Saturday, February 5, 2011
Miracles (Series Index)
Miracles are important for religious believers. For some, they provide evidence for the truth of their beliefs; for others, they provide an insight into the nature of God and his plan for humanity; for still others, they serve as a valuable weapon in apologetic debates. The classic example of a miracle that serves all three functions (evidential, theological and apologetical) is of course the supposed resurrection of Jesus.
For sceptics and non-believers there are obvious questions that need to be asked about the religious fondness for miracles. First, we need to ask what exactly is a miracle. Second, we need to ask whether there is any good evidence for the occurrence of miracles. Third, we need to ask whether we can make successful inferences from the occurrence of miracles to the character of God. And finally, we need to ask whether miracle claims can be successfully deployed in the apologetic context.
This series of posts will explore each of these questions. Once again, as is my wont on this blog, the series will cover the work of others. The following is the plan of action. It is subject to revision in line with the shifting sands of my motivation and the interruptions of “real life”.
(1) Nicholas Everitt, “Arguments to and from Miracles” from The Non-Existence of God
(2) The Devil’s Lying Wonders, by John Beaudoin
(3) The Problem of the Evil/Miracle Ratio, by Morgan Luck
(4) Against the Historical Possibility of Miracles, by Morgan Luck
(5) The Bayesian Analysis of Hume’s Argument in “Of Miracles” (Various Authors)
(6) Fogelin in Defence of Hume's Argument