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More Thoughts & Opinions about Miracles

[In the quotes below the word “miracle” is used both in the strict and in the figurative sense.]

A miracle is a violation of the laws of Nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established those laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.

David Hume

The Christian claims that so far from the case against miracles resting “on firm and unalterable experience,” there is a vast amount of unimpeachable evidence in favour of miracles. The question, as [John Stuart] Mill rightly said, “can only be stated fairly as depending on a balance of evidence: a certain amount of positive evidence in favour of miracles, and a negative presumption from the general course of human experience against them.”

Arnold Lunn

All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe.

Thomas Paine

Miracles are so called not because they are the works of God, but because they happen seldom and for that reason create wonder. If they should happen constantly according to certain laws impressed upon the nature of things, they would no longer be wonders or miracles, but might be considered in Philosophy as part of the Phenomena of Nature notwithstanding that the cause of their causes might be unknown to us.

Isaac Newton [who believed in both Old and New Testament miracles]

Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.

David Ben-Gurion

The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.

Eugene Wigner

As nature preserves a fixed and immutable order; it must clearly follow that miracles are only intelligible as a relation to human opinions, and merely mean events of which the natural cause cannot be explained by a reference to any ordinary occurrence.

Spinoza

Allegedly miraculous events can be, and have been, cases of real but rare natural phenomena. So dismissing an event simply because it is alleged to be miraculous is fallacious. The event could be a rare but real natural phenomenon.

Steven Dutch

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Henry Miller

I have found in life that if you want a miracle you first need to do whatever it is you can do—if that’s to plant, then plant; if it is to read, then read; if it is to change, then change; if it is to study, then study; if it is to work, then work; whatever you have to do. And then you will be well on your way of doing the labor that works miracles.

Jim Rohn

Faith in miracles must yield ground, step by step, before the steady and firm advance of the forces of science, and its total defeat is indubitably a mere matter of time.

Max Planck

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.

Saint Augustine

For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient.

Nancy Gibbs

The chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him in the same way, He saved others, they said, he cannot save himself. If he is the king of Israel, he has but to come down from the cross, here and now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let God, if he favours him, succour him now; he told us, I am the Son of God.

Matt 27: 41-43

A miracle is no argument to one who is deliberately, and on principle, an atheist.

John Henry Newman

No, I do not, or, better, I cannot believe in the Lourdes miracles. What I have seen is amazing, grandiose and moving to the utmost degree, but ultimately explainable by the natural laws.

Jaime de Séguier (Portuguese journalist and diplomat)

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

Buddha

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein

Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows.

Robert Green Ingersoll

The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.

G. K. Chesterton

In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.

Ethan Allen

Three quarters of the American population literally believe in religious miracles. The numbers who believe in the devil, in resurrection, in God doing this and that—it’s astonishing. These numbers aren’t duplicated anywhere else in the industrial world. You’d have to maybe go to mosques in Iran or do a poll among old ladies in Sicily to get numbers like this. Yet this is the American population.

Noam Chomsky

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.

Charles Lindbergh

The emergence of life from lifeless matter necessarily involves the kind of process which may roughly be described as a miracle. The reader can choose between a grotesquely improbable miracle, and a rational miracle. He can believe, if he wishes, that the complicated structure of a cell, with the power to reproduce itself, floated off the primeval seas as the result of pure chance, or alternatively that this cell was created by a supernatural act of God.

Arnold Lunn

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the proneness of the human mind to take miracles as evidence, and to seek for miracles as evidence.

Matthew Arnold

The many instances of forged miracles, and prophecies, and supernatural events, which, in all ages, have either been detected by contrary evidence, or which detect themselves by their absurdity, prove sufficiently the strong propensity of mankind to the extraordinary and the marvellous, and ought reasonably to beget a suspicion against all relations of this kind.

David Hume

Miracles do not happen.

Matthew Arnold

A miracle is no argument to one who is deliberately, and on principle, an atheist.

John Henry Newman

Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature.

C. S. Lewis

The interference of the human will with the course of Nature is not an exception to law: and by the same rule interference by the divine will would not be an exception either.

John Stuart Mill

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.

George Bernard Shaw

Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.

Goethe

Miracle is faith’s dearest child.

Goethe

Miracles happen to those who believe in them. Otherwise why does not the Virgin Mary appear to Lamaists, Muhammadans, or Hindus who have never heard of her?

Bernard Berenson

Miracles seldom occur in the lives of those who do not consider them possible.

Neale Donald Walsch

I do not think our successes can compete with those of Lourdes. There are so many more people who believe in the miracles of the Blessed Virgin than in the existence of the unconscious.

Sigmund Freud

Miracles were denied even in classical antiquity. Thus, Cicero asserted that ‘nothing happens without a cause, and nothing happens unless it can happen. When that which can happen does in fact happen, it cannot be considered a miracle. Hence, there are no miracles.’

In 1870 the first Vatican Council declared: ‘If anyone should say that no miracles can be performed, . . . or that they can never be known with certainty, or that by them the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be rightly proved—let him be anathema.’

Most of these stories contained in the gospels are legendary or are at least dressed up with legend. But, there can be no doubt that Jesus did such deeds, which were, in his and his contemporaries’ understanding, miracles; that is to say, events that were the result of supernatural divine causality. Doubtless he healed the sick and cast out demons.

Rudolf Bultmann

If Christ’s miracles of healing could be explained by the action of a human will acting through natural laws, they are not miracles in the true sense of the term. Miracles are important, and are only important because they provide evidence of the fact that the universe is not a closed system, and that effects in the natural world can be produced by the reactions of non-human will.

Arnold Lunn

The happy do not believe in miracles.

Goethe

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

David Hume

The miracle is for the believer, not for the unbeliever.

John Henry Newman

I think miracles exist in part as gifts and in part as clues that there is something beyond the flat world we see.

Peggy Noonan

The supernatural birth of Christ, his miracles, his resurrection and ascension, remain eternal truths, whatever doubts may be cast on their reality as historical facts.

David Friedrich Strauss

Strauss laid down as a canon of New Testament criticism the dogma that “in the person and acts of Jesus no supernaturalism shall be allowed to remain.” In other words, he assumed what it was his business to prove.

Arnold Lunn

There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves.

David Hume

The world presents enough problems if you believe it to be a world of law and order; do not add to them by believing it to be a world of miracles.

Louis D. Brandeis

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