The Dunamis Word 2

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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

Antisupernaturalism & Historical Critical Methodology Pt. 2

As Continued From Part I Antisupernaturalism & Historical Critical Method

I- Do We Live In A Closed Continuum?  One of the initial observations that must be made in light of the aforementioned theoretical presuppositions, is that “humans actually experience the regularity of the world, we do not experience a closed continuum.” Eddy/Boyd “The Jesus Legend” (2007) p.49.

This regularity of this world includes both natural and supernatural events. The regularity of the world also includes interventions of the supernatural. To deny these interventions are to deny the reports, first hand testimonies and accounts that have existed since the dawn of human history.

It does adherents to the historical critical method no good to simply close their eyes and pretend that regularities of the world are only natural and based on naturalistic means. All evidence must be considered and weighed in order to properly evaluate the claims made.  

II- Do Miracles Meet The Principle Of Analogy?

The Principle Of Analogy:

Remember the Second principle of Troeltsch?

The Principle of Analogy

This principle states that our understanding of the past must always be rooted in our experience of the present. i.e.: “If it occurs now, it occurred then, if it doesn’t happen now, it didn’t occur then.”As we discovered earlier, the contention of the historical-critical method is that miracles are “absolutely unique” and therefore do not qualify as experiences that can be analogically assessed.

The presupposition is that miracles do not occur in our modern world. However, as a matter of fact, there are many miracles that currently occur, and they are not isolated events. The question is how is it that we can say that we have no way of assessing or analogically understanding miracles of the past if miracles are presently demonstrated?

There are only 2 ways to approach this from the historical-critical method and perspective: 

  1. Write all instances of purported miracles off as delusions, fantasies or myths or
  2. Credit a natural cause to all instances where there is a supernatural claim.

As you can see, either method is faulted, unevidential, clearly unscientific and does not satisfy or address the essential claim that a miracle has occurred. The true historian will seek alternative methodology, that would be to understand the event in light of analogy.

We observe analogies when things are said to be alike in certain aspects and dissimilar in others. Because the principle of analogy is such a vital part of historical-critical method, it is essential that we consider miracles in this context.

Historical-critical method proponents insist that miracles are supernatural events that are “absolutely unique” therefore do not have or offer value to history or the present existence. It is a false assumption that supernatural events are “absolutely unique”. The identification of “alleged supernatural events” is a strong indication that an actual “event” occurred. The recognition of an event makes the event similar and dissimilar to other events. Therefore, no event that can be realized is “absolutely unique”. The individual’s experience with the event may be similar and dissimilar but an event cannot be discounted simply because of its dissimilarities with what is perceived as the norm.

Additionally, there is no sound reason to believe that anyone experiencing a supernatural event would not be able to analogically grasp the reality of the event. By contrast if an event qualifies as a “unique event” and “meaningless” then one could not (by virtue of that understanding) deny such an event because it would be unreasonable and unintelligible to give a meaningless claim meaning by denying it.

In light of this it becomes easy to understand that miracles intersect our experiences and are similar in certain aspects but are dissimilar to our experience in other aspects. We can understand invisible agents acting as visible agents in many ways. For example, God has revealed himself as “Father” in his word as an analogy to a natural “Father” that protects and serves his family. Based on how he has described himself we can clearly draw analogies between what is seen and unseen even though there are clearly similarities and dissimilarities contained within the analogy itself.

Therefore, with that understanding and same primary basis, miracles clearly meet and satisfy the principle of analogy and by defacto, pass as acceptable “events” even under the historical-critical methodology.  

The Resurrection of Jesus:

The arguments against the resurrection of Jesus under the historical-critical method have been further weakened by the advancement of science itself. God resurrected Jesus in history. Aside from the countless testimonies of believers being raised from the dead across the country, today, the medical profession has found all sorts of ways to resuscitate the dead. It is a common occurrence in many hospitals and ICU units across the country that those who are physically dead are brought back to life or resuscitated. This observation alone further provides a point of analogy, and reference both from the past to the present.

Although current medical science does not provide for restoration of life after numerous days (dissimilarity), it certainly medically occurs on occasion (similarity) within certain time constraints. Since that is the case now (currently), it would be incredulous to believe that it could not have occurred in history (past) through analogous supernatural means and intervention.

