A quick preview

We’ve looked at the evidence, and we’ve all seen (though some of us have mixed feelings about admitting it) that the real-world evidence is consistent with the expected consequences of the Myth Hypothesis, and inconsistent with the expected consequences of the Gospel Hypothesis. “Big deal,” you may say. “So what?” After all, it’s possible that some variation of the Gospel Hypothesis will work better. Maybe by adding things and/or taking things away we can come up with a New Gospel Hypothesis that will be as consistent with the facts as the Myth Hypothesis.

Well, yes and no.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Loser's Compromise, Unapologetics. 53 Comments »

Hiatus

Folks, I’m going to be offline for the next week or so due to my son’s graduation, some home improvement projects, and an increased workload at my day job. I’ve got posts scheduled through next Tuesday, but new posts and comments monitoring are going to be extremely spotty this week. This should give cl time to finish up his well-reasoned rebuttal without further distractions from me, at least, so that may be a good thing.

Take care and behave yourselves while I’m gone, ok? ;)

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Blog news. 2 Comments »

XFiles Friday: Daniel in the Liar’s Den

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

We come now to Prophecy #8 in Geisler and Turek’s short list of “messianic” prophecies that are supposed to astonish us all with their amazing pinpoint accuracy. The prophecies so far have been amazing, all right, though perhaps not for the reasons Geisler and Turek intended. They (and we) however, have saved the best for last.

Let’s start with the passage, from Daniel 9.

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

And now, Geisler and Turek’s “messianic” interpretation:

He will die in AD 33: Messiah will die (be “cut off”) 483 years (69 * 7) after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (that works out to A. D. 33). The city and the temple will then be destroyed. (This occurred in 70.)

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 2 Comments »

An “inaccurate” question?

We’ve been having an interesting discussion about how the real-world evidence relates to the consequences that would naturally result from the Myth Hypothesis and the Gospel Hypothesis, especially with regard to the latter. One Christian objection in particular strikes me as deserving a post of its own in response. Before we look at that objection, however, let’s review what a hypothesis is and how it is used.

A hypothesis is actually quite simple: it’s a proposition that has testable consequences. In other words, to construct a valid hypothesis, all we need to do is make a declarative statement that is specific enough and self-consistent enough that an honest and objective inquirer can work out what observable consequences ought reasonably to result if the statement is true. For example, if we say “beer is an intoxicating beverage,” that statement is a valid hypothesis. Just by analyzing the sentence, we can describe the consequences we ought to see if the statement is true: we should see people get intoxicated when they drink beer, and we should measure increased levels of blood alcohol after drinking.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 93 Comments »

The Undeniable Fact, v2.0

I have a strict policy of not banning people for disagreeing with me, and that’s because discussing things with my opponents often helps me clarify and improve my own presentation. In that vein, I’d like to present Version 2.0 of the Undeniable Fact (and its Inescapable Consequence).

One of the things that came out during the discussion with Jayman and cl is that they immediately focused on what I consider to be a trivial irrelevancy: the notion that we cannot know, in the sense of having first-hand personal experience, that every single allegedly divine manifestation is necessarily a false perception. We spent quite a bit of time arguing over the significance of the consistency of the evidence we can observe, but no amount of evidence or logic could sway them from their faith that God could be hiding somewhere just outside the range of our vision.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 20 Comments »

Victoria and Holmes

There’s a particular approach to the truth that I call the Loser’s Compromise, and it goes like this: “We can’t know the truth about X, so let’s just agree that different people are equally justified in believing whatever they like about it.” Considered superficially, it sounds open-minded and fair, because it appeals to a certain live-and-let-live quality that avoids putting anyone in the wrong. In reality, though, it’s a deceptive rationalization, and an excuse for avoiding the truth instead of embracing it.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Loser's Compromise, Unapologetics. 21 Comments »

XFiles Friday: Messianic Prophecies II

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 13.)

Drs. Geisler and Turek are giving us a quick tour of just the highlights of the so-called “messianic prophecies,” and in so doing are inadvertently giving us a good lesson in just how contrived these “fulfillments” really are. In contrast to the earlier section where they dragged out a handful of Biblical references to actual facts (like the fact that certain people and cities existed), in this chapter they seem almost rushed as they hurry through the Old Testament, skipping over such minor details as the literary and historical context of the verses they use as proof texts. But we’re in no such hurry, so we might linger just a bit longer on those pesky details.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 5 Comments »

Understanding the Bible

There is probably a good year’s worth of material (at least) that we could examine to find overwhelmingly consistent examples in which the real-world evidence takes precisely the characteristics that would necessarily result from the truth of the Myth Hypothesis, and that fails to correspond to the consequences that ought to result from the truth of the Gospel Hypothesis. I think we’ve seen enough of it thus far, however, to give us a basis for beginning to approach the question of how we are to understand the Bible.

Obviously, there’s two ways we can do this: we can interpret the Bible in the light of the real-world evidence, assuming that the real-world evidence is necessarily correct, or we can interpret the evidence in the light of the Bible, assuming that the Bible is necessarily correct. The latter is sometimes called “interpreting the Bible on its own terms,” and I think it can be fairly said that this is a biased approach. The Bible makes no secret of the fact that it is written to promote belief, and to prejudice people against unbelievers (“The fool says in his heart…”). Putting the Bible ahead of the evidence means guaranteeing that you will come to some sort of Christian conclusion.

But what if we put the real-world evidence first? Is that not equally biased? Yes it is. The same principle applies equally to both. If we put the Bible first, then we are going to be biased in favor of Biblical conclusions, and if we put real-world evidence first, we’re going to be biased in favor of real-world conclusions. It’s up to us, then, to pick which bias we want to have.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 38 Comments »

A milestone

We’ve still got a lot more that could be said about the differences in consequences between the Myth Hypothesis and the Gospel Hypothesis. I thought it might be a good time, though, to take a brief breather, and survey where we’ve come from, and the course we’ve charted thus far.

I originally started this series because a number of commenters objected to my claim that it is an “Undeniable Fact” that God does not show up in real life. I could not possibly make such a claim with any intellectual honesty, some said, because such a claim would require omniscience on my part. My reply was that I was not basing my claim on a brute force approach, i.e. by personally investigating each and every claim that might constitute a genuine appearance of God. Instead, I am basing it on a more scientific approach, based on the principle that the truth is consistent with itself.

I think by this point, I am legitimately entitled to claim that I have met my burden of proof, and have established the intellectual honesty of claiming, as undeniable fact, the observation that God does not show up in real life. If He did, we would be having a very different conversation right now with respect to the consequences of the Myth Hypothesis versus the Gospel Hypothesis. Christian apologists are arguing, not just that God’s absence from real life is possible, but that we ought to expect the Gospel Hypothesis to result in an absence that is just as pervasive and undeniable as the one that would result from the Myth Hypothesis being true. Needless to say, this apologetic would be entirely counterproductive (for Christianity) if it were not true that God is as absent as any mythical being would have to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 105 Comments »

The Gospel Hypothesis

Today I want to zero in on the Gospel Hypothesis: what it is, and why we can be sure it will produce different consequences than the Myth Hypothesis.

The Gospel Hypothesis, as I have stated before, is simply the proposition that there exists an all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful Creator Who loves us so much that He is willing and able to become one of us, dwell among us, and die for us in order that He and we might enjoy a personal and eternal relationship together.

That’s it. Not too hard to grasp conceptually, is it? No particular reason why anyone, least of all a Christian, ought to have a hard time understanding what it says, right? Well, perhaps that depends.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 5 Comments »