DISCLAIMER – This isn’t original material (although it’s great!) caterhamphilosophy doesn’t own any copywrite!
This idea comes from Maurice Wiles
He was a Christian and believed in a loving God. However, Wiles didn’t see how this was possible whilst still believing in a God who performed modern day miracles. In order for him to reconcile his belief in a loving, fair God, Wiles stated that miracles only occured very rarely (such as the Resurrection)
For Wiles, a God who still cured certain people of cancer would be arbitrary and partisan as by definition it means that some people would go unhealed by a God who is demonstrably able to heal.
Arbitrary = “subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one’s discretion” (God does as He chooses)
Parisan = “an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance. (God helps who He wants and leaves others to suffer)
Wiles goes further in questioning why, if the biblical miracles are to be taken literally, God would do apparently contingent things such as turn water into wine or transport people from one place to another instantly (both of which made little difference in the lives of the recipients) when chances to intervene which would really make a difference have gone apparently ignored.
“…even so it would seem strange that no miraculous intervention prevented Auschwitz or Hiroshima, while the purposes apparently forwarded by some of the miracles acclaimed in traditional Christian faith seem trivial by
Wiles is saying that miracles in the Bible (such as turning water into wine) are nowhere near as important as stopping the holocaust or preventing atomic blasts. Presumably for an omnipotent God all of these would be possible. It seems weird that a loving God would feed bread and fish to 5000 people (as Jesus did in the Bible) but leave millions to starve in the Irish potato famine.
In 1988, Delia Knox, a Christian singer from Mobile, Alabama in the US was involved in a car accident. Her spinal cord was severed and she spent the next 22 years in a wheel chair.
In August 2010, she was at a meeting of her church when people started to pray for her and she appeared to walk. She was later filmed walking unaided and is apparently still able to walk.
An interesting blog about the case with more videos can be found at http://does-god-exist.com/2012/10/08/delia-knox-healed-of-a-spinal-injury/
Things to think about –
How would the Delia Knox case help a religious believer in their faith?
What would Hume’s response to the Delia Knox case be?
What would Wiles’ response be?