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Can former journalist Lee Strobel make a convincing case for miracles?

A few years ago, I experienced a miracle at a writing conference outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Following a talk I gave on storytelling, a group of women approached me and one stepped forward: “We have a word from God for you.”

I froze but maintained a cautious smile.

The women explained that they were friends who had met at a church with a long name that had the word “revelatory” in it. It sounded like the type of place that calls its pastor “Apostle” and lets people dance while he preaches. As a Southern Baptist, I’ve always been skeptical of these kind of Christians. Maybe I’m afraid that their Holy Spirit juju might somehow rub off on me, and I’ll have an experience I won’t be able to explain. I know now that the fear is well-founded.

“Can we pray over you and anoint you?” one asked.

Not wanting to be rude, I agreed.

And then it happened. One by one these women told me things about myself that they could not have known–things that I’d never shared with anyone. And then they delivered a message, an encouragement, that I now believe was from God. I shared this story in full in my book “Jesus is Better Than You Imagined,” and it is not the only time I’ve inexplicably encountered transcendence.

I believe in miracles because I’ve experienced them.

But my testimonial is not enough to convince others. Certainly not stalwart skeptics and the non-religious. And that’s where Lee Strobel hopes to contribute to the cause. As the former legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, he has created a cottage industry around investigating Christian claims and making an evidence-based “case” for everything from Jesus’s Resurrection to faith itself.

Strobel’s new book, “The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural,” features a lot of miracle accounts, rational arguments, and a fascinating poll of Americans. I question whether it is effective to judge mystical events by logical standards, so I decided to discuss these matters with Strobel myself.

RNS: Let’s start by defining terms. How do you define a “miracle?”

LS: My two-year investigation of the supernatural blew my mind. But like you, I needed to start out with a meaningful definition of miracles, especially since it’s a term used in many differing ways –- and often flippantly. A lot of philosophers have given it their best shot. Augustine was poetic. He said a miracle is “whatever appears that is difficult or unusual above the hope and power of them who wonder.” Oxford’s Richard Swinburne was straightforward. He called a miracle “an event of an extraordinary kind brought about by a god and of religious significance.”

I prefer the definition offered by the late philosopher Richard L. Purtill: “A miracle is an event (1) brought about by the power of God that is (2) a temporary (3) exception (4) to the ordinary course of nature (5) for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history.”

Image courtesy of Zondervan

RNS: You partnered with Barna to conduct a survey for this book. So tell us: do Americans believe in miracles?

LS: Yes, they do – more than I anticipated. Half of Americans (51 percent) said they believe the miracles of the Bible happened as they are described. That’s pretty high in our increasingly skeptical culture. Two out of three (67 percent) said miracles are possible today. Only 15 percent said they aren’t. One sidelight: Republicans are more likely to believe in modern miracles (74 percent) than Democrats (61 percent). I’m not commenting on that – just presenting the facts.

RNS: How many Americans claim to have personally experienced a miracle?

LS: This is where the research really gets interesting. Nearly two out of five US adults (38 percent) said they have had an experience that they can only explain as being a miracle of God. By extrapolation, that means 94,792,000 American adults are convinced that God has performed at least one miracle for them personally. That’s an astonishing number. Now, let’s say 95 percent of those cases are actually astounding coincidences that can be explained through natural means. That would still leave more than 4.7 million miracles, and that’s just in the United States.

Skeptic” magazine scoffs that supernatural reports are “more common from the uncivilized and uneducated.” Yet another study showed that 55 percent of US physicians said they have seen results in their patients that they would consider miraculous. That’s coming from highly educated professionals trained in medicine, often in very secular settings.

RNS: In your book, you spend a lot of time documenting people who share unexplainable events. It seems to me that this, at least partly, roots your argument in experience rather than evidence. What am I missing?

LS: A person’s experience can have evidential value. However, the evidence is amplified if we also have corroboration in the form of multiple other eyewitnesses who are trustworthy and have no bias or reason to lie; medical tests before and after a supposed healing; or other kinds of more objective facts. I’m as skeptical of miracle claims as the next person. However, I believe they are possible, and I’m willing to examine the evidence in each case to conclude whether it’s actually a misdiagnosis, the placebo effect, fakery, spontaneous remission, or there’s some sort of other natural explanation – or whether it can truly be best described as a divine intervention.

RNS: I’ve heard skeptics often say that to believe in “miracles” would be to deny science because, after all, miracles violate the established and observed laws of nature. How do you respond?

LS: Scottish skeptic David Hume called a miracle “a violation of the laws of nature” – and you can’t violate the laws of nature, right? Hume’s critique is still touted by skeptics today, but my book demonstrates that Hume’s approach is fatally flawed. In fact, philosophers have decimated Hume in recent years, as illustrated by the title of a recent book by a non-Christian scholar published by Oxford University Press: Hume’s Abject Failure.

Actually, miracles are not a violation of the laws of nature. For example, if I drop an apple, the law of gravity tells me it will hit the floor. But if I drop the apple and you reach in and grab it before it hits the floor, you haven’t violated the law of gravity – you’ve merely intervened. And that’s what God does in performing a miracle – he intervenes in the world that he created.

As philosopher William Lane Craig told me, natural laws have implicit ceteris paribus conditions, which is Latin for “all other things being equal.” In other words, natural laws assume that no other natural or supernatural factors are interfering with the operation that the law generally describes.

Craig explained that if there’s a supernatural agent that’s working in the natural world, then the idealized conditions described by the law are no longer in effect. The law isn’t violated because the law has this implicit provision that no outside forces are messing around with the conditions.

RNS: I have friend who often makes decisions based on recurring dreams that they believe are from God. What do you think about that? Can dreams or visions be considered miracles?

LS: The Bible contains about 200 examples of God using dreams and visions to further his plans. I devote an entire chapter to analyzing the supernatural phenomenon of Jesus appearing in dreams of Muslims, usually in countries closed to the gospel.

However, we need to be very careful about dreams; everything must be weighed against scripture. In the cases I cite, there’s some sort of external corroboration – for instance, the dreamer encounters someone in his dream who he has never met, and then he subsequently meets that individual in person – and this individual explains the gospel to them. This kind of external validation is helpful in weighing the legitimacy of dreams and visions.

That said, when you hear story after story of devout Muslims who are encountering the divine Jesus in supernatural ways, and then risking everything to follow him, it’s both jaw-dropping and inspiring. I think this is one of the most exciting parts of the book.

RNS: There are many accounts of miracles, similar to those you cite, but told by people of other faiths. There’s a litany of miracle stories of those who follow the teachings of Buddha or worship Krishna. If I’m going to believe your “evidence,” wouldn’t I have to also conclude that there is something to these stories? Why should I accept the miracle stories of Christians and not the identical stories told by Muslims, Jews, Mormons, and others?

LS: Not all miracle reports are equally credible. For instance, the supposed miracles associated with Buddha or Krishna are shrouded in the mists of history and legend, and are often written by unknown sources and without specific references to historic times and places, so they lack the credibility of historical biblical accounts. The supposed miracles of Muhammad are only in the hadith, which is Islamic tradition that comes hundreds of years after his life and therefore isn’t comparable to the gospels, which were recorded within the first generation when eyewitnesses were still living. The miracles of Mormonism lack credibility because of the unreliability of Joseph Smith and many of his early followers.

In contrast, the key miracle of Jesus – his resurrection from the dead – is corroborated by excellent historical data, as I demonstrate in my book. We have five sources outside the Bible confirming his death. We have a report of the resurrection that has been dated by scholars to within months of his death – too early to be a mere legend. We have an empty tomb that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded was empty. And we have nine ancient sources, inside and outside the New Testament, affirming the conviction of the disciples that they had encountered the risen Jesus. That’s an avalanche of historical data that isn’t matched by any miracle claims in another any other tradition.

RNS: I believe in miracles because, among other things, I’ve experienced them in my life. But your approach is to make a “case” for them rooted in evidence and logic. Doesn’t this ignore the mysterious nature of the supernatural and the miraculous? 

LS: Evidence and experience are both important, which is why I explore both of these components in The Case for Miracles. Your experience of the miraculous may be valid, but it might not be convincing to others. That’s where corroboration comes in. Skeptics – like me a few years back – are much more apt to believe the supernatural when presented with credible reports by unbiased eyewitnesses, medical records, etc. I hope my book will challenge the skepticism of non-believers, while at the same time encouraging and strengthening the faith of Christians. To do that, the more substantiation, the better. Honestly, I don’t think documentation strips away the mystery of miracles – to me, it elicits even more awe and wonder, along with the confidence to share the miraculous reports with others.

RNS: You mention that some churches are embarrassed by the supernatural. How would you advise churches to acknowledge and process when their congregants claim to have experienced a miracle?

LS: I believe many evangelical and mainline churches are embarrassed by the supernatural. They want to be considered respectable by their neighbors and not be conflated with the bizarre antics of some TV faith healers. They crave acceptability, order, and predictability. I can understand this, since there are plenty of charlatans out there to distance ourselves from. But the Holy Spirit cannot be put in a box. He will do as He wishes. We should be open to whatever God may want to do, even when He disrupts our carefully planned world.

