Encore: Unapologetics 101

[Originally posted as "Unapologetics 101" on July 27, 2007.]

Before we get into a detailed analysis of I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, I wanted to take a minute and look at the most fundamental and important principle for effective refutation of Christian apologetics. Debating apologetics can be a tricky matter: Christians have 2,000 years of experience in rationalizing their beliefs, and generally know better than to allow themselves to be pinned down to anything that would settle the matter fairly and objectively. There is, however, one inescapable fact, with one inevitable consequence, which can be used to force Christians to face reality no matter how much they would like to twist away from it.

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Encore: Is it wrong to say there is no evidence of God?

[Originally published as "Pharyngula: Another round in the Kleiman/Myers skirmish" on July 17, 2007.]

PZ Myers has another go at those who claim that it’s wrong to criticize someone else’s belief in God. In so doing, he voices a frequently-expressed opinion that, in my view, does a bad job of (should I say it?) “framing” the debate.

I am saying precisely that belief in god is wrong because there is no empirical or theoretical support for it; there is a concatenation of myths leavened with post-hoc justifications for them, which is not the same thing.

There’s something unsatisfactory about saying that there is no evidence for God. After all, we learn new things all the time. Just because we say “there is no evidence for God” doesn’t mean that evidence might not exist somewhere. It just means we haven’t seen any (yet).

To me, that argument comes up short. Science is based on truth, and if there’s one thing we know about truth, it’s that truth is self-consistent. More than that, the self-consistency of truth is the way–the only way–we tell the difference between what’s correct and what’s false. To be consistent with the truth is to be true. To be inconsistent with the truth is to be false.

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Posted in Encore, Evidence Against Christianity, Unapologetics. 8 Comments »

In the interim…

Folks, I apologize for the sparcity of posts lately. A combination of time-consumers both at work and at home is leaving me with a serious shortfall in my available time and energy, which I hope will be resolved in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to try scheduling some re-posts of material from the early days of the blog, in hopes that someone will find it fresh and rewarding.

Take care.

 
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Life after death, as the Sadducees saw it.

Commenter mikespeir has a question about my claim that the Sadducees already believed in life after death.

Why do you say that? I realize we don’t have a lot to go on, but I thought it was pretty well established that the Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death.

I was only able to give a cursory reply in the comments, and indeed my early research did more to raise my own doubts than to confirm my initial statement (hence the edit to my original post). Now that I’ve looked into it a bit more, though, I’m a bit more confident in my initial assessment, and so I thought I’d take some time to share my findings.

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XFiles: The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 14.)

Christian apologists Dr. Norm Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek are putting the finishing touches on their argument that it takes more faith not to believe the Gospel than to be an evangelical, Trinitarian Christian. Let’s see what objective, verifiable and irrefutable evidence they have to share with us today.

In addition to declaring that the Old Testament is divinely authoritative, imperishable, infallible, and inerrant, Jesus affirmed two of the most historically disputed stories in the Old Testament: Noah (Matt. 24:37-28) and Jonah (Matt. 12:40). Jesus spoke of those stories as being historically true.

Sometimes these posts almost write themselves, don’t they?

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 8 Comments »

Defending Jesus

A visitor named “Joe” (from theboldchristian.com) has replied to my post on Biblical inerrancy, and specifically about my comments on Jesus’ peculiar argument for the resurrection, as found in Matthew 22.

You have a misunderstanding of what death really is. Death is the separation of the body from the mind and spirit. Being made in God’s image consists of three parts. The Mind (God the Father), the body (Jesus) and the spirit (Holy Spirit). These three parts make One whole person. The resurrection is the rejoining of the body to the mind and spirit. Therefore, when Jesus says that God is the God of the living, he is telling the truth, because the mind and spirit are not dead, only the body is.

I can’t help but feel just a twinge of nostalgia, reading Joe’s defense of Jesus, because I had very much the same interpretation when I was a believer. Looking back on this rather simplistic interpretation, though, I can’t help but notice that it not only fails to effectively address the problems with Jesus’ argument, but also does a fair job of demonstrating why a smart god would never make a mere book the ultimate authority for his believers’ faith and practice.

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Posted in Unapologetics. 6 Comments »

XFiles: What Biblical inerrancy really means

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 14.)

Geisler and Turek continue their attempts to prove that it takes more faith to be an atheist, and this week their argument centers on the claim that the Bible is without error. We know this because the Bible says that Jesus says that the Bible is without error. Wellll, that is, he doesn’t come right out and actually say it. It’s more like he sorta implies it.

When the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with a question, Jesus said to them, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). The implication, of course, is that the Scriptures are inerrant. It wouldn’t make any sense for Jesus to say, “You are in error because you don’t know the Scriptures, which also err!”

That pretty much wraps up their argument for Biblical inerrancy, at least as far as this book is concerned. But since they raise the topic, let’s think about it a bit more.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 12 Comments »