What are "miracles?" Should they be viewed as a normative part of Christian experience?

Mystic

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This thread focuses on the question of where the line can be drawn between true 'miracles," acts of divine providence," and mere "coincidence." To discern your own attitude to this important line, watch this mesmerizing video of 5 alleged "miracles" unfolding as they happened and share your reactions:


Few people are aware of ongoing scientific research on faith-healing or consciousness changes that lead to the healing of incurable diseases. Here are just two examples for you to check out:

(1) One impressive example of the scientific verification of miracles is the 40-member team of medical specialists whose thorough investigation has verified so many healings at Lourdes thought to be medically impossible:


(2) A research professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger. has written a ground-breaking new book entitled "Cured: The Life-Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing" on how many investigated patients with incurable diseases like pancreatic cancer are healed through key changes in consciousness and life habits. Watch Dr. Rediger's brief lecture on the state of such research and his own research discoveries:


jeffrey rediger youtube ted - Bing video

Of course, what modern medicine designates as spontaneous healing overlaps with what Christians call faith healing. So it is useful to invoke St. Augustine's standard early Christian understanding of "miracle: "Miracles are not contrary to Nature, but only contrary to our understanding of Nature." With that in mind, this thread will also explore the question of whether "miracles" are divinely intended as normative Christian experience.
 

Luce NDs

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It is a mean and misunderstood topic ... given what some folk believe rigidly without any information or intelligence otherwise ... the other wise could form an alternate vision ... but few accept learning and change are coupled within the abstract!

For the absolutes that's completely out there ... as data is broken and scattered and the monarchist can't put anything together as they are hell bent ... to know knot entanglements!

A mean is a line of no width drawn through a paradigm ... having no width is has no volume ... and thus spaceless no room for thought either! It is pure GEO metric in calculus terre ... that dark shine of the Black Bodied Reflector! It too is a mysterious and curious phenomenon ... like unseen boids in the night ...

Some respect for the strange and unseen is prerequisite as humans are strange enough as it is without getting further out there ... due to inquisition that's inhibited by institutional stress!
 

Mystic

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The most articulate spokesman for evolutionary theory since the late Stephen J. Gould is Brown U. professor Kenneth Miller. Dr. Miller has authored widely used high school and college biology text books with chapters on evolution and is the most respected spokesman for court cases on the Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate about public education. His expertise on evolutionary theory led to personal friendships with both Stephen J. Gould and famous atheist Richard Dawkins. His many online videos provide the most effective way to challenge anti-evolution fundamentalists. But Miller is also a devout Catholic and loves to draw attention to papal support for evolution and the role of Augustinian thought in creating the science of genetics. He loves to challenge audiences of scientists with this question: "What do you get if you apply St. Augustine's approach to scientific research? You get genetics, as pioneered by Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel." Listen to the way Dr. Miller reconciles faith in the Christian God with evolutionary theory in this brilliantly clear lecture that nicely complements the purpose of this thread:


Miller effectively exposes the implication of Dawkins' atheistic model of evolution that atheists have no way to rationally justify either morality and ethics or meaning and purpose in a universe without God. The YouTube video is cut off at the point where he links St. Augustine's Christian philosophy of science with the Augustinian monk Greg Mendel's pioneering of the science of genetics.
 

Mystic

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Read this article on Larry Taunton's book about his friend, celebrity atheist Christopher Hitchens, and his struggles with faith in the Christian God later in life. The book is intriguingly entitled "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens:"


Modern scientific verification of miracle claims can at least open atheist minds to the possibility of miracles (with which atheists have no firsthand experience) and therefore to the credibility of Jesus' miraculous life. Disagreements between theists and skeptics are ultimately based on core assumptions. But core assumptions derive from experience. If atheists have self-authenticating spiritual experiences or are exposed to miraculous experiences of people they know and respect, their core assumptions are often transformed into a faith-friendly network of core assumptions.

I used to post on a New Age website dominated by anti-theism. I shared evidential paranormal Christian experiences and made a historical case for the credibility of the Gospels and their connection with eyewitness testimony. One agnostic, a federal HUD executive from Washington recognized the merits of my case and even invited me to his summer cottage in Fort Erie, Ontario. I had convinced him that, as a child, a guardian angel had rescued him from a sexual predator who was about to strangle him. That figure scared the predator off and then dematerialized before my friend's eyes. He showed me the spot in the woods where this divine intervention happened. But for reasons I still don't understand, he remains an agnostic.

