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Religious miracles, scientifically explaine


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#1    Asterix

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 10:02 AM

Quite often we hear stories and reports about bleeding religious icons, or statues of Virgin Mary that shed tears. People rush to the churches, inspired and awed by what appears to be a sign from God. Many of these people are actually moved so much that really feel a change in them, and try to improve their life. A scientifical explanation about these miracles can be found in some/many/all of the occasions (That is entirely dependant of the research and personal viewpoint on the observer).

Personally, I know of cases in which a bleeding icon is explained as a result of either paint or resin flowing down from the wood. And I also know of a miracle that is unexplained. Links about this specific story can be found here:
http://www.gogreece.com/learn/tinos.htm
http://users.hol.gr/~lamp/panagia_eng.htm

The critical question though, on my opinion, is not whether a miracle can be explained or not. Because the TRUE nature of a miracle is not depending on that. A miracle is not less of a miracle because it has a scientific explanation. Elaborating on that, I believe that an event that manages to bring together thousands of people, to change their lives, to inspire them to be better and discover their inner strength, certainly qualifies as a miracle to me! As for the divine origin of a scientifically explained miracle, let's use the classical example: "You don't have to fire a cannon in order to kill a fly". Upgrading this to a divine level, I see no reason why God's will can't be expressed in our world by the use of "conventional" methods. And the fact that Christianity (and every religion as well) is directly connected with faith, is yet another step towards this direction.

On my opinion, this is a very interesting matter. The Science-Religion dilemma is, I believe, a pseudo-dilemma; a false dilemma. And the understanding of this, can open many doors to human thought.

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#2    jpalz

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 03:25 AM

Agree with you. As I said in another thread, science and faith don't chrash with each other, they complement, although some people use one of the sides to bash the other one (and I'm talking for both sides). In fact, they answer different questions: faith answers the who, for example, who created Earth; and science just answers the how. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean that you're an anti-Science guy. I mean, come on, we've achieved many great things with Science (and also some bad things, like the nuclear bomb  disgust.gif ). We wouldn't even meet if it wasn't by the Internet, whcih was created by men using Science, so...

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#3    Me_Again

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 04:33 AM

Thank you jpalz, for your thoughtful post. My view totally is that belief and knowledge are interchangable; However, the definition of "logic" goes against this belief of mine and stating my point, in a way that makes sense to others is often misunderstood. Maybe I should rewrite the meaning of "logic" j/k lol... wink2.gif


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#4    spidermonkey

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 07:46 AM

If a "miracle" is explained by science, it simply is not a miracle by definition.

QUOTE (dictionary.com)
mir·a·cle
An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God.
  


#5    Asterix

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Posted 23 July 2004 - 08:58 AM

I have another definition from dictionary.com
QUOTE
sea=The continuous body of salt water covering most of the earth's surface, especially this body regarded as a geophysical entity distinct from earth and sky.


Here's another one, from Homer's Odyssey
QUOTE
[...]then he swooped down through the firmament till he reached the level of the sea, whose waves he skimmed like a cormorant that flies fishing every hole and corner of the ocean, and drenching its thick plumage in the spray. He flew and flew over many a weary wave, but when at last he got to the island which was his journey's end, he left the sea and went on by land till he came to the cave where the nymph Calypso lived.


Get it?  wink2.gif  

Edited by Asterix, 23 July 2004 - 08:58 AM.

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#6    spidermonkey

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 02:20 AM

  dontgetit.gif  


#7    bathory

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 07:48 AM

uh...the point of giving us a nice description of a sea?
it doesn't change the definition of what is a 'SEA"


#8    Asterix

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 08:17 AM

The point is, you can't express the full beauty and meaning of some things (especially something as abstract as "miracle") with a plain definition. Life is not only black and white... original.gif  

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#9    aquatus1

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 12:35 PM

QUOTE
The point is, you can't express the full beauty and meaning of some things (especially something as abstract as "miracle") with a plain definition.


Sigh...

Asteryx, humans have a full range of emotional concepts and romantic meanings that they can, have and will always use to beautify the world around them.  It is within our nature to romantizice the natural wonders around us; it is part of what we, as thinking, loving creatures, need to do in order to make this world a happier and more tender place to live.

It is not, however, what we created science for.  It is, in fact, the exact opposite.

Science was created for the specific purpose of stripping away all the romance and poetry, all the philosophy and ideology.  Science was made so that we could view something objectively and independently, not through the rose or onyx colored glasses of personal bias.  It is precisely this ability, this property of science, that has allowed us to make such overwhelmingly fast progress in our understanding of the physical and natural properties of the world, where our sense of beauty and poetry merely held the same static pattern in time over thousands of years.  The subjective opinion is simply not made for analytic reasoning, and likewise, objective observation is not made for prose.

