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Examine two philosophical reasons for believing in miracles

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Introduction

a) Examine two philosophical reasons for believing in miracles (6) b) Outline at least two problems with believing in miracles (8) C) Consider the claim that 'there are no acceptable solutions to these problems.' (6) Miracles cannot be proven with any evidence, so some people will and some will not believe in them. There are two main reasons for believing in them; if the laws of nature are rigid, then anything which breaks these laws must therefore be a miracle, Holland backs this up considering how different people interpret either coincidences or miracles. The second reason for believing in miracles is Swinburne's theory, that we should believe people's testimonies to be true. However there are problems with believing in miracles. Hume disagrees with Swinburne and claimed that people's testimonies should not be trusted and that people do lye. Another problem for believing in miracles comes back to the laws of nature. If we interpret them as being flexible instead of rigid, then miracles do not happen as everything classed as one can be explained. This essay will argue that a miracles would not be one, if there was a logical explanation and it is up to the individual to decide what is miraculous and what is not. ...read more.

Middle

The second problem with believing in miracles is Hume's doubts about testimony. Hume claimed that we should not believe people's testimony and backs up his opinion with four points; The first is that he says there has never been a miracle with enough witnesses to put miracles beyond suspicion. 'There is not to be found, in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men...who have good sense, educated...' Hume also said that humans are naturally prone to look for marvels in the world and get easily excited which 'gives a sensible tendency towards the belief of those events, from which it derived.' This is another reason for being sceptical about reports of miracles. Hume's third reason for not believing in testimonies is that accounts of miracles derive from people and nations that are themselves unreliable, who are 'ignorant and barbarous nations.' Hume finally makes a bold assumption that because different religions all claim to have seen miracles, that they cancel each other out. Hume concludes his argument by saying that man should weigh the evidence and 'fix his judgement' by comparing thousands of years of examples and proof that miracles do not happen, to one man who claims that he has seen a miracle. ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, Hume is not successful in his criticism of miracles because he is vague and incorrect. 'Nothing in his argument shows that one should ignore a miracle one has experienced' (Vardi). Also, testimonies can be reliable, they are used in court and are believed by the judge and jury do why should testimonies about miracles be any different? Even scientific evidence is based on testimony to a certain extent. However some would argue that Hume is successful in proving that there are no acceptable solutions for miracles, because people do lye, exaggerate and get over excited. The argument about the laws of nature being flexible is the most convincing argument to shows that there are no acceptable solutions to these problems as it has scientific proof, which we can see. However, it is still my belief that if a miracle was scientifically explained then it would not constitute as a miracle, but would be an every day occurrence and nothing special and that miracles do not need to be 'testified' or proven as they are personal. Therefore the acceptable solution to these problems comes back to Holland who says that a miracle can be one, if the individual decides to perceive it to be so. Jessica Mann ...read more.

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