Testing worldviews: the definition of the “naturalistic” world view

A Christian commenter who goes by the handle “schooloffish” has invited us to review a recent blog entry of his on the subject “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?.” He seems nice enough, so let’s drop by, shall we?

Everyone has a world view, which is best described as the way you see the world. There are as many world views as there are people, but in general, there are three specific world views that I will be analysing with this article. These three world view categories are religious, naturalistic, andrelativistic world views. Of course there are many subcategories within these three categories that we will cover as well.

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Posted in CAMWatch, Field Trip, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

All things considered

The writer or writers at apologetics.org have noticed my commentary on their recent apologetics series, and though they carefully avoid linking to any of my posts, they do want try and address my points.

There is running commentary on another site by Deacon Duncan concerning this argument for the resurrection. Now what it is failing to do (among other things) in order to argue against these facts is not accounting for all of the virtually undisputed facts taken as a whole.

I can’t help thinking this is just a bit unfair, since they’ve only presented 3 facts so far (at least in the series I’m addressing), and I have accounted for them all, both individually and as a group. I do like the way they toss in the parenthetical “among other things,” as though they really have a lot more answers and just can’t be troubled to share them at the moment. But let’s go ahead and deal with this argument, and see exactly who is, and is not, addressing all the indisputable facts as a whole.

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The apologetics of Paul’s conversion

Apologetics.org is continuing its series on “evidences” for the resurrection, turning this time to the conversion of Saul, better known as the Apostle Paul.

The 3rd fact that virtually all NT scholars admit (e.g., liberal, Jesus Seminar, Moderate, Conservative) is that the church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. Saul of Tarsus thought that he was doing God’s will by persecuting Christians. He held the coats of those who stoned the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58). Then all of the sudden, Saul becomes Paul on the road to Damascus. Now Paul is the chief proclaimer and defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the early church! How did that happen? Paul claims throughout his letters and it is recorded by Luke in the book of Acts that the risen Jesus appeared to him. Nothing else makes good sense of this radical transformation. What best accounts for Paul’s transformation? He had every reason not to become a Christian!

Two things we need to remember: 1) conversions happen all the time, and 2) stories—especially testimonies—tend to improve with the retelling.

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Apologetics.org on “Historical Evidence for the Resurrection”

Over at apologetics.org, the self-identified blog of the “CS Lewis Society,” they seem to be running a series on Historical Evidence for the Resurrection. At least, they’ve got two posts on the topic, labeled “Fact #1 and Fact #2,” so I assume they intend to post more. Let’s have a look, shall we?

“Fact” #1 is that Jesus was crucified. I put “fact” in quotes because I’m not 100% convinced that this is necessarily so. It seems reasonably plausible, however, and is certainly consistent with the events that followed, so I’m willing to grant them that one. Let’s move on to the second fact.

Fact # 2 – Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.

First, the disciples claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. In addition to their own testimony recorded in the Gospels, we also have the testimony of the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:3-11), the oral tradition that would become the basis of the NT writings, and the written works of the early church. That they claimed to have seen the risen Jesus is without dispute.

This is true, as far as it goes. But context is crucial here. Before we can understand these statements, we need to remember that we’re dealing with Christians, and Christians also believe that God speaks to them and that Jesus comes into their hearts. Before we can draw reliable conclusions about what Christians regard as true, we need to ask “True in what sense?” And there’s more.

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Posted in CAMWatch, Field Trip, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

Apologetics.org: What Would It Take For An Atheist to Believe?

I’ve added a new apologetics blog to my list, and in this post, the author raises a question we’ve seen before.

I therefore put to my former fellow-atheists the simple central question: “What would have to occur or to have occured to constitute for you a reason to least consider the existence of a superior Mind?”

The context is a discussion of Anthony Flew and Roy Varghese’s book I Believe in God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind. (Or more precisely, lost it: since when does an accomplished, articulate and incisive author like Flew suddenly need a hack ghost-writer like Varghese in order to express himself on paper?) However the question above is near and dear to my heart, so let’s consider it.

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Christian Apologetics Ministries and Straw Atheists

Anthony Horvath is at it again, inventing imaginary atheists he can use as straw men to ridicule. The occasion this time is the discovery of an ancient Hebrew temple seal, as documented by the Jerusalem Post. According to Mr. Horvath, this just goes to show that atheists are all wrong about the Bible.

