Top Seven Ways Christianity is Debunked By the Sciences


God is dead, Friedrich Nietzsche predicted it over a century ago. No, God did not die. We just came to the realization he never existed in the first place. We no longer need him to explain what needs to be explained. We now have better natural explanations of the existing phenomena. They explain more without recourse to the ad hoc theories that supernatural explanations offer believers. Theologians came to realize this in the 60's as announced on the cover of Time magazine, April 8, 1966. What killed him? The sciences.


1) The science of Philology first did this when it was learned that texts could be dated based on grammar, vocabulary, and dialect. Lorenzo Valla (c.1406-1457) used it to show the Donation of Constantine decree was a forgery. In this forged decree the Emperor Constantine transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the pope. From the science of philology we've learned there are many forgeries in the canonized Bible (2nd Isaiah, Pastoral Epistles, II Peter, and so on) and that certain other books in the Bible reveal an evolutionary history. That's science, baby, kick against the goads all you want to.

2) The next big hit came from Astronomy. The Copernican astronomical revolution as defended later by Galileo showed us that we do not live in a geocentric universe. Never did. The Biblical viewpoint, supposedly coming from a divine mind, did not understand this basic fact. The earth revolves around the sun. And we exist on a spiral arm in one galaxy of billions in the universe. The Catholic church took a big hit on this one and lost credibility in the eyes of scientists.

3) An even bigger hit came from Biology, specifically but not limited to Darwinian evolution. The Catholic Church learned from the debacle in Galileo's day and came to embrace evolution as a fact. Evangelicals still denounce it, even though it is slowly winning over the best and the brightest among them. But with evolution we no longer need a creator, for there is nothing left to explain by means of the supernatural hypothesis. Completely obliterated is the literal Genesis account of origins, and since that's the case why should anyone think there is any divine mind behind the writings in the Bible at all? No one should. There is no need of that god-hypothesis, as Pierre-Simon La Place (1749–1827) first informed us.

Everything after this was a forgone conclusion. The Bible was nothing more than a human product. There was no need of looking for a divine mind behind the human authors. If God revealed himself to human beings he did so in ways that are indistinguishable from him not revealing himself at all.

Other sciences came into play as well.

4) Archaeology has debunked many stories in the Bible. Archeologists have discovered several ancient Mesopotamian texts that predate the ones in the Bible and tell similar superstitious stories of the origins of the universe. It has also shown us there was no Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt.

5) Psychology shows us we are largely products of our environment, that we think illogically many times, that we believe what we prefer to be true, that human beings are not evil so much as ill, largely because of their social environment. Psychology shows us there can be no wrathful God who will punish us forever because of what we believe.

6) Anthropology has shown us from the fact that there are many different cultures around the globe and with it a great deal of religious diversity, that there are many rational ways to understand our place in this world. Human beings get along just fine living in these so-called different universes. As a result many people are embracing multiculturalism. This is contrary to any given located cultural expression of Christianity which equates their Christianity with the absolute standard for cultures as a whole. Such a parochial limited notion is absolute hogwash.

7) Neurology shows us there is an extremely close relationship between our beliefs and neuron firings, which can be drug induced, or even surgically removed. There is therefore no need for the supernatural explanation of the soul.

In fact, these and other sciences have repeatedly pummeled religion for centuries. The fact that there are still believers is a testament to the stubbornness of belief and an almost willful ignorance to believe despite what they teach us because of the psychological need to believe. This need to believe is most clearly seen in the mind of the believer when we consider the massive amount of ubiquitous world-wide suffering and the lack of any satisfactory theodicy explaining why a good omnipotent God allows it. The only explanation that can account for continued belief in the presence of this suffering is wish fulfillment.

God is dead. We do not need him. It's time to give up childish things and think as adults. Become scientifically literate. Become informed. Grow out of religious belief just as you did with the belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Here are what I consider the top ten occupations that lead to atheism almost all of which are science related. Keep in mind that 93% of the members of the National Academy of Science are atheists. Hmmm, I wonder why?

34 comments:

Joel said...

Could you post links to those findings? Some of the claims, like the ones regarding archaeology, would benefit from us having access to the original papers. Thanks!

Tyro said...

