On the importance of miracles to the Christian faith


However skillfully the modern ingenuity of semi-belief may have tampered with supernatural interpositions, it is clear to every honest and unsophisticated mind that, if miracles be incredible, christianity is false. If Christ wrought no miracles, then the gospels are untrustworthy… If the resurrection be merely a spiritual idea, or a mythicized hallucination, then our religion has been founded on an error.
Dr. Farrar

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

63 thoughts on “On the importance of miracles to the Christian faith

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Slowly those who are prepared to think are edging toward the conclusion it is all made up. A fiction from beginning to end.

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  2. […] Source: On the importance of miracles to the Christian faith […]

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  3. themodernidiot says:

    Does the doctor have proof of the non existence of said miracles?

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    • makagutu says:

      Will it improve the case if I told you Dr, Farrar was religious and in the above quote actually does say ….our religion?

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      • themodernidiot says:

        No, its irrelevant what his belief system is. My contention is with his poor argument 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          Where is the weakness of his argument? He is not saying there are no miracles, on the contrary, he is repeating what Paul says in one of his letters, if Christ is not risen then our faith is false. Help me see where his reasoning is fallacious

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          • themodernidiot says:

            His argument presupposes something that cannot possibly be proven does it not?

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          • makagutu says:

            Help me understand what you think he is saying

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          • themodernidiot says:

            His argument is a basic if this, then that format. His if presupposes a reality that doesn’t exist (proof of the non-existence of all miracles), therefore his argument is invalid, yes?

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          • makagutu says:

            I think now I see where the problem is. I don’t think he is saying we have no proof of miracles but rather that if miracles can be shown not to have happened, then Christianity falls. His argument is valid because without the miracles, Christianity falls apart

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            Yes, if that is what he is saying, I absolutely agree. But if he was offering a definitive opinion as knowledge, which is how the snippet reads, I had to question it for it seemed a poor way to state the obvious. And a poor tool for atheists to use. Excellent work-through Mak. Thank you for your patience, my friend 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            We go back along way my friend, a long way back. You are patient with me more times than I can count

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            Thank you kind sir.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Thanks Mak, I want to make sure as well.

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    • We have evidence that the miraculous events in the bible didn’t happen and that other events happened in their place precluding them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • themodernidiot says:

        Every miracle?

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        • For the claims of the bible, yep. Care to choose one as an example so we can discuss it? 🙂

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          • themodernidiot says:

            We’ve proven every miracle in the Bible never happened? We can’t even prove the existence of Jesus, but we can prove he didn’t heal a bleeding woman, didn’t make 5000 loaves of bread (I’ll probably give you that one), didn’t help a crippled man stand, an old woman stand up, etc.? Yet we cant even make a vacuum thats’ quiet? Buncha underachievers we are 😉

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          • makagutu says:

            We can’t prove or disprove miracles. They are meant to be one of events. We can only demonstrate they are incredible, every one of them not just from the bible but from every religion that claims miracles.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            So true

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          • When did the incident with the bleeding woman happen? The loaves of bread? When did a legion’s worth of men, plus women and children gather outside of a Roman-occupied city?
            If they happened, you surely know when, right?

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Of course not other. And likewise, which i also to my original point, is that you cannot deny they existed. So without surety, with regard to these events, neither side can present a definitive. The good Dr.’s statement sounded suspiciously like a presumption of fact. That does not make an argument valid.

            Speaking of the gathering, I was impressed at how fast dude Jesus drew a crowd of five thousand lol. Coulda been a concert promoter. Born in the wrong time, man.

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          • makagutu says:

            He not only drew a crowd of 5k dudes, he fed them on 2 loaves and the balance was enough to feed two villages.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Martha stewart coulda done it

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          • makagutu says:

            I want such a skill.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I can deny they existed since there is no evidence for them. Many people forget that absence of evidence can indeed be evidence of absence. It is generally only theists who try to claim that absence of evidence is never evidence of absence. Just as I can be quite sure that there is not a silver tea set circling Zeta Reticuli, I can be sure that the claims of theists are nonsense.

