Believe it or not

miracle

SOMETIMES jaw-dropping, sublime miracles come in twos and threes. And sometimes they come to those who least expect them.
This is a story worth retelling.

Miles Toulmin, associate vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London,  told the miracle story of a small English boy who grew up in Kenya in the early 1960s.
At the age of two, the boy had been sexually abused. His life was crippled by fear and anxiety.
The one good thing in his life were his next door neighbours, a middle-aged missionary couple whom the young boy loved. They would regularly pray with him.
The boy became a teenager and was sent to a boarding school where, tragically again, he was raped at the age of 17.
By his early 20, he was diagnosed as being HIV positive.
Despite his background he became a successful company director. But he was not a happy man.
In his mad moments, he visited male prostitutes. His life began to spiral out of control and he eventually lost everything – his partner, his house and his business.
A few years ago, this shattered man walked into a recovery course run by Holy Trinity church for those struggling with addictions. The pastor who ran the course said he looked like “a dead man walking”.
The pastor didn’t know what to do. He was advised by a parishioner to phone a prayerful old couple in their eighties who lived in the north of England and ask them to pray for the man to be healed and set free. So they faithfully started praying.
Six weeks later, the pastor reported, the man had “the most intense filling of the holy spirit accompanied by the most bloodcurdling wails of anguish and pain that seemed to emanate from the depth of his soul.”
“He was set free from his addiction,” said the pastor, “and in its place is a passion for Jesus that is as fervent as that found anywhere.”
At his last appointment at a hospital, the man was told the symptoms of the HIV virus had suddenly disappeared after 30 years.
Even more recently, just by chance, the pastor discovered that the old couple in the north of England who had prayed so passionately for that anonymous man were the same missionary couple that once lived next door to the boy in Kenya.
“How did that happen?” said the pastor. “A couple pray for a small boy in a different country and continent 45 years ago and then through a chance encounter end up participating in a glorious resurrection after a period of several decades during which that small boy traveled to the gates of hell. What a great and utterly mysterious God we have.”
Now, some might try to explain all this away logically. Perhaps it’s all just coincidence that the elderly praying couple were the same ones who knew the man when he was a boy and maybe the HIV disappeared for some yet unknown medical reason. But how do we logically account for the sudden and extraordinary changes in the man’s life? Explaining away the number of miracles in a seemingly impossible situation in such a short time is even harder.
A serious of extraordinary coincidences are maybe small miracles where God has chosen to remain anonymous
Saying the miracles didn’t occur is perhaps more implausible than believing in the miracles themselves.
Can the tools of reason demonstrate the existence of the transcendent?
Miracles have no logical, natural explanation. Like Jesus feeding more than 5000 people dinner al fresco from a few fish and pieces of bread.
Like turning water into wine. Like healing a blind man. Like calming the wind and waves of the sea. Like raising the dead. Miracles are merely the supernatural everyday workings of God
A miracle is an event which creates faith. C.S Lewis said miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see – the miracle of our very existence.
Do we have empirical scientific proof? No. But God is either nothing or perfectly real. Faith cannot be seen, heard, or explained away by sceptics. Miracles, it has been said, are experienced most through eyes of faith.
As someone said, for the faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient.

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82 thoughts on “Believe it or not

  1. At crown casino when it first opened I was standing between two roulette wheels that backed each other.
    A guy walked up to me and pointed out that “”BOTH”” side by side tables had the “IDENTICAL SEQUENCE of six numbers.
    What are the odds ?
    In a room with more than one hundred roulette wheels those two side by side
    What are the odds ?
    A guy notices
    What are the odds ?
    Six numbers in sequence
    .What are the odds ?
    Exactly the same time
    What are the odds ?
    Of the numbers of tables on the planet having the same sequence let alone side by side.

    Perspective time.
    I once pointed out mathematician at melbourne uni a hypothesis I came up with as to why there is no end to numbers .
    With the multitude of combinations between the smallest thing [super strings maybe] in the universe and the planck length
    The would have to be a number assigned to every position of everything the universe is.
    The twist I put forward was if there was a end to numbers would not the universe come to a instant stand still.
    Everything would stop ,not a clock would tick or a photon move .
    The mathematician liked the concept.
    And if the numbers ran out we would never realize it.

    LOL LOL LOL
    The universe is so massive what ever is possible will happen .

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      • Even the extremely slim probability of something happening will result in it occurring.
        And just because it has occurred once that does not hinder the probability of it occurring millions upon millions of times again.
        As long as it is within the principles of the universe.

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      • People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

        Issac Asimov

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      • Even a whirlwind assembling a plane in a junkyard ?

