Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Humanists Refuse The Evidence of Miracles

Is the Belief in the Supernatural Harmful?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: The Harms of the Supernatural Outlook

Because of believing that supernatural beings control the world, people have often misdirected their energies in attempting to solve problems. Instead of studying the world to discover scientific solutions to problems, they performed religious activities in an effort to obtain the assistance of benevolent supernatural beings or thwart the influence of malicious ones.

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This misdirection of energies is seen, for instance, in the history of the attempts to prevent the outbreak and spread of diseases in Europe. The historian Andrew White relates that, during many centuries in the Middle Ages, the filthiness of European cities repeatedly caused great plagues that sent multitudes to their graves..

Humanists must be desperate to try this argument. The premise is false, and even if it were true, it provides no proof nor evidence that supernatural miracles never happened. At best a humanist might say, "I don't like that supernatural miracles happened, because I believe they harmed people." And that belief still would not be in accordance with historical reality.

Does this sound anything like Christianity?

...they performed religious activities in an effort to obtain the assistance of benevolent supernatural beings or thwart the influence of malicious ones.

This is not Christianity. Not at all. This is a description of people who follow pagan gods. This is why technological progress was limited prior to Christianity. People believed in capricious and arbitrary gods who needed to be bribed, conjoled, and tricked into helping humanity.

Dear humanist: don't use examples from paganism to try to discredit the Bible.

The example of a misdirection of energy given by the humanist writer, is that there were filthy conditions in European cities during the Middle Ages, and this resulted in multiple outbreaks of disease resulting in death.

This is true. But, it would not have happened if people had followed what the Bible teaches.

People in the Middle Ages did not know that filth was bad... or that filth was the source of disease. They did not know about microbes, and germs, and viruses. It is also true that people in at the time of Moses also did not know these things. Yet, the Mosaic Law includes provisions concerning cleanliness, sanitary practices, and the treatment of people with infectious diseases that were practical and effective at stopping the spread of disease.

People didn't know about germs, but God did. And through His law He protected those who followed His law from disease and infections. During the 14th century the bubonic plague spread throughout Europe. The Jews were following the sanitary laws of the Bible and their death rate was just 5% that of the Gentile population.

Arturo Castiglioni writing in "A History of Medicine" notes that: "The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of a sanitary legislation."

People did not live in filth in the Middle Age because they believed in the supernatural. They lived in filth because they did not know what the Bible taught.

Conclusion: The humanist assumptions about how belief in the supernatural impacts human activity are not supported by historical reality.

But they have still more to say on this topic: Based on biblical teachings, Christian theologians during those centuries thought the plagues were caused by the anger of God or the malevolence of Satan. The Bible gave them ample support for their belief. It contains numerous instances of God punishing people by means of pestilence (e.g., Exodus 32:35; Numbers 16:44-49; Jeremiah 21:6). And in describing Jesus’ healing miracles, the New Testament attributes the following afflictions to demons: blindness (Matthew 12:22); muteness (Matthew 9:32-33); lameness (Luke 13:11,16); epilepsy (Matthew 17:14-18); and insanity (Mark 5:1-13).

Does God use disease as a punishment? Do demons cause disease? Get the answer... click here.