Do you believe in miracles? Do they happen? Author Eric Metaxas thinks so. He says so in his new e-book, Miracles: What they are, why they happen and how they can change your life.
He also says that anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is closed-minded and intolerant, which is his Christian persecution complex speaking. Metaxas and other believers who accept unusual events as miracles are, apparently, ‘open-minded’, while the sceptic who looks for a rational or scientific explanation isn’t.
But isn’t the reality the opposite of this? Isn’t the seeking of rational explanation and analysing the evidence, the open-minded, imaginative act? And isn’t blindly accepting on faith that a particular event is the Christian God (naturally) messing about with ‘the laws of physics’, the closed-minded, unimaginative response? By definition, closing down all other possible explanations is the closed-minded response. It takes no imagination, no being open to possibilities, to refuse to look for an explanation beyond ‘God did it.’
As I’ve said before, most miracles are, in any case, very mundane, trivial affairs. They’re never the regrowing of severed limbs, the eradication of Ebola or the holding back of a tsunami. Why not? Why are ‘miracles’ always so unimpressive, like the ‘inner healings’, visions and coincidences Metaxas writes about? Why do they have far better scientific or rational explanations than supernatural ones? And when it comes to it, why do we more often hear about miracles than see them for ourselves? Why are most miracles nothing more than hearsay, rather like ghost sightings? It’s uncanny how miracles always happen to someone else, who swears they really happened just as they describe them (this is where the exercise of imagination comes into play.) The miracles in Metaxas’s book seem to be just this; second hand accounts of largely unspectacular coincidences and hallucinations, none of which happened to the author himself nor were witnessed directly by him. Why should any thinking person accept such spurious testimony? Why indeed should we be ‘tolerant’ of such woolly wishful-thinking?
If, for you, second-hand reports of unremarkable events qualify as miracles, then so be it. Like Eric Metaxas, you should just close your mind and accept. But don’t tell those of us who are considerably more sceptical that we’re the ones who aren’t open-minded or tolerant.
The picture above was originally used as a billboard by St. Matthews-in-the-City Church in Auckland, New Zealand. The captions were added later, though I don’t know by whom.