Modern Day Miracles

If there is anything that I could put my finger on, more than any one thing, that made me lose faith in a god, it was the complete absence of miracles in the modern age.

Looking back, I guess I wasn’t terribly scientific about this process.  I didn’t do a comprehensive study or anything.  But among the people that I knew and loved, the community I was a part of, and the people I interacted with, miracles never happened.  Every Sunday, I sat and listened to how wonderful and powerful and helpful God was, only to notice that he never seemed to come around and help us anymore.  I would watch news with my father, and they never mentioned any miracles.  No, it seemed, God got tired of being helpful.

Now, in the bible, miracles happen all the time.  Jesus obviously healed tons of people, as did Paul and Elisha and Elijah and Moses and Joshua.  They would wave their hand and something crazy would happen.  Dead people propped up, the lame dropped their canes and walked tall and proud, mystical clouds, chariots of fire, walls fell, seas parted, a small basket of food fed 5,000.

After Jesus was long gone, our history is still littered with miracles.  There were dudes that could fly, healing (of course), the sun dancing around, images magically appearing on clothing, apparitions, etc.

But it almost seems like the number of miracles decreased at about the same rate as the rise of recording devices, such as literate people, voice recorders and cameras.  Is this god being camera shy?  In an age where almost every single person in the world now carries a camera every day, extrapolated out we should see dozens of miracles every day.  But we see the opposite.

Well, it turns out, we do have miracles on film!  The Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba performed hundreds of miracles in front of believers and cameras, and called himself the reincarnated saint Sai Baba.  Please watch, and as Sam Harris noted, “prepare to be underwhelmed.”

Again, stealing from Sam Harris, why is it that miracles on YouTube in the 21st century are dismissed, not even worth a mention on the evening news, but the same stories set in illiterate, superstitious middle east are suddenly a project worthy enough to build your life upon?

A few google searches will give you lots of modern day miracles, all equally underwhelming.  Many are demonstrably false, others are protected against investigation, and some are stories that grew in both grandiose and detail as time went on.  In no case is there any legitimate reason for us to believe the events happened.

I was taught to question my faith.  I think they meant “ask why Jesus was so wonderful” or something.  Instead, I asked questions like how do we know the miracles really happened?  I could watch Doug Henning do stuff way more impressive than Jesus, after all, and he is up front with the fact that it’s a trick.  So why do we believe in that old stuff?  If a man claiming to be a reincarnated saint can make jewelry appear in his hand on the internet, what makes Jesus so special?

The very, very, very obvious answer is “nothing.”  Nothing is special about Jesus.  And as I grew older and investigated further, the story got less and less interesting.  Dozens of gods and even actual leaders in the world supposedly born of a virgin.  There were at least a half-dozen savior gods in the region at that time.  Achilles and King Arthur are now the stuff of legends and myth, but we’re expected to believe Jesus’ story is completely true and original.  And miracles slowed down to almost nothing when we found out how to investigate them.

When miracles themselves become as unimpressive as the hustler dealing three-card monte, you’ve lost me.  Even as a teen, I began turning a skeptical eye toward these claims that conveniently happened long ago, but were somehow not able to be reproduced today.  I was told this was because we aren’t allowed to test god.  That is, until I read about dozens of folks testing god all over the bible.

Here’s a scientifically valid test.  Take a rug and put it outside under a shelter.  Pray to god that in the morning, the rug will have dew on it, but the ground will be dry.  Write down the results.  Then the next evening place a rug on the same place, then pray that in the morning the rug will be dry, but the ground will be wet.  Again, note the result.

If Gideon gets to do this test (Judges 6:37-40), a valid, scientific test, then why don’t I?  Why was god so eager to demonstrate his greatness right up until we could actually record it for posterity?  Why do I only get to read about someone else doing this test long ago and far away?

Dear reader, the answer is again quite simple.  The miracle stories were made up to impress people, not to be repeated and checked.  There were no miracles, only stories.  Can we quit living in the world of make-believe now?

The Spartan Atheist

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18 thoughts on “Modern Day Miracles

  1. *lose is the word you’re looking for, not loose:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many years ago, my girlfriend at that time (who was a writer) was commissioned by a Lutheran group to write a series of 6 short films that would be shown in Sunday school. The idea she hit on was a kind of pseudo-Mythbusters thing, wherein the two main characters would test out Bible passages. (Example: Luke 5:7, where they are told to cast their nets again, and fill two boats with fish, almost to the point of sinking. The two characters get a boat and try to fill it with stuff. Cue Benny Hill Yakkety-Sax sequence of them filling the boat with all sorts of things. Hilarious. They get done and remark that a boatload is a lot of stuff, and that in order to catch that many fish, god must have been great, etc…)

    The Lutheran group LOVED them. They were shot and are, as we speak, on the shelves of various Sunday Schools around the area.

