Christianity is Wildly Improbable To Me

Evangelical Christian beliefs seem so wildly improbable to me that the best description of them is that they are bizzaro. Christians must defend too many beliefs, any one of which, if incorrect, would be fatal to their whole worldview. These beliefs are based upon the conclusions of historical evidence which is extremely problematic given the nature of that evidence. Then they have the additional problem of showing why these historical conclusions are supported by science (as in creation research) and can be made sense of by philosophy. But the historical evidence alone defeats their set of beliefs! I claim Christians do not believe the Bible! They gerrymander and cherry-pick from it over and over.

Christians will respond, like one scholarly friend of mine did, that it’s “far from obvious” he should look at his beliefs as an outsider. But then what does he tell Mormon scholars who might say the same thing as Alvin Plantinga does, that they don’t have to investigate their faith or Scriptures with methodological naturalism (it is, after all, only a method unlike ontological naturalism)? What if they maintained they are within their epistemic rights to base their science (and archaeology) on their own worldview? Why the double standard here? And why is it that methodological naturalism has made this modern world possible, achieving astounding results from the computer chip to the internet to modern medicine to forensics to meteorology to plate tectonics to nuclear technology, and so on and so forth, but that when it comes to investigating an ancient collection of superstitious writings with obvious pseudonymous interpolations that we shouldn’t apply that extremely fruitful method to those writings?

My friend asked if God is to be blamed for creating this world and for wanting people who freely love him. Yes, most definitely yes, until or unless he can tell me why a supposedly reasonable triune completely self-fulfilled God wanted this in the first place (“grace” is not an answer at all); why libertarian free-will is such an important value to God when compared to the sufferings that have resulted from this so-called gift; whether human beings actually have free-will if God created us with our specific DNA and placed us within a specific environment (an environment that actually obstructs many people from receiving the gospel because of the “accidents of birth”); why God suspends some people’s free choices (i.e. Pharaoh) but not others; why God even cares to have free-willed people who love him, knowing full well the consequences for the billions of people who wind up in hell (the collateral damage), and why God will allow sinners in hell to retain their freedom but take it away from the saints in heaven (and who subsequently completes the sanctification process for these saints without their own free choices doing it).

When it comes to Jesus, my friend directed me to Boyd/Eddy’s excellent book, The Jesus Legend. That first chapter makes some unique arguments. The authors argue when it comes to the historical past that to be truly critical we should be open to everything—that "everything is fair game"--since anything might be possible. In making this argument they claim we should be open to the possibility of the miracles in the Bible. But I find that position to be impossible and extremely gullible. No, of course not, everything cannot be fair game, otherwise historians would fall prey to every claim of a statue of the Virgin Mary that wept, and every medieval claim that witches flew through the night to have orgies with Satan (should we really be open to these claims?). No, historians must look at the past from the perspective of the present--the one they know. In fact, they cannot do otherwise, Boyd and Eddy included. Boyd and Eddy read the Bible through modern eyes too. That’s why I claim Christians in today's world don’t believe the Bible. They don’t, not by a long shot. They have merely reinterpreted it over and over again in light of the advancement of scientific, philosophical, economical, political, and social understandings.

When will Christians see this for what it is? When will they actually think about what they're saying? When will they actually answer my arguments? Nothing, and I mean nothing, has come close to truly engaging them. They have faith, therefore I must be wrong. Really? *shrugs his shoulders*

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