Earlier this year I posted a couple of times (here and here) on an apparent healing miracle after a cardiologist prayed for an apparently dead man. I researched the matter as thoroughly as I could, and found responses to the story fell into three distinct types:
- The press generally just reported the story without comment, treating it as if it was true, but just another news story.
- Believers accepted it immediately as genuine and a confirmation of their faith, and so rejoiced.
- Non-believers were sceptical, if not scornful. Miracles just don't happen, and here's another example of the gullible being duped.
So I posted the story on an atheist website, to test the response. Not surprisingly, they were sceptical, if not scornful. Many offered explanations as to how a natural medical event could be so misinterpreted. Many of their suggestions were contrary to the evidence, but when I pointed this out, people just shifted ground. And when I asked if anyone wanted to work with me to try to verify or refute the story, no-one was interested.
So I wondered, atheists say their belief is evidence-based, but how much do they really base their views on evidence? How much do christians? Which comes first, the belief or the evidence? If you discount evidence before you look at it, is that "evidence-based"?
What would it take to cause you to reconsider your beliefs? Or me?
Then I found another story, about two New Zealanders, Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, flying in a microlight plane which ran out of fuel and the engine stopped with no clear landing place in sight. They knew that most people who crash in a microlight plane die, so while one tried to coax the plane over a ridge in hope of finding a spot to land, the other prayed. Over the hill they found a grass landing strip they didn't know existed.
Sceptics will say that the strip was there all along, they were just lucky, and prayer had nothing to do with it. And maybe they are right. I certainly wouldn't claim this as a miracle, more as a funny story. But don't tell that to Grant and Owen, because when they came to rest on the airstrip, right in front of their eyes was a sign which said "Jesus is Lord".
If it happened to you, would that be enough to make you think? Or just laugh? Or both?