- Published on Saturday, 24 December 2011 06:32
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2284
If I witnessed a miracle or some other supernatural event, would I embrace Christianity? John Loftus at Debunking Christianity answered for himself but I think it's a useful exercise for every atheist to ask him/herself. It's a hypothetical question about what to me is a highly unlikely event so if I witnessed a true miracle, my first reaction would be surprise or disbelief that it had occurred. There are several types of miracles that are conceivable - a simple thing that affected only me, a complex thing that included a clear message from God, or a miracle that was obvious to everyone. And I mean obvious, not something where we all needed to be convinced.
- A simple miracle aimed only at me. It can't be an appearance or apparition or dream since that might be an hallucination. It can't be a miraculous cure of a disease, that could be a spontaneous remission. How about I can understand another language that I had never studied (e.g. Chinese). That would prove that there is a supernatural being somewhere that works occasional miracles. I would not connect that with Christianity nor any other religion. I would not suppose that this entity created the world - no evidence. I would probably be more open to the idea that other supernatural entities existed - perhaps higher powers were a fact of life? But a simple miracle would not prove Christianity or any other religion.
- A miracle plus a message from God would be more convincing. If after learning Chinese, I was instantly transported to China (no plane etc.) and spent a few days there and in that time met someone who spoke to me and said "I have a message from God - 'he gave you the gift of speaking another language, this religion (pick one) is right and you'd be foolish to not believe it'". It would help if this message was delivered with other witnesses present. I need to be in China a few days to be able to phone home and get some witnesses. In short get some concrete evidence that I am not hallucinating or otherwise imagining it all. The message connects the miracle to the religion. Without such a specific message, I'd be hard pressed to pick which religion or set of beliefs to choose from. I think this would work for me. Interestingly, nothing remotely like this has ever been reported.
- A message to the world - something like the alignment of stars to say "God Exists" (More on that idea here) - would be impressive. This would have millions of witnesses and be irrefutable. Science would be overturned - it would unquestionably be supernatural. But all it would prove is that there is an entity that can control the physical world. It does not mean that God cares about us, or can read our thoughts or loves us or that there is an afterlife or that any particular religion is correct. But it would certainly make you want to investigate if there was any other evidence of supernatural events that might point to other things as hypothesized by religions.
I think the best chance of converting me to a particular religion such as a version of Christianity would be number 2 above. A miracle tied to a specific message. Note that if the message said "you must believe" or "become a Christian or go to Hell", I'd be scared silly but not believe the message. How can you believe a God loves you if he threatens? Yet Christians teach love! So there are some caveats that depend on the message. Some messages would simply mean that there's a supernatural entity that has an agenda. The message needs to synchronize with the supposedly true religion.
As you can see, I'd be hard to convince to become a Christian, even with a miracle. It simply does not make sense.
Everyone should ask themselves "What would it take to convince me to accept Christianity"? If you are already a Christian, assume for the minute you are not and ask the same question. You might answer differently to me, but you owe it to yourself to ask.