Skip to comments.The Wonderful Unscientific Teachings of Christianity
Posted on 02/28/2009 9:10:53 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
Unfortunately, many theologians have decided that claims made by the majority of scientists represent scientific facts. In turn, these facts represent ultimate truth, which must then be used to understand biblical teachings. However, the Bible contains numerous claims and events that are not going to be popularly accepted as scientific. Are these claims now unacceptable to Christians?
Scripture records the occurrence of numerous miracles performed by God. By definition, a miracle is an event not explainable by natural processes. Otherwise, it would hardly constitute a miracle. Are these miracles going to be accepted as scientific? What do these theologians propose we do with biblical miracles?...
(Excerpt) Read more at answersingenesis.org ...
All religions are hypotheses
Thanks for the ping!
Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, all those prophets - there were as historically real as Alexander the Great, King Tut, or any other figure in ancient history. Nothing hypothetical about them.
Jesus, Paul, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, all those prophets - there were as historically real as Alexander the Great, King Tut, the various Caesars, or any other figure in ancient history. Nothing hypothetical about them.
And that, in a nutshell, is the crux of the argument. Christianity is based on historical figures involved in historical events in real space and time. It is not based on philosophical speculation, nor on fantasy, but on history.
What they preached is pury hypothetical, by definition
Quoting Litekeeper, who says it better than I:
“And that, in a nutshell, is the crux of the argument. Christianity is based on historical figures involved in historical events in real space and time. It is not based on philosophical speculation, nor on fantasy, but on history.”
There may be some independent evidence for Jesus being an historical figure but his divinity is pure hypothesis.
His divinity was claimed and attested to by multiple, verifiable sources.
His divinity was claimed and attested to by multiple, verifiable sources.
Verifiable? Your defintion of evidence and hearsay are obviously at odds with the standard versions. How have accounts of divinity in the Bible been *verified*?
Every miracle had multiple witnesses, His resurrection also. These are written and authenticated documents from a variety of writers from far different stations in life.
A statement which is itself a hypothesis.
I think this discussion gives “science” far too much credit or authority to begin with. Before we worry that science “disproves” anything, let us first ask, on what grounds does “science” have any authority in the first place? And then let us ask secondly, on what grounds is “science” imputed greater epistemological authority than any other source of knowledge?
Your comment reminds me of an excellent book I read many moons ago by F.A. Hayek. It is entitled “The Counter Revolution of Science.” Have you read it? If you haven’t, a strongly recommend you pick up a copy as it is right up your alley. Here’s a brief synopsis:
The "scientist" seeking to argue for naturalism and against theism on the basis of empiricism always and interminably falls into the same trap that David Hume did (and from which he never successfully extricated himself, I might add), which is that of assuming that sensory perception amounts to the suma tota of existence. If Hume couldn't see, hear, smell, touch, or taste it, then it didn't exist. Problem is - as was argued by his contemporaries - this would give truth value to the obviously absurd conclusion that a tropical prince, having never seen snow, would be entirely reasonable in assuming that you were either lying or out of your gourd if you were to tell him about it. Argumentation from strict logic aside, the fact of the matter remains that snow DOES exist, no matter how "reasonable" it might be for him to assume otherwise. Indeed, in this case, evidence from testimony proves to be SUPERIOR to evidence from empirical observation.
Such it is with the cases we've seen on this thread. Empiricism, "science", is in no way a debunking of arguments either of the historicity of Christianity, nor of the reality of miracles, etc. in the Bible, nor of the reality of personal religious experience. Simply because the non-believer hasn't experienced them doesn't mean they don't exist, and simply because a miraculous event testified to in a document doesn't "fit in" with the laws of science that we know (or think we know), doesn't mean that those events are invalidated.
==In other words, evolutionary interpretations about “science” - old earth, naturalist evolution, etc. - only become substantiated when you assume those very same interpretations, which is circular reasoning.
Excellent reply. I see this all the time in my debates with Evos. Indeed, it is so pronounced and obvious that the fact that they can’t see it remains a complete mystery to me.
==The “scientist” seeking to argue for naturalism and against theism on the basis of empiricism always and interminably falls into the same trap that David Hume did (and from which he never successfully extricated himself, I might add), which is that of assuming that sensory perception amounts to the suma tota of existence.
I remember reading a bit about this in D’Souza’s book, “What’s So Great About Christianity.” If I remember correctly, he points to Kant as the antidote to Hume’s attempt to limit all knowledge to empirical observation.
The philosophy of science has already taken this into account and moved from Positivism, to Post-Positivism, where instead of assuming measurements are accurate, the assumption is that measurements are flawed and therefore must be "triangulated" between multiple sources. And instead of objectivity existing separately, it is "constructed" from multiple perspectives. And from that comes the primacy of consensus.
We start with positivism, but realize that there are limitations of measurement and bias, therefore the truth comes from a consensus of biased measurements. Ta-da! Hegel's dialectic writ large, plunged into the heart of society's general philosophy as truth. Bias doesn't make wrong, it adds color! And if most of the scientists are biased in one direction? Well, that's as close to truth as you can get in this philosophy.
And practically, there are external forces on the general bias of science that post-positivism doesn't account for, like distribution of grant money and social desires to be accepted within the larger group, which is made worse by a philosophical inertia that post-positivism brings with it. Mix it all together and you can put the breaks on any radical discovery. Slow and steady is the key, and current theories or meta-theories like evolution have to be thoroughly exhausted before consensus can slowly head in another direction.