        By the way if you come across two roulette wheels having the same numbers then the casino is going to struggle a bit. They have rigged their wheel and not too smart about it.

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      • Hi Dom,

        How very cynical off you. It’s obviously the work of Tyche goddess of fortune.

        Can’t you recognise one of her miracles ?

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      • Good for you. The more unpleasant it gets where I work the bigger the pool of people that play lotto. If by some incredible …. chance they win, I am going to be there by myself.

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  2. Reasoning and critical thinking are important tools but for some they have become the be all for reality. For some to say a flower is beautiful would require some measure of proof. Or to prove love one would require a blood test.

    Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in economic science, 2002. What made this unusual is that Kahneman is a psychologist. In the early 1970s, he set out to dismantle an entity long dear to economic theorists: that decision maker known as “Homo economics.” His fast thinking and slow thinking processes have revolutionised economics.

    Even if we could rid ourselves of the biases and illusions identified in his studies (and Kahneman, citing his own lack of progress in overcoming them, doubts that we can) It raises a fundamental question: What is the point of rationality? (We are, after all, Darwinian survivors?) Our everyday reasoning help us deal with complex and sometimes turbulent environments. Where do the norms of rationality come from? Society?

    Kahneman describes dozens of experimentally demonstrated breakdowns in rationality such as “base-rate neglect,” “availability cascade,” “the illusion of validity” and so on. The cumulative effect is to make the reader despair for human reason. But it should not if we have not already accepted rationality as our god.

    “Kahneman never grapples philosophically with the nature of rationality. He does, however, supply a fascinating account of what might be taken to be its goal: happiness.”

    So in the end he comes to happiness as the arch goal. In God we indeed find happiness.

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  3. “Saying the miracles didn’t occur is perhaps more implausible than believing in the miracles themselves.”

    This is akin to blocking ones ears, closing ones eyes and just yelling lalalalalalalalalalal. It did not happen. It not not happen.

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    • Hey Alexie,

      A few months ago there were storm warnings galore and according to the BOM radar a massive storm front was heading for our place.

      So I light a flame and said a quick prayer to Thor that he’d keep us safe from the storm.

      And wadda you know a few trees in the back-yard lost some leaves, even though the rest of our neighbourhood took a hammering.

      So was that co-incidence or was it Thor, god of thunder and the storm, providing me with a miracle ?

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      • If it was a coincidence then show how it was a coincidence. Or possibly, like any storm, you did not cop the whack of the high level stuff. Maybe it was just the weather being the weather.

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      • Kahneman describes dozens of experimentally demonstrated breakdowns in rationality such as “base-rate neglect,” “availability cascade,” “the illusion of validity” and so on.

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      • Hey Alexie,

        Well the coincidence would be us not getting the “whack of the high level stuff” after I’d said a prayer to Thor for protection.

        Just the weather being the weather – another cynic. It was clearly the work of Thor. Much like Dom up above it seems you can’t recognise the miraculous work of a god when it’s right in front of you.

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      • How many people believe in Thor now ? As with science people slowly navigate to or orbit around the truth.

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      • Interesting Bubba. If you look into their belief they actually don’t pray to their gods. They see it as beneath them. They see the gods as kin. So I am not sure why you would pray to them.

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  4. C.S. Lewis once observed:

    If a man had no conception of a regular order in nature, then of course he could not notice departures from that order. When the disciples saw Christ walking on the water, they were frightened: they would not have been frightened unless they had known the laws of nature, and known that this was an exception.

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  5. “If one is to take an honest and purely scientific position against miracles than one would have to admit that their position has some liabilities. For example science cannot explain everything that happens in our world or universe, and yet we do not deny that these in explainable things occur. Some of these deviations occur in violation of natural laws and when they cannot be explained by science, they are label as anomalies. Just like anomalies, miracles are unpredictable in nature and deviate from natural laws and natural order. If naturalists would agree that anomalies, which are deviations of natural laws occur, than they would also have to agree that miracles, which are deviations of natural laws also occur.”

    Mind you I do not think miracles deviate from natural law.

    http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2013/can-you-believe-in-anomolies-but-not-miracles/

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    • The Bible leaves open a fascinating possibility that not the miracle, but our world (its death, decay, and disease) that is the strange and unnatural thing. A miracle is not a deviation of the laws of nature, but Gods wonderful brief and glorious moment, where He in a snap shot displays Heaven/Eden to us.

      Miracles give us a glimpse of what should have been and what yet may be.