This is just one more example out of dozens if not hundreds of such corroborations but it you perused the atheistic sites that are out there you’d find that they confidently and smugly assert that there is no truthfulness to the Christian Scriptures at all.

He then backs up this claim by linking to a skeptical discussion forum that includes comments such as these:

“That there was a first temple, that there was a Babilonian exile and that there was a return to Jerusalem, are well accepted historical facts.”

“Archaeologists have uncovered Troy. Troy was mentioned in The Iliad. The Iliad contains Zeus and other Greek gods. Why, then, don’t you believe the Greek gods exist?”

Mr. Horvath doesn’t really have a good answer for such comments, especially since his own claim (that atheist assert that everything mentioned in the Bible is false) is so patently ridiculous. So he contents himself with a snide, and substanceless dismissal, saying “This is what passes as rationality from out of the skeptic’s camp.”

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No True Scotsman, anyone?

Anthony Horvath has a new post entitled “Dispelling the Myth that Christians Are Hopelessly Divided on Core Beliefs.” Now, I haven’t actually read the post yet, because I want to do a little experiment. I’m willing to bet, just based on the title, that Mr. Horvath is going to define “a true Christian” as one who agrees with him on the “core beliefs” of his faith. By definition, then, no true Scotsman Christian could possibly disagree with him on core beliefs, because anyone who disagrees with him is by definition not a true Christian. The question is, will he take the long way around, by listing what he thinks the core beliefs are and then claiming that all “true” Christians agree with him, or will he take the shorter approach and just admit that this is the tautological argument he’s appealing to?

Well, let’s look at his post and see how prophetic I really am.

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Posted in CAMWatch, Science, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »

Unfalsifiable vs. “not false”

It seems Mr. Horvath is feeling neglected because I’m paying attention to Christian apologetics ministries other than his own. (You have to admire the ingenuity of someone who can manage to call you a stalker in a two-line complaint about how you’re not obsessing over him enough!) He even puts up a bunch of fresh new posts for me to choose from. Well, I don’t have the heart to disappoint him, so let’s take another field trip, shall we? I’ll skip over the frankly fictitious story about Mother Teresa going to heaven, and the pro-gun argument that makes a big deal about the word “Congress” being in the First Amendment without seeming to notice the word “militia” in the Second. Let’s look, instead, at his post on one of my favorite topics: evolution.

Wasn’t the ‘request’ put to the Creationist proponents that they frame their views in less theistic terms? If it the case that ID is an accommodation to the evolutionary scientist’s camp, then shouldn’t that camp respect the efforts of these alleged ‘closet creationists’ to come to them on the materialist’s terms?

No, the “request” made of creationists is the same request that is made of everybody who wants to claim to do science: Please back up your claims with objectively verifiable evidence that is more consistent with your hypothesis than it is with the alternatives. The reason ID has failed to win any significant scientific support is because they’ve failed to do that, and have instead limited themselves to recycling creationist objections to the theory of evolution (even though they know that evolution–descent with modification from common ancestors–is indeed a fact).

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Posted in CAMWatch, Science. 6 Comments »

Tekton Apologetics on the “Lord Liar or Lunatic” Argument

In an article entitled “The Trilemma. Lord Liar or Lunatic?,” J. P. Holding of Tekton Apologetics ministries attempts to rescue CS Lewis’s most famous argument for the deity of Christ from its inherent flaws. He starts with a discussion of ways in which this argument has admittedly been abused by apologists, but claims that skeptics have an even worse record.

On the other hand, attempts to “refute” it have tried to fuddle the argument by adding one or more options, or by saying that the options already stated are not clear enough – which is itself rather a poor methodology!

The scare quotes around “refute” are a nice touch. Let’s see if Holding can do any better than Lewis did.

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Horvath responds

Ah, it seems Mr. Horvath has taken an interest in this discussion after all.

Herr Professor has redeemed himself slightly in my eyes in his latest reply to one of my posts. He follows my blog very closely so no doubt he will discover this response to his so just a word of reminder to you, sir, that I do not use my blog for discussion and debate. Still, I think his post represents a good faith attempt to answer my question so I shall reply.

Ok, point noted: his blog is not for discussion and debate. Shall we proceed?

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Posted in Atheistic Morality, CAMWatch, Unapologetics. 1 Comment »