Considering the fact that neither the human mind nor thought nor even an idea can be scientifically measured - but all are accepted as existing - one has to wonder why metaphysical reality is so universally rejected by the scientific community. (To be explicit, while the brain can be measured, weighed, even photographed, the mind cannot be measured in any way. As to thoughts and ideas, their results can be measured but not the thought or idea itself; it just “is”.)
In other words, were it not for the metaphysical reality of the human mind, we would not even be aware of the physical reality in which we exist. That is, while our ears hear, our eyes see, our bodies feel, our noses smell, etc, and our brains receive all these stimuli, without our minds to interpret them, we would not be aware of their existence.
Perhaps - just a thought - the rejection of metaphysical reality is because to accept it would be to accept the transcendent possibility of a god...
All religions are hypotheses because, by there own definitions, they are faith-based, not based on empirical knowledge or proof. My statement is not the presentation of a system or a description of causal forces merely an unassailable observation. If I say a cat is black, I am not offering a reason for its color, simply an observation. There is nothing hypothetical about it.
It’s a history of believer in a hypothetical system of belief. Overlaying the existence of demonstrably existent historical facts and people onto a base of hypothetical belief doesn’t change the hypothetical foundation of the belief.
All those documented miracles were hypothetical?
“All those miracles were hypothetical?”
Try telling that to those born blind who could see. The lepers who were cleansed. There was a man lying by the Pool at Siloam who took up his bed and walked. How many hundreds drank the water that Jesus made wine? The mute spoke. Fevers were lifted. Lazarus, in particular, might chuck at the “hypothetical” resurrection from the dead the he enjoyed.
Finally, after Christ’s resurrection, he appeared to many eyewitnesses, and not hypothetically.
I don’t know how much more evidence you can have if you have many reputable eyewitnesses to events.
I can explain it for you; I cannot understand it for you.
I wonder, then, if you believe in the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the Battle of Hastings, the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the battles between Sparta and Athens, or the Ming Dynasty. There is nothing but eyewitness written history and some artifacts for some of these, just as for Christian recorded history. Yet we all accept the history as true.
“Any fair reading of the Gospels and other ancient sources (including Josephus) inexorably leads to the conclusion that Jesus was well known in his time as a healer and exorcist. The miracle stories are now treated seriously and are widely accepted by Jesus scholars as deriving from Jesus’ ministry. Several specialized studies have appeared in recent years, which conclude that Jesus did things that were viewed as ‘miracles’.” B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus, pp. 11-12 (NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998).
“[T]he tradition that Jesus did perform exorcisms and healings (which may also have been exorcisms originally) is very strong.” R.H. Fuller, Interpreting the Miracles, p. 39.
“[B]y far the deepest impression Jesus made upon his contemporaries was as an exorcist and a healer. . . . In any case he was not only believed to possess some quite special curative gifts but evidently, in some way or other he actually possessed them.” Michael Grant, An Historian’s Review of the Gospels, pp. 31, 35.
“Yes, I think that Jesus probably did perform deeds that contemporaries viewed as miracles.” Paula Fredriksen, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, p. 114.
“There is no doubt that Jesus worked miracles, healed the sick and cast out demons.” Gerd Theissen, The Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition, p. 277.
“In most miracle stories no explanation at all is given; Jesus simply speaks or acts and the miracle is done by his personal power. This trait probably reflects historical fact.” Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician, p. 101.
“There is agreement on the basic facts: Jesus performed miracles, drew crowds and promised the kingdom to sinners.” E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, p. 157.
“Yes, we can be sure that Jesus performed real signs which were interpreted by his contemporaries as experiences of an extraordinary power.” H. Hendrickx, The Miracle Stories and the Synoptic Gospels, p. 22.
“That Jesus performed deeds that were perceived as miracles by both him and his audience is difficult to doubt.” Witherington, The Christology of Jesus, page 155.
“[W]e must be clear that Jesus’ contemporaries, both of those who became his followers and those who were determined not to become his followers, certainly regarded him as possessed of remarkable powers.” Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God , p. 187.
“[T]he tradition of Jesus’ miracles has too many unusual features to be conveniently ascribed to conventional legend-mongering. Moreover, many of them contain details of precise reporting which is quite unlike the usual run of legends and is difficult to explain unless it derives from some historical recollection; and the gospels themselves show a remarkable restraint in their narratives which contrasts strangely with that delight in the miraculous for its own sake which normally characterizes the growth of legend.” A.E. Harvey, Jesus and the Constraints of History, p. 100.
BTW nothing in the story of the Spanish Armada and the rest of your citations ascribe a supernatural force to the events so I find historical records of them credible. The reports of Jesus that ascribe supernatural forces were reported by people who thought volcanoes erupted because Vulcan was upset. The difference should be plain but nothing in our exchanges so far convinces me that you can see that difference.
Well, there were not several different eyewitnesses who claimed to see Vulcan erupt the volcano.
Basically, as I understand you, you believe anything miraculous or supernatural is a de facto impossibility. No matter how many witnesses or whatever.
You will accept eyewitness accounts of events you find plausible.
You will not accept eyewitness accounts of events you find implausible.
I think that is a very closed minded position, but if you are happy with it, so be it.
I on the other hand have experienced a myriad of inexplicable and surreal happenings in my time, and recognize that there is more to this world that I can see with my own eyes. I have definitely seen God move in supernatural ways. I am sorry if you have not been able to see this.