Critically assess the view that a concept of miracles is inconsistent with a belief in a benevolent God

1177 Words Nov 27th, 2013 5 Pages
Critically assess the view that a concept of miracles is inconsistent with a belief in a benevolent God. (35 marks)
Before one is able to debate the ideas of inconsistency surrounding miracles, we must define and clarify what a miracle actually is. One definition is ‘an event caused by God, this view is traditionally supported by Christians and philosophers such as Aquinas. A second definition is ‘a violation of the laws of nature’ which is most commonly associated with David Hume. These two definitions usually underlie the way in which people approach the question of God acting in the world, thus impacting ones interpretation of miracles showing a benevolent God. Benevolence is used to describe God being a good and loving God. Many
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Scientists propose alternative explanations for the occurrence of miracles. Dawkins puts forward a range of points against miracles in a conversation with Russell Stannard. He stated that miracles can be described as coincidences or the result of a placebo effect. This could be used to describe the events at Lourdes. Stannard stated that miracles are simply strange and disturbing experiences such as dreaming. Freud would support these alternative explanations as he stated that religion was a neurosis and miracles could be described as hallucinations or dreams and could be cured by psychological means. Miracles in the bible such as Jesus healing the blind man could be explained though psychosomatic theories which would claim that the blind man believed so strongly that he ought to be punished for his sins that he physically went blind. Therefore by Jesus simple stating his sins had been forgiven he was able to be cured. The beliefs of miracles occurring at Lourdes could also be down to psychosomatics. However, other philosophers such as Tillich would argue that for non-believers miracles would not have any religious significance and would be over looked. He defined miracles as signs with religious significance. Overall, there is no proof to suggest that miracles are real and aren’t just coincidences which would be supported by Holland and his ‘Train story’. The train

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