Challenge from a Skeptic re: Miracles


#1

I recently watched a debate online between skeptic Michael Shermer and Dinesh D’souza (who’s been a guest on Catholic Answers Live). (see here)

One question the skeptic asked which I don’t feel was answered adequately by D’souza was this:

Believers pray for miraculous cures, but these cures probably would happen anyway. So, why don’t believers ever pray that a limb might grow back?? There are many, many amputees that would love to be “made whole” again. Why don’t we ever hear about prayers for a miraculous cure in this fashion?

In other words: believers don’t pray that a limb might grow back because we know it’s IMPOSSIBLE. Yet when someone is healed from, let’s say, cancer, it may appear miraculous, yet there’s probably a natural explanation for that.

Any rebuttals to this skeptic’s challenge?


#2

There have been cases of cured cancer which the doctors could not explain; there was no medical reason for the recession. So no, there is not always a “natural explanation.”

Think about miracles beyond medical healing–Eucharistic miracles, statues of Mary and Jesus crying or bleeding…Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image. Padre Pio’s stigmata. These have been studied and examined by entirely secular scientists, and there is no “natural explanation” to those, either.

A lot of the time, however, miracles happen based on the amount of faith that the pray-er has. For instance, you don’t hear about the everyman walking on water–we know, however, that both Christ and St Peter did it in the Gospel. Now, however, nobody seems to have the right amount of faith in God to walk on the water. If a person does not believe that God can heal their amputated arm, their amputated arm will not be healed. If a person does not believe that God can cure their disease, their disease will not be cured. And since there are many stories about miraculously-cured cancer, people are more likely to believe with their whole heart that God can and will heal them.

Of course, such a committed skeptic is unlikely to take any answer to that question, simply because he doesn’t want to believe.


#3

As far as I can see, we don’t know why most cancers that go into remission go into remission. But there is definitely a natural explanation… we just don’t know it yet.

Cancers that “miraculously” disappear happen to people who pray for them to disappear about as often as people who don’t pray.

Think about miracles beyond medical healing–Eucharistic miracles, statues of Mary and Jesus crying or bleeding…Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image. Padre Pio’s stigmata. These have been studied and examined by entirely secular scientists, and there is no “natural explanation” to those, either.

Actually, there is a natural explanation to all of those. You just don’t want to accept it. They are usually hoaxes.

A lot of the time, however, miracles happen based on the amount of faith that the pray-er has.

If you could demonstrate that in proper testing conditions, I know where you could get a million dollars.

Now, however, nobody seems to have the right amount of faith in God to walk on the water. If a person does not believe that God can heal their amputated arm, their amputated arm will not be healed. If a person does not believe that God can cure their disease, their disease will not be cured.

Convenient that God has set it up that diseases that go away on their own take less faith to heal than conditions that don’t, isn’t it?

How much faith does it take to heal an amputated arm?

And since there are many stories about miraculously-cured cancer, people are more likely to believe with their whole heart that God can and will heal them.

And then God will heal them at exactly the same rate as people who don’t have the faith in God.

Of course, such a committed skeptic is unlikely to take any answer to that question, simply because he doesn’t want to believe.

Yes, sceptics have a perverse desire to reject things which appear demonstrably untrue.


#4

Wow. Major argument. Explain the miracles of the cross - where Jesus has, in many instances, “came to life” from a crucifix, or where a crucifix has done something miraculous, becasuse of God. Miracles of the Cross include miraculous experiences of saints. These miracles have changed the course of history. Say, for example, Constantine and the acceptance of the Church & Christianity.

I think you’re the one who is refusing the evidence. There have been miracles.


#5

I admit that there have been hoaxes; you say they “usually” are, which doesn’t prove anything except the fact that you agree that some are not hoaxes. Care to explain those ones? Or do you just not want to accept it? :rolleyes:

Yes, sceptics have a perverse desire to reject things which appear demonstrably untrue.

Heh. Nice try.

Skeptics by definition have a desire to disbelieve anything they themselves can’t “prove,” regardless of how many other people have examined, experienced, and “proven” it.

This is a bit philosophically off-topic, but I’ve never gotten a straight answer: how is the experience of one person less credible than another person’s inexperience?