III- Were People Of Antiquity More Inclined To Believe Myth and Folklore?
Remember as stated earlier, Van Harvey set forth a theory supposing that people of antiquity were more inclined to myths and mythological beliefs than modern or Western individuals and therefore could not distinguish the difference between natural law and natural order.

Current studies have shown this to be a false assumption based on the following criteria: 

  1. There has never been any empirical evidence presented to support or confirm such belief. Studies have shown that orally dominant cultures were not inclined to embellish oral historicity. In fact, current studies have shown that there was in general a higher standard of oral accuracy and methods of reciting community truths and a much higher rate of literacy among individuals than commonly held for many years. See my page on Oral Historicity for further information.
  2. There appears to have been a higher level of criticism that existed in the ancient world, with a focus of distinguishing facts from myth. Therefore, we have no solid reason to believe that ancient people were less sophisticated in their own methods of criticism.

F.G. Dowing states,

“We have no widespread evidence for any widespread firm belief in “magic” or in any “miracle” which ever term is chosen, in the world where the Christian movement began…The level of belief-or suspension of belief- seems to have been not much different from that we find today for belief in alternative medicines, belief in ley-lines, belief in visitors from outer space, or belief in the free market economy.” F.G. Downing “Magic and skepticism in and around the First Century”, in “Making Sense Of The First Century Christian” (Sheffield Academic Press. 2000) p221

The presuppositional thinking of historical-criticism creates certain “dogmas” without foundational accuracy. Once again, the primary presuppositions that undergird naturalism in this area are highly unevidential and implore an unscientific approach to historical study.  

IV- Do Miracles Violate Natural Laws Or Are They An Extension Of Natural Laws?

Remember how Eighteenth Century Scottish Philosopher David Hume defined miracles:

“the transgression of a law of nature by a particular violation of the Diety, or by the interposition of some invisible agents.” “An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding” ed. L.A. Shelby-Bigge(1748;repr.,Oxford:Clarendon, 1902) p.115

To the antisupernaturalist the intervention of God (Diety) into this time/space continuum creates the ultimate argument against the supernatural. If laws are suspended then laws would not be absolute or binding and ultimately would have no relevance. Therefore all existence would be relative.

So the question is asked, are miracles a suspension of natural law or an extension of it?

Since we do not exist in a closed system (one where God cannot enter) miracles therefore, do not violate natural laws. Miracles presuppose 2 things: 

  1. Nature is a self contained system of natural causes
  2. A miracle is not a contradiction of nature, not because God is limited but because contradictions are meaningless.

Richard L. Purtill in “Defining Miracles” 1997, has stated the following 5 characteristics of miracles: 

  1. They are brought about by the power of God
  2. They are temporary
  3. They are an exception to the normal
  4. They are exceptions to the ordinary course of nature
  5. They are for the purpose of showing that God acted in history

 C.S. Lewis wrote:

“It is therefore inaccurate to define a miracle as something that breaks the laws of nature. It doesn’t…if God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all normal laws, and nine months later a child is born….The moment it enters her realm it will obey all he laws” (condensed) C.S. Lewis “Miracles” 1960 p.59

The existence of miracles do not violate natural laws, however neither natural or spiritual laws define, contain or restrict God and his actions through supernatural means among men.   

V- Does Metaphysical Naturalism Affirm Or Break With The Culture?

Another of the linchpins of antisupernaturalist philosophy is the view that Western and modern culture is the catalyst of naturalist and antisupernaturalist belief. Remember what Van Harvey said,

“it is impossible to escape from the categories and presuppositions of the intellectual culture of which one is a part” Van Harvey “Historian and The Believer” p.114

Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd in “The Jesus Legend”2007 p56 state the following:

“…while it obviously is true that people are strongly conditioned by the categories and presuppositions of their culture, it strikes us as an exaggeration to claim we are so locked into our cultural presuppositions that we cannot to some degree step outside of them. Were we completely unable to transcend our culturally conditioned categories, we could never critically reflect on these categories, and the writing of history would amount to mere autobiography”

Obviously Van Harvey, Rudolph Bultmann, Robert Funk and a host of others disagree with the sentiments of Eddy and Boyd and most sentient humanity as it pertains to this issue.

In order to assess the validity of Harvey and Bultmann’s statements, we must turn our attention to the culture in which we live. It is here that we find that the metaphysical antisupernaturalist has managed yet again to do the impossible. Here are the current facts on our Western culture.

