Religion says you know a miracle by how it is something that nature cannot do.  So the miracle first and foremost is a message to nature and us that nature cannot do this thing.  God is believed to be sending the message to show that nature is nothing compared to him the creator of all from nothing.  Yet we know that just because nature cannot do something and it happens it does not mean that a creator from nothing is doing it!

Religious Christian believers today tend to argue that Hume defined miracles as a violation of nature and that this definition is unacceptable. They say it makes miracles sound ridiculous.  Take it from me it is not miracles they are worried about.  It is themselves looking ridiculous.  Yet the Christian will see miracle claims that if you burn your child in honour of Molech that child will be rewarded with a new and better life that lasts forever as ridiculous.  Yet the Christian will see Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet's miracles as ludicrous such as carrying gold plates that should have been too heavy for him and an angel coming to take them away from the prying eyes of scientists.  If comedy happens then some comedy will be totally ludicrous.  If miracles happen then totally ludicrous ones can happen too.

Christian evidence for say Jesus rising is about his body missing from the tomb and his appearing to his disciples.  Notice they are telling Jesus how to give the evidence.  They are telling him to leave an empty tomb and appear.  But what if the tomb was robbed and he rose anyway after the thieves threw him in the sea?  What if he chose dreams to appear in?  What if he chose to put his hand invisibly on the shoulders of the apostles to convey he was still alive?  The fact is that without the vacant tomb and the stories of his appearing they would not believe even if the dream and touching data made up a full length gospel on their own.  This is not about faith but ideology.    This is not about truth but about superstition.

If God sets up natural law and then breaks it then God is a changeable God and a fool.  There is more to worry about than that. God supposedly sets up an order out of love for us. Yet a God who is not clear on what the violation if any would be is not interested in that at all.  You can look at Jesus rising from the dead or casting out a demon and say these are examples of nature being violated. They are examples of violations yes but not necessarily of a dead man rising or getting a demon out. Take the resurrection. The violation could be that Jesus to all accounts and tests was dead and was still somehow alive and able to come back. So the violation is how the tests for death could be wrong. Or the violation is could be that a duplicate appeared and thought he was Jesus back from the dead and even had Jesus' memories. The violation could be a mix up in time like in Science Fiction where dead people in a time warp turn up alive again.  One opinion is as good as another and for religion to guess what kind of violation happened, eg Jesus rose, and declare it definitive is just dogmatism and is definitely ridiculous. 

Other reasons to worry about miracles being violations -

First, there is no reason to believe the following might be wrong, "If anybody reports a miracle they are claiming that a violation of nature has happened. And this is what they are claiming whether they realise it or not." If it looks like a violation then it could be a violation even if it might not be. One is entitled to assume it is a violation. Assuming it might be one is as bad.  Life cannot go on if we are too agnostic on many things.  Assuming the baby sitter might be a baby killer will have consequences.  Religion and philosophy have utterly failed to convince anybody rationally that one has no right to assume such a thing or adopt such an opinion. Miracles then cannot come across as evidence to the impartial mind that any religious faith is true or that any religious idea is true.

If religion believes miracles do not violate nature it is only guessing it. Most religion these days tends to be embarrassed about the idea that miracles violate nature. If they are right then it is bad enough if miracles violate nature. But belief in them is doing nature more harm than the miracles do. Nature is so important and is our life and breath. To believe it has been violated insults it even if it has been violated. To believe it has been violated when it has not is clearly far worse. Belief in one miracle encourages belief in others and so encourages attitudes that nature has been violated or may have been. Even believers in miracles have to admit if they are honest that they are saying nature may have been violated.

Second, most reports of miracle claim that a violation, or an absurdity, has happened. An absurdity would be a worse way to describe the miracle than a violation. But perhaps a miracle could be a violation without being absurd.  God needs to tell you why he did the miracle and tell you clearly to rule out the absurd so you assume it is absurd until he gives you the information.  Ghosts and many other kinds of miracle have ridiculous elements. Such certainly do attempt a violation of nature.  They want you to perceive a violation even if it is not one.

