Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Faith, God, Religion

How Convincing Are Miracles?

I like the above image, because it’s so absurd. Not that the miracle itself is absurd, but that someone could see such a thing and still dismiss it.

A while back, we had a discussion on this blog about the effectiveness of miracles. Not the “oh, my aunt has a friend that knows someone who had back pain until it was prayed over and now it’s gone” variety, but amazing, in-your-face miracles that simply can’t be explained. Like seeing a man walk on the sea. Or seeing someone whose legs are atrophied because he was lame from birth suddenly begin running and jumping on legs that have been fully restored. Or seeing an ocean separate before you so that you could walk on dry land between two walls of water. In other words, the kinds of miracles talked about in the Bible.

What would it be like to witness something like that?

Before we tackle that question, let’s consider the actual purpose of miracles in more detail. Take, for example, the account of Peter and John healing the lame man in Acts 3. Here, Peter and John encounter a man at the gate of the temple who had been lame from birth. He asked for alms, but Peter replied that he had no silver or gold; instead, he commanded the lame man to walk in the name of Jesus. Of course, the lame man was then able to leap up and run around. This was a marvelous thing to do for a lame person — and obviously, one of the main reasons Peter and John healed him was because they had compassion on him.

But it’s also apparent that the miracle served another purpose:

And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people…
— vs 9-12

Peter suddenly had the attention of everyone who saw the miracle or recognized the lame man. And that’s no surprise. Just imagine how you’d feel if you had witnessed such a thing — if you had seen the atrophied legs grow and take shape. Wouldn’t you be inclined to listen to whatever Peter and John might have to say? You’d already be inclined to believe something fantastic, because there’s no natural explanation for what you would have witnessed with the lame man. And as we see in verse 4 of the next chapter, many of the witnesses believed what Peter and John said and became Christians.

The Bible is actually fairly consistent in its use of miracles. For instance, John 20:30-31 says this:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

In Genesis 41, when Joseph has an opportunity to decipher the meaning behind Pharaoh’s dreams, he first recounts the dreams back to Pharaoh (something he couldn’t have known on his own) as a sign that God is speaking to him. Centuries later, when God tells Moses to go to Egypt and deliver the Children of Israel, God performs miracles so Moses will have faith in his power. During Moses’ discussions with Pharaoh and the subsequent Exodus, miracles are used many times to show people God’s will. Gideon was shown miracles so he would trust in God’s instructions. In the New Testament, Jesus performed many miracles to show people that he had been sent from God, and his apostles later followed suit. Thomas was allowed to touch the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side, since he was having trouble believing what he was seeing. Paul was given a miracle on his way to Damascus to show him that his persecution of Christians was wrong.

Throughout the Bible, miracles are used as evidence. They are used to convince people who were not convinced by other means.

So if that’s how God operated in the Bible, why don’t we see miracles today? Again, I’m not talking about the anecdotes you hear about someone’s back pain going away. I’m talking about real, immediate miracles that can be witnessed. There’s a book and website called Why Won’t God Heal Amputees? It’s a great question. Just imagine what a game-changer it would be if you turned on the major news networks one day and saw a person’s limb grow back through the power of prayer. And not just that person’s, but many others as well. How could such an event be explained away?

So why doesn’t God do that? If he performed miracles in the past so that people would believe, why doesn’t he do it now?

Some believers will say God doesn’t do those kinds of miracles today, because they don’t convince many people. To illustrate this, they point to the episodes in the gospels where Jesus performed a miracle, but it failed to convince the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day. But really, how likely is this? If you were to witness an amputee’s leg grow back, would you really deny it? What would you have to gain by doing so? If someone demonstrated that kind of power, wouldn’t you want to know whatever message they had to give?

And if that were true about the Pharisees and chief priests, etc, why did Jesus bother doing the miracles? And why does the Gospel of John say that the miracles were performed so that people could believe? Obviously, the miracles must have been at least somewhat effective — and if God wants everyone to be saved, wouldn’t even one additional person’s belief be worth doing those kinds of miracles today?

In fact, if you really think about it, when the gospels repeatedly say that Jesus’ miracles failed to convince the religious leaders of the day, it probably says much more about the quality of the “miracles” being performed than it does the mindset of those who weren’t convinced.

