Miracles have been defined as divinely caused violations of the rules of natural order. In other words, miracles are events that defy reason and suggest supernatural intervention. Take, for example, the miraculous cures at Lourdes. The International Medical Committee of Lourdes, a group of about twenty French doctors, has certified 2,000 unexplained “cures” taking place after people visited the spring where St. Bernadette allegedly saw visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. For many people, the healing of the sick at Lourdes is a miracle, and the Catholic Church itself officially recognizes 66 of the miracles supposedly performed at Lourdes.

Remember, though, that the Catholic Church has also been forced to declare many other “miraculous” events to be hoaxes. For instance, a statue in a church in Thornton, California supposedly wept and walked around the church at night. Yet no one ever witnessed the statue actually moving. When church officials conducted an investigation, they had to pronounce the wandering statue a fraud. Indeed, both church-sponsored and private investigations of miracles led to logical explanations, often revealing fakes in the process. Every time investigators, such as skeptic and author Joe Nickell, are given the chance to use stethoscopes, X-rays, chemical analyses, and other scientific tools to examine so-called miracles such as crying or bleeding statues, statues with heartbeats, and people with stigmata (wounds like those of Christ), they easily debunk the supposed miraculous occurrence. (Source of information: John C. Snider, “The Joe Nickell Files: Miracles,” SciFi Dimensions, June 2004, http://www.scifidimensions.com/Feb01/jnf_miracles.htm)

1.  What sentence best describes the author’s bias?

a. The author shows a bias in favor of miracles.

b. The author is biased against the existence of miracles.

c. The author reveals no personal bias.

2. What evidence can you cite from the text to support your answer?

3. What is the author arguing in paragraph one?

4. What is the author claiming in paragraph two?

5. This is told in 3rd person omnipotent perspective. What wording in the text supports this perspective?

6. If the author wrote this from first person perspective, what words would be included?


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