Beyond the conclusions of science there's the simple fact that the methodology of using empirical observation, verification, and openness to falsification (while eschewing revelation) has led to incredible successes. Beyond Christianity, that undermines all faith

Lvka said...

Philology: -- presuposes that an author always writes in the same style. Now, the premise is obviously not true. The good part: it can point out things that MIGHT be forgeries; bad part: it can never say for sure which -IF ANY!- are such.

Has it EVER happened to you that your style broke in the middle of your writing?


Liviu Rebreanu [great Romanian novelist of whom you've never heard of] was the father of objective, realistic, historical novels, which treated harsh realities [wars, riots, etc]. Almost all his novels and stories were of this kind. All but one, that is: it was called "Adam and Eve", and it was a love-novel about a couple that constantly re-incarnated themselves as lovers that weren't able to be together. (Nothing objective or realistic about it: it was as subjective and fantastic as can be). When asked shortly before his death what his favorite novel was, Rebreanu replied: "Adam and Eve".

Other examples are the works of Shakespeare, for instance: scientists of this field (philologists) have reached the conclusion that some of his famous plays were NOT written by him -- but unfortunately thay WERE, so... you see, every general assumption has to be taken with a grain of salt, and NOT obeyed to the absurd.

matt the magnificient said...

when is the funeral?

shane said...

I agree.

Geology, astronomy, biology and psychology, all contain many findings that are contrary to traditional christian beliefs.

I find that many christians try to point out that the bible actually complements these findings and that there is really no disagreement at all.
But this is nothing more then a desperate and absurd approach to keep the faith alive!


John is right when he says that people will believe what they want inspite of the evidence to the contrary!

LadyAtheist said...

Thank you for not limiting your post to the hard sciences. Textual criticism wouldn't be classed as a hard science, but it puts to rest a lot of forgeries, mistakes, and frauds in many fields.

The rest is icing as far as I'm concerned. If you can show that the "holy" books were written by humans, nothing in them really needs to be debunked individually. It's all a fairy tale.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

HI John,

I find these seven steps very weak.

1. Biblical scholars have answered these attacks to a high level os satisfaction.

2. and 3. are answered easily by highly educated men like professor John Pilbrow, see, http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

4. You will need as Joel sys to give link here, I doubt any archeology has debunked biblical records. No evidence is not evidence of nothing.

5. Psychology also shows how biased rationality is and that to rely on it alone is irrational.

6. This is not strict science! At best it is part of the social sciences, based on the art of collecting data in the field. You cannot really repeat an experiment in anthropology.

7. No one knows what makes neurones fire or how they work in the way they do. To suggest something based on close relationships is poor professional reasoning.

Phil.

Jon Hanson said...

"5. Psychology also shows how biased rationality is and that to rely on it alone is irrational."

So because our rational minds are biased we should rely on our irrational emotions or what?

Hendy said...

@Rev Brown:

Re. archaeology, I don't think it's "no evidence" in all cases that has the potential to debunk:
- Wikilink for the historicity of the battle at Jericho. Yeah, yeah, wikipedia sucks. There are further article sources cited so follow them if you'd like. It's incredibly difficult to find an accurate portrayal of just the facts if you go searching for what Kenyon's work really showed. She's dead now and can't clarify...

- Follow the footnotes HERE about the archaeological support of the Exodus.

- HERE for a comprehensive study of the flood

- HERE for Rene Salm's work on the historical evidence against Nazareth being functioning at the time of Jesus.

- MORE on Nazareth/Jesus' place of birth.

Are all these conclusive? By no means. Surely there are apologetics for all of them.

---
---
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Which brings me to my second point. I think this is a great list but doubt any number of people will find it persuasive. It's unfortunate, but plenty of material on either side of the aisle is written by incredibly smart people with (in many cases) evidence supporting their position. Most of us probably operate on healthy doses of confirmation bias and find the seven arguments above convincing because they are convincing or unconvincing because they are unconvincing.

I realize those are circular :)

The point is that I think one hears something that might contradict faith but the possibility that this fact could actually be a serious threat never enters the mind. Instead one simply dismisses it, quotes some blurb from someone who they think has already dealt with the objection, or finds an apologist with an answer, skims their article, and moves on with life being satisfied that somewhere, someone has the answer and that's all that matters.

