Miracle Watch March 23 - 26, 2007

I have a google news alert for miracles. I've been doing this for years, now I want to share it with you. This is an attempt to find instances of miracles. If Christians are right, and God provides without asking and they have seen at least one prayer answered, then with information at our fingertips, in this day and age, I could conceivably find up to 2 Billion instances of miracles in my lifetime. This is based on the fact that statistics from the World Book Atlas (corroborated on some other internet demographics sites) show that there are around 2 billion Christians in the world. I am going to assume that I can only find one tenth of that, just for the benefit of the doubt. That would mean that I could find up to 1,923,077 a week over 20 years.

Man Overboard Story
Critic
He seems to be the only one that thinks it is a miracle, and a news critic faults abc news for getting the facts all messed up. ABC is in a ‘position to know’ and has an implied responsibility to get the facts correct. If ABC news, who says they put high value on credibility, and has advanced communication capabilities, can’t get the facts right, can we really trust people without such a vested interest and not it a ‘position to know’? For example, the Gospel writers?

Weeping Jesus
A couple of paintings with Jesus weeping blood, some say it
could also be red paint running because of the humidity.

Weeping Madonna
The priest said “Indeed, even after hurrying over to check out what was happening at the Heroldsbach hostel, the local priest, Rev. Dietrich von Stockhausen, still wasn't prepared to immediately believe
what he was seeing. "When heaven wants to give us a sign," he said, "then it will be one that we can understand. It won't be such a vague one, and one that is so easy to manipulate."
That’s what I keep saying! Yet every Christian I know says they have seen prayer answered or God providing without asking, but I just can’t catch one!

Boy and his slab
He spent two hours under a slab of concrete that ‘came out of nowhere to fall on him’. He was able to wriggle enough to be able to breathe.

Face of Jesus in the Ultrasound photo
To me, it looks more like a pirate.

Motorcycle Wreck
I think the glory should go to the ambulance team who worked their butt off to keep her alive.
“In the ambulance while enroute to the JCL trauma center, Graff
lost her pulse and went into cardiac arrest due to massive bleeding
from her aorta. Paramedics Dorrance and Thomas and SW Ambulance
paramedics Jennifer Hoffman and Robert Arnott continued aggressive
compressions until arriving to an awaiting trauma team.”

35 comments:

Kyle said...

Your argument fails at the onset when you assume that miracles (aka signs) are universal and common. The following statements of Jesus make clear that the signs that God gives are at
1) his discrection
2) limited
3) focused on establishing Christ as God's messenger

Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

Matthew 16:4 "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away.

Mark 8:12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, "Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."

Luke 11:29 As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah.

Miracles in the biblical history occured in major periods of writing of the scriptures to authenticate the messengers. God's primary means of revelation is the written word not signs and miracles. So you come along and define your terms for how God should act as if you have the right to demand God jump through your hoops. Why would you behave this way unless God were real and you were seeking to excuse your dibelief before Him?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Kyle,
my purpose is in the text:
"If Christians are right, and God provides without asking and they have seen at least one prayer answered, then with information at our fingertips, in this day and age, I could conceivably find up to 2 Billion instances of miracles in my lifetime."
And it is interesting to me, a kind of study of a phenomena.

I had one christian tell me that answered prayers were indistinguishable from luck, and now you seem to be telling me that I shouldn't be able to find a miracle. I would consider an answered prayer a miracle. But when i ask Christians if they have ever seen a prayer answered they invariably say yes. Have you ever seen a prayer answered?

The people in these articles (and all the ones I've read in the past couple of years) seem to think they have seen a miracle. Who's right, you or them? Because of this ambiguity I am looking for myself.

And item three in your list is not clear to me from the text. Is there somewhere else in the bible that can 'flesh' that out a little more?

Weren't there miracles in the old testament?

My preacher told me the age of miracles had passed with last apostle, but that is not what I am getting from the faithful.

Kyle said...

The sign of Jonah in those passages is clarified by Jesus later when he says:

Matthew 12:40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This is a reference to the burial and later resurrection of Jesus of which Jonah's experience in the whale was a metaphor. The resurrection is the key miracle that God gave so that men could test the truth of Jesus' claims. With the first hand accounts of the gospel writers and corraborating historical evidence there is good reason to believe it took place as in the biblical accounts. However, there is room for denial and I believe that is how God intended it. Faith is still required but the evidence makes it plausible.

