Belief in Miracles Should Not Be Dismissed, Justice Scalia Says. (People & Events)

Church & State, December 2001 | Go to article overview
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Belief in Miracles Should Not Be Dismissed, Justice Scalia Says. (People & Events)


Reports of weeping statues and visions of the Virgin Mary should not be brushed off lightly by a skeptical society, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a largely Roman Catholic audience Oct. 14.

Addressing several hundred parishioners of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, Ind., Scalia said people who report miracles should not be dismissed as irrational or poorly educated. He included among such miracles the resurrection of Christ.

"It is not irrational to accept the testimony of witnesses who had nothing to gain from their testimony, of the occurrence of Christ's resurrection" Scalia told the audience. "What is irrational is to reject ... without any investigation of the possibility of miracles, and Jesus Christ's resurrection in particular."

According to the Associated Press, Scalia was speaking at a brunch that took place after the cathedral's Red Mass, an annual Catholic service for members of the legal profession. During his remarks, he criticized the media, asserting, "Even if a miracle occurred under their noses, they would not believe. To be honest, that is the view of Christians, at least of traditional Christians, taken by the sophisticated in modern society."

The "sophisticated," Scalia asserted, believe that doctrines like the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus and the resurrection are "extraordinarily ridiculous." He urged his listeners to "have the courage to reject the sophisticated world."

Scalia traced this extreme form of skepticism back to Thomas Jefferson, noting that Jefferson's doubts about the accuracy of the Bible led him to edit the New Testament, removing all references to the supernatural.

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