When it comes down to it, most people are not obstinate enough to deny reality when it’s staring them in the face. Think of every movie you’ve ever seen where one character is trying to convince another of something fantastic. Let’s take Back to the Future as an example, since most people should be familiar with it. When Marty was trying to convince Doc Brown that he was from the future, Doc was very skeptical. Even when Marty tried to prove it by saying who was President in 1985, etc. Those were all details that could have been made up. But once Marty could explain how Doc Brown got the bump on his head, Doc realized Marty could not have known that through sheer intuition. And finally, the most logical explanation for everything was that Marty was telling the truth and had actually come from the future. But if Doc had held out and refused to believe even if Marty showed him the DeLorean and took him on a trip through time, the story would have lost its believability — and not because of the time travel premise.

In the same way, if it became a known fact that prayer could visibly heal people of egregious injuries, there would be no rational reason to dis-believe it. In other words, to answer our original question, miracles would be very convincing. And there doesn’t seem to be any good reason why God would refuse to use them. So the fact that they don’t happen is very good evidence to me that the Christian god is simply imaginary.


137 thoughts on “How Convincing Are Miracles?”

  1. Thanks for all the links, UnkleE. I’ll check them out.

    As far as the story about Dr Crandall that you mentioned, it does sound amazing. But the patient’s heart still didn’t begin beating until they applied the defibrillators one more time. Why would God need that kind of help? I still don’t see that as being at the same level of regrowing a limb, etc. But again, I’ll check out the other links you supplied as well.

    And thanks, kc, for all your comments as well. I’ve been too busy lately to spend much time on the blog, so I appreciate all you guys stepping in! 🙂

    Nan, your comment sums things up beautifully. I couldn’t agree more.


  2. Josh, thanks for chiming in! Good to hear from you 🙂

    In reference to my point about the gospels, you said this:

    I think it actually lends credibility to the writers that they recorded that some didn’t believe.

    I appreciate your perspective, but I still disagree. I think the writers were forced to explain the opposition against Jesus. If Jesus were this amazing miracle worker (as they claimed), why didn’t the Jewish leaders become his followers? They needed some way to explain that.

    If Jesus really performed the kinds of miracles that were attributed to him, and the Jewish leaders really witnessed them, I think the overwhelming majority of them would have become his followers. That’s how I see it, at least.

    Thanks again!


  3. Now for a more general comment, while I’ve got some time:

    If miracles are not given as evidence but solely for the benefit they provide, how do we explain all the cases where they’re needed, but never given? Walk into any children’s hospital and you have to wonder about the morality of a god that could easily heal these children but chooses not to. Which one of us, if we had a cure for cancer, would not use it as liberally as we could?

    My wife reminded me of a song called “Thank You God” by Tim Minchin, where he sings about a guy named Sam that claimed God healed his mother’s cataracts. Here’s a bit of it:

    This story of Sam’s has but a single explanation:
    A surgical God who digs on magic operations
    No, it couldn’t be mistaken attribution of causation
    Born of a coincidental temporal correlation
    Exacerbated by a general lack of education
    Vis-a-vis physics in Sam’s parish congregation
    And it couldn’t be that all these pious people are liars
    It couldn’t be an artifact of confirmation bias
    A product of groupthink,
    A mass delusion,
    An Emperor’s New Clothes-style fear of exclusion

    No, it’s more likely to be an all-powerful magician
    Than the misdiagnosis of the initial condition,
    Or one of many cases of spontaneous remission,
    Or a record-keeping glitch by the local physician


  4. Hi Nate,

    I don’t think discussion of our respective final conclusions is going to be helpful, or even original, which is why I chose not to comment on your original post. But your recent comments provide a basis for a slightly different discussion – of evidence and method.

    1. We all like to think we base our views on evidence, but I don’t think that’s so. You could surely point out christians you know who accept every miracle story uncritically. But I have found that most non-believers are little different.

    Sceptics will gleefully point to so-called miracle workers who have been found to be fakes (though they often don’t have any clear evidence to offer to support those claims) but I have rarely found a sceptic who has investigated plausible claims in detail, who has gone out of their way to investigate the cases that are most likely to throw doubt on their scepticism.

    I have tried to do that – to be mildly sceptical about claims until I can gather enough evidence. So I feel the need to “correct” those who say there are no such cases. There are indeed such cases, and the only issue with them is interpretation and possible alternative explanations. Which brings me to ….

    2. The critical matter is the criteria we bring to these cases. Many sceptics adopt such strict criteria that they will eliminate every claim even if it was genuine, which is bad experimental methodology. But that doesn’t stop them claiming there is no evidence.

