On my high school debate team we learned to argue both sides of an issue. As an example, we once practiced arguing both sides of the proposition: “The federal government should pave all highways with bubble gum.” It was a ridiculous proposition, to be sure, and we knew it would be wrong to use bubble gum to pave roads. But it was a debating exercise that we took seriously. Now I’m glad I learned to argue both sides. It comes in handy when occupying the middle ground between theists and atheists.
Why are there no more miracles?
As an atheist, it is tempting to argue along the following lines: Miracles are impossible, by definition. Therefore, there never were any miracles. Any miracles described in the bible are there because of literary license taken by the all-too-human authors of the bible. If someone is raised from the dead, then it is either a fictional event or the person raised was never really dead to begin with. If a loaf of bread feeds five thousand people, then it must be a VERY large loaf or it is an exaggeration, or maybe someone miscounted. If a statue sheds a tear in today’s world, then it must be a particularly humid day, or someone accidentally dropped some lemonade on the face of the statue.
But in arguing so, we risk alienating billions of followers of Jesus Christ. In being dismissive of miracles, we scoff at the basis of Christianity and the other major religions of the world. While it is tempting, we gain nothing from it, and lose an opportunity to find common ground.
I want to find that common ground. I want to find the good in Faith, the truth in the Bible, the value in belief in God. I think I’m not alone in this desire. If you feel the same way, then join me in this quest.
Christians believe that Jesus performed miracles. If the God that Christians believe in exists, if the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God of the bible really is somewhere out there or in here, then of course miracles are possible. The all-powerful God can do anything. If this God exists and created the universe in seven days (or even seven billion years), then this God can cause a few fishes and loaves of bread to feed five thousand people. That seems like a simple enough logical conclusion which I can’t deny.
So atheist who say that miracles can’t happen are merely assuming that God doesn’t exist and are jumping to the conclusion that, without God, miracles are impossible. This is not necessarily illogical, but it diverts attention away from questions about the existence of God to the existence of miracles, and only confuses the real issue.
By the way, I’ve never found anyone who could successfully prove that God doesn’t exist. (To be fair, I’ve never found anyone who could successfully prove that God *does* exist, but that’s a conversation for another day.)
And if God *might* exist, then miracles are possible, even if we don’t see them on a daily basis anymore.
And I’m not talking about a liberal interpretation of “miracle”, like an ex-girlfriend contacting me out of the blue 31 years after our breakup. That’s pretty amazing, but it doesn’t rise to the level of miracle. Not like the feeding of five thousand people from a handful of food, or the raising of someone from the dead, who was actually, really, dead.