Miracles aren't real. They're fake!

Are Miracles Real? (Why People Lie About Them)

What I’m about to share with you is based off of something that happened in my life – my personal experience with faith healers – but I’m telling it in the second person because I really think there are some people who may be able to relate:

You’ve all always wanted to believe in something epic, possibly supernatural or miraculous. Every kid wants a super power. It’d be marvelous to be able to summon the power of god with a prayer or to heal people with a touch of your hand. Sitting in church you reflect on miraculous tales you’ve heard: how god cured some old lady’s joint pain and your grandmother’s cancer vanished with a prayer. But doubt duels credulity in a tormented cognitive dialogue. “Are miracles real?” you wonder. Second-hand anecdotes carry no more weight than suspect mythology. Hearsay is hearsay and is utterly useless in the evidence department.

As for your grandma, misdiagnoses is in no way out of the question. Perhaps the doc’s treatment did the trick, or she experienced spontaneous remission as other cancer patients have. Besides, would god save her and not your 22 year old best friend you earnestly interceded with him for.

You’re standing in the aisle seat three rows back – music fostering familial solidarity. The preacher, filled with Charisma urges the sick forward. Mustering enough courage to cautiously proceed, you approach the faith healer and inform him of your previously dislocated shoulder’s recurring pain.

He prays over it once, the audience goes silent. Nothing happens! Twice, still nothing. You’re standing there at the front desperately wanting a miracle. All eyes are on you, the pressure is immense; your adrenaline: through the steeple. With a third attempt, the church band goes crazy in a melodic crescendo. You feel a wave wash over you excitement strikes as your pain dissipates! You’ve always desperately desired your own miracle. “I’m healed!” you yell, possibly prematurely, and are instantly greeted with a celebratory uproar before being ushered back to your seat.

But within a few minutes the soreness and pain slowly return, leaving a small doubt as you search for alternative explanations. Did the pastor just pull one over on everyone in the congregation but you? Or was he deceived too. You realize deep down that your shoulder wasn’t miraculously healed. But you want to believe so badly. You want to be special – to be chosen by a god! You want so badly for it all to be true. You feel like you can’t let your god down. A week later your story has spread far and wide, becoming more elaborate each time others retell it. You inform a close friend that the pain came back, and she blames you, saying you backslid or didn’t have enough faith or something. But you know that’s not true.

You know you weren’t healed, but you still feel obligated to share your miracle anyways to perhaps lead others to god. Having been taught that’s somehow noble. Exaggerating your story, you tell others in an attempt to be the most holy, fanatical follower of god, and possibly lead them to him. But deep down inside you have your doubts. Suppressing the nagging knowledge that you’re not being entirely honest – that miracles aren’t real – but you feel like it’s what God wants you to do. What a sick scenario.

There’s nothing noble about deception. There’s nothing admirable about lying to yourself and others – about propagating a scam or at the very least exaggerating your initial condition and warping the outcome. Every retelling of your story finds it more elaborate in a desperate soul-saving effort. In the back of your head you feel like you’re doing them a favor, but you know that you’re not. You feel like you’re leading them to god, but you’re deceiving them. Not that there’s any difference.

You’re fooling yourself, but you don’t have to live a lie. You can be free of this Dogmatic obligation. You can find true joy and happiness in living life to the fullest – in exploration, science, and learning new things without being fettered in deceptive superstition. The mind doesn’t have to be impaired nor progress impeded. It’s ok to doubt. In fact it’s the most honest thing you can (and should) do. You’ll find that the air is much fresher when you’re not shackled to oppressive dogma or deliberate deception. You can be honest and admit you don’t believe. Stop living a lie. You deserve to be free, and I’d love to see you gain that freedom. There are millions of us who don’t buy the BS. And you’re more than welcome to join us.

“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”Carl Sagan

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God's Little Liar - Sapient Saturday (with Thomas Westbrook)
God's Little Liar - Sapient Saturday (with Thomas Westbrook)

Why do people lie about miracles. Why do so many of these miraculous anecdotes spread like wildfire? Aside from misdiagnoses, the placebo effect, and spontaneous remission that occurs naturally, many people share faith healing stories of people who were never really healed (without knowing it was just adrenaline or something equally explainable), and others feel obligated to lie for god in order to lead people to him. But miracles aren't real. Lying about them is dishonest, and you don't have to lie any more.


  1. It’s so encouraging to hear stories like this. I belonged to a Pentecostal church and could never quite figure out why, no matter how times I had ‘hands laid on’ that I could never find that moment of speaking in tongues, or even being knocked over by gods power… you fake it because you think eventually you will make… until you realise that it just a scam that your own integrity has never quite allowed you to give into. You can’t pretend anymore because of the lie.

  2. I spoke in tongues but always felt like I was faking it…and what I was told to do to have the experience when it didn’t come naturally sounded like a recipe for faking it.

  3. This story is soooo similar to mine except without the dislocated shoulder. I always wondered why the “power of god” didn’t work on me not even in the placebo way. I just felt absolutely nothing in church. Many prophets have told me stuff about my life that I never told a soul yet I still felt the scam of it all. Never in my life have I felt much more peace and some sort of serenity by simply realizing I was responsible for my own life and living it for me. I hope that some day the god delusion will be realized by all. That koolade is nasty.

  4. You know as an ex Christian I have only this to say when pastors are clocking in over 90 billion tax free dollars a year they will do and say anything and poor deceptive souls who fall into it we really need to start taxing these pastors and churches like they are a businesss which they are more of a con game then a legit business

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