Sunday, April 22, 2012

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: *Sigh* There are Just Too Many Ways to Be Christian

Ultimate_Spider-Man-FacePalm, From s01e05John Loftus is at it again. He attempts to make an argument against Christianity based on the fact that Christians don't agree. Let's look closely at his spectacular and continued failure. 

Christians cannot agree with themselves. So why should I take any of them seriously? Believers have no method to settle their own disputes because faith has no method. Can you at least try to understand this?

If Loftus is correct then the following is also true:

Atheists cannot agree with themselves. So why should I take any of them seriously? NonBelievers have no method to settle their own disputes because atheism has no method. 

Okay? Yeah, it doesn't make sense either. Christians don't always agree with each other, but we do have a method of settling disputes but some people refuse to submit: Scripture.

Here is an example. Evangelical Christians will bristle when they read what a liberal wrote about the resurrection, which I'll quote below. But this is the same type of reasoning skeptics see when we read of your own defenses of the resurrection.
There are some Christian scholars, though, who maintain that the historical method can indeed be used to determine whether Jesus was resurrected from the dead (e.g. N.T. Wright, Mike Licona). There are others who suggest that we can determine the likelihood of Jesus’ resurrection probabilistically via Bayes’ theorem (e.g. Richard Swinburne). I have even seen one guy, Frank Tipler, attempt to utilize quantum physics in order to assert that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

Another perspective on this issue, which is what I myself agree with, is that the resurrection of Jesus is a historiographically inaccessible event, due to the fact that the very nature of the resurrection is inherently contradictory towards physical reality, thus making the historical- and scientific-methods inadequate and ineffective in determining whether it really occurred. This type of perspective is held by various contemporary theologians...[Jesus's] resurrection is an act accomplished by the finger of God and is an apocalyptic event which transcends what the historical method can access, meaning that it cannot be confirmed as history and thus has to be seen in other terms. This view is not due to an imperialist epistemological view of history, but is the result of viewing Christ’s resurrection for what it really is – an apocalyptic happening that breaks through into the linearity of history and is itself a history-making event. Link
As John Loftus later states in this very post I'm responding to that even if you don't think Jesus' Resurrection can be supported by historical evidence, that still doesn't mean that it did not happen. I disagree that there is no historical evidence supporting the Resurrection but I'm not going to throw another Christian under the bus because he/she disagrees with me. You can believe the Resurrection happened even if you can't prove it historically. Accepting the Resurrection is one of those things that signifies that you are a Christian, so I have no real problem with the above quote to the point that I would say the writer of the quote is not a Christian 0 based solely on these two paragraphs.

Evangelicals are right to argue that if the resurrection cannot be known using the historical method then they ought to give up their faith.

I disagree. I would more clearly state: If you reject the reality of a Resurrection you ought to give up calling yourself a "Christian" because you are not. 

 Come on now, get real, really, I agree with the evangelicals on this score.

 That perspective is not what makes you an "evangelical".

What kind of event is an "apocalyptic" one that cannot be accessed by the historical method? That method is the only one available for know what happened in the past. The resurrection of Jesus might have occurred, but there are a lot of events that have happened in the past that reasonable people should not accept. The reason is simple. Jesus might have flown into the sky, just as Mohammed might have done so (on a horse). But without sufficient evidence we should not believe either of them did. Aliens might have abducted some guy too. But again, without sufficient evidence to accept his testimony--since none of us were there when the alleged event took place--we should not think it happened. When it comes to the resurrection of Jesus, he might have been raised from the dead but since we were not there we need sufficient evidence, historical evidence, to accept, at best, the second, third, and fourth hand testimony of the early church.

That's not true. We have first century evidence as well, even if you reject the Gospels as being from the first century (although they are). Forgotten the epistles, he has. 

Still, liberals are absolutely correct to admit the historical method cannot lead reasonable people to conclude Jesus was raised from the dead. So I agree with the liberals too. The historian's tools are inadequate for the task of detecting the miraculous claim of the resurrection.

So? Even if you accept hogwash like that, it does not mean Jesus was not raised bodily from the dead. 

This is why I say that when believers criticize each other I think they are right! All I need to do is listen in and agree. They do the work for me. It's easy. We don't really even need to debunk Christianity. They are doing it to themselves, all of the time. To see this when it comes to atonement theories read this.

Loftus disagrees that Jesus was raised from the dead, but neither side - those who agree that there is historical evidence and those who disagree  that there is historical evidence - means that Jesus was not raised no matter who is right. 

So what's really going on here? What we see is that Christians will do or say anything in order to maintain their culturally inherited faith.

What about people who become believers who were not raised as Christians? Sorry, but just because some people are raised as Christians and never research or consider what they have been raised to believe does not mean no one does and makes an informed profession of faith!

When faith is the basis for what a person concludes, anything can be believed. Evangelicals either ignore or are ignorant of what the historical method is all about, and liberals ignore or are ignorant of what we should conclude using that method. Faith causes believers to ignore facts. Faith causes believers to be ignorant about the historical method. The historical method is inadequate for detecting miracles like the resurrection of Jesus, so the reasonable conclusion is to doubt it. That method is the only one reasonable people have for knowing what happened in the past. And that method cannot detect miracles.

Considering that there are historians who agree that Jesus was raised from the dead based on historical evidence shows that Loftus is not a historian and not really honest. Also added to the fact that Loftus does not know what Faith is in the first place only further adds to the failure of his argument. And again regardless to whether or not history can be used to detect miracles, there is no reason to conclude that miracles never happen.

In both cases faith has shown itself to be inadequate. It leads liberals and evangelicals to believe against the evidence. That's because faith has no method.

Um no.

To see why the resurrection miracle should not be believed even if it happened simply read this one post.

So basically even if it happened you should no believe it happened? Right. Real smart. 

Debunking Christianity: *Sigh* There are Just Too Many Ways to Be Christian


  1. Hey Marcus,

    Good post; ironically, Loftus and his atheist pals disagree with each other as well!

    See here.


  2. Thanks, Chad. Atheist sure don't agree with each other.

  3. I can't think of any reason why atheist should agree. However, if Christianity is true, Chritians really should.

  4. Should ALL Christains agree on everything? I don't think so. should they agree on the distinctives of Christianity? yes, they do. People who reject what Jesus taught and the totality of the Bible are not Christians.

  5. Not on everything, certainly, but I believe you are 50/50 split on the means of salvation (it's probably worse than that when you break down the protestant sects).

  6. The Bible is explicit on the means of Salvation - Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. No matter if you an Armenian or Calvinist - a Christians believes this. There is room for discussion, and I don't see what you mean by 50/50. I don't think you have any idea what Christians believe.

  7. Faith or Faith+Works. Half of Christians worldwide are Catholic.

    But only about a little more than a third are protestant, and to be fair, I'm not sure how the other orthodox churches fall on this issue.

    So maybe not 50/50, but at least 50% disagree with you...

  8. There is nothing in the Bible that says that if you hold to a faith+Works mentality that you are going to hell. So what if they disagree with me on this point? They are still Christians. They still believe that faith in Jesus is necessary. I say that it is necessary and sufficient. So? The Bible doesn't make the litmus test for orthodoxy. Either way you are still a Christian. Got something else?

  9. Either way you are still a Christian.

    Unless it's convenient for Marcus' argument for you not to be a christian...

  10. If you think it's sufficient and they don't, there's a big disagreement there.

  11. According to scripture, you weren't and you claim you now you aren't. Just get over it and get right with God.

    It's a disagreement but functionally their lives as Christians don't contradict mine. I'm still going to be doing good works. So will they. In the final analysis it's not a salvation issue. Read Romans 14