Now, when miracle claims are made, I don’t think we should automatically accept them. It’s always wise to scrutinize them – are they consistent with Scripture, are they confirmed or validated by witnesses or medical records, and so forth. The Bible warns us to “test everything…hold on to what is good.” Certainly Catholics have been investigating miracles for centuries when they consider a person for sainthood in their tradition. Similarly, when we see what appears to be a divine work of the Lord – like some of the well-documented miracles in The Case for Miracles – we should not only accept them, but also praise Him for His gracious intervention on behalf of people He so clearly loves.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.


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  • I don’t doubt people have mystical or strange experiences. I’ve had a few myself, and so am perfectly open to things we don’t understand. But others don’t have the same experiences, at the same time or in the same way. You may believe you talked to god, but that doesn’t mean you did. Vatican
    approved tests aside, how would you know? There are some other possibilities. Here’s one. “They didn’t make up the claims. They believed their own words.” All assuming that what we are reading are their own words. Paul himself said that there were letters, alleged to be from him, that were forgeries. If that is true, then either said letter was a forgery, or there are others that we don’t know about, including those in the NT.

    “In contrast, the key miracle of Jesus – his resurrection from the dead – is corroborated by excellent historical data, as I demonstrate in my book. We have five sources outside the Bible confirming his death. We have a report of the resurrection that has been dated by scholars to within months of his death – too early to be a mere legend. We have an empty tomb that even the opponents of Jesus implicitly conceded was empty. And we have nine ancient sources, inside and outside the New Testament, affirming the conviction of the disciples that they had encountered the risen Jesus. That’s an avalanche of historical data that isn’t matched by any miracle claims in another any other tradition.”

    No, it isn’t an avalanche of data about anything other than that Strobel has books and a religion to sell. Let’s start with proof that he existed, first. That he died– not evidence of his resurrection. Five sources that mention his death, or mention that Christians believed he died. Not the same thing at all, Josephus. A report of the resurrection dated by scholars? Possibly something, but citations are lacking. An empty tomb? It merely proves the body wasn’t there, assuming it wasn’t a legend as well. Nine ancient sources affirming the conviction of the disciples? Lacking details again, and only proving they believed their own words.

    And no, I’m not going to buy his book. Every religion claims miracles, and according to Strobel, every one of those miracles but the Christian ones is false, every religion but his is false. That would indeed be a miracle were it true.

    The perfect example of this, the things that meet his rather vague criteria, like modern times, well attested to, plenty of witnesses: the miracle at Fatima. The claim is that 70,000 people saw the sun dance. There were 70000 people there, but not all of them saw it dance. Some don’t know what they saw. And people just a few miles away, and everyone else around the world, most emphatically DID NOT SEE THE SUN DANCE. So is the miracle the sun dancing, or is the miracle that so many people believe it?

    Here is one of my favorites: About 25years ago, a pattern of lights suddenly began o appear on the walls of a small Catholic church in the sierras, every day at approximately the same time. People could “see” in it a resemblance to the virgin Mary, much like both she and Jesus have both appeared on tacos and toast. The news began to spread. People came from miles around to witness the miracle of her appearance.

    I remember one lady in particular. “It IS the Virgin Mary, and her message is world peace.” An absolutely faith based response. The local bishop weighed in with THIS classic: “For those who believe, no
    explanation is necessary. for those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.” Well, he certainly covered his butt with that one. And yet, ironically, it was far truer than he knew.

    A scientist was called in. He could not determine the source of the pattern of lights, but was fairly certain it was caused by refraction, possibly reflection, of sunlight somewhere in the church. He just
    couldn’t find it. but he did predict that the lights would not appear on any completely cloudy day.

    And he was right.

    As a professional photographer, who dealt everyday with the qualities and directions of light, it would have taken me roughly five minutes and a long stick to determine where the light was coming from. But they didn’t ask me. The miracle, of course, ceased to exist. But it was a “miracle” nevertheless, with reliable sober witnesses, in modern times, well attested to by multiple sources.

    There is a big, hidden assumption in strobel’s thesis– that Christianity is true in some absolute sense, that the bible accounts are historically accurate. That’s the big assumption, the one without proof. (I believe some of what is there is a true story. The magic and miracles? No). The things that are attributed to him are contained in separate books by different authors, all of which contain substantial factual disagreements, and theological disagreements as well, though I’m not up on those. They cannot be considered historical when taken as a group. One of them might be, but all four? No.

    There are some other possibilities. Here’s one. “They didn’t make up the claims. They believed their own words.” All assuming that what we are reading are their own words. Paul himself said that there were letters, alleged to be from him, that were forgeries. If that is true, then either said letter was a forgery, or there are others that we don’t know about, including those in the NT.

  • As Lee Strobel himself points out, the Catholic Church has been examining miracle claims for centuries yet there’s never been any scientific proof offered up for miracles and Strobel offers more of the same unsubstantiated claims and unscientific personal anecdotes but nothing ever more is ever given.

  • The ultimate question which has never been answered is why God doesn’t heal amputees if God really performs miracles?

  • God helps those who help themselves.
    Not healing amputees is part of god’s wonderful plan– perhaps for the prosthetics industry. They actually perform the miracles.
    God works in mysterious ways.
    Healing amputees would mean that no one has to rely on faith any more. What would be the fun of that?

  • Going by the same standards, God should never perform the kind of medical miracles Lee Strobel cites as proof when its taking away from God’s plan to use doctors to heal people. If God is just using other people to “perform miracles,” why not just cut out the middle man and seek the help of actual physical people you know are doing the real work? That same argument could easily apply to any miracles. Any miracles which is actually proven to be a miracle would take away the purpose of relying on faith. In which case one could argue by writing this book to prove miracles are real, Lee Strobel isn’t really relying on faith either. The mysterious ways argument is the last argument anyone falls back on when they have nothing else to show for their claims and is not something anyone who is seriously seeking to prove their miracle claims are real would use if they were expected to be taken seriously.

  • Wouldn’t “scientific proof offered up for miracles” be a contradiction in terms?

    I was under the impression that the INABILITY for science to explain it was a characteristic of what is called a miracle.

  • It would be as though a deity breathed on you and suddenly you made sense and could recite facts rather than snark.

    Now THAT would be a miracle!

  • “Now, when miracle claims are made, I don’t think we should automatically accept them. It’s always wise to scrutinize them – are they consistent with Scripture, are they confirmed or validated by witnesses or medical records, and so forth. The Bible warns us to “test everything…hold on to what is good.”

    What’s up? Long time no talk to.
    I think the author is saying what your saying in your comment, check it out first. And I think you’re doing something that many Christians do that drives me crazy, equating a belief in miracles as having faith. Or said another way, faith or belief causing a miracle. Other than that how ya been?

  • if a supernatural event (i.e. a miracle) occurs in our natural world, it can be measured

  • If it supernatural, which by definition is not natural, and scientific methods measure natural events, explain how it can be measured.

  • “He called a miracle “an event of an extraordinary kind brought about by a god and of religious significance.””

    First he must demonstrate his god claim is true using actual evidence.

    If miracles are so common…why no video of them? Why won’t “miracle workers” demonstrate their claims in an observable testable environment?

    Why are miracles usually based on anecdotes? Where’s the HUGE miracles…like an amputee getting a new arm.

    As he has done in all his works, Strobel again creates Strawman and Post Hoc fallacies and fails to provide evidence to back his claims.

    But..he WILL get rich selling his book. Maybe that’s the miracle…

  • That which can be claimed should be able to be empirically verified.

    See Sagan;s Dragon.

  • OK..

    Suppose an amputee was miraculously restored…his arm sudden appeared.

    We would be able to examine the arm…it’s chemistry and physical structure.

  • “test everything…hold on to what is good.”

    Having tested Strobel’s claims many times before…I find his claims not worth holding on to..i.e. NOT GOOD>

  • I was giving him the benefit of the doubt until he said that miracles only come through Christianity and Buddhists and Hindus can take their miracles and shove them.

  • Not too much is up. Haven’t seen you for a while. But I’m not commenting all that much these days. I have pulled back a lot, for a lot of reasons.

    I don’t think I’m equating believing in miracles to having faith, though I otherwise agree with you. I think I’m just observing what you said, that a lot of people do.

    I have had a few experiences in my life I can’t explain. I’m don’t think I would call them miracles, though I would say that there is no obvious explanation.

    It’s not my purpose in this comment to attack faith, Bobby Joe or Joe Bob to the contrary. But Strobel’s standards for the evidence he cites— admittedly, I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to— seem very low. And, as Brooks Austin points out, and Bobby Joe almost admits, Strobel trying to prove Christianity by proving that the miracles happened seems contrary to the faith he claims.

    But your point is that the two aren’t the same. I agree with you there. my point was that even when you get strobel’s criteria, there are still too many questions. Fatima, The Sierra Church, the origins of the Book of Mormon, the miracles attributed to JOhn Paul that resulted in his sainthood— one needs to look at those.

    Apart from all of this, I hope things are good with you.

  • You’re not being particularly clear.

