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 PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:47 pm Reply with quote  
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  Old Master Ben
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Littlewood defines a miracle as an exceptional event of special significance occurring at a frequency of one in a million.


Well, there's the real trick. One person's definition of a "miracle" isn't going to match everyone's. By defining a miracle under these limitations, you're narrowing down what can be considered a miracle. I don't think a person coming an inch from death, with the doctors telling there is nothing they can do, and suddenly he's back to normal, will happen to a human every 35 days. If you consider a miracle finding a five dollar bill on the road, sure, something like that could happen every 35 days. It depends what you consider a miracle.

And frankly, trying to mix science with miracles befuddles me, because what many people would consider miracles go beyond our comprehension of science (see above example of dying man. Scientifically, doctors saw no hope).


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 PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:32 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I concur, Old Master Ben. I certainly don't experience a miracle a month- at least a drastic one. And then this gets into the whole freewill/predestination stuff. Not all divine intervention is really classified as a miracle, I don't think. An event can happen and we don't realize what effects it will have later.

Even if we did consitantly get a miracle every 35 days, it could still be God-given. I don't see how this disproves that.
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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 12:59 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Old Master Ben wrote:
And frankly, trying to mix science with miracles befuddles me, because what many people would consider miracles go beyond our comprehension of science (see above example of dying man. Scientifically, doctors saw no hope).


Many people think that events that they themselves can't comprehend are miracles. So, rare cases become miracles for them, like someone surviving against odds when diagnosis gives little or no hope.

Basically I would say that people make some events miracles, because they feel that they need that explanation. It makes them feel special, that something greater is looking over them, and that they are destined to survive and perhaps become something important. Instead of thinking that what happened to them is just a normal, but very rare occurrence.

I think that was Littlewood was also after this, that something extraordinary is seen as miraculous, even when it's statistically to be expected to happen sometime and is fully explainable by normal terms, but the person in question sees it miraculous because they see it as something far beyond their normal experiences.

Often these events that are seen as "miraculous" are more mundane than surviving a severe disease or accident when there is little hope; like noticing that a shoelace is open, stopping to tie it before going over a road and then a speeding car comes when you are doing it and you would have been straight on the middle of the road if you hadn't stopped to tie that shoelace.

Still, some people would say, I think we all have heard something like this, that an angel (etc) was watching over them, when one can assume that it was just a coincidence that the shoelace opened and that also a coincidence that you happened to notice it just right there.

Same with that five dollar bill. If you find a five dollar bill, you probably won't think much of that in normal circumstances. But if you would be low in money, would have to pay a rent or something, wouldn't know how to get the money, and then you would find a hundred dollar bill (for example), then you would more likely be in a mindset where you would think that finding that one hundred dollar bill was a "miracle" and that you were meant to find it.


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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:06 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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You explain that well, and I understand what you're saying. But our point is simply that a miracle is something we define as an act performed by the supernatural being we believe is watching over us. That's just our definition. The whole point is that it is something that couldn't have happened without divine intervention.

Of course someone who does not believe in a deity will always explain this away. That's understandable. But the whole point is that we do believe in a deity, and we believe that miracles are performed by Him for us. This is not something that can be proven to anyone. These are personal experiences that are proof for each individual one of us. I can't prove any of the instances I consider miraculous, I can only explain them to you. And of course, not having been there, and not believing in such things in the first place, you would be able to explain it away scientifically. Fine. But I was there, it happened to me, and I believe it was miraculous. The whole thing is wrapped up in the faith that I use to believe in God in the first place. I saw the miracle happen, and I, in faith, believe it was a miracle performed by God, not a rare, scientific occurance.
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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:22 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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In the, slightly changed words, of E. Stephen Burnett:
"Mara, you make me feel like a Southern Baptist. 'Preach it, preach it, amen'." Wink
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Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:39 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Here's my miracle life experience: hitting a concrete wall at 60 mph and living to tell about it.

