Astronaut Charles Duke became a Christian after he returned to Earth after being the youngest man to ever walk on the moon and after finding himself in a troubled marriage and problems with alcoholism. The Christian faith restored his marriage and brought sobriety into his life, and sometime thereafter he led a prayer meeting where a blind girl recovered her sight. Somewhere in all his life’s saga, he also became a Creationist.
One of the people who posted at TheSkepticalZone, Richard B. Hoppe (RBH), knew of Duke, perhaps even personally since RBH worked on the Apollo program intimately. When I confronted RBH about Duke’s Christianity and Creationism, RBH (normally quick to criticize Christian Creationists) became strangely silent. No one to my knowledge has questioned Charles Duke’s credibility or integrity as far a making up stories to draw attention to himself or make Christian converts. After all, he was a national hero, an air force general, an astronaut, and a successful businessman. Unlike a televangelist, there is little reason for him to make up stories of miracles.
I had the privilege of meeting Charle Duke when he spoke at a College Christian event…
But further to the point regarding miracles, Kim-Kwong Chan is the author of a scholarly work on Protestanism in China (published by Cambridge University Press, 1994). He writes about miracles in China here:
Why is the Chinese church growing so rapidly at this time?
There are three basic reasons.
First, there is an ideological vacuum in China.
Second, Christianity provides people with an intimate social experience: love, caring, concern, and fellowship.
Third, there are the miracles. When I travel to the interior of China, the Christian communities all claim they’ve seen and experienced miracles.
What type of miracles?
One typical example: An old Christian woman in one village decided, after her eightieth birthday, to start preaching the gospel. She went to the village where her daughter lived and began to preach there. Some villagers who had been afflicted with various incurable diseases, like cancer, came to this woman. When she prayed for them, many were suddenly healed.
Then two more people came to ask for healing, and she prayed, and they were healed. Then three more families. After this woman left, these villagers decided her God was very good. So they abandoned their idols and decided to believe in this Jesus.
But they didn’t know how to believe. So they sent one person to nearby towns to look for a place where people worshipped Jesus. When they finally found such a church, they told the pastor, “We have 80 people in our village who want to believe in Jesus. But we don’t know how to believe in Jesus.”
After that, a new church was started. I hear such stories all the time in my travels.
How do the local government officials react?
That’s another interesting set of stories I hear. People tell me that if local officials try to harass Christians, many of them get strange diseases.
In one case, I was told that the local communist party boss couldn’t speak any longer because his tongue got stuck out; he couldn’t put his tongue back into his mouth again. After he repented and became a Christian, suddenly his tongue moved, and he could speak again. Afterwards, more people became Christians.
I don’t know if such instances are psychosomatic; I haven’t followed up to confirm each story. But I hear these kind of testimonies in most of the villages I enter.
Also, Dr. Craig Keener, professor of New Testament and history, gave a talk at Paul Nelson’s school, Biola on miracles.
Keener mentions the account of Blaise Pascal’s niece being healed immediately of blindness and Hume’s reaction to the documented incident. Keener raises some interesting philosophical questions regarding Hume’s dismissal of the miracle.
The account of Pascal’s niece is included in Keener’s two-part lecture on miracles, and a few cases of physician-documented cases of healing and dead being raised.
Also, the number one Creationist book in 2018/2019 was about the connection of UFOs to demonic activity. President of Creation Ministries Internation, Gary Bates gives a lecture on his book and movie about UFOs, Demons, and Evolutionism:
I found an account in USA today that covered police reports and social workers who dealt with a family that had encounters with demons:
Christianity is spreading in China, Africa, Iran, and India partly due to miracles and exorcisms.
Now, some skeptics say they want repeatability and then they would believe such as the James Randi challenge (which I posted on here at TSZ):
And one might question, “why doesn’t God heal everyone.” Or “why is God so hidden, why isn’t he as obvious to our senses as the air we breathe.” Certainly, I’ve thought about those questions myself.
I believe a light switch exists because I can use it to control a light bulb. But if one could work miracles on demand like operating a light switch, and thus believe in miracles, at that point, wouldn’t one be God? Thus if prayer could reliably heal, it wouldn’t be a miracle or act of God, because the miracle would be at our whims, not God’s.
So this leads to a paradox — if miracles are at God’s whim’s not ours, and if miracles are through processes beyond our understanding and control, can we believe in them? It is far easier to believe in things we can control and understand, but could we ever believe in something we can’t control and understand — like God, Intelligent Design, etc.? I guess each individual has his opinion on these matters.
Finally, what about multiple universes, or some other naturalistic mechanism? Suppose I were that blind girl in Duke’s account, or better yet the blind beggar in John chapter 9 whom Jesus healed? If I were that blind beggar and Jesus healed me, would I look for multiverse explanations, or would I follow Jesus the rest of my life and put my faith and trust in Him rather than the multiverse. On a personal level, I would choose Jesus over multiverses.
[I thought of my friend and colleague VJ Torley as I wrote this. I hope he will weigh in.]