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      • Bubba, you are actually committing that fallacy. You do not know exactly what happens, so you believe that there will be a naturalistic explanation for it. The gap must be filled by science and there cannot be any supernatural explanation. There is no way to prove that science fills every gap but that is your problematic assumption.

        “If there is nothing outside of the natural, then the natural must explain itself rather than believe that there was outside intervention from the supernatural.”

        As much as you believe you go wherever the evidence takes you, by presupposing that everything needs to have a naturalistic explanation you are committing the argument from ignorance also known as the god of the gaps. Why do you make claims about things you do not know yet assume to be true?

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      • Hey Alexie,

        Yep I’ll happily admit I have a bias against magic.

        However I don’t pre-suppose that science will eventually fill in all the gaps that’s your problematic straw man.

        I simply think that if a cause is unknown then magic is the lest likely possible cause.

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      • Well then if you truely believe that science cannot answer everything, that there is no magic, nor any God, then what explanation can you give that is not scientific?

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      • In January 2005, two remarkable events occurred. The first was that Oxford atheist and Darwinian scientist, Richard Dawkins, was publicly asked what he believed to be true but could not prove. This was an interesting question because he is on record as saying that you should not believe anything without evidence. Now he concedes:

        I believe, but I cannot prove, that all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all design anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection.

        He continued, “Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.” In other words, he admits that much of what he believes, including his fundamental assumptions about the universe, are a blind leap of faith, unsupported by evidence.

        The other extraordinary event was that the international doyen of philosophical atheism, Professor Anthony Flew, now aged 81, publicly announced that he has abandoned his atheism, and had done so on the basis of scientific arguments, which now persuade him that there is a God.

        Two confessions

        So two of the most prominent atheists in their fields have made startling confessions. The scientist admits that much of his belief cannot be supported by scientific evidence, while the philosopher abandons the very atheism that made him famous, precisely because of the scientific evidence. How much intellectual fun is that?

        What Dawkins cannot verify concerns the creation of the universe. What persuades Flew that there is a God is the current scientific evidence about the origins of the universe.
        http://www.bethinking.org/does-science-disprove-god/has-science-disproved-god

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      • Alexie:

        “In other words, he admits that much of what he believes, including his fundamental assumptions about the universe, are a blind leap of faith, unsupported by evidence.”

        Dawkins admitted no such thing. Evolution is a fact of science supported by mountains of evidence and peer reviewed research. Of course you can (via the usual apologetics sources on the web) misrepresent this by cherry picking Dawkins point about extrapolating evolution of life on earth to the rest of the universe as “blind faith”, but it’s only “faith” in the sense we have no evidence (yet) of life outside Earth.

        “… Professor Anthony Flew, now aged 81 … abandoned his atheism, and had done so on the basis of scientific arguments, which now persuade him that there is a God.”

        Flew never converted to any revealed religion:

        “In letter to Carrier of 29 December 2004 Flew retracted his statement that a deity or a “super-intelligence” was the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature. “I now realise that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction”.”

        You may want to trying reading more of what Flew actually believed.

        http://infidels.org/kiosk/article/antony-flew-considers-godsort-of-369.html

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      • Correct Stu, as I said, faith.

        “but it’s only “faith” in the sense we have no evidence (yet) of life outside Earth.”

        As for Anthony Frew. he wrote an entire book. In 2007, he recounted his conversion in a book titled There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
        Flew says that he simply, ‘had to go where the evidence leads.’ His atheism truly was provisional and ‘subject to correction by further evidence and further argument … ‘It speaks very well of Professor Flew’s honesty,’ observes America’s pre-eminent philosopher of religion, Alvin Plantinga. ‘After all these years of opposing the idea of a Creator, he reverses his position on the basis of the evidence.’

        Follow the evidence Stu, do not bury it in the ground like an ostrich.

        “Nevertheless, it is reasonable to pay more attention to certain evidence, I think, if that evidence persuaded a leading opponent of a position to change his mind. By paying attention, I do not mean that the evidence should simply be accepted as a knock-down-drag-out case for the claim at issue; merely, that a rational person concerned about evidence should give it some consideration.”

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      • Alexie:

        “Correct Stu, as I said, faith.”

        Notice that when I used the word “faith” I used inverted commas. This should have made it clear to you the context in which I was using it. Given what we know about the evolution of life on Earth and the complete absence of it in other places in the Universe, this should give us (not you, I accept that) some idea about how life could evolve elsewhere in the Universe. Faith is not required.

        “Follow the evidence Stu, do not bury it in the ground like an ostrich.”

        Sure. Provide the evidence and I’ll follow it. Whatever evidence Professor Flew thought he followed, it didn’t lead him to the revealed theism that you accept as real.

