Frequency of Miracles

From TheMetaPicture.com via Pinterest

Anyone who has looked into this will know that it is incorrect – for as long as there has been photography, there have been photos of allegedly supernatural or paranormal things. Photoshot is just a more convenient tool for the task.

But it is interesting to ask why, despite the fact that few people actually claim to have experienced a miracle themselves, belief in such things has not waned in the manner that modern skeptics and scientifically-minded individuals have presumed and predicted. But that doesn’t say anything about who is right about whether one ought to believe that such things occur.

Do you believe in miracles? Why or why not?

  • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

    Have belief in miracles not waned? I’m rather skeptical that we’re living in an age of rational enlightenment, but I’ve not come across any long term data on belief in miracles.

  • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

    Is it Live or is it Memorex? Is it real or fake? Miracles, I’ve had my
    share of them. But the strangest encounters have been with spirits
    during the funerals of the deceased. I guess I’m popular with them
    there. Is there a saluting sailor ghost captured by my camera, or is it
    a Photoshop deception? Oooo, Bela Lugosi.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/97139740@N06/10558483925/

  • http://selfawarepatterns.wordpress.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

    I don’t believe in reports of miracles. The laws of nature have been established with a certainty infinitesimally close to 100%, making the probability of any report of a violation of those laws being accurate, infinitesimally close to zero.

    There have been a couple of articles on this recently.
    http://philocosmology.com/2013/11/14/could-miracles-happen/

  • Jeff Carter

    I believe in the possibility of miracles (or maybe it’s I -want- to believe in the possibility) though I’ve never experienced any directly

  • http://ma-sblog.blogspot.com/ Alice

    I used to, but now not so much. I’ve never actually seen a miracle, but have had experiences that I chalked up to maybe being miraculous. The funny thing is when I stopped actively being a Christian, these same types of experiences still happen.

    • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

      I believe miracles are happening to us every day. We just don’t know how to interpret and categorize the events correctly. Is it chance, coincidence or an intervention from the Holy Spirit that blends so stealthily into our daily lives. I think Apollo 13 was a miracle for the whole world to witness in 1970. As well as the failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in May 1981. And the never detected terrorist atomic bomb, which didn’t explode in the cargo hold of the freighter docked in Galveston in 2008. What you see may be a miracle, even if the impact of the event is meaningless to you.

      • beau_quilter

        Unless you are simply changing the definition of miracle to “good things that happen”, I don’t see how it is meaningful to arbitrarily assign the term in this way. If Apollo 13 was a miracle, what was the Challenger disaster? If failed assisinations are miracles, what are successful assisinations? If miracles are so prevalent, why does human misery still exist? Punishment for the fall of Adam?

        • http://ma-sblog.blogspot.com/ Alice

          That’s exactly what I was going to say….

          • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

            Alice, try this thought if you are searching for the meaning of miracles. If we can ignore God, then God can ignore us. When you notice God working in your life, you will love him more. And when this happens, miracles will become very easy to notice and understand. All of life is a miracle.

        • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

          The miracle is that they survived. I can’t see any miracle being anything other than the result of the Power of Love working to make something good and wonderful to happen. There is no miracle in a Tornado, Earthquake or War. But the miracles are plentiful when Love intercedes before, during and after. God is Love and let this belief, bring miracles into your life.

          • beau_quilter

            The Apollo 13 crew survived because of the intelligent and courageous efforts of the crew and ground control,

            Now, I’m sure that some of those good efforts were motivated by love, and that’s a great thing. I would never denigrate acts that are done out of love.

            In fact, I’m a big fan of good things that we do out of love. If there were a word that I could define as “the power of love working to make something good and wonderful to happen”, I think it would be a very good word. I would use it to describe the way I care for my children or the way that Americans are reaching out in big and small ways to care for the victims of destructive weather.

            I just don’t think it’s useful to call those things miracles, when they have clear, naturalistic causes, and when this post is clearly discussing miracles in the traditional sense of supernatural events.

