Miracles - A Comparative Study of Two Key Scholars
Miracles A Comparative Study of Two Key Scholars By the end of this lesson you will have: Re-capped what you know so far about the definitions of miracles Compared the views of Swinburne and Hume on miracles Evaluated the extent to which you think a belief in miracles is credible Spec Check Letter F
AO1 David Hume his skepticism of miracles including challenges relating to testimony based belief; credibility of the witnesses; susceptibility of belief; contradictory nature of faith claims Richard Swinburne his defence of miracles, including definitions of natural laws and contradictions of Humes arguments regarding contradictory nature
of faith claims and credibility of witnesses AO2 The effectiveness of the challenges to belief in miracles The extent to which Swinburnes responses to Hume are valid David Humes Scepticism of Miracles
A miracle that is a supernatural event which rests outside of human explanation is challenged by David Hume (note: he agrees that lucky coincidences can happen) 1. Challenge against the testimony Hume argues that the testimony of witnesses is unreliable and untrustworthy since: Human nature loves the unusual and fantastic. Many people claim to have experienced UFOs or the Loch Ness Monster. In the case of the New Testament miracles, the witnesses were relatively ignorant fishermen who had a great deal to gain from stories which would
make their master appear in a good light. David Humes Scepticism of Miracles 2. Challenge against the credibility of witnesses Hume tests the reliability of a witness to a supernatural event Suppose, for example, a number of trustworthy people maintain that they saw a miracle Lazarus rising from the dead. Is it more probable that these witnesses are deceived about what they claim to have seen, or more probable that a human being, once dead, is now alive?
If it is a miracle, the weight of evidence always lies with those who accept the miracle. Denying that Lazarus rose from the dead is therefore always the reasonable thing to do, no matter how trustworthy the witnesses. David Humes Scepticism of Miracles 3. Susceptibility of belief Hume stated that miracles were claimed by ignorant and barbarous nations.
He claims that these nations are more irrational and more likely to believe in a miracle Q. Why might poorer nations be more likely to believe in miracles? David Humes Scepticism of Miracles 4. Contradictory nature of faith claims All religious traditions have equal claims on the truth, if the truth of a religion is based on the truth of those miracle stories. Assuming the different religions are not compatible, their differing
miracle stories simply cancel out and provide a complete triumph for the sceptic. The fact that there are different miracles from different religions proves that they cant be true. Richard Swinburnes Defence of Miracles 20th Century scholar Richard Swinburne defends miracles, particular in light of Humes
criticisms. We have already learnt Swinburnes definition of miracles, now we will learn his DEFENCE of miracles Richard Swinburnes Defence of Miracles 1. Swinburnes definition of Natural Laws TASK: Read the extract below what is Swinburne trying to say?
Richard Swinburnes Defence of Miracles Hume refers to the laws of nature as if they were set in stone. However twentieth century developments in science (relativity etc.) would suggest that there is always a chance for newer, better models to emerge. In this sense, Swinburne believes that laws of nature are statistical, not deterministic and are therefore corrigible (could change) In this sense, the suggestion that miracles cant happen because they
break laws of nature is weak, because laws of nature can change Richard Swinburnes Defence of Miracles 2. Humes criticism of contradictory faith claims is itself contradictory Although miracles in different religious traditions might undermine the claimed exclusiveness of each religion, there is no logical reason why they could not occur genuinely in different faiths.
Richard Swinburnes Defence of Miracles 3. Witnesses can be credible "I suggest that it is a principle of rationality that (in the absence of special considerations) if it seems to a subject that x is present, then probably x is present; what one seems to perceive is probably so. In other words, believe what you see "In the absence of special considerations the experiences of others are (probably) as they report them. In other words, believe what others report to have seen.
Re-Cap: Comparative Study TASK: If this is the answer what is the question? A. Because many people have claimed to see Loch Ness monster and Aliens A. They have probably been deceived A. barbaric and ignorant nations A. A complete triumph for the sceptic A. Because they are statistical and not determined A. There is no logical argument against it A. Believe what others report to have seen
AO2 The challenges against miracles are effective. Assess this view (30) This question is asking whether Hume or Swinburne has a more convincing argument Start off by thinking what do you think are miracles convincing? Make a note of three reasons why you think they are convincing and three reasons why they are not, using the content we have learnt and your own knowledge.
AO2 Miracles ARE convincing Miracles ARENT convincing Consolidation Task Complete lean learning worksheet 3.F on comparative study of miracles Miracles A Comparative
Study of Two Key Scholars By the end of this lesson you will have: Re-capped what you know so far about the definitions of miracles Compared the views of Swinburne and Hume on miracles Evaluated the extent to which you think a belief in miracles is credible
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