Examining Miracle Claims

I have recently seen a non-Christian saying that when it comes to miracles, Christians will believe that all other miracle reports past and present in non-Christian religions are false, but when it comes to Christian miracles, these are true. Why? Well just believe that they are and it will suffice.

First off, I don’t think any Christian should say “Just believe” insofar as one is taking a leap of blind faith. I do think that there are reasons to believe that the miracle accounts in the gospels did happen. However, that is a secondary issue. The primary issue is in the question itself.

Am I as a Christian, obligated to an all-or-nothing scenario? Let’s suppose that I believe X miracle account is false, such as the account of Mohammad splitting the moon in two in Islam. Because I believe that, am I obligated to believe that the resurrection is false? Secondly, am I, in reverse, obligated to believe that since Jesus rose from the dead, that Mohammad split the moon in two?

To begin with though, the evidence in favor of the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead is far greater and this must play a part. We have the manuscript evidence of Scripture being early, the textual evidence that it is what was written down, the philosophical evidence of the coherence of the worldview, the prophetic evidence that the OT prophecied Christ, the archaeological evidence that the Bible has been shown to be reliable, etc. There is more than enough evidence for anyone who wants to believe.

However, the point of the skeptic is still flawed once I accept the resurrection. I do not believe the resurrection because it is a miracle. I believe it for the same reason that I believe Hannibal crossed the Alps. It has shown itself to be true, and I would say far more so than Hannibal crossing the Alps even.

I legitimately look at the evidence for the resurrection and conclude that it happened. In fact, this is what we can do with any question. We can look at the evidence and see if the case holds up or not. We do not again believe something because it is miraculous. We believe it because it is true.

Now I can turn to a miracle like Mohammad splitting the moon in two. Do I really have any evidence to believe this? Well, no. The Qu’ran for instance tells me that Mohammad did no miracles save for the delivering of the Qu’ran itself.  I also see the Hadith tradition is quite distant from Mohammad as well. Then, I see no external evidence that such an event occurred. I am justly allowed to disbelieve it.

Some might think that that is a simple one. What about some accounts of miracles in other religions on a less than global scale? Are they all false? Not necessarily. Why should I believe that a miracle cannot happen in a non-Christian religion? Am I to deny that God can do a miracle for an atheist for instance?

There are several explanations for miracles in non-Christian religions. God could be giving light to those in those religions to seek him out. There could be demonic powers at work that are causing events to occur. There could be witnessing going on that is accompanied by true miracles. Any one of these is legitimate.

Point? It’s not all or nothing. It’s like any other claim. I look at it and see if it’s true. If the skeptic asks you about miracles in other religions, go ahead and say “Sure.” Who are you to say God can’t do them? Be open to examining the evidence for the claim though just as you should examine your own faith. As Paul said, test all things. Hold to what is true. (1 Thess. 5:21)

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