Miracle

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Define miracle:
It comes from the Latin 'miraculum' which means an object of wonder.
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Define induction (Hume):
"Instances of which we have had no experience resemble those of which we have had experience.'
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What is Theism?
The belief that God not only creates the world but is actively invovled in it through miracles.
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What is Deism?
The belief that God has no futher invovement in the world after creating it.
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How did Hume define a miracle?
'A transgression of a natural law by a particular volition of the deity.'
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It is important to realise that Hume is not just saying that a mircale is an extaordinary event but also that it must...
...break natural laws and be carried out a diety in order to be defined as a miracle.
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An example of a transgression of a natural law in the bible is:
Joshua 10,where the sun is recorded as standing still in the sky for a full day.
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What natural law is broken during this event?
The rotation of the earth.
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Using his definition of miracles, does Hume argue for and against Miracles?
Against.
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As he argues that knowledge requires evidence (empiricist) so we have to take a...
...sceptical approach to anything requiring our assent (approval).
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Firstly, he argues that there is evidence for the idea that the laws of nature are highly likely to ...
..hold.
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These have been established through many...
...trials and repetition of experiments.
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With the establishment of natural laws, we can make judgements about...
...future likelihood of events based on previous examples.
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So, with countless examples of the sun rising it is highly probable that...
...the sun will not stand still in the sky.
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What is the 'Principle of induction?'
Future events will take place based on previous evidence.
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Even though he accepted that what happened countless times in the past didn't guarantee what would happen in the future...
...he argued that this would probably be the case.
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Because of the problem that induction poses to the existence of miracles, what 2 things does Hume suggest we look at to assess their likelihood?
1. Evidence 2. Testimony.
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According to Hume, there must be more evidence for a miracle occuring than...
...a natural law holding.
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Hume: "A wise man proportioned his belief according to...
...evidence."
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The evidence for the miracle would have to be so persuasive and strong that it woudl be able to ...
...overthrow the overwhelming amont of evidence for the existence of natural laws.
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"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless...
...the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish."
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Hume goes on to say that no such evidence for miracles to exist which would allow us to...
...suspend our understanding of natural laws.
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Therefore, the balance of probability is...
...against the miracle having taken place.
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Now that such probability has been etablished by the appeal to empirical evidence, Hume looks at...
...then event itself and those who witnessed it.
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What does he remark about the quality of witnesses to supposed miracles?
They are not of sufficient quality to give us reason to believe their reports.
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He argues that there is "not...
...a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves.'
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He argues that we are so prone to want to believe in the unsual and that a miracle has actually happened...
...we accept miracles.
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Those within religion who know that a miracle did not happen continue to tell the story that it did in order to....
...aid the spreading of their faith.
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Where does Hume argue that miracle stories take place?
"in ignorant and barbarous nations.' which are yet to be enlightened with reason and therefore follow the empiricist approach.
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The fact that different religions make truth claims and back those claims up with miracles....
...cancels all miracles out.
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As Jackson explains: "the differing claims of the many religions result in them being...
...mutually exclusive. Miracles are often presented as proof to the claims of religious beleif but if beliefs differ so much from one religion to another, then it only results in claims cancelling each other out. '
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What is Wiles' book about miracles and God called?
"God's action in the world."
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In Wiles view, God's action in creating the world should be understood as much broader than...
...one off events where God has suddenly intervened in a situation.
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"The idea of divine actions should be in relation to...
...the world as a whole."
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The idea of God intervening occassionally and randomly in the world is not...
...impossible scientifically or on rational grounds for Wiles.
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God could do this, but it would have to be infrequently otherwise the laws of nature would no longer be...
...laws that held in the majority of cases.
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However, Wiles argues that the traditional concept of miracles is not defensible ...
...morally.
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This lack of intervention on occasions and his actions at some other, more trivial times, makes God very...
...'arbitary' (random/without purpose) and not worthy of worship.
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In Wiles' view, in viewing the creation and sustaining of the whole of the world as the single way in which God has acted....
...solves the problem of evil with the concept of miracle.
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What did Wiles argue about interventionist types miracles (such as the virgin birth)?
They are not essential to the Christian faith in the way they have been portrayed and faithfulnesss to Christ should not depend on dramatic signs or interventions (As Christ himself stressed.)
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For Wiles, is the meaning or the process of a miracle most important?
The meaning.
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Therefore, lack of historical verification/evidence for miracles does not matter if they are understood...
...symbolically.
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However, why does this differ for realists?
They have faith in historical accuracy of interventionist miracles and God breaking natural laws (such as the resurrection of Christ)
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The third definition of miracle is...
...improbability.
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Miracles are extraordinary consequences, in which no laws are...
...broken but where events happen together in a most unlikely manner.
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The person witnessing these events interprets them as...
...miracles.
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For example: Holland tells the story of how...
..the train stops just before it hits a boy who was on the track.
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Although investigation of the case shows that the driver had collapsed at the wheel and an automatic break had applied ...
...the mother of the child still sees the situation as a miracle.
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Why does Hume reject these?
No law of nature has been broken (so it doesn't qualify with his definition of the miracle) and, there are more examples of this situation where the child has been it rather than not so this is highly unlikely to be a miracle.
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How are miracles revelatory?
They reveal something about God.
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For a beliver, a miracle or miracle story might be intepreted as...
..signs.
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For example:
Authority of God over nature/ foretaste of the day God's will is fufiled/ evidence that Jesus is divine/ evidence of God continuing care for the world.
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What does the interpretation of this signs depend on?
The person who witnesses/ reads about them/ if this person has faith or not.
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What 2 words does the New Testament use for instead of but for miracle?
1. Dumamis 2. Semeion.
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What does Dunamis mean?
Power.
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What does Seimion mean?
Sign of God.
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Therefore, it may be a good way of reading events such as the resurrection as signs of ...
...the power of God which reveals his true nature.
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In the Old Testament, Taylor argued that people did not understand understand the world as one ...
...which was governed by natural laws.
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Therefore, as Taylor notes: "It is perhaps incorrect to see the miracles of the Bible as violating natural laws because...
...stories, particulary those in the Jewish scriptures (old testament), come from a culture lacking any idea about laws of nature.'
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Card 2

Front

Define induction (Hume):

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"Instances of which we have had no experience resemble those of which we have had experience.'

Card 3

Front

What is Theism?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is Deism?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How did Hume define a miracle?

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Preview of the front of card 5
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