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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sam Harris on Eyewitness Accounts of Miracles

HERE is a clip of Sam Harris speaking a while ago on eyewitness accounts of miracles, particularly in the Christian gospels

At the end of the video, Harris says that all of Sathya Sai Baba's miracles hardly merit on hour on the Discovery Channel, but if you take those same supposed feats and place them in an ancient text, written thousands of years ago, they suddenly become sacred, immutable facts. He then asks if anyone else sees a problem with that.

I am a theist, and I can tell you that I do have a problem with that.

The problem is that miracles are a legitimately poor reason to believe. Even Jesus would agree with this. When the Pharisees and Sadducees came asking for a miracle as proof of his claim he answered that "a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." 

The reason Jesus was hesitant to use miracles as a foundation for faith was probably because they are so easily duplicated or falsified. They don't prove anything.

Take televangelism, for example.

Another example, of course, are the magicians of Pharaoh's court, who were able to duplicate almost every miracle performed by Moses. Speaking of magicians, if miracles were a legitimate reason to believe, then Penn and Teller would, ironically, be greater than any Biblical prophet.

And certainly much cooler.

So I do see a problem with people basing their beliefs on "miracles". The problem is that they prove nothing, especially in an age filled with Photoshop, computer animation, and Las Vegas magicians, but even in Christ's day, miracles were easily reproduced.


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