If I were to try to sway someone away from Christianity, I think it would be with more "common sense" objections like unanswered prayer or why god won't provide food for the hungry. I think these types of arguments might be more likely to establish some cognitive dissonance in a believer.

To close, I have come to the conclusion that nothing whatsoever in the realm of science is ever "surprising" to believers... no miracles = testing faith, errors in gospels = authentication of eye witness nature, and so on.

Even take the big bang and arrangement of the universe. Far from being a defeater, it is used by D'Souza as a "stunning confirmation of the Book of Genesis." The arrangement of the planets is not a sign of our insignificance, but a tribute to fine-tuning, for without this arrangement, Earth wouldn't have had the possibility of sustaining life (never mind that god could have done whatever he wanted and made it possible not to even need to breathe air, eat/drink, or require positive atmospheric pressure not to explode...).

Anyway... I like the list but don't think they amount to much a believer will find troublesome. Someone, somewhere has thought up an answer and that's all that matters.

Parmeniclitus said...

Lvka wrote: "scientists of this field (philologists) have reached the conclusion that some of his famous plays were NOT written by him -- but unfortunately thay WERE, so... you see, every general assumption has to be taken with a grain of salt, and NOT obeyed to the absurd."

Yes, a great and famous philologist whose (de-contextualized) quote opened the OP, namely Nietzsche, would probably agree with you here. However, he would also probably say that "truths" themselves cannot be obeyed to the absurd, for they have no hard boundaries as a "things-in-themselves", or "essences," particularly when, (literally) translated, into language which is, itself, metaphor. Style and content are inextricably interwoven (hence, Nietzsche's own experimentation with differing styles, including his use of the ad hominem). This seems to be lost on Christians as well as many a hardened atheist, given that style is usually shoved aside to find the "essential" content in the name of logical "truth". He knew better and realized that we've been largely chasing shadows, many that *only* exist within, and as, language (ie. "God," "the Absolute" "Laws of Nature" etc).

Anyway, given the fact that theist and atheistic "content" hunters alike continue to separate content from style (or put in another way, "truth" from "appearances") they've considered a man who was perhaps the most consistent philosopher and deepest thinker, as inconsistent and even scattered due to his style and his philological play (which includes wagon-loads of etymological references). I think his philosophy hasn't even begun to be taken as seriously as it could, particularly by self-avowed "atheists." As for, theists, they will remain as they've been regarding him...

Parmeniclitus said...

Hendy-

The Catholic Church has stated that the Big Bang is a-OK for believers to believe in. However, the difference between most scientists and believers on this is the use of "our universe" rather than "*the* universe" on the part of the scientists. The Big Bang acts as an inspiration for further research for scientists whereas, most believers just say "See! I told you, this makes Christianity true through and through."... all the while not realizing that many cosmogonic myths began in a similar fashion.

Hendy said...

@Parmeniclitus:

I'm aware that the CC supports both the Big Bang and evolution. I see them doing this at the expense of scriptural certitude, but most do not agree.

The more science, history, and archeology unearth, the more it seems like portions of the Bible are removed from the "literal" bin and placed into the "figurative." What remains is a set of unsupported assertions that will almost certainly never be proven or disproven evidentially:

- evolution is true, but believe that one man and one woman (or one group) of the first humans chose against god

- the Big Bang is true, but just believe that it was god who existed before (whatever "before means" in relation to no time existing...) and brought everything into existence from nothing

- Gen and Rev are not to be taken literally; they are figurative manifestations of god's actions

Stuff like that. So while claims like "the Bible isn't a pure history book" or "don't read the Bible like that; it's not a science text book" abound... when it comes to the reality of the fall, the existence of Jesus and his miracles and resurrection... a quick flip of the switch is made to literal mode. Now we must believe that his words were copied verbatim and that he really did and said all that was written about him.

I think in straining to support scientific developments many churches are at least far more reasonable than fundamentalists but also make themselves vulnerable to the advances of the future. I'm especially looking forward to more solidly accepted theories about the evolution of consciousness and morality or supporting the existence of these things in animals. There are at least some studies supporting these phenomenon, but I see these two as quite the remaining fort from which believers like to hurl rocks: naturalism can't explain thought coming from matter, so there!

Parmeniclitus said...

Hendy-

You wrote: "I see these two as quite the remaining fort from which believers like to hurl rocks:naturalism can't explain thought coming from matter, so there!"