    Take the present case of Dr Crandall. Yes, it is true that Dr Crandall applied the paddles to effect the recovery (he is after all a reputed heart surgeon), and we might well wonder why God would do that. But how does that wonder lessen the fact that an amazingly unlikely recovery occurred immediately after prayer, and didn’t occur before?

    And it is true, as kcchief1 points out, that even the advanced modern medical equipment available in a US emergency ward may misdiagnose, but it generally doesn’t.

    When I consider the evil in the world, I am troubled by it. I admit that it makes it harder to believe in a good God – in other words, it is evidence against the existence of God. But I find other things that are evidence for the existence of God, and my continued belief is based on my assessment that the positive outweighs the negative. That seems to me to be an honest approach.

    What bothers me is that I don’t very often see a similar open and honest approach from sceptics. These miracle reports are plausible although they have other possible explanations. But if we consider the hundreds of plausible reports, the probability that they all have another explanation becomes very small, as I have shown here. So surely the honest response is for the sceptic to say the same as I do, that they agree that these reports make it more probable that God exists, but they cannot believe for other reasons?

    So far, I have never, as far as I can recall, met a sceptic willing to respond that way. I would be interested to know why.

    Best wishes.


  5. Why wouldn’t God heal an amputee? A tough question indeed. It’s often bothered me as well.

    But I wonder, couldn’t a clever enough naturalist find reason to doubt even a healed amputee, say, by finding some sort of alternative explanation (fraud/conspiracy, some unknown natural regenerative process that was triggered by some rare and unknown event)? Starfish regenerate limbs. Maybe humans can too. We got the DNA with the plans for our whole body in each cell! Legs can conceivably be grown from stem cells. How could someone rule out the possibility of an alternative natural explanation? Once these hypotheses were offered (and they certainly would be), my bet is that many atheists would adopt them instead. Many atheists are even explicit about this extreme preference for natural explanations.

    Back in biblical times people didn’t have such a massive preference for natural explanation, but these days this preference among scientists and other skeptics would cause many to dismiss even this. If I were God I’d say, “Well, then, why bother? My main audience for these purely evidential miracles has the intellectual ‘sophistication’ to reject even a healed amputee!”

    My feeling is that God only provides partial evidence for Himself these days. Why I cannot say. But the fact that that evidence is there isn’t mitigated by His not attempting to provide obvious Hollywood-ish sorts of displays. Evidence is evidence.


  6. Having read through most of the ensuing comments it is worth noting a couple of things.

    First. kcrchief1 states that he and Unklee have one thing in common: they both believe in ‘God’.
    I would just like to say that being a deist is not quite the same as being a Christian, as the man-god Unklee believes in is not the same as the entity someone like kcchief1 believes exists.
    Although evidence for Yashu’a as an historical figure let alone a god is becoming ever more tenuous it is currently marginally greater than a creator.

    As for miracles.
    Although there are many incidents of unexplained phenomena in the field of medicine not a single incident has ever been irrefutably acknowledged as being a miracle- direct intervention from a supernatural deity- and it matters not how one postulates the mathematics.
    The regeneration of the limbs of an amputee is still the benchmark in the field of healing.
    Once prayer has been shown to actively regenerate a limb then we may be a step closer to claiming supernatural intervention.
    And even then… would you know it was your god and not someone else’s?

    It’s demeaning and disrespectful to everything that we consider human about ourselves to abdicate reason and merely insert a god in the blank space that currently reads ( we don’t know)

    To do so makes us no better than those who burned/killed witches – and some still do, believe it or not.


  7. Ark makes some good points. If we are all honest with ourselves , we are all Agnostics. An Agnostic says, “I cannot know” . Why do I believe in a God / Creator ? Science sometimes is like the Organized Church. It is very difficult at times to speak out against your Peers . When Scientists like Stephen Hawkins claim we don’t need God for the Big Bang to occur , it takes a while for lesser known Scientists to speak out and say it takes a “Cause for the Effect”. There are a number of Scientists doing just that today. I saw a documentary from Canada interviewing Scientists from a Think Tank who were all in agreement the Big Bang didn’t just happen. There had to be a cause. I too believe in a cause, a God / Creator. Yes you can also ask, “Well where did he come from?” Then I have to be an Agnostic and say, “I cannot know”

    Ark, I left Christianity because of the statement you made about abdicating reason.