I have had prayers answered and I experience God working in my life in response to my prayers regularly. You do not have access to my inward life except my testimony about it. So this does not help much. The outward signs are subject to doubt and rejection by skeptics. If I gave you an account of someone cured of cancer by prayer you could come up with an alternate explanation that maybe a medicine dissolved the tumor. If you are inclined to only accept natural explanations you will not believe that prayer changed it even if Doctors had no explanation and many believers had prayed.

"Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
20. "And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21. and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22. "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
24. "And he cried out and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'
25. "But Abraham said, `Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26. `And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
27. "And he said, `Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house--
28. for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29. "But Abraham *said, `They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'
30. "But he said, `No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'
31. "But he said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.' "

Something supernatural happens in a persons life when they read the scriptures. The power of the word is enough to bring someone to faith such that if someone rejects the word of God, then even a resurrection will not convince them. You could substitute any other miracle for resurrection since it is a definitive miracle that is obviously supernatural. The prophecies of the OT are an evidence as well as the testimony of the Holy Spirit internally when one reads the scripture and becomes convicted of their sin and the truth of the words of salvation.

I think that one's worldview influences them to dedide whether a phenomena is natural or supernatural and can lead to errors in both directions. The naturalist stumbles at the resurrection of Jesus and the credulous supernaturalist assigns events to direct actions of God that are merely natural (such as rain, or earthquakes).

tylowellharris said...

regarding your search for a miracle- " British mathematician Roger Penrose attempted to calculate the odds against Life occuring by random chance in our universe. He came up with odds of 10 to the 10nth power to the 123rd power against. Penrose elaborated..." Even if we were to write a 0 on each seperate proton, and on each seperate neutron in the entire universe- and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure- we would fall far short of writing down the figure needed." You don't have to look on google to find your miracle, just go look in a mirror. I recently wrote a post on my blog pertaining to Intelligent Design, in which the probabilistic aspects of Evolution are discussed. The first comment was from a Christian who slammed me for a lack of faith. ( Intelligent design simply acknowledges that design is inherent in improbable events wich exceed a reasonable universal probability bound, without ascribing religious traits to the implied designer ) If I am going to take shots from the christians, I may as well take some shots from the atheists as well. As far as I am conscerned, atheism and Christianity are both religions, since both are based on faith. I welcome any comments from this side of "the great debate" at my blog, which is tyharris.wordpress.com

David B. Ellis said...


Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;



As is typical of cult leaders and "psychics" today, Jesus is depicted as claiming that wanting evidence for claims of supernatural abilities and phenomena is evidence the questioner's heart is in the wrong place rather than what it is---simple common sense.

If Jesus was the real deal why does he take the same tack as con artists of today like John Edward and Sylvia Browne.....one has to wonder.

David B. Ellis said...


" British mathematician Roger Penrose attempted to calculate the odds against Life occuring by random chance in our universe.


I'm afraid the data necessary to make such a calculation with any reasonable presumption of accuracy simply isn't available.....there are simply too many unknowns and too many highly debatable assumptions must be made....so any such calculation is, in the present state of our knowledge, highly premature and relatively worthless.

Anonymous said...

" British mathematician Roger Penrose attempted to calculate the odds against Life occuring by random chance in our universe."

Do yourself a favour and spend some time at Talk Origins

From their FAQ
Q. The odds against a simple cell coming into being without divine intervention are staggering.
A. And irrelevant. Scientists don't claim that cells came into being through random processes. They are thought to have evolved from more primitive precursors. See the Probability of Abiogenesis FAQs.

Anonymous said...

Also Ty your essay continually says things like "SOMEHOW- through random chance interactions between these elements you wind up with Man"

This is one of Talk Origins top 5 misconceptions about evolution.

"The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance."

There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution.

Calvin said...

tylowellharris,


They don't understand mathematics and probability theory here. They rejct the overwhelming scientific evidence for a singular beginning to space time matter and energy. It's kind of like talking to young earth creationist about the science. They will deny the priciple of cause and effect and tell you that an effect can come before it's cause. Someone who does understand Darwinian evolution is Michael Denton. In his latest book Nature's Destiney he shows how the laws of Biology are designed for human life and how unguided Darwinian processes can't explain the complextiy of life. There are no misconceptions about Darwinian evolution in the book. What we see in the case of Darwinism and young earth creationism is an attempt to distort true science through pressuppositional bias. They are both ideology and dangerous to science.

