Friday, June 18, 2010

The Miracle Of Healing vs. Skepticism?

(Click "Read More" to watch the video)

I want to say that the blogosphere is an interesting tool. There are all kinds of people who claim to have some sort of expertise on some sort of subject. There is probably more argumentation over God and miracles than anything else on the internet including internet porn. One one hand this is a good thing that there is robust conversation and that conversation is about God, on the other hand the misinformation that centers around God and miracles is astounding. That misinformation seems to create its own culture of either internet miracle proponents or internet miracle critics and professional critics and skeptics like Michael Shermer, James Randi and others, who are modern thinkers who are scientifically centered. (so they say) These are  individuals who follow Humes thoughts that miracles don't exist as we discussed in an earlier post The Miracle Of Life After Death.

To these individuals it really doesn't matter what anyone's personal experience with God is or what anyone has experienced so far as healing by the hand of God. Yet they persist in calling others close-minded. First, for them, God doesn't exist. Secondly, all things that are not understood in the current realm of reality are chalked off to simple ignorance or lack of knowledge of some natural process. Therefore, critics such as these men play the "naturalistic faith card" to explain what they don't currently understand saying that "We'll understanding it better (by and by) when science comes". So the critic applies a "faith" in science with an expectation that science will answer all things even if its not in their lifetimes...This is revealing. It is called Scientism or Philosophical Materialism, and is actually the worship of the creature (science) and not the creator. 

Romans 1:20-25 ~ "20-For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21-Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22-Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23-And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24-Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25-Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."  

The following is an ABC News 20/20 Report on miracles and their validity. The only problem I had with the story is that it was a "Catholic miracle fest". In my opinion it was presented as if miracles don't happen anyplace else but within the Catholic church. That's certainly not the case. Additionally, the story lends to the the confusion over praying to "saints" and accrediting "saints" to interceding for healing. I guess correctly speaking, Catholics would say that God would have done the healing by the "saints" intervention or petition. Although that's an unbiblical practice it won't be the focus of this article for that's another issue all together. 

What can be pointed out here is whether one is Catholic or not, miracles and miraculous events did and do occur.  Later, I'll present the 4 objections to the miracles that critic Michael Shermer presents and see the gambit of creativity that critics sometimes use in explaining things away even in the light of the scientific evidence of medical records and testing. Here's the video:

In the video you noticed that critic Michael Shermer presented 3 objections against the occurrences of miracles outlined in this report. He follows suit with most other critics but offers something at the end that is somewhat confusing since he claims not to believe in God. He offers the following:

1- That no miracle is really a miracle because science will eventually be able to explain the events, so claiming a miracle is, at best, premature.
As I stated earlier, this position, I believe, is Scientism and or Philosophical Materialism which exalts the worship of science, wherein all things in the natural world can or will be explained by science even if science is currently ignorant of the answer. Whatever science cannot assess is merely written off as something peripheral to man's experience. This is "faith" in science or naturalistic understanding of science. It is interesting that the critic otherwise disavows "faith" as an unnecessary element of life while calling upon "faith" in science to be able to address the currently unknown at some point in the future. 

The greater problem with this objection is the lack of understanding associated with it. To view that a miracle cannot be scientifically perceived is an error. Miracles are scientifically perceived and naturally revealed or else we would not know that anything out of the normal has occurred. How a miracle differs is that it is inexplicable by natural means. Usually the reasons for a miracle is not in accord with what is known about natural processes and not in accord with the regularity or the expectation of scientific observation. The assumption that having a scientific understanding of something proves that it is not a miracle is an unnecessary and inaccurate notion.  

2- Shermer also argues "What about the people who weren't healed even though they prayed?"
Shermer here argues like many critics such as Bart Ehrman and others as if those who experience no miracles somehow offset the miraculous experience of those who have. Again, this argument does nothing to deauthenticate the miracles that actually did occur. The only question here is the sovereignty of God as hailed to the moral sense of humanity or mankind. It assumes the moral sense of man is greater than God and or his purpose. This is similar to a 1 month old baby being placed at an astrophysicist's desk and demanding that the child do complex mathematical calculations...the child is totally out of their league. The critic is totally out of his league to call God's soveriengty into question, but that is another article in and of itself.
3- Dr. Shermer invokes the Law of Large Numbers and states that given the number of total sickness and illness of any given condition, that a miracle or something that looks like a miracle will eventually occur at some point.
Now this argument was interesting. It granted the fact that a miracle is possible based on such a large volume and regularity of illnesses and diseases or injuries that follow their course. In my opinion this is an admission, by a skeptic, that there are miracles and they must exist based on this particular principle.

Now, I'm familiar with the law of large numbers as insurance companies use this to determine rates and rate classifications. Insurance companies such as New York Life have death down to such an exacting amount that every year, at the beginning of the year, they can predict their claims both annually and monthly with almost pinpoint precision and prepare cash drawdowns of millions per month to pay and cover claims. They do this because they actually believe that claims will occur. So, in essence, Shermer's argument against miracles, using this technique, actually strengthens arguments in favor of miracles. Which is something that I don't believe he intends to do.  

