Is Christianity Internally Consistent?

Christians claim to want to check religious beliefs by internal consistency. Okay.

I find the Christian faith inconsistent, even though Christians don't see it this way. But this is what I think because I'm an outsider, just as Christians are outsiders to the other faiths they claim to check by the standard of internal consistency. I wasn't always an outsider to Christianity, though, and I eventually left it because I finally judged it as an insider to be an internally inconsistent faith.


I judge the Christian faith to be inconsistent on the following matters:

How there could there ever be a Trinity (3 in 1)? Can you explain this? Or can you explain how a Triune God just happened to causelessly exist without a beginning as a completely formed Being with all of the attributes Christians claim this Being has?

How can one man be 100% God and 100% man.

How there could ever be a Devil in the first place? If he truly is the most intelligent being and God allowed him to see his power, then the Devil was dumber than a box of rocks to rebel against God.

How does the death of Jesus actually atone for our sins?

What about the 4 billion people who die outside of Christ, and/or who never heard? They are not in rebellion against God. They are searching for answers like any of us. But they were just not born where they could hear or believe.

Hell, however conceived, is not compatible with the supposed crimes being committed, nor is it compatible with the loving father God pictured in the NT.

Why did God create the Yew plant (eat it and you die) or the Brown Recluse spider? There are a multitude of poisonous plants and creatures. White Snakeroot was one of the most common causes of death among early American settlers, who were seeking a home to worship God in freedom. Why create it in the first place? Why allow it to kill off his own people? Why did someone have to die before we learned it was poisonous?

Why didn't God make our immune systems stronger so that there wouldn't have been any pandemics? And one is just around the corner with the coming bird flu pandemic where National Geographic (October 2005)estimates anywhere from 180-360 million people will die. Why did God allow so many human deaths before he allowed someone to discover penicillin?

Why didn't God eliminate the whole predator/prey relationship among all of his creation--all of it? All of us could be made to be vegetarians and kept that way. Then God could merely reduce our mating cycles and sex urges to keep populations of creatures low enough so that there would be plenty of vegetation for all of us to eat.

There is so much more......Just enjoy your delusion that your view is the only one internally consistent while all other views are not. It's not that way at all, especially to outsiders. Claiming that it is so, is almost being completely ignorant. Why? Because whether we judge something as internally consistent is measured by the standards of the very worldview we are judging, and this is especially true if we're doing the judging of our own worldview.

12 comments:

bleedingisaac said...

John,

Get ready for the presuppositionalists' attack!

You, rightly, point out two different kinds of inconsistencies:

(1) logical (e.g. 3 in 1, 200%/100% being)

(2) moral (e.g. existence of suffering and evil)

The presup guys are going to challenge your ability to point out these inconsistencies.

(1) They will say that your atheistic worldview does not allow for universal standards of reason so you cannot use it to critique their Christian worldview.

(2) They will say that your atheistic worldview does not allow for universal moral laws, so you cannot judge their worldview on that basis.

The sad part is that you bring up some really interesting points. It's too bad that they will get buried in talk about epistemological and moral justification.

Willis said...

Bro, arguing with them is pointless.

NOTHING can shake their faith. I fervently believe that even if Manaka's wife was raped and murdered, and his kid was mauled and eaten by a bear, that he would still find a way to believe that that was part of god's mysterious plan for him.

If nothing can shake their faith, then their faith has no relevence in this world. Their beliefs about "sin", their beliefs about atheists like you and me, all of this is irrelevant because those beliefs are directly influenced by their christian faith, a christian faith that is unshakable.

It's pointless, and of course they will find mental hoops to jump themselves through to avoid having to realize the obvious. It's been going on for centuries.

Frank Walton said...

Well, BleedingIsaac, if you think about it ultimately John W. Loftus is asking Bible study questions not questions about worldviews per se. So, I don't see if there's a problem of dealing with the justification of logic and morality first. One must have a justification for both if they have a problem with said examples of the Bible don't they? Besides, practically, every question Loftus is asking begs the question. For instance, "How there could ever be a Devil in the first place? If he truly is the most intelligent being and God allowed him to see his power, then the Devil was dumber than a box of rocks to rebel against God."

John W. Loftus writes,

"Just enjoy your delusion that your view is the only one internally consistent while all other views are not. It's not that way at all, especially to outsiders. Claiming that it is so, is almost being completely ignorant. Why? Because whether we judge something as internally consistent is measured by the standards of the very worldview we are judging, and this is especially true if we're doing the judging of our own worldview."

Walton: How can you know if your worldview is ever right then? And how would you avoid an infinite regress?

And you still haven't answered my other question:

Though you gather that we can presuppose some things without evidence you didn't seem to explore that issue at all. What then would you consider something that can be presupposed without evidence and why? What's your epistemological criteria to make such an assessment?

mj said...

These objections are trite and simplistic. As a Christianity debunker you have a long way to go.

1) The ceberus of ancient legend is trinitarian: 3 heads, 1dog. I can get that idea.

