Miracles (Swinburne, Other Philosophers and Issues

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  • Miracles
    • Problems raised
      • If God has so much power and is good then why does God not work miracles to prevent people suffering? [nazi camps]
      • The Bible describes God as holding back the sun, throwing hailstones and creating storms, so WHY DOES HE NOT STOP NATURAL DISASTERS [TSUNAMI]
      • The fact that miracles rarely happen raises the question of a God who is arbitrary
      • The problem of evil defends  natural disasters on the ground of it being an ordered world and if God continually intervened, we would not be able to learn
      • Some argue that God does act in our world yet a lot of the time we fail to recognise it [drifted rubbish saved people in tsunami]
    • Swinburne
      • He agrees with Hume's definition of a miracle
      • However, he said laws of nature are generalisations and all natural laws are 'corrigible' and a new discovery would mean the natural law has to change
        • He agrees with Hume's definition of a miracle
      • Critiqued Hume
        • How do you define when people are educated?
        • He then considers what counts as 'ignorant and barbarous'
        • Finally he suggested that miracles are not usually about proving one religion right and others wrong
      • Hume is wrong to say that there is no evidence and suggested 4 ways:
        • 1 - memories, 2 - testimony by other people, 3 - physical traces [healed person], 4 - understanding of modern science
      • Main argument - accept as much evidence as possible, the more support the stronger the probability
        • Subsidiary argument - different sources of evidence should be consistent, value placed on evidence should depend on 'empirical reliability'
    • R.F Holland argued that miracles are coincides religiously interpreted
      • E.g = small boy playing on railway gets stuck, the train stops because the driver collapses onto the dead mans handle. mother interprets as miracle
    • Flew agreed with Hume as believed only historians could have direct evidence if they were there
    • C.S Lewis = we're either naturalists or supernaturalists and if you accept God, you can accept the possibility of miracles
    • Polkinghorne defends miracles, specifically the resurrection of Jesus as all that science tells us is that it is against normal expectations


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