Discussion Of The Feasibility Of Miracles And


Discussion Of The Feasibility Of Miracles And The Grounds For Christianity
Existing Without Miracles Essay, Research Paper

Discussion of the Feasibility of Miracles and the Grounds for Christianity

Existing Without Miracles

Kurt Erler

Philosophical Classics


In the following Discussion, I will point out the facts and ideas that

disagree with Hume’s ideas. The ideas are the ones on miracles in An Enquiry

Concerning Human Understanding involving Section ten Of Miracles. The idea of

this is using the circle philosophical argument. If one agrees that Christians

believe in the Bible, and that miracles have people understand the Bible as Hume

points out, then Christians must believe in miracles. If one takes away any of

these things, the statement does not hold. In this case, the removal of the

Bible is used. Hume confronts the ideas of religion directly by stating that

without the splendor of miracles, Christianity and other beliefs would not

stand. He states that miracles are used to make us believe the scriptures.

This is not true, since from the starts of Christianity there were not always

scriptures. There were pieces of art work done for generations before the texts

were written and after that, they still had to be published. From there, only

the rich were well off enough to afford such a book. In fact, the Gospels were

written from 20-100 years after Christ died. The Acts were a collection of

works made from two hundred to three hundred years after the crucifixion,

collected from different accounts. And then there are the letters, which were

written approximately four hundred and fifty years after the fact. They were

written by St. Paul, who was also a soldier for the Roman army and killed

hundreds of Christians, who believed and followed God, without the scriptures

that Hume talks about. From this, if you take away the scriptures, God’s church

carries on and if you take the people from the church, “God’s church” still

survives. The scriptures do not make people believe, they help people

understand. For this Hume is correct. He states that miracles help Christians

understand what they believe, but the belief and faith are deeper. Miracles and

parables helped people believe and understand what was to be our faith, but they

are not what faith is about. You can take any miracle, and faith will still

exist. Miracles are also becoming more understood. There is thought that as

Hume presents, some miracles are in themselves tricks of nature, such as the

splitting of the Red Sea. At a time of extreme low tide one can cross, and that

the Egyptian army sank because of the mud or their heavy armor they were laden

with. There are bodies and armor found underneath the Red Sea that is Roman and

there exists evidence of this being the cause of it. Hume says that miracles

are the defiance or the breaking of the rules of nature. In his explanation,

the lifting of a house or mountain is just as big a miracle, as is the lifting

of a feather by the wind. As stated, in this Hume is possibly correct, that

miracles are phenomena of nature that can, with advances in science, be

explained. This is what Hume calls Transgressions of a law of nature. Hume

defining non-natural events is led to believe that they are miracles, but all

the time miracles, through science, are seen to be possible, so a miracle then

is not a miracle as much know, yet the faith is not broken. Hume is also trying

to end in his mind, what he thinks is superstition. He thinks that when we

start to think clearly about religion, we will start to lose our belief in it.

Again he is using the argument that is stated in the above paragraph. Hume’s

criticisms are not aimed to tell you that your religious beliefs are false,

instead he does not agree with the evidence given to support their convictions.

He says the only advantage to holding onto your religious beliefs or being able

to support them, is that you could give an unbeliever reason to share your

beliefs. If you think that there is rational evidence for your beliefs, then

you can go out and share them and get others to believe the same. Again,

Christianity holds without the miracles, for in the beginning, there were no

miracles that were talked about. Here is where a fideist is true. A fideist is

someone who is willing to stick to their religious beliefs without having to see

proof or miracles, so they just have faith. The advantage is that they are what

people would be without miracles and that they are what would carry the church

if all the other proofs and miracles didn’t occur anymore, for Jesus even said

that “Blessed are they who believe without seeing, for the kingdom of God is


Hume now goes on to say that we can never for certain know that miracles

do exist. He says that the closest thing we have to believe in miracles is the

transgressions of a law of nature (p. 77). Our beliefs in nature are the

strongest. He says that otherwise, evidence and witnesses can be wrong, and so

the evidence found must be compelling enough that its falsehood breaks laws of

nature. For these reasons, we will never have enough or strong enough evidence

to prove that a miracle occurred. Again, since we depend on experience, as Hume

states, to know or explain what we see and what goes on, how can we know what a

miracle is or looks like, such as similar as the example that you have no reason

to believe that this world is incomplete and needs work, because you have never

seen a completed world.

This turns into his argument of knowing God through experience. Not

only can we not know God from experience of miracles, but he again uses the idea

that since we have never experienced God, we can not define him or what he is.

This we can use with the argument of mathematics. We have never experienced

infinite, a line, a plane or many other mathematical things, but we use them in

many equations and in understanding other things. Humans are capable of

comprehending things that we do not entirely understand.

Hume’s arguments do not hold, because of the strong beliefs and ideas of

humans before the knowing of miracles and the like. There is something innate

about humans that tell them that something is most likely there. The beginnings

of the universe, the creation of life, these things and others just do not

appear from nowhere. This is the same thing that makes people know what good

and bad are. You can not believe in God, but something still tells you that

killing a baby is wrong and to help someone is right. It is the feeling in the

back of your head that does this to you. This is Hume’s idea of morality. This

is because of how we think one act would effect the world. Therefore, when we

see one person doing many good acts, we think of them as a good person. We

cannot infer that in another world a deity would change the small problems of

this world. Where ever we have beliefs based on experience we can go as far as

experience lets us go, but no further. This is Hume’s idea of understanding.

Again, if one points out the mathematical explanations, this does not hold. He

says we cannot transcend experience, so we have no idea of immortality. We get

all idea from experience. Solid beliefs come from observing constant

occurrences of something. The only beliefs that will stand up are beliefs that

give you strong imperial evidence. Skepticism leads to moderation in views and

that is good.

The changing of these views leads us to still show that Hume is wrong in

that faith, infinite, and God still exists in human minds, even though we have

never experienced him fully. As shown, time did not always have miracles on

text to show them the way. We had faith and hope, and for many that is still

all they have or need.

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