It is the common belief that miracles are a fantasy of an over-heated religious sensibility. In our enlightened age, miracles have largely disappeared. Cultures which believe in miracles are regarded as primitive, childlike and, at best, quaint (like clapping your hands if you believe in fairies). Postmodern thinkers believe miracles won’t happen because they don’t happen, because they can’t happen… and so on.
Modern culture believes miracles cannot be true because they break the laws of nature. Those laws, though, imply a Law Giver. But let’s not talk about that.
So do miracles cease to happen in modern cultures? Or do we just stop seeing them? Blinded by our sophistication?
As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” We possess the advanced technology. And yet there are still phenomenon that occur outside our control or ability to explain them.
Considering the number of UFO sightings each year (and rising) there is an appetite for that which is beyond our comprehension.
What distinguishes the religion of Scientism from other religions is it denies the occurrence of miracles, except perhaps those accomplished by its high priests (I mean those holders of advanced technology). I’m not aware that followers of Scientism believe in a Supreme Being, unless he has an advanced degree from MIT.
What rational person could believe in an all knowing entity that answers everyone’s questions in seconds, simultaneously, throughout the world? Before Google that was an absurd expectation. Now it is mundane and expected.
By miracles, I am not talking about parlor trick ‘miracles’ like might be demonstrated by David Copperfield parting the waters of a swimming pool. Nor do I think just any fantastic occurrence would be a miracle. I don’t necessarily think it would be a miracle if a cat were to talk. If it told a funny joke, that would be a miracle, for everyone knows cats have no sense of humor, unlike dogs.
Also, miracles are not a form of wish fulfillment like programming a computer to spit out predictions. That kind of hocus pocus is neither science nor miraculous. How sad to be throwing darts at a digital target and hoping no one notices those darts keep missing. Predictions aren’t miraculous. Results are.
Science is not consensus. And it doesn’t campaign. It isn’t a cult. Science does not recruit the largest crowd of believers to sway public opinion and policy to their side. It is not subject to vote. Pure science is based on meticulous research and replicable, predictable results.
Science doesn’t sell itself. It isn’t supposed to have any agenda but inquiry into the truth of things. Ideally, it doesn’t seek to win anything as it is dispassionate in its search.
By miraculous I am thinking more in terms of spontaneous recovery from an incurable disease, or someone risking their life to save another. These things happen fairly often, but are not predictable and so are thought miraculous by witnesses. They might not even make the news.
Miracles are popularly thought of in positive terms. To hear “It’s a miracle!” would generally indicate that good news had arrived. But obviously, Pharaoh’s army was not happy when Moses parted the Red Sea.
No one predicted Donald Trump would be elected president. It was declared impossible by the experts and described by many as a disaster, a tragedy. Most would agree that it was unpredictable and couldn’t happen again. Yet you don’t believe in miracles? Some still deny it happened.
Science is not all encompassing. Grant money is limited and choices must be made as to what will be researched. Some things are hard to study and so money does not flow to those challenging areas.
Science does not prove anything. It documents results of its painstaking research and posts statistical analysis as to the probabilities of this or that phenomenon. Science predicts based on those published probabilities. Science predicts. If results contradict the predictions, that theory collapses.
Science seeks to disprove. And that which cannot be disproven is deemed to be true (with qualifications).
A one-time event (aka a miracle) is a rare occurrence and so cannot be studied let alone predicted. Those who witnessed that occurrence are dismissed as superstitious for seeing a phenomenon that science chooses to ignore. How predictable and boring would be a life that only experienced ‘what is possible’ as determined by some bureaucrat in a distant government office?
Quantum physics is lifting the lid on some very curious, if not miraculous, phenomenon that do not fit previously accepted paradigms – like particles mirroring each other’s behavior simultaneously despite vast distances separating them. And the famous demonstration of a particle’s behavior being influenced by whether or not it is observed.
Consciousness receives very little attention from the scientific community. Most of us believe in consciousness because most of us believe we are conscious. But try to pin it down or tell me where to pin it. Consciousness is elusive despite seeming to be almost everywhere. Science side-steps it because they just don’t know how to test or duplicate it. Science does not play well with the ineffable.
Scientist and author Dr. Robert Lanza theorizes that death only seems to exist because we identify so closely with the physical body. Because humans are bio-centric, we fail to apprehend that other states of being may exist without our physical bodies. How does one test for that?
A man risking his life by running into a burning building to rescue others is counter-intuitive and irrational. It happens rarely enough to be unpredictable, but everyone knows it happens. Is it miraculous? To the person saved it would be.
Near death experiences are rare and so are ignored by science. Yet they exist. A friend of mine, Ray, describes how he died on the operating table and then watched from afar as the doctors tried to revive him. He realized his wife needed him and so he needed to return. He still tells his story.
The floods in Houston after Hurricane Harvey did not bring the predicted inter-racial blood bath, chaos and anarchy. Contrary to expectations, people instead acted on their best instincts to help one another.
News coverage of the Houston floods evaporated when common humanity appeared. Faith-based organizations converged on Houston to assist those who had lost everything. Atheists, predictably, stayed away in droves.
Many species have virgin births. Science confirms this. A human having a virgin birth would be extremely rare but not scientifically impossible. There is only one account of it ever happening.
One thing about the miracle of Christmas, regardless that you accept the virgin birth, Mary risked her life for her child. Life in those days was cheap but at risk of her own life she protected her baby and herself from death on many fronts. King Herod, fearing his replacement, sought to kill all babies under two years old. Unmarried sex (adultery) was a capital crime then. Mary was a single mother, and homeless. Rather than claiming victim-hood, or aborting him, she gave him birth and nurtured him.
By today’s enlightened and evolved standards, so many options now exist to avoid that dire fate. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood would eagerly offer support. What homeless, single mother these days, would intentionally bear a child under threat of death? It would be completely irrational.
Who would predict Mary, or Jesus?