2) Necessary beings don't require an explanation for their existence. In any case, you suffer from the same problem: explain to me how the universe can causelessly exist.

3) The incarnation is a big topic, so which aspects of God and man do you think are incompatible exactly?

4) The devil is extremely intelligent, yes, but you fail to see the difference between intelligence and rationality. Take a case of a brilliant mathmetician who decides to get into drugs an ruins his life with substance abuse - he's very clever, but acts very irrationally. I suggest the same holds with Satan.

5) Jesus atones for our sins by taking his punishment in our place. If you don't know this I don't think you're particularly well qualified to hold any strong opinions on Christianity.

6) Perhaps if the billions who didn't hear the gospel actually did then they wouldn't have chosen christ anyway, so why should God waste his time on them if he doesn't want to?

7) You assert that Hell is incompatible with God's existence, but don't give reasons. i think that sins against an infinite god deserve infinite punishment.

8) Why didn't God generally make things better? i) Perhaps in worlds where everythign is better no-one chooses Christ and is damned. ii) if the laws of nature aren't kept constant then rational behaviour won't be possible, and raional behaviour reflects the ordered nature of God.

I don't think your objections come close to justifying your arrogance and overconfidence.

Willis said...

Walton: you can never know that your worldview is correct. That's the point. The moment your worldview becomes impervious to new evidence, it becomes irrelevant in this reality. How can you argue about morality in this world, when nothing in this world could change your mind??

It is never a good thing to accept things without evidence. Even religious people refuse to accept things without evidence in every area of their lives OTHER than their religion. It would lead to almost certain death to accept facts about the world without evidence.

Paul Manata said...

Willis: "It is never a good thing to accept things without evidence."

Paul:

(1) What "evidence" do you have to "accept" *this* standard?

(2) When you give it to me, what evidence to you have to accept *that* evidence?

(3) When you give that to me, then what evidence do you have to accept that evidence?

(4) ;-)

(5) It is never a "good" thing? is this a moral claim? Is this some universal, absolute standard of morality that you're imposing? Where did it come from? Did you make it up?

(6) What is "evidence?" You ask me for "evidence" for my beliefs, but I don't know what your "theory of evidence" is. Maybe you think "evidence" is when a pink fairy whispers sweet nothings into your ear? How would I know? So, what is your theory of evidence? Moreover, how does on "prove" something, given your view of the world? So, what is your "proof theory?" Maybe you think "saying-so makes it so?" If so, since you said it, that settles it? Maybe you don't. But, since I don't know what *you* accept as evidence and what *you* take to constitiue a proof, then I can't really answer you, now can I?

Willis said...

It is really very simple. Say you believed, without evidence, that a freefall from a height of 50 feet wouldn't hurt you. That would definitely be a BAD thing. You would likely die soon thereafter.

Say you believed, without evidence, that at a speed of 100 mph you could turn your steering wheel flush to the right and survive??

Say you believed, without evidence, that kissing a cobra was not dangerous??

Say you believed, without evidence, that AIDS would not harm you, because you are special??

And so on and so on.

The fact is, even for you religious types, you won't believe things without evidence EXCEPT regarding religion. Believing such things would be maladaptive and would likely lead to your death.

Religion is no less maladaptive. It is just more culturally acceptable.

Paul Manata said...

ummm, can I get an answer to my questions?

VanTilsGhost said...

***News FLASH***

Paul Manata likes to get into philosophical word games because he thinks it somehow gets him out of trouble when it comes to needing evidence for the wacky things he believes.

Here's a tip Paul, it doesn't.

***Back to your regular programming***

John W. Loftus said...

Paul. It seems you know some philosophy. Okay. But the manner and forcefulness with which you argue here leads me to think you believe Christianity is rationally superior to all other beliefs.

I'll assume you do.

Then read and respond to this.

Of course we must presuppose some things. But let's just keep our presuppositions to a bar minimum, okay?

I presuppose that I exist, the rules of logic, probability, and evidence, the importance of morality.

From there I presuppose the uniformity of nature, methodological naturalism and the scientific quest for truth.

You presuppose a whole collection of ancient writings by superstitious, pre-scientific people that were subsequently canonized by a powerful group of believers who won the arguments of their day. Say it isn't so!

greentogroove said...

I know this is an old post, but I gotta add:

Why not just ask about God? Don't worry about the whole of Christianity - just worry about the consistency of God according to the Good Book, the Bible. Reading the Bible, is God Himself consistent in His activities? No reference material needed, no interpetation required... just honesty.

Anonymous said...

It is really very simple. Say you believed, without evidence, that a freefall from a height of 50 feet wouldn't hurt you. That would definitely be a BAD thing. You would likely die soon thereafter.

Say you believed, without evidence, that at a speed of 100 mph you could turn your steering wheel flush to the right and survive??

Say you believed, without evidence, that kissing a cobra was not dangerous??

Say you believed, without evidence, that AIDS would not harm you, because you are special??

And so on and so on.


Willis,

I have one to add to your list... "say you believed that there is no God and there is no punishment for cosmic treason..."