My dad was actually wearing a gold cross necklace at the time (he was in the passenger seat) and after the accident, he realized the arms on the cross were actually bent forward, like they were reaching out to brace themselves. I always thought that was kind of neat. But the main thing was we survived. Everyone who looked at the accident said we should have been toast.

Scientific probability? Physics? Most likely, but hey, whose to say God didn't roll us a favor. Wink
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 PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:58 pm Reply with quote  
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  Autobon
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Rouge77 wrote:
Basically I would say that people make some events miracles, because they feel that they need that explanation. It makes them feel special, that something greater is looking over them, and that they are destined to survive and perhaps become something important.


As a Christian, I actually find myself agreeing with you in this thread. I find it a bit ridiculous to believe that all these miracles that people say happen actually did. There are so many "miracles" nowadays, that it goes against the very definition of the word.

Also, I find it extremely hard to believe that so many "miracles" happen to people who donít do anything to further the faith they say they believe in. Some Christian could be living in some waterfront home, maybe donating $10 a month to some kid through World Vision and bragging about that even though it makes no dent in their lifestyle or bank account, etc.... but then they will tell you how God performs all these miracles in their life.....

Yet on the other side of the world, countless numbers of Christians who's lives actually reflect what they say they believe in are struggling in poverty, dying of disease, getting martyred, etc. Maybe someone can explain to me this weird way God has of choosing who to give out miracles to...


EDIT: For example, take a look at Steve Green. This guy was an AMAZING Christian. He lived and breathed his faith. Yet he dies young in a tragic plane crash that killed him, some freinds, and his kids. This is why I get angry when some total flake of a Christian starts telling me about miracles in his life. I mean, give me a break.


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 PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:43 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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God gives miracles when He wants to.

You used the example of poverty-stricken people living the Christian life. Imagine if God let one of these people win the lottery and they spend it all on luxeries and high living. Before you know it, they aren't living the Christian life any more.

I'm no expert on miracles, and I realize now I should really do some more reading on it, but I do know that God sees things that we don't.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:30 am Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Careful with the cynicism, Autobon. Wink

Honestly, though, I agree with you. To an extent. Personally, I do not throw the word "miracle" around at will. If my car runs longer on gasoline than it should have, I call that a blessing, not a miracle. But earlier I was simply arguing about the principle of the matter.

I do believe in miracles. It's as simple as that. But I also believe that they are extreme blessings provided by God, not to be seen every single day. There are only one or two instances in my young lifetime that I would classify as such, and even those wouldn't come close to the actual Biblical miracles of people being raised from the dead and such.

However, that does not diminish my belief in God showering blessings daily. Personally, I believe that God has an unconditional love toward us that we cannot comprehend. From that love come the ridiculous amount of blessings that we do not deserve. And sure, I could simply call those coincidences or whatever, but I am a very pessimistic/cyncical person by nature. The fact that I consider these things blessings from God is surprising even to myself.

The older I've gotten, the more I've seen God's hand in so many things in my life. And from which springs the awe that I daily feel concerning God's care and love for a fallible human being such as myself. Here I am, a lowly creation that constantly messes up and breaks the rules, but He takes me back anyway. It's something I can barely explain, but it boggles my mind and fills me with an overwhelming sense of gratefulness that I can barely even begin to express.

No, I don't believe God is going to bless everyone just because He's God and He loves everyone and it's all sunshine and roses. There is a sense of duty on our part. Trust me, I know that. But I'm not going to get into the details there for now. Too much to go into.

It's just that I do believe God cares for us and will bless us if we are openly seeking to follow/grow in Him/obey His guidance. And, Biblically, my thinking there is backed up. The Bible itself says how much God loves His children and wants to wrap His arms around them, despite their faults. So I'll stand by that. The definition of miralces, though? Well, that's going to vary from person to person, due to its very nature. But I do believe in them. I just think they're much, much fewer in number than what I would call blessings. And those I do believe in quite adamantly.