    I get the impression the word “measured” is not exactly what you meant.

  • no matter what the supernatural event is, if it interacts with us, it must be in a natural way. If it happens WITHIN nature, it can be measured

  • A crowd of thousands, including atheists, skeptics, and opponents of religious belief, see the sun change color and appear to move about in the sky.

    Sworn statements are taken confirming that all saw the same thing.

    What you propose to measure?

  • first, I may not have that answer but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
    second, a thorough investigation of all the eyewitnesses could be undertaken to ensure there is consistency within the story and to ensure that there are no other possible reasons. For all I know, maybe the water was contaminated and these people suffered a hallucination.
    The fact ‘a bunch of people’ witnessed an event doesn’t mean it is a miracle

  • “Some 1,200 cures were said to have been observed between 1858 and 1889”

    Indeed…SAID TO HAVE

  • I was under the impression the word you were going with was “measured”.

    Obviously that was a bad choice of words, and you mean something else.

    I’m sure with enough time you’ll be able to express that something else clearly enough to ask an answerable question.

  • No, you were the one who tried to take apart asking question with hallucinations and contaminated water.

    You seem to be taking the position that no possible measurement is valid because if the results displease you, something must be wrong with the measurement.

    Let’s see if we can measure that …

  • you asked how I’d go about measuring this supposed miracle. Step 1, I said, was to ask questions.

    To which you said, that’s no good

  • No, Mark, you’re doing your usual shtick.

    We’ve already asked questions. The event came and went.

    You’ll test water, find out it’s not contaminated, but suggest it may have been at the time. Hallucinations, of course, are the standard deep state response to anything that it wants swept under the rug.

    So, as usual this is a circular argument, with your memorized responses, failure to read the material provided, and so on.

    Not much point in continuing that, is there?

  • we’ve already asked questions?
    I thought this was a hypothetical?
    Even still, YOU ASKED QUESTIONS? Why would I trust your questions?
    You think because YOU asked questions, you proved the validity of a miracle?

    you are right, not much point in continuing. By your reasoning, a defendant only needs to be asked questions by the defense and not the prosecution. No wonder you believe in miracles

  • God helps those who help themselves.

    In other words, he does nothing. The person does everything

  • All’s well with me, thanks

    I was part of a similar conversation as this interview a few days ago and I made this comment to some of the things you bring up in regards to faith and miracles.
    I was in Haiti a couple of weeks ago for a special needs health fair. I got to see some of the physical needs of about 50 to 60 kids get met for the first time. I saw many chairs built to fit the child they were intended for, and I got to see parents for the first time see their child without it being held or lying on the ground. I saw no miracles just a lot of wood, screws, pvc, duct tape, and foam. I did see a lot of faith though. I saw it in young American professionals who live in country because they believe in something bigger than a miracle. I could go on, I know other people of other faiths are there. I know there are people who will claim no faith in a God are there too. If you believe in a better world in this life for other people and by faith you in a way to make that happen, that’s a shared faith to me. It is not a shared faith in a God however, and how we as Christians sometimes stumble over what is not shared makes us pretty much less than what we claim to be in other’s eyes.
    I think that’s pretty much what you were probably saying in your comment…I’m a little slow some days. Glad to see you commenting again today.

  • Oh good grief.

    A well meaning relative gave me his “The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation.” It didn’t take long before I threw it across the room. This interview amply demonstrates why.

    Where is the intellectual integrity? Where are the journalistic ethics? He just cranks out breathless propaganda for people who like to feel self righteous.

  • “He called a miracle ‘an event of an extraordinary kind brought about by a god and of religious significance.'”

    He noted that – Richard Swinburne’s definition, but then he said he used Richard L. Purtill’s.

    “First he must demonstrate his god claim is true using actual evidence.”

    No, first he must demonstrate “a temporary … exception … to the ordinary course of nature”. If he can’t do that, no miracle. After he accomplishes that, then the question of who or what to attribute it to arises.

    “If miracles are so common…why no video of them? Why won’t ‘miracle workers’ demonstrate their claims in an observable testable environment?”

    You may be thinking of David Copperfield.

    It is rather in the nature of purported miracles that they are unexpected and rarely associated with “miracle workers”.

    “Where’s the HUGE miracles…like an amputee getting a new arm.”

    Are you volunteering? I have a saw.

    There are things that happen that cannot be explained.

    Chalking it up to “more common from the uncivilized and uneducated” is simply an attitude, not an analysis.

    Prescinding divine intervention, there is still an unresolved and unexplained phenomenon.

  • Thanks.

    “If you believe in a better world in this life for other people and by faith you in a way to make that happen, that’s a shared faith to me” People do good, I think, because they want to do good. That’s what I tell my husband. We’re tremendously fortunate, he and I. So, I give money– some political, some for the arts, some to feed or house or cure people.
    so, you and I share that faith.

  • Let us start with curing the sick in the NT. There is no medical documentation of this because there were no diagnostic tools for said sicknesses or cures in first century Palestine. And the cure “miracles”, are single attestations and therefore fail rigorous historical testing.

    “The “miracles” obviously were added to the NT to compete with the local “voodooers of the hoodoo”, the resurrection was added to compete with Roman and Greek gods and the “pretty wingie thingies” and “demons of the demented added to continue the fear and superstitions of the ancients!!!!!”

    And you don’t find it odd that the virgin only appears to very impressionable and uneducated ??

    The Lourde’s “Miracles”

    “Faith or pharmacy?

    It is interesting to compare the number of cures recognised before and after the establishment of the medical bureau in 1947. The ratio of cures to sick pilgrims before 1914 was 1:100. From 1914 to 1928 it was 1:700, but from 1928 to 1947 it was 1:1600. In all, 5000 cures were claimed before 1947. From 1947 to 1990, only 1000 cures were claimed and only 56 were recognised in that time, averaging 1.3 cures a year, against 57 a year before 1914.

    It can be inferred from this that medicine has transformed society and the faithful sick no longer came to Lourdes for a cure but rely on medicine. Since the 1960s we have seen a consistent decline in the number of possible cures claimed. The doctors working in the medical bureau have presented philosophical problems in serving both science and the church. As we make progress in medical knowledge, the area of the medically inexplicable grows smaller and deciding that treatments did not play a part in a cure is more difficult. Medical progress has, in a way, threatened the church for which miraculous healings were supreme in the worldly manifestation of faith. ”

    And please for your own safety, never stare at the Sun. It can burn your corneas real quick!!

    and finally miracles violate natural law.

  • I’d be more inclined to accept a God capable of miracles if it ordered the world so that there were no amputees.

    It’s like those who claim that a plane crash survivor has been miraculously preserved when a decent god would have saved all the occupants by preventing the crash.

    Sometimes things happen that don’t have an apparent explanation, sometimes things happen that have an obvious explanation that is unacceptable. Neither is evidence for gods or miracles.

  • Like the lady on daytime telly recently claiming that cannabis cured her cancer – and she knew because after the chemotherapy was over the hospital did a scan and the cancer had almost gone!

  • Obviously, you don’t have low enough standards.???

    It Reminds me of a story from my late partner, who had a very wicked and spot on sense of humor. He was at a bar with a friend of his, and both of them were hoping to pick someone up. But it wasn’t happening for either of them. He finally went over to his friend and said, “Honey, it’s 2 AM. Time to lower your standards.”

  • “People do good, I think, because they want to good”.
    I think when you do good it is because you want to also but, I think, you “believe” the good you do will make a difference and the difference is worth the investment or effort. You and I come to a different conclusion when it comes to the source of the want to. We, you and me, can bat that different conclusion back and forth and collectively do nothing for nobody. Or someone like you and me, us, can collectively get past what we believe about someone and choose to see something decent about them. I’m not saying don’t call wrong, wrong, but do we always have to assume different as bad?

  • Different experience here, that’s not to say I don’t have days that would be a lot simpler if I could talk myself out of this belief I have.

  • Why? Because it is easier than assuming different is good.
    But I agree with you. We do good because we think it is worth doing good, whatever moves us to think so. The point is the doing good.

  • I’d sure like to see a rigorous definition of “miracle”.

    And anyone with any knowledge at all of human behavior will be skeptical about Strobel’s claim that these women knew things about him he;’d never told anyone. Quite possible–they were probably keying on things we ALL think about ourselves, but also keep to ourselves.

  • Regardless of where one stands on the question of miracles, rather than engage in pat denials or affirmations, this discussion reveals legitimate philosophical constructs and rational arguments in favor of them. The mature mind will reflect on them, even if one in the end remains a skeptic.

  • The fact that people in a bar lower their standards (in looking for pickups) as closing time approaches. If I’m recalling correctly, there was a song about that, with a title something like “Do the girls all get prettier at closing time?”, and that may have inspired the research.

  • God has already healed amputees, Howard. Please disprove this example:

    And then disprove this example too:

    Brook’s question is unavoidably tied to a baseless speculation that God has NEVER healed any amputees — at all — within Earth history. So one historical counter-example will rationally amputate the legs (so to speak), from underneath Brook’s objection.

  • I know that I still owe you some refutations of the Jesus skeptic Dominic Crossan, (and I’ll toss in some quickies at the end of this post to help out).