Haha! How true.

The problem of both camps, that is, the "naturalist" camp as well as that of the true believers, is that the former have taken the parameters of the latter, to some extent, in reducing everything *down* to "physics."

I think what is lacking are the parameters of the original Greek sense of the term "physis" which are far wider than what the term has come to mean, particularly after Platonism and Christianity. Given the tendency to "reduce to..." allows for the false dichotomy of "spirit vs. matter" to live its life artificially.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

You said,

The point is that I think one hears something that might contradict faith but the possibility that this fact could actually be a serious threat never enters the mind. Instead one simply dismisses it, quotes some blurb from someone who they think has already dealt with the objection, or finds an apologist with an answer, skims their article, and moves on with life being satisfied that somewhere, someone has the answer and that's all that matters.

My Reply,

I agree, but when I dialogue with atheists I see the exact same tactic employed from the other direction. They here a good apologetic or a good argument and then just dismiss it and quote Dawkins or Harris without actually looking at their own world view and asking what would it take to change my own mind. In your assessment I see no difference between the believer and the atheists here.

Phil.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

I see your point but would wonder what others here might say to the fact that I find it more likely that a non-believer, especially one who has de-converted, is more familiar with the various apologetics (pro-theism) and arguments against theism personally than most believers.

The question becomes, "Why are you rejecting the apologetic proposition?"

In my experience, non-believers tend to be aware both of the existing apologetics as well as the reasons they are not compelling. Most believers in my circles do not have any responses to my questions/doubts/reasons-for-nonbelief but simply point me to speak with person x or read book y.

My point is that they present an a priori assumption that they are not wrong and that I will find a satisfying answer elsewhere... but they have never tackled the issue themselves.

Many non-believers I have run into are non-believers specifically because they have tacked these issues first hand and found one side more appealing.

This forum probably isn't an accurate representation, as most who discuss here are obviously no apathetic to the top but care very much about it. A telling comparison would be to test the non-believing and believing populations to find out how familiar each is with various arguments and counter-arguments, theological terms, etc. as a percentage of the population.

Do you think that a larger portion of the 2MM believers would have a better level of familiarity with these topics compared to the population of atheists/agnostics?

---

I do seek to consider various arguments. I have a post series HERE on D'Souza's What's So Great About Christianity. I read this book at the request of a believing friend. I don't think he was particularly persuasive, but at least note that I desire to write responses and summaries of my thoughts rather than chucking the book in the trash afterward with no thought behind such an action.

---

You didn't respond to my links to various archeological issues with Biblical stories. What do you think about those in response to your statement that you doubt archaeology has shown anything in contradiction to the Bible.

---

Lastly, what do you think about the claim that much of theology when it comes to reconciling itself with science rests on the "mystery" or "unexplained" cards? You pointed out, for example, that neuroscience doesn't know what causes neurons to fire and thus correlation != causation. I agree that these two are often not as closely related (or related at all) as one might think, but note your off-hand dismissal of even the possibility.

Essentially, the soul has been reduced to acting through a physical medium, the brain. What is your hypothesis as to what the mind/soul actually do? Simply push the buttons and pull the levers of the the brain? Is whatever hypothesis you hold testable in any manner? Or would you simply say, "Look at how different we are than animals! We have some something substantive that they don't!"?

Mike said...

Hey Phil, I want to ask you something. Sorry that's it totally off topic. But since I'm sure you claim to follow the Bible, where in the Bible is there a clergy system which puts people in two classes: clergy and laity? Also, where in the Bible do you see a person refer to himself as reverend? This seems to be a way of identifying yourself as part of an elite group of people: the clergy. Doesn't this contradict the call of Jesus to be humble and to serve?

I just think this is a total confirmation that you, like all Christians, claim to follow and believe the Bible, but like anyone else, you really don't.

Parmeniclitus said...

Mike-

Bear in mind that Christianity, particularly after Saul of Tarsus, is an ideology *about* Jesus, not a religion based in the teachings of Jesus, and even later gave itself to hierarchy mirroring the Roman State. Christianity is nothing but the opportunistic quest for power over people, hence its incoherence and inconsistence, such as taking in new scientific knowledge when convenient (ie. the Big Bang).

Hendy said...

