Friday, April 19, 2019

The Miracle Worker

Moses famously parted the Red Sea and then there was the Burning Bush. His modern day counterpart might be someone embarking on the kind of "search" Walker Percy's Binx Bolling undertook in The Moviegoer. The first line of the book is the following quote from Kierkegaard, "the specific quality of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair." Today Moses might be someone leading his people out of a state of spiritual malaise. If you’re talking about biblical narratives of course the creation of the world in six days is the most famous, but let’s not forget the ram appearing at the Binding of Isaac. For children these stories are very real; even adults who are believers tend to interpret them within the context of a certain level of verisimilitude. What's a day in prelapsarian time? But this brings up the question of miracles. People often wish for miracles to occur when they’re in tough situations. It’s called foxhole praying. However the bible is a retrospectroscope. Hindsight is 20/20 and the very point of all these stories is there's no quid pro quo. No appeal is being answered with a sign from God. Miracles may happen, but without the intervention of a celestial operator fielding emergency calls. In this regard, the modern skepticism about the miraculous may relate to the question of human agency. Scientism has produced what Max Weber termed as “disenchantment” with the metaphysical. If you take the notion that laws the three laws of thermodynamics, relativity and quantum mechanics explain the universe then there’s little room left for the imagination. However, perhaps it’s definitional. Does it make sense to say a miracle is a serendipitous happening defying reason of which humans are the beneficiaries but not the cause?

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