    Then, the Lutherans tried to sell the videos to a Catholic group. The Catholics unequivocally turned them down, saying (and I read the email, this is a direct quote) “We are not in the habit of having children question the word of God.”

    Even though the result was favorable to their message, the very act of questioning was problematic to their brainwashing scheme. If I wasn’t already an atheist at that time, that would have tipped me over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, that’s crazy! Thanks for sharing. Yeah, I think the Lutherans tend to be less crazy than most.

      Like

      1. Less crazy than really crazy… still crazy. We have an ex Lutheran friend here in WP and they really messed with his mind. I guess it’s all what you’re used to.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks a bunch for adding to my Bible knowledge with the Gideon reference… I will keep these verses handy next time a proselytizer hides behind their “you cannot test God” excuse. Thanks and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem. I was amazed at how many things I was told as a child were completely opposite in the bible when I took on the project of reading it. It’s seriously the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read. Well, until I picked up the book of Mormon…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A comment I left in findingtruth.info

    I stopped experiencing “miracles” and “divine revelation” the day i stopped attributing supernatural causes for rather physical events. The thing was when i was a christian, my mind was tuned to trying to see God in everything around me. I was always quick to say it was Jesus who did this or did that, I never bothered about checking for the authenticity of the miracle claim, i just always took the person’s claim for it. This is because if you believe in miracles you would always see miracles

    Most of these miracle claims only prove the existence of the God(s) who ever experienced them already believed in or at least was aware off. Many of the “healing miracles” that have occurred in my locality are just forms of the placebo effect. In 2016, my mom’s friend husband has been sick with diabetes and had some kidney problems( which required him to undergo dialysis twice every week ) for some years now. He woke up one morning (i’m using this rhetorically ) and said that he heard that if a certain “man of God” in another part of my country prayed for him he would be well, He traveled and meet the man of God who prayed for him, when he came back he was healed( at least he thought he was healed ) he stopped his medications, treatment and he was in fact better when he came back ( His case was taken as a miracle in the “man of God” church ). But guess what he died not up to 2 weeks after he came back, but his so called healing is still considered a miracle still this day, his miraculous healing was made public knowledge but his not so miraculous death was made top secret.

    What made me start to question miracles was the day one of my asthmatic classmate had an attacked and i experienced how everything transpired. Just for me to go to church on sunday and her survival was considered a work of the almighty ( they disregarded what the work the paramedics did ) and most importantly was the fabricated, cooked up story of the events that transpired.

    Now we have seen Dynamo, Criss Angel walk on water, David Blaine resurrecting a fly, levitating. We don’t consider this miracles but we consider similar accounts in the bible. Now you may say that how many of this magicians tricks we performed has been exposed. You would be right, but how were this exposed we had the benefit of video footage were we could watch this over and over again, in slow motion to see how the were performed. But now many of the biblical and religious miracle claims are what written in paper by people who believe in them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like it, and great comment. Thanks.

      Like

  5. Some Christians claimed a modern miracle when Utah native Jennifer Groesbeck died after crashing into a river, but her 18-month old daughter Lily survived half a day hanging upside down, her car seat positioned above the water.

    The four hero police officers who rescued the baby later reported they heard an adult voice coming from the car. The officers said they no explanation for the voice, but Fox News posters filled the void with it being an angel or the mother’s ghost, emphatically declaring this in all caps and with exclamation points to the power of 10. Praises were lifted to God for sparing the baby, with no accompanying curses for him leaving the young girl motherless.

    As to the supposed voice, it could be due to apophenia. Boats, anglers, bicyclists, hikers, frogs, birds, echoes, trucks, or a flowing river all could have made sounds that were interpreted by adrenaline-pumped rescuers to be a plea from the netherworld. In any event, no miracle is required to survive a car crash that is reported by a fisherman, responded to by police officers, and mitigated by a functioning car seat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always wonder in cases like that, was the mom dying part of the miracle?

      A car crashes, one person survives, another dies. This is not a miracle. A miracle is they are both lifted out of the water unharmed. Or better yet, the car drives on the water as if on concrete and rolls to the shore.

      Its tough work inventing miracles for their absent God.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. with no accompanying curses for him leaving the young girl motherless.

      Oh but … it’s all god’s will, doncha’ know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Having read the bible, I could care less what his “will” is. I’m gonna take care of me and my loved ones and my community, which is more than god ever cared about.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True ‘dat!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. “with no accompanying curses for him leaving the young girl motherless”

      Well god left us his children parentless so I doubt he cares if the girl has no mother

      Liked by 1 person

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