Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The Miracle of Miracles - and why it's false
Another short entry, I hope [edit: nope]. This is one of the ways I lost faith, the 'problem' with miracles. In Mormonism miracles occur all the time, now, in the past, and into eternity. The miracles in the Bible and BoM are just that, actual miracles. Noah really had a big boat that held all the animals, there was a flood, Jesus did heal people, Alma and Amulek got out of the prison when God knocked the walls down (course the ceiling didn't collapse on them somehow, but that's just part of the miracle).
So I ask: where are the miracles today?
And I get several answers. First is that there are miracles all the time. I remember one of the 'brethren' stating that Hawaii needed rain or something so the church was praying and it started raining on the church. Or I've also heard people tell me about how they had an impression to go help someone and sure enough they needed help. Or how some missionaries blessed someone with cancer and they were cured. These must be miracles, right?
Well, if the church had been praying for rain to end a drought was there ever a possibility that it was never going to rain again? I mean, seriously, did they think the drought would last till the end of the earth? Eventually it was going to rain! Impression miracles are a little tricky, but I've had people call me up, saying they felt they should, and there was no reason. Also, usually people are generally aware that the person they visited were having difficulties or issues in the first place. You don't need an 'impression' to go, just a conscience that wants to help that person out. And then curing cancer? Well, on my mission I truly believed in the faith and blessed plenty of people too and they were never cured. Actually most missionaries do quite regularly. Then one of those dozens or hundreds of people actually is cured and it's a miracle? One out of a hundred? This is looking at the hits and ignoring the misses. 99 blessings with no effect, 1 given where the person got better.
Which leads to the negative side, what if no miracle happens? Well, then religions have that covered too = God wanted it to happen that way. Smart move guys. If you bless someone to get better, and they don't but get worse and die, then God just wants them on the other side. It's all spiritual and wonderful, win-win. You will hear these two statements from any congregation - "I believe in God because he cured my wife's cancer and she has been cancer free for five years now," and "I believe in God because even though my wife died of cancer he loves me, and she is with him now and I just know it in my heart." It is all rationalization and trying to deal with the hard truths of life by blinding themselves.
Lastly, in Mormonism miracles don't lead to faith. I don't fully understand why not, but okay. They claim that miracles follow the righteous and true church, that you can judge them by their fruits. Also, that miracles are reserved for the faithful. Okay, again I disagree, but let's take them in order.
If I met the prophet on the street and he put his hand on my forehead and then I saw a vision of the history of the earth, and he transformed my body into being 100% healthy with a 6-pack and all, then introduced me to a literal God, I think I would believe. But in Mormonism I wouldn't necessarily believe and feeling a burning sensation from the Holy Ghost is worth so much more than that. Makes perfect sense.
The church likes to say it has miracles surrounding it, that it's special. Well, maybe, but so does nearly everyone else. Islam has miracles, Hinduism has miracles, tons of Christian faiths have miracles all the time. And all these miracles are similar in what happens and the outrageous-ness of it all. I don't believe you have to disprove miracles, it would require lifetimes of work, but just comparing them to each other shows a general pattern that ALL religions share. I think that alone says something about miracles.
Lastly, what is the purpose of miracles in this view? I'm not sure. But I have my own reasoning when I look at stories. Joseph Smith healed random people and they would join the church, brethren would be possessed by evil spirits and throw themselves around and require exorcisms, Elijah had the duel with the prophets of Baal in front of hundreds of unbelievers, Paul met God while going across country, and the list goes on - these people did NOT have faith, or they didn't believe, not all of them. These miracles WERE to convince the unbelievers, and especially in the Bible most of them occurred in front of unbelievers (Plagues in Egypt for example). Why is it different now? And not just since Bible times, cause early church history is full of miracle accounts, so where did they all go? Why don't we see modern miracles like the ones recorded in 'wholely' texts from Adam to Joseph Smith?
I guess the answer is "Oh God is testing us different now, when compared to EVERYONE else in the history of the earth." I like to take a simpler route - miracles don't happen.
That's it, they don't. We are still exploring the world and ourselves, and many things are still mysteries, and some things seem random and supernatural, but they are not miracles guided by some invisible being. I do not accept 'miracle theory' as a viable answer to what people say happened to them, and maybe a small select crowd, that can't be repeated, that can't be tested, and where there has never been a test proving that miracles actually happen.
And that is one reason why I am an atheist.