It is true that there are certain very abstract arguments, after the spirit if not the letter of Saint Anselm, notable for their brevity and apparent force, which neither are obviously unsound nor in any obvious way beg the question. . . . But it is hard to imagine Anselm convincing, say, the Norsemen with this sort of thing. As Hume has Philo say, “men ever did, and ever will, derive their religion from other sources than from this species of reasoning.” How different is the case with miracles. The most notable religious miracles have to do with seas and storms, with wine and blood and the grave, and these subjects move the heart as well as the intellect. Thus it has always seemed to me that the most persuasive argument for theism is the historical argument—the argument from miracles. This sort of robust empirical argument has been neglected of late in philosophy owing to a tale about a “decisive argument” and “an everlasting check” and a “devastating objection.” But let us turn away from mythology, and treat more gently the devotions of the pious, having ourselves – we philosophers – nothing of interest to say when in reading we chance upon a miracle, upon a sea parted or a life renewed, the shining angels and the women weeping.

David Johnson, Hume, Holism, and Miracles (New York: Cornell University Press, 1999). pp. 98-100.

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