The Miracles Within Christianity

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Randomhero1982's picture
The Miracles Within Christianity

Here's one I'd be interested in people's opinions and thoughts on.. would Christianity (or any of the other major religions for that matter) have flourished without the purported miracles that were meant to have taken place...

For example, would Christianity have been believable if Jesus had never performed any wondrous acts that defied the laws of nature, but had simply been a preacher who did natural good deeds such as helping the poor and I'll for example...

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Aposteriori Unum's picture
I don't think he actually did

I don't think he actually did perform any miracles, nor has anyone ever...

But I get your point; without such claims would the religions of the world still take off... Perhaps. Maybe it would be more Taoist in nature, or confusanist. The superstitious stuff would also likely be present.

The physics defying miracle claims must be appealing to people though, because they seem to form the skeleton of the belief system... That their god is powerful and you best obey. That their lives will be everlasting and they don't fear the end of this life because they will be magically transported to a perfect paradise. One could see the appeal, if only it didn't sound like complete bullocks.

Sushisnake 's picture
@Apo

@Apo

Perhaps more religious competition equals more claimed miracles? Each religion has to come up with a better superhero than the others to get bums on seats. Ancient China was geographically isolated, so there was little competition and perhaps less incentive for a god. Ancient Chinese society may have been relatively equal, too - theist religion grows where ever there's extremes of inequality.

Aposteriori Unum's picture
@sushi

@sushi

My god can control the wind...

Oh yeah, well, my god makes the earth shake...

That's okay, cause MY god created the earth...

You all suck cause my god is the only god, your gods are false and mine created everything...

Kinda like that? Lol

Sushisnake 's picture
@Apo

@Apo

Yep, and everybody sing...

My god's bigger than your god,
My god's bigger than yours.
My god's bigger and he chases devils down.
My god's bigger than yours.

I'm not afraid of the dark anymore
I can tie my shoes
I have been to the country
And I am going to heaven.

Sheldon's picture
My god has said I am his last

My god has said I am his last witness, and my revelation is his last. He has told me that his followers should kill those who disbelieve in him wherever we find them...

I can see why it appeals to testosterone filled teenage boys, throw in a promise of endless sex with virgins, and give them a sense of power and entitlement, the real miracle is there are not more recruits.

What I always found oddly ironic is the blind faithful never see the irony that an omnipotent deity needs them to perform the dirty work.

ZeffD's picture
"..if Jesus had never

"..if Jesus had never performed any wondrous acts that defied the laws of nature,.."
I like illusionist Paul Daniels comment, "I would have made a very convincing Jesus". It probably cost him popularity, but it was true nonetheless.

One important reason for religions' decline is increasing education and knowledge. It is funny that some people are willing to believe miracles happened 2,000 years ago but are sceptical of alleged miracles that are recent.

arakish's picture
Quote from Randomhero1982 OP:

Quote from Randomhero1982 OP:

The Miracles Within Christianity

Here's one I'd be interested in people's opinions and thoughts on. Would Christianity (or any of the other major religions for that matter) have flourished without the purported miracles that were meant to have taken place...

For example, would Christianity have been believable if Jesus had never performed any wondrous acts that defied the laws of nature, but had simply been a preacher who did natural good deeds such as helping the poor and I'll for example...

Aposteriori Unum: "I don't think he actually did perform any miracles, nor has anyone ever..."

As AU also put it, I can understand your question. However, I also believe there never has been, never is, and never shall be any miracles. If anything occurs that seems miraculous, it is simply due to the fact that we do not understand what has happened. However, we could figure it out. Perhaps not on the morrow, or the next week, or the next year, but eventually, we could figure it out.

Religious Logic for Miracles:
I, [insert name], am incapable of understanding how [insert phenomena] could have happened. Thus [chosen deity] must have performed a miracle.

That is how I view any person recounting a "miracle."

