Miracles

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  • Miracles
    • Definitions
      • Aquinas
        • Events which nature could not perform; events which nature could perform but not in that order; events which nature could perform but not that quickly
      • Swinburne
        • An event of an extraordinary kind, brought about by God and of a religious significance
      • Holland
        • An event which could be coincidental, in which someone sees a deep religious significance.
      • Tillich
        • An event which is astonishing, unusual and shaking without contradicting the rational structure of reality; an event which points to the mystery of being; a sign-event of an ecstatic experience
    • Criticisms
      • Hume
        • There is not enough evidence for miracles to outweigh general experience.
          • Swinburne responded saying that laws of nature are a generalisation and that they are corrigible.
          • Hick would say that we do not know the law of nature and that when new things are observed then our understanding of natural law should simply be widened.
          • C.D Broad rejects Hume's assumption that there are known fixed laws of nature; they need to be revised
          • Swinburne argues that there are ways to collect evidence.
            • Memories of our experiences.
            • Testimony by other people about their experiences.
              • There are insufficient witnesses of miracles.
                • No miracle is confirmed by a large number of people with good education, integrity and reputation.
                • People enjoy surprise and wonder, they are inclined to believe the miraculous.
                • Every religion proclaims miracles and not every religion can be true – competing truth claims.
                  • Hick believes that all religions lead to God.
                  • Vardy explained that faith shouldn't be based on miracles and so they should not be an obstacle to faith.
                • Hume's Maxim: something extraordinary in a claim requires extraordinary proof. (The only way an account of a miracle could be true is if it's more surprising that it's not true.
                • Hume’s is an argument against testimony; he doesn’t disagree with the possibility of miracles (although he argues they’re extremely improbable) but disagrees only that we should believe people who claim to have seen miracles. What if Hume were to see a miracle himself?
            • Physical traces of the event.
        • There are insufficient witnesses of miracles.
          • No miracle is confirmed by a large number of people with good education, integrity and reputation.
          • People enjoy surprise and wonder, they are inclined to believe the miraculous.
          • Every religion proclaims miracles and not every religion can be true – competing truth claims.
            • Hick believes that all religions lead to God.
            • Vardy explained that faith shouldn't be based on miracles and so they should not be an obstacle to faith.
          • Hume's Maxim: something extraordinary in a claim requires extraordinary proof. (The only way an account of a miracle could be true is if it's more surprising that it's not true.
          • Hume’s is an argument against testimony; he doesn’t disagree with the possibility of miracles (although he argues they’re extremely improbable) but disagrees only that we should believe people who claim to have seen miracles. What if Hume were to see a miracle himself?
      • Wiles
        • Partisan: A God who only intervenes selectively would not be an omni-benevolent God and would not be worthy of worship
      • Vardy
        • Miracles show God to take sides and be immoral.
    • Why do miracles matter?
      • They give authority to scripture and highlight their revelations.
      • Miracles are signs of God's continuing activity in the world.
      • Miracles show that prayers are answered.
      • Miracles form some of the fundamentals of religion.
      • They support arguments for God's existence.

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