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
There are some wonderful spiritual lessons in John’s story about the Woman at the Well. We learn that salvation comes to those who recognize their spiritual thirst. We discover that Jesus is the source of this salvation and that only he can answer our spiritual needs. And it doesn’t matter if we’ve marred our own lives with sin, Jesus is willing to accept anyone. But some might complain that Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman were too harsh. They smack with religious and racial superiority. Here are the passages in question: “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where … Read more
I am often asked, “how did you get into apologetics?” For some believers, they’ll get interested in apologetics because of a crisis of faith. They’ll have intellectual hurdles that come up that they have to overcome. For me, I never was plagued with doubts. While I spent several years of my life as an atheist, I had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit. As I walked with God, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit was a real and regular experience. After coming to faith, I felt burdened to share my faith. I would share my testimony with anyone who would give me the time of day and led several of my friends to … Read more
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 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
There are three accounts of Paul’s conversion to Christianity found in the Book of Acts. They’re all a little bit different and because of that some critics have cried foul. Comparing them, skeptical Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman writes: “the three accounts differ in numerous contradictory details…Clearly we are dealing with a narrative that has been molded for literary reasons, not with some kind of disinterested historical report.” Ouch. If Luke is a sloppy historian simply spinning some religious yarn then there’s a problem. If he can’t seem to keep from contradicting himself while telling and re-telling Paul’s conversion, this would cast doubt on if he ever traveled with or even knew Paul very well at all. … Read more