Even I have to admit that I have seen some occurrences, that at the time of witnessing it, that I could not understand and seemed miraculous. However, as I mull it over in my mind, I can usually figure out how it happened (or a possibility), and how it fooled me into thinking it was miraculous.

Here is a comment I made on another forum board, and later got excommunicated (banished):
We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled, the ears tricked. How can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time? The human brain runs first–class simulation software. However, it suffers a much greater fallacy from the GIGO principle than do modern computers. The same applies to ALL religions.

I have only one problem with miracles in any religious text. ANYONE can write anything as having been a miracle.

As for whether any religion could have flourished without miracles. The possibility exists. As AU put it, they would have been more philosophical such Taoism and Confucianism, even Yin and Yang. I tend to believe that philosophical beliefs hold more truth than do faith-based beliefs. After all, Taoism and Confucianism still exist. They may not flourish as well as the Absolutist religions, but they still have practioners.

Also as ZeffD put it, any of the modern-day illusionists put into the past, especially during the time of Jesus, could have been viewed as being a very convincing Jesus. Anyone remember David Copperfield's (at least I think it was him) making the Statue of Liberty disappear? What about James Randi? I can remember watching his illusionist shows when I was a kid. The one thing I truly loved about him was that he actually told you he was going to fool you with illusions before doing them. And he still does at some of the talks he gives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcPuRaSEq1I

Watch the first two minutes. That is how illusionists can seem to perform miracles. They know people are going to make "assumptions" and do at least half the work for them.

For example, I feel the turning water into wine trick performed by Jesus was nothing more than the trickery of swapping out casks of water for casks of wine. An illusionist's trick. And when I have suggested this to Absolutists, you would not believe the ostracization I received.

Another example: The feeding of 5000 from 7 fish and 2 loaves (or was it 2 fish and 7 loaves?). Simple. They had many more fishes and loaves hidden behind the rock upon which Jesus sat.

Here is a personal miracle. I was once working on putting tin sheets on an out-building I was constructing. In southeastern North Carolina, there is a phenomena we call "popcorn thunder." This is a small thunderstorm that can brew up, seemingly from nowhere, in just an hour or two, especially in the late afternoon. One of these popcorn thunder storms brewed directly overhead. The sun was at such an angle, that it was never covered by cloud. Thus, all I saw was sunshine. Next thing I knew, there was a bright flash, then I awoke in the hospital. I had been struck by lightning while on a tin roof. It was a "miracle" that I survived. My wife thought I had been killed because she watched it happen, just happening to look out the kitchen window. How did I survive? Simple. Although the lightning bolt hit me in the right shoulder, my left hand was on the sheet of tin. Thus, the bolt went from my right shoulder, through my left arm, into the tin sheet. The doctors even told me if it had not been for that alignment, I may very well have been killed. However, from a point of ignorance, it could have been seen as a "miracle." I could even hear an Absolutist preacher saying, "God must have decided to save you at the last instant." :P

I also have to agree that it is the acquirement of knowledge that has caused the downfall of anything actually being a miracle. Simply look at the curves of "gaining knowledge" versus "occurrences of miracles." I would also agree this is the reason why people are leaving the Absolutist religions. It is also due to the fact that virtually anyone can investigate the claims made by these Absolutist religions through the WWW. They can also find the truth behind their false claims of how their religion is growing. I cannot even put a number on the times I have read how these Absolutists are always saying how their numbers are growing.

Example: "We have grown by gaining 3 million new followers this past year." But they neglect to include how they have also lost 7 million followers that same year.

As I have always taught my daughters (while they were alive), "You have to take everything with a huge grain of salt. Trust nothing. Investigate it for yourself and come to your own conclusion." Whenever they asked me a question, I would simply point them in the direction to find the answer for themselves (twin daughters).

