- Hume’s often cited argument against miracles is, in brief, that these should be rejected because they contravene the laws of nature that have been verified over and over again. The argument continues with the claims that the human mind is unstable and no miracle has in fact had enough witnesses of sufficient honesty, intelligence, and education. In addition, given that miracles are common in most religions and, given the fact that religions contradict each other, these miracles cannot be all true therefore is best to reject all. Furthermore, an Indian prince not having experienced frozen water is simply adjusting his knowledge rather than accepting a miracle testimony when told by several experts about the effects of coldness on water. The Indian prince witnesses scientific progress, not a miracle.
- To date, the pro-miracles reply is weak and includes:
- The definition given need not be accepted and “an event need not violate a natural law in order to be accounted miraculous”
- Hume’s argument is circular because it rests upon the claim that laws of nature are supported by exceptionless testimony, but testimony can only be accounted exceptionless if we discount the occurrence of miracles.
- Non-believers simply refuse to understand
- Better pro-miracle arguments are:
- Miracles are consistent with an all powerful God above the laws of nature.
- Miracles do stand out by necessity (to be impactful), therefore they are unique and clear departures from the norm. Common occurrence miracles lose their power of persuasion just as novel technologies (human flight, microbiology, nuclear energy, etc.) are perceived as quasi-miraculous when first introduced and become banal in time.
- All aspects of the universe in general and life in particular are of course common miracles that remind some of us of God’s power. But dull minds get used to them and eventually offer clearly ridiculous Godless alternative explanations to these daily miracles (such as “evolution”). To jolt mankind out of its lethargy, God sends periodic messages in the form of unique miracles. How else other than through miracles would God show His powers to the mortals?
- Hume had no clue about, hence misused probabilities. Because miracles are by their nature unique (as shown), Hume’s followers should compare their probability to the probability of “no miracles whatsoever given an infinity of samples”, not with the probability of a sample conforming to the laws of nature. In other words, the probability of Jesus walking on water should not be compared with that of the few observed sinking bodies in water (100%), but with the probability of “ALL current and past contacts with the water resulted in sinking” (0% or very low). And since none of us has observed more than a very tiny fraction of these events, it is fallacious to conclude from these that all bodies always sink in water. To be absolutely positively sure about all-always, one would have to observe all events and confirm the always hypothesis. Clearly, neither Hume, nor any of his followers has done that.
- Just because many imitators are evidently lying, it doesn’t follow that there are no authentic miracles. This is self evident and requires no further explanation.
- While religions do generally disagree, miracles do not necessarily disagree with one another. And even religious disagreements are much more likely to be caused by misunderstanding of God and His will rather than by one religion being true when all others are false (and Hume’s followers hope atheism is the one true religion).