Review: The Case for Miracles

The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural

The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural by Lee Strobel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been a Christian for a long time and picked up Strobel’s book on miracles. As I read through the arguments against by Shermer and Hume and all those arguments for miracles, I am astonished by the sheer weight of evidence in favor.

Ruling out the fakers, the medical misdiagnosis, there are some truly cases that have no naturalistic, materialistic explanations. For example, dreams in the Muslim world. Dreams are wildly subjective and can be chalked up to over active imaginations, but for Jesus to appear and tell a Muslim woman to go to the market and look for a man dressed a certain way, and it came true exactly as told, that’s not explained away easily. For instance, when I am being picked up or meeting a new person at an airport, I usually tell them in advance, by email or phone, that I will be dressed a certain way: blue shirt, khakis, and black shoes. Depending on security, I might even attach a photo. Meanwhile, that person most likely will have a sign with my name on it. They do not dream about it. But for this to happen repeatedly to many Muslims looking for the real Christ, through dreams and not hotmail, that boggles the mind.

Whether the reader is a Christian or not, one important value to have when discussing miracles is to have an open mind. There are some who have already ruled out supernatural before the discussion begins or have placed such a high bar for evidence that they can never happen. Even PhDs do that so I truly wonder whether or not they are indeed open to such discussion. They have set up straw men arguments like: a miracle has never happened to me; therefore miracles can exist. Well, what happens if it happens to your mother? Would you still deny? Hmmm… Or miracles can’t violate natural law; as Hume argues, therefore no miracles. It’s like saying: birds fly; therefore anyone who believes in gravity is wrong.

The problem with Shermer’s argument in the first two chapters is that he rehashes beliefs in the resurrection that has long been debunked. There was an argument floating around the early 1800s that Jesus did not actually die, but merely swooned. Unfortunately, modern doctors who read about the actual accounts from the four Gospels all agree that Jesus certainly died. Zero people out of zero people survive crucifixions. Or that there were mass hallucinations. Again, also medically incorrect. Either Jesus actually died and rose again, or not.

In the end, I think Strobel did build a good case for miracles, especially allowing for doubts and charlatans. And it also depends on your own view of God; if God can raise Jesus from the dead after 3 days in a tomb, can create a universe from nothing, then he can do any miracle. If you don’t believe in God at all, or redefine “miracles”, then no rational argument will ever persuade you.

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