I think I have spewed enough...

rmfr

Neal the real deal's picture
All Brilliantly well said I

All Brilliantly well said I especially liked the Religious Logic for Miracles, ANYONE can write anything as having been a miracle, and lessened claims of miracles and increased claims of rational or scientific explanations.
I love the way George Carlin describes miracles as looking an awful lot like chance.
People die all of the time what about them why weren't they saved in some mysterious ways but this person was.
If hundreds of people die in a plane crash but one survives I've heard people say it's a miracle that one survived well what about the other 200 people?
Fuck them I guess they don't deserve to be saved by an act of god!

Tin-Man's picture
I think it is a miracle that

I think it is a miracle that there are no miracles that have ever been proven.

Tin-Man's picture
Here's a good Water-to-wine

Here's a good Water-to-wine "miracle".

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skruffy's picture
I once asked the son of

I once asked the son of Mormon parents if he would like a can of coke. When he said that morons aren't allowed to drink neither stimulants nor alcohol I asked him about Jesus turning water into wine. He said he would ask his parents.

He returned the next day and said that it was non-alcoholic wine. So Jesus didn't perform a miracle, he just pulled an 'Emperor's new clothes' trick.

Tin-Man's picture
@Skruffy Re: "Non

@Skruffy Re: "Non-alcoholic wine"

You should have told the lad, "Hey, non-alcoholic wine is not wine at all. It is called GRAPE JUICE." LOL

By the way, Welcome to the AR. And, oddly enough, you remind me of another furry scamp I hung out with for awhile in a distant land above a rainbow. *chuckle*

Diotrephes's picture
skruffy,

skruffy,

Did Jesus wear magic underwear? If he didn't then why do the Mormons?

arakish's picture
Sorry guys. Need to

Sorry guys. Need to apologize.

Where I mention about religious person saying their ranks are growing but neglect to mention they lose more than gained...

I forgot to mention that the numbers I threw in there are made up. They are fictional. I used them only for example.

I apologize to anyone who may have assumed the numbers I used were real.

Sorry.

rmfr

Tin-Man's picture
@Arakish

@Arakish

Well, hell. Guess now we have no choice but to kick your ass to the curb. Exaggeration and embellishment will not be tolerated here under any circumstances. If we allowed that, then there would be millions of people on here in an instant thinking they could get away with anything they wanted. Then the whole system would bog down and crash, and leave everybody stranded with nowhere else to ever-ever again discuss their interests and problems. It would be anarchy, and we just cannot let that happen. So, off you go, with your silly exaggerated statements! We'll have none of that nonsense here!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@TM

@TM
You are the funniest old tin bastard I have ever ever encountered. Lucky I wasn't drinking ginger beer or the scrapyard man would have been very happy to call at your place....it only takes one call....

Tin-Man's picture
@Old Man Re: "...or the

@Old Man Re: "...or the scrapyard man would have been very happy to call at your place....it only takes one call...."

Hah! Don't threaten ME with a good time! (If I'm lucky he will bring his rotary sander. *tee-hee*)

chimp3's picture
Come to my house! Turn my

Come to my house! Turn my water into wine! I might not believe you divine, but I have your back!

Cognostic's picture
There is nothing at all that

There is nothing at all that Jesus did that modern con men can not do. He did nothing at all that had not come before him.. When God and Jesus begin growing limbs on amputees, that will be the time to pay attention.

Not only are no actual "miracles" cited in the bible that can not be performed by the lowest of magicians and con men today but there is no good evidence for the existence of Jesus or anyone at all actually doing miracles/.

Randomhero1982's picture
Just for the record, of

Just for the record, of course i do not believe in miracles... to coin my favourite phrase, it's bollocks!

I asked in the OP simply because I personally feel these scenarios are constructed in order to propel that particular faith at that time.

Strange it doesn't happen in our current era....

Sushisnake 's picture
@Randomhero

@Randomhero

" Strange it doesn't happen in our current era...."

