A view is one thing. A world view is much deeper than that. It is about how you look at your place in reality and what reality means and is about or not about.

Supernatural and religious world views are common. Many disagree with them and have a worldview that is based on the natural and rejects miracles and magic. Others have a worldview similar to that which does not reject miracles and magic but sees no place for them and prefers to concentrate on other things. It is true that we can't look into everything and ignoring a miracle report is no crime as long as you are learning from a natural event instead.

Christians invite you to give Jesus a chance and let his supernatural power into your life and to recognise his miraculous life where he came back from the dead to live forever as your friend and saviour.  Reasonable people let you choose what you want to learn and encourage you to learn something else instead.  You don't hear of a Christian telling you that you can concentrate on a health book instead.

David Hume is accused of telling you you should assume a miracle is a mistake or lie instead of assuming it is real. Even if it is real, that does not mean that you can think it is likely correct for human testimony is rife with reliability problems.  This is presented as a mere assumption that he is dogmatic about.  But you only need to read it to know that it is not.  It is just what we all know. 

Hume defined a miracle as a violation of nature which in his clumsy way meant an event that when you get in all the data, cannot be explained by natural causes. 

Religionists complain that this definition is ignorant and wrong.  They object that it does not allow for God who is above nature to do the miracle.  Actually as it is only about natural causes not being able to do it, it does not rule out something bigger than nature doing it.  It does not rule out miracles but only rules out nature being able to do them.  God then who is bigger than nature and its origin can do miracles.  So far so good.

Another complaint is that it assumes that God does not use some natural causes when he works in an unusual or amazing way.  Coincidences are amazing but not miracles.  If they mean a miracle is a patchwork quilt of natural and supernatural then that needs analysis.

Jesus visits Jonas and Jonas' brain tumour vanishes like it was never there.  How does the natural come into it?  Does Jesus give him an injection that kills tumours - the natural part - and does this make it shrink away in the blink of an eye - the miracle part?  Why is he even using the syringe for he surely does not need it?  Jonas after the miracle is now as if he never had a tumour.  Nature now acts as if he had no tumour. 

So we have to consider what the natural is doing during the miracle.

And what it is doing after.  Nature taking over after the miracle is not God using the natural to do a miracle.  The miracle is done.

Jesus then using the injection that should not kill the tumour but does is him trying to hide a miracle as a remarkable coincidence.  Maybe it's not a miracle but a miraculous coincidence!  Why does Jesus want to avoid a miracle being clear?

If human nature tends to lie and make mistakes about claimed blatant miracles like the sun spinning in the sky at Fatima then its going to be worse with a miracle that is unclear enough to be a coincidence.  Plus you never know exactly what the coincidence was.  John may be searching for his son for decades and bump into him by pure accident.  Is the coincidence how John missed the train and this led to him meeting his son?  Is the coincidence that the son unknowingly missed a car accident that could have killed him so that he was alive to meet his father?  Was the coincidence that John survived covid 19 last year?  You don't know where the coincidence is or what it is.

Many worry that Hume is accepting that a God might rarely intervene in the world but that it might be so rare that we will not know about it.  They complain that this leads to skepticism about miracles that really are miracles.  But if you look at miracles on a case by case basis and have good and honest standards for letting the evidence speak for them if they are credible who cares?  If the evidence cannot find them then maybe they are rare and beyond the reach of evidence.

The irony is that everybody is a Hume but some of us try to deny and it and forget it.

Colin Brown critic

Colin Brown has a problem with Hume.  He reads Hume as insisting that we should think of nature as fixed - and thus have faith in fixed nature not miracles. 

He pens, “To his credit, it has to be said that Hume sought to establish his worldview. But once established, nothing was allowed to change it. It acquired a quasi-religious character beyond further verification and falsification, because no fact could be admitted that could conceivably count against it [i.e. miracle]. It has to be said that worldviews. . . are not disproved by single facts. Their validity and usefulness lie in their capacity to account for the world we live in. . . . in the field of science, when an existing view is so beset by anomalies and qualifications that a change is needed, there occurs. . . a paradigm shift involving the adoption of a new frame of reference.”

So then a magical or miraculous worldview is not refuted by a fact showing that a claimed miracle is false.  That is true.  But it means that if I am honest and I find that Jesus was a fraud then I will keep my miracle worldview and the details will change.  I will now perhaps follow Muhammad.  But this happens so rarely that the honesty of religionists is in question.

A single fact can refute a worldview if it is magical. It depends on the fact.  For example, if only good miracles are said to happen then a bad one proves this is not true. It is a testimony that we may be mistaken about the good ones and they may have a secretly bad side.  They may be only cosmetically good. 

Christianity says that only God creates from nothing and what he creates is only good.  This worldview is based on something that is bigger than anything in the universe and is much in the atom as in the whole solar system.  It is based on God.  One bad miracle overthrows the whole thing.  A God of mixed messages is not good.  Mixed messages can be half good and half bad.  The bad miracle means you cannot trust the good miracles to be really miracles or really good so it crashes the whole system.  One bad miracle is a better witness to miracles being too problematic for putting faith reliance on than the fact that too many lie and err when they say a supernatural event has taken place.

Hume says that a miracle violates what our larger experience confirms as something that does not happen. It is like how most rocks do not float into your garden but if one did you can refuse to believe it happened. It is like how you ignore a cutting comment from the nicest ever. He is said to call testimony to a miracle unreliable. But he means not that it is unreliable but that it is shouted over by a stronger voice!  Hume has been unjustly maligned as a dogmatist.  Even if he were the alterative is worse dogmatism.

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