Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Common Sense is Tingling - Debunking Christianity: Let's Talk Turkey About the Evidence for Christianity

John Loftus has posted yet another article that I think has a few problems. My comments are in Bold.

Tell me if I'm missing something. It's time to sum up the evidence for Christianity and see what it is.

Christians have the poor evidence of historical evidence and that's it. I have a chapter on it in Why I Became an Atheist. Then they have an argument from ignorance, the god of the gaps. You either argue for this god or you don't. If you do it's a fallacy of ignorance--although I grant with Robert Larmar that this is a legitimate argument so long as science does not progress. But it most emphatically does progress!!! If you do not argue for the god of the gaps then you merely have a sustaining creator of the universe that looks indistinguishable from a universe without a god at all!

Okay so far?

Not even close to "Okay". See what Loftus did. He admits that there is historical evidence but calls it "poor". Given that in science, when it is done right, leads to far more questions than it answers it doe not make sense to argue that understanding anything means that we don't need God. We can explain where lightning comes from, but science will never be able to explain why a bolt lightning hits one area but not another or why it kills this person or another. Science will never be able answer why the Nazis did not discover how to make a U-235 bomb before the Allies did or for that matter why any historical event happens instead of an alternate event. In addition how is a sustaining creator (which Loftus and Richard Dawkins admit is possible) is indistinguishable from a universe with no God at all? Think about it. All the science that we have shows us that the universe cannot sustain itself. We can't sustain ourselves. Entropy can never decrease. Something is slowing down the universe from complete heat death. We have nothing that explains why we exist instead of nothing. I don't think that is a question science can answer. Without that agency holding reality together we have nothing. Let's bring it home. What is it that keeps your heart beating and the synapses in your brain functioning? We don't know. Can science help us understand those processes? Yup. Will science be able to explain and predict when those processes will stop and why? No.

Then we have philosophical arguments that the universe is not a necessary being and that we need a God for reason. I think those arguments are bad and fail to be supported by the evidence from evolution. And none of them can lead people to believe that the god of these arguments is trinitarian by nature, became incarnate in Jesus, atoned for our sins, resurrected from the grave, and so forth. These beliefs depend entirely on the poor evidence of historical evidence, you see. And I mean it's poor evidence if it can be considered evidence at all! Keith Parsons walked away from the philosophy of religion because these philosophical types of arguments have met devastating counter-replies.

I guess Loftus rejects revelation as a valid source for information about reality. Agreed that without divine revelation we can't know all the things about God's character and nature in as great a detail as we claim to know. I want to know why that is a problem. If God is truly as other as he would have to be to have accomplished making all of reality out of nothing , does anyone really think that our finiteness could ever hope to comprehend much of anything about God beyond Deism? God has chosen to reveal himself to humanity though direct and personal relationship. That is the claim of Christianity. Beyond that...God wants to have a personal relationship with you. We can't cross the chasm of infinite distance between us and God. In order to be in relationship with us, God had to condescend and bridge that chasm himself with himself. If you think you can just approach God and what he does and who he is without his help and under your own power you greatly overestimate yourself and your mental powers.

Again, am I missing anything?

Yes, a lot.

That's all ya got. Little or nothing. End of story. See ya.

So, Loftus admits that there is historical evidence (yet doesn't think its convincing) and neglects the very evidence of our own existence as proof of God being and doing what He has said He is and had done. This is far from the end of the story. Without God it is impossible to even begin understand Him and even then obedience is going to be the closest you can get. Without God, it's not a matter of missing the forest because of the tree. Without God, you don't even know you exist or even recognize trees.

Debunking Christianity: Let's Talk Turkey About the Evidence for Christianity
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Evidence for Christianity by J.P. Moreland - Apologetics 315

Brian Auten has posted a lecture by Dr J.P. Moreland that is well-worth listening to. A link to the video and the audio was posted on his blog at Apologetics 315. Please visit his blog post to get the links.

Evidence for Christianity by J.P. Moreland - Apologetics 315
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FacePalm of the Day - #68 - Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Russ

 John Loftus posted the following quote from one of his readers:

Simply being able to imagine something is no reason to think that it's possible for it to exist. All gods so far are imaginary. You are forced to agree with me that all gods are imaginary with you taking exception only for your particular incarnation of a Christian god. But, your god is no more real than Rama or Vishnu or Thor. Until it can be shown that a god, any god, can do something there is no reason to think it's even possible for one to exist. Until we can see a god acting on its own rather than being credited with things achieved by other means, we are fully justified in treating them like we treat trolls and flying dragons: they are the stuff of myth. Link
Russ appears to argue that God is imaginary unless you can prove God has acted. I can easily argue that God has intervened in my life  but people who don't realize or see what God has done in their own lives will not accept that. I could argue that Jesus - God incarnate - came to earth, died  for us, and rose again, but however people like Russ would deny that is true despite the evidence. So here is the reason for the  FacePalm, Russ ignores one very important point: IF there is no God who brought the universe into existence. We know for a fact that the universe had a beginning. We know it has an end. We know that the universe did not bring itself into existence. Nothing can bring itself into existence all by itself. I'd say bringing the universe into existence is a major and unmatchable feat and one not claimed by Buddhism, Rama, Vishnu, Thor, or anyone else.

Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Russ
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Interview: The Problem of Hell - Apologetics 315

Brian Auten has posted an interview of Dr. Jeremy Evans by Michael Licona. The subject was about hell - what the Bible teaches about it and what it means. He deals with many of the objections people raise about hell also. Unfortunately, many Christians shy away from the subject and even try to deny the reality of hell altogether. "There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun."

Interview: The Problem of Hell - Apologetics 315
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