A Rational Argument
For Miracles Of
The Jewish Bible
I've never addressed any correspondence to you so let me introduce myself. I consider myself to be an atheist but from the age of around 12 till 20 I was an orthodox Jew and as such I was a fervent believer. I like to think I am rational and having reconsidered my old theistic beliefs I have rejected them as being irrational and unscientific.
When reading works devoted towards showing up the irrationality of religion and belief in God, however, I have realised that it was always the Christian view of god and religion that was being attacked as irrational. It is quite understandable that this is so as I would guess the overwhelming amount of atheists that frequent the Positive Atheist are more familiar with the Christian approach to God and religion. However I was never taught these theories and it always appeared to me that the myths and theories being set up for destruction were nothing more than "straw men" that could be demolished intellectually without much effort at all. Christianity has always been far more faith-based than Judaism which is more in favour of rational inquiry.
So when it comes down to studying the "proofs" presented in the Jewish works of philosophy there are a number of arguments in favour of the existence of God and the Jewish Torah that I do not find that easy to discard. I would like to present a summary of one of these arguments for your comments.
Take the revelation at Sinai of God and his Torah. Now it is a fundamental tenet of the Jewish faith that this revelation occurred personally before the entire Jewish people numbering over 3 million. Now irrespective of the truth of this belief there are people who believe that the divine revelation at Sinai occurred. I'm not going to assume that because people believe it that it must have occurred. However, it is a fact that there are people who believe it occurred. They believe it because their parents believed it and so on going back hundreds of generations. So there is a chain of generations that believe and this is a fact. The question arises, where did this belief begin? Who were the first believers and how did they get to this belief originally.
There are two broad possibilities. Firstly that the Revelation did indeed occur miraculously and was witnessed and that this belief that people today consider a fact is indeed correct. The second possibility is that the Revelation never really happened and it is a fiction that was made up and the people who believe were convinced somehow that it did in fact happen. The argument proceeds and investigates the second possibility and shows how this second possibility is in fact not possible and therefore the only possibility is that the miracle did happen.
The argument's basic tenet is that it is not possible for an entire nation to be convinced that something as public as this alleged Revelation occurred when in actual fact nothing of the sort occurred and it is all one fictitious concoction. Take for example the following scenario. Someone tells you that 200 years ago a volcano erupted in the middle of the city of London. Do you believe it? No, of course not, because there is no evidence that this actually happened. The historians ignore it and no members of the public now or from 200 years ago have any records of this having occurred. Now the point is that there is no way something like this could be falsified and today held out to be a fact when in fact it did not happen, because the obvious question would be, well where are all the records and why doesn't it exist in the popular folklore, etc. If it was falsified one needs to understand how specifically the falsifier went about falsifying it. If in Year 1 he approached someone and began trying to convince him that a supernatural revelation occurred 100 years before he would be unable to answer why this is the first time the person being told has heard of this. If the event actually occurred before the entire nation of his ancestors it would be impossible for him not to know about it.
At this point it should be noted that this argument immediately discounts the "miracles" of the world's other religions, such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. None of them claim a public revelation or miracle in the sense that the entire nation or even a significant portion of it witnessed the miracle, and this means that its' miracles could have been introduced by one or more people at any time. Even it was proclaimed by a fraudster that the miracle had occurred before several thousand people (assuming the general population numbered in the hundreds of thousands at least) it would be quite plausible to the person whom the fraudster was trying to convince that the miracle had indeed happened and he had not heard about it. The claim of a private miracle which subsequently did not become publicised could quite possibly be a concoction foisted on a gullible public. But this is not a possibility with a public miracle.
So if this cannot be falsified into the public record if it did not happen (and the Revelation is a matter of public record and as stated above millions believe it did happen, irrespective of the truth of this belief) the only possible answer is that it did happen. This would be the case with the Revelation at Sinai which occurred over several days but the argument would be all the stronger with regard to Manna (which it is claimed was nourishing food which fell from the skies for 40 years while the Jews wandered the desert). To imagine that a public miracle could falsely be claimed to have occurred before an entire nation for 40 years is implausible considering the above argument. Therefore the most simple explanation is that the miracles in the Jewish Bible did indeed occur and if this is accepted it is not far from there to the existence of God.
Having just read an article on "miracles" on your site I must add to the above that what the argument seems to posit is that it is more rational and credible to accept the Divine Revelation that to otherwise explain away the above argument and therefore the miracles must be accepted as true.
I have presented this argument in brief form. It is available in a more expanded form at
or I can mail it to you as a PDF doc. I would like any comments you may have.
This argument does not address the likelihood that the "miracles" that were allegedly "witnessed" by "an entire nation" were just stories that grew out of proportion and changed over the years. For a wonderful analysis on how myths grow, see Andrew Dickson White's The Warfare Of Science With Theology, Chapter XX: "From The Divine Oracles To The Higher Criticism," particularly Section "V. Victory of the Scientific and Literary Methods," where the tale of the Buddha was incorporated into a fictional Romance novel, of sorts, and was eventually reported as fact to the Roman Catholic authorities, which resulted in in Buddha's canonization as a Roman Catholic Saint -- Saint Josaphat!
Neither does it address the fact that there is absolutely no archaeological or linguistic evidence to back the claims that (1) a nation of Hebrews lived in Egypt; (2) Hebrews wandered in the Sinai desert. The modern nation of Israel is currently backing "studies" designed to show that these claims are true, because her very claim for existence depends upon the Hebrew version Abraham myth (which differs from the Islamic version) being true. Without the Abraham and Moses myths, modern Israel has no ethical claim to the land it now occupies, and must occuly that land solely on her military might and that of her allies.
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