Western Culture

A 1989 Gallup Poll found the following among Americans ~ 82 % affirmed that they believe that miracles are preformed by the power of God.

A 1995 Time magazine poll found that ~ 69% of Americans believe in miracles

A 1998 Southern Focus Poll found that ~ 83.1% of respondents believe that God answers prayers 33.6% reporting that they had personally experienced “having an illness cured by prayer”

The Western culture decidedly consists of believers in the supernatural. This would make adherents to metaphysical naturalism, anomalies within the culture. Further, according to their extremist beliefs of cultural incommensurability, they would be in turn be “meaningless” to the study of history and humanity. This is an absurd notion to say the least. Therefore, as evidenced, naturalism and the historical-critical method as espoused by Van Harvey and R. Bultmann and the affirmations of others toward this method…are essentially nothing more than rhetoric and nonsense.

What’s more, if Van Harvey’s premise of presuppositionalism is correct every atheist-agnostic-and skeptic (including himself) has, for some reason other than based upon a historical-critical priori method, broken from the culture and have violated natural laws.

As you can see, this is quite a conundrum for the avid metaphysical antisupernaturalist. Further, this spells the death for extreme naturalists looking for any reason to deny Biblical truth and miracles.  

VI- Is Metaphysical Antisupernaturalism Scientific?

The metaphysical aspect of the historical-critical method describes what we must and must not find in the world, and therefore is not based on empirical observation of truth but in actuality a manipulation of form reality. In fact the metaphysical claim becomes more of a statement of faith as opposed to a science based on observable empirical evidence.

The unequivocal commitment of historical-critical scholarship to a naturalistic presupposition that rules out the possibility of genuine supernatural occurrences in history at the start is unwarranted and unscientific.

Matthew Radcliffe says this:

“Methodological Naturalism” ultimately amounts to an interpretive background that determines the kind of things one is prepared to admit as possible constituents of reality…[It] places a limit on the range of acceptable phenomena and it can reinterpret and accommodate anything that doesn’t at first seem to fit…[If] held inflexibly, it amounts to dogmatic enforcement of a metaphysical lens through which the world is interpreted” Scientific Naturalism and the Neurology of Religious Experience” Religious Studies 39″ (2003) p341-342.

It is actually a more scientifically comprehensive method to open appeals on a priori basis that includes the supernatural. The entire system of metaphysical naturalism is devoid of any consistent truth and is unscientific because of it’s presuppositional bias against evidence and testimony which are vital and inclusive parts of reconstructing actual historical events.

Empirical science is rooted in the ability to draw general conclusions based on empirical observations. Naturalism undermines science by creating a priori of metaphysical assumptions which are not based on complete empirical data. 

VII – What Are The Social Problems Associated With Metaphysical Antisupernaturalism and The Closed Historical-Critical Method?

One of the greatest social problems associated with metaphysical naturalism and antisupernaturalism is that integration of all world views as equally moral and the exaltation of cultural deviance as normal.

Herein is the counterintuitive assessment of naturalism. If there is no supernatural intervention then everyone and everything is equal in value and there is no need to believe any one set of morals as being greater or more noteworthy than others.

Under the naturalist system government and social order are irrelevant choices of humanity and all equally valuable. Under the naturalist view Nazi Germany had as much right to impose its system upon humanity as Marxism and Communism. Freedom and liberty are no greater moral values than slavery. Faithfulness to spouses and family deserves no greater reward or recognition than adultery. Those that are employed deserve no greater benefits than those that do no work or have no gainful employment. Once cannot keep the hand of naturalism and it’s anti-God bias from crawling out of the past no more than one can change a Leopard’s spots.

In conclusion metaphysical naturalism and antisupernaturalism do not deserve to be taught or further engaged as a rational, reliable, scientific, or even a methodologically historic way to interpret history. The dangers of such beliefs go far beyond what I have articulated in this writing. Metaphysical naturalism (antisupernaturalism) does not offer a scientific basis from which actual historical events can be discovered. Therefore the system as taught by the primary proponents are defunct and a proven fallacy.

It is my encouragement that anyone deceived by naturalism and its tenets reassess and reevaluate their position imploring a more sound open historical-critical methodology to the study of history and the Bible. The open critical-historical methodology will better serve true discovery of historicity by evaluating all evidence and therefore reconstructing a more accurate view of history.

