Sunday, October 26, 2014

Deeds Beyond Words

We are told that what really drew crowds to Jesus of Nazareth were not his words, but his wondrous deeds. But what did he do that got him noticed? People usually pay no heed to words.

So far, we have gotten a taste of many of the key moral challenges Jesus of Nazareth is said to have tossed out. There is much more out there for anyone who wishes to explore. Certainly, he does not come across like your average clergyman pounding the pulpit about sins of the flesh and coming to church.

That is startling, so startling that churches and clergymen for centuries have done their best to hide Jesus from people, lest they figure out the flim-flam by the professionals of religion.

Jesus did simple things. It is said that the sick and the lame came to him to be healed; he even rose someone from the dead. I will not deal with whether the accounts were accurate, enough ink has been spilled on that one.

Rather, I would like to consider a more overarching question: Can we, living in an empirical age of science, accept the idea of miracles? Here is my answer: Yes.

The phenomenon of a miracle involves divine intervention in a human action that defies all known explanation.

Now granted, when Jesus healed, it is possible that he was using arcane knowledge not known to the hoi polloi (Gr. for “the many”). To the extent that this is true, the healings were not miraculous.

It is also possible that there was some self-delusion, some psychological effect, operating in the minds of the healed. We know that we use a small proportion of our actual mental powers.

But stop to consider the rising of Lazarus, smelling from days of being dead and buried, and propose that there were no tricks.

We are left with a deed that is inexplicable, cannot be replicated and that the observers and storytellers attributed to the hand of God.

Is there any scientific empirical way of detecting whether the hand of God intervened or of negating that it did? No.

Therefore, we are left with the possibility that miracles can, and perhaps have and do, happen.

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