We move on now to history and the Christian faith. The start is with Lessing asking if we can believe in miracles since we don’t see them happening today. Is there any reason why people should? Can we look at the historical claims of Christ which involve miracles and get to the point where we can make the leap of trust?
First off, how do we know some miracles aren’t happening today? There are claims from all over the world today. Have we proved them all false?
Second, I would not say that I have ever seen a miracle. However, that does not mean that I do not believe in miracles. I treat the evidence for them like I would any other claim. Are we to automatically assume that if God exists, he must be doing miracles at the same rate throughout all history?
Keep in mind some things as we examine this section:
First off, we’ve been told that we should not believe in the Exodus because of the lack of evidence.
Second, we’ve been told we should believe macroevolutionary theory happened in history.
Third, in the comments, we’ve been told we should believe that there were 100,000 witches slain in Europe witch hunts.
Finally, we’ve been told there isn’t evidence of the history Mormonism claims. (And I agree with that.)
Keep those in mind….
Naturally, the first major objection raised is that of biblical miracles. After all, if we can doubt events that don’t have a supernatural nature, then how much more so should we doubt supernatural events?
The only reason for extra doubt is if you automatically doubt the claims of the supernatural. Why should I do that though? Loftus has not given us any reason to doubt the existence of God. I haven’t seen anything in his book (And I’ve read the whole thing) that gives me pause. Even supposed we didn’t have an argument for God’s existence, it would not mean he doesn’t exist. It just means we haven’t thought of good reasons for believing that he does.
Now he brings up how Craig says the scientist and historian have the same goal so Loftus decides to look at how modern science got where it is.
Of course, we’ve covered this in the superstitions thread.
First, the idea that epilepsy was from demon possession or sicknesses were sent to punish people.
However, because some cases of epilepsy could have involved a demon, it does not follow that all do. Also, it could be demon possession had symptoms like epilepsy without being epilepsy. Furthermore, not all sicknesses were punishments. There were numerous healings in Scripture that did not make any mention of punishment.
Second, the belief that God alone opens the womb of the woman.
It’d be interesting to see where this is found. Because God sometimes did close wombs, then that means the ancients saw no natural causes at work at all? This is common with just taking some incidents and saying that’s the totality of the worldview.
Third, the idea that God sent the rain. Never mind that Jesus spoke in Matthew of how the Pharisees knew how to read the signs of weather but not the signs of the times.
Fourth, we know how babies are created.
It’s hard to believe that someone with degrees in philosophy would not know that the ancients knew about this. When Sarai gave Hagar to Abram, she told him to sleep with her? Why? To continue the bloodline and give an heir. Why? Because Sarai and Abram both knew what it took to make a baby.
This is also why Joseph sought to divorce Mary in secret. He knew what it took to make a baby and that he hadn’t done that.
If there is an objection that just irks me, it’s this type of objection.
Also, note that the ancients did not seek to control nature. Nature was not an enemy but a partner. They sought to conform themselves to nature. We seek to control nature.
Also, Loftus points out that science works on methodological naturalism which assumes that for all we experience, there is a natural cause. (P. 155)
Cute isn’t it? Makes you wonder if we’d be accused of begging the question if we said we were going to work under the assumption of methodological theism.
The problem with the term is that it equates the worldview with science. Why not instead say you’re just going to study the subject? When a scientist studies a cell, it doesn’t matter if it was designed or apparently designed. He wants to find out how it works the same way.
Do we assume there is a natural explanation for all that happens? Why should we? There are other beings who can act and here’s something to consider. Could our actions be considered “natural causes?” Is all we do the result of the movement of molecules? Could it be there is far little natural in the universe than we think?
Tomorrow, we shall continue looking at the skepticism of miracles in history.