    But I want to quickly put the brakes on your specific claim of “And the cure “miracles”, are single attestations and therefore fail rigorous historical testing.”

    The reality is that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all attest to Jesus healing a man’s withered hand in public (in fact, in the Jewish synagogue in front of everybody.) Multiple attestations.

    All three writers ALSO attest that the Jewish Pharisees witnessed this one specific event, and were furious about it, wanting to kill Jesus. (Luke 6:11, Mark 3:6, and Matt. 12:14.) So there ya go.

  • Very briefly, some of the big problems with Crossan’s main gig “The Historical Jesus” are:

    1. Pre-assumes atheism and anti-supernaturalism and anti-healing throughout the book. Period. That’s all good if you’re already mindlessly hypnotized into the atheism cult, but for us **rational** folks, this atheist presupposition mess don’t work at all. You gotta actually establish that the universe is not theistic AT ALL, and that the supernatural cannot possibly exist in this universe AT ALL. Crossan fails to even try. Zombie materialist atheism pre-supposition mess.

    2. He worships the Gospel of Thomas, wrongly claiming and worshipping a way-too-early date for it, and also turning a blind eye to any and all G-of-T passages that clearly DON’T match with the “egalitarianism” that Crossan clearly admits that Jesus demonstrated.

    Example: verse 114 of G-of-T. (114)
    Simon Peter said to them, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.”
    Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    Does that sound like the Jesus of the Gospels to you??? Nope, that ain’t the Bible Jesus, forcing all women Christians to become male just to get into the kingdom of heaven. That’s a sexist, alien Jesus. The reality is that Crossan done messed his own boo-boo up like a dog, by irrationally worshipping the Gospel of Thomas.

    NT Wright, Michael Licona, and other NT scholars have already dissected other problems with Crossan. But these will do for a start.

  • I find it telling that the only “example” you can find of God healing an amputee that isn’t from the bible is a legend passed down by those with a clear pro-religious bias for over hundreds of years. Using the bible to prove the bible is circular reasoning and not convincing to anyone that doesn’t share your preconceived religious biases.

  • I think the why of the first part impairs the whatever moves us to think so of the second part of what your saying. But we still agree the point is the doing good. Tell me one thing your passionate about, if I’m just as passionate and committed to the same cause how important does a belief different from yours become? Personally I’ll probably care less if you believe in the tooth fairy if it doesn’t take away from the cause.

  • What’s the difference between Lee Strobel and the miracle workers you declare as phonies when they have the same amount of lack of evidence?

  • Yes, miracles, of course…and a Christian Apologist saying they are real, how convenient !! My four year-old once came up from the basement and tried convince me the broken lamp down there was a miracle. I guess I should have taken it seriously and ignored the guilty look on her face.

    I have been trying to get anybody to replicate that water-to-wine at Cana…please make it a Merlot !! No luck…Empty tombs do nothing for anybody…but wine from water…come-on Stroblel and Merritt, pray and make it happen for everybody!

    Note that apparently on Christian miracles are true. Can’t believer how gullible people are…I’m sure Lee Strobel knows how to fleece $$ the rubes with this miracle stuff.

  • Floydlee, with this post you have shown us all that you are not to be taken seriously. In anything you say.

    I suspect that you will not understand why your comment shows you are not to be taken seriously, but anyone here with any knowledge of elementary philosophy will get it.

    Nevertheless, I am open to any proof you can provide of an amputee healed in the last, say, 100 years, with, of course, ample evidence.

  • Your historical claim, the unavoidable premise of your objection against miracles, is that God has NEVER — not once, in all of Earth history, at ANY time — ever healed even one human amputee. Not one….single….human….ever.

    That’s literally the **only** way you can attempt to rule out the claim that God has performed at least one or more miracles within Earth history. (And if you’re not able to rationally rule it **completely out**, then it’s Game Over for you! No escape hatches on THIS one.)

    Nor can you escape by using the old “using the bible to prove the bible” shpiel. First, I didn’t say anything about proving the bible, PLUS you don’t even have to believe that the Bible is inerrant or “proven” in order to accept THIS one specific Bible event as historically authentic.

    “Although rejecting biblical inerrancy, James F. McGrath suggests that this account reflects an event that did happen, in that early Christians would hardly have invented a story portraying themselves as violent.” — Wikipedia

    Also there are too many historical specifics which you cannot escape:

    “Later in Chapter 18, John records that a relative of Malchus witnessed Peter’s assault (cuttiing off the ear) in the Garden of Gethsemane, and identified Peter as a follower of Christ. Peter denied this.” — Wikipedia

    So now do you see how this particular atheistic objection of yours, especially with its baseless premise, does NOT work? You will never be able to rationally refute the historicity of this specific Jesus healing event involving an amputee.

  • Well, I assume you’ve taken university philosophy classes just like I have. State your case that rationally rules out that God has ever healed any human amputees in any and all of Earth history, if you have a philosophical or historical case to offer.

    (P.S. — hearty guffaws are not a case. You gotta keep it rational.)

  • “Miracles do not happen except through a mental
    desire or faith to be cured since miracles violate natural law. If God were involved in our daily lives, cures would not be needed. You cannot have it both ways.”- Professor JD Crossan

  • You are apparently obsessed with Professor Crossan and his methods and are not addressing your original question about the specifics you requested about the non-historic Easter and the non-historic post-Easter events. My specifics involved the studies and conclusions of Aquinas, JPII, professors at major Catholic universities, the Jesus Seminar, and Professors JD Crossan, a believer in god but the holy trinity and Professor Gerd Ludemann, an atheist.
    But I will take a few moments to address your cited “miracles” below.

  • That is becuase, I think, you are much more generous of spirit than the people we are talking about.

    One of my oldest and best friends and I were talking today about just that. We are both very laid back and take people as they come. If the good outweighs the bad, we can live with it. Our spouses are not laid back, and somewhat difficult when it comes to other people. So we tolerate other people better . We were thinking especially of 2 mutual friends, one of whom is a good guy but can be very trying on several different fronts. But he’s a good guy, as well. Our other friend is generally not such a good guy, and quite a bit more trying. One we hang out with, the other we tend to avoid.

  • Floyd I’m not sure your arguements change anyone’s views. Times seem to have changed people want to “see” more today. They want to see some positive causes of what you believe. There is not a good arguement against that.

  • ” Believe me ! ” says Trump repeatedly.
    ” Believe me ! ” says Strobel repeatedly.
    Barnum coined a phrase for both their believers.
    Something about: ” one being born every minute. “

  • Each successive generation in the US spawns an ever smaller infestation of Kool-Aid salesman.

    They’re on their way to total extinction – as attested to by the exponential growth of the ” nones “….

  • Of course you can have it both ways.

    If miracles occur, and they appear to, and you attribute them to a deity, the idea that the deity is obliged to perform them every day on every one or none at all makes it a water boy rather than a deity.

    John Dominic Crossan, formerly a priest in the Catholic Church, is just one more grumpy elderly gentleman.

  • Lee Strobel is not claiming to be a miracle worker.

    There is actual evidence of temporary exceptions to the ordinary course of nature.

    What we make of them, of course, is another issue, but denying them is simply dishonest.

  • So your merciful god picks who he is going to cure? What a joke!

    And Professor Crossan, PhD in Religious History etc., and author of over 20 books on NT subjects to include the historic Jesus and Paul. And your credentials are?

  • Whatever works for you. I get it about belief. I cannot talk myself in to accept god claims that have no evidence.

  • If you claim a miracle is form god…you have to prove god….this is an post hoc argo fallacy.

    “Are you volunteering? I have a saw.”

    Immature response. Act like an adult.

    So far….no miracles have been demonstrated.

  • The study said…people claimed to have been healed but did not address if the claims were real.

  • I hope the rest of them have degrees in something other political science, perhaps something actually useful.

  • The claims were obviously real or they could not have been studied.

    What they concluded was:

    “Uncanny and weird, the cures are currently beyond our ken but still impressive, incredibly effective, and awaiting a scientific explanation. Creating a theoretical explanatory framework could be within the reach of neurophysiologists in the next decades.”

    “After many mental twists and turns, we reached the same conclusions as Carrel some eighty to hundred years ago: ‘Instead of being a simple place of miracles, of interest only to the pious, Lourdes presents a considerable scientific interest,’ and ‘Although uncommon, the miraculous cures are evidence of somatic and mental processes we do not know.’”

    That’s a bit more than “did not address if the claims were real.”

  • I have not claim a miracle is from “god”.

    As to “(s)o far …. no miracles have been demonstrated”:

    “Uncanny and weird, the cures are currently beyond our ken but still impressive, incredibly effective, and awaiting a scientific explanation. Creating a theoretical explanatory framework could be within the reach of neurophysiologists in the next decades.”

    “After many mental twists and turns, we reached the same conclusions as Carrel some eighty to hundred years ago: ‘Instead of being a simple place of miracles, of interest only to the pious, Lourdes presents a considerable scientific interest,’ and ‘Although uncommon, the miraculous cures are evidence of somatic and mental processes we do not know.’”

    which seems to support the conclusion that the inexplicable has taken place.

