First objection: Most people in the world have not experienced miracles. It is contrary to common human experience. But most people have experience false testimonies from other people. Humans tend to lie at times. Therefore, when somebody says, ‘It’s a miracle!” it is immensely more probably that the affirmation of the miracle is false than it is true.
Answer: Not really. What is improbable and unlikely happens many times. For instance, If Christopher Columbus had seen an airplane flying over his ship and reported to the King of Spain what he had seen, would it be reasonable for the King to say, “I’ve never seen this flying thing you are talking about. Therefore, it must not be true…?”
Is the King’s experience – or anyone else’s experience – sufficient to make something true or false? Obviously not. And it is so for several reasons:
First, the testimony of a thoroughly reliable witness would be rejected. If such witnesses can be disregarded, who will you believe?
Second, one would disregard the possibility of a clever inventor to make such a machine, as if technology would be frozen in his time, and forever;
It is the same in the case of a miracle testified by a reliable witness: if you do not trust trustworthy people, who will you trust? Just yourself? Just because you were not there to see the miracle, therefore, it is not true? Since you believe in God, do you deny His power to perform a miracle? No, this way of refusing belief is unreasonable.
The Catholic Church is extremely slow in affirming that a particular event was a miracle, like the blind man who recovered his sight instantly in Lourdes or the blood of Saint Gennaro who liquefies every year in the same day in the Naples Cathedral. No. The investigation is thorough and reliable. So, when the evidence is accepted, it is silly to doubt it, otherwise we will never believe anything, not even who our parents are!
Second Objection: The advance of science – oh, divine science! – had finished, once and for all, with every kind of belief in supernatural things. Therefore, miracles are for children and those poor credulous souls who will believe just anything…
Answer: Nobody dies for a lie. You may give up your life for something you think is true, but if you know that your belief is a joke, a fraud, a prank, you will not die for it. Now, take the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The early Christians were not little silly people, credulous to the point of believing fairy tales, and yet they gave up their lives to affirm the truth of the Resurrection! That is the strongest test of credibility. Besides, for an early Christian to believe in Christ, he would break away from his family, culture, country. And suffer persecution as well. They accepted the Resurrection, based upon the overwhelming evidence if it. The apostle Thomas was incredulous until he saw Jesus, and possibly even touched His wounds. Paul was a persecutor of the early Church, the best example of disbeliever who is hit in the face with a miracle, and believes!
But was the Roman Empire a little tribe of uncivilized natives, without a culture, a philosophy, an intellectual development? Not at all! Many of the early Christians, both in Rome and in Greece, came from the upper classes, cultured, civilized, intelligent people. And you do not deceive such people easily. They became Christians convinced by the irrefutable evidence presented to them – Christ resurrected! The greatest miracle in History did happen.
In all ages there are credulous people, yes, like today believers in evolution, who force a lot of faith into their minds to believe something completely unscientific but fashionable in trendy circles, and there are also intelligent minds with a critical judgment who analyze reality and reach the truth that given miracle did happen in reality.
Third objection: And suppose that evil spirits may make miracles, what, then? You would be believing in them!
Answer: This objection is as silly as it is improbable. First of all, to say that presupposes belief in God, and in His Angels, a number of whom disobeyed their Creator and were punished. Up to here we have something in common. But evil spirits – demons –are able to perform apparent miracles to the extent that God allows them to do so. Angels and demons are not mini-gods, able to do as they please. The Angels themselves, perform miracles by God’s permission and power. And God will not permit that good people be deceived by the demons’ tricks. And it is usually not too difficult to identify the trick, as it is commonly performed by people of doubtful mental or moral balance or by the absurdity of their doctrine, as compared to the teachings of the Gospel.
Fourth objection: Who knows all the power of Nature? Who knows what solar energy or magnetism or chemical elements or something else can do? The Christians miracles were probably natural reactions that we do not know or even understand today, but we will, one day, I’m sure…
Answer: Yes, of course, there may well be many powers in Nature we do not know, but may – hopefully for mankind’s benefit and not destruction – discover in the future. Fine. But there are things we do know that natural forces cannot do. For instance: we know that a doctor can bring a dead man back to consciousness from a coma, but we also know that he cannot bring back to life a man dead and buried for four days, and already smelling in decomposition. That much we know for sure. More: regardless of the mythical belief of evolution, we know that a scientist is not able to change lifeless matter into a living cell, instantaneously. Or to take a man born blind and make him see on the spot. Or a man can divide bread in many pieces to feed a certain number of people, but he cannot multiply that bread almost infinitely. We know this things do not happen. If we deny this knowledge, then every form of rational thinking is impossible. All we have would be shared ignorance…
More: It is certainly possible, with the advance of medical technology, to construct machines that will keep people alive for a longtime or even to restore them to health in ways never seen before. Today’s brain and open-heart surgeries are great achievements of scientific and technological progress. But the miracle-worker uses no machine, no technology, no electricity, nothing, just his prayer… Yes, that’s a miracle!
Next article: Are the Gospels really reliable and trustworthy as historical documents?
Raymond de Souza KM is available to speak at Catholic events anywhere in the free world in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Please email SacredHertMedia@Outlook.com or visit http://www.RaymonddeSouza.com or phone 507-450-4196 in the United States.