One does not create a theory stating that "The Earth revolves around the Sun." and then tack on a corrolary "and sometimes the Sun revolves around the Earth." to placate those who dissent.  Science is not about compromise.  If the evidence does not lead to a logical result, then one is not given the right to create an illogical result.

By definition, a miracle is something that cannot be explained by science, and the implication is that it must then be the result of some supernatural entity such as God.  If you wish to paint it in the colors of science, then you will have to abandon the concept of God as an illogical concept for which evidence does not point to, and instead redefine the miracle as a mere example of probability in action.  In the case of your example, the bleeding cross would go from being a sign from God, to the one in several million crosses that experience the phenomena of resin extrusion.  This would indeed go against your claim that a miracle is no less of a miracle simply because it could be explained by science.

If you still don't understand how science would negate the meaning of a miracle, then let me offer this.  According to science, 1 in x million wooden crosses would exhibit resin extrusion, creating a bleeding cross.  That means that out of all the churches out there, one of them is guaranteed to have a bleeding cross.  How many miracles can be predicted with such precision?

If, on the other hand, we assume that a bleeding cross is a miracle, then we have to ask ourselves, "Shouldn't the miracle, being a sign from God, occur where it does the greatest amount of good?".  Why then, does this miracle happen in such random places?  Why in a backtown church, instead of a big city cathedral (it would be a guess, but I suspect the city could use less sinners)?

Science has a very well defined place and duty.  Leave the explanations of beauty and meaning out of it.  They simply do not belong.  That's what we have dreams for.


#10    Wings of Selkhet

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 03:16 PM

What do Christians think of religious miracles that aren't Christian?

For example, the story of statues in India drinking milk from followers. It started in my friend Apoorva's home town. Here's the story. Sorry I couldn't find a more credible link, but the page does pretty much explain what happened.

Are these miracles then created by Satan or something else not Christian? I'm just curious what Christians would think of these.

Edited by Wings of Selkhet, 24 July 2004 - 03:19 PM.


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#11    CatAstrofix

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 09:57 PM

Life is full of miracles, small and big, some religious, some just other ways wonderful and unexpected. Life itself is a miracle. I know how babies are done, so no need to give me the scientific explanation on that grin2.gif It's a miracle, to be able to look around with open eyes and appreciate what you see. Yet bigger miracle is to keep this attitude after you have turned 7 years old.


#12    Me_Again

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 01:26 AM

Experiences lead to explanations. I am not doubting the marvels of science and the wonderful opportunities that its principles have given to us, as a world. Science is something that is constantly changing, we are science. I have to agree with Asterix and CatAstrofix and aquatus 1. Is there a science of dreams or are dreams science? When you know miracles you need no definition. She blinded me with science...


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#13    saucy

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:32 PM

Well, the way I see it, science is out to prove that there is no God.  If evolution happened, then God didn't happen.  Everything would've been created by random chance and formed out of nothing.  No matter how advanced science gets, it will never be able to prove that God exists, but it's hell bent on making sure they prove it doesn't.  Everytime a miracle happens science has to rush out and try to prove it wasn't a miracle afterall.  After a near death experience, science is out to explain why it really didn't happen like it seemed.  For that reason, science and I split ways.  According to science, nothing can be unexplained by nature.  We've got to be out there and know exactly how and why everything happens.


#14    aquatus1

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 01:23 PM

For heaven's sake, Saucy (so to speak)!

Get over this paranoia of yours!  Scientific theories explain phenomena.  They do NOT exist for the sole purpose of disproving ANYTHING.  There is  no such thing as a theory which states "There is no such thing as God."  The only way science could ever definitively state that there is no such thing as god is by being able to explain absolutely everything that is attributed to god, and no, science does not presume to make any such claim, and I defy you to find me a published theory that does.

Science works within the well-stated and known boundaries of the natural world.  Anything that is explained by science will be explained using the boundaries that we know of the natural world.  If God is not a part of the natural world, does that mean science is out to disprove he exists?  No!  It simply means that science will not verify God.  Science will not state with authority that God exists.  Science will not, and does not, claim that God does not exists.


#15    Falco Rex

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 02:05 PM

QUOTE
We've got to be out there and know exactly how and why everything happens


Yes exactly. That's what science seeks to do. It's not about disproving God at all. It's seeks to ultimately answer the question of Why?; once and for all. And what in the World is wrong with that? It's a noble and necessary goal..
And I would add that Evolution still doesn't disprove God. It just disproves the way you perceive Him. Everyone knows that human perception is a frail thing in the first place. science merely seeks to strip away personal perception and replace it with hard fact. Again I ask; why is that bad?
Someone once said that "Beauty is Truth and Truth is Beauty." I've certainly found this to be true. Once you get out from behind the walls of age old dogmas and creeds you see the World in a completely different way, and I'd say from my own experience that it's every bit as filled with wonder as anything I ever felt from Religion..





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