Anonymous said...

To David Ellis - Re: comparing Jesus to cult leaders and psychics - most often, cult leaders and psychics are motivated by profit or power (gathering followers) whereas Jesus gave up all ulterior motives (did not collect followers or money).

One Wave said...

Hello,
My impression of this blog is that facts are the rule of the day but I'm dissapointed to see that there is more emotion and philosophy driving the tone.

Miracle as defined by the dictionary (1988 version The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language):

n. a supernatural event regarded as due to divine action, e.g. one of the acts worked by Christ which revealed his divinity// an extremely remarkable achievement or event, e.g. an unexpected piece of luck, it was a miracle he wasn't hurt // a miracle play.

Anyone want to go further and post the latin??

So what type of miracle are you looking for on the internet? A remarkable achievement or a seemingly divine act?

Beginning with the dictionary as a reference point, "one of the acts worked by Christ" would mean raising of the dead, healing the sick - completely, giving sight to the blind, turning water into wine, increasing loaves and fishes etc...

I guess I would not think of answered prayer as a miracle because, in my mind, that would be more like relationship. If my children ask me to help them with something and I do, they don't think it's a miracle...maybe some days they do(Grin)... I'm just being thier parent.

One Wave said...

Please forgive my premature judgement of this blog...upon further reading I have found the meat of the debates.

Looking forward to some thinking food!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
Thanks for the great comments.
The catholic church thinks that miracles still happen.
The following is quote from wikipedia:
The Catholic Church is hesitant extending validity to a putative miracle. The Church requires a certain number of miracles to occur before granting sainthood to a putative saint, with particularly stringent requirements in validating the miracle's authenticity. [1] The process is overseen by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints [2].
That requirement is two miracles.

Just tell an Italian that Padre Pio did not have stigmata and you better run. I went to a protestant church where people spoke in tongues. I had a preacher whose wife spoke in tongues ALL THE TIME. I truly think she had a mental problem that they weren’t dealing with because of their faith.
speaking in tongues
(in case the link doesn't work
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia)

This is one reason for this miracle watch. Some of you believers don’t believe in miracles, some of you do. Don’t preach to me about why I shouldn’t expect miracles, convince your brethren in Christ. In my mind there is a fundamental problem with your fundamentals. You all should work it out.

In the mean time I’m looking for something glorious. Something undoubtedly a miracle.
Something like I hoped would happen when people were falling like tear drops out of the twin towers. I was hoping that god would let them float down like feathers, but I was disappointed.

And in any case, the stories are interesting.

Shygetz said...

Ah Calvin, back at it again, I see...

They don't understand mathematics and probability theory here.

Calvin, since you don't know me, you are unaware of the irony of your statement. In this case, I must enjoy the juicy comedy by myself, but sincerely, thank you for brightening my day a little.

Penrose tried to estimate the probability that the Universe would exist exactly as it does. This is purely a guess, as he does not know the range of possible values for universal constants and does not know the probability of any of the particular values. Similarly, he does not know how many of the possible combinations of those values would result in a universe capable of supporting some form of life. He does not know how many "universes" exist/have existed. Therefore, his number is meaningless.

They rejct the overwhelming scientific evidence for a singular beginning to space time matter and energy.

No, we don't. We merely point out that the Ultimate Fate of the Universe is not even close to being solved, and the multiverse dilemma is potentially unsolvable. No non-theist here that I know of is saying the Big Bang never occurred; we are saying that it may not imply what you insist it implies.

They will deny the priciple of cause and effect and tell you that an effect can come before it's cause.

Oh, now it's the priciple (sic) of cause and effect. You have finally demoted it from your Law of Cause and Effect. But here, at last, you are on solid ground. There is a principle of cause and effect, and it has an ancient and distinguished history in physics. However, it has been under assault by physics since the days of Newton. These assaults have continued through relativity (singularities, especially naked singularities), quantum mechanics (probabilistic universal models), and now into string theory (the work of James Gunn of Harvard). Even the Big Bang itself belies causality; as time did not exist prior to the Big Bang, it is impossible for anything to have preceeded it; therefore, it could have no cause in the scientific sense (even if you invoke a creator), making a violation of the principle of causality a necessity for the Big Bang.

