Of Miracles By Hume


Of Miracles By Hume Essay, Research Paper

In David Hume’s paper "Of Miracles," Hume presents a various number of

arguments concerning why people ought not to believe in any miracles. Hume does

not think that miracles do not exist it is just that we should not believe in

them because they have no rational background. One of his arguments is just by

definition miracles are unbelievable. And have no rational means in believing

miracles. Another argument is that most miracles tend to come from uncivilized

countries and the witnesses typically have conflicts of interest and counterdict

each others experiences. Both of these arguments are valid however they tend to

be weak. I think that Hume’s strongest argument is that he claims there is no

credibility to the testimony behind the miracles. In Hume’s argument he says

"that there is no testimony for any, even those which have not been

expressly detected, that is not opposed by an infinite number of witnesses; so

that not only the miracle destroys the credit of the testimony, but the

testimony destroys itself." To make this clear Hume uses religious matters.

Many religions use miracles as a foundation. "Every miracle, therefor,

pretended to have been wrought in any of these religions as its direct scope is

to establish the particular system to which it is attributed; so has it the same

force, though bore indirectly, to overthrow every other system." If the

miracles try to destroy a system, a religion, it destroys the credit of the

miracles themselves, and the system in which they were established. Since most

religions are based on miracles and try to destroy each other with contrary

miracles and then we as humans have no reasoning on which miracle to believe in.

Therefore what I think that Hume is trying to say is that for a religion to be

credible it must not be based on miracles. This argument is seen by society to

be far fetched, because most people have a certain belief in a certain religion

and have somewhat a belief in miracles, but Hume has a good argument. He says

that people should not believe in religions that are based on miracles because

they have no credibility. Miracles themselves are thought to have weak

credibility because the majority of the people in the society think that they

are false. However there are many people that believe in miracles in one way or

another. Either directly or indirectly. If you affiliate yourself with a

religion that is based on miracles then you are indirectly a believer in

miracles. This is what Hume would think and also he would say that you should

not believe in the miracles because they are the basis of your religion and have

no credibility due to the fact that the religion is trying to destroy another

religion and their miracles. Even though Hume has a good argument, one could

make an argument that Hume is wrongly saying that we ought not to believe in

religions based on miracles. Religion is a major part of society. The majority

of the world has faith in a religion and it thought to believe in miracles. Also

religion has helped the world grow to where it is today and if Hume says that we

should not have even believed in religion, then society would not have grown and

developed into various civilizations. Religion brings mass amount of people

together, and most of the time they believe in the same miracle. In history the

church was the main government and also in charge of the education. Now if the

miracle that brought all these people together never were believed in we would

never have had any basis for government or any basis for education. Due to the

church educating the people, eventhough it was few at first, there would not

have been many sciences developed or maybe philosophy would not have come about.

Since the church united the people and educated them, then indirectly the

miracles on which they all believed in helped the education process. David Hume

says that we ought not believe in miracles, but if people did not believe in

them, like Hume says to do, then the world would not have grown and developed.

Education helped the world grow and develop and if it was not for religion and

miracle based religion then we may not have any education system. We have to

believe in miracles to help the world grow. Believing in miracles today may not

lead to such an important development, but look at what happened in the past who

know what might happen. Society just has to believe in miracles even though

there may not be any rationality behind the miracles its just something mankind

must do. I do not know what Hume’s reaction would be to this kind of an argument

but I am sure he would find something wrong about it and lead us to believe that

miracles are still something that people ought not believe in. Miracles do

happen. They have happened in the past and will remain occurring in the future.

The question is not whether or not miracles exist, but whether we should believe

in them or not. Hume discusses, in "Of Miracles," many reasons why we

should not believe in such miracles for various reasons. However I have made a

counter argument of Hume’s in saying that we must believe in miracles and if we

do not have any faith that they are true then society would fail and not

develop. Miracles are something that exist and are something that we have to

believe in.

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