        “… I think, if that evidence persuaded a leading opponent of a position to change his mind.”

        I have changed my mind based on evidence and reason many times, including on this blog. I’m open to changing my mind, if you provide the evidence. But using Dawkins and Flew to support your apologetics is misrepresentation at best and dishonestly at worst.

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      • Stu

        If quoting the men themselves is not honest I do not know what is. Free wrote a whole book. But if all you can do is throw mud then so be it.

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      • Bub

        “Well then if you truely believe that science cannot answer everything, that there is no magic, nor any God, then what explanation can you give that is not scientific?”

        Only one general one will do. i did not ask for a whole wiki’s worth. Anything that is not scientific. Any explanation? The other option is to believe science will answer everything. But that would be a god of the gaps. Also having faith, in science.

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      • Alexie:

        “If quoting the men themselves is not honest I do not know what is.”

        If you cherry pick what someone has said, while ignoring the context in which they said it and ignoring other things they said, and you do that deliberately, then you are being dishonest.

        Neither Dawkins nor Flew remotely suggested that they support any kind of revealed theism or that evolution was unscientific. So, again I ask: what evidence can you provide to the contrary?

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      • Bubba, Do you know that there’s more than one thesaurus? Some list magical as a synonym of miraculous and some don’t.
        If Jesus walked on water is it mere sleight of hand (foot)? Is the acts of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding, feeding thousands with a few fish, raising the dead and healing mere magic?

        The big issue, for you, is whether or not God exists, and if he does, then such supernatural events are certainly possible.

        When Jesus’ opponents tried to test him by making him perform a miracle to prove that God was with him, Jesus refused (Matt 16.1–4; Mark 8.11,12; John 4.48; 6.26-34). Also, Jesus sometimes warned people not to tell anyone about his miracles (Mark 1.44; 5.43), possibly because non-believers would have thought Jesus was just a magician. Often Jesus performed miracles for people who already believed (Mark 2.5-12; 5.34). His miracles were not for showing off. Instead, they demonstrated God’s love for the people (Luke 4.18-21) and announced the presence of the Kingdom of God.

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      • Hi Alexie,

        I am not currently aware of any phenomena that I would attribute to a magical/miraculous/supernatural cause.

        “The other option is to believe science will answer everything.”

        Nice to see you’ve branched out into false dichotomy as well. You can never have too many logical fallacies I say.

        We know science works because of the things it can do, which is pretty much the opposite of the god of the gaps. But when you’re on a strong streak why not throw some false equivalence into the ol logical fallacy mix.

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      • Bubba, got yourself in a knot

        I mentioned “magic earlier as not a choice for you, obviously.
        You do not pre-suppose science will answer everything so there must be something else that answers it. If you cannot answer with magic or God then what else is there?

        “Well then if you truely believe that science cannot answer everything, that there is no magic, nor any God, then what explanation can you give that is not scientific?”

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      • Stu

        if it is that easy to be dishonest then we would all require a PHD in any subject to make comment.

        “Neither Dawkins nor Flew remotely suggested that they support any kind of revealed theism or that evolution was unscientific. So, again I ask: what evidence can you provide to the contrary?”

        You made a few quotes yourself thus you are disregarding the context from whence they came. Do you have evidence they did not believe in God when in fact I quoted their own words doing so? Where they saying a lie? Or where they themselves being dishonest. Can you show Frew lying about this/ Obviously you have been dishonest by your own standards of dishonesty.

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      • In 2004, Flew shocked the world by announcing he had come to believe in God. While not embracing Christianity—Flew only believed in the deistic, Aristotelian conception of God—he became one of the most high-profile and surprising atheist converts.

        He said: ”I now believe there is a God…I now think it [the evidence] does point to a creative Intelligence almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.”

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      • Here is another author, is he being dishonest too. He knew Frew personally.

        Silly boy you.

        “In 2004 Flew announced that the discoveries of modern science have made it abundantly clear that the creation of the universe and of life and consciousness from non-living inert matter must be the work of an infinite Intelligence and not the result of random acts of an unguided nature. This revelation, in which Flew also apologized for having misled so many souls over the decades since his “Theology and Falsification,” was extraordinary news. Yahoo, in its daily news summary, even listed Flew’s recantation as one of the five major events of the day. Roy released a DVD titled “Has Science Discovered God?” In it, Flew and I discuss the facts of nature, not speculations, that had such an impact on Antony. Here in a bit of irony, Flew tells us that he follows the creed of Socrates, “I go to where the truth leads me.” Recall that his original argument was presented at Oxford’s Socratic Club.”
        http://www.aish.com/ci/sam/48961636.html

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      • This is you Stu. You just will not admit it.
        You commit the same fallacy. That you have a god of the gaps, we will call it a prior assumption to materialism this time.

