Miracles

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  • Miracles
    • Different understandings
      • Realist
        • Something is miraculous only if it adheres to a certain objective definition of a miracle
          • God can and does intervene
      • Anti-realist
        • Something is miraculous if a person interprets it in that fashion
      • Violation of natural law
        • Hume: ‘A miracle may be accurately defined, a transgressions of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity or by the interposition of some invisible agent’
      • Natural event
        • Just natural phenomena which were interpreted by the community to have significance e.g. Jesus walked on a sandbank
    • David Hume
      • Miracles are only know through testimonies of others, whereas the laws of nature are seen by all and are a constant that we experience
      • miracles tend to happen to 'Ignorant and Barbarous Peoples' and happen in uncivilised countries
        • R: Is education required to witness a miracle? Modern miracles e.g. Lourdes were checked and verified by objective scientists
        • R: miracles occur globally
      • Miracles are Violations of the Laws of Nature
        • the Principle of Induction
          • R: Miracles have a revelatory purpose
      • Testimony is most likely to be false
        • R: Why would the improbability of an event mean it didn't happen?
      • Humans are prone to want to believe the unusual
      • Different religious miracle stories cancel each other out
        • R: Pluralism-noneed to see religions as competing to be the Truth
    • Maurice Wiles
      • 'God's Action in the World'
      • Miracles and the goodness of God were incompatible
        • Biblical Miracles were insignificant in comparison to the atrocities at Hiroshima and Auschwitz
        • rejects miracles on moral grounds
      • 'The world as a whole is a single act of God' and therefore he created the natural laws within it. To have confidence in these laws they cannot be interfered with.
        • infrequent interference would be immoral
          • Criticisms:
            • Swinburne
            • Literalists
            • Miracles are to reveal something about G
      • Gave G 3 alternative characteristics: a G who has faves, a G who is unfair and a G who lacks compassion
    • Comparison of Hume and Wiles
      • Both: believe miracles are possible
        • Both believe G shouldn't make miracles happen so reject them
      • H- rejects miracles empirically
        • W- rejects miracles on moral grounds
      • W- Miracles in the bible are important andsymbolic
        • H-those with faith know miracle stories are false
          • H-disagrees with GoCT
            • W- agrees with GoCT
    • Significance of Hume and Wiles for religion
      • W-Significant in teaching meanings of God in the Bible than conveying literal truths
      • Jewish People – Miracles are evidence of God’s care for his chosen people
      • Christians – Miracles are used as proof by gospel writers to show Jesus really was the Messiah. They’re used as an illustration of Jesus as the son of God and Jesus’ power over nature. Used as indicators of what the kingdom of God will be like

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