But 2 other people on that website converted to evangelical Christianity. One whom I didn't know very well simply sent me a PM announcing his conversion as the reason he was deserting that site. The other was my longstanding nemesis and debating partner, a guy who played chansen's role on that site. I'd like to believe that I helped in his conversion by at least opening his mind to our miraculous God. But that inference is questionable because his actual conversion resulted from an invitation from his evangelical friends to attend their church. It was at that church that he experienced the presence and power of God in a life-changing way. He soon became a persona non grata on that site because he renounced his New Age book and criticized the site's New Age apologists. He became a Christian ally for my Christian apologetics. A few years later, I was browsing the archives of another anti-Christian website on which I used to post, looking for some of my old posts. I unexpectedly discovered this new convert's virulent anti-Christian posts there and they moved me to tears because he is now a radiant evangelical Christian.
 

Mystic

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chansen: He doesn't. He's saying you can't have one God without the other. The God who fixed Sam's mom's eye is the same God who lets children die of malaria....It is *beyond* callous."

Both you and Minchen are illiterate in your knowledge of biblical theology and try to compensate for your ignorance by creating a pathetic strawman. You wrongly assume that the Bible teaches the concept of an anthropomorphic God whose ways and thoughts are analogous to ours. YOu are oblivious to biblical disclaimers like God's warning in Isaiah 55:8--9:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says the Lord. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9)."

You also wrongly assume that the biblical God micro-manages in detail everything that happens in the universe, leaving nothing to chance and you are oblivious to precisely the opposite teaching in Ecclesiastes 9:11:

"Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but all are victims of time and chance ."

Evidently, free will requires a universe that God does not micro-manage, choosing instead to intervene in response to the right kind of faith and prayer, for which there are subtle principles that the Bible only offers a beginning at articulating.

chansen: "They come with anecdotes, and no evidence. They don't have evidence."

What you don't get is that anecdotes are the most powerful evidence for those who are healed and their loved ones who are all too familiar with their health issues before and after the healing prayer. Indeed, such anecdotes are precisely what mobilized the 40-doctor medical team to track down the medical records for as many miraculous healings at Lourdes. You really need to read and view the websites posted in my new thread on miracles.

chansen: "If they had evidence, if these miraculous healings actually happened as described, the medical community would be all over it."
In the posted video of Harvard Med School professor, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger's lecture, he laments the fact that most doctors are not interested in miraculous healing claims and dismiss them as flukes. But as my new thread illustrates, other doctors are "all over it;" you're just too lazy to research it. See my new thread and the videos posted there for examples.

chansen: "He would love to change our forum headings so he could create a spot to lecture to impressionable young pastors. He is desperate to be taken seriously and lecture."

LOL, I am taken seriously in social networks where I live and don't need any website for social interaction. In fact, my rare visits here coincide with my boredom with other sites in which I am increasingly losing interest due the lack of fresh insights and unique experiences. Recently, I have lingered here for the same reason I follow documentaries and movies about the Titanic: Wondercafe2 is a slow shipwreck of a once promising website that lacks members with an attractive spirituality that transforms lives and channels God's power to heal and bless. It has been fun to contemplate what it might take to rehabilitate the site. But I had no expectation that my suggestions would be adopted and its steady demise will make interesting lurking after my imminent cessation of posting.

chansen: "If he was employable at all, he could find a place to lecture. No college will have him."

Duh, I had a successful career as a tenured professor and pastor and am now retired. Retired people with a good income don't need to look for a place to lecture.

chansen: "Due to the above bible study healing claims, I'm looking for this bible study group. I've reached out to a couple of people who may know someone in this group, if it even exists. I've invited Berserk to bring them here numerous times. Now I'm going to try."

3 questions:
(1) Why do you imagine anyone would inflict a toxic personality like you on godly people with effective prayer lives?
(2) don't you realize that most Christians who experience answers to prayer for healing could care less about medical studies. THEY are content just to testify to their joyful miracle to their church, friends, and family members. For them, their healings are just one of many examples of how God fulfills His promises.
(3) But what if I brought them here and you were convinced that they experienced healing miracles? What would you be prepared to do about such new insights? If I thought that you or others on this site would convert to Christ through such testimonies, I'm confident they would respond to my invitation to appear here. And keep in mind that there is nothing special or unique about our prayer group. All the ailing members of this site could track down local prayer groups, request prayer for healing, and judge the results for themselves. Or they can prefer feeling right about their limiting perspectives, just vent to each other and anxiously hope medical help suffices.
 
