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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

This blog on miracles is from Chapter 13 of the new atheist book “Q—is for quare, queries and quotes”. 

Anyone may offer additions to this chapter in the course of the next two weeks. terencemeaden01@gmail.com

Miracle, noun: “A marvellous event exceeding the known powers of nature, and therefore supposed to be due to the special intervention of the Deity or some supernatural agency.” Oxford English Dictionary.

Miracle, noun: “An event which could not or would not have occurred in the ordinary course of nature but is brought about through the deliberate intervention of a supernatural being.” The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy.

David Hume

  1. “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature.”            
  2. “Firm and unalterable experience has established these laws.”
  3. “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”    
  4. Therefore, “the proof against miracles ... is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.” David Hume. 1711-1776.

“So that, upon the whole, we may conclude, that the Christian Religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity: And whoever is moved by Faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience.” David Hume.

“There are those who say it must be a miracle that so many gods can exist inside so many people’s heads.” Terence Meaden. 2004. Atheist Nexus.

“In reality, all experience is mediated by the brain. Paranormal phenomena are nothing more than neuronal events.” After Michael Shermer, Skeptic email circular. 14 April 2003.

“It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” Albert Einstein.

“The false notion of miracles comes of our vanity, which makes us believe we are important enough for the supreme being to upset nature on our behalf.”  Baron de Montesquieu, 1689-1755.

“There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves.” David Hume.  

Isaac Newton: “ ‘Tis the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries, and for that reason, to like best what they understand least.” 1643-1727.

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.” Kurt Vonnegut, from Peter's Quotations.

“It is a curious paradox that precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity, to those mysterious powers assumed by others; and in those regions of darkness and ignorance where man cannot effect even those things that are within the power of man, there we shall ever find that a blind belief in feats that are far beyond those powers has taken the deepest root in the minds of the deceived, and produced the richest harvest to the knavery of the deceiver.” Charles Caleb Colton

“Catholics don’t believe the wafer, itself, is Jesus’ flesh before being consumed. They believe it transforms once inside and broken down, into the flesh of Jesus, much the same way a cow becomes us after we consume it. The miracle is that this occurs after being consumed, in fact, another miracle occurs if you vomit the wafer up, or open a person’s stomach after consuming the Eucharist because it turns back into the apparent form of a wafer. I kid you not.” Goodthink. Atheist Nexus. 10 January 2010.


Since the tsunami in 2004, several times I’ve seen on TV and film, reference to a church that survived when all the nearby buildings were destroyed. This has been called a miracle, and evidence that there is a God. As most of the congregation perished, it seems that property is a priority for God—perhaps he is an estate agent.” Alan Grandy. Letter to NSS Newsline, 9 December 2005.


The Editor of NSS Newsline added: “The latest example of this was seen this week in the distressing film shown on 5 December 2005 on BBC 1 about the tsunami. Once more we were reminded that although everything else in Banda Aceh was destroyed utterly (except the brickbuilt hotels), the church remained unscathed. As Alan Grandy mentions, its parishioners mostly perished. Most of the other buildings in the town were built of wood and straw. The sparing of the church was said to be a miracle.”

 

And is this next a miracle of identical writing from the holy book, 140 years apart?

Compare the verses of the biblical text from 2 Kings Chapter 19, with Isaiah Chapter 37.
These Old Testament books were written by two different authors a long time apart.

The two Books of the Kings were written by Jeremiah between 562 and 538 BCE while the Book of Isaiah was written by Isaiah between 701 and 681 BCE.

Does this count as a miracle? Seeing that they are word-for-word verbatim!! 

____________

“A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it.” David Stevens. 

 “The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again.” Mark Twain.

“Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains.”   Robert G. Ingersoll.  1833–1899.

“Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows.” Robert Green Ingersoll.

“The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it.” Robert Green Ingersoll.

 

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Comment was by Loren Miller on January 15, 2021 at 4:41pm

Done and done, Terry.  Have a look here.

Comment was by Terence Meaden on January 15, 2021 at 5:49am

Yes please Loren, do just that.

Comment was by Loren Miller on January 14, 2021 at 7:34pm

Hey, Terry.

Some time back, I wrote my own piece about the problem with miracles and posted it on Atheist Nexus.  If you like, I'll repost it as a blog here.

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