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            That’s the same argument theists use. I don’t know, therefore god. You cannot claim no evidence just because you haven’t seen it, just as thy cant claim evidence for same. And no, it isn’t just theists, who feel that argument is lacking. As fas as not having any evidence, until you’ve disproven everything with evidence to the contrary, you haven’t exhausted all claims or all possibilities. Things aren’t necessarily untrue just because you don’t want to believe it. Not only that, but evidence can be a little subjective at times. Science has taught us that over and over. I will grant you the tea set since its materials wouldn’t likely hold up in that environment. We’ve all seen some shit we can never explain. We like to comfort ourselves with words like natural or coincidence, because thats way more digestible than god. But being a nonbeliever doesn’t grant me knowledge that does not exist.

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          • Wow, really? There is no evidence and there is evidence that entirely different things happened.

            Where is this evidence for these things, TMI? Why is it that Christians, who have been looking for thousands of years, haven’t one scrap? Why is there evidence for other things to have happened?

            It’s hilarious to claim that since I haven’t looked under every rock in the universe there really honestly could be some magical nonsense happening somewhere. Possiblity and probability are entirely different things and we do know that this universe is not some Seussian fantasy where “anything” can happen.

            To claim that since we see things we subjectively can’t explain mean that these things are unexplainable is nonsense and is, as you say, exactly the same bullshit that theists claim, their god of the gaps.

            I would hope that as a non-believer you would consider that a possibility isn’t a probability.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            You can’t disprove what can’t be proven, and you can’t know what you dont. You can only admit to accepting what you think because precisely as you said: probability and possibility are very different. Declaring something unknown is known based on the vastly limited abilities of the human mind and human experience surpasses even a theist’s arrogance.

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          • makagutu says:

            Looking at this conversation, I think the misunderstanding could be as a result of the words chosen. Miracles, if there are any, can’t be open to proof or disproof. They are meant to happen once, and should have supernatural evidence. But we can demonstrate or even believe a priori that the miracles narrated in the bible never happened

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Mak, that’s all I’m saying. You can’t offer a speculative certainty. And you sure as heck shouldn’t claim it as a legitimate argument, as I felt the Dr. did in his quote. You might be able to demonstrate some things in the Bible; but you can’t apply those findings to things one could never possibly even test, and by reason of association offer anything but a fallacious conclusion.

            Everything as of yet untested is a priori, as you say, and which by definition is a guess. So for those things that can only be guessed at, admit that is so. That’s my beef. I don’t care if you can’t prove something, but don’t tell me you can, and expect me to accept the rhetoric as valid.

            This is a giant weakness in Paul’s argument Dr F.’s using it as evidentiary seemed illogical (if he was indeed claiming the unverifiable as fact).

            It’s also the weakness atheists find with the Bible, rightly so. Maybe at one time someone had witness to all described events, but thats been long lost. Not all of the Bible is literal either, but people want to misinterpret it that way, a failure I find on both sides.

            Outstanding discussion. Many thanks to all 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            I think Paul’s argument isn’t weak or invalid. Whoever wrote that statement understood the magnitude of the problem. Christianity has at its core, for most people, the belief in the resurrection. Without this, there is nothing to show. If it can be demonstrated this is false, christianity must fall with it.

            Thanks for your contributions to the debate.

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            Yes, well paraphrased.

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          • Why should I think that I don’t known that there is no silver tea set orbiting a star 39 light years from here? As you said, there’s a good reason not to think that a tea set isn’t there, because we know physics is the same there as here. This would also hold true for me to know that there isn’t any supernatural nonsense since there is no evidence for any nor has there been one single instance ever that people have been able to show that something is indeed outside the realm of reality.

            I can imagine just about anything. There is nothing to support that anything I can imagine exists or must exist. This is where the ridiculous “logic” claims of theists fail. Humans have constantly claimed that we can’t know something, and guess what? Their predictions have always failed.

            Human minds are limited. Again, you depend on a god of the gaps for your credulousness. I am not claiming that something unknown is known. I am claiming that there is no reason to postulate nonsense that doesn’t exist, just because you can conceive of it. The Cat in the Hat doesn’t exist as anything but a literary character. I am quite sure I know this. Your arguments seem to claim that the Cat has to exist since no one can look under ever rock and show that it doesn’t. Is this true?

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          • themodernidiot says:

            Ok, last time I’m going to try and explain myself. Not sure why it isn’t making any sense, but I think we can move on lol.

            My issue with Dr F.’s statement that iterates Paul’s argument is that both are predicated on suppositions for which exists (in this time and age anyway) no proof for or against.

