The Problem with Miracles May 29, 2009

The Problem with Miracles

Courtesy of Dante Shepherd at Surviving the World:


And if you pulled off a miracle now?

We’d find you in food products and sell you on eBay.

(Thanks to James for the link!)

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  • littlejohn

    Nitpick alert!
    No witch was ever burned or drowned in Salem or anyplace else in America. They were hanged, except for one who was pressed under a weighted plank.

  • I like the fact that you said hanged and not hung.

  • medussa

    Well, that changes everything then…. Wait! Does that make it better or worse?

  • Shel

    The witch hunts of the 1600s happened because of the religion started by the guy who performed miracles 2000 years ago. So maybe if you went back to 3000 years ago and pulled off some miracles then, Jesus would have been burnt at the stake for being a witch.

  • littlejohn

    Actually, since the Old Testament says “Suffer not a witch to live,” and given the usual way of dispatching undesirables back then, I’m guessing they would have stoned him to death. Presumably with Rocks of Ages.

  • Shane

    Nitpick alert!
    No witch was ever burned or drowned in Salem or anyplace else in America. They were hanged, except for one who was pressed under a weighted plank.

    Nitpick alert!

    Technically, he said only they would “be ready” to drown or burn them, or, in effect, to commit them to death. If the particulars of law at the time proscribed hanging, that may have been the method, but presumably they still would have been “ready” and willing to employ other means as well.

    Also, saying no witch (either self-identifying or merely accused) was burned or drown in America is a very strong claim to make. It essentially requires one to account for all burnings and drownings ever committed in America and to show none were ever committed against a witch. For all practical purposes that is impossible and so your claim is at best untenable and, indeed, very likely false since it takes only a single counter example to falsify your entire claim.


    See, now, isn’t that annoying?

  • littlejohn

    Wow, Shane. I didn’t mean to be annoying.
    I’ve read a bit about the Salem witch hysteria, and was merely sharing what I had learned. Obviously I can’t prove that no witch was ever burned, any more than you can prove Santa doesn’t exist.
    I thought we were all friends here.
    I started by admitting I was nitpicking.

  • Witches were an early form of theodicy. As God (with his infinite powers) is incapable of evil (WTF?) Christians invented or took from Pagan myths the idea of demons and witches.

    The would make the idea of an infinitely good God as expressed by Jesus (or rather Paul’s) teachings as being indirectly responsible for all the witch killings in the last 2000 years. Nice one. It’s sad that we continue with such stupid ideas even today. I suppose that’s just the nature of a successful meme.

  • Miko

    If you perform a miracle today, it’d be so commonplace that most people wouldn’t even notice. We’re at a point where hospitals do bring people back from the dead and you can make (cheap) wine from water (by adding a powder).

  • bernerbits

    deleted comment

  • And if you pulled off a miracle now?

    You would be called a scientist. Science can reattach limbs, but God can’t heal amputees.

  • Eliza

    on reading the discussion above, this comes to mind:

    Very small rocks!

  • atomjack

    That jeebus sure is one spy-type guy…lurking under a lid yet. Kind of creepy, actually. And if he’s so busy watching out for the family, maybe the M-I-L could get better? Suckers.

  • anothermike

    god damn shane! you’re smart. hope y’all ain’t one of them-there scientific type of fellas.

  • very small rocks!!!!

    Love Monty Python!!!

  • oxymoron

    And if you pulled off a miracle now?

    – You’d be called David Blane and have a TV show.

  • Kate

    Wait, is everyone forgetting that said prophet/leader was ultimately crucified?

  • Eliza

    No, Kate, we’re not forgetting that part. But he only died temporarily, and the whole crucifixion-resurrection thing ended up boosting the claims that he was a miracle-worker.

  • tudza

    About the people made saints from Roman times up through the Middle Ages? That usually requires some miracle to have been attributed to them.

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