Essay Plan for the Miracles Section - Unit 1 Philosophy & Ethics

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Section 5 Miracles
Part A Outline two definitions of the term `miracle.' Examine key reasons for
believing in miracles.
Part B Comment on the view that these reasons for believing in miracles are
more persuasive than potential criticisms.
Part A
A miracle is something that is believed to have 3 basic qualities. A miracle is
something that breaks the laws of nature, something that has purpose and
significance and also something that religious significance can be ascribed to.
Paul Tillich said that a miracle is an astonishing event that points to the mystery
of being.
Aquinas believed that miracles fell into 3 categories. A miracle is an event done
by God that is something that nature itself could never do. An example of this
is stopping the sun. Also, a miracle is an event done by God but something that
nature could not do in that order. An example of this is an exorcism. Finally, a
miracle is something that God and nature can do, but God can do without the
use of natural laws.
Swinburne classes a miracle as something that seems apparently impossible.
This is because the laws of nature are reasonably predictable. For example, a
man coming to life after 24 hours of being presumed dead can be classed as a
miracle. Swinburne also believes that there must be a reason for God to
intervene in our universe, showing that it must have deep religious significance.
Swinburne believed in the principle of testimony and credulity. By this he
means that people would tell the truth as there is no reason for them to lie.
Therefore, we should assume that people are telling the truth. This is
therefore a key reason for believing in miracles.

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Ockham's Razor
Ockham's Razor states that the idea of God being behind miracles is the most
simple way of explaining miracles, so therefore must be correct. This is logical,
so we can observe this as being a key reason for believing in miracles.
In the bible, God revealed himself to humans through miracles. An example of
this is Jesus walking on water and also when Jesus fed the 5000.…read more

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Peter Vardy claimed that God cannot be the one to cause miracles, because he
only seems to help certain people. Why does a supposedly benevolent God
not save everyone? For example, during the holocaust, why did he only choose
to save certain lives? Therefore, the definition of miracles that everyone else
has cannot be true, because God does not save everyone.…read more


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