  • [sigh] This is so sad….did you ever hear of the concept of the difficulty proving a negative?

    That’s why the onus is always on the person making a case to provide data or evidence. In this case, all you have done is provided “evidence” from a highly unreliable source–one that is always subject to interpretation.

  • I haven’t proposed a merciful god, I’ve simply pointed out that the statement you quoted is not logically imperative.

    Crossan is a known crank.

    Apparently he is a crank you value.

    I have written books and have four degrees plus a professional license.

    Does that mean he’s wrong and I’m right, or do we still have to make our arguments and adduce our facts in support?

  • I can’t talk myself into anything that has no evidence. Those things that have some evidence I consider. Being a former youth pastor I hope you can understand this difference. I would consider myself not agnostic, more than I would consider myself to be what my definition of a “true” believer is today. I question what I believe and that tension is always there. If it wasn’t I would end up believing something unquestionably, unquestioning to me is the end of knowing more.

  • Books on the historical Jesus where every passage of the NT is analyzed with rigorous testing? And degrees in what fields? I have a B.S. in Ch. Eng. and a M.S. and PhD in Polymer Science.

    And have you even read any of Professor Crossan’s studies? Or any other study by a contemporary NT exegete?

    And Professor Crossan is a known crank? Please verify with reliable references. Keep in mind he routinely appears in documentaries as a respected NT exegete to include the December issue of NG.

  • Of course. It wasn’t an entirely apt analogy, but the conversation had just happened shortly before I wrote, so it was on my mind.

  • All of you responding to Floydlee might check out an article on website “Scientists Have Established a Link Between Brain Damage and Religious Fundamentalism” by Bobby Azarian

    It explains alot.

  • “I have a B.S. in Ch. Eng. and a M.S. and PhD in Polymer Science.”

    Say no more. Obviously that makes you a friggin’ expert on philosophy, theology, and New Testament exegesis as long as the texts are imprinted on plastics and elastomers.

    It certainly makes it clear why you could be taken in by someone like Gerd Luedemann.

    “Books on the historical Jesus where every passage of the NT is analyzed with rigorous testing?”

    Explain in simple English how the New Testament, which is a religious scripture whose entire purpose, structure, and content differ from a history or a scientific treatise, could be “analyzed with rigorous testing”. I know what Crossan claims, how do you understand as a non-expert in the requisite fields, why it is “convincing”? It wouldn’t have anything to do with it supporting your own beliefs, would it?

    “And Professor Crossan is a known crank? Please verify with reliable references.”

    So that you can analyze them with rigorous testing?

    Here’s a reasonably straightforward non-technical evaluation of one of Crossan’s works:

    And here is a nice calm disassembling of the entire “Jesus Seminar” shtick, Crossan being a charter Jesus Seminarist:

    These folks make the late 19th century German liberal Protestants look pretty sober in comparison:

    You’re a lot more impressed with credentials than I am. I always figured folks who went to the trouble of getting advanced degrees would know better than that.

  • You seem like you are on a path to wisdom 🙂

    I used to say there is no evidence for god claims.

    I realized that any scrap of information or subjective experience can be considered evidence. So I now say there is no compelling evidence (to me) that any god claims are true.

  • When it comes to claims from the late 19th century, it is premature to say they are obviously real.

  • A lot of ‘miracles’ involve psychic phenomena, which, contrary to many scientist’s understanding, is very well documented in scientific literature. Let’s face it, we have no idea how we go from brain to mind; consciousness itself is a huge miracle.

  • State your case that rationally rules out that Galactic Overlord Xenu has ever healed any human amputees in any and all of Earth history

  • And I find it incredibly self serving and ridiculous that this author found no ‘miracles’ with Buddhists or Hindus! All I can say is he certainly turned a blind eye…

  • Strobel gave up journalism to be a money-making apologist.

    ” Lee Strobel is an American Christian apologetic author and former investigative journalist who has a net worth of $8 million.”

  • Most modern scholars agree that Luke and Matthew probably wrote their gospels using narratives from Mark.

    Just because a legendary story is included in three books changes nothing about it’s truthfulness.

  • Would love to see some of this peer reviewed documentation. Maybe I’ll be convinced.

  • Our history books, largely secular in makeup, claim many things have “happened”, things that the recording historians were’nt there to observe themselves and can’t be repeated, and yet most rational people have no problem believing happened.So, what’s your point, “TheMountainHumanist” ? ???

  • I’ve read that article, Ms.Humphreys, and from my perspective it doesn’t explain squat; it’s what I refer to as…”an exercise in pseudo-scientific nonsense, put together by ivory-tower pseudo-intellectuals who rarely experience the real world, and most certain don’t know ANYTHING about the Christian Faith; this nonsensical article put together by them makes that all too clear”…So: BIG FAIL! They should have actually spoken to all the PHD’S who regularly write about and actually engage with the Christian World; they would realized how ill-informed this article is. Peace. ?

  • We should even approach history books with a smidge of skepticism — they have been shown to be wrong once we get new info.

    Historical facts tend to have multiple attestations from independent sources. That’s how we know of the exploits of say King Darius of Persia…several accounts from his various vassal regions of the empire. Same for Rome. If you have one claim from one source (one religion or govt) that lacks other attestation….being skeptical is justified.

    When you have a book that makes extraordinary supernatural claims…even more so.

    That’s my point, Larry 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • You would have a point if the claims made by said book were confined to the book and were in fact unverifiable. But the history of the Christian Faith doesn’t play out like that, as anyone who has actually studied Christian History can attest to; better yet, as one who has lived and IS living the Christian Faith can attest to. PEACE. ?

  • “if the claims made by said book were confined to the book and were in fact unverifiable”

    You have evidence of outside verification from that time period?

    “as anyone who has actually studied Christian History can attest”

    yes..people like me who studied in one of the most rigorous Evangelical seminaries in America. Right?

  • So…I’m baffled as to what point you’re trying to make here, Humanist.If,as you stated, you studied at one of the most rigorous Evangelical seminaries in America, I’m sure you learned that all that Scripture claims is interwoven into the warp and woof of Christian Faith and History. If, for whatever reason, you’ve decided that these claims are no longer credible, that’s fine, that’s certainly your perogative.But the History of the Christian Faith stands on its own,and when all is said and done, one is left with the two choices: Believe it, or not. PEACE. ?

  • If a book says a specific historical event happened at a specific, identifiable location and building, (with even a group of hostile witnesses identified at the event),
    and a request for a rational, historical, or even speculative disproof of this historicalevent doesn’t even yield crickets a-chirping,
    then the event stands.

  • So Brooks gets to backdoor-assert a negative as a historical fact, but he is then somehow magically freed from his rational obligation to support and defend his assertion of fact?

    Oh no no, folks. That’s all wack. Atheism is rationally worthless on its best day.

  • Sorry Ringo I not only read the article I mentioned I also looked up the research! The findings reported are right on target!

    The research isn’t about the Christian faith.So obviously you can’t read or maybe you are one of the fundies mentioned in the article.

    In 1/5th of the cases, traits associated with fundamentalism were found in people with pre-frontal cortex damage.

  • Since what is normally referred to as fundamentalism is associated with the Christian Faith, at least in the Western World, this pseudo-scientific drivel was indeed a not-so-subtle dig at Christianity Ms.Humphreys; if you want to convince yourself otherwise, that’s fine. It’s STILL ivory-tower tripe not worth the paper it was written on. I’m done with this silly issue–PEACE. ?

  • It is not the credentials but the studies and work put in by these exegetes but one has to read their studies to verify, something I am not sure you have done. Horvath and Roberts do not pass muster as exegetes as they did not do the necessary rigorous historic testing to pass as NT exegetes and are obviously blinded the brainwashing they received at their seminaries. Trinity Seminary and Harvard.

  • Floydlee, every time you put your fingers on the keyboard, you provide further evidence of how poor you are at logic and at evaluating evidence.

    Years ago, I paid some attention to “The 700 Club”, in particular, to stories it carried about “miracles”, such as “I completely recovered from cancer when the doctors told me I would die of it”. I noticed something very interesting: on The 700 Club and elsewhere, the overwhelming number of those “miracles” took place in the Bible Belt; and the people talking about them were clearly not “over-educated.”

    That led me to look up the number of MDs in the south vs elsewhere, and the number of medical specialists in south vs (say) New England, Atlantic coast, etc etc. As I suspected, the South had a much lower number of MDs and specialists per 100,000 population than other areas; and it was clear that the people talking about their “miracles” probably did not understand what their docs had told them.

    Bottom line: if, in fact, there were “miracles” such as god restoring limbs, by now they would be well-documented. The lack of documentation speaks volumes about claims like yours.

  • If you begin with oddball theories and propositions as a prioris to your “studies and work”, you wind up like the folks in the Jesus Seminar.

    What you call “necessary rigorous historic testing” most call “nonsense started by Germans whose eyes rolled around in their heads”.

    It is no shock almost all of them are now ex-Christians either formally or materially.

  • Another way of stating what Brooks said is “there is no credible evidence of god healing amputees”.

