JD WALTERS SAID:
“There's plenty of Christian silliness to go around. Think of televangelists who sell blessed 'healing handkerchiefs' or 'miracle wafers'. Think of Christian groups that refuse to use modern medicine and have their children die as a result. It's not as if there's a few Christians tainted by bad experience with supernatural claims and the rest are lily-white innocents who happen to have chanced on exactly the right combination of beliefs, so they don't have to worry about being critical of such claims. Every Christian should be equipped to critically test other people's claims. Even if Scripture is (rightly) part of that critical apparatus, the Christian must exercise reason to properly interpret Scripture and apply it to claims she encounters.”
How is that supposed to create a general presumption against the occurrence of miracles (or, conversely, a presumption favoring naturalistic explanations)? Your illustrations undercut the principle, for the presumption is only as good as the examples you cite to illustration your objection. But, in that event, it doesn’t turn on taking a presumptive stand, but judging individual claims on the merits of the case.
In cases involving manifest charlatans or deluded cult-members, then of course we’re justified in dismissing their testimony. That goes to the type of witness, which also goes to the credibility of the witness. The credibility of a claim has always been tied to the credibility of the claimant. That applies with equal force to claims about ordinary events.
To “critically test” miracle claims doesn’t mean we treat every miracle claim as suspect unless and until it is proven otherwise–any more than we treat every mundane claim as suspect unless and until it is proven otherwise. A liar is just as prone to lie about something mundane as he is to lie about something miraculous.
Had Abraham slammed the door on the divine foot (Gen 18:1-10; Heb 13:2), he would have missed out on God’s gracious promise. Don’t flee into the arms of David Hume to escape the clutches of Elmer Gantry. In the end, one is just as diabolical as the other.