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Absurdity Folder: NT Miracle Criterion No Longer Applies 

June 13, 2013

Absurdity Folder: NT Miracle Criterion No Longer Applies
  Have Others Observed this and Made Some Notes Also?
  (Part 5 of Coping with Evil and Other Problems)

Problem: The New Testament claims miracles happened in the first century and not exclusively through Jesus, while the kind of eyesight and hearing that he must have given (to fulfill prophecies) would have been the metaphoric/spiritual type—…spiritual understanding as explained in Isaiah 6:9-10 and Jeremiah 5:21, and is mentioned in the Gospels themselves (in Mark 4:12, etc.)… which are a few of those places where the BIBLE ITSELF lets/allows some of the cat that really happened out of the bag, so to speak.

The NT claims Jesus’ disciples (who became apostles), including some other Christians, worked miracles also; and did so rather similarly to Jesus after he was gone. And there is much reason to believe—if one takes several NT statements seriously regarding this—that miracles were to continue happening after those initial apostles were gone. In the first place then, what would be the purpose of Jesus having worked miracles? Wouldn’t the performance of miracles have been predicated on a person’s close association with a Supreme Power? And wouldn’t that be based on how someone who works real miracles couldn’t be a mere pretender? Therefore, wouldn’t miracles be a way for us to tell which Christian ministers are the real McCoy also?

But here is the first clue that something about this is incredibly fishy. Astonishingly, Matthew 7:21-23 doesn’t follow that kind of logic by making a case that miracles can be a means for discerning which ministers are truly from God and which are not, even though that criteria was used to show the world that Jesus was unquestionably God’s Messiah; and even though miracles were originally used to verify Jesus’ agenda continued through his disciples. Even so, Matthew 7:21-23 shows Jesus telling people who felt sure they were Christians to “depart” from him… thus enter everlasting torment—people who it says “prophesied” in his name and “cast out devils,” people who in his name did “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS” also! So why would the criteria for deciding that Jesus was special, including the criteria for determining that his disciples/apostles were the correct ones, suddenly change? So what are we supposed to do when we might choose the wrong group or belief, therefore end up in hell? Will Jesus and God just laugh because we weren’t able to figure all of this out, what’s correct and what isn’t?

Now fast-forward several hundred years from the first century: Baptists, much like Protestants, have had churches where miracles are never expected to occur. Instead, people there would just pray for God to intervene, and sometimes he may (some believe) and other times, for whatever reason, sometimes he doesn’t, with prayer having roughly a 50% chance of success. Today, following the affects of the charismatic movement, there are rare occasions when a church having the name Baptist might emphasize miracles as ongoing; but that would be a church hybrid.

So let’s consider a run-of-the-mill Baptist church from some 45 years ago roughly speaking, one that invites people to accept the Christian gospel for their salvation from hell and bent toward sin, which kind of church would baptize those converts also. Keep in mind, once again, that no miracle event of any kind is ever expected in this kind of church. People there only read about such incidents in the NT and hypothesize that even though some of those acts were performed by Jesus and his disciples, those are no longer necessary since the point now is for people to be saved from their sins and hell, which is far away the most important facet of Christianity!

Yet the NT does indicate in several places that miracles, in principle, should continue after Jesus and his apostles were no longer present. Therefore, during a rather long Christian era wherein Catholicism, as the state church for more than a thousand years, may or may not have carried the torch for authentic Christianity—while no small number broke away from Catholicism to start their own kinds of churches (in a time when people were needing some way or means to recognize which form of Christianity must be the religion’s bona fide standard-bearer, as opposed to those forms which could not be, so that people would be able to pick the correct group, which would have to be the one that best “contends for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” [i.e., the real thing, WHICH FORM, we are told by Jude 3, was DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS DURING THE FIRST CENTURY)—then why wouldn’t miracles occurring, or not occurring, be an obvious indicator that one group is verifiably connected to God while another type isn’t?

Now think back some 40 years from the present, to when Pentecostals and the charismatic movement were beginning to infiltrate those ranks in other churches to show the world what NT Christianity is really supposed to look like, and how that miracles should be frequent occurrences. For charismatic believers were wanting Baptists, like myself, to speak in tongues and become fans of their ministers who were working numerous miracles—aggressively pushing that on Baptists (like me) who were already saved… which might lead a believer to begin wondering whether his or her salvation was suddenly not as important. Or was it instead that Baptists were not actually bringing salvation to any sinners since miracles were never present in our kind of church. While God’s veritable presence may very well require the inclusion of some signs and wonders, as ministers who bring ongoing miraculous events may be the genuine type after all; therefore genuine salvation may come via their agency instead of it coming through a Baptist type since they never display any deducible evidence—i.e., miracles—that God is most certainly with them. Do you now see what kinds of problems the Bible ends up creating? And what insane problems we have been allowing all kinds of ministers, fresh from their training, to smooth over?

Now fast-forward one more time from 40 years ago (which was 1973) to 1990, a year in which three charismatic minsters were exposed as frauds on the ABC News magazine, Primetime Live; and many more of that type of minister have been exposed as frauds since then. Yet Baptists still do seem powerless. So what should a person do? Well at least Baptists won’t pretend to work miracles?

This, and several more issues that are similar, should lead us to conclude that the story of Moses is absolute fiction, and that Jesus never worked one miracle… while those who wrote the New Testament were carrying forward those same sort of social engineering practices initiated by the Abrahamic religions’ first architects—the authors of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus… and that there is no God of any kind whatsoever. -DL

I consider Part 4 my best work: https://www.facebook.com/AtheistStandardsForChildren/posts/321847851281383

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