I obviously can't speak for anyone else here (let alone the person/ people who made the videos), but here's my take on it. First of all I'll tell you that my undergraduate tertiary education is in ancient history. Although that doesn't prove that I'm not making wild assertions, it may support my case somewhat (to justify my case properly I'd need access to the library- it's a public holiday here, and the university library doesn't re-open for about ten days. It would also require it being after 9am, which it is not, and that I'd been out of bed slightly longer than I have).
You see, most of the people in the stories about Jesus who saw miracles like a man born blind that had his sight restored and a dead and buried man coming back to life still didn't believe. Sure the questions were a little different. Instead of asking if God existed they were asking if Jesus got his power from God. However, since most of them that saw the miracles didn't respond to Jesus as if he were directed by God, I think it is safe to assume that if the question was about the existence of God they would not have responded with belief and submission to God.
I beg to differ. In the ancient world, they believed in magic. They believed it could come from all sorts of different sources, good and bad. If we're to believe ancient sources (not just the Bible), some doctors healed people in the same way Jesus did (and others used different hocus pocus). The world of medicine was mysterious and magical right up until the 18th or 19th century CE (that's two or three hundred
years ago, not thousand). Hippocrates' and Galen's theories (which were predominant after the Dark Ages in Europe- Shakespeare, for example, talks about humours, an idea which originated in Hippocrates- and began in ancient Greece and Rome) were an improvement on some of the other crazy stuff being proposed during the classical era (spanning the 5th century BCE to the 3rd century CE, so Jesus is in that). Although they proposed, broadly speaking, examination rather than reliance upon magic, Hippocrates' and Galen's ideas are extremely superstitious- and they're the most rational the people in the time of Jesus had! The idea of demons was a common explanation for disease, or a curse from the gods (Hippocrates writes a treatise refuting the notion that epilepsy was the "sacred disease"- although some of his explanations are hilarious- and there are countless references throughout the ancient authors to the diseases that would afflict you if you displeased the gods). The Bible has reference to God inflicting diseases on people, and the Greco-Roman gods supposedly intervened in people's lives all the time (and not just with a warm fuzzy feeling or you finding a winning lottery ticket on the pavement- Herodotus talks about a mysterious spirit entering the dreams of Xerxes, the Persian king, and threatening him for doubting the demon and not wanting to go to war against Greece. The spirit threatens to poke out the eyes of one of his advisors who dresses in Xerxes' pyjamas and goes to sleep in Xerxes' bed, trying to fool the spirit).
In such a superstitious world, where magic comes from people, from gods (both the Jewish god and other gods- and the ancient Greeks and Romans weren't above believing in the power of foreign gods, either), and from other mysterious magical powers (such as demons- that's in the Bible), if some guy starts performing magic, no matter where he says he gets this magic, the reasonable ancient would wonder where these powers came from. Even if it was greater magic than they were used to seeing. The question, then, was not "does magic (to heal people of these afflictions) really exist?", which would be my (first) question. The ancients clearly believed in such magic. The question was "where does this magic come from (and why should I believe this guy when he says Yahweh gave it to him)?" In the stories you mention, Jesus only claims that his powers come from God- he doesn't prove to these sceptics that that's where the power comes from.
It'd be a bit like me- someone with a very limited scientific education- suddenly appearing with a scientific breakthrough that was worth the Nobel Prize (and rather than claiming that 'god did it', claiming it was my own work). Science is part of our world, so is groundbreaking science. The question is not whether science exists. But nobody with a modicum of intelligence could look at my educational background and reasonably conclude that I came up with it, without me providing some pretty strong evidence that that was the case.
Now, as for the rest of it (sorry for mutilating your post, but I thought it made most sense to deal with ancient, then modern)
I read some posts to a Lauren Green article that led me to your website. I skimmed through Chapter 5 and appreciated your logical approach to the "problem" of God. I realize you don't have time to respond to emails, but I'm writing anyway -- just for myself I suppose. What I'm wondering is if an amputees' limbs were restored, would you believe in God, or are you only clinging to a logical excuse to disblieve?
(g_d_a edit- the middle of this post has been cut and dealt with above)
I'm wondering if, in order to believe, would you have to see the amputee's limbs restored or would you accept medical records and eye witness reports. I'm wondering if you did see an amputee's limbs restored would you be happy and excited to obtain some empirical evidence, or would you be disappointed in the failure of your logical arguments. I'm wondering if you have truly wondered about the existence of God or are just defending yourself and your opinions. I'm wondering if your questioning the existence of God is honest or phony. Just wondering.
If an amputee’s limb or limbs were restored, in a way that could not have happened in the natural world or through modern medicine, and there was clear documentation that this has occurred without non-magical human intervention (medical records are more important than eyewitness reports, and I’d prefer at least two independent medical reports- though one would do- and probably written and photographic documentation as well), that would be evidence for the supernatural. That something
is coming in and breaking the usual laws of biology. I would probably then accept that some form of magic exists.
My next question, along with the ancients, would be where this magic comes from. I’d need evidence that it was Jesus/ Yahweh rather than Allah, Zeus, Thor, or the pixies at the bottom of the garden. I probably would need more evidence than many ancients would have accepted for the origins of this magic (‘my father told me that Zeus strikes perjurers with lightning, and so-and-so was in that temple hit by lightning during the storm, therefore so-and-so is a perjurer’). I don’t know what would constitute proof that one form of supernatural being over another had performed the magic. But just like in the ancient world, there are many beings proposed that can perform magic. (How do I know that Harry Potter didn’t do it while hiding under his invisibility cloak?) If the person/ people healed is/ are Christian, and had prayed for this miracle (given money to a faith healer, had a priest bless them, etc), that would only form the first step in the chain of proof. (Again, Harry Potter could have been listening in on these pleas, pitied the poor Muggles, and healed them- limbs can be regrown in J.K. Rowling’s world, in case you didn’t know) I would need some sign that it was Yahweh rather than another supernatural being (and even the previous amputee saying they saw Jesus wouldn't do- again with the Harry Potter, but he can modify memories, according to the story. I'd need something more substantial than one person's eyewitness account that they saw Jesus/ Yahweh himself). I don’t know what would constitute sufficient proof, but it would have to be pretty bloody amazing, and unique to the Christian god, to prove that the thousands of other supernatural causes posited throughout human history couldn’t possibly have done it. If Yahweh is all-knowing and all-powerful, he would know, and he would be able to do it.
Would such proof- not only that it really was magic, but also, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was the Christian god that did it- make me believe in the Christian god? Certainly- not believing something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary would be stupid. Would it make me worship it? Probably not, but that’s beyond the scope of this question (and answered in some of my other posts).
Would I be excited, or disappointed? I would be immensely curious. I would wonder how this supernatural being, which had been curiously silent for so long, would alter the course of humanity. I would wonder how the study of science- and all disciplines, since Yahweh could alter history- would adapt to the inclusion of the supernatural (since it would now have been observed for study, even if it wasn't able to be continually observed). I would be excited by the knowledge gained, certainly. Disappointed? Probably not. Arguments are good based on the evidence we currently have. If the argument were mine, I’d be proud that I made a good argument based upon what we knew before Yahweh intervened.
Edit: nothing changed above, just wanted to apologise for butting into the conversation and starting again. Very inconsiderate (I like answering these questions, but that's no excuse).