    One reason for that is that there is no credible evidence that god exists, but mountains of evidence that god is an invention of human beings, invented to reduce uncertainty, anxiety, etc.

  • Likewise, I don’t know if my arguments change anyone’s views. Maybe yes, maybe no. But no time to worry; I simply leave all “changes” in God’s hands.

    All I know is, atheist Brooks Austin put forth a public challenge against God, offering “The ultimate question which has never been answered.” Curiously, I love reading such atheistic challenges. They’re just like working crossword puzzles.

    So, in light of 1 Peter 3:15 and Prov. 18:17, I answered Brooks’ challenge. (And for an unanswerable “ultimate question”, it was pretty easy to unpack and answer. C’est la vie, folks.) What can I say, GJ? Apologetics is what I do.

  • First reference doesn’t say he grew another ear, it says he was healed.”

    Umm, I don’t think any of us — not even Brooks — said that the amputated person “grew another ear.”

    The historical account in Luke 22 is clear: The amputee (named Malchus, a servant of the high priest) was healed. His severed ear was instantly re-attached (and instantly fully functioning) in front of Christ’s friends and foes alike.

    But according to the challenge put forth by Brooks, “God doesn’t heal amputees.” So the basis of Brooks’ challenge is now destroyed by a historical example of God healing an amputee, at a specific identifiable location, time, and event. The End.

  • Facts that go against your beliefs are hard to accept for folks like you Ringo. BUT your problems don’t change the facts.

    Perhaps you need to educate yourself about statistics, and correlations, etc.

  • Then by your standard..Athena blessed the troops and Achilles at the Battle of Troy. The Illiad must be history.

    King Arthur must be real.

  • Correction: everyone else’s holy book is legends and myths. The Bible, despite its contradictions, both theological and historical in the gospels, is an accurate and perfect, chock full of “near eye-witness accounts”, according to Francis Collins, who is a scientist.

  • Actually, he most likely was real. But that would have been a Gaelic war leader taking over after Rome withdrew from Britain, not the versionof Arthur found in Mallory.

  • Well, there you have it.I, and untold billions like myself have found the nature of our Faith (i.e.The Christian Faith) eminently credible and what WE view as evidence has obviously been quite convincing,so…at this point you and I will peacefully agree to disagree, I suppose.I have been/still am/ALWAYS will be, a Christian theist for almost 42 years, every since I met the Risen Christ in the salvific experience in a jail cell in my home state of Mississippi at the age of 22 (I’m currently 63 years old.), and after over 25 years of intensive studying of my Faith, I have found nothing inherently unbelievable about Jesus the Christ,so…we’ll leave it at that, Au Revoir, and God bless you always, MountainHumanist! PEACE. ☺☺☺

  • I’d have loved to have been a part of that book. I’m a stage 4 metastatic melanoma survivor, living 30+ years now with my cancer. I wasn’t diagnosed until 1997, and in 2000 they connected the cancer back to a 1990 misdiagnosis, which was the original cancer I’d had in 1987.
    I’ve had 6 surgeries, 4 years of a clinical trial, over 60 full torso CT scans, 65 brain MRI’s, 13 whole body pet scans, and somewhere in there is the partridge in the pear tree.
    Beginning in 1999 my doctors began saying that I am a miracle, because melanoma typically kills within 1-2 years, and it’d already been 2 just since diagnosis.
    It’s now 2018, I’m 14 years out from my last surgery and I’ve done all the follow up protocols for melanoma.

  • HI Brooks. There are a few examples in the bible. Here’s my question.
    Would you come to follow Jesus, if all 4 of your limbs were restored to wholeness, or continue with your present lifestyle?

  • floydlee, as happens with all ideologues of all stripes, your strong belief–in this case, Jesus, god, bible etc–has led you to misinterpret a statement (by Brooks Austin) and make yourself look foolish.

    *I* could do a better job of defending Xianity and the bible than you do, were I so inclined. But I hope you will keep participating here, since every comment you make shows us the emptyness and silliness of belief in god or the bible.

  • Then you will have NO trouble demonstrating, (as atheist Brooks was completely unable to demonstrate at all), that the Bible’s historical example I provided, with its clearly specific and identifiable details thereof, is nothing more than a non-historical “legend and myth.”

    Please work your skeptical magic. You can even arbitrarily dismiss the historicity of the rest of the Bible if you want to (which is what you do anyway).

    Just display the tiniest modicum of actual homework that you can possibly offer, to eliminate the historicity of THIS one single biblical healing passage. Homework is humanity’s friend. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

  • I believe Jesus has reasons for things to happen that we will never understand until we meet Him, but I know He also loves us enough to want the best for us.

  • I don’t care what brothers Jonathan Merritt & Lee Strobel say, but – FYI – all miracles are faux miracles, demonic even – except when they DO:

    (1) Cause “the whole crowd … to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: ‘Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'”

    (2) Cause the entire cities where “the miracles had been performed … [to] repent, … sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”

    Sources: (1) Luke 19:37-38. (2) Luke 10:13-14.

  • If it doesn’t make you go on repenting, then shouting, “Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord”, then, according to Luke’s gospel, sorry, dude, what you got there still ain’t no miracle!

  • Miracles according to “this author … Buddhists or Hindus” just ain’t – if they don’t make them go on repenting & shouting, “Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord”.

  • Lee Strobel’s, Jonathan Merritt’s, Buddhists’ & Hindus’ claimed miracles are all false, demonic even, if they don’t cause the people to repent & shout, “Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord”.

    So claims the gospel of Luke.

  • Because these “heal[ed] amputees” still won’t repent & shout, “Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord”.

    Why bother, so goes the lamenting in Luke’s gospel.

    YOU can change all that.

  • Actually Ben, God helps those who cannot help themselves.
    You’ll never find your initial statement in the bible. I looked. So, by all means, go ahead and find it. Then provide the reference, so we can see it for ourselves.

  • Who said it came from the Bible? Not I.

    God helps those who cannot help themselves? tell it to the people of Sutherland Springs. Tell it to those dying of starvation or thirst or lack of medicine. Tell it to Jabba the Trump, who can certainly help himself, and whom evangelicals claim was chosen by god.

    Don’t tell it to me.

  • Curious. How can I repent from following Jesus, when I’d been following him for 10 years before it started, and continued to follow him since.
    Moreover, how can I repent from blessing God, when I’d been blessing him for 10 years before it all started, and continue to bless him daily for his blessings, and gifts, since.

    Tell you what though. When you take the time to learn how to ask questions, instead of assuming you have a clue, let me know. I’ll explain the situation further. Hence, the comments I’d made regarding how cool it would have been about working with Lee on his book.

  • I’m telling you because you are the one promoting the statement as fact, and not opinion.
    Moreover, I’m not talking to anyone else, except you, at the moment. Since it’s obviously so important to you, it’s incumbent on you to tell those whom you think matter.
    From what I’ve observed about the folks in Sutherland Springs, they’re already familiar with the Bible’s statements regarding this.
    President Trump appears to have done it on his own, and didn’t want God in his life until recently.
    My voting for Trump, had absolutely nothing to do with his religious beliefs. It had everything to do with his vision for the country, not including any form of socialism/fascism/tyranny, and globalist agendas.

  • Like I said, I don’t care what brothers Jonathan Merritt & Lee Strobel say, I don’t care what me & my people of faith say. But – heads up, ‘yo – all miracles are faux miracles, demonic even – except when they DO:

    (1) Cause “the whole crowd … to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: ‘Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'”

    (2) Cause the entire cities where “the miracles had been performed … [to] repent, … sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”

    Sources: (1) Luke 19:37-38. (2) Luke 10:13-14.

    And that’s why God & Jesus are no longer into miracles. Get it now, ‘bruh?

  • I’ve been thinking about this response of yours, and I am reminded of dozens of scriptures where no one else, except the recipients, and the priests knew that they’d received healing.
    Jesus healed 10 lepers, one returned, said thank you, and was told to show himself to the priests, and offer a sacrifice, in accordance with the law of Moses.
    Elijah raised a boy from the dead, and only the parents knew.
    Jesus healed a woman who had an “issue of blood” and no one except her, and Jesus knew. In spite of a humongous crowd, jostling, and pushing, pulling on him, and his disciples.
    There are innumerable instances where Jesus healed, and nobody except the recipients, and a handful of close people witnessed, or praised God for the compassion given by God.
    Do yourself a favor and look at the WHOLE counsel of God. By making your theology of healing and miracles based on two scriptures, you slander God, and the work of Jesus.
    You can believe what you want, and remain ignorant, maligning God’s mercies towards me, and the testimony of his power in my life, but you dishonor yourself in doing so.
    Again, have a great day.
    I’m going to continue to rejoice in the life Jesus gave me in exchange for my death and dying because of my sin.

  • And you went all the way over to JMG to say something nasty to me? I assume it wasn’t for the ads and photos.

    Goshes! impressed.

  • No, I didn’t promote it as fact, because I’m an atheist.

    Trump didn’t want god in his life til recently? I’d say when he started running. He knows a sucker when he sees one.

    And fun;y, the very reasons you voted for trump are the very reasons I voted against him.