        “Atheism and the suppression of science, as well as atheism and the rejection of science, is one common criticism of atheism, as militant atheists have often suppressed scientific knowledge because it conflicts with a presupposed materialistic worldview.[1] According to Dr. John Lennox, a renowned professor, scientist and Christian apologist of the University of Oxford, many atheist scientists have not been compelled by science to accept a materialistic explanation of the universe; rather, an a priori commitment to materialism causes them to do so.[1] However, this is not Dr. Lennox’s own formulation, but a viewpoint made explicit by many atheist scientists, such as Richard Lewontin, a biologist from Harvard University. Dr. Lewontin, in the New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997:31 entitled Billions and Billions of Demons (reviewing the book The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan) states:[2]”

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      • Flew remained open-minded in as much as he was always willing, as a true scientist, to change his mind as he found new (to him) evidence. This videoed interview is from the last years of his life.

        Interesting that in an earlier discussion he found 10 matters he felt needed more thought -:

        A novel definition of “God” by Richard Swinburne

        The case for the existence of the Christian God by Swinburne in the book Is There a God?

        The Church of England’s change in doctrine on the eternal punishment of Hell

        The question of whether there was only one big bang and if time began with it

        The question of multiple universes

        The fine-tuning argument

        The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for the development of living matter from non-living matter

        The question of whether there is a naturalistic account for non-reproducing living matter developing into a living creature capable of reproduction

        The concept of an Intelligent Orderer as explained in the book The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God by Roy Abraham Varghese

        An extension of an Aristotelian/Deist concept of God that can be reached through natural theology, which was developed by David Conway.

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      • Alexie:

        “if it is that easy to be dishonest then we would all require a PHD in any subject to make comment.”

        Do you really think that it takes a PhD to deliberately misrepresent someone? In any case, if you really want to know about Professor Flews beliefs (you don’t though do you?) you now know where to look.

        “You made a few quotes yourself thus you are disregarding the context from whence they came.”

        No. I’m familiar with Dawkins works on evolutionary biology and I provided a link to give you context about Flew.

        “Do you have evidence they did not believe in God when in fact I quoted their own words doing so? Where they saying a lie?”

        I certainly do have evidence that Dawkins doesn’t believe in God and I also have evidence that Flew didn’t believe in a revealed theistic God. Happy to provide references for you to ignore.

        “Maybe you would like to buy Frews book?”

        I might if it showed that Flew converted to any revealed religion or demonstrated the “scientific arguments which persuaded him that there is a God” What pages are these on?

        Maybe you should rethink using apologetics websites and read what Flew thought for yourself.

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      • Strewth:

        “This videoed interview is from the last years of his life.”

        And that video is what some of the apologetics sites Alexie cuts and pastes from use to suggest that Flew became a theist.

        Seeing Flew speak in 1976 and comparing it to his last interviews, it should come as no surprise that he suffered from dementia in his later years.

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      • Stu, I don’t think that video negates what you are saying, and if it does, yes, he died the following year with dementia. As far as ‘have you read his book’, I would have to ask which one, from what period in his journey of discovery. He certainly did not become Christian, nor any type of theist except deist.

