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by definition a miracle can never happen. discuss.

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Introduction

By definition a miracle can never happen. Discuss There are many different questions that need to be answered when discussing miracles. These questions are: * What are miracles? * Do they occur? * Do they reveal God? * If so, what type of God do they reveal? However, this essay asks us to mainly focus on the first two questions, what are miracles? And can they occur? David Hume, an 18th century atheistic philosopher, defined a miracle in the following way, 'a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of a deity or by the interposition of some invisible agent'. Hume takes a transgression to mean a violation, and a law of nature to mean an action, which is repeated and therefore is predictable in nature. Most philosophers accept this definition today. Hume's argument states that by definition it is difficult to see how a miracle would occur. However, it is important to notice that Hume never states that miracles are impossible. ...read more.

Middle

Those testifying to the miracle will have a natural tendency to suspend their reason and support the claim, argues Hume, as religionists would be enthusiasts and there is a tendency for co-religionists to support it too because they want to believe and they want their faith to be proved. Hume continues to state that miracles are only seen by illiterate people and are 'observed chiefly to about among ignorant and barbarous nations'. Hume also states that as religions claim that a miracle will back up their particular faith then the problem comes when we look at differing religions that interpret miracles in different ways. He states that the differing religions cannot all be right and that not only does every miracle therefore destroy rival claims of miracles but also cancels themselves out. Therefore, it is clear from Hume's point of view it would be very hard for a miracle to occur due to the definition he gives it and the argument he puts forward centring on his definition. However, R. F. Holland defines a miracle in a contrasting way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Here, I believe that it is possible to argue that God intervened, making the train driver have a heart attack in order to allow the train to stop before the little boy was hit. It was therefore a miracle as divine intervention took place. The parent's of the little boy would certainly be very likely to consider the coincidence miraculous. Therefore, when one is asking if miracles can occur then this very much depends upon the definition that one accepts. Adopting Holland's definition, it is clearly the case that such co-incidences happen all the time. The difficulty is that it could be possible to link every single event in the world to a unique and a vast complex of coincidences. It is therefore, not possible to isolate any one of these co-incidences and prove it has been caused by divine intervention and is therefore different from all the others. David Hume certainly argues that 'nothing is esteemed a miracle if it ever happens in the course of common nature'. However, if we reject Holland's view and assess Hume's view it is also clear that his argument is not without it's flaws. ...read more.

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