John Douglas’ Criterion: A Common Sense Guide for Judging Historical Miracle Claims For People Who Want to Avoid Being Totally Closed-Minded

Christian doctrine is predicated on Jesus’ miracles. This is especially true concerning the resurrection. But don’t other religions make miracle claims too? With so many miracle claims in so many other faiths, how can anyone use miracles as evidence for a particular religion? This was one of the famous 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume’s favorite arguments against Christianity. His essay Of Miracles is still considered by many to be the death-knell to anyone who would try and argue for signs and wonders as an evidential basis for their faith. Hume wrote: “…that there is no testimony for any, even those which have not been expressly detected, that is not opposed by an infinite number of … Read more

The way skeptics argue against God reveals why God is so hidden to them

Christianity says that God loves everyone. It also teaches that God is all-powerful and he’s worked some crazy-amazing miracles in the past. The Bible also says that God knows everything, so he’d know what kind of convincing people need. So why are there atheists? Therefore, the reasoning goes that there probably is no God, or at least not one who cares enough to communicate clearly with us. This is a pretty common thing you’ll hear when talking to skeptics. There are certainly fancier ways of laying out this argument, but this is what philosophers call the problem of divine hiddenness. One of the things that critics of this argument have pointed out is that God … Read more

Do arguments for the existence of God fail because they don’t give us a full picture of God?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had this experience: You’ve learned a thing or two about the cosmological argument or the design argument. You eagerly share it with a friend of yours who doesn’t believe in God, and they accept all the premises. But they aren’t moved. They’ll reply with something like: “Even if these arguments work, they don’t prove enough. They show there was a first cause of the universe or a designer, but that is a far cry from the God of traditional theism.” Or they might say “well, that doesn’t prove that the first cause or designer was Jesus or Yahweh. Try harder.” How do you respond to that? This reply is at least as … Read more

No, Jesus could not have been raised supernaturally by any other being but God.

The argument for the resurrection of Jesus goes like this: Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed he rose from the dead and appeared to them. External evidence and events support their belief: Paul was a church persecutor, and he converted. James was a skeptic and he also became a believer. Plus there are good arguments for the empty tomb. There are no plausible natural explanations. The disciples didn’t hallucinate, and they weren’t deluding themselves. The facts are best explained by a miracle. Usually, the skeptic will either say there’s a better explanation or insist that miracles aren’t possible and simply refuse to look at the evidence. But here’s an odd objection. Skeptics will pick and third way … Read more

With so many miracles claimed by other religions, how can anyone use miracles as evidence for Christianity? Can there be a religiously neutral test for miracle claims?

Following the tradition of the famous 18th-century philosopher David Hume, skeptics will often accuse Christians of special pleading. We eagerly accept the resurrection of Jesus and other miracles reported in the Bible. But we’re just as swift to reject miracle claims made by other religions. Critics will say if you accept one miracle, you have to open up the floodgates to them all. But is that true? Could there be a way to sift through all the noise? Enter Charles Leslie’s terse yet powerful book A Short and Easy Method With the Deists. This booklet is around 40 pages, but it packs a punch. Leslie’s method is a religiously neutral test regarding how we can … Read more

No, David Hume’s Treatise Against Miracles is Not Knock-down Argument

The apostle Paul said that Christianity stands or falls on the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14) Yet for many religious skeptics, any argument made for a miracle is a project doomed from the start. It simply cannot get off the ground. Why is that the case? Enter the famous Scottish philosopher David Hume. In 1748 Hume wrote a short essay called Of Miracles. Hume vigorously argued that one can ever rationally believe a miracle claim because there is always more evidence that one did not occur. Michael Shermer has gone so far to say that “I think his treatise against miracles is pretty much a knockdown argument. Everything else is … Read more