Miracles and Religious experience

Miracles and Religious experience

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A miracle according to Thomas Aquinas: An argument for God.
A miracle is an event that happens by divine power beyond the order commonly
observed in nature.
There are three categories according to Aquinas:
1. Something done by God that nature can not do. E.g. the sun standing
2. Something that nature can do but not in the order done by the miracle.
E.g. a person seeing again after being blinded.
3. Something done by God that nature usually does, but hasn't done it.
E.g. recovering by divine favour.
Thomas Aquinas believed all of miracles are caused by God and now people
have gone on further to say that not only are they caused by God but it is also a
way of God showing the world something.
A miracle according to David Hume: An argument against God.
"A miracle is a violation in the laws of nature: and, as a firm, unalterable
experience has established these laws the proof against a miracle, from the very
nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be
Basically for a miracle to exist, it proves itself not to exist as it must be involved
with the laws of the nature that we have already observed to have happened,
therefore if a "miracle" does seem to happen then it is down to us not
understanding the laws of nature well enough and our knowledge not being big
David Hume had arguments to say why he believed that miracles did not
o Lack of probability: When investigating to see whether a miracle has
happened or not you need to collect evidence,
We have observed laws of nature that appear fixed and unvarying.
Miracles appear to go against the laws of nature.
Which is more probable? The laws of nature to be wrong or the
witnesses of the miracle to be wrong?
o Hume's practical argument against miracles: Hume argued that with
people there tended to be a lack of convincing testimony from educated
people thus the miracles reported are lacking any sort of reliable source.
o Miracles only seem to happen amongst ignorant and barbarous: the
more scientifically advanced that we have got, the reduced number of
miracles that have been reported.
An argument against David Hume:
How do you define an educated person?
How do you define an ignorant and barbarous?
Miracles are not necessarily different in religions, so does not work.

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Maurice Wiles: Against God
For miracles to occur they must be very rare, otherwise the laws of nature
would not apply, therefore life would not be a possibility.
If God does these rare events of miracles, then why does he not help people
when it is more necessary? This is if God is in fact good?
Rejects that God intervenes directly in the world but he does occasionally in the
world.…read more

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Why have only 70 miracles been declared as being cured at Lourdes done by
God whereas there are millions of people dying everyday?
How can benevolent God a put bias towards another if he treats people fairly?
The Bible, God and miracles:
In Joshua 10, God is described as throwing hailstones from up high. In the time
context people did not know nature therefore assumed it being God's power
however we can now explain this using science.…read more

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Definition of religious experience
Direct religious experience: refers to the events to where God reveals
her/himself directly to the person that is having the experience. The person
therefore does not choose to have the experience the person experiences or
observes god in some way.
Indirect religious experience: Experiences, thoughts or feelings about God that
are prompted by events in the daily life, for example observing the amazing
things within the world and having great thoughts about God.…read more

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Mystical experiences are ones that religious experience when God reveals
himself directly and the person receiving the experience is passive.
The voice of God usually communicates a message to people, e.g. God's voice
using to reveal Samuel as a prophet.
The features of God revealing himself to others are quite noticeable first the
disembodied voice shows the presence of God. The voice would then
communicate a revelation therefore revealing God and god's wishes towards
people.…read more

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James suggested that the only possible sign that religious experiences are from
God is a `good disposition' that is a result of the experience. The voice is only
to reveal something or to do good, never to do anything bad.
Mystical experiences only have authority and meaning to the person
experiencing them.
Religious experience involves a sense of inner peace a sense of high order and
sense of revealed truth.
Four parts of religious experience:
1.…read more

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Through an unusual public object, e.g. the Resurrection of Christ.
3. Through private sensations describable using normal language, e.g. a dream.
4. Through private sensations not describable using normal language, e.g. a
mystical experience.
5. Through experiencing no sensation at all, nothing appears to make the person
conclude that they were experiencing God however the person is left with a
strong sense of an encounter with `the holy'.…read more

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Religion has sometimes been forced to change in
o Religion has a great source of strength, hop and
o Marx's ideas tend to being suffering rather than hope.
o Lack of evidence for his claims of drugs etc.
o There can often be conflicting claims about religions.…read more


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