  8. unkleE, you say “Sceptics will gleefully point to so-called miracle workers who have been found to be fakes (though they often don’t have any clear evidence to offer to support those claims) ” Really ? You yourself discounted Benny Hinn. In the HBO documentary I referred to earlier, they clearly showed him to be a fraud. In 1986 Peter Popoff was exposed as a fraud by using a wireless earpiece so his wife could call out names and ailments to him so he could talk to people in the crowd and tell them God told him they were healed. Mark Haville a Faith Healer from the UK through guilt quit his Faith Healing Scam and is now educating people about the pitfalls of Faith healing. Faith Healing Scams are easily verified all over the Internet. As Ark puts it, you can’t abdicate reason when researching these scams however. 🙂

    There were a lot of Christian Kids from South Korea on the airplane that crashed in San Francisco Saturday. Many people claim it was a miracle for 305 people to survive that crash, but it wasn’t a miracle for 2 teenage girls who were headed to a Christian Camp for the Summer. To make matters worse, they think one of the girls actually survived the crash only to be run over by an emergency vehicle.

    Benny Hinn once told parents of a deceased child that he wasn’t healed most likely from the sins of the parents and quoted OT Scripture . How much sin did these girl’s parents commit to anger their God enough to take their lives ?


  9. Hey Nate-
    I appreciate your response, and can see where you’re coming from. I wonder if I could take this on an ever-so-slight tangent. Even if we assume your assertions are true (and, despite anything else we may discuss, I think you’d concede you did make assertions about the original writers’ intentions that cannot be verified) the inclusion of these details still lends credibility to the texts. There’s a lot of discussion about whether the NT documents have been revised to present Jesus in a more divine light over time. I think the presence of the kind of things I mentioned previously (doubt among witnesses, even Jesus’ disciples) shows that these supposed “redactors” who revised the documents to cement their religion did a pretty poor job. If I were editing something so that the “founder” of my “religion” would appear more divine, the assumption is that I would be making things up or rewriting the truth anyway. So, this would beg the question of why I would care to not only mention or explain why people didn’t believe instead of just presenting it as though all who witnessed were immediately, and permanently convinced (especially followers, right?). Your arguments seem to give the writers a lot of ability in forethought toward arguments against the text, and creativity in placing pieces of narrative. So, as I revise the documents, in my pretty well-formed forethought for potential arguments, I could rely on future generations to say things like “Well, some people don’t believe today because they weren’t there to be eyewitnesses, but everyone who was there believed instantly. Look, it’s right there in the text!” I, as I’m revising the text, apparently don’t care that I’m revising history, so why would I even include that some people doubted? It makes no sense to fabricate this man’s divinity and power, present this to future readers on the assumption that they cannot verify whether or not it was true, and then to include the embarrassing admission that some people didn’t believe him even after they saw him perform miracles. I know I’m kinda rambling, but there seems to be a nugget of truth here that really supports the notion that the texts we have are far from the edited, re-edited versions we’ve been led to believe they are. There are just too many embarrassing and counter-productive things that an editor would have changed, in my opinion, for them to be anything but very good representations of the original documents.


  10. Hey Nate. Good to hear from you! In regards to why the Pharisees and chief priests did not believe, and why many people would be skeptical, even today, what do you make of this passage:

    John 11:45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

    This was just after Lazarus had been raised from the dead. I am afraid, even today and even in the light of a ‘miraculous’ regrowth of an amputee’s limb, we underestimate the self-interest and self-centeredness of the human animal.


  11. Hi Kent, great to hear from you too!

    You bring up a great point. Personally, I find it hard to believe that people could honestly think they were witnessing a messenger from God who could raise the dead, but they chose to oppose him because of the Roman authorities. What could the Romans do against God?

    But let’s leave that aside. If we assume that large portions of the population won’t be convinced even with miracles, then why did God create humans to be so blind and stubborn in the first place? He wants everyone to believe in him, but most are incapable of it — seems like punishing a dog for not being able to fly.


  12. Josh,

    I don’t think the gospel writers were completely writing fiction. I think they believed most or all of what they wrote. I think they already knew that some people didn’t believe in Jesus — they weren’t trying to hide that (lie about it), just trying to explain why that could be the case.


  13. UnkleE — I can totally see why some people believe in God, especially a deistic god, like KC believes in. There are sometimes strange things that happen that I can’t explain. Some people call them miracles, but for me, they aren’t obvious enough that I would call them that. Maybe I can be the first skeptic you’ve run across who can say that while some of the unexplained things in life leave the possibility of God open for me, I haven’t seen enough to make me think it’s probable.

