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The English word miracle come from the Latin word miraculum a thing of wonder and surprise.

. Humes definition of a miracle is an event that is a transgression of the laws of nature by the volition of a particular deity. By Humes definition, a miracle is by divine intervention this aspect is particularly important fro the believer; miracles are used by a religion in the following ways; firstly, they show Gods activity in the world, revealing his character, tying in with the attributes of immanence (everything, everywhere) and of him being personal (interacting within his creation). Secondly, miracles are intended to support a development in faith. They generate conviction in a person or group in order to establish a religion. Thirdly, miracles highlight revelation through scripture. They make it relevant and real giving it Gods approval. Miracles, unlike sense data, are not private. The same thing can be witness by one person or 500. This allows testimony to be used to prop up truth claims. Hume, defined miracles as a transgression of the laws of nature, but if this definition is accurate then it is a contradiction in terms. If a law can be transgressed then it is not a law. Real natural laws cannot be broken. In this case, what we believe were natural laws are not, but this is not to say that laws were broken, but that the miracle was acting within laws we do not have full knowledge of. However, we can object that natural laws only concern natural things. If it to be argued that miracles are of a nonnatural cause then they are not breaching natural laws. Hume argued that we never have good reason to believe in miracles. By definition, a miracle goes beyond how we believe the world to work. Therefore, it is much more likely that they do not exist. It is rational for us to believe what is more probable, and in this case what is most probable is to claim that they are not possible.

Hume also uses testimony as the basis of his argument, claiming that if testimony is more likely untrue then it should not be trusted. Firstly, there is no miracle attested to people of good sense, education, integrity or reputation. Secondly, human nature enjoys surprise and wonder, giving us a tendency to believe the unjustified. Finally, tales of miracles abound amongst ignorant people whereas they diminish in civilisation. Hume argues that we should never believe a miracle has happened, even if there is good testimony it is our sense data that witnesses them, but also our sense data that creates natural laws the evidence cancels out. However, we can object. Just because something is very unlikely that is not to say that it is impossible. Because I have no sense experience of something it is not to say that I never will. Hume is claiming that all future sense experience (and our trust in it) relates some way to past sense experience. Take, for example, the idea of snow. For a man who has lived his whole life in the Sahara desert the idea of snow is strange. For him to claim that it does not exist is not unjustified as he has no sense experience of it, by Humes argument. However, this is clearly not true. Again, Hume rejects potentially good testimony. He claims that the people that miracles are witnessed by are unreliable, but it can be argued that they have nothing to gain. However, this itself can be objected to - many seek miracles to ratify their own beliefs or to generate belief in others also, because somebody has nothing to gain this does not make them credible. A fool with nothing to gain is still a fool. Hume also points to the competing truth claims of religions as evidence for their incredulity. Many religions claim to be the one true religion, with the only true miracles. However, if there is to be only one true religion then the miracles of all others are untrue. Therefore, many miracles are untrue.

Despite Humes criticism it may be unfair to rule out the possibility of miracles. A miracle, by definition, is an event of wonder something so unexpected that the only reasonable explanation is divine is it correct to discount such an occurrence because it is not compatible with previous sense experience? However, many miracles appear to have occurred a long time ago, before any great scientific advances. If, for example, a medieval scholar was to witness the Northern Lights, it would not be unreasonable to claim the cause was divine. However, we are able to understand light in detail and offer a credible scientific explanation. Hume states that we have two options when assessing a miracle; to deny it is real or to look for a natural cause. With modern science we can offer explanations for most things that would be claimed to be a miracle, discounting many. We cannot comprehensively state that miracles do not exist, but it is not unjustified and rational to claim that they are unlikely and improbable but not impossible.