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Luce NDs

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I'm told that the mind, soul, psyche complexity does not exist ... in the absence of mind how could we think this through? Thus the search goes on for the lost sol ... a shoddy thing as denied existence? Shue thing in my observations of the troubled pool of humanity regarding knowledge or naught ...
 

Mendalla

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Miracles are another thing that I remain agnostic on. Yes, there are some compelling stories out there. Yes, there is some evidence for prayer being efficacious. But we also do not fully understand human healing or the immune system so saying any healing that can't be explained by science is a miracle or God at work is really a "God of the gaps" hypothesis. Calling it a miracle is an act of faith. So, arguably, is saying it is not a miracle. However, the history of scientific research has tended towards filling the gaps with new scientific hypotheses, not God. I appreciate your faith and your efforts to justify and promote it, but I cannot say that I share it at this point.
 

Luce NDs

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Is God (gama; dark odd denied) autracity in the psyche field that is lost to us due to refusal on cognate functions?

Thus we are unknowing ideally as a person who has had the solid beliefs on what is virtually unknown to the here and now ... thus anon (something that will come)!

Do humans suffer dark spots and blackouts where they get a glimpse of the alternate side exchanging intelligence and seminal concerns? More a' djinns ... some outies some innies ... like Nellie Bell Lies ... wasn't that a vehicle of myth?
 

Luce NDs

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How to understand what goes on in an infinite psyche that knows all ... put it at arms length ... and it will be mis pelled as a straw man!

Thus bringing in the sheves and chivas ... aphoristically mumbling ... Freudian slick or froid-like autocrat? ICIS ...

Eternally driven by fear and anger of being isolated in antisocial circumstances ... thus UFO's! Mental flights of fantasia ... virtual abstracts ...

The tyrants wished chaos in the lower realms ... and when they are uncertain about support ... they do nothing but crap out ... especially about Uncertainty Prin. Causes them ANI and concern about what they are not aware of ... un sentient-like!

Know the great pool of dark words as an intangible advantage ... and you can speak of things that others have not a clue about ... literary device?
 
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Luce NDs

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Maybe a gateway of brazen nature (with brass monkeys) into the realm of imagination as an abstract ... expect a punch from Judean when they state they're up the stump ... like it or naught ... it gets that way when you are unaware of great mix-ups! Tis alien semite!

Consider: is Jerusalem of peace a figment of the psyche in a turbulent land that doesn't know up from down? In short more of what we don;t know ...
 

Waterfall

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I have to ask, were the miracles of the New Testament, not sufficient enough for your faith @Mystic and enough for others?
 

Mendalla

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I have to ask, were the miracles of the New Testament, not sufficient enough for your faith @Mystic and enough for others?
Miracles that happened 2000ish years ago and are hearsay in many cases (ie. not directly witnessed by the writer) should really not be sufficient basis for anything. There needs to be something more immediate and experiential. I have to give @Mystic and others credit for that much. The New Testament miracles are not going to make me a believer. A likely miracle in my own life or that of someone I know could. Where Mystic falls down is expecting others to respond to his immediate experience the same as he does. To us, it's hearsay, neither immediate nor experiential.

Now,.to be fair, much of the scientific research that excites me is neither immediate nor experiential either. I respond to it because I am excited by questions of what and how things work and where things come from. That means I feel these things in a fairly strong way; I go "Wow!" The act or learning something new about reality is an experience for me. So what qualifies as immediate and experiential depends a lot on the personality involved.
 

Luce NDs

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Awesome things are mysterious to a group of people .. some believe nothing that they are not personally cognizant of ...

Thus isolationism in a system claiming to be fitted for demos! That's the common people ... bolshevik in Russian Cyrillic! American audacious sorts inhibit anything of social nature in there disconnected anti socialist ideals ... it is fluid between canadians and alternates ... US and them!

How will we ever familiarize ourselves with the alien if we deny access to their existence! The there is Gladwell's book ... a pit of strange behaviouralism concerning the human personality development! This may allow application of personality to inanimate material ... hard bread thoughts? Goes with fish and brews ... brae in storms ... shelled Eire ...
 

Waterfall

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Miracles that happened 2000ish years ago and are hearsay in many cases (ie. not directly witnessed by the writer) should really not be sufficient basis for anything.
Well if believers (I know you're not) believed that, they would have grounds for dismissing the whole bible.
Although, I tend to agree that miracles are usually more for unbelievers.
 

Waterfall

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Jesus himself said "that unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe" John also tells us that despite seeing miracles "they" did not believe.