@Parmeniclitus:

Good point. I remember the first time it was pointed out that Paul says nothing about Jesus' life or deeds. He repeats the words of the last supper but who knows where he got that from.

Other than that... nothing. No virgin birth, no miracles, no direct quotes. I find that so odd.

As previously stated, believers seem not to find this surprising at all (or train themselves to keep a straight face when it's brought up), responding "Well, what do you expect? Paul didn't meet Jesus!"

But Paul himself says that he received his teaching directly from Jesus and also says that he went to Jerusalem to "verify" his teachings with the apostles, who give him the A-OK.

But imagine trying to "preach" the message of someone while not mentioning anything of his/her words. How helpful it could have been in any number of Paul's letters to say, "Now, brothers and sisters of Corinth, in the matter of marriage and divorce, let us call to mind Jesus' own words on the matter when he said..." or any other number of instances.

Given that Paul is the founder of Christian theology... how can we be sure that his teachings are what Jesus wanted? I'm surprised more people don't find this odd and troublesome. We just seem to "tack on" anything Paul said as legit but fail to see that he bases nothing that he says in anything from the life and teachings of the son of god himself.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

You said,

especially one who has de-converted, is more familiar with the various apologetics (pro-theism) and arguments against theism personally than most believers.

My Reply,

I think this point has more to do with culture than anything else. In Australia religion is seen as a personal and private thing and it is definitely carries a low social status. Take for example our new female prime minister, an self proclaimed atheists who did not swear in with her hand on the bible. If anyone believers in australia they usually do so after careful consideration of both sides of the arguments.

Phil.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

You said,

Do you think that a larger portion of the 2MM believers would have a better level of familiarity with these topics compared to the population of atheists/agnostics?

My Reply,

In Australia, absolutely and probably in Britain also. As I said there is no cultural attache with being religious in these societies.

You said,

You didn't respond to my links to various archeological issues with Biblical stories. What do you think about those in response to your statement that you doubt archaeology has shown anything in contradiction to the Bible.

My Reply,

Yea Sorry I did not, time is limited. I will try and get to them asap. But I fear this thread would be dead by then as the moderation makes commenting slower.

You said,

You pointed out, for example, that neuroscience doesn't know what causes neurons to fire and thus correlation != causation. I agree that these two are often not as closely related (or related at all) as one might think, but note your off-hand dismissal of even the possibility.

My Reply,

There was no dismissal, just lack of evidence. The atheists love to point out the God of the gaps fallacy but as just as adept with there own science of the spaces. What we do not about neurones is that the subjective mind can change the objective circuitry of the Brain. This at worst is prime evidence that materialism is false and at best evidence of a soul?

I have not found one scientific fact that is in conflict with biblical Christianity. (This will spark no doubt more links from you but can I suggest looking at my blog first...)

Phil.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Mike,

No worries about it being off topic.

You are correct that there is no ordination per se in the Bible or people called 'clergy'.

However there are leaders appointed to teach and preach the word or God and are set apart through the 'laying on of hands,' (Acts 8:18, Acts 9:17, 1 Timothy 5:22 etc)

It is true that our church govern structure uses terms not present in the Bible but it is not true that it is unbiblical. A good illustration is the word 'trinity' this word does not appear anywhere in the Bible yet it is throughly a Biblical term.

I hope that I am humble and work hard at it. But titles do not denote humility. The reason I have the title on this blog is to mark out who I am to atheists clearly and save further dialogues.

Phil.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

I'll respond more later, perhaps. Re. science vs. the Bible, have a read at my post HERE and see what you think about the discussion of the fall.

Other than simply stating that we must believe in a figurative fall scenario with literally nothing to go on... why would we be compelled to believe anything other than being higher-order animals?

Regarding the consciousness... so far everything else that's been non-understood has come out in science's favor. Wouldn't you agree? I would say that science hasn't disproved the Bible (as you say) only because Biblical interpretation continually moves passages from literal to figurative, thus explicitly taking them out of harm's way. Paul thought Adam was real, for example. Was he or not? If not, could Paul's theology be incorrect?

In any case, what about the fact that extremely intelligent people have been pondering theology for 2000+ years and not answered things like the PoE (or gained any revelation directly from god on that matter or any others). Why criticize science for lack of certain understandings when 1) we've barely been thinking in a consistent manner about it for more than 2-300 years and 2) we've just barely begun to develop the necessary instruments to study these things?

