by Jay Johansen | Aug 28, 2011
Every now and then an atheist demands to know why, if there really is a God, he doesn't just perform some great miracle to prove that he exists. If God just performed some big public miracle, atheists would have to admit that he was real. But he doesn't. Therefore God doesn't exist. Case closed.
Consider the classic atheist challenge: "If God really exists, let him strike me with lightning!" Suppose that an atheist said this, and at that very moment, a bolt of lightning tore through the roof of the building and struck him, knocking him to the ground, stunned but (let's assume) alive. In real life, what would his reaction be? Do you think he would say, "Zounds, God is real after all! I renounce my atheism and become a Christian!" Or, really, would he be more likely to say, "Wow, what a bizaree coincidence. What are the odds against getting struck by lightning just as I talked about being struck by lightning? Ha ha, this is pretty funny."
I think the reality is that the atheist would not be convinced by any miracle. No matter what happened, he would always come up with some "rational" explanation to explain it away, or he would dismiss it as a coincidence, or he would simply deny that it ever happened.
© 2011 by Jay Johansen