    Does that make sense?


  14. “If we assume that large portions of the population won’t be convinced even with miracles”

    I don’t think we’re necessarily assuming that, or at least we shouldn’t. None of us knows what another’s true beliefs or internal thought process is, nor what their final landing point on a matter will be. I think assuming that we can know these things is dangerous. Good examples are all the disciples, who clearly didn’t believe everything about Jesus, or at least had very little idea of what he was claiming, until after he had risen. Another is Paul, who was assisting in murdering christians, and then became one himself. We don’t have documentation of many of the “religious leaders” eventual beliefs, so we can’t assume we know.

    So, I know you’ll mention that surely “at least some people” won’t believe in him, and that still seems cruel. So, “why did God create humans to be so blind and stubborn in the first place”? The answer, at least from scripture’s perspective, is that he did not. We chose the blindness for ourselves when we decided we couldn’t trust God and needed to “know good and evil” for ourselves. Following the story scripture tells us, God worked out a plan whereby he would himself provide a way out from under the slavery of that choice. This is the message of scripture from the point of God’s promise to Abraham. We may be blind and stubborn of our own free choice, but God has made payment for that blindness and stubbornness. I see that as a necessary piece to your perspective, Nate. If you’re going to talk about the God of scripture, even in a hypothetical sense from your perspective, you must include in your idea of him the fact that he has provided freedom from our slavery.


  15. Nate-
    “they weren’t trying to hide that (lie about it), just trying to explain why that could be the case.”

    Yeah – that was a bit of a tangent. I was just trying to point out some credence in the position that the documents we’re reading are good source documents. That was my only real point there 🙂


  16. Good points, Josh.

    You’re right that individuals have different thresholds of what constitutes good evidence. For me, much of this comes down to what’s at stake. I know you and unkleE don’t believe in Hell (at least, I think that’s your position). Of course, I don’t believe in it either. But if there’s any consequence in the next life for not believing in God, then I think such high stakes call for high levels of evidence. God could easily make himself known to everyone — whether through indisputable miracles, or through direct revelation. Even if there are some people who would still reject him after all that, there are many others who would accept him and follow him. So we’re still left wondering why he remains hidden from those people. That’s probably the biggest reason why I don’t believe the Christian god is real — he seems to care too much about what we think of him to remain hidden.

    And this is where I see a problem with your point about us choosing to blind ourselves. You can only make a choice when you are aware of all the options. When God hides himself, he’s removed himself as a viable option from many people, myself included. I don’t believe he’s real, so my skepticism is not a choice, it’s a conclusion.

    Also, the slavery thing I just flat out disagree with. Christians have been told that free will is slavery, when it’s actually the opposite. Personally, I never felt true freedom until I left Christianity. Paul was essentially a snake-oil salesman, if you think about it. He was selling “freedom” from a slavery that he created.

    Again, this is just how I see it…


  17. Josh, you wrote that according to “scripture’s perspective,” we chose blindness and stubbornness, so God had to “work out a plan” that would allow us to be acceptable to him. I cannot help but wonder why God, in his omnipotence, did not create us “perfect” in the first place …

    Beyond this comment, I tend to question, along with Nate, why God does not perform bonafide miracles in today’s world. That is, miracles that would be hard to dismiss by even the staunchest of skeptics. Did God go on strike?


  18. @kcchief1
    ”Ark, I left Christianity because of the statement you made about abdicating reason”.

    Good for you. Maybe if you hang around Nate’s site long enough and are subject to the nonsense espoused by Unklee you might discover old fashioned common sense tastes better than you ever thought possible.
    At least you discovered why Christianity leaves such a bad taste in the mouth….
    one step at a time….


  19. @ Nate
    ”Paul was essentially a snake-oil salesman,”
    Wasn’t the devil also a ‘snake?’ Freudian slip, Nate? Smile…..
    Freud did say there was no such thing as coincidence, am I right?


  20. ”So surely the honest response is for the sceptic to say the same as I do, that they agree that these reports make it more probable that God exists, but they cannot believe for other reasons?

    So far, I have never, as far as I can recall, met a sceptic willing to respond that way. I would be interested to know why.”

    Once again, this is a statement designed to lead the witness, as they say in all the best ‘Cop /legal Shows’

    By using the term ‘God’ and including the capital the statement presupposes that this entity already exists and skeptics are merely being obtuse by not acknowledging this.
    Such hyperbole warrants nothing but scorn.

