Are miracles real? Are miracles the foundation of your faith or unlikely events on which our brains impose divine meaning? Are miracles important or essential to faith?
Morgan Freeman takes on these questions on “The Power of Miracles,” the final episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, airing Sunday May 8 at 9/8c. Our Patheos bloggers are back for one final time to give their thoughts on miracles, and how miracles affect their faith. Read on and make sure to click over to their blogs to read the full story.
Lori Erickson of Holy Rover discusses visiting the healing shrine in Lourdes, France. “One might expect that Lourdes would be a place of sadness, given the pain obviously experienced by many of its pilgrims. But I was struck by the feeling of joy at the shrine. I think part of it came from a sense of solidarity among the visitors. At Lourdes, everyone was part of the same parade of the broken.”
Padma Kuppa from Seeking Shanti discusses the stories told in Hindu religious texts. She says, “…there are stories which are used to teach, containing valuable life lessons and Hindu philosophical teachings, on dharma, ritual, and more – often heard at grandmother’s knee.” She shares the miraculous stories of Ahalya and Draupadi concluding, “In each of these, the miracle is a metaphor: trust in the Divine, the rest will take care of itself, things will be set right.”
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National Geographic Channel went to 22 countries around the world to find out if people believe in miracles.
Paul Asay from Watching God begins, “Miracles, by their very nature, are difficult to buy into… When I hear someone speak of a ‘miracle’ I want to say, ‘prove it’.” Continuing, “I don’t think that we’ll ever be able to prove miracles—to prove that an extraordinary event was directly influenced, unquestionably, by the hand of God. And I think that’s by design: Believers are called to lives of faith, and intrinsic in that faith is the possibility of doubt.”
Farouk Peru of Person Al-Islam looks at the stories and miracles in the Quran. He states, “…we need to get deep into the Quran and understand its stories are metaphors. This means the miracles are not literal but rather deep symbolisms depicting the basic framework of the human condition. I derive far more from the notion of Noah’s ark as a metaphor for a system of social preservation from the flood of life than I would from the idea of building a ship! That is indeed a miracle I can experience.”
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Nancy Rockwell from The Bite in the Apple admits “talk about miracles makes me squirm.” She asks, “Why do miracles happen, and not happen? Happen to one and not another. Happen to us now and not then? Happen when we pray and not happen when we pray? Leave us, afterwards, sure and yet unsure, that they happened.
Chris Williams of Chrisicisms states, “I have a hard time with the supernatural… I think my hangups come from the subset of evangelicalism I grew up in… When you grow up in a culture that downplays miracles, you probably won’t see many.” But he states, “My attitude on miracles is shifting. I don’t demand them. I don’t expect them. But I will happily welcome them.”
Justin Whitaker from American Buddhist Perspectives states “what some Buddhists might consider ‘miracles’ could also be called ‘supernormal’, as opposed to ‘supernatural’.” He paraphrases Tibetan monk Losang Tenpa’s conversation with Morgan Freeman, “that the ‘miracles’ of the Buddha were achieved through the power of exercising his mind.” Justin concludes, “You want a miracle? Focus your mind.”
Kyle Roberts in Unsystematic Theology asks “Have you ever witnessed a miracle? To even answer that question, we’d have to come to some common agreement as to what we mean by miracle.” Kyle prefers Keith Ward’s definition of miracles as “extraordinary manifestations of spiritual power… It simply indicates that extraordinary, even unusual, things can happen from time to time in our universe and within our history.”
Thanks to each of the bloggers for joining in the discussion on The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. The Power of Miracles airs Sunday May 8 at 9/8c. Check it out and start your own conversation with the help of our Miracles discussion guide.