Topical Definitions:

Cultural Incommensurability ~ The thought that one cannot break with their culture

Historical-Critical Method ~ The application of scientific method to the study of history which operates on the basis of methodological naturalism. The priori rejection of the supernatural is built into this premise. This system further suggests that historians should be methodologically committed to looking for natural explanations for all historical events.

Metaphysical ~ The belief that the universe is a closed order which does not allow for any intervention which is not based on purely physical means.

Metaphysical Antisupernaturalism ~ The disbelief in either God’s existence or his intervention in the natural order of the universe and the belief that the universe is a closed order which does not allow for any intervention which is not based on purely physical means.

Naturalism ~ The thought that everything in the world and history can be explained by natural means. 

Presupposition ~ Something assumed or supposed in advance of investigation or research.

Priori ~ The primary slant, basis or initial focus of any belief system.

Supernaturalism~ The belief that principles or being other than those seen and measured through natural means are active and present in the world

Suggested Reading:

“The Jesus Ledgend” (Baker Academic 2007) Paul R. Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd

“Evidence For Christianity” (Thomas Nelson Inc. 2006) Josh McDowell

“Conspiracy To Silence The Son Of God” (Harvest House Publishers 1998) Tal Brooke

 

 

 

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11 Responses

  1. Robert J. Fogelin dismisses one objection to miracles and claims it is a gross misreading of Hume. He says, “Hume nowhere argues, either explicitly or implicitly, that we know that all reports of miracles are false because we know that all reports of miracles are false. . . . Hume begins with a claim about testimony. On the one side we have wide and unproblematic testimony to the effect that when people step into the water they do not remain on its surface. On the other side we have isolated reports of people walking across the surface of the water. Given the testimony of the first kind, how are we to evaluate the testimony or the second sort? The testimony of the first sort does not show that the testimony of the second sort is false; it does, however, create a strong presumption—unless countered, a decisively strong presumption—in favor of its falsehood.” Fogelin concludes with these words: “That is Hume’s argument, and there is nothing circular or question begging about it.”

    (PHB~ John,
    Thank you for coming by and I encourage all Christians reading this site to go to Debunking Christianity if you really want to exercise what you “think” you know. John is an athiest, and his site is not for those squeamish about anti-Christian dogma and argumentation. However, I believe your understanding of God’s word and Christianity in general will be enhanced by considering some of the more broad based arguments found on his site.

    With that said John, I really must disagree with Foeglin’s assessment of Hume’s argument. The evidence I find is presented in “Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals 3rd. Edition”, Oxford, Clarendon Press 1992, pg. 144-146 & 148. Hume states the following:

    “…a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined”….”nothing is esteemed a miracle if it never happened in the common course of nature. It is no miracle that a man seemingly in good health should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. There must therefore be a uniform experience AGAINST EVERY MIRACULOUS EVENT, otherwise that event would not merit that appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, AGAINST THE EXISTANCE OF ANY MIRACLE, nor can such a proof be destroyed, or the miracle rendered credible, but only an opposite proof which is superior.” (Emphasis mine)

    Hume in his own words negates Foeglin’s “spin” on the statements of Hume and MN. I don’t believe that Hume could be more clear in his reasoning and intents.)

  2. When it comes to number “III- Were People Of Antiquity More Inclined To Believe Myth and Folklore?” There are two ways to evaluate this, 1) Look at the extra-biblical evidence for the people in that era, which is what Richard Carrier did in his “Kooks Quacks of the Roman Empire…” essay; or 2) Look at the Bible itself.

    In the longest chapter in my book I did just that by basically placing ourselves in the narrative for each of the characters to see what we would think of the people involved. Here’s a sample of what I do.

  3. Methodological naturalism is how you yourself think when you hear a noise in the night or if you were investigating a crime or if you heard someone say they saw an ass speak. You assume a natural explanation. You do this for why some women have trouble giving birth or why it rains or why a nation won or lost a battle of a football game. You do not assume god intervened. To say that absolves you from learning and regrouping and fixing the problem.

    So in every other area YOU are a methodological naturalist EXCEPT when it comes to studying the Bible. Van Harvey does this in his book. He evaluates the Bible based on that method, a natural one. Why? Because it has worked so very well in every other area of learning, that’s why.

    Cheers. I think you at lesat understand the problem. I attack this kind of stuff repeatedly in my book. Have you gotten it yet?