Basically, if God wants to heal, shouldn't we wait for his will to be done and not ours? As well as seeking out doctors of course.
 

chansen

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Well if believers (I know you're not) believed that, they would have grounds for dismissing the whole bible.
You're on to something. Run with it.

Although, I tend to agree that miracles are usually more for unbelievers.
Miracles are like marketing claims. They are an attempt to sell you something - faith. Know of any fraudulent marketing claims?

Jesus himself said "that unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe" John also tells us that despite seeing miracles "they" did not believe.
So now we have Christians redefining "miracles" to include nature, beauty, etc. And today, a lot of people are skeptical about a lot of claims. We have to be. Sometimes our skepticism goes off the rails, like in the cases of flat-earthers or anti-vaxxers, where demonstrable concepts and evidence is dismissed in favour of discredited crackpot hypotheses.

Basically, if God wants to heal, shouldn't we wait for his will to be done and not ours? As well as seeking out doctors of course.
There is no reason to believe God is healing anything. As Mendy points out, Berserk is hiding behind gaps. People of many faiths and no faith experience spontaneous remission of many diseases and conditions. The difference is that when remission happens for a Christian, it's a miracle! For an atheist, it's just really fortunate.

There is no indication that remission is limited to the prayerful or prayed-for. This would be the obvious way to show that Christian prayer has an effect, and every time it's studied, the results are inconclusive - exactly what you would expect for a no-God or no-active-God condition.

Mendy also gives Berserk credit for admitting that God, should he exist, should be providing miracles today. Unlike a lot of modern Christians who attempt to square reality with their faith by contorting themselves into pretzels. So Berserk goes looking for these miracles and brings back anything he can find, no matter how embarrassing. Look up Lourdes in France. They claim to have 69 cases of "confirmed" miracles, but they are slow to admit to you this is the number since...wait for it...1858. And the rate of miracles has slowed (as if it could get any slower), ironically as medical diagnostics has improved. God is not just *very* selective, it would seem He is also getting tired.

Had anyone attributed these "miracles" to healing crystals, they would be dismissed by everyone but the believers in healing crystals. Because they are attributed to Christian mythology, some Christians believe them. They have to. Their world depends on it.

Knowing the above, Berserk also tells us all about non-believers who believe now because of his claims and tutelage. If they believe, then we should, too! Then he can blame us for our non-belief, and he can feel superior again. Not that he needs much help in that department.

I was hoping we'd just ignore this thread, but debunking it is fine, too.
 

chansen

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3 questions:
(1) Why do you imagine anyone would inflict a toxic personality like you on godly people with effective prayer lives?
I got along great with your old boss, Inland District Superintendent (name deleted). He advised you to take a course in conducting yourself online. You never took the course, choosing retirement. I've exchanged emails with (ditto) as recently as last year, talking about the upcoming split in the UMC. His (brand name deleted) email has since changed, but our conversations were very friendly. I haven't tried very hard to find him. Should I?

I've also reached out to your successor, (name deleted). He has not returned my FB message. If I try other ways to contact him or the church to share their thoughts about you, what do you think they will say? If I try hard enough, someone is always willing to chat about their old minister.

That's the extent of my attempts. If I find the time, I'll expand my search for you mythical bible study group.

You call me "toxic", but when I point out that you are the worst person to ever join our community, notice how the line of people wanting to defend you fails to form. You are simply a terrible person, and that's not something I say lightly. I would not say that about Stephen Booth. I would not say that about Jae, blackbelt or unsafe. I would only consider saying that about Aaron. I have no hesitation for you.
(Names of individuals deleted for privacy's sake)


(2) don't you realize that most Christians who experience answers to prayer for healing could care less about medical studies. THEY are content just to testify to their joyful miracle to their church, friends, and family members. For them, their healings are just one of many examples of how God fulfills His promises.
The suddenly well may not care about studies. The unwell want to know every possible avenue to become well. If those who think Christianity really had the power to heal cared about people more than their faith, they'd document everything. They'd study everything. They'd publish like mad. Doctors would not be able to avoid the evidence.

Instead, you just don't have any. At best, you have some examples of spontaneous remission. So does everyone else. We don't have explanations for everything. You can't show that your explanation is connected to healing. At all. People have tried.


