The Rejection of Pascal's Wager
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Final Words on the Miracles of Jesus

During the time of Jesus and the writing of the gospels the uncritical attitude towards miracles was the norm. Jesus was certainly not the only one in antiquity to have miracles attributed to him. This is attested to even by the gospels for they make Jesus warn his disciples thus:

Mark 13:22 (Matthew 24:24)
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

His miracles too were in no way unique, as Guignebert concludes:

The miracles which Jesus performed, according to the gospel writers, were in no way original; the healing of the lunatics, the expulsion of the devils, extraordinary cures, wonderful powers over nature, and even the resurrection of the dead, all were part of what the faith, both of Jews and of pagans, expected of a genuine worker of miracles. [1]

In other words in the credulous environment which Jesus and the evangelists found themselves in the accounts of miracles are bound to proliferate. Just as we reject the reality of pagan miracles, we reject the reality of the gospel miracles.

Furthermore it should be noted that Jesus' actual "miracles" could not have been very spectacular (apart from the fact that it was not always successful-Mark 6:5) for didn't the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum witnessed the lion's share of Jesus' miracles and still did not believe?

Matthew 11:20-24
Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Chora'zin! woe to you, Beth-sa'ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."

With these "loving" words of Jesus for skeptics we close this section on miracles.

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1.Guignebert, Jesus: p194

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