    So surely, the honest response is for the Christian (Unklee) is to demonstrate the veracity of the source of his belief – first and foremost and then demonstrate how the man-god Yashua became the omniscient deity that he claims created the universe and performs miracles.

    Maybe once he has done this to the satisfaction of all interested parties his point of view might be deserving of the respect he so obviously seeks.
    Until then….if it reads like nonsense, and sounds like nonsense then it probably is nonsense.
    (Substitute Bull S. for nonsense if you feel more comfortable)


  21. Josh, as a sidebar you said, So, “why did God create humans to be so blind and stubborn in the first place”? The answer, at least from scripture’s perspective, is that he did not. We chose the blindness for ourselves when we decided we couldn’t trust God and needed to “know good and evil” for ourselves.

    Why do Christians continue to beat themselves up and never blame “The Biblical One” who created them in “His Image” ??? (If that’s what you do believe) God hardens hearts (Ex 10:1) God is Jealous (Ex 25:5) God blames kids for their parent’s sins (Exodus 34:7) God is angry and causes people to harm other people (2Sam 24:1) God sends plagues to kill 70,000 innocent people (1 Chr 21:14) God sends good times and bad times (Isaiah 45:7) God hates people (Hosea 9:15)

    And you want to blame yourself for the way you are ??? I know unkleE would rather not use the OT much and I don’t know how you feel but you can’t throw out the OT since the NT writers pointed back to the OT continually to prove their Prophet Jesus was the Messiah.

    You can’t tell me it wasn’t evil of The Bible God to place a tree of the knowledge of good and evil in front of Adam and Eve’s noses and then tell them they couldn’t eat from it. They were as innocent at that stage as a young child and acted as a young child would if you place a piece of candy in front of him and told them not to eat it.

    I am reading works from more and more present day Scholars who are discounting these kinds of Biblical Stories for the sanity of their readers as they should. Of course there are some good passages in the Bible. But there are a lot of bad ones too , written by some head cases who should never have been leaders . David Koresh and Jim Jones to name a few borrowed heavily from these Biblical Stories .

    And you still want to blame mankind for all of our problems ? I think not. But that’s just my opinion…..


  22. Nate-
    You always make good, thoughtful statements. Makes me think 🙂

    “Christians have been told that free will is slavery, when it’s actually the opposite. Personally, I never felt true freedom until I left Christianity.”

    Freedom is not as simple as you’ve made it out to be. As an analogy, if I decided I was going to exercise my absolute freedom by eating whatever I want I can tell you that I would definitely feel “true freedom”. But, eventually, my exercising my “true freedom” would lead to all kinds of bad, and possibly fatal, consequences. There are consequences we pay if we really live as if we can “do whatever I want” regardless of whether we believe Christianity or not. We all, generally speaking of course, know this and operate under the knowledge that we must restrict ourselves from doing certain things we feel we want to do. We know we are not truly free in the sense that we can, or even should, do anything we want. If we do not exercise restraint in certain areas we will end up being slaves to them, as is true with addiction. We may not be addicts to substances, but the lure of exercising absolute freedom without restraint will lead, in many cases, to uncontrollable behavior that likely will be destructive.


  23. Does that make sense?”

    Yes, it makes sense. But It doesn’t seem to fit with your post. There are many plausible miracles out there, and they could be telling you something. You say they may make God a possibility, but they are not enough to convince you, and yet you give no indication of carefully investigating them, and yet you write a post saying they’re not very convincing. It doesn’t all hang together to me.

    BTW I don’t think many theologians or historians say that Jesus performed miracles to prove himself (he did it to inaugurate the kingdom of God), and on several occasions Jesus himself said he wouldn’t do that. God’s convincing comes via the Holy Spirit, to those whose hearts and minds are open to receive him.


  24. @ Josh

    Freedom is as simple as Nate makes out. What he is trying to demonstrate is the price true freedom comes with is responsibility.
    Understanding this is what truly defines freedom.
    Christians, as with all religious people only think they are free because they have been inculcated with their religion, which demands worship of a deity.or be subject to punishment.
    This is not freedom, it is blackmail of the most immoral kind.
    That a person such as yourself is unable to see this is clear evidence of the power of the culture and inculcation you were brought up in. One that states that the god you believe in is real and to deny it is disobedient.
    In the end religious people abdicate responsibility to an invisible and untenable deity.
    “God will it” or similar.
    Once you understand this fact then you will throw off the shackles in a similar fashion as Nate has done.


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