Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Devil's Lying Wonders

I just finished reading an interesting paper.

Assume, at least arguendo, that Humean arguments against the rationality of belief in miracles fail. Would it then be rational to believe that a given miracle is from God? John Beaudoin (Northern Illinois University) argues "no" in "The Devil's Lying Wonders" (Sophia 46:2 (2007), pp. 111-126). Here is the abstract:

That demonic agents can work wonders is a staple of much Judeo-Christian theology. Believers have proposed various means by which the Devil's work can be distinguished from the miracles wrought by God, primarily so that no one is led astray by the Devil's 'lying wonders. I consider the likelihood of our using the suggested criteria with any success. Given certain claims about the demonic nature and certain facts about the way theists often handle the problem of inscrutable evil, it seems unlikely that any of the criteria I examine can be relied upon.

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