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Aryasamajtoday is under the spiritual leadership of Satish Prakash, PhD., Vyakaranacharya. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Maharishi Dayananda Gurukula, NA, Inc. He can be reached at satishprakash@yahoo.com
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Rejecting the Concept of Miracles   
June 13, 2010 by Shruti B Prakash

Rejecting the Concept of Miracles

June 13, 2010 By Shruti Bhushan Prakash

Have you ever used the word “miracle” in everyday conversation?

For example “it was a miracle, the other car stopped in time, otherwise there would have been a collision”. If you think for a moment, you will find many places where the word “miracle” is used in today’s English language usage.

This casual use of the word “miracle” is not the focus of this Blog Entry – its alternative use is in question – involving a divine intervention.

Definition: mir·a·cle

 

1. An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God:

A fundamental education in Vedic Theology would present the definitive position – Vedic Theology does not support the idea of Miracles. In fact, it rejects it totally.

The intent of this Blog Entry is to present a picture of how indelible the idea is miracles is embedded in popular religions – Judeo/Christian/Islamic/Hindu groups.

The following is excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle#Supernatural_acts. Selected portions have been excerpted.

Religious Texts:

 

Hebrew Bible

Descriptions of miracles  appear in the Tanakh. Examples include prophets, such as Elijah who performed miracles like the raising of a widow's dead son (1 Kings 17:17–24) and Elisha whose miracles include multiplying the poor widow's jar of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7) and restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem (2 Kings 4:18-37).

New Testament

Jesus explains in the New Testament that miracles are performed by faith in God. "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it will move." (Gospel of Matthew 17:20). After Jesus returned to heaven, the book of Acts records the disciples of Jesus praying to God to grant that miracles be done in his name, for the purpose of convincing onlookers that he is alive. (Acts 4:29-31).

Qur'an

Miracle in the Qur'an can be defined as a supernatural intervention in the life of human beings.[7] According to this definition, Miracles are present "in a threefold sense: in sacred history, in connection with Muhammad himself and in relation to revelation."[7]

 

Religious Groups:

Claims of miracles in Christianity

There have been numerous claims of miracles in Christianity. This includes the Roman Catholic Church, Christian Science, Protestant, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic and others. The types of miracles that are claimed to occur by these denominations are faith healings and casting out demons.

Hinduism

The Hindu milk miracle was a phenomenon considered by many Hindus as a miracle that occurred on September 21, 1995.

Islam

Sufi biographical literature records claims of miraculous accounts of men and women. The miraculous prowess of the Sufi holy men includes firasa(clairvoyance), the ability to disappear from sight, to become completely invisible and practice buruz(exteriorization). The holy men reportedly tame wild beasts and traverse short distances in a very short time span. They could also produce food and rain in seasons of drought, heal the sick and help barren women become pregnant.[20][21]

Rejection of the Idea of Miracle

Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, wrote “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”.[31]

Robert Ingersoll wrote, "Not 20 people were convinced by the reported miracles of Christ, and yet people of the nineteenth century were coolly asked to be convinced on hearsay by miracles which those who are supposed to have seen them refused to credit."[35]

John Adams, second President of the United States, wrote, "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"[37]

American Revolutionary War patriot and hero Ethan Allen wrote "In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue."[39]

Richard Dawkins Foundation - Medical 'Miracles' Not Supported by Evidence

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/876-medical-39-miracles-39-not-supported-by-evidence

Swami Dayananda – Satyaarth Prakash Chapter 8 – 8:13 – There cannot be an effect without a cause.

 

Summary:

Religious Miracle and cause/effect are mutually exclusive ideas. In spite of the demonstrated advances the World has made in science and technology, the grasp of superstitious beliefs such as Miracles still holds the human mind tightly – in casual usage and in time of human fear and impending disaster. Vedic Theology has consistently rejected the idea of miracles. Science has no place for it. Yet, we see the power of popular religion (Hinduism included) to further/proliferate the idea of Miracles.

As Vedic people, educated in Vedic Theology - in our Mandirs and everyday life, we must stay vigilant to ward off the persistent penetration of superstitious belief systems such as miracles in our congregation, our youths , our leaders, and our family.

I encourage a discussion on this subject – please post a reply below.

Addendum – June 21, 2010

I thank all the participants for a continuing discussion on this subject – particularly Anon who has made a significant contribution to the caliber of the discussions. Again, thanks to all participants for your continuing contribution to this conversation.

Among the responses in support of the occurrence of Miracles, the following point is presumed:

The basic premise for Miracles is that God will act at will to cause things to happen - both positive and negative to Humans. When these things cannot be explained by known Science (laws of nature, cause/effect), this is called a supernatural act and may be classified as a Miracle. The basic issue is this: Does God intervene? Is there such a thing as Divine Intervention? If yes, then a logical conclusion is that Miracles will occur based on God intervening – and such intervention will surely baffle the scientific laws of cause/effect.

The simple Vedic perspective is that God does no such thing. It is not in His nature to execute such actions.

The Laws of Nature are God’s creation and as such as perfect.  The billions and billions ( an billions) of cause/effect transactions occurring each nano-second in this universe and other supposedly parallel multi-verses are exactly following God’s (Scientific) Laws of Nature.

The reality of the World and all things known/unknown to Man (i.e. the cumulative effects of such causes/effect transactions) are exactly as per the schema designed by God. To think otherwise, would mean that there was a “side-effect, a defect of sorts” that needed “fixing” – the fix of course is the Miracle – the supernatural act of God to “engineer” an outcome that is more pleasing to Him – a ridiculous position since HIS creation of the perfect laws of nature is somehow out-putting undesirable/imperfect/un-pleasing effects/side effects requiring his fine-tuning/intervention.

Recall an earlier blog that dealt with this line of thinking – a long read (with excellent contribution from Munna) http://www.aryasamajtoday.com/BlogContent.aspx?BID=15

Excerpt:

If God were to intervene, it would mean that the effects of the Laws of Nature (cause/effect) would somehow yield "an insufficient” effect necessitating some sort of "adjustment" from God. This would suggest that Cause 0 (God) created effects that were somehow imperfect requiring adjustment of effects. This is similar to Cause 0 not getting it right the first time because Intervention is needed to make it "right".

Namaste

Shruti Bhushan Prakash

Jun 21, 2010

 

 

Shruti Bhushan Prakash is a member of the Arya Samaj Community. He is the author of this Blog entry and his views do not necessarily represent the views of MDG NA Inc.

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