Monday, December 10, 2012

FacePalm of Day - Debunking Christianity: How do Believers Distinguish between Fact and Fiction?

Well quite a few facepalm worthy posts have come out of Debunking Christianity today. Where to start? Well, I decided to focus on Harry McCall's post about miracles because, in all honesty, it's really easy and I don't have a lot of time. He tries to show a contradiction in what miracles Christian accept and what we don't. He make a few bad arguments and missteps and while pointing them out won't change him or his views it's worth the exercise to correct error.

Here are Four (among many) Christian miracles:

1. There was a talking snake in Eden that talked (in Hebrew) to Eve.

Um...where does the Bible say the serpent spoke Hebrew? Before the Tower of Babel, no mention is made of what language was spoken. It could have been "Elvish" for all we know. 

2. Joshua made the sun stand still.
3. Jesus arose from the dead.
4. St. Raymond of Penyafort had a Sailing Cloak.

Here is the account of St. Raymond and the sinful prince and king: can a monarch be a prince and a king at the same time?

This prince was an accomplished soldier and statesman, and a sincere lover of religion, but his great qualities were sullied by a base passion for women. He received the admonitions of the saint with respect, and promised amendment of life, and a faithful compliance with the saint's injunctions in every particular; but without effect.

St. Raymond, upon discovering that he
[I'm assuming it's this prince doing the entertaining] entertained a lady at his court with whom he was suspected to have criminal conversation [read "illicit sex"], made the strongest instances to have her dismissed, which the king [is that the prince or his father promising but not exexuting?] promised should be done, but postponed the execution.

The saint, dissatisfied with the delay, begged leave to retire to his convent at Barcelona. The king not only refused him leave, but threatened to punish with death any person that should undertake to convey him out of the island.

The saint, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, "A king of the earth endeavors to deprive us of the means of retiring; but the King of Heaven will supply them."

He then walked boldly to the waters, spread his cloak upon them, tied up one corner of it to a staff for a sail, and having made the sign of the cross, stepped upon it without fear, while his timorous companion stood trembling and wondering on the shore.

On this new kind of vessel the saint was wafted with such rapidity, that in six hours he reached the harbor of Barcelona, sixty leagues distant from Majorca. Those who saw him arrive in this manner met him with acclamations.

But he - gathering up his cloak dry - put it on, stole through the crowd, and entered his monastery. A chapel and a tower, built on the place where he landed, have transmitted the memory of this miracle to posterity.

This relation is taken from the bull of his canonization, and the earliest historians of his life. The king
[what about the prince?] became a sincere convert, and governed his conscience, and even his kingdoms, by the advice of St. Raymond from that time till the death of the saint.


All four miracles are venerated by honest sincere Christian faith as having factually happened.

A. Form the view of an outsider; how does a non-Christian tell which of the above miracles (if any) are factually true?

My question is why would you think any of them is not factually true? Can God do anything or not? By definition, I would not consider a "talking snake" a miracle of God. I mean God would not perform a miracle to purposely mislead someone to disobey Him. There is a lot that would have to be taken into account to see if there is any reason to conclude that a miracle factually happened. Given that this isn't the purpose of McCall's post, I see no reason to recount them all here. 

B. How does one Christian faith (Catholicism) know historical truth by faith; while another Christian faith (Protestantism) knows the same historical truth to be a pious religious fraud?

I would not discount the story of St Raymond as a fraud. Why should I? Can God do what the story says happened? Yes! Why not? God made an axe head float in the Old Testament. Jesus walked on water in the New Testament. Why would this be such a stretch? And according to the story, people turned form their wickedness and obey God because of the testimony of this Miracle. It's a win-win.  I see no reason to discount it.

C. How can Protestants attack miracles (which Catholics believe to be true) as pious lies (St. Raymond), but immediately reverse themselves and claim to know real historical Biblical truth with the very same level of faith (Jesus’ Resurrection)? 

Here is where McCall falls flat. As a Bible-believing Christian, I can't discount any miracle claim without studying it and looking to see if it's true no matter what religion is claiming the miracle. By the same token just because a miracle is true doesn't make a religion's claim true. God can and does allow the devil to perform miracles. And sometimes God has mercy on people who are not Christians and sovereignty does miracles for them as well.  Miracles are not a sufficient proof for find truth. Look at what the Bible says about matters such as these:

[a]If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. - Deuteronomy 13:1-4

This argument being made by McCall is what a failed arguments looks like, folks .

Debunking Christianity: How do Believers Distinguish between Fact and Fiction?
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