VERY strange. I mean, with the miracles of modern technology you'd expect to see a lot more divine miracles. You'd think god would lift his game, up the ante. We need a lot more spectacle to be impressed now. If a man in a rubber monster suit won't cut it in a movie anymore, why would god think old hat miracles thousands of years ago will? We need religious amputees to sprout new limbs to buy tickets to the god show nowadays. And it would prove which religion had it right all along, if only one sect's amputees got new legs. If he grew everyone new limbs, chaos and confusion would reign. God is real! Yes- but which version?!

LogicForTW's picture
Here is a link to a graph

Here is a link to a graph relevant to this conversation.

http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/frequency-of-miracles.png

All of the major religions based on miracles are definitely dealing with the issue that so much more scientific knowledge has been gained since these miracle stories were written. That and the availability of knowledge. Anyone with access to the internet for an hour could learn why the "great flood" as depicted by many religions, is absurd and never happened. 2000 years ago it was much easier to convince the great uneducated masses that a talking snake actually happened. Nearly all knowledge people had access to were by word of mouth, and religious leaders were often the most educated and respected individuals in a community.

Diotrephes's picture
LogicForTW,

LogicForTW,

Snakes (serpents) and donkeys are animals that can make vocal noises. But did you know that trees can talk as well and that they like to have a king rule over them? Judges 9:8-15 = https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges9:8-15&version=TLB

In Islam even rocks can talk and trees can cry like babies.

LogicForTW's picture
Hah, thanks for the link. I

Hah, thanks for the link. I can now correctly assume "talking" serpents are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to religious fantasy.

Before J. R. R. Tolkien the original high fantasy books were... the religious books!

Tin-Man's picture
@Dio Re: Talking trees

@Dio Re: Talking trees

What's the big deal about talking trees? They're some of the wisest creatures I know. Well.... Except for that one apple tree bozo who decided to try growing bananas instead of apples one year. You can imagine how the flying monkeys reacted to THAT. Over the years since that time it came to be known as " That Fucking Banana Fiasco." (Ironically, the folks in Oz aren't very creative sorts.)

arakish's picture
@LogicForTW Re: "2000 years

@LogicForTW Re: "2000 years ago it was much easier to convince the great uneducated masses that a talking snake actually happened."

It was not a snake. It was a serpent. That is actually a quote I heard on the "Ham and AIG" show. I.E. - Ken Ham and his "Answers In Genesis" show. I actually watch it occasionally so I can get a good old fashioned, tear-the-stomach-muscles, belly laugh.

Anyway, they actually corrected a web page that had "talking snake" in its title. The commentators, including Ken Ham, corrected it by saying, "It was actually a talking serpent. These people (whomever wrote the article) need to read their Bible and get it correct." Ken Ham and the other three congratulated each other for spotting that mistake and correcting it.

However, NOT ONE OF THEM even tried to explain what the difference is between a snake and a serpent. :O

Anyway, I love that graph. Saw it in one of the articles here at AR. Just can't remember which one.

@Tin-Man Re: "Guess now we have no choice but to kick your ass to the curb..."

With as many times as the theists have already done this, I'll just like I'm back home again... :P

@Sushisnake, Yes, the only way I'll ever believe there is anything remotely like a god is if amputees somehow just grow new limbs. And even then I'd be skeptical as hell.

rmfr

LogicForTW's picture
That does not surprise me

That does not surprise me about Ken Ham and his ilk, not even a little. If they had even half of a brain between them they would realize how stupid they sound when their defense to a "talking snake" is to quibble over the terms used.

Diotrephes's picture
Randomhero1982,

Randomhero1982,

Other biblical characters did far more impressive miracles than Yeshua.

The purpose of all of the biblical miracles was to impress the local yokels by showing them that Yahweh was on the side of the Israelites in accordance with Exodus 34:10 (CEV) = "10 The Lord said: I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things."

Yeshua had to do some miracles to show that he was Yahweh's buddy.

Algebe's picture
I wonder how many "miracles"

I wonder how many "miracles" were caused by accidental tripping on natural substances like ergot, which grows on cereal crops under certain weather conditions.

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