In his latest book Nature's Destiney he shows how the laws of Biology are designed for human life and how unguided Darwinian processes can't explain the complextiy of life.

Oh man, is this the same guy who wrote "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" back in the '80's? You sure can't rely upon his prognostication skills, as evolution continues to flourish two decades after he proclaimed it to be in crisis. I briefly read a synopsis of Denton's arguments in his book (so I am admitting that I have not, and based on this synopsis probably will not, read his book). It is merely an argument from the antrhopic principle, and shares the same fundamental flaws; that is, it presumes the result before calculating the probability, and it presumes that the constants of nature are fundamentally flexible and could potentially be any of a number of possibilities with equal probability.

He also seems to have recanted his earlier published belief, saying now that phenotypes can be bridged by functionless intermediates. Should I wait for his next book to see if he has recanted any more of his thesis?

What we see in the case of Darwinism and young earth creationism is an attempt to distort true science through pressuppositional bias. They are both ideology and dangerous to science.

No one believes in Darwinism any more; evolution is much more complex than Darwin's theory, and when you call it Darwinism you merely exhibit your ignorance and prejudice. Evolutionary theory is one of the most successful scientific theories, period. Entire successful disciplines are based heavily upon it (e.g. computational protein modeling, modern epidemeology, etc.) Scientists do not speak of it in their presentations as conjecture or hypothesis, but as established fact. They use it to make successful predictions and to properly interpret their results.

If evolution is truly a danger to science, then...with enemies like that, who needs friends?

Lee, good luck with your experiment. While the design is not as tight as it could be, at least it may tell you something. But one question is, how many miracles will constitute a success? And, what constitutes a miracle in your model?

Anonymous said...

Jesus may never have quoted Matthew 12:40. While Matthew 12:38-40, 16:4 and Luke 11:29-32 claim that Jesus' generation would be given the "sign of Jonah" as a warning, Mark 8:11-12 says that there would be NO sign at all. That is, the reference to Jonah is absent from Mark 8:11-12. The earliest version of the Gospel of Mark is generally considered to be older than the first versions of Matthew and Luke (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985, p. 1600-1601). Therefore, a lot of false statements may have been attributed to Jesus between the final version of Mark and the final Greek version of Matthew. Of course, fundamentalists don't want to admit this possibility.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Shygetz,
I'm glad you're back. I was looking for you ever since you spanked me on my 'skewed probability hypothesis'.

I guess you realize this is an extension of that. I'm gathering data. ;-)

how many miracles will constitute a success? One verified miracle. That will bust my presumption that the supernatural does not exist and I will then try to figure out which god did it. ;-)
What does verified mean? Why using the scientific method of course! How will I know when it is verified? Depends on what the miracle is. That is the beauty of the scientific method, it has a wide range of applications and a high rate of success!

More than anything it demonstrates to what degree people will go to support their belief systems and to what degree people will go to defraud people who are supporting their belief systems. I'm collecting data on all the weeping jesuses and madonnas and grill cheese sandwiches that I can find in the spirit of joe nickells book "looking for a miracle".

Heck, there is a 'miracle' that happens in Naples Italy twice a year every year since Saint Gennaro was killed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Januarius

so all you skeptical christians should check it out before you start doubting the holy spirit! You might wind up committing a unforgivable sin and not know it! So lets test it!

I see miracles and prayer as weak links in the Christian chain, so I like to pull on them hoping they will break.

Shygetz said...

Lee,

Sorry for the absence, but real life intruded. Stupid career...

I'm glad to see you approaching the idea of miracles from the correct side (that time travel stuff is just too darn convoluted). My only problem thus far is that the scientific method, by necessity, rules out miracles. It either disproves hypotheses or fails to disprove hypotheses, leaving you with either tentative explanations that grow in strength with further testing, or no explanation.

As you and many others well know, there are many phenomena with no known explanation. This does not make them miracles, it merely makes us ignorant as to the mechanism. However, when will you attribute our ignorance to a miracle? Or, to quote my dissertation advisor, what are your controls?

