There’s an interesting video over at ExChristian.net titled, “Miracles Prove God is Real”. It talks about the Hindu “milk miracle” that happened a number of years back. The “milk miracle” is that Hindu statues appeared to drink milk when a small spoon-full of milk was put up to their mouths. There’s really nothing to this “miracle”; the milk would simply adhere to the statue causing the milk to be pulled-up out of the spoon, making it appear that it was being consumed by the statues.
The video briefly mentions the existence of similar “miracles” in Christianity. For example, there are sometimes reports that tears are seen forming in the eyes of statues of Mary:
Tears Of Blood Called Miracle By Catholic Faithful
Weeping Statues and Icons – Blood, Water, Oil
It’s amazing how often the “faithful” accept these miracles without much question. I feel bad for the “agnostic” in the video who was duped, and declared that he now believes in Hindu gods. While the case of the Hindu statues is fairly easy to explain as a misunderstanding, the weeping statues of Mary are due to some person intentionally doing a hoax. Occasionally, scientists will test these “tears” (often they are barred from doing so, because it’s considered bad to put these things to scientific tests). I remember one case where the “tears” were determined to be male human blood mixed with chicken fat (meaning the “tears” would begin to run only in warm temperatures). In one case they were even able to genetically match the “blood tears” to a man who had owned the statue.
See Also: James Randi – Will This persistent Delusion Never Go Away?
I think all religious miracles can be explained away as hoaxes, misunderstandings, and a huge lack of skepticality (who often have a huge desire to believe in the validity of miracles to buttress their faith and provide a sense of wonder). Typically, people of all religions are unaware that “miracles” happen in other religions, too – falsely believing that theirs is somehow unique in producing “miracles” that validate their particular religion or cult.
This also brings up an interesting point about heaven-and-hell religions (i.e. Christianity, Islam, and their variations). They say you must convert or be horribly punished for eternity in the afterlife. If a Hindu is deceived by these false Hindu-based “miracles”, then a person comes to them and preaches Christianity or Islam, and they do not convert because they falsely believe their Hindu religion has produced genuine miracles that validate Hinduism, will they be end up in hell? Couldn’t God provide real miracles to clarify which religion is the true one? How is that fair to punish someone for being genuinely deceived – particularly when God had the capability to perform real miracles, and people would be happy to convert in the face of real evidence? Would you punish someone for falling for a con man or an online scam? How is that justice? In contrast, if you want to convert someone to your false religion, you can provide scary stories about hell, and tell them this is “their choice” – which effectively puts the onus on them and their choice, rather than where it belongs: with the believer and religion’s obligation to provide evidence of that religion’s validity.
Update, March 1, 2008: Regarding the “Milk Miracle”, here’s two pictures for Steve. They come from a video claiming that the Milk Miracle is true. Notice the stream of milk running down the statue’s chin? This isn’t a miracle. It’s gravity and failure to observe.