Think about it, what do we, as sinful human beings, really deserve from God? Absolutely nothing. So, technically, every breath we take is a blessing from God.
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 PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:52 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Perhaps I got off on the wrong foot. How are we defining miracles here? If you were to ask me, I'd say there are different degrees of miracles. There's the big ones like raising people from the dead, parting the Red Sea, etc, and then there are the little miracles which would fall in line with what you might also call blessings. Miracle is just a word, and like all words it has different meanings.

And I for one believe amazing things happen all the time. Maybe I'm just an optimist, but there are a lot of people out there and statistically amazing things are bound to happen. But then this all dependent on how you want to start defining miracles. Would you say a person who was declared clinically dead and came back to life is a "raised from the dead" miracle?
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:00 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Oh, sorry, Skuldren. My comments weren't directed at you. I think your story was a great example of a miracle/blessing.

I just think miracles are differently defined by every person. In other words, everyone draws the line at a different point. But I do believe in miracles. Smile
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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:38 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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On another thought, can there be bad miracles? Instead of very slim odds coming through to make something really good happen, it does the opposite. For example, a whole bunch of situations fall together in such a complex twisting fashion that it almost seems like such an event was impossible to prevent? I guess it's not so much a miracle as it is an unescapable event of fate. One of those things that tests your faith.
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:19 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Ooh, interesting! That would depend on how powerful you think the Devil is. Biblically, the Devil pales in comparison to the power of God and thus that's what I believe. I know there are some Christians, as well people of other philosophies think Bad is as strong as Good. If you took that approach I could see some people jumping on board to this idea. I'm not denying that the Devil doesn't have power, but God's power definitley trumps it. I think that's important to keep in mind, when discussing this.

That's not really an answer, but it's all I'm going to post before I think about it for a while.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:01 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dancelittleewok
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Hello guys, it's quite an interesting discussion you've got here. I used to debate a lot on CAF (Catholic Answers Forum), but nowadays most of the forums I visit are SW-related.

Out of curiosity, how did you come to your beliefs about faith today (whether you believe in God or not or aren't sure )?


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:29 am Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Darth Skuldren wrote:
On another thought, can there be bad miracles? Instead of very slim odds coming through to make something really good happen, it does the opposite. For example, a whole bunch of situations fall together in such a complex twisting fashion that it almost seems like such an event was impossible to prevent? I guess it's not so much a miracle as it is an unescapable event of fate. One of those things that tests your faith.


Given enough time and people, everything possible, as remote the chance of it happening is, will happen. So, yes, although I don't believe in "fate". It's usually only that after something rare - good or bad - like that happens, the human mind is drawn to making it the goal of past events, perhaps an entire life of a human being, where all events inescapably led.

Simply put, we humans tend to try to explain the events in the world around us by making stories about it, stories that to us seem to make the most sense of events and give meaning to them. And to human lifes.

Personally I tend to think that much just happens randomly, good or bad, emerging from an almost infinite number of human actions (and occasionally act by of nature etc) so that it is hard to say which were the most important reasons that led to the event.

What comes to your question, Dancelittleewok, in my case it has been a case of long personal journey through different stages of thought. From realising that I find religions imperfect, flawed human explanations for the world - driven more by human need than human reason - to an understanding that one can face the world, the cosmos, without seeking any hidden hope in the form of supernatural. That what is bound by laws of nature, is all that exists and that it is enough, as comforting as other explanations might look.

I don't believe in supernatural deities because I don't think we need them to explain anything - nor do I think we can show that they don't exist, because after all, how to be able to prove that which supposedly isn't bound by laws of nature, doesn't exist? - and because I prefer that they don't exist, because if they do exist, then because of the suffering and evil in the world we either we live in a universe where there a omnipotent god or gods that are not good - or otherwise they could have made human beings good too; if we would be images of some deity, then that deity would have to be flawed too to create us - or in a universe where there might be good god or gods, but they aren't omnipotent.

And as much sense as the dualistic explanation of light and darkness balanced in a universe that is an endless battlefield between them makes if one supposes that that deities exist, I really prefer to live in a cosmos that has come out of nothingness as a result of random fluctuations in a vacuum. Wink


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