            Some might believe the Bible is evidence of the resurrection and Christ, and some might just believe just because; and that’s fine for them. For me, to use this “maybe” as solid argument doesn’t wash. Here is what their argument sounds like to me:

            If the purple snorklefussage did not happen, then there can be no proof of the snorklefuss, and therefore snorklefussology cannot exist.

            It sounds ridiculous for the exact same reasons you’ve just stated. There’s no way to prove or disprove that statement at this time. So it isn’t solid logic, it’s fallacy.

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          • makagutu says:

            Here is what Paul says

            12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith

            Which to me is not faulty in any sense. The conclusion follows from the premise and it is the same thing Dr. Farrar is saying. None of them is saying there are no miracles only that if miracles are impossible, then the faith is useless.
            In this specific case, your analogy I think is faulty because we are dealing with a specific question of Christian faith. The basis of which is the resurrection. SO with no resurrection, what then is the foundation of christianity?

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            Yes, I know what Paul said, and that the Dr is just reiterating it. And I also know neither would claim miracles do not exist. The IF, the premise, is the problem. It asks you to base the conclusion on something completely unverifiable.

            “If miracles are impossible” – no one can know either way, whether that miracle be Christ, or the resurrection, or many others in the Bible. Nothing exists except the stories. Cant prove any, cant disprove them all.

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          • makagutu says:

            We are agreement you know

            Liked by 1 person

          • themodernidiot says:

            I do 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            I have one 😛 that people still believe the bible as the word of god to this day, isn’t that the greatest miracle.

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      • makagutu says:

        Not just in the bible. I think all miracles, properly called, are antecendentaly incredible

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  4. shelldigger says:

    Nice find Mak.

    Themodernidiot seems an appropriate handle for someone requiring proof of the nonexistant?

    If thar be some sly sarcasm I did not pick up on, please disregard and apolgies forwarded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • themodernidiot says:

      I don’t know you, and you do not know what I require, nor do you know my beliefs; so ill ask you kindly to stave off attacking me like this is an elementary school playground.

      That being said, any and all apologies accepted in good faith since your bold certainty was based also on knowledge that didn’t exist.

      Nor could you have known, which is the essence of mine and Mak’s discussion. Im claiming Dr F. Is using a kack of knowledge to prove something, and selectively using Paul’s concession of the lack of knowledge by some as part of his argument.

      Paul’s concession to the skeptics was not an offer of proof against the existence of Christ and His miracles.

      I don’t believe the Dr can argue the non-existence of something by claiming the unprovable non-existence of something 🙂

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      • shelldigger says:

        Ok, I missed the meaning of your comment, and my forwarded apology is followed by a genuine one.

        If it makes you feel better you can call me whatever you’d like. Except a “mean poopyhead”, I really don’t like that one. 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          Haha. I think that rests the case.
          How is your morning mate

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          • shelldigger says:

            Still sipping coffee, and trying to scrape the cobwebs out of the attic. Was out late last night, the wife got sick in the car on the way home (too much wine) the boys got off to school this morning without my even knowing it…

            To top that off it was raining last night while I was cleaning up the upholstery in the car, I’m bent over the seat scrubbing away, with a plumbers crack showing, and it’s raining down my backside. Meanwhile the wife is inside, still praying to the porcelain god, good times man, good times.

            Hanging out with friends, and dealing with the aftermath, was much less bothersome when I was drinking too as I recall. Being sober (designated driver) and experiencing these moments is like being held prisoner in a drunk clown circus… and then having to clean up the mess afterwards.

            I have paid my pennance themodernidiot! Have mercy upon my still wet ass. 🙂

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          • makagutu says:

            That’s almost poetic. And I hope the missus is well now.
            That’s penance fully paid

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          • shelldigger says:

            She’s fine this morning. We really don’t get out for things like this often, which is a handicap, when alcohol is involved.

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          • makagutu says:

            Pass my best wishes. You can say the determinist who is hell bent on running you over sends his best regards 😛

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        • themodernidiot says:

          Absolutely accepted. I’ve deserved it often enough, thus the moniker 😉 Moving ahead, all of us in the convo is important; the more wit, the better. Glad to make your acquaintance 🙂

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    • makagutu says:

      That’s my girlfriend right there man. Had you not included the apology, I would have run you over

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