Thursday, 23 September 2010

30,000 Years of Absurdity

According to experts these French cave drawings are between 30.000 and 32,000 years old. Not bad for their time, are they? As we can see from here in 2010, it has taken man over 30,000 millenniums to learn how to draw like Jean-Michel Basquiat.

And it would seem from The Good Book, that men (or women) made these images some 27,000 years before Adam and Eve. Hard to believe it, (or Adam and Eve it, as Damian would say). Makes one wonder what was going on all that time.
Nothing, it seems. Just people being born, living, making art and making more people and then dying. And not paying income tax, or watching Mel Gibson movies.

An absurd world, then and now. Though possibly a little less absurd now, without Basquiat.
(But Mel is still around. Bit quiet, though, recently, is he not?)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

More Unceasing Miracles - Show A Leg!

Zenyatta, the miracle horse. I believe, I believe, I believe!

My last post generated some nice responses, for which I thank those guilty.

Golden Chersonnese Is worried that I might be unhappy at the paucity of Islamic miracles. No.
That deals with that. My current take on Islam is that it is even worse than Christianity and Judaism, at present, at least. Miracles or not.

Kathleen, a very nice and kindly lady, has thoughts on Fatima. Apparently, the Sun 'danced.'
I don't know quite what that would entail - bouncing about like a balloon? Well how far away from the 'epicenter' was this marvel still seen? Was the Sun dancing at 100 yards and not at 101? What happened to the Sun in Lisbon at the time? In Rome? Any pictures? No movies, I suspect. Be able to 'grab' it on our mobiles now, though! Next time, perhaps.
A more constructive thought on Fatima and Lourdes, why has God, as far as I know, never replaced a missing leg? Now, that would get my attention. Why does He specialise in the internal stuff? Any clue, anyone?

As to the Resurrection, I have looked at the four versions in the New Testament. They differ so widely that no newspaper, apart from the Supermarket tabloids in the USA, would or could run it.
And before anyone tries it, let's not go down the specious road that suggests that because the four accounts differ, means, in some weird convoluted way, that the basic story must be true. (If they were identical, it would mean collusion.) I have seen that tried. No, let's not be so silly. Is one more 'relatively' true than the others?
Relativism, The Bogey Word. The Pope ain't gonna like this...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Miracles never cease

Stanley Spencer; The Raising of Lazarus. I think, no caption material.

High time for a new blog. Lazy old Toad that I am. Too much water has been passed since the last installment. The most significant item to report is that Lulu and Nabi, the Greyhound Girls, are off to Leon again next week to be 'neutered.' We took them last week but Lulu had gone into heat.
This operation will cost three hundred Euros each. We have not paid a cent to buy any of our dogs or the cat, but they have now cumulatively cost us thousands. Still, we save by not having a telly.

What has this to do with miracles?, you say. Nothing, unless, you regard everything as a miracle, including the fact that our pets have not yet managed to bankrupt us.
I think this is the general attitude of Kathleen (re miracles that is, not bankruptcy) on the famous 'Catholicism Pure & Simple' blog, to which I regularly subscribe.
Like many others, she is, I believe, of the 'every snowflake, every baby's fingernail, every day without an earthquake, is a miracle' persuasion. If I am wrong, she will swiftly, and rightly, disabuse me.
And Joyfulpapist, another chum on CP&S, is planning a piece on this very subject soon.
Good, because 'miracles' are a stumbling block for me and many others on the Road to Salvation.
So, it's time to flip open the Very Excellent 'Hello!' Magazine Sub-editors' Dictionary, and read that a miracle is defined as:

1. An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. A wonder; marvel.
4. A wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.

Interesting that the word is, in my opinion, in the process of being devalued even now. "I've found the car keys! it's a miracle!"
I suppose Kathleen's point is that, as we are all here as a result, as she sees it, of a supernatural event, everything that follows is, naturally, supernatural. Well, it's one way of looking at it. But I'm old-fashioned, and think this is merely further devaluing the word.

It will be no surprise that I'm with David Hume on this. I was going to run his original text on miracles, but it's long and wordy, and I found a neat little precis on the web.
Hume provides four reasons to think that there has never been sufficient evidence in favor of a miracle to render it probable. We must note that he, like me, does not go so far as to state that miracles don't happen. He merely doubts that they happen and says that, if they DO happen, we can never be sure they were miracles in the first place.
We are getting back to Popper here. No miracle, indeed nothing metaphysical, can either be verified or falsified. So either we must accept them on faith, or ignore all claims of them.

What Hume says:

First, no miracle is supported by testimony of a sufficient number of trustworthy people to rule out the possibility of falsehood.

Second, while we should normally believe that which most closely accords itself with past experience, the sensations of surprise and wonder often lead us to unreasonable beliefs. There are countless instances of tall tales of all sorts that stem not from reasonable inquiry but from a love of wonder.

Third, Hume remarks that most reports of miraculous events occur amongst barbarous or ignorant people, who may not be sophisticated enough to disbelieve fabricated testimony.

Fourth, since every religion claims the veracity of its own miracles as against the miracles of every other religion, the evidence of all other religions opposes the evidence in favor of a miracle in any one particular religion. For instance, what a Muslim might consider a miracle would be considered a heresy by anyone of different faith.

(I find reason number four particularly compelling. And if anyone takes the slightest notice of all this, it will be a miracle.)