Describe and explain the atheistic rejection of miracles
The existence of miracles is much debated amongst scholars, both atheist and theist. This is largely because the term ‘miracle’ is multifaceted, as it means different things to different people. This subjectivity makes it incredibly hard to prove or disprove. For example, St Augustine said that a miracle is, “An event we cannot forecast or expect with our present understanding of nature,” whereas Aquinas defines a miracle as, “things which are done by divine agency beyond the order commonly observed in nature.” Swinburne offers an additional definition: “If he (God) has reason to interact with us, he has reason very occasionally to intervene and suspend those natural laws by which our life is controlled.” These competing definitions have a common link: they all involve the divine interfering with nature. The atheist disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods. Therefore it follows that they would reject the idea of divine intervention. Nevertheless, atheists have produced many detailed critiques of theistic miracles. In examining such critiques a good place to start would be the writings of Hume.