St. Januarius, Miracles, and the Proof of God.

I have to tell you all. I was planning on posting this yesterday. I’ll tell you why. Yesterday was the feast of St. Januarius in the Roman Catholic Church.

Allow me to explain. Every year, on the feast of St. Januarius, in a little chapel in Italy, St. Januarius’s blood liquefies. Or so the legend tells.

I was brought up in the Catholic church. And growing up, I have to tell you, there were many impressive miracles. The miracle at Lourdes. The miracle at Fatima. And many more. Believe me. Including the above mentioned, miracle of St. Januarius.

I have to admit. St. Januarius seems a little to just be a parlor trick. But supposedly there are many more.

As I have grown up, I have become more skeptical. Haven’t we all? But one thing remains. The Catholic church offers many so-called miracles, that supposedly defy ordinary explanation.

My question is simply this. If any one miracle could be proven, even just shown to be without easy explanation, would that be proof of God? Or maybe that is a bit too strong.

So let me put it this way. If you are an atheist. And if something the Catholic church offers as a miracle, could at least be proven to be without immediate explanation, would that be enough to make you question your staunchly held beliefs? I trust you can see what I am trying to posit.

I still believe in God. And I believe in being good. But as I get older, I find myself questioning what I once held true. So if you say “No” to the above question, I want you to know, I am not entirely against you. But still, there is a lot in this world that defies explanation. How do you deal with that, if you are atheist (for example)?

Thank you all in advance for your kindly (and civil) replies:).


If it turns out bleeding statues have no natural explanation, then I am willing to listen to the premise that some supernatural entity has the amazing ability to make statues bleed…then dismiss said premise until solid evidence is produced to back it up.

I can’t answer the OP’s question personally because I’m a theist, but I don’t think there’s really one universal answer.

Miracles are enough to convince some people, and not enough to convince others. Jesus went around doing all kinds of scientifically inexplicable things. Some witnesses believed, some didn’t.

I’m pretty sure that there was at least one previously atheistic journalist who was covering the events at Fatima who converted after the miracle of the sun. I think there was also a scientist who was studying the tilma from Our Lady of Guadalupe who converted.

Who were these people?

It is a line of reasoning that starts in the wrong place for me.

Let us establish first of all if anything is happening at all then we can start talking about the mechanisms for it.

And then if something is going on you would have to exhaust all the possible explanations within the natural world (which we know does exist) before I’d even consider an explanation that relies on the supernatural (of which there is zero evidence).

And then you’d have to prove that it was something called a “god” (i.e. a conscious entity) that was existing beyond the natural world and not just a set of phenomena that we haven’t yet incorporated in our worldview yet.

And then you’d have to show that it was due to a conscious entity that can be identified as the christian god that the catholics claim to know the mind of.

So, sure. Do all the above and then we’ll talk.

I’m willing to believe there are mysterious occurrences that cannot currently be explained by science, and maybe never will be. I am NOT willing to extrapolate that to a belief in an invisible, omnipotent deity.

If God personally appears to me, in front of objective witnesses, and passes on a message or performs a miracle, sure, I’m in.

However, if something happens that defies the known and expected properties of the universe, I’m NOT going to just attribute it to a supernatural being or presume that I understand the nature of that being, no matter how many other people do.

I assume for arguments sake that the relic with St. Januarius’ “blood” does look like blood liquefying. Go back more than 400 years ago and it becomes difficult to prove that it isn’t blood, and is in fact pretty much a parlor trick.

Why would I assume today, knowing how many other relics, miracles and mysterious events in Christianity and other religions and beliefs have eventually been shown to be … not magic, that a new one, or the many old ones that are outside the reach of scientific inquiry, is an actual miracle?

What happened when Moses parted the Red sea? I don’t know, I think he probably never did.
Did Joseph Smith and others actually handle the book of Mormon on gold plates? I don’t know, but I think they probably didn’t.
Did Muhammad get someones horse to sink into the ground, and then rescue the guy through prayer? I don’t know, but I think probably not.
Are people actually being abducted by UFOs? I don’t know, but I think probably not.

When presented with something claimed to be a miracle today, why would I let it shake my lack of faith in miracles, rather than assume that, like someone analysing St. Januarius’ blood 400 years ago, I don’t have the tools or the information to explain it?

And why, considering all the conflicting belief systems that claim miracles or similarly fantastical events, would this shake my lack of faith in divine beings? Even if my lack of faith in fantastical events was shaken, I’d still not know how to choose between Catholicism, belief in the Matrix, the Greek gods, aliens or the Illuminati.

Methinks one of these things is not like the others…

True. The Matrix never raped anybody.

If God exists, he knows what is required to convince me to believe in his existence. Until he gets off his ass and does it, I see no reason to take that step on my own.


I am. So far, so good.

What staunchly held beliefs would I be questioning?:confused:

I once saw a Mr Copperfield fellow make The Statue of Liberty disappear! Seriously, poof she was gone! I was amazed, but deep down I knew there was an explanation. Just sayin.

There’s no good reason to think that any miracles have ever happened, because there’s always a simpler explanation for what happened. “Because there’s a magic daddy in the sky” is easy to SAY, but it doesn’t constitute a simple explanation, because it requires a great deal of OTHER explaining to make it work.

If one well documented ‘miracle’, was unequivocally proven to be a purposeful sham for financial exploitation, would that make Catholics abandon their faith in droves?

Converting atheists, or defaithing Catholics is going to take more than a single example, no matter the strength of the proof, I should think.

Mostly though, it’s called FAITH for a reason. Because you have to BELIEVE !!

Believe in the face of zero evidence, believe in the face of science that contradicts, believe steadfastly in a two century old book from another age/culture, being applicable in today’s culture/society.

Ultimately all Christians are ‘cafeteria’ Christians, come down to it. No one is actually practising the Old Testament in it’s entirety. Each branch picks and chooses what to apply and how. For a lot of people that’s hard to respect.

The bible uses the exact same language to condemn eating shellfish, as it does to condemn homosexuality, yet Red Lobster is still packing them in!

You’re saying homosexuals shouldn’t eat at Red Lobster?!

I think it was another unwarranted attack on gay lobsters.

What is it with this idea that any evidence of any supernatural event whatsoever proves the existence of any particular deity? That’s a pretty low bar when it comes to evidence making a case.

Firstly, there is not “always” a simpler explanation. Secondly, “a magic daddy in the sky” is a pretty specific definition of a very vague concept (conscious source of all things).

If a certain “miraculous” event can be produced through natural means, that casts serious doubt on the claims of the supernatural. The “miracle” of the blood liquification can be reproduced in the laboratory.

Is the famous liquefying blood of Saint Januarius a fake?

You can put me down as saying this! Not because I have a problem with gays, but because I have a problem with Red Lobster.

Every single person on the planet believes in gravity.
Every time you test gravity on Earth, it works.

If there was a God, you’d think He could match gravity…