And even in Jesus’ time men disbelieved despite His miracles (Matthew -23; ; John 7:5; ), which indicates that skepticism did not originate with the “Age of Reason.” If we assume that everything we can know must pass through a preconceived empirical grid, then knowing anything beyond our experience is impossible—and we’re simply left to trade proof-texts. Stalemate.
But more to the meat of the matter, the firefighter points out that Jesus failed to cure all the sick and feed all the hungry. This, he claims, would be like a firefighter failing to respond to suffering victims—a comparison which simply cannot be logically made.In a later, post-9/11 article on the website, our firefighter further writes, “So why is it, then, with so many billions of prayers being said year-in and year-out by millions of Christians all over the world, we have never seen a ‘miracle’ come in the form of even one resurrection from the dead? I have seen many children die tragically in my profession and do you know what? They are all still dead.”
The skeptic has created a god in the image of a firefighter, and then judges said god by the same concocted and finite standard. Is it possible that there is a bigger picture than our own limited view, and we simply don’t always get it? I suspect that we rarely understand the interconnectedness of events that relate to the “choices” that God makes.
Supposedly, Galileo and Copernicus long ago proved that we are not the center of the universe—and if that’s true, then Jesus doesn’t exist to grant every prayer mankind makes. The firefighter would apparently prefer it if God set up a prayer e-mail like Jim Carrey did in Bruce Almighty, responding “Yes to All” simply because we very wise and good humans need proof that God exists.
The irony here is that the skeptic firefighter is actually named Bruce! Maybe he, like Jim Carrey, could be God for a day, week or year. Doesn’t everyone want to be God? We all want to be the guy with power, and play Monday-morning quarterback. “Man, if I were God, I’d…” That would be great, I guess, unless of course someone less intelligent and charming than me (you know, a guy like Charles Manson) became God.
Still, even after begging God for a miracle, our Bruce continues his almighty rant by indicating that any miracle short of his own standard just won’t do. “The reason nonbelievers don’t recognize these miracles,” Bruce says he is often told by Christians, “is because we are ‘just too arrogant and too blind to see them.’ Isn’t it interesting, though, that these so-called ‘miracles’ always seem to come in the form of naturally occurring phenomena, or riding on the coattails of human exertion and teamwork?”
He relates in this same article that finding people alive in the rubble of tragic events like 9/11 is not so much a miracle as a product of probability. From where I sit, Bruce doesn’t miss miracles because he is “too arrogant and too blind to see them.” He misses them simply because, like so many of us, there’s just too much smoke on the brain.
Still, such skepticism challenges me to stop using the word “miracle” to describe last-minute comebacks by my favorite football team. And it also reminds me that it’s no easier today than it was in Solomon’s or Job’s time to lift my closed-ended worldview long enough to reveal a world governed by a powerful God working incessantly toward His will and not my own.