What will the scene look like when science has had a fair playing field for it's own 2000 years?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

You said,

Other than simply stating that we must believe in a figurative fall scenario with literally nothing to go on...

My Reply,

The case is cumulative. See my blog on the creation accounts.

You said,

Regarding the consciousness... so far everything else that's been non-understood has come out in science's favor.

My Reply,

Not sure what you mean here? How has everything come out is science favour.

You said,

Paul thought Adam was real, for example. Was he or not? If not, could Paul's theology be incorrect?

My Reply,

I think Adam was a real person, and have argued thus on my blog, for objects see http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/search/label/Science%20and%20Genesis

You said,

t people have been pondering theology for 2000+ years and not answered things like the PoE (or gained any revelation directly from god on that matter or any others)

My Reply,

But it makes sense that finite creatures cannot grasp infinite things, I don't see a problem there.

You said,

Why criticize science for lack of certain understandings when 1) we've barely been thinking in a consistent manner about it for more than 2-300 years and 2) we've just barely begun to develop the necessary instruments to study these things?

My Reply,

Not criticising science at all! Happy for science to keep going full throttle, but what would it take you yourself to come to the conclusion that science does not have all the answers, another 2000 years? If so then there is little point dialoguing with you about its limits?

Phil.

GearHedEd said...

Hendy said,

"In any case, what about the fact that extremely intelligent people have been pondering theology for 2000+ years and not answered things like the PoE (or gained any revelation directly from god on that matter or any others). Why criticize science for lack of certain understandings when 1) we've barely been thinking in a consistent manner about it for more than 2-300 years and 2) we've just barely begun to develop the necessary instruments to study these things?

What will the scene look like when science has had a fair playing field for it's own 2000 years?"

Indeed.

I can't begin to count the number of times I've been confronted by some Christian or another, smug in his "knowledge" that science has not solved X,Y and Z...

as if science were a static, finished product with nothing more to offer beyond what we know TODAY.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

Adam
Your blog is unsatisfying. All you do is read Paul and then assert that Adam must have been a real person along with claims that other homo ______'s could have lived before but Adam had a special place of dignity.

- Did these other humans have souls and moral capacities?
--- If so, how does Adam's sin perpetuate concupiscence through future generations if others were not in his lineage?

- What grounds is there for suspecting that Adam was a man such that:
--- His parents had no immortal souls and he had one
--- His parents had no relationship with god but he did
--- His parents had no moral capacity but he did
--- His parents were not aware of god's commands but he was?

I'll leave it at that. Other than scripture, I can't see any reason for supposing anything like Adam or the fall. Wouldn't it make more sense to start with what we know of the origins of man and then deduce whether what the Bible comes along and tells us millions of years later is even feasible?

Why is it so difficult to hypothesize that it was written by ancients who had no flipping idea what in the world was going on and we can leave it at that? Recall that this creator did come along and lead his beloved people to murder tens of thousands for not being believers in him...

Answering power
Regarding "everything coming out in science's favor" I mean that 2000 years have elapsed in which Biblically or spiritually derived answers to the problems of the world could have been proposed and verified. What happens instead, however, is that these answers have been rested on since they were penned, never again to be changed, and science has come along and uproot them. The Catholic Church, for one, is not so infrequently removing the necessity for literal interpretations of various books like Genesis and Revelation, for example.

An interesting question would be whether the writers intended these books to be "figurative" of if they thought that these things actually happened.

Flood?
Exodus wanderings?
Parting of the Red Sea?

Were things of this nature intended to be figurative? I doubt they were canonized as such.

In any case, Christians hypothesize a soul and mind. If we come to understand the brain more fully such that no "ghost in the machine" is even remotely required... what will this do? Or will you retract and simply claim that it's still there but a "mystery"?

cont...

Hendy said...

...cont

Infinite Comprehension
Regarding the PoE, who says that it's something "infinite" to be comprehended? How about a summary like, "It's for a greater good along the lines of this parable..."? The trinity is indirectly presented in scripture and it's supposedly infinite. Why couldn't the problem of evil have been addressed?

An alternative hypothesis is that the writers of the gospels simply wrote what was pertinent at the time and had no omniscient being inspiring them to write timeless words. The only questions addressed were the ones necessary to get things off the ground. No one addressed scriptural discrepancies, the horrid deeds in the OT, and no hints at answers to the PoE.