    Enjoy your healthcare. The billionaires thank you.


    I simply point out that (a) you play nicer among the Christianists and religionists than among the hedonists, (b) that your complaints about snideness and sarcasm are poses, and (c) that a reasonable person might conclude you’re pretty much a poseur.

    Goshes! impressed.

  • Hmm…. so. In other words, the only thing you actually have to offer is an opinion, based on your opinions.
    Last I’d heard, that and $5.00 will get me a cup of fancy coffee at a Starbucks.
    Well, I don’t drink Starbucks.
    Bye bye.
    It’s been interesting talking to someone who has nothing.

  • Pst … I’ll let you in on something: After I read this here interview, I did go, What’s my take on the miraculous? Hmm, dunno. Then what’s the New Testament’s take on miracles? How should I know? Well, then, go to it as per the usual no-brainer approach to learning something new. And so I type in “miracle” in the search engine at biblegatewaydotcom.

    Well, guess what? There’s a limited supply of “miracles” in the New Testament. Literally. Christ-centered miracles occur nowhere else but only in Matthew 7:22 / 9:18 / 11:20-21, 23 / 13:58 / Mark 6:2, 5 / 9:39 / Luke 10:13 / 19:37 / Acts 2:22 / 4:16, 22 / 8:13 / 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29 / 2 Corinthians 12:12 / Galatians 3:5 / Hebrews 2:4. After going through each one of those passages, I then decided that the 2 references I gave you pretty much cover all grounds and say all there is as to the New Testament word, “miracle”.

    You don’t agree – tough & too bad. Especially since your own take on miracles is so scripturally unpersuasive anyhow. Face it, as is typical of my people of faith, word-for-word exegesis for the gospel of Christ isn’t your forte or calling. In lieu of that, you consume Christian bookstore merchandise. Like brother Lee Strobel’s, whose faith has become so overwhelmingly – atheistically, even – evidence-based that there’s no room left to simply exercise faith & simply live a gospel life of faith. It’s your loss, beware.

  • According to The Apostolic Rule of Christian Conduct Outside the Church, we must leave the states of affairs of the world (such as the LGTBQ movement, Trump, etc.) to God & Jesus to judge. But not so our internal & external church affairs. YOU BETTER JUDGE THOSE OR ELSE. Or so according to Christ Jesus and His 1st apostles & disciples.

  • People who live in glass houses and post the same garbage under two different names in order to appear more authoritative than they are, all the while calling anyone who disagrees with them a big poopy head and screaming “Athiests! Stalin! Mao!”…

    While continullay promoting themselves as the smartest two guys in the room, implying that each of you is only half smart…

    While claiming to have authored four books, although the only bob arnzens I could find are dead basket ball players…

    should hardly be calling anyone else a poseur.

    But you will, dear.

  • I believe it is spelled “Atheists” rather than “Athiests”.

    I have never ever called anyone “a big poopy head” … until now.

    Thank you for confirming the wisdom of using a nom de plume. I assume it’s the same reason you don’t use a last name.

  • It seems he now is striving for a form of fascism with considerable support from the base that elected him.

  • “So one historical counter-example will rationally amputate the legs (so to speak), out from underneath Brook’s objection.”

    Unless you can first demonstrate the existence of God, demonstrating the cure won’t due it.

  • But suppose the book is fiction. The burden of proof would be on the claimant. It is much more difficult to prove an action in the past did not happen.

  • Rational people may believe there is a probability these things happened. They would not be rational to believe they actually did without evidence.

  • You have the right to believe what you like, however to believe without evidence leads to delusion.

  • As an Apologetic you should know that you can not reference the Bible in a secular argument which is the only variety of argument you can use with a non-believer.

  • Since my beliefs are founded on well-attested evidence validated over the past 2,000+ years, what is your point, Bob? ?

  • In that case Bob, take it up with the historians; evidently they discovered enough evidence to convince them that the people, places, and things existed and the events mentioned took place. Seriously, what do you want? ???

  • To prove something actually happened you need more than billions of people through ages claimed to believe it. We don’t how knowledgeable or truthful these witnesses of the past were. We need to know their character and emotional stability. The truth recorded in the Bible is very suspect to non-believers.
    I just want you to acknowledge that although you feel these religious teachings you have been studying are probably true, you can’t claim to know they are the truth.

  • C’mon, you know better than that. The Bible makes rational, easily understood, factual claims. Both believers AND non-believers operate at this level every day.

    That’s why a gazillion people have ditched atheism, believed in God’s existence, and accepted Christ as Savior. Atheism = False. God = True.

    Didn’t you say, “To believe without evidence leads to delusion”? Well, Rom. 1:20 says we can correctly conclude that God exists merely from the no-nonsense evidence of the created world all around us. This evidence is so explosively, amazingly abundant — and modern biology and astronomy demonstrates it –that 1:20 says you are “without excuse” if you reject God’s existence.

  • But that’s the kicker, Bob. I actually can demonstrate God’s existence. Worse yet, I can do it on Ben’s favorite level: “Facts, Logic, and Evidence.” I can do it using a microscope, or I can do it using your bathroom mirror. It’s easy. No joke, I’ve publicly done it before.

    Long ago, I used to think that you Atheists held all the cards (Science, Biology, Astronomy, etc.) All the “Facts, Logic, and Evidence” was on your side. All the “Rationality” was on your side. So I avoided all debates.

    But I found out that God, and God’s Word (the Scriptures), has all the cards, including Science, Biology, Astronomy, Rationality. NOT atheists and agnostics. Jesus Christ is the Creator of the Universe (Col. 1:16). And He’s accessible.

  • Your wrong, but I doubt either of us will convince the other. We live as if in different realities, I can’t accept your fantasy world and you don’t accept the rational one.

  • Consciousness is an enigma, not a miracle. How one goes from enigma to miracle is superstition.

  • Coincidence, spontaneous remission, etc. etc. But when you go looking for “signs” you’re gonna find ’em. Obvious cases of superstitious thinking. Embarrassing.

  • Then you should run and hide. As I recall, Reagan said that fascism would return to the stage under the guise of liberalism.
    As I recall, that’s what the left is promoting.

  • Oh, you mean like what Reagan said 34 years ago how that fascism would come out in the guise of liberalism?

  • [quote]Like I said, I don’t care what brothers Jonathan Merritt & Lee
    Strobel say, I don’t care what me & my people of faith say.[/quote]
    Good. Because I don’t either. You appear to be having a difficult time with reading, and understanding what I said up front. I can only guess it’s because you’re not paying attention to what you’re reading.

    [quote]And that’s why God & Jesus are no longer into miracles.[/quote]
    Well, maybe the god/jesus you believe in don’t do miracles anymore, but the one’s I do believe in, are continuing to do what they did 4000-2000 years ago, they’re the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8, and Malachi 3:6.
    It’s kind of sad when you think about it. If yours don’t do miracles, how could they save the lost? It requires a miracle for the Holy Spirit to indwell the saved person, as Paul said in Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-23, and 5:5.

    As well as it requiring a miracle to wipe away our sin, cleanse us from our iniquity and idols, remove our old stony heart, give us a new heart, and a new spirit, as stated in Ezekiel 36:25-27. It’d also require a miracle for God to write his laws on our heart, and in our minds, as it’s written in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
    In fact, if it wasn’t for what Paul said to the Galatians, that there are those who preach another Jesus, and another gospel, which he’s never preached before, I’d say you’re just following bad teaching. But since you say that your jesus, and your god don’t do miracles today…. I’d say Paul’s right, and you’ve bought a false Jesus, and a false gospel.

  • Its coming out calling itself Christen Nationalism. It includes Evangelicals, Right wing Catholics. Dominionisrs, libertarians, and the alt right. Doesn’t sound very left wing or liberal to me.

  • My cousin belongs to a group called- Christian Democracy. I’ve seen their ideas, and while impressive– it bothers me.

    It strikes me that it’s not miracles you have a problem with, but people who actually want to live as free men, and women, in a manner which includes a moral lifestyle. I’m here to talk about my experience with God’s grace, mercy, love, and compassion towards myself, in sparing me an extremely miserable death, from my melanoma cancer, and giving me life, in exchange for my death.

    So, if you wish to discuss politics, then you might want to consider not hijacking this op, and find another means to do so.

    That said…..

    While I’ve heard these complaints before, and the responses stating it’s fine for people to live as they please, until they try to force me to live in the manner which they think is moral, I find such complaints disingenuous.

    John Adams ( said that our form of government only works for a religious people, who live moral lives. The problem with this is, as soon as morality breaks down in the name of freedom, to ensure that society does not break down, the government must force a legal code which ensures that the moral standards to ensure society’s cohesion are enforced, and maintained. I ask you to take the time to actually read the letter from John Adams. He states that

    “But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep
    simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which
    assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing
    Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner
    the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is
    rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable
    Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power
    capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition
    Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our
    Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made
    only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the
    government of any other”

    So, you’re going to have to figure out if you want to live in a free society, or a society of tyranny, and a police state. Right now, the US is indeed breaking down, and people who choose an immoral lifestyle are part of the problem. Until they recognize they are part of the problem, and quit trying to do this, our once great nation will in fact become “the most miserable habitation in the world.”
    You get to decide what you want.

