Pastor Doug Hagler has had a lot of Christians tell him about their supernatural experiences. Hagler believes in God. He believes in miracles, too. But those moments never seem to happen to him… so what should he make of that?
In a post that could very well have been written by an atheist, Hagler runs though a variety of thoughts he’s had over the years concerning other people’s “magical experiences” (emphases his):
There is no scientific evidence for magical experiences being real.
If you can demonstrate a single answered prayer, James Randi will pay you a million dollars. The challenge has been out there for over a decade, with zero pay-outs. For me, this is telling. Now, it’s possible that magical experiences don’t happen for skeptics because of their skepticism — that idea has plenty of Biblical support. On the other hand, we have stories like Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al. You’d think someone like Elijah could convince James Randi and become a millionaire.
Magical experiences are often inversely related to education.
For whatever it’s worth, as education levels rise, magical experiences seem to diminish. Now, one could easily say that this is because of the way that people are educated — in a science-dominated, reductive way for the most part, at least in industrialized countries. But even people who report magical experiences seem to report fewer of them as they gain in education, secular or otherwise. As I said, this could be accounted for by how people tend to be educated, but it’s worth pointing out that astrophysicists, molecular biologists and the like tend not to have any magical experiences.
He ultimately says he’s “theoretically open” but “deeply skeptical” about these sorts of experiences.
I have no idea whether he’s doubtful about other aspects of faith as well, but I’d say he’s demonstrating a healthy level of skepticism. He’s not just assuming that the stories his trusted friends tell him are automatically true. He’s asking the right questions. In time, though, I suspect that the crack in his window of magical thinking will finally get covered up. He’ll be better off once that happens.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Aric for the link)