        A New Approach to Psychical Research (1953)
        New Essays in Philosophical Theology (1955) editor with Alasdair MacIntyre
        Essays in Conceptual Analysis (1956)
        Hume’s Philosophy of Belief (1961)
        Logic And Language (1961) editor
        Flew, Antony (1966), God and Philosophy.
        Flew, Antony, ed. (1966), Logic & Language, Second.
        Evolutionary Ethics (1967)
        An Introduction to Western Philosophy: Ideas and Argument from Plato to Sartre (1971)
        Body, Mind and Death (1973)
        Crime or Disease (1973)
        Thinking About Thinking (1975)
        Sociology, Equality and Education: Philosophical Essays In Defence of A Variety of Differences (1976)
        Thinking Straight, 1977, ISBN 978-0-87975-088-6
        A Dictionary of Philosophy (1979) editor, later edition with Stephen Priest
        Philosophy, an Introduction (1979)
        Libertarians versus Egalitarians (c. 1980) pamphlet
        The Politics of Procrustes: contradictions of enforced equality (1981)
        Darwinian Evolution (1984)
        Flew, Antony (1984) [The Presumption of Atheism, 1976], God, Freedom and Immortality: A Critical Analysis (reprint ed.).
        Examination not Attempted in Right Ahead, newspaper of the Conservative Monday Club, Conservative Party Conference edition, October 1985.
        God: A Critical Inquiry (1986) – reprint of God and Philosophy (1966) with new introduction
        David Hume: Philosopher of Moral Science (1986) Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
        Flew, Antony; Vesey, Godfrey Norman Agmondis (1987), Agency and Necessity, Great Debates in Philosophy.
        Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Resurrection Debate (1987) with Gary Habermas
        Power to the Parents: Reversing Educational Decline (1987)
        Duncan, Ronald; Wilson, Colin, eds. (1987), “Prophesy or Philosophy? Historicism or History?”, Marx Refuted, Bath, UK, ISBN 0-906798-71-X.
        Readings in the Philosophical Problems of Parapsychology (1987) editor
        God, A Critical Inquiry (1988)
        Does God Exist?: A Believer and an Atheist Debate (1991) with Terry L. Miethe
        A Future for Anti-Racism? (Social Affairs Unit 1992) pamphlet
        Atheistic Humanism, 1993, ISBN 978-0-87975-847-9.
        Thinking About Social Thinking, 1995.
        Education for Citizenship, Studies in Education (10), Institute of Economic Affairs, 2000.
        Merely Mortal? (2000)
        Equality in Liberty and Justice (2001) Transaction Publishers.
        Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate (2003) with William Lane Craig (ISBN 978-0-7546-3190-3)
        Social Life and Moral Judgment (2003)
        God and Philosophy (2005) – another reprint of God and Philosophy (1966) with another new introduction
        There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (2007) with Roy Abraham Varghese (ISBN 978-0-06-133529-7)

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      • “Do you know that there’s more than one thesaurus”

        Yep, Oxford, Macquarie, Collins and a couple of on-line ones all provide magical and miraculous as synonymous

        I guess you could keep on trawling until you find something obscure that doesn’t but what’s the point ?

        You seem to be limiting a definition of magic to sleight of hand, however the term can include genuine supernatural effects.

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      • Strewth

        “Stu, I don’t think that video negates what you are saying…”

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to suggest that you were trying to do that.

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      • Hi Bryan,

        “If it was genuine supernatural it wouldn’t be magic”

        Well if you’re using the dictionary definition of magic then you are using a term that will encompass the genuinely supernatural as well as the sleight of hand stage magic.

        So if it’s genuinely supernatural then it WILL be magic.

        IF you’re using a definition of magic that includes only the stage magic and ignores the supernatural then it’s not one I’m familiar with.

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      • Hi Alexie,

        “If you cannot answer with magic or God then what else is there?”

        – False dichotomy

        “………. then what explanation can you give that is not scientific?”

        What am I supposed to be explaining, what phenomena is out there that I’m supposed to give a non-scientific explanation for ?

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  6. I have experienced so many miracles that they no longer amaze me. Real miracles, not coincidences.

    Never-the-less, we under-rate the chances of coincidental events happening. People thought it was a fix when the Bulgarian lottery announced the same six winning numbers on two consecutive draws in 2009. The national sports minister launched an investigation, but found no tampering; the repetition was mere chance.The odds of two specific draws matching is 1 in 13,983,816, but the chance of any two draws matching increases with the number of draws, and reaches a probability of greater than 50 per cent by the 4404th round.

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    • Strewth
      and reaches a probability of greater than 50 per cent by the 4404th round.
      “”Utter bulldust””
      The probability remains constant.
      Every time one does it the odds remain the same .

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    • Hi CB

      I think you misunderstood. If you do the draw 4404 times then the chance you have two draws matching is greater than 50%. The more draws you have I would think the greater the probability until eventually you exhaust all combinations and it is 100%.

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      • same six winning numbers on two consecutive draws in 2009
        Six numbers out of how many numbers ?
        Did the numbers go up to 40 or 45 ?
        The odds of two specific draws matching is 1 in 13,983,816 .
        In other words you could draw the numbers out 13,983,815 times and not get a matching pair.
        Or you could draw out 13,983,815 times and have everyone of them the same numbers.
        Both scenario would be possible but also a major problem for the universe for the universe requires unpredictability .
        And putting a number of 4404 and declaring a 50% chance would institute a very small universe indeed.

        As for this :-
        If you do the draw 4404 times then the chance you have two draws matching is greater than 50%.

        How exactly did you arrive at that number ?
        Tell me a powerball lottery that has those odds.

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      • Hi CB

        The key word is any rather than specify being used. You do not specify which draw will be repeated.

        It is similar to birthdays. If you 23 people in a room you have a 50/50 chance of two people having the same holiday. If you pick the birth date of the first person the odds are a lot longer.

