Okay, I've said it. It's possible Christians are right after all. But then it's possible the Loch Ness Monster exists and is evading our attempts to detect her too!
Yeah, but ignoring the Loch Ness Monster is not going to damn you to hell - eternally separated from God. Another thing is that God is not hiding.
I have made the argument here and in my books that Christians must be convinced that their faith is nearly impossible before they will ever consider it to be improbable, and that this is an utterly unreasonable standard.
It does not follow that just because something seems improbable that it's also not possible. There is no shortage of improbable things that also happen to be true. For example: Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics!
There are at least two reasons why they demand such a high standard of disproof. The first is what I call the Omniscience Escape Clause (read all the links in this post!).
You can't call God's omniscience a problem just because the best you
The other reason is Pascal's Wager, in that unless the Christian faith is shown to be nearly impossible the threat of hell still holds sway over the minds of believers.
You can't split "hell" from Pascal's Wager or from the Christian faith. If you reject Christian Faith, and you understand what you say you reject then you would reject the reality of hell also. Fail.
I would think however, that if their faith is shown to be improbable that should be good enough. Here then are several ways where believers, especially evangelicals (my target audience), try escaping out from underneath the weight of probabilities:
Again "improbable" doesn't mean not true. If that is what Loftus believes, no wonder he fails more often than he believes he does.
It's possible that...God is good despite massive and ubiquitous suffering.
If one does not think that it's possible, than it explains how you have no idea who God is.
Jesus resurrected even though the tools and methods of the historian don't lead us to think he did.
Not everyone agrees that history does not leads us to think that Jesus did not. A little honesty please.
That it's reasonable to accept second-hand testimony (at best) of a resurrection found in ancient written sources which cannot be interrogated, but it's not reasonable to accept someone's testimony who claims he levitated without seeing such a thing personally, or without some personal interrogation.
There is nothing in the Bible that tells us levitation is not possible. I would not reject it outright without research or interrogation. The devil can perform signs and wonders too. As for the Bible being "second-hand testimony", there is plenty of evidence for the Bible providing eye-witness testimony and good evidence. Many professional scholars would disagree with Loftus.
That there is divine intervention in the evolutionary process even though there is no room for it.
That's not a rudimentary Christian belief and who says that Darwinian is a more reasonable explanation for how life got to where it is than it is to accept the Bible as eyewitness testimony?
That Christianity is true even though evolution has enormous negative implications for religion.
Not all scientist agree that Darwinian evolution is true.
That faith can be a rational leap over what the probabilities actually lead us to conclude, even though other believers in different mutually exclusive religions accept this rationale too.
Faith is not a leap. Biblical faith is never contrary to truth. No one in the Bible is ever commended for choosing to believe something although it was not true.
That petitionary prayers are efficacious even though scientific studies have shown they work just about as well as chance.
Not all studies have led to that conclusion.
That Evangelicalism is true even though it's a late historical development to Christianity in general.
Rather than just state this, Loftus should define what he means by "Evangelism". Does he mean historic Christianity? Must not be.
That if metaphysical naturalism is shown to be improbable then evangelicalism becomes de facto the only rational alternative. WTF?
Again with the ambiguity. If Loftus does not think that Evangelicalism is Biblical than he's doing a horrible job "debunking" Christianity.
That even though believers in different religious faiths adopt, defend, and believe with near certainty the religion of their culture, the evangelical faith is true and the others are of Satan.
Either one is correct or they are all wrong and Loftus admits that Christianity may be true. If Christianity is true than all other religions are false.
New and Better Pascal's Wager, which asks us to wager on whether or not we would wish to be born on earth knowing there is a hell to pay if we are born in the wrong time and place. One Christian response is to say that it's possible this is exactly what happened, that we all were given such a choice, and we all chose to take the gamble that we would end up in heaven knowing the odds.
That's not Biblical and Loftus' "improved wager" is just another flavor of fail. The Bible clearly tells us that no one has been born in circumstances in which it is impossible for us to find God. No. Instead we are all were born in the best possible circumstances and time in which we can best find God. Re-read Acts 17. God is in control. God isn't just omniscient. God is omnipotent.
I have made an argument based on the concept of retroactive prayer where prayers can change the past by changing what God foreknows, who then intervenes before a tragic event even happened. One Christian response is to ask how we know God doesn't do that regularly, or at least as often as he answers any petitionary prayer.
Again no Biblical Basis.
Basically Christians, and evangelicals in particular, need a Reality Check.
Every time Loftus makes "reality check" arguments, he fails to get right what the Bible actually says. Check out these responses I've made.http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/search/label/Reality%20Check------------
I have said that I try to overwhelm the believer,
Personally, I've been underwhelmed by Loftus' arguments. The writers of the New Testament handled him 2000 yrs ago.
and I am vilified for it.
Just a sinner who needs Jesus....and that's all of us.
But given the fact that believers must be convinced their faith is nearly impossible before they will ever consider it to be improbable, this is what their faith forces me to do if I want to convince them they are wrong.
Loftus can't demonstrate that the Bible is impossible. This is why he meets with so much failure.
You see, I know more than I can tell. I know that Christianity is a delusion from all that I know. The only thing left to do at that point is to try to convince Christians they are wrong. And they are.
Loftus has done no more than just continually assert such a silly argument.
What other ways do Christians depend on what is possible to bolster their faith rather than going with the probabilities? Their name is probably Legion! ;-)
Debunking Christianity: It's Possible That Evangelical Christianity is the True Faith