Yeah, yeah, Brandon made a post with this same title a while back. But mine has a question mark. So it’s different, see? See? Anyway, the subject matter is slightly different and it’s been, like, almost two months. Now that we’ve settled that this is an entirely different post from Brandon’s, we can continue.

What is a miracle?
A miracle is any event that betrays the laws of nature. It is not simply something science has no answer for, but something science and scientific laws explicitly state could not happen. It is a phenomenon which, without “divine guidance,” would otherwise be impossible. A meteor hurtling toward earth and then stopping, abruptly, about a mile before impact is an example of something that betrays the laws of nature and science and could legitimately be called a miracle.

Some people think a miracle is “anything that happens at just the right time when it is not expected.” This is okay, if you’d like to consider every single coincidence or stroke of good fortune a miracle. By that definition, you would say that winning the lottery is a miracle, but it would be one hell of a stretch to call it an act of god, let alone proof for god’s existence.

There are no miracles, ever.
Now that we’ve got that explanation out of the way, I can make my assertion: that there has never in history been such a phenomenon which, by the above definition, would be considered a miracle.

For the record, I should point out again that as an atheist I am prone to disregard the Bible as a factual account of historic events, so using any examples from the Bible would be completely futile. To argue while citing the Bible as proof is to assume the Bible is one hundred percent factual and accurate. That just doesn’t fly with an atheist. To quote Damon Wayons in one of his greatest characters ever, Homey don’t play dat.

Word of mouth also doesn’t count as a legitimate source. If that were the case, I could tell you that I fell from the top of a skyscraper the other day and landed head-first in a garbage bin full of nothing but broken glass and fire ants, yet suffered no injuries whatsoever. And you’d have to believe me. Because you believe personal accounts of miracles.

All that said, you are welcome to provide me with examples of any miracles for which there is not only documentation (from a reputable source) but, ideally, photo and/or video evidence.

Biblical miracles
Even the so-called miracles in the Bible can be more or less explained away by science. It is entirely possible that “back in the day,” natural events happened. God-fearing people did what they did best and feared god. They embellished the natural events in their tales and as they were passed down more and more through the generations, by the time they were written down they had been so embellished they could now be mistaken for miracles.

Look, I realize the Bible is an actual book. It was written by people who believed in the business they were writing down. That doesn’t make it any more accurate, however. While some of the primary parts of the Bible (Jesus, as an example) are clearly sampled from previous religions, I’m sure some parts are simply huge exaggerations of actual events. Fascinating stories require fascinating embellishments in order to be fascinating.


The Christ Buffer

I was recently asking my peers how to go about procuring a free copy of the Bible. While ultimately it was a Google search that answered my questions (if there is a god, its name is Google), I did receive an awful lot of advice. Unfortunately a lot of the advice had nothing to do with the question, and was more answers to questions I didn’t ask, such as “How should I go about reading the Bible?”, “What is the best way to interpret the Bible?”, or “What other holy books should I read?”

Incidentally, I had by that time already read most of the Bible. I was raised Catholic after all and if I didn’t read something directly out of the Good Book itself (the ‘G’ is capitalized because it works as a title, but hardly as an appropriate descriptor) then I probably read it out of a tract, heard it in one of my weekly youth classes or at church, or saw it in one of my illustrated, dumbed-down children’s versions of the Bible. In any case, I did not need the answers to any of those questions. In due time I will study other religious texts but for now I just needed a hard copy of the Bible for referential purposes. Something I could earmark, highlight, and write on. As I said, I eventually found a website (via Google) offering to send a free Bible to anybody.

But that’s all beside the point.

Among all the unasked-for suggestions was one that really stood out to me: “Start with the New Testament.”

Why? The Christian Bible contains two major parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Strangely enough, the Old Testament comes first. The New Testament is sort of a sequel. Why would I want to read the second book first? That’d be like watching episodes four through six of Star Wars before episodes one through three. Okay, bad example. It’d be like watching season two of Lost without having watched season one (for the record, I never got past the sixth episode). Anyway, the point is that it would just be silly to read the New Testament before reading the Old. The New Testament is based on the Old; it depends on it. Without the Old Testament, there would be no New Testament.

The Old Testament begins with the phrase “In the beginning.” The New Testament begins with a boring old genealogy. Nothing grabs my attention quite like a family tree. Oh, except maybe the creation of the freaking world, a massive flood, a dude getting eaten by a whale, and plenty of fire and brimstone. So there’s that.

But then it hit me. Seriously, why would somebody recommend the New Testament first? Brainwashing. If you want somebody to believe your god is worthy of being worshiped, you’ll want them to skip all the gruesome bits about him committing genocide, torturing animals, condoning slavery, slaughtering entire families just to test a single man’s faith, having children mauled by bears, and dashing babies against rocks and go right to the part about Jesus healing lepers and turning the other cheek. Plain and simple, it’s brainwashing. Then by the time you get around to reading about your god’s brutality, you will have already been infected by the disease called Christianity and nothing will sway you. That’s how you do it, folks. Grab somebody’s attention with the good stuff and when they hear about the bad stuff they’re more likely to shrug it off.

Brainwashing. Jesus is the buffer that makes the treachery seem less treacherous.