because many of us have had the experience of others thinking we should be believers and all we need is convincing. And I have a personal problem with a co worker who want to pray over me, when I don't wish to be prayed over. However, because most of my co workers are very religious, ( they prey for each other all the time, it's not uncommon for me to go into the lunch room and see everyone holding hands praying for someone) if I point out that I would like this to stop, I'm sure there will be social consequences.


    Answer by musicmaker at 6:02 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • So, Ballad, do you believe that the Abrahamic god added more food to your skillet?  When other people of different faiths believe that they've witnessed miracles, is it their gods who perform them, or is it yours?


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 6:20 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

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