Imagine waking up one morning and sitting down for breakfast, clicking on the radio or television, only to see that thousands of people in Rhode Island are declaring that God appeared to them at a Christian concert and instructed them to spread His word. Fire engulfed the audio system, the sun was eclipsed, and God spoke to the audience. Would you believe them?
I think that this is an important thing to consider as a Christian and skeptic alike. As a Christian, it should be a completely conceivable possibility for this to happen, but are you prepared to believe anyone who claims this? As a skeptic, the obvious answer is no, but what would it take for you to believe someone? What if your spouse or parents were at the concert?
This is a tough topic to handle for any individual, regardless of whether they are Christian or not. There are far too many plausible explanations for an event like this and without a doubt, the news will have every “expert” on the air that they can find. There will be claims that there were drug users at this concert, and that the crowd experienced a mass hallucination. There will be claims that the whole thing is a hoax. There will even be claims that it was a hoax amplified by drug abuse. You will be told that the solar eclipse was an optical illusion caused by clouds, birds, or maybe a drone. To top it all off, there will be proof. You can find people using drugs at just about any concert, even Christian ones. There will be evidence that the audio system was tampered with or malfunctioned.
These claims will make you doubt, or if you are a skeptic they will give you grounds to quickly dismiss the claims without further thought. But one must ask, can a person do drugs and witness a miracle? If God used an audio system to communicate, would it look like it had been tampered with or damaged? Does it really matter if humanity can tell you what object was in front of the sun at that moment? Let’s take a look at these questions.
Can a person use drugs and witness a miracle?
Why not? Of course a person can witness an unexpected event while being in an altered mental state. Does this make their claim fictitious? Of course not, but it absolutely destroys their credibility. This is the reason you can be sure it will be used as a possible explanation and it should be granted that these people should not be propped up as a reliable source to confirm the event.
The audio equipment malfunctioned
People reported the audio equipment as being on fire, of course something appears to have gone wrong. Why wouldn’t it? If God had made the fire so that it did not damage the audio equipment, there would be no lasting evidence that anything had happened. This would put more weight on the idea that the event was a hoax perpetrated by members of the crowd. If there is fire damage, it looks like a natural event. Either way, people will find a way to doubt the authenticity.
Scientists prove the cause of the solar eclipse and can reproduce it
Scientists have determined the cause of the solar eclipse witnessed at this event and can reproduce a “false eclipse” using this methodology. Does this mean that the eclipse was not real? No, it simply proves that people can make a localized eclipse.
Once you break it down and start offering some natural explanation, people will begin to dismiss the event regardless of whether or not these explanations truly prove the event to be a hoax or a hallucination. Would the details of the event I described be enough for you to believe? Even if it inspired thousands to become believers and dedicate their lives to the Church? Or would you still ask for more?
The next day you wake up to find a similar story coming out of Russia. Then Uganda. Mass hysteria, hoax, or miracle? What would you think? What would it take for you to believe?