Why miracles?
Posted: 07 March 2007 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Has anyone else out there noticed how people attribute everything good thing that happens to a miracle?

I forced myself to watch CNN today and there was a story on the Anderson Cooper show about an Iraqi baby that was getting surgery at a hospital in the US. I saw only the end of the piece, so am not sure what was wrong with the baby, but there was some nerve damage and the baby was paralyzed. Doctors performed surgery where they connected nerves from an undamaged area to the damaged area, and they expected the nerves to grow so that in a few months, the baby would be able to move the paralyed area. Nice story, and then the [b:1ec95f02e2]doctor[/b:1ec95f02e2] says something like, "It was just one miracle after another." No it wasn’t! It was modern medicine and the superb skill of the doctors and their staff!!!

This reminded me of similar comments I’ve heard recently—newscasters calling it a miracle when an airplane pilot safely landed his damaged plane, for example.

This drives me crazy. It’s another way of denigrating the science that enables our lives to be better. Does anyone else notice this and feel bothered by it?

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Posted: 07 March 2007 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Why miracles?

Has anyone else out there noticed how people attribute everything good thing that happens to a miracle?

I forced myself to watch CNN today and there was a story on the Anderson Cooper show about an Iraqi baby that was getting surgery at a hospital in the US. I saw only the end of the piece, so am not sure what was wrong with the baby, but there was some nerve damage and the baby was paralyzed. Doctors performed surgery where they connected nerves from an undamaged area to the damaged area, and they expected the nerves to grow so that in a few months, the baby would be able to move the paralyed area. Nice story, and then the doctor says something like, “It was just one miracle after another.” No it wasn’t! It was modern medicine and the superb skill of the doctors and their staff!!!

This reminded me of similar comments I’ve heard recently—newscasters calling it a miracle when an airplane pilot safely landed his damaged plane, for example.

This drives me crazy. It’s another way of denigrating the science that enables our lives to be better. Does anyone else notice this and feel bothered by it?

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Posted: 07 March 2007 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yup.  Like the woman who worked at a store in the area hit by the tornado.  She and her boss went to a reinforced interior bathroom and prayed.  Most of the store was destroyed, but they being in a stronger arear were safe.  When interviewed, both she and her husband were delighted that her prayers were answered and they were miraculously saved.  I guess the eight high school kids who were killed just didn’t pray hard enough, or they all punished by god.  Ugh.  Nauseating.

I wonder if anyone is saying it was a miracle that the kids were killed?  :evil:

Occam

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Posted: 08 March 2007 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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[quote author=“Occam”]I guess the eight high school kids who were killed just didn’t pray hard enough, or they all punished by god.

Well, that would be the logical conclusion of that kind of thinking, wouldn’t it? And, after Katrina, there was a church that was destoyed, but either a statue of Mary or Jesus was left standing. A miracle!! Then a year later, taht church in Florida that was built to withstand a category 3 hurricane or something was flattened. I didn’t hear anyone of that congregation saying they had done something bad to bring that devastation upon their church. I mean, wouldn’t it follow that god was trying to tell them something by not saving their church?

I guess the thing that bothers me most about this kind of thinking is that many of the people who are saying “it was a miracle” are people who should know better. The doctor who performed the surgery, evenif he is religious, shouldn’t be attributing it to a miracle. The media, who supposedly have a clue about what a miracle is by definition, shouldn’t be spouting every bit of good luck as a miracle.

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Posted: 08 March 2007 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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To be fair, I also think that in the vernacular, a “miracle” just means something very unlikely but good. Depending on the context, it might not have any intended religious connotations.

I mean, I could even see myself in a daze saying “It’s a miracle I survived!” after some calamity. By which I would just mean that I could hardly believe I survived ...

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Posted: 08 March 2007 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Unfortunately, you are right, Doug.  It’s disgusting that our language is so infused with religious thought that we use all of those words without even being aware of it.  I’m quite often guilty of using religious words as profanity without thinking.  We should try to find good, strong substitutes for those words. 

“It’s quite surprising that I survived” doesn’t quite have the power of “It’s a miracle that I survived.”

I suppose that I could switch to bodily function words instead of religious expletives, but they all have different shades of meaning.  :D

Occam

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