4- As a Father (so says Shermer) he may even pray asking for a miracle if the situation was bad enough for one of his children. This is in spite of his skepticism.
Now, this was also astounding. A person who supposedly doesn't believe in God or miracles will pray if his back is up against the wall??? This reveals, in a way, that all his arguments against miracles are only ad-hoc. In contrast, there is nothing that will make a Christian go outside and call for Unicorns to come take us to "Loopy Loopa Land" matter how bad the situation that won't happen because we are confident that unicorns don't exist and that "Loopy-Loopa Land" is only a fantasy. Now, why doesn't the same or similar rationale of belief work in Dr. Shermer's mind? That's because he's not convinced that miracles aren't real and neither is he convinced that God doesn't exist.  

Hebrews 11:6 ~"But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

So this is revealing. Is Michael Shermer, who "says" that he's confident that miracles and God doesn't exist so confident of his proposition that he's willing to stick by it even if times get hard or tough?...I don't know about you, but I don't think so. 



  1. Pastor,

    Some of us need other things to occur in order to believe. I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis, whom many consider to have had one of the most imaginative minds of the last century. He as you know was not a believer, well one day he finally picked up the bible, and read it, and he said, for the first time he saw himself for who he truly was. Now he didn't the red sea open up, nor did he see anyone raised from the dead, but what he did see was the depravity of his own heart. May this too come to these skeptics of science. And may they come to the realization, that science and christianity go hand and hand, some of the greatest scientist of early times were christian.

    And may they also come to realize, as some of us as christians have to, that sometimes your not going to see a miracle, but your going to have to go off of faith and believe. Hope I didn't go off topic to much (smile).

  2. Tony,

    Sorry I haven't been available to banter as usual but you're on point.

    I think the critic fails to realize that science was born out of a time of religious thought. it wasn't secular thought that sparked science, it was religious thought.

    Now we can grant that initially scientific discovery and biblical understanding as was commonly taught were at odds. Even now that's the case in many areas, but that's not problematic when we consider what religion was supposed to do and what science was supposed to do also.

    Discovery of the world and having a greater understanding of it is not an intimidating to Christianity. No matter what is discovered we understand that it is subject to the creative power of God. That's the difference.

    Now some of these use what they find in science to make philosophical conclusions that science doesn't draw or make. That's the problem in my opinion.

    We can't help what we find out through science, but don't look at it and make the claim that it makes statements about God. Those are philosophical statements and not scientific ones.

    What I found interesting is that someone who doesn't believe in something would actually consider yielding to it under any circumstance. I think that proves that he's certainly more of an agnostic than anything, just living in denial that anyone knows about God, which is another silly notion...I mean if no one knows, then how does he know anything at all?

  3. Harveym this is off topic but I notice my posts no longer go up at the Loftus site.

    I am wondering if you have been blocked or deleted or is it just me?


  4. Bt the way, he is now predicting that his NEXT book will "Sink" christianity by the end of this century.

    I think he has Delusiona of Grandeur, as he is attribuing vast powers to himself in this regard, or something is really wrong: he is also exhibiting signs of depression.



  5. Morrison,

    I suppose you're talking about the signs that Loftus is exhibiting...he is a mess 4-real.

    So far as commenting, I haven't posted in a while but he he sometimes moderates and then sometimes he doesn't. He may block you if he thinks you're not sticking to the subject or if he feels your commentary is not something he wants to address...

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by and feel free to comment anytime.

  6. People will the defend and accept evil desires that they think are ok because thats how they "feel" and they claim the perversions are natural but neglect and reject the natural reaction, though spiritual, of human beings to turn to a higher power in times of need. Thats is when all hope is lost.

    People can fool themsleves all they want but when you have no hope you want to find hope. The Dr. says you are going to die and there is nothing I can do for you, that forces skeptics to re think and say "God if you are real..." most of the times.

    This guy really has no rationale basis for saying that these occurances are not miracles apart from the fact that he doesnt believe.

    Numbers of miracles have nothing to do with it.If there is one miraculous occurance, can you then say Miracles dont exist. If there is one Cow left on earth, does that mean that there are no cows?

    The fact that he says he will pray is evidence enough that he is not convinced and is talking this crap to stay relevant.

  7. Paul,

    That's the rationalists argument...based on cumulative case. If such things are less than the "normal" then they can rationalize them away saying that they aren't as "probable"...Then they try to minimize personal experience claiming it to be invalid.

    I mean in you're a nihilist that doesn't believe in any ultimate reality then what can we expect?...weak arguments at best for the unbeliever.

    Just simply write off everyone's experiences and medical records and replace that with the words "delusion" or "faith" in future scientific discovery.

  8. Elder Burnett, this is an awesome post. In my own life experience, I know God still miraculously delivers his people. I've seen God heal cancer and all kinds of diseases. He's healed my body also. And it's more than that. Scientifically speaking we don't fully understand how the fabric of reality holds together. The Bible says Jesus does it.


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