(3) But what if I brought them here and you were convinced that they experienced healing miracles? What would you be prepared to do about such new insights? If I thought that you or others on this site would convert to Christ through such testimonies, I'm confident they would respond to my invitation to appear here. And keep in mind that there is nothing special or unique about our prayer group. All the ailing members of this site could track down local prayer groups, request prayer for healing, and judge the results for themselves. Or they can prefer feeling right about their limiting perspectives, just vent to each other and anxiously hope medical help suffices.
You're just going to hang everybody's medical problems ransom, then? You're going to claim that their lack of faith keeps them unwell? This is how your God operates? Warn everybody in an old book or oral traditions that they have to believe or else, then heal a very select and statistically insignificant few who believe? 69 miracles over 160 years being your best "evidence" for your God and his miracles?

Just go away. Nobody here believes you. Nobody is interested in paying your ransom by adopting your faith. Nobody signed up for your lecture series.
 
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Luce NDs

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This is like the enigma of humpty ... and who could envision the reassembly of a broken structure ... a miracle with a chicken? Could involve some satire for invertebrates ... those getting the entire process inside out!

Bring on the chic ... we shall collect old boids for a discussion about irresolvable problems of humanity that get us depressed!

My grandmother had a solution ... she took off ... Hi Fight she said to the quilled (quilt)! Thus quit 'd in Earnest ... as he told Bert to beat it ... it still kicks about ... pride about what we don't know ... fore shore! Yet freedom allows us to say we know all about great things that are completely beyond us ... avast distance ... look out ... for what's anon ... it's coming ... the chimera drags on ... foreshortened by the editor to dragon dancing in the form of partial words taken from the great one! Imagine one big word in the code of transanti functions ... it just won't work in Scrabble!

Some see it some will not!
 

Luce NDs

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Imagine words writ in stone or obelisks ... upstanding? Soaring ... or just cockle ideas ... flying mollusks?

More codes for the cracking ... snappy words!
 

Waterfall

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You're on to something. Run with it.


Miracles are like marketing claims. They are an attempt to sell you something - faith. Know of any fraudulent marketing claims?


So now we have Christians redefining "miracles" to include nature, beauty, etc. And today, a lot of people are skeptical about a lot of claims. We have to be. Sometimes our skepticism goes off the rails, like in the cases of flat-earthers or anti-vaxxers, where demonstrable concepts and evidence is dismissed in favour of discredited crackpot hypotheses.


There is no reason to believe God is healing anything. As Mendy points out, Berserk is hiding behind gaps. People of many faiths and no faith experience spontaneous remission of many diseases and conditions. The difference is that when remission happens for a Christian, it's a miracle! For an atheist, it's just really fortunate.

There is no indication that remission is limited to the prayerful or prayed-for. This would be the obvious way to show that Christian prayer has an effect, and every time it's studied, the results are inconclusive - exactly what you would expect for a no-God or no-active-God condition.

Mendy also gives Berserk credit for admitting that God, should he exist, should be providing miracles today. Unlike a lot of modern Christians who attempt to square reality with their faith by contorting themselves into pretzels. So Berserk goes looking for these miracles and brings back anything he can find, no matter how embarrassing. Look up Lourdes in France. They claim to have 69 cases of "confirmed" miracles, but they are slow to admit to you this is the number since...wait for it...1858. And the rate of miracles has slowed (as if it could get any slower), ironically as medical diagnostics has improved. God is not just *very* selective, it would seem He is also getting tired.

Had anyone attributed these "miracles" to healing crystals, they would be dismissed by everyone but the believers in healing crystals. Because they are attributed to Christian mythology, some Christians believe them. They have to. Their world depends on it.

Knowing the above, Berserk also tells us all about non-believers who believe now because of his claims and tutelage. If they believe, then we should, too! Then he can blame us for our non-belief, and he can feel superior again. Not that he needs much help in that department.

I was hoping we'd just ignore this thread, but debunking it is fine, too.
Quite frankly miracles are not high on my priority for my own faith....but I do understand people hoping for one. One doesnt usually seek a miracle when all is well and that sometimes goes for seeking God too.
And of course there will always be charlatons that will try to make money from it.....which Jesus never did. He also didnt have church services centred around miracles...he preferred to promote Gods Kingdom.
When he restored a soldiers ear that was cut off, it was to correct a wrong.
When he provided loaves and fishes...no one asked...he just saw they were hungry.
Someone touched him without asking and they were healed.
Sight was restored for someone blind from birth.
Many of his healings start from the impossible which is what strikes me 2000 years later.
Seeing a video of someone who was run over and survived is not impossible to me.....
I also think that when Jesus told others not to say anything after witnessing his miracles that he felt it was more about hindering his message because after all, why save one at a time when what most people really need is to learn how to live in peace and help one another?
 
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