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What Is A Miracle?

What do Christians see as miracles and how do they know when one has occurred? What is the opposite of a miracle?

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I must first apologise for being a bit roughshod and curt with you. I must admit you are one of the more interesting discussant here on Nairaland and it would be a shame if were manage to alienate each other.

I also apologise for not giving you a feedback on your comments about the Paul Kurtz video which I posted several weeks ago. I appreciate the effort you had put in in reviewing the video and I wanted to do justice to your comments by reviewing the video again and then responding to your comments. Unfortunately I got distracted by other ideas and comments and work and life. I Promise - I shall go back to that and respond to your comments, but it will not be for several days as I am going off away from home to visit friend where I shall not have internet access.

Now, to this post - I am not shifting the context on you. If you remember my first question, I simply asked if it was possibly to rule out some events no given our current state of knowledge and I gave two examples and asked whether it was possible to rule these out.

Basically, I was interested in knowing whether in your opinion (or anybody's opinion) certain events can be ruled out forthwith given our knowledge of nature. I would say, absolutely.

We can absolutely rule out the coming back to life of someone who has been dead for hundreds of years. I know this is an active are of research (cryogenics, etc) but our current state of technology has no way of reconstructing dead tissue and cells which would be required if a hundred-year old dead were to come back to life. Let's us say no element of deceit or hallucinations etc are involved.

We can also rule out the case of a river flowing uphill. If such a thing were ever discovered, it would violate all our know understanding of nature.

So give that miracles are usually defined as a violation of natural laws, a river flowing uphill and a hundred-year old dead coming back to life would class as miracles given our current state of knowledge.

So to truly see if miracles could be occasioned by prayers, could we pray for the Niger to change its course and flow uphill. Or could we pray for Pharoah Ramesses to come back to life?

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  ROTFLOL . . . then stands up and gives a *Standing ovation*

AIO, this is by far the best comment/rebutt I've read from you! and you could not have said it any better!

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O huxley, don't start shifting the context on me now.

When did I say a miracle was nothing special? What I said was that if a miracle were to jump and slap you in the face you would just sigh and go," there's got to be a natural explanation".

No!! I claiming nothing of the sort. I was demonstrating that science is quite comfortable with many unexplained phenomena and so would have no trouble sticking a miracle in with all the others such as how the egyptians built pyramids etc. I don't see how what I said could lead you to your conclusion! ??

Good for them!

No, you asked if a resurrected Newton would not be a miracle. In the context of what we are talking about I was pointing out that you would explain it away by some theory or your belief that there will be some theory discovered eventually. In the case of Newton I can imagine that the easiest explanation is that those who see the resurrected Newton were hallucinating. A perfectly explainable psychological phenomenon.

Now bearing in mind the context in which we are discussing and which thereby influences the meanings that we attach to statements, tell me who is the one misunderstanding simple statements? Just how have I ignored your question by suggesting hallucination?

Well, you might not be surprised that my religion infected brain is incapable of understanding your simple statements but I've got to admit that I am surprised that you've gone to this extent in your desperation to ridicule religion. I had a much higher regard for you.

You've shifted goalposts, shifted contexts just to wedge open enough space to get a jab at me and I feel so disappointed. You're not KAG or Imhotep. Or at least I hope you're not. Why are you resorting to double standards?

You accuse me of ignoring your questions that in fact I'd addressed and then openly wondered why as if to imply that I'm ducking and diving. However, look at what I've done for you. I went to all the trouble to address a video that was such total and utter rubbish just to please you because I thought that you were upset that I had dismissed it (apparently without cause). Till today you have failed to respond to my commentary on the video (on that 'great' humanist guy, remember?). In fact Nairaland is littered with threads that YOU have started and yet when I respond to them you fail to even acknowledge my contribution. Without a hint of insinuation or accusation I want to ask you, just out of curiosity, Why? Bearing in mind that most people just ignore your threads I think that you could appreciate when I make an effort to address them.

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Yes, you are right. That is not sufficient reason to believe in miracles. It would simple mean that that is a natural event that is not currently accounted for by our scientific theories. This situation would merit a lot of investigation to explain why the laws of gravity appear to be violated in this case.

