A piece of toast bears resemblance to the visage of Jesus and the devoted, faithful followers of man’s religion flock to Ebay to purchase this small nourishing morsel for a sum that could feed a family for a year or more. They say it is a sign. I agree.
A water stain on a wall under an overpass grows to become the image of the great virgin mother Mary. Contrasted to the musty, cobwebbed, damp backside of man’s automobile express lanes, this new church under the highway attracts the faithful in spite of the offensive stank of urine from passing vagabonds that hangs heavy in the air. Women weep at the image. It is enough to bring one to tears.
The human race it seems is looking for a miracle, a higher purpose, a reason. Are the blood-tears that fall from the statues’ eyes to be believed? Are there divine souls among us, watching out for us and saving a place for us in eternity? We are all looking for proof of a miracle. It is unfortunate that these small tokens are as high as we aspire to reach for our God.
Jesus healed the sick. It was a miracle, and it still is. The miraculous body of life and all of its infinite varieties gets sick, mentally ill, crazed with depravity, infested with demons of personal or divine origin, plagues, hunger and suffering, and within each and every one of us is the miraculous mechanism to heal and be healed.
It is said that Mary, a virgin, gave birth to a child of God. It was a miracle. It still is. Although it has somewhat been determined that the details of the virgin birth were politically enhanced centuries after the fact, it is truly a miracle that a microscopic parcel of genetic material can combine with another microscopic speck, unite and form a whole new conscious being. There are currently over 6 billion of these miracles walking around on Earth. And those are just the human miracles. Lions, tigers, bears and all the rest of the beasts of the land and air are equally miraculous, and they were begat the same way. Life and birth are miracles.
The sun appears to rise every morning, makes a timeless, repeating arch across the sky and then departs from the world leaving it in darkness. During its illumination, waves of energy expand endlessly from its core bathing the world in light.
This light is literally life-giving. The soft, reflecting, refracting and absorbing of the waves by the leaves of plants excites their metabolism to create carbohydrates, which in turn feed the plants, those who eat the plants and those who eat those who eat the plants, etc. The earth and all of its creatures the elemental basis of nourishment upon which all life on earth is dependent to all life on earth. The sun’s energy feeds the earth. This is a miracle.
These miracles are all around us and seem more inspiring than a piece of toast, yet collectively, we look away. Our species wanders past without noticing these truly amazing miracles every day without giving them the slightest nod or glimpse of recognition. We would rather cry over a water stain in a putrid cesspit than truly connect to the reality in which we live. The Earth and all of her complexities is the greatest miracle of all, and it is the miracle that proves to be true over and over, minute by minute, day after day. Why do we miss that? How do we treat the real miracle? We dump our shit into the oceans and rivers and spew noxious fumes into the very breath of life. Magnificent forests are torn down with thoughtless abandon for the sake of a McDonald’s hamburger or roll of toilet paper. What is wrong with us?
Miracles are everywhere. Devout Christians, Jews and Muslims believe that the words of the divine are contained within books – the Torah, the Old and New Testaments and the Koran. While these may or may not be the actual words of God, it is generally acknowledged that they were written down, copied and published by man and his publishing corporations.
Nevertheless, it is a grave sin to burn, mutilate or otherwise desecrate these books because of the symbolic significance such actions hold. Furthermore, we extend this abhorrence to the desecration of our religious artifacts and even national symbols such as flags. The recent outcry in the Islamic world that resulted from the publication of several cartoons in a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet in derogatory light illustrates the passion that humans as a species feel for their religious artifacts, symbols, icons and figures.
This takes one back to the original premise. These items which instill such devotion are trinkets made, most definitely, by man. While it has yet to be proven scientifically, the only things in the universe that could possibly have been created by the hand of God (in a physical sense) are the universe itself and all of the mineral, energetic and biological contents contained within it.
We know that the Himalayas, The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, elephants, Old Faithful, moose and trumpeter swans were not created by man in any case. For those who support the promise of a divine creator, these magnificent wonders are offered up as proof of divine brilliance and intelligent design. They are all, along with ever other natural wonder, a miracle in and of themselves.
Do we revere these things as we do the previously mentioned artifacts of man? In some cases, yes. What determines our reverence is purely a concoction of the subjective minds of men, but most are in agreement regarding the greatest of these natural wonders. The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the bald eagle, etc. Although a lot of the reverence for these wonders can be attributed to feelings of nationalism as well as religiosity. The smaller miracles, a flower, a tree, a bird, are not given the slightest nod. Every day, we carelessly clear cut forests and cram animals into unthinkable conditions brutally slaughtering them for our sustenance, and then turning a blind eye to our atrocities by dressing up the carnage in plastic in a grocery store freezer case. These are our God's miracles we treat with such disrespect.
The great irony of man is that we have these miraculous creations right in front of us to admire, experience and even worship if we choose to. We can experience divine creation on a daily and regular basis, but we choose to either ignore or worse desecrate and destroy these wonders. In spite of vocal public outcry, the government continues to call for oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. The air in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is so polluted that people with health problems are advised to avoid the area during the summer months. Great, majestic rivers are dammed or filled with the feces of our bodies, industries and livestock.
We wouldn’t, and if the conservatives in congress have their way, couldn’t burn a flag, but the same ‘religious’ right recommends the desecration of many of our greatest natural miracles for the pursuit of economic gain. Like tragic Greek heroes, we march blindly to our own destruction never realizing this monumental flaw in our misguided values.