  4. dunamis2 says:

    John,

    I haven’t got your book yet, but I plan to…waiting for some free “ducketts”

    So far as what Van Harvey set forth, yes it’s true that we think naturally in most all areas and I don’t believe that any solid Christian automatically excludes the possiblility to natural answeres when they are confronted with phenomea or unusual occurance. however to off hat conclude that there will be or is no supernatural intervention is not the “science” that the method is supposedly based on.

    Science follows the evidence. In what I set forth I believe that supernatural explainations cannot be written off as a viable alternative explaination even though our science has not arrived to assess or measure it.

    -This is the progression from a Newtonian Epoc of scientific understanding (tight and closed universe)to Einstein relativistic age in which no one has the right to rule out the possibility of events because of natural law.-

    (refrencing J. Montgomery’s argument in “History & Christianity” Downers grove, IL. Inter varsity Press 1971, 74-75(paraphrased by me)

  5. Thanks for the nod above with regard to our Blog. I do think Fogelin is correct. And I do think you are a methodological naturalist in every area except the Bible. What you must repeatedly do, is to claim what you believe is not impossible. Is it impossible that miracles have not occurred? Is it impossible that methodological naturalism works so well is every other area but that you shouldn’t look at the Bible in natural ways? No. No. But we’re talking about probabilities here. Is it probable. I think Christians must resort to that kind of defense when it comes to the problem of evil, the possibility of a man who is 100% God and 100% man, and the possibility that although there is no known reasonable way to figure out why Jesus’ death does anything to help us that it is possible that it did. Possibilities aside, what’s probable? That’s why I rejected Christianity. I went with what is more likely.

    Cheers.

    (PHB~ John, thanks for coming back once again. I believe that was the the flaw with Hume’s whole presentation. He presented a reductio ad absurdum argumentation in which he sought to prove that the view I have (that miracles exist) results in absurdity. No matter how you slice it it all ends in miracles not existing because of their high “improbability” as you state and affirm in your comments. So that the reader can better understand, Hume further has 5 points to his argument:

    1-A miracle by definition is a rare occurance
    2-Natural law by definition is a description of a regular occurance.
    3-The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
    4-Wise individuals always base belief on greater evidence
    5-Therefore wise individuals should NEVER believe in miracles
    (Norm Geisler, Miracles and the Modern Mind, Grand Rapids:Baker Book House, 1992 pg. 27-28)

    This is Hume’s argument, very circular and unscientific because it’s based on abundance and not quality. Example:more people have dien in human history than have been resurrected, therefore more numbers mean a greater probability therefore to to think otherwise is absurd.

    He further bases his premise on “uniform experience” in which he claims to know experience is uniform (through preselection of same persons who have not encountered a miracle) BEFORE looking at the evidence and even extrapolates that only “direct evidence” is valid. Both arguments are circular. Even in the natural world “indirect evidence” is valid. Example would be Hurricaine Katrina. We are hardpressed to deny that it occurred simply because we didn’t witness it ourselves. The news showed us the aftermath and people that were there tell us what happened, we do not discount their testimony under normal circumstances.
    This is the problem with MN as Hume sets forth. It conciously DENIES certain evidences which under normal circumstances are not denied. therefore his case for the exclusion of miracles is at best a case of special pleading…ie: AN INVALID ARGUMENT.

    This is what you point out with the language of probability. Now so far as the death of Jesus and it’s effect on mankind, that is understood in the context of the supernatural and not strict Metaphysical Naturalist worldview such as yours. His death creates a “new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17 & Gal. 6:15 ) but the “carnal mind” one who is unreceptive to the supernatural acts of God or a theistic world view cannot discern those things (Rom. 8:6-7)

  6. Hume never denied “SAID” miracles could not happen. He only argued that even if they did, he would have no reason to believe that they did.

    (PHB~ Hume argued as follows:
    1-A miracle by definition is a rare occurance
    2-Natural law by definition is a description of a regular occurance.
    3-The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
    4-Wise individuals always base belief on greater evidence
    5-Therefore wise individuals should NEVER believe in miracles

    In essence, this argument saiys that miracles are incredible and therefore are not to be believed in any circumstance. Whatever allowance there is for miracles happening is immediately cut down by his circular reasoning. To say that Hume asserts otherwise is playing fast and loose with the facts.)