How can I say that most miracle claims and reports are stating that a violation of nature, or an absurdity, has happened? Let me give an example. If it is true that God does miracles, and when he does them he does not violate nature, that means the miracle is only done for extreme reasons. If exceptions prove the rule, then they can only do that when the exception is unavoidably necessary. This is the received "wisdom", "An exception will happen in a situation where the general rule becomes unimportant." If so then I report a miracle and  I am lying, I am putting evidence into the world that a violation of nature or absurdity has happened. I am accusing God of having done a miracle when he didn't do it for there was no pressing need.  The exception notion implies you should only affirm a miracle for a serious reason and for serious evidence.  So to lie would be very wrong.

Now if the miracle is done for serious reasons then why does it happen in devout circles?  If God wants to clean hearts and souls, you would expect miracles to be most likely in degenerate societies.  You could even test God by trying to force a reaction from him by making the societies even worse.

Religion is bound to have mistaken some non-miracles for miracles. Miracles must have been mistaken for non-miracles too. Human investigation however good is not bestowed with infallibility. Witnesses are not infallible either. Right or wrong, there is evidence that if miracles happen the bigger part of the evidence says a miracle is a blasphemy, a violation of nature or an absurdity.

Believers say that if you see natural laws as just natural things then of course you will not believe in miracles.  You are guilty of assuming nothing set up those laws in order to make exceptions to them.  So they say you should understand natural law not naturalistically but theistically - as laws set up by God.  That may allow for him to temporarily change them.

This is the difference between what seems to be two vicious circles,

"Nature just works as it does and in the pattern that it does and it has no director to alter it so miracles do not happen.  There is nothing bigger than nature to do a miracle."

"God sets up nature and directs its workings so he can change its direction anytime."

They seem to be begging the question, bringing the conclusion into the argument and pretending they don't.

No vicious circle is good but the God one is out if God does not like lies and pretence.  And nobody has the right to speak for God for he is not meeting us for coffee and giving us that information.

Are religious people guilty of saying marvellous events happen but if it is extremely marvellous then it must be a miracle? Is for them the difference between marvellous and miracle one of degree? Yes. This is very silly. Marvellous natural events do not mean that a miracle one is possible. Showing definitively that mice leave behind ghosts does not mean that such a big smart creature as a human being can do it too or does do it.  Marvels only mean bigger marvels are possible. The marvel could be how somebody ends up making an undetectable mistake that something out of the natural norm has happened such as a miracle.

Some religious believers say they wish that Hume had made more room for miracles as in marvellous coincidence.   But surely they knew he had to believe in such but just refused to call them miracles.  If you turn coincidences into divine acts then you will soon be worshipping the gnome down your garden and there will be chaos.  They are not miracles or signs period.  And as for marvellous, does that not worry about getting us to be amazed and awestruck and almost in love with the miracle?  For that to work, God has to programme that response into us for we cannot help how we feel.  This looks very contrived.  It would mean that if we were ecstatic at the sight of a brick floating in the air and disinterested in Jesus appearing to us raised from the dead that is fine.  The whole scheme fails to validate Christianity as a religion worth considering.

If we validate scientists who start saying their experiments showed a rock was talking to them for a minute once you say the impossible happens you say anything is possible and you have no right to take science seriously.  It becomes sheer opinion.

That is one issue.  But science is about precision.  It looks at what it can be precise about to learn more.  If you don't know exactly what water is then you will be making tea with vodka. Science works out what precise truths it might learn from experiments.  It wants to know the truths when it sees them.  Anything else is trying to hide behind the vague or semi-clear or the ineffable.  It is as bad as believing in magic or mysticism. The supernatural cannot be examined and tested.  At most the scientist can say, "I don't know what happened there."  And science warns that letting assumptions creep in is not science and is anti-science.  Yet religious culture seems to validate scientists saying that and validates you going further and saying, "It's God."  That is a shameless double standard.  We are all scientists don't forget that.  We are mostly bad scientists but scientists all the same.

Miracle followers are validating lies and contradictions just by being miracle devotees.  Miracle claims are a magnet to such vices.


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