David Hume is celebrated for defeating the argument against miracles. But did he? Actually, if his argument is taken to its logical conclusion, it would be a science-stopper. For instance, did you know that scientists, using reasoning like Hume’s, once denied the existence of meteorites? Dr. Tim McGrew demolishes David Hume’s argument against miracles. This is an excerpt of a talk made at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection of apologetics and evangelism.
Carl Sagan popularized the slogan “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Skeptics use this phrase like a cudgel when arguing against historical miracle claims. But is this pithy slogan true? This is an excerpt from a talk by Dr. Tim McGrew of Western Michigan entitled “How to Think About Miracles.” Dr. McGrew shows this famous slogan is too slippery and generally unhelpful. It is not a good argument against miracle claims — like the resurrection of Jesus. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, Dawn. He is passionate about the intersection … Read more
Some skeptics say that Jesus was nothing but an obscure, itinerant peasant preacher. How on earth did he become viewed as Israel’s Messiah and the Son of God? After all, why should anyone pay attention to a Messiah who was little more than a vagabond teacher who got himself crucified? Enter miracle stories. The gospel writers invented them to turn Jesus into more than just preacher of parables. So they transformed him into a figure that outdid Moses, Elijah, and Elisha combined in terms of working wondrous deeds. To do that, they invented legends of him performing impressive healings and miracles in front of big crowds. The problem with this legendary development theory is it … Read more
Is the argument from miracles hopelessly fallacious? Stephen Woodford, AKA ‘Rationality Rules,’ believes so. In his popular YouTube video ‘The Argument From Miracles-Debunked’ Woodford says the argument from miracles commits four major fallacies. In my last post, I looked at Woodford’s first two objections saw that they didn’t really hold up under scrutiny. I’d recommend giving it a read before continuing in this post. Go ahead; I’ll be right here when you get back. Alright, now let’s turn to his final two objections and see if they do any better. Oh, and if you want to watch Rationality Rules’ video in full, here you go: GOD OF THE GAPS? Here’s Stephen’s 3rd objection: “a third … Read more
Is the argument from miracles full of fallacies? Popular atheist YouTuber ‘Rationality Rules’ argues that’s the case. Rather than examining miracles on a report-by-report basis, he opts to say that the case for miracles is doomed from the start. This reasoning follows the tradition of the famous 18th-century philosopher David Hume. For those of you who aren’t into YouTube, Rationality Rules has had his channel since March of 2017. In that short time, he’s gained over 200k subscribers and has had nearly 15 million views. There’s a cottage industry of channels similar to his and we shouldn’t underestimate their influence. These are sharp skeptics making entertaining and digestible videos packed with thought-provoking content. As believers, … Read more
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
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
One of the weirder objections I’ve come across against the resurrection of Jesus runs something like this: “Who’s to say that God raised Jesus from the dead? Couldn’t it have been the work of some advanced alien race?” There are a few things that are tacit in this cheeky kind of reply. For starters, maybe they don’t know how to refute the historical evidence because it’s really just that good. This would definitely be a point on the Christian’s side. Or, they think that theistic belief is a lot like believing an advanced alien race killed all the dinosaurs or are responsible for the ancient pyramids. Well, that’s not a very friendly move to make. … Read more