By the way, I agree with you that prayer and miracles are the weak link in the Christian theology, as they directly expose themselves to empirical testing. Wriggle as they may, if their religion fails the tests they either have to throw out the earthly rewards of their religion (the despicable "Prosperity Gospel") or try to impugn the science (which is why careful design is so important). Good luck.

Randy Kirk said...

Since folks on this blog seem to love long comments, and since I've been meaning to write this down for a long time anyway...Here is a verifiable story that might seem dang close to a miracle. Catholic church won't think so, but here goes:

I have an undergrad degree in psych with a specialization in human sexual response. Almost wrote a book with my professor to debunk "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex." On to law school, then into business. Stayed up on sexuality issues, but only as a hobby. : )

23 years after later I'm having a little tiff with my wife. I pray for God to show me how to resolve the dispute. Out of the absolute blue, I feel an urging to write a book on teen sexuality. My sense it that this is a directive from God. It is Sept 1992. I have written 3 bicycle industry books, and just finished my first national book on business. It is counterproductive to the writing side of my career to do this book. More business books would be smarter.

Part of the prayer suggests an urgency to have this book to market by the next Summer. This means research, write, find a publisher, and go through the normal one year lag from completing the manuscript to the actual publication in less than 10 months.

I begin the research and writing while running by business, taking care of my family, and flogging the other books already on the market. The manuscript is almost complete in March, but Warner Books (my publsiher) isn't interested. My agent isn't interested either.

I'm very close to self-publishing the book when I do a live and in person interview on a local talk radio show for my business book. Most of these are done by phone, and this one could have been, but it was only 40 minutes from my office so I go.

After my interview, I go to my car and turn the radio to the show so I can hear the next guest. This guest spends the first five minutes of the show explaining that his publisher took his completed manuscript to market in 3 months. This information would have been totally useless and boring to anyone on the planet except me.

I called the publisher that afternoon. The receptionist was out, so the phone was answered by none other than the editor in chief. We discussed the project. I overnighted a manuscript. The next day he overnighted a contract.

In September the book was published. Sales were very poor. However, I did over 200 radio interviews and three television interviews from that book. One of the TV events was with Geraldo on his old daytime show. I was the expert against bisexuality. That show was repeated 7 times, and likely seen by 15,000,000 or so people.

Just a whole bunch of crazy coincidences? A fluke? Or God intended?

One Wave said...

How about an I.E.D. exploding three feet above a soldier's head and not causing any damage. The soldier didn't even know it was there until the soldiers around him began to check him out with dropped jaws and expressions of disbelief. That would be one of many stories my used-to-be agnostic/borderline athiest husband would tell that I would consider miraculous.

How about a woman who is taking a C.P.R. class and while listening to the EMT giving the class is given a vision by God about this EMT as a child stuck under the wheel of a tractor in the mud. He almost died. When the vision was over God told her to tell the EMT that He was there and He loves the EMT. So after the class she goes up and asks him if her remembers being under the tire in the mud. The EMT, without missing a beat, says "oh, yah! I was under the tire and I was so scared and...do I know you?" She didn't give an explanation to him, she told him that God wanted him to know that He was there and that He loved him. Then she left. No newspaper story there but you can check it our for yourself if you want. Suzie Brock at www.waveoflife.com.
She could give you a library of miracles but you won't find them on the web because she doesn't parade what God does. I've met her and, not that I have any credibility with you, but she is genuine.

Shygetz said...

randy:

I find it interesting that you prayed about how to resolve a spat with your wife, and then you never mentioned your wife again in your narrative. I also find it interesting that your God-motivated book was not well-received.

So the anatomy of your miracle was:

1) You pray to resolve your spat with your wife and are told to write a book about teen sexuality

2.) An author talks about what was truly an unusual turn-around time for his book on a radio show about books, and you heard about it because you listen to a radio show about books. Contrary to your belief, there are a lot of people (and I mean a ton) who are interested in getting their book published; this information would have been of broad interest to much of the audience of an in-depth book radio show.

3.) An editor of a small conservative Christian specialty press (Vital Issues Press) receives your call and, upon reading your conservative Christian take on sexuality, agrees to print it at his conservative Christian press.

