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Miracle Myth: Why Belief in the Resurrection and the Supernatural Is Unjustified

by Lawrence Shapiro Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 192 pages
AU$64.99 NZ$65.21
Product Status: In Stock Now
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There are many who believe Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus came back from the dead. Others are certain that exorcisms occur, ghosts haunt attics, and the blessed can cure the terminally ill. Though extraordinarily improbable, people have embraced miracles and myths for millennia, seeing in them proof of the extraordinary potential of our world—and ourselves.


Helping us think more critically about our belief in the improbable, The Miracle Myth breaks down our mythmaking strategies to better understand how attempts to justify belief in the supernatural fall short. Through arguments and accessible analysis, Larry Shapiro sharpens our critical faculties so we become less susceptible to tales of myths and miracles and learn how, ultimately, our belief in them is counterproductive. Shapiro acknowledges that myths have value. They may even provide insight into our place in nature. Even so, if our understanding of reality is formed through the fallacy of myth, our ties to the world fray. Shapiro's investigation reminds us of the importance of evidence and rational thinking as we explore the unknown.


1. Justified and Unjustified Belief
2. Miracles
3. Justifying Belief in Supernatural Causes
4. Justifying Belief in Improbable Events
5. Evidence for Miracles
6. Jesus's Resurrection
7. Should We Care That Beliefs in Miracles Are Unjustified?
Appendix 1. What Is Supernatural?
Appendix 2. Supernatural Causes
Further Reading

Shapiro makes a clear argument, which allows us'believers or not'to examine critically our own positions.

Larry Shapiro is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Mind Incarnate (2004), Zen and the Art of Running: The Path to Making Peace with Your Pace (2009), and Embodied Cognition (2011), and the editor of Arguing About the Mind (2007) and The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Cognition (2014).