If a miracle is nothing special, then why is it a miracle and why all the brauhaha about it?

Are you claiming that the Egyptian ancients built the pyramids thru miraculous means? Unfortunately, they did not leave any documents to explain brick-by-brick how they did it. So the exact methods are lost to history. The fact that we do not know how an event happened in the past does not mean that it happen by miraculous means, does it.

BTW, the great valleys of Giza in the Egyptian dessert is littered with failed attempts to construct pyramids. The engineers had not yet perfected the art of constructing pyramids, hence the many failed attempts. A lot is know about where they got their materials, how they cut the stones out, how they transported the cut stones, how the location of the pyramid was surveyed and set out, the mystical reason driving the entire project, etc, etc. Is any of these a miracle?

Now, did I say Newton has been found talking? Most certainly not. I would have been surprised had I not known it ia typical for religion-infected minds to completely misunderstand simple statements.

I asked, can you rule out the event of opening Newtons grave and finding him standing up and talking? You clumsily ignore my question. I wonder why?

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What, so if you saw a river flowing up hill you would believe in miracles. I don't think so, o sussicornian. I suspect (from what little I know of you) that you will first do some tests on a sample of the river water and then probably do some scientific tests on the hill itself. And if you come up with nothing you will invite other scientists to come and have a crack at explaining it. And if they can't come up with an explanation you will shelve the whole project as one of life's great unanswered questions still awaiting explanation. Pretty much like how the Egyptians built the pyramids still awaits explanation and how the early britons built stone henge still awaits explanation. Scientists are pretty damn good at pretending that things that they can't explain don't exist.

Dead newton talking? You are most definately hallucinating. A perfectly explainable psychological phenomenon.

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But is it possible to rule out categorically some propositions as capable of occurring naturally. Take for instance.

1) Go to the grave of someone who died hundreds of years ago, Newton. Open the grave up and have Newtons rise from the dead and starts talking to you about the laws of gravity.

2) Find a river that is actually flow uphill.

Is it possible to rule out these events?

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What is a Miracle?

what is a Naturally occurring event?

What are the laws of Nature?

Alas this issue can never be resolved? Why? Well because we do not know all of the laws of nature. If you do not know all of the laws of nature then how can you say whether they have been broken or not. Atheists can always fall back on the good ol' 'there's got to be a logical explanation' get out clause even if a full blown miracle were to occur before their eyes.

The belief that everything has a natural cause, yet accepting that we do not know what these natural causes are gives us plenty of room to move the goalposts as we please. An event is unexplained because we haven't discovered the laws to explain it.

Will we ever discover all of these laws? No. So we can always argue that a miracle was not a miracle.

Anyway neither of these positions is as ridiculous as the position of the Catholic church that first subjects an event to tests by a scientific team and if they cannot come up with a scientific explanation then the church feels emboldened to declare the event a miracle. Surely the representative of Christ on Earth ought to be able to tell the handwork of God without having to get clearance first from scientists to ensure that there isn't a scientific explanation and there isn't likely to be one in the near future.

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What if you try to discourage your child from believing that Santa’s not real and cos you happen to be the greatest Dad, they accept it from you; only to learn from their friends or teachers that Santa does exist? If they decide to believe their friends/teachers instead of you, what would you do, disown them?

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OK, we are getting somewhere. But would you ALLOW (this is the operative word. Note, this is your word, not mine.) you child to believe (or not ) in Santa?

Say you believe in Santa, would you want you child to also believe in Santa. If you do, how would you go about it?

If you do not believe in Santa, how do you present the concept of Santa to your child?

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I did answer this on the other thread by way of another question. To my understanding, your phrasing of the question is silly and that is why I asked if you would allow your kids to believe in Santa or Fairies?

I understand where you want to head, but I will not give you my opinion until you realise why I think your question is silly.

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Huxley can i ask you this, Will you allow you kids, if you choose to have them, to believe in God?

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I will celebrate a miracle the day Huxley realises posting 1000 anti-christian threads a day isnt the way to force his athiesm down our throats.

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