4.) You publish a book that sells poorly (from the looks of it, an anomaly among your other, more successful books).

5.) Your publication on a controversial topic from a conservative Christian perspective gets you publicity, but not enough to boost your God-motivated message to a widespread seller.

Now, which part is miraculous, and what does any of this have to do with the spat with your wife? You would think that, if God were involved in this, your book would have gotten out to more people to spread his will. As it is, you got your flash in the pan as foil to the academic wisdom on a controvesial subject from the conservative Christian perspective. I hope the publicity at least helped the sales of your other books, but I see nothing miraculous about this.

Is this really your bar for a miracle? Voodoo priests can show me zombies brought back to life, and this is the best you can give me? Seems pretty weak tea...

one wave:

How about an I.E.D. exploding three feet above a soldier's head and not causing any damage.

Nope; there are many physical explanations for this kind of thing happening. Now, if God had rendered all American (or even all Christian) soldiers impervious to IEDs, you'd have a case. One guy getting missed while thousands of others have been maimed is luck.

I've met her and, not that I have any credibility with you, but she is genuine.

If I take your (and Suzie's) word for it, then I have to take the word of Muslims, voodoo priests, Hindus, wiccans, etc. that their miracles are real, too. Since your religions tend to be exclusionary, that suggests that either weird stuff happens regardless of religion, someone is lying, or that people tend to see the miraculous in everyday life, and inflate their stories (perhaps subconsciously) to match their theology.

I have not investigated her claim, so I cannot speak to the truth of Suzie Brock's story. However, what I see is that an evangelical fed you a story that is unverified, and gave you details that ensured that it was unverifiable (e.g. that she didn't explain to the EMT how she knew about the tire incident, ensuring that you couldn't go to him and get his side of the story). You then swallowed that story as truth. If I said that I had died and God returned me from the dead and proclaimed me his prophet, would you believe me? C'mon, I'm a nice guy, completely sincere and believable, and my miracle is better than hers. Getting the mark to believe that she cannot be fooled is the first step in many cons.

Subject your "miracles" to the same scrutiny you reserve for non-theological explanations of phenomena. If a Bible floated in mid-air in the middle of mass on Easter, and I claimed that it was held up by wires, you would be perfectly justified in demanding that I show you the wires. So, turn that laser beam on your miracles. You say Suzie Brock knew something she couldn't have? Ask for the name of the EMT and verify her story. Ask the EMT's family if the story is true. Look into their background and find out if they had a previous association or a mutual friend through which Suzy could have gotten this information. Ask for the date of the class and find her name on the registry. Find witnesses to the event, and verify their stories. For your own sake, don't believe anyone who tells you what you want to hear and has a sincere face.

Lee Randolph said...

those miracle stories are very intersting.

Kyle, whats your take on these miracle stories?

I'll bet a news organization would love to get hold of one and investigate it. I'm sure their ratings would go through the roof if they had a scoop on a real miracle. Have any of you tried to bring this to the media to get some national attention? Think how it would glorify God. I'm sure the pope would love to pontificate on that a little (pun intended) and protestants too!

Kyle said...

Lee,

I am not in a position to confirm or deny that these events took place as they said. In principle I am not against the fact that God worked miraculously in those instances. My faith does not depend on these things though. I am convinced the resurrection occurred and therefore incidental occurences of God's power are not crucial (pun intended).

God is not a trick pony that puts himself on display. God reveals his power as he chooses. For some, he uses supernatural events to draw them to Christ. Sometimes he answers the prayers of his people to build their faith. For those who want to justify their unbelief by demanding a sign, no sign will be given. According to the gospels, Jesusreligious competitors saw his miracles and said that Satan gave him this power. Miracles will not convince everyone. This is how it works in the Christian worldview. To claim otherwise is to not understand what Jesus taught. One should expect NOT to find undeniable proof of miracles because God specifically says that signs will not be given. I think the Miracle Watch concept is misguided.

Lee I don't know you personally but I hope that Jesus will reveal himself to you through his word so you can see what a wise and loving God he is and worship him because he deserves it.

One Wave said...

Shygetz,
I wish I had more time...gotta feed the masses in a minute.

