King of the Skeptics
David Hume (d. 1776) was arguably the greatest skeptic. He certainly is the most well-known and systematic of the historical skeptics, and set the stage for all modern critics of Christianity. Many, if not all, of the skeptical arguments leveled against Christian truth claims have their origin in David Hume.
In chapter 10 of Hume’s Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, he argues in several lines of reasoning that the miracle accounts in the Bible should not be trusted. Here we will deal with but a couple of Hume’s claims:
- Hume says the following holds true:
- Things which are most usual are most probable.
- We should believe that which has the greatest number of past observations.
- Miracle stories have the least number of past observations and are the least probable.
- Therefore we should not believe miracles.
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- The next is very similar:
- What is repeatedly experienced is what always happens.
- We never see fantastic miracles in our day.
- Therefore miracles did not happen in the past.
In these instances Hume is guilty of adding together evidence as if they were a math formula…
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