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      • 1 in 13,983,816
        And those odd,s change to 50/50 1 in 4404.and now the odd,s have reduced to 50/50 23 to 30 [or 31 but what about those born on the 29th feb.
        If the odds where only that easy to predict .
        I would have won powerball thirty years ago.
        I remember witnessing men gambling at crown casino.
        They were penning down the numbers on scrolls of paper trying to figure out what number would come up next.
        So fearful of missing a calling of a number hour after hour they actually were unzipping their pants and pissing under the table.
        The casino still won .
        The utter stupidity of those men still amazes me .

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  7. I love that story Bryan. And no matter how many times it has been retold, it always deeply touches my heart. Our God is the greatest Healer of all! No-one can compare.

    A dear friend just recently told me about the great miracle that occurred in the life of her nephew. He was a hopeless drug addict for 15 long years, but his family faithfully prayed for him to be set free from his addiction for all those years. Then one day he just suddenly and inexplicably felt the need to go to church, and after that he was a changed man. He now travels to the nations preaching, teaching and providing for the orphans and the needy. What a miracle working God we love and serve!

    Thank you for blessing us with these stories.

    I know that God listens to our prayers, and not just to our spoken prayers, but that He even gives to those who love Him the desires of their hearts, before they’ve even asked for His favour.

    I think the miraculous should be a regular occurrence in every believer’s heart, because we have such an expectancy that God does answer prayer and is the Giver of every good thing. And of course, Christmas is miraculous, not just for its significance to Christians, but for those who believe in miracles.

    My prayer today is that all the regular contributors to this blog, and those who read it will be blessed in some way, shape or form this Christmas. And know that many prayers are said for those who will be alone and despairing at this special time of the year.

    I think that ‘love’ is the greatest miracle of all. May you all get your fair share of it—overflowing, abundant, pure, selfless love.

    Love, Mon xxoo

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  8. Stu, you are clutching at straws. The rumours he had dementia, senility or some other mental disorder are but that, rumours. You have swallowed internet truth. You must be desperate to prove yourself correct using this old made up story.

    “it should come as no surprise that he suffered from dementia in his later years.”

    If indeed he suffered from dementia in his later years then his conversion to a belief in God is very safe. He believed for many years and even wrote a book. So anything in that video, if he had dementia, must not be seen as proof. Only his earlier works. Which, includes books and many interviews. The people who knew him too I quote from, such as his co author friend.

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    • Alexie:

      “You have swallowed internet truth.”

      For someone who has repeatedly regurgitated quotes from apologetics websites during this conversation, that is gold.

      I’m happy with both my own observation of Flew in the video and the references in Carrier’s article as evidence he wasn’t well when he conducted that interview.

      Like

  9. For Stu and his desperation

    “When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff”.

    “Unlike other pseudo-reviewers, I’ve actually read Flew’s There is a God (and interviewed Flew as well). Anyone who has actually read it–and I wonder if Mark Oppenheimer did, given the inattention to the substance of the book in his infamous NYT piece–understands that it is a terse description of Flew’s long, drawn out intellectual journey toward God–a journey of two decades. Twenty years; not twenty minutes or twenty days…..Thus, the entire focus of a reader of Flew’s There is a God SHOULD be on the list of books Flew cites as definitive in the slow changing of his mind, not on niggling debates about the slowness of Flew’s mind at this precise point.
    Roy Varghese (his co-author) has been with him for a good part of that journey (as have other believers), and was instrumental in helping Flew gather together his twenty year sojourn to God.”

    Like

  10. stu again

    By Kyle Deming on November 10, 2008
    Format: Hardcover
    “Antony Flew opened up a firestorm of controversy when he publicly announced his conversion from atheism to deism in late 2004. As one of the most influential atheists of the 20th century, his change in mind was stunning. Many atheists were quick to denounce Flew- claiming that he was losing touch with reality in his old age. Flew, however, stood his ground, insisting that his conversion was real, thoughtful, and based on compelling evidence for the existence of a Creator.

    In “There is a God”, Flew recounts his life leading up to his conversion. Starting from his humble beginnings as the son of a preacher and leading to his persuasive defense of atheism as an academic, Flew gives us a brief glimpse into his life and work. Along the way, he points out that he has had many radical `conversions’ in thinking. In his view, switching from atheism to deism is no particularly big deal. He just followed the evidence where it led.

    The second part of the book offers a brief discussion of this evidence. Remarkably, in sharp distinction to the numerous atheist authors writing today, Flew contends that scientific discoveries (buttressed, of course, by philosophical arguments) have vindicated the existence of God. He mentions three areas where this is starkly the case. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the existence of intelligently organized life. The third is the very existence of nature.