I understand a bit about physics and aerodymanics and I would argue that God uses natural means to intervene. If a leg did grow, which I have heard of and of course cannot verify, then I would expect God would use calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, collagen etc... to build the growth. If an explosion of a good magnitude occurs above a man's head and he has not had some hearing loss or a singed hair I think we'd need to do some serious calculating.

That's why I originally asked what would contsitute a miracle.

I can see that an impervious unit would be more convincing but then I'm sure you've read about George Washington's possible miracle when he claims that he was impervious to bullets. Did that convince you or is there an explanation for that too? Everything can be explained to a degree but in the end it boils down to faith and what resources you consider to be relialbe doesn't it?

Yes, you're right about Suzie. I could call her and ask her for the name of the school she was working for at the time and then ask the school to look up the name of the EMT who taught the class that year for CPR certification and then try and contact the EMT but I don't have time. If you are interested I could do the first step and see if anything comes of it.

I don't think it would convince you though, there might be a possibility that she had a past life or read an article when she was younger and recognized the face subconsciously right?

Pizzas are done, looking forward to more dialogue!

Randy Kirk said...

Shygetz,

Funny you should ask about my wife. Seven years prior to this I met her in church. When I heard her conversion experience and the amazing, nearly miraculous changes in her life that resulted, I suggested that she write a book about it. I offered to help her, and this would also potentially help her, a single mom with two kids, pay the bills.

We ended up getting married, having some kids of our own. I adopted the girls. The book was put on hold. The book I wrote "A Generation Betrayed," has, as its first chapter, her story.

And, during the prayer that night, God also impressed me that I needed to forgive her and admit my fault in the misunderstanding.

The radio program was not about books. It was a general Christian/political talk show. He never did books on business, but agreed to do mine, because of the upcoming sex book. The audience would not have been made up of folks wanting to know how to get published QUICKLY in any case.

The reason for writing the book was to get the message out, not to sell books. My business book sold 11,000 copies and maybe publicity resulted in another 500,000 people hearing something about the book.

The Sex book sold 1500 copies, but the publicity about the core issue resulted in well over 10,000,000 people hearing my opinion-don't be promiscuous.

I am ok with this combination of events only being amazing. But it started with God planting the seed, and the amazing stuff came later.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Kyle,
I will agree that my miracle watch is misguided in one aspect but 'dead-on' in another.

No ever said that god was a trick pony. Intentional or not, this is a mischaracterization of my position. It is asserted by Christians that god does miracles, and supernatural events occur. If they are done in such a way that we can't recognize them as miracles, then how do you know its god? I say it's chance.

And if you say that 'speaking in tongues' is not supernatural, then it is natural and, is it fair to say, fraud?

It seems to me to be a contradiction to say that God answers prayers and does miracles but we can't see it when we look. Therefore, I say that if they happen, we should be able to see them, and theoretically I may catch one in the news.

But if I don’t, then using the principle of negative proof, the more time goes by that there isn't any miracle where there should be, then the more likely it is that they don't exist.

If I lose a book in my house, I may not be able to find it because it is not anywhere I looked, but if it is in the house and I am diligent in looking, I should find it.

All,
I'm sorry if I missed addressing anything I should have up to this point, but I can only do what I have time to do.

Anonymous said...

As far as Tom and Suzie Brock go, it would be wise for you to know who's word it is you are trusting. I have known them and their ministry for decades and I would no more trust anything they say or do than I would a criminal. Follow their "trail". Facts don't lie, but people with something to hide, do.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Randy,
in all seriousness, I don't think you give yourself enough credit.
But it started with God planting the seed, and the amazing stuff came later.
How do you know it was God and not you?
Seriously, don't you think you could have come up with that on your own? I don't think its that amazing, you obviously get ideas, you wrote books for petes sake. I think it is an obvious characteristic of writers to be creative.
Shygetz is right about the rest of it. People are horrible at estimating probability, so we are constantly surprised by coincidences. The book "Innumeracy" is short fun read that talks about the surprising likelihood of coincidence.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Kyle,
I'm sorry I forgot to thank you for your sentiment in my rush to respond. I really do appreciate it.
thanks.

One Wave said...

Anonymous,
Where would I find the trail of the Brocks? How have you known them?

If you'd like to contact me personally you can comment with an e-mail on my blog and I will not publish it. If you do want to help me be wise please be sure that it is not speculation or gossip and I would appreciate it.

