TIA Tuesday: How to disprove ChristianityMay 13, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
Last time, Vox used the “play dumb” excuse for not being able to fathom what sort of evidence might convince Dawkins that God was real. This week, he plays even dumber by sharing his own suggested list of potential “evidences” against Christianity.
But if rabbit fossils found in a Pre-Cambrian strata would suffice to disprove evolution, then surely a brilliant scientist like Richard Dawkins should easily be able to come up with a few propositions that would suffice to falsify a specific religion such as Christianity. I suggest a few possibilities:
- The elimination of the Jewish people would falsify both God’s promise to Abraham and the eschatological events prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
- The discovery of Jesus Christ’s crucified skeleton.
- The linguistic unification of humanity.
- An external recording of the history of the human race provided by aliens, as proposed by science fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke and James P. Hogan.
- The end of war and/or poverty.
- Functional immortality technology.
Setting aside the obvious fallacy of demanding that Dawkins prove a negative, it might be fun to take a look at these “evidences” and how they actually relate to the question of whether or not Christianity is true.
Number one, would eliminating the Jews really disprove Christianity? Hardly. First of all, we’ve got Matt. 3:9 as a backup in case the Jews ever are absorbed into the ethnicities of their neighbors. But more importantly, we already have examples of falsified Biblical prophecies, like Ezekiel’s prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy the city of Tyre such that it would never be rebuilt, or Jesus’s prophecy that at least some of the people standing with him in Jerusalem would not die before seeing the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom. Far from admitting that failed prophecy falsifies their religion, Christians simply insist that the prophecy has not failed, we have merely failed to interpret it correctly. That’s a universally useful rationalization, since no matter how explicitly the Bible predicts something that fails to come to pass, we can always claim that its “true” meaning is a spiritual one that ordinary mortals cannot easily grasp.
The discovery of Jesus’s skeleton? Right. And if we did find Jesus’s remains, exactly how long do you think it would take Vox and other Christians to simply deny that they were the bones of the real Jesus? It’s not like we have DNA samples or Jesus’s dental records to allow for a positive ID. And that’s assuming Jesus’s remains did survive for 2,000 years. Most don’t.
Even if they did, and if we could positively ID the body as belonging to Jesus, one trip to 1 Cor. 15 would give Christians all the Scripture they need to claim that the spiritual body that is raised is not the physical body that is buried. (In fact, that sort of view is very likely how the resurrection rumor got started in the first place.) Believers who think Jesus is truthfully in their heart would have no trouble believing he truthfully rose in the kind of spiritual body that could live inside someone’s chest without medical compromises.
The rest of the “evidences” get even sillier. A “one world language”? That might actually happen some day, given the Internet. What would that have to do with Christianity being false? Maybe Vox is thinking it would somehow disprove the Tower of Babel story? But Genesis says nothing about God decreeing that men would henceforth and always be confused in their languages.
Aliens with an external history of the human race? Why not propose a simple time machine instead? I mean, as long as we’re thinking up possibilities that we can safely assume will never happen, right? But even then, an alien history of the human race would, at best, make old-earth creationism sound more plausible than young-earth creationism. The True Believer could (and undoubtedly would) insist that God was as involved in past events as believers claim He is in current events, whether or not He showed up on newsreels from Btoghetkitmaku in the Orion nebula.
The end of war and poverty? Again, might happen someday, but not likely in our lifetime. Functional immortality? Ditto. But what would either of these have to do with Christianity being false?
What’s significant in Vox’s list is that he is plainly avoiding the obvious criteria (i.e. is Christianity consistent with itself and with observable objective reality) in favor of a bunch of fake criteria that have little or nothing to do with the truth of the Gospel, and are merely contrived to be virtually impossible to find. He’s not even being terribly subtle about it: he’s creating a pretext for claiming that Dawkins cannot prove a negative (i.e. God’s non-existence), despite the transparent flimsiness of his “suggestions.”
Why is he avoiding the obvious tests of Christianity and trying to distract us with fluff and feathers? I think the answer to that one is also obvious.