Scriptural fulfillments

We’re ready to look at how the actual characteristics of the Bible do, or do not, coincide with the consequences that would result from either the Myth Hypothesis or the Gospel Hypothesis. First, though, a couple quick clarifications.

Some of the commenters seem to have slightly misunderstood the Gospel Hypothesis. I am not claiming that the Gospel Hypothesis is Christianity (we’ll get to the relationship between Christianity and the Gospel Hypothesis later on). The point of the Gospel Hypothesis is to take the basic premise of an omni-X deity Who loves us enough to become human and die for us so that He and we can enjoy an eternal personal relationship together. It’s a premise that implies some substantial and specific consequences, so it’s a good alternative candidate for comparison to the Myth Hypothesis.

Also, there’s one more consequence of the Myth Hypothesis that I did not bring out before because I was having trouble boiling it down into a concise statement. Jayman’s reference to Galatians, however, has helped crystalize my thinking a bit (thanks Jayman!).

I mentioned that, if the Myth Hypothesis were true, we would expect that Scriptures would inevitably have to make some kind of accommodation to God’s absence. This does not mean, however, that the Scriptures must necessarily admit that God is really absent, and in fact one of the chief ways Scripture can compensate for God’s absence is by filling in the gap with stories that purport to show God’s presence. Such stories would appeal to various human frailties like gullibility and relationship-based assessment (i.e. believing things because of who says them rather than what is said), and because of God’s absence they would necessarily have distinctive limitations: vagueness, lack of verifiability, a requirement for significant subjectivity in one’s interpretation of the passages, etc.

Now, on to the fulfillments.

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Scriptural Predictions

Ok, back to the topic we started last week. To recap, we’re comparing two different hypotheses or premises about God by examining what real-world consequences would have to follow if the premise were true. The Myth Hypothesis says that the Christian God does not exist in real life, and thus the Christian faith originated and is maintained via a variety of complex and resilient psychosocial mechanisms we might broadly categorize as “myth.” The Gospel Hypothesis, by contrast, proposes that the Christian Creator God does exist, and further, that the Christian faith originated as a result of God loving mankind enough to become human Himself, and to die for us as a cleansing sacrifice so that He could enjoy fellowship with us (and vice versa) for all eternity, as is His (alleged) desire.

We started by looking at the primary source of information available to us concerning God. As the Myth Hypothesis would lead us to expect, our primary information source about God is not God Himself, even though you’d think a God Who wanted a eternal personal relationship with us could spare some time here and now. So that leaves us with human sources for information about God, of which there are two main categories: Scriptures, and personal testimonies (which we’ll discuss later). So what do each of our two hypotheses have to say about any Scriptures that might arise?

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Evidence against Christianity: Sources

I want to take it a little slow while we wait for more comments and criticisms about the basic premises. But there’s no reason we can’t go ahead and start, so let’s begin by looking at the distinctive differences between the implicit consequences of the Myth Hypothesis and the Gospel Hypothesis, as they relate to what sources we have available to work with to even approach this issue.

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The Evidence Against Christianity: Introduction

Ask a typical atheist why they do not believe in God, and you’ll usually hear that it’s because there is no evidence that God exists. While that’s true as far as it goes, I believe that there is much more that can be said. There exists much positive, verifiable evidence that the Christian God, unlike unicorns, fairies, or the dragon in your garage, is a Being Who manifestly does not exist. And we can know it. The evidence is so prevalent and consistent that we cannot deny it and still maintain our intellectual honesty.

There are those who deny that I can make such a claim, who point out that I couldn’t possibly have personally examined each and every individual case that someone claims as evidence for the existence of God. As I’ve pointed out before, however, I do not draw my conclusions based on such a na├»ve, brute-force approach. Rather, I employ the more subtle and powerful principle that real-world truth is consistent with itself. On the basis of this principle, we can know that, when men tell us stories about an alleged Being Whose nature, motives and behavior are in continual conflict with themselves and with real-world facts, they are speaking about a God who does not exist.

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