    Unfortunately, Flew’s discussion of these issues is rather cursory. Those looking for a detailed exposition need to explore elsewhere. Nevertheless, Flew’s treatment is a welcome departure from the terrible philosophical treatment of scientific issues found in many of the new atheist books.”

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  11. Lots of dishonest people around Stu

    From Publishers Weekly
    British philosopher Flew has long been something of an evangelist for atheism, debating theologians and pastors in front of enormous crowds. In 2004, breathless news reports announced that the nonagenarian had changed his mind. This book tells why. Ironically, his arguments about the absurdity of God-talk launched a revival of philosophical theists, some of whom, like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew’s recent conversion to theism. Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet. Perhaps the arrogance of the New Atheists also emboldened him, as Flew taunts them for failing to live up to the greatness of atheists of yore. The book concludes with an appendix by New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, arguing for the coherence of Christian belief in the resurrection. Flew praises Wright, though he maintains some distance still from orthodox Christianity. The book will be most avidly embraced by traditional theists seeking argumentative ammunition. It sometimes disappoints: quoting other authorities at length, citing religion-friendly scientists for pages at a time and belaboring side issues, like the claim that Einstein was really a religious believer of sorts. (Nov.)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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    • “…Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, were important in Flew’s recent conversion to theism.”

      Show us where Flew claimed he was a theist.

      “Breakthroughs in science, especially cosmology, also played a part: if the speed or mass of the electron were off just a little, no life could have evolved on this planet.”

      Explain how you think this provides evidence of a God.

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  12. “Antony Flew’s book will incense atheists who suppose (erroneously) that science proves there is no God.” (Ian H. Hutchinson, Professor and Head of the Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT)

    Like

    • Atheists are usually thinkers. That quote is surely not suggesting ALL atheists suppose that science PROVES there is no God. If so, it proves only one thing – that Ian H.Hutchinson is out of his field.

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      • It proves atheists have a priori belief in materialism as their god, god of the gaps. To be honest one must have the mind of God to know ALL to say there is no God. To be honest one should really be agnostic, I do not know all things so there could be a God but for now I do not have the evidence to show this.

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      • “It proves atheists have a priori belief in materialism as their god, god of the gaps.”

        You clearly don’t understand what “God of the gaps” means. No atheist I know claims that they can prove a negative or have evidence that there is no God. Technically, I am an agnostic who has no belief in any gods. I choose the term atheism to describe my position because it is the most accurate.

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  13. “Maybe you should rethink using apologetics websites and read what Flew thought for yourself.”

    So infidels is pretty good then as a source??
    Take your own advice and read his book about his journey to theism.

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  14. Stu, do you want to keep going???

    “Moving on now from the parable, it’s time for me to lay my cards on the table, to set out my own views and the rea- sons that support them. I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and repro- duction originate in a divine Source.”

    The Mind of God, Antony Frew

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  15. Page 155 There is a God, Anthony Frew

    Maybe Frew is senile again!!!
    Keep quoting Infidels, they must be right!!! Sure

    “Science qua science cannot furnish an argument for God’s existence. But the three items of evidence we have considered in this volume—the laws of nature, life with its teleological organization, and the existence of the universe—can only be explained in the light of an Intel- ligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world. Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through an under- standing of the structures they unveil and map.
    Now, all this might sound abstract and impersonal. How, it might be asked, do I as a person respond to the discovery of an ultimate Reality that is an omnipresent and omniscient Spirit? I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being.”

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  16. Alexie:

    It’s hard to work out which iteration of your Gish Gallop to respond to, but here’s where the evidence takes us: Dawkins doesn’t believe in God, Flew never claimed to be a theist and there have been no scientific discoveries which make the existence of God necessary. Nothing you’ve posted suggests otherwise and no amount of cutting and pasting from apologetics sites will change that.

    “Antony Flew’s book will incense atheists who suppose (erroneously) that science proves there is no God.”

    Which atheists suppose such a thing?

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  17. A faith healer said, “Anyone with ‘special needs’ who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar.”

    With that, a man got in line, and when it was his turn, the faith healer asked :

    “My friend, what do you want me to pray about for you?”

    The man replied, “I need you to pray for help with my hearing.”

    The faith healer put one finger of one hand in the man’s ear, placed his other hand on top of his head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed.

    He prayed for the man’s health, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

    After a few minutes, the faith healer removed his hands, stood back and asked, “My dear man, how is your hearing now?”

    The man answered, “I don’t know. It ain’t till next week!”

    Like

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