One reason that the belief in miracles persists is that when it comes to really big numbers we are really, really bad at math.
The odds of your getting killed by lightning this year are around one in three million. …With over 500 million people in North America, about 150 will die this year from a lightning strike.
Around the world, as many as 24,000 people get killed by lightning each year and ten times that many get struck and injured, with even more close calls. There are over 7 billion people on planet earth. Over the course of a decade over 2 million of them will have been hit by lightning and millions more will have seen it happen. It is not hard to imagine that one unlucky victim took the name of the Lord in vain right before being struck with lightning [and those who witnessed his profane use of the Lord’s name, saw the lightning strike as divine punishment. How could it not be: “What are the chances of being struck by lightning immediately after cursing??].
–Valeri Tarico, The Case Against Miracles, p. 220-221
Gary: I’ve spoken to a number of Christian apologists who tell me that their conversion to Christianity was not based on historical evidence but on an “undeniable miracle”. One of those apologists, “Don”, claims that one afternoon he was driving on an icy, snowy road when suddenly his car slid off the road, heading at a high rate of speed toward a thicket of trees. When his car came to a stop, it was resting between two of those trees, with only inches to spare on each side. “It was a miracle!!!”
Don survived, but so have millions of other people involved in similar car accidents. (And many millions of people, many of them very devout Christians, have not survived. They died.) Statistically, Don’s survival is not significant. Statistically, some people speeding toward a thicket of trees are going to survive, even if by inches. Rare, odd events happen.
Yes, when it comes to really big numbers (statistics), many religious people are very bad at math (or just don’t want to see the truth)!
End of post.