#6

My cousin, in his 70’s had cancer. He was NOT in remission. During the Hurricane Katrina evacuation, he was at my aunt’s house. There was Holy Water from the Spring at Lourdes, France. Another cousin…not a priest…sprinkled my cousin with the Holy Water, and he was totally cured from the cancer. No scientific explantation. It was just a prayerful action done with faith. And Jesus cured my cousin.


#7

Have any specific examples? Actually, let’s save some time on this one. Do you know of any instances where a crucifix, under controlled conditions, has spontaneously acted strangely under observation?

Miracles of the Cross include miraculous experiences of saints. These miracles have changed the course of history. Say, for example, Constantine and the acceptance of the Church & Christianity.

Constantine is an interesting example. Both Constantine and his competitor had policies that were tolerant of Christianity. No matter who won that battle, it would have been good for Christians.

How is that miraculous?

I think you’re the one who is refusing the evidence. There have been miracles.

Prove it.:slight_smile:


#8

You know people who go into remission from cancer without praying, go through Chemotherapy. It is called medicine. Chemotherapy, radiation, or surgury that was able to take out all of the cancer. I’ve never heard of it happening any other way except through prayer. And besides that, I would imagine everyone who has cancer does at least acknowledge God, even if just in hopes that He will take care of themselves and family members that might suffer at their loss.

Where is your documented proof that without prayer or medicine, cancer just disappears?

And, while you are at it, please explain to me that my cousin was full of cancer one minute, then with only prayer and faith and HOLY WATER, the next minute he felt himself being healed, and the cancer was totally gone…no medical or scientif explanation? Tell me what happened. You said that there was scientific explanation, so what is it?

While you are at it, explain what science has been unable to about the Stigmata of Padre Pio.


#9

How long in between tests for cancer was it? Just curious.


#10

Haha…it’s funny how the skeptics out there will say things “just happen naturally,” but can’t really explain it…yet still refuse to admit that miracles happen.

I am truly happy for the blessing your family has received.
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!


#11

Great question!!!:rolleyes: :thumbsup:


#12

Thanks…still waiting on that answer. :hmmm: :wink:


#13

I just did. Post #6.


#14

Approximately 2 1/2 weeks.


#15

GOD IS GREAT ALL OF THE TIME !!!


#16

I know that Carl Sagan makes this claim; however, the comparisons I’ve seen (including his) have missed the point.

You can’t just compare remission rates* over the course of the cancer’s progress *between those who pray and those who don’t. You would have to take a sample time from the life of the praying person—say, one year from the time the person first prayed that his or her cancer would be healed. Then take any random year in the life of the non-praying person with cancer (any year, that is, after the person first discovered the cancer).

If the remission rates in *those *years were roughly the same, then your claim would be demonstrably correct.

Let me give an example: Sagan argues that remission rates of non-praying persons are the same as those people who go to Lourdes. But Lourdes (this is from memory, so some of the details might be wrong), in order to document a healing, requires a terminal diagnosis from a doctor within six months previous of the trip to Lourdes. Then it requires a clean bill of health from a doctor within six months *after *the trip. Sagan does not take this into account.

So in order to compare remission rates, you’d have to take the incidence of remission in the non-praying person for only one random year—not for the *entire history *of the person’s disease.

I might also point this out: Prayer has other good results besides just the result of “getting exactly what I ask for.” These results are more difficult to chart, but are nonetheless real.


#17

Whoa! That’s awesome!!!


#18

And all the time, God is GREAT!!


#19

Agreed. :dancing: :clapping: :bowdown: Yay God.


#20

How about this for a proof of a miracle.

A few months ago I got an rectal abscess. It was about 1 inch long inside my rectum. That night I started praying. The next night I went to take a soak as thats common practice for abscesses but soaking alone cannot cure it. I then asked Mary to intercede for me. To ask Jesus to heal me by still waters like she did at the wedding when she asked Jesus to turn water into wine. I kept praying and praying and in a moment I had no pain. The abscess was completely gone. I went to the doctor the next day and he couldn’t believe that I was walking in when the day before i was keeled over with pain and had to be wheelchaired in to the ER. There was no other explanation for my healing. They did nothing but give me an antibiotic that I was supposed to wait a few days to take anyway so I had no medications in my system. I still thank God to this day for that.

Thank you Lord

I hope that’s enough for you to believe a miracle happened


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