Randy Kirk said...

I'm a bit surprised that those who visit here who will spend 1000's of words arguing over a small point are not willing to engage on this "miracle." I say this because while I stated above that it does not rise to the level of limb regrown or fire from heaven, it is exactly the kind of day-to-day miracles that God does in the life of Christians. These confirm for those Christians that God is at work in the same way that their feet staying on the ground every day confirms gravity.

Each specific of my story would fail to meet most "miracle" tests. However, each of these are highly unlikely in and of themselves. Put together with the beginning point being the prayer, it would seem to be the very kind of thing that would prove God intention to use His people to spread his word.

Oh. And every point is verifiable. No debating doctors. No mass hysteria. No trickery or fakery.

Shygetz said...

Whoa there, Randy, people have and will continue to engage you on your "miracle". The main thing being, there's nothing miraculous about it.

However, each of these are highly unlikely in and of themselves.

A previously sucessful author had an inspiration to publish a (poorly received) book--highly likely. He got it published quickly via the help of a dedicated conservative Christian press that has a history of publishing things in similar veins targeted at similar audiences--fairly likely, I know many others who have done the same thing. He heard about this Christian press on a conservative Christian radio show--not unlikely (seriously, have you ever listened to authors discuss their work on NPR? They talk about everything). He got to talk on various radio shows--not unlikely given the topic of the book. He also got to appear on Geraldo (mildly unlikely, but given the topic of the book and the nature of the audience also not miraculous). The message, while perhaps widely disseminated, does not appear to have been well received, given the poor sales of the book which was being publicized (probably the most miraculous thing in the tale, unless you posit that Geraldo's audience doesn't read much). And it all had nothing to do with what you were praying about, an argument you had with your wife (Not miraculous. Mildly amusing, but not miraculous).

Oh. And every point is verifiable.

I don't deny the factual portions of your story (given the subjective nature of what was going on in your head when you prayed). I merely state that, for a "miracle", this is extremely weak tea. If this is the kind of thing that you call a miracle, then sure, miracles happen every day; but then we have to define miracles as "events" and admit there's nothing really miraculous about it.

Anonymous said...

Even with the rapture, I would bet most people on this blog still wouldn't believe in God.

Anonymous said...

To: One Wave -
There is a long history of proven sexual immorality in the "man"...it is consistent and predatory in nature. I have known him for several decades and this behavior has gone on through out his entire ministry. This is not hearsay but verified in person by the victims. He has been removed from two pastor positions in Southern California for sexually pursuing the women of the congregations. The women's stories are nearly identical. There are other women who are afraid to speak publicly of their experiences with him. This behavior continues. I have spoken to a recent victim along with her husband. I will not name names but would strongly suggest you search out his past staff who have left quite suddenly. Couples, in particular. It is difficult as he is good at covering his tracks. He ministers mainly overseas or away from California as people there are unfamiliar with his history. I too am a believer and am deeply concerned for future victims, as are many people. These women and their families have gone through hell. He has caused much suffering in trusting people, such as yourself, who failed to test the words and actions of the man and his ministry before blindly following. Be wise.

Randy Kirk said...

shygetz,

The story line is: God uses lowly servent to move message, a common thread of Biblical history and human history as well. The miracle is not in any one element, but in the entire odd set of events. There were hundreds of folks writing about the evils of promiscuous sex at the time I was. Many with much better success. But the call came to me.

Sure authors talk about wierd stuff on NPR and elsewhere, but this was very wierd, and the timing of my hearing it was precise in every way. I would not have heard it if I had done the interview by phone. I would not have heard it normally on my car radio that time of day. It wouldn't have mattered if I had already contracted to self-publish. A decision that was going to be made in 2 or 3 days.

Of course, you don't believe that even the existence of life on this little rock is in any way miraculous, so you'd be pretty hard to pursuade.

Anonymous said...

If you find a miracle of healing recorded on camera (i.e. restoration of a would, visible change in the eyes of a blind person that he/she could see again, restoration of an amputated limb, etc.), please email post it.

Technically, healings are supposed to happen all the time due to the amount of claims of it happening, but somehow no one remembers to record it.

Almost every cellphone nowadays have a camera, so SOMEONE PLEASE RECORD IT FOR ME TO SEE!!