    And that’s all he needs to argue for. Hume is no more offering a circular argument than you do when you claim the so-called miracles at Lourdes (which support the Virgin Mary and the Catholic church) did not happen because of uniform experience against them. You have uniform experience based on natural law that these things did not happen, and that outweighs the available evidence since people exaggerate and falsify such claims all of the time.

    (PHB~ “Now, of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely “uniform experience” against miracles, if in other words they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all reports to be false only only if we know miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.” C.S. Lewis, “Miracles”, New York, Macmillan 1960 pg. 102)

  7. Thr first sentence above should read: “Hume never said miracles could not happen.”

  8. I guess you just won’t take my word for this. C.S. Lewis and Geisler is wrong. Why not take the late Christian apologist Ronald Nash’s word for it instead, when he says the same thing I and Foeglein do? He said: “Instead of attacking miracles metaphysically (by arguing that they are impossible), Hume’s challenge turns out to be epistemological in nature. That is, he argues that even though miracles could occur, it is never rational to believe that any alleged miracle took place.” Faith and Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith, p. 229.

    (PHB~ John, That’s just what I said. Hume argues that it is not reasonable or rational to believe in miracles therefore don’t believe in them. He stops short of saying that they don’t exist for obvious reasons. If he did he would have to know and investigate all circumstances and all claims. Instead he uses the numbers game: There’s more natural events or events for which there are a natural cause than miracles, therefore they (miracles) don’t exist. This is like my son when he was 1. He closed his eyes when he wanted someone to leave him alone. He would simply close his eyes as if that would make them go away. That’s what Hume does.
    So for you to TRY to represent that fact that he (Hume) believed in or accepted miracles in ANY way is disengenious to the reader and to me.)

    Let’s take this sentence from C.S. Lewis: Unfortunately we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all reports to be false only only if we know miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.”

    No one is saying we know all reports of miracles to be false, not me, not Hume. No one is saying miracles have never occurred, not me, not Hume.

    (PHB~ If there are noe according to Hume then they are false in his wordview. 1 + 1 =2 everyday, {except in quantum physics})

    So Lewis is flat out wrong to say we argue in a circle. What we say instead is that given uniform experience against miracles (especially in the superstitious past)

    (PHB~ Just a note here that I plan to deal with, the people of antiquity were certainly no more superstitious that modern individuals. The People of 1 Century Israel were also LESS superstitious than most- I’ll go into greater detail on that later but I wanted to address it because I certainly don’t fully agree with you in that area and I notice that is a part of your arguments against Christianity. Like I said this isn’t the place but I wanted to let you know I’ve taken note of it.)

    we should not believe that they occurred, even if they did. Fogelin is correct here.

    But who cares anyway? Let’s say, for the sake of argument that Hume was wrong. So what? Fogelin and my arguments still stands.

    (PHB~ Come again? Can’t see that at all.)

    Why must the case against miracles stand or fall with Hume’s argument? It doesn’t. Deal with my argument. Deal with what Fogelin said.

    Cheers.

    (PHB~ Fogelin, is trying to recontextualize Hume to change his argument into something that athiests, skeptics and agnostics can win. He is unsuccessful. He continues to base his conclusions on the theory of large numbers and naturalism concluding that the natural system is closed. In the Christian worldview the natural system is only a part of the greater and more complete reality. So I really don’t see anything else to argue past as this is all that you’ve presented and I’ve certainly argued that
    1- naturalism is unscientific because it denies certain relaities and testimonies without investigation or application of evaluative methods,
    2- it limits reality to natual reality only, when the natural system is only a part of all reality, and
    3- Hume, being one of the greatest proponents of naturalism is held in high esteem by the anti-God movement. That’s why I take the time to deal with his arguments because they are necessary for the antisupernaturalist.)

  9. You said you’re planning on making an argument that “the people of antiquity were certainly no more superstitious that modern individuals.”

    You have lost me on that one. I try to treat seriously held ridiculous ideas seriously, but this one splits my gut. You simply cannot be serious, my friend.

    Caution: Before you put your foot in your mouth any further go the the local bookstore, get some coffee, sit down and read chapter seven in my book. Tell the attendants I said it was okay, okay? 😉

    If you make this kind of argument you’ve lost me. You will be found out to be an ignorant person before the watching eyes of your readers. Ignorance. That’s what you’ll be spouting forth. Such ignorance is almost as odious to me as Calvinism is, but not quite.