  • Ed

    Miracles may exist. I have never experienced or observed one. However I think David Hume may offer valuable perspective. I paraphrase; If I saw a man brutally executed last week and this week I observed the same man walking about, what is more likely? That the laws of nature would be suspended on my behalf or in a manner that I approve or that I am laboring under a misapprehension. I have heard many claim to have experienced a miracle, but upon closer examination, no evidence could be found.

  • David_Evans

    I think “paranormal” is not a synonym for “miraculous”. UFOs, alien abductions, ghosts, lake monsters – if these were true they would imply, to a greater or lesser extent, that our current scientific model of the world is incomplete. They would not imply the direct intervention of God which I regard as an essential component of a miracle.

    • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

      So, the miraculous is a form of the paranormal, but not necessarily visa versa?

      • David_Evans

        I think that’s true, though many people who take an interest in the paranormal have no interest in miracles as I define them, and might not want to include them in the meaning of the term.

    • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

      Yeah, precisely!
      And there could be physical ghosts made up of a different kind of matter.
      Those of us believing in an infinite multiverse should at the very least be open to their possible existence in a paralell world.
      Cheers.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    belief in such things has not waned in the manner that modern skeptics and scientifically-minded individuals have presumed and predicted

    -[citation needed]. Also, somewhat off-topic, but bizarre: the Pew Forum reported a fifth of atheists believe in God!
    http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2religious-landscape-study-key-findings.pdf

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Sorry, I embedded a link to Bultmann, who famously said “It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles.”

      • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

        My point wasn’t that modern skeptics didn’t predict it, but that your statement that “belief in such things hasn’t waned” is questionable.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Well, Bultmann’s statement about what is supposedly impossible does seem to have overststed things.

          • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

            True. I can easily imagine a savage thinking both radio waves and New Testament miracles are simply different manifestations of magical forces. But there is no good reason for one with even the meagerest amount of science education to think that.

  • Chris Eyre

    Interestingly, I posted on the subject 10 minutes before reading this. http://eyrelines.energion.net/?p=425 Don’t you just hate coincidences?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Nope. Love ‘em!

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    I think it all depends on one’s epistemology.

    I think there is a SMALL minority of UFO cases which would have been deemed conclusive in mundane areas of investigations such as military espionnage.
    Note please that I am skeptical about little grey men visiting the earth.
    I am agnostic about this, but I find it is a great topic for writing fictional novels, very far from academic peer review :-)

    As for the graphic, the fact that 95% or more turned out to be hoaxes or delusions does nothing to show that there are not genuinely unexplained (albeit not necessarily inexplicable) cases out there.

    Cheers. 

    I think there is a SMALL minority of UFO cases which would have been deemed conclusive in mundane areas of investigations such as military espionnage.

    Note please that I am skeptical about little grey men visiting the earth.

    I am agnostic about this, but I find it is a great topic for writing fictional novels, very far from academic peer review :-)

     

    As for the graphic, the fact that 95% or more turned out to be hoaxes or delusions does nothing to show that there are not genuinely unexplained (albeit not necessarily inexplicable) cases out there.

     

    Cheers.

  • Keith

    Concerning your claim that “few people actually claim to have experienced a miracle themselves,” have you not read Craig Keener’s recent “Miracles”? And, are you thinking only about the West? Just wondering?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I’m aware of his book. And as someone who came to a personal faith in a Pentecostal context, and studied at a Bible college with a cross cultural mission focus, I myself once viewed the world as full of miracles. I’m skeptical of my own past stance on this matter, and have the impression that the prevalence of belief in supernatural miracles in a society has to do with the penchant of people to believe that such things occur, which becomes self-reinforcing.

      • Andrew Dowling

        Not to mention that an argument relying on the testimony of “non-Western” people, like individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some who also still execute people for witchcraft, to me isn’t strengthening their viewpoint.

        Also, I have no doubt belief in miracles HAVE waned in the West. Some Pew study asking “do you believe in miracles” is not adequate, b/c believing in a miracle ie a cancer reversal or chance meeting and believing in a miracle ie people levitating off the ground or rising from the grave are fairly different IMO.


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