All you have, as was the case with Adam, is a presupposition (god is good for PoE, scripture is true for Adam) followed by an attempt to scrape together support of that presupposition. This is a poor methodology. Simply examine the evidence first, then decide whether anything written in scripture is supported by the best evidence of your time.

Even better, be objective and ask the experts in various fields of study whether they see the connection between, say, cosmology and Genesis as amazingly strong. Then move on and find out if evolutionary biologists think the fall plausible. Then continue.

If experts in the field did not support the view of theologians who pull these evidential cases together, what would you think?

Science in 2k years
I don't know what I'd think if it still didn't have an answer. I guess I find it unlikely that science will be stumped given it's smashing success constantly over the last 2-300 years except if oil runs out or is banned and alternative energy is not identified and thus we have pretty much an end to civilization's current choice of activities.

My hope would be for science to either continue to negate the need of a "mind" or "soul" or gather so much information that it becomes more and more necessary to have such a component. I'm not staunch atheist. I'd love for their to be support of Jesus and Christianity but am simply unconvinced.

Christianity could do worlds of good with the power of the one true god on its side. Why aren't there any specific, predictive prophecies for our time and generation? Why not a global "Doubting Thomas" tour to commemorate 2000 years of being resurrected so we can all touch his hands, feet, and side? How about a pillar of cloud or fire in every major city in every country to occur every Christmas or Easter?

My prayer is simply, "Jesus, give me something I can't deny." That's all it would take.

I find any activities of a timeless, spaceless, all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving god which are confined to mistranslated, copied, fragmented books and one time and one place amidst a ridiculously superstitious people... odd.

Literally, what of that sets him apart from the manner in which the other myriad of religions have come about?

Do you realize what it would do if for once a god did something like a pillar of cloud or a return to earth every single year? The promises of "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age" and of god's love and compassion and of wanting all to be saved and know him... would finally be manifest in some way other than the reassuring words of preachers on Sunday.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Henday,

Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.

You said,

Did these other humans have souls and moral capacities?
If so, how does Adam's sin perpetuate concupiscence through future generations if others were not in his lineage?

My Reply,

Not sure they did but we will presume, I think the same way Adam's sin went through into creation.

You said,

What grounds is there for suspecting that Adam was a man such that:

My Reply,

The writer of Genesis does not address these questions so any response here is mild speculation. Why are these necessary to answer for your position?

You said,

Wouldn't it make more sense to start with what we know of the origins of man and then deduce whether what the Bible comes along and tells us millions of years later is even feasible?

My Reply,

Why would it make more sense. Your assumption about what we not about man creates a bigger assumption about how man got there? Why is the materialists position a better starting point than the religious.

You said,

Why is it so difficult to hypothesize that it was written by ancients who had no flipping idea what in the world was going on and we can leave it at that

My Reply,

No flipping idea except they got the order of creation almost identical to the scientific history of the earth as we now know it. This is a far cry from no flipping idea and shows a biased world view on your behalf. Wouldn't it be better if you accepted that this theory has been the dominant theory for the last 2 thousand years and with what we know we have not been able to disprove it.

Phil.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

Hendy != Henday

Re. Adam: it's nice to have any reason whatsoever to suppose the mechanism or manner in which a soul, mind, etc. were added to matter since evolution does no posit such a substance or component. Without any reason, why suspect that we are anything but higher-order mammals with greater intellects but nothing spiritual whatsoever. You have a book that tells you we have souls and therefore look for a way to make Adam real. Do you see it differently?

Re. starting points: science as the starting point, not necessarily materialism. One is a method of obtaining truth, the other is a worldview. While materialism is dependent on science, the reverse is not true. Science has exposed the mechanisms by which thousands of events once not understood are not understood. This is why I propose that we start with science rather than ancient books.

What's my assumption? I assume that we evolved which is proven. If you're talking abiogenesis or cosmology, that's another issue.