    You don’t understand what modern science did for us. You don’t understand ancient people, and you certainly don’t understand the Bible. Sorry, but now I know why you believe.

    My claim is that modern scientifically literate people are not at all superstitious when compared to the ancients. Again. It’s now time for you to read my book. It’s cheap. You can continue to believe after reading it, of course, but I will not let you defend it with fear and an utter complete ignorance of the facts.

    One more time. Read my book before you write that utterly ridiculous piece. You’ll want to do something different in the defense of your faith after doing so, trust me. And there are other avenues to take on this topic than the completely ignorant tact you plan to take…sorry.

    Cheers.

    (PHB~ Wow, John, you seem to have blown a gasket on that one. Don’t be offended, I will read your book but I’ve only noticed this argument commonly in athiestic circles and the assertions are not all together accurate or representative of times of biblical antiquity. In fact ONE person whom you may wish to consult with about this BEFORE you make additional errors in this area is a fellow athiest and blogger on your site. Dr. Bart Willruth who set forth a post as I said ON YOUR SITE called “Where is the 800lb. Gorilla?” in which he said the following:

    “Now, referring back to the crisis of Greek rule under Antiochus IV, the event which triggered the bloody rebellion of the Maccabean Jews was when Antiochus put his own image in the most holy place in the temple. Antiochus promoted the cult of the living ruler. He proclaimed himself to be the incarnation of Zeus on earth, the supreme God in human flesh. He demanded that the Jews offer worship and sacrifice to his image. The Jews would have none of it. That a man would be proclaimed to be God was the ultimate abomination. The Jews under Judas Maccabee rose up and killed both the Jewish collaborators and the foreign soldiers, reinstituting the worship of the one true God and ejecting the image of the man who claimed to be the incarnation of God.”

    Now, if that argument was accurate, which to the extent of the Maccabees and the macabean revolt it was, the actions of the early Jews WERE NOT commensurate with those entrenched in “superstition, magic” and other types of idolotry as you ultimately claim by making these assertions.

    Before scientific enlightenment, I agree there was superstition, but the athiest overstates the case. There are more tarrot card readers and psychics in most cities now than ever in history and we are “supposedly” scientifically enlightened.

    So I believe in short, you overstate the case. My intent would be to bring this into better perspective especially as it pertains to 1st Century Israel and the rearly church.)

  10. Such a claim as yours is about as defensible as a flat earth, sorry. And forget Antiochus IV. Look at the Bible itself. Place yourself in each character in each story. Then you’ll know what I mean. Read Moses challenging the magicians in Exodus as if you were standing there, as if you were one of those magicians. Would you expect your staff to turn into a snake? Had that ever happened for them before? Read Elijah’s confrontation of the prophets of Baal as if you were right there, as if you were one of those prophets–would YOU try to call down fire from heaven all day? Would you expect fire to come from the sky like they did? Read Paul’s confrontation in Ephesus over the god Artemis as if you were there. What evidence did all of these people have for believing in Artemis? Would you scoff at them like I would? It’s really not hard to do. What would YOU do in Jonah’s day given the evidence presented to you? Would YOU cast Jonah overboard based on it?

    My claim is that modern scientifically literate people are not at all superstitious when compared to the ancients.

    (PHB~ John, y’u-know I do my best to be honest with scripture and interpretations even if they are against my position and certainly don’t disagree with your observations from scripture…however, I have a problem with this type of argument because science has done no more to lessen what you would consider a sense of “superstition” based on the abundant evidence of humanity desire for mysticism today and The Jews from which Jesus came were less steeped in “superstition” than almost every nation surrounding them.

    Bart said that they were so steeped in worship of ONE God that they fought a war over it and I agree with his premise. If they were as “superstitious” as critics, agnostics, skeptics and athiests claim, they never would have fought to defend their system of worship. So I will agree that the cultures encountered biblically were steeped in superstition and cultism, and I will also agree that Israel backslid, and even involved themselves in idolatry for a time, but that was certainly not because they were “superstitious” it was because they had a fallen condition of heart.

    This is important for two reasons, 1- Christianity is not a superstition and was not based on superstition. and 2- I know the next step for your argument is that the “Legend of Jesus” grew out of a superstitious culture and neither one of those assertions are the case.)

  11. dunamis2 says:

    BTW, I read his book and it was more of the same. Good guy, bad arguments. But I thank him for coming over to debate the topic.

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