  • Then where are they?

    (1) “The whole crowd … prais[ing] God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: ‘Blessed is God the King who comes in the name of Jesus the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'”

    (2) The entire cities where “the miracles had been performed … repent[ing], … sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”

  • I am glad you have overcome your cancer and wish you continued good health. I have also overcome bladder cancer, open heart surgery, and prostate cancer. For this I am grateful for the timely advances in medical science and the skill of my doctors.

    At the present time, with Dominionist politicians, supported by their Evangelical and Dominionist base, it is very difficult to discuss politics or religion separately from each other.

    As a secular humanist, I strive to live a moral life with moral people. We must accept the responsibility to determine morality ourselves. How this is done would require an additional post. It is a combination of emotion, rationality, compassion, cooperation and discussion for agreement. Religion is detrimental to this process, because, like you, it attempts to force its values on others.

    Morality and freedom are not in conflict. Realizing, respecting, valuing and supporting the freedom of each other is an important moral value.

    A person whose actions were controlled by your religion or your powerful government would not be moral because, not being free. he doesn’t choose them and is not responsible.(except for agreeing to submit)

  • Thank you Bob. You as well.
    I thank my doctors each year, on the anniversary of my last of 6 surgeries.
    And while I know they’re appreciative of my gratitude, they constantly remind me that I exceeded their medical technology, and that they only helped nature along, but it was beyond their skill, and knowledge which gave me ongoing life.
    As such, I find myself amused that people actually believe that science knows more than it does. As advanced as human knowledge is, we’re still in the infant stages of real knowledge. Probably more like the fetus stage. We talk big, but we really are ignorant to what’s actually going on.
    So, do yourself a favor— stop and just tell God thank you. As it’s written in Psalm 139, we are fearfully, and wonderfully made. He knit us together in our mother’s womb.

    I agree that it is difficult to discuss politics and religion as distinct elements. Have you however ever asked why? Not to yourself, but to someone such as myself, or another individual who follows Jesus?

    I can tell you simply that it’s because both require human interacting with another human.

    I was taught several decades ago that you get two people into a room, and you have a basic human interaction. You get three people into the room, and you’ve just entered the realm of politics. Why? Because where there are 3 people, you have 9 different points of view.

    My view,

    your view,

    The 3rd’s view

    My view of the second’s and 3rd’s views. (2 views)

    Their views of my views, and their fellow’s views. (4 views).

    Jesus said wherever there are two or more gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.

    This winds up entailing at least 9 views, sometimes upwards of several million views. And only one of those views is actually the objective truth. All others are subjectively based on our own human perspectives.

    So, it’s not difficult to understand why the ideas are difficult to make distinct.

    When people interact with other people, they find it necessary to define a means by which they can interact with one another. Respect, Trust, Communication, etc… must be present, otherwise it breaks down, and chaos ensues.

    The 10 commandments— Law of Moses— are actually based on these 3 attributes.

    1- Communication builds respect.

    2- Respect builds Trust.

    3- Trust fosters greater and deeper levels of communication.

    where one breaks down, communication must be restored. And even communication can break down. So, one must take a step of faith, giving their opponent the benefit of the doubt, respecting themselves enough to think as highly of the other, as they do themselves. As the old saying goes— a 3-fold cord is not easily broken. If they do not respect you as much as they believe they do themselves, you have to at that point decide– are they worth maintaining the relationship with, to continue forward. It may fail, but if they are worth it to you, then you have to decide to go at it, at all costs…. including losing yourself in the process. Ironically, this is what Jesus did. He went to his death for the singular purpose of restoring the broken connection between God, and man.

    As it’s written in Romans 13:8-10
    8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9

    For the commandments,

    “You shall not commit adultery,”

    “You shall not murder,”

    “You shall not steal,”

    “You shall not bear false witness,”

    “You shall not covet,”

    and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10

    Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
    Thus, on the most basic, or fundamental level of human to human interaction— the only way to successfully dwell together, or coexist is through loving each other, on God’s terms.

    This is what John Adam’s referred to in his letter— did you actually read it?

    Oh, and since religion is viewed with such great contempt by many today… According to James 1:26-27, religion is defined as follows–
    26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

    So, there are three basic elements of true religion.
    1- how one speaks.
    2- how one treats his/her fellow man.
    3- how one lives morally in the world. Does it affect him, as much as he says he wants to affect the world in which he lives?

    Morality and freedom? No. Because freedom is not the same as liberty.

    Free means I must receive a gift at the hands of one who paid for the gift at their own cost.

    Liberty however is completely different.

    Paul once told a church in the middle of Turkey (a region known then as Galatia)— use not your liberty as a cover for self-centered living. But by love, serve one another (Gal 5:13).

    Liberty in the Greek is Eluthueria.
    Free is Charisma.

    Both are have a similar idea. But the difference comes in when one comes out of slavery, and chooses to live a life wherein they will never be enslaved again.

    Ever hear of Alexander Tytler? He’s a Scottish Historian, who came up with the cycle of slavery to liberty. It’s known as Tytler’s Cycle.

    Free is the nature of a gift. It cost someone else something, but there’s no cost to you.

    Someone who’s actions are “controlled” by “my” religion is someone who is either free or is a slave.

    Those who are enslaved, have made themselves such, because they’ve never taken the time to learn the truth of what it is that’s taken place, to make them free, and given them the opportunity to live in liberty.

    There’s a proverb which says— where there is no understanding, the people cast off restraint. But happy is the one who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18.

    It’s a basic idea which says— those who don’t understand why our laws exist, blow them off, ignore or reject them out of hand. But the one who understands, and keeps the law is happy.

    This is why the founding fathers made this a nation not bound by a specific religious denomination. They’d both seen and experienced enough of history to know that true liberty can only be won by each new generation, and those who’ve previously enjoyed the benefits of liberty cannot impart genuine freedom to another. They can only put in place the parameters by which successive generations can learn of the liberty won/secured for them. But they themselves must follow through to ensure it remains intact.

    This is why it’s been said about America—- Tyranny is a single generation away. If you do not learn the lessons of liberty, you will miss the freedom won for you, and will become a slave to your own appetites, resulting in your subservience to those appetites, and come to believe that the government should meet those appetites, turning you into their slave.
    Tytler did a better job of describing it. At least I think so.

    I cannot see any human being actually wanting to be enslaved, but they often do. We see it in radical Islam’s ideology, and their demand that other cultures submit to their rule of law- Sharia. There are nations in the middle east which have been under rule of tyranny/despotism for over 4 millennia, and wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to live in liberty. It’s my opinion that this is why Islam is so popular there.

    What you should be afraid of is not my faith, nor even the rule of islam. Rather, you should be afraid of the tyranny of your own appetites, which will turn you into a slave of any government which comes along, and seeks to promise you the complete satiation of those appetites. Socialism is such a government.

    My life as a follower of Jesus was made free to choose to no longer be a slave to my appetites. Jesus won my freedom, and offered me freedom. My liberty is now at work to teach me to no longer be enslaved to my appetites, which are the same as yours, and just as powerful. But they no longer control me. I’m learning to submit them, by the freedom given me.

    So…. no. The government I would have, as the letter of John Adams said— does not have a law which can subdue the appetites of humans. Our’s is a law which can only be lived under by a moral, and a religious people. Again— READ the letter by John Adams.

  • I’m sorry you don’t even read your own posts, one of which blamed three cancers in your family on Jesus.

  • I am a retired PA both as a Navy PA and, post nanavy retirement practiced in a private gastroenterology practice primarily in liver and pancreatic disease. I have never seen a medicak miracle in my patients nor in family or myself. I have treated literaly thousands of Hepatitis B and C cases. I have never seen a patient od Hepatitis B cured. There are medicines that can be used to keep it a bay. But it is still an incurable diasease. Hapatitis C is now, in certain cases, curable. I have had patients opt to not be treated medically but depended on prayer by themseves others but not a single1 was cured. I had several of the progress to liver failure and die. I have never had a single pancreatic cancer patient survive even with prayer. For myself I sufferbwith BiPolar disease and at times it is devastating. I have prayed, other people have prayed and I have been annoited with holy oil. I still have it. I am currently going blind in my left eye. I have seen multiple specialists and there is nothing medically or surgically that can be done despite prayers. There is no cure for paralyisis, ms, parkinsons, and a multitude of other diseases. There is no cure, despite pray er for many cancers. For glioblastoma..a very aggressive brai cancer,which Senator McCain is dying from. No one has ever survived this cancer. There is no cure for dementia. I have never seen a lost limb be regrown. When my son committed suicide I prayed and prayed that God restore his life but it did not happen. Why does not God perform a miracle by bring rain to areas of famine where thousands die. Why doesn’t he stop torrential rain before it causes flooding and loss of thousands if lives every year in places like. Bangladesh. The ans is there are no miracles.
    Another question for Lee Strobel. What are the sources that you cite as proof of Jesus life, etc. I have studied and studied butthe only outside source I have found is Josephus. And it is felt by many that that is doubtful.