Re. flipping idea: If you call Parker's excerpt from your site a confirmation of Genesis... I'm doubtful.
--- You're going to stretch "separated light from day" to be a retro-prophesy of the evolution of the first photoreceptive eye?
--- Parker clearly leaves out Gen 1:1: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." What, pray tell would that be? The universe and other galaxies and the earth? The earth did not exist at the same time as the rest of the universe, it appeared much later.
--- Parker also omits god's making of the stars themselves. He completely avoids having to deal with what it would mean in v.16 that god created a "greater light" (sun) and a "lesser light" (moon) to do what it says in v.17: "to give light to the earth."

So we have:

- Universe + earth
- Bunch of activity about the great deep and water and land separation
- Vegetation
- Then the sun, moon, and stars


How could you possibly twist this to mean something other than what scripture says: that god "created" the sun, moon, and stars after the earth and universe? Perhaps others should comment, as I find the stretch to make this out to be connected to the evolution of the eye to be preposterous.

In any case, you'll have to cite some Church Fathers and many others along the way to show that the church has held anything close to this for 2000 years.

Unless you just meant "general belief about god" in which case it is the dominant theory compared to other beliefs. What frustrates me (and would moreso as a believer) is how if Christianity is so set apart with respect to evidence, historical support, and science... how in the world do millions and millions continue on blissfully believing in Xenu and Jesus stopping by Utah or wherever post-resurrection for a little mini-mission of starting Mormonism? Seriously, how is god allowing people to be hoodwinked by such literal silliness compared to his obvious superiority in the god-scene?

That probably comes off sounding like an a-hole, but I really mean it and not in an a-hole way. As someone searching I find it incredibly frustrating that so many can supposedly believe in utter sh*t even though Christianity has been on the scene for 2000 years with better evidence, miracles, scientific backing, and apologists. What gives?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

Can I suggest we go at it on this topic of a blog post. I'll offer mine and if you agree we can go from there, the comment strand here is pretty off topic?

Phil,

P.S. sorry about the typo.

Mike said...

Phil, I don't see the concept of the the reverend, clergy etc. in the New Testament. With the trinity, one could argue that the concept of it is taught in the Bible, even if the exact word, Trinity, is not used. This is debatable, but one could legitimately argue this point.

Yes, we see leadership, but it is clear that they are not to be seen as an elite group of Christians, which the clergy is viewed as. Even though I am no longer a Christian, the book, "Pagan Christianity" which was written by two evangelical Christians, George Barna and Frank Viola, had a strong influence on me in that caused me to see how many of the traditions of institutional churches are completely man-made, and not even Biblical, if someone is using the Bible as their authority, which I'm sure you claim to do.

Let's face it. Without the clergy-laity system, you'd actually have to work for a living, so you need this system to continue.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

Eh. If the genesis enigma post summarizes what you support then I think we're probably just going to be at a standstill. If so, I disagree with Parker for my listed reasons and you find him to have an accurate assessment. That's that and we can probably call it a day.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Mike,

You said,

but it is clear that they are not to be seen as an elite group of Christians,

My reply,

Who said they were elite? Clearly you seem to have a chip on your shoulder. Not my problem.

Phi.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Hendy,

You said,

If the genesis enigma post summarizes what you support then I think we're probably just going to be at a standstill.

My Reply,

Hmm no but if your scared then fine!

You said,

If so, I disagree with Parker for my listed reasons and you find him to have an accurate assessment.

My Reply,

Your assessment is biased and un-historical but again not my problem clearly you are more concerned with posts on this blog than truth.

Phil.

Hendy said...

@Rev:

Wow. Try removing the beam from your eye. Perhaps I'm more interested in following less blogs so I can be more productive with my time than trying to start following yet another one for a mini-debate session. This thread is obviously dead so there's no reason you can't just write whatever you want right here.

Re. the genesis enigma... um... it's on your blog as a response to John's formulation of the difficulties with Genesis!

It's simple enough to write a quick summary of why my summary is wrong from Genesis 1:

- Universe + earth
- Bunch of activity about the great deep and water and land separation
- Vegetation
- Then the sun, moon, and stars


That's the order. Right from scripture.

Earth before sun and moon and stars. Sun after vegetation.

You still have not responded to why there is any reason, whatsoever to suspect that the separation of light from dark was some retro-prophetic insight about the development of the human eye.

I'm not scared, I just don't see this as being possibly fruitful. You'd be better off just doing what the Catholic Church does and saying that Genesis is figurative. All you have to believe is creation ex nihilo and in some sort of fall.