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Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable

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  • Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable

    How can the church do better?

    ---------------

    How is the church failing? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    This book is a response to Justice Brierley's Unbelievable. This was a popular radio show he did out of the UK where Christians and non-Christians debated, though sometimes Christians debated on an in-house issue. The book has chapters by various skeptics talking about why they still think Christianity is unbelievable.

    It starts with the first part of a woman named Sophie who abandoned Christianity. I mainly want to highlight the lessons we can learn from it.

    First off, don't live in a bubble or put your children in one:
    I had assumed that it was only with Christians that you could share, connect and be known and that all secular folk had god-shaped holes, with ultimately empty lives, and that they were wracked with guilt and in rebellion to the Almighty. They, of course, knew He existed, they just wanted to live their selfish lives. However, this didn’t' seem to bare out. My non-theist friends’ lives were no more empty or full than my theist friends' lives. Some, who clearly stated their atheism, were some of the best parents I'd encountered. They had good, loving family relationship. For the most part, they led pretty wholesome, happy lives and some even confessed to wishing they could believe in a god and had sincerely tried, but not been able.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    Of course, I contend that this is because non-Christians also have a Christian background that they get the way they live from, but it doesn't matter for now. The point is if we paint the other side as if they are constantly wicked in any way, then we are not preparing our young people. If we assume that people feel a constant emptiness without Jesus, then we are not preparing our young people. Our call to evangelism should not depend on our audience having a certain emotional response which they may or may not have. It should depend on the reality that Jesus is the risen Lord, savior, and King of the universe, and there's no may or may not about that.

    Second, we need to really teach the nature of God living as a Trinity:
    My faith doubts were never about if there was a god, but rather what His character was like and what His will was for my life.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    I stress the Trinity because then we properly get a relational God. We learn who Jesus is. We learn who the Holy Spirit is. The problem is we often look at God and then think about what He has to do with us instead of the other way around. I really can't stand the idea of people trying to find a "will for their life." You want to know God's will for your life? Easy. Conform you to the likeness of Christ. That's it.

    Third, while many apologists don't really want to bother dealing with popular atheists, we really need to.
    I recall the disconcerting, but euphoric moments of discovering Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, whose irreverence and boldness, left me wide-eyed with my hand over my mouth. I encountered those who'd been theists like Dan Barker, John Loftus, Rob Price and Ryan Bell - all who've been guests on the Unbelievable? show, as well as others, like Bart Campolo the de-converted son of Tony Campolo, who I'd worked for in the States.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    I have read the writings of the new atheists. I have debated both Loftus and Barker. To those who have only heard pablum from the pulpits all their lives, these seem to be the first people who really argue for something. It's poor argumentation, but if it's your first time hearing it, you don't know how to tell that.

    Yes. This sword cuts both ways. That's also why I would encourage churches to also be reading these skeptical authors together and discussing what they have to say. We should not be afraid of what we are hearing. If we have the truth, we need not fear a counter-argument.

    There are many more points that can be made, but those will come with later points in the testimony. Next time we look at this book, we will be discussing if God makes sense of human existence.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)


    How is the church failing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. This book is a response to Justice Brierley’s Unbelievable. This was a popular radio show he did out of the UK where Christians and non-Christians debated, though sometimes Christians debated on an in-house issue. The book has chapters by various skeptics talking … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 1

  • #2
    Part 2

    --------

    Does God make sense of human suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
    This chapter on human suffering is written by Matthew Taylor. Let’s see how this starts with this quote early on followed by some examples from Francis Collins:

    The Christian claim is that their god is the best explanation for our existence. The justification is that everywhere we look, nature is amazing and wondrous and it simply can’t be an accident. All that is must be the product of something greater, and that something can only be the Christian god. Ask any Christian to justify this and you’ll get an answer that attempts to show how science and faith do not conflict or that science confirms the reasons for the faith. Press hard and the reasons sound more wishful thinking than demonstrated conclusion.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    Unknown is why something is raised up about science and faith being in a construct. It can easily be that the world is beautiful and amazing and science is a tool that brings out the beauty and wonder of the world. Alas, I suspect that Taylor is just trying to poison the well right at the start.

    Naturally, he went with a scientist on the question. If the question is the nature of beauty, a philosopher would have been the better pick, but what do they know I suppose. I would have told Matthew about truth, goodness, and beauty being transcendental and ontological realities and how God is the metaphysical basis for them.

    So I guess ask any Christian just isn’t right.

    Evidence is a genuine challenge for Christian claims involving their god. The bible makes it clear that faith in an unseen god is something to be respected. A trait that Jesus himself praises when he says to Thomas “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”. John 20:29

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    On the contrary, I love talking about evidence. It is atheists I meet who most often do not. It’s easy to see this when I recommend them books to read and get told no over and over. As for faith, I have my own work on that here. As for the passage in John, as John Dickson says:

    It is important to realise that Jesus is not saying, You, Thomas, believe with evidence; but blessed are those who can bring themselves to believe in my resurrection without any evidence! That is often how people perceive the Christian faith—as if it were about believing stuff blindly, without evidence, or even contrary to the evidence. The British atheist A.C. Grayling cited this Thomas story in a Guardian article, arguing that “Faith is a commitment to belief contrary to evidence and reason … [Faith] is ignoble, irresponsible and ignorant.”[29] But “faith” in the Christian tradition, as I pointed out in chapter 2, has more in common with the oldest usage of this English word: “Belief based on evidence, testimony, or authority”. In this famous passage from John’s Gospel, Jesus is not saying people will be blessed if they can learn to believe without any evidence. He is making the distinction between believing on the basis of personal observation and believing on the basis of testimony. Both are forms of evidence. It’s just that personal observation is the way you determine repeatable and directly detectable things, and testimony is how you verify things that are, by definition, beyond your direct detection.

    Dickson, John. Is Jesus History? (Questioning Faith) (p. 112). The Good Book Company. Kindle Edition.

    In other words, Thomas had enough evidence already with all he had seen over the years and the testimony of the ten there with him. He would have been more blessed if he had trusted the reliable sources he had with him. It is not saying that all evidence is to be avoided.

    Taylor after talking some about evolution goes on to say:

    So why is it that when the Christians on the Unbelievable? forums are challenged to provide the details of the experiments that can confirm the presence of the Christian god, the questioner is accused of being hostile? This is exactly what Justin does in Chapter Two of his book when he quotes Lawrence Krauss as describing the world’s religions of being in disagreement with science. If the Christian is to remain in step with science, they must be prepared to subject their god to scientific testing. Testing that will, over time, make the Christian god more or less probable. Yet, when the Christian is challenged to do that, the response is that the Christian god can not be tested in a lab and so, as Krauss predicts, the Christian removes their religion from the boundary of science. When the Christian’s response to the question of where is the experimental evidence that supports their god’s existence is variations of “god is outside of nature and can not be tested” then they are at odds with science and they are making claims that science can not support. That being the case, they can not then claim that the arrow of evidence points in the direction of the Christian god. The two positions are contradictory.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    But God is outside of nature and cannot be tested. Science is great at testing the material realm, but if something is not a question of matter in motion, then it is not removing it from science. One can use scientific tools, but the conclusion itself is not scientific. If you want to know if Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, you go to history and not science. If you want to know if Romeo and Juliet survive at the end of Shakespeare’s play, you go to literature and not science. If you want to know if Fermat’s Last Theorem has been solved, you go to mathematics and not science. If you want to know what truth, goodness, and beauty are, you go to philosophy and not science.

    Taylor’s main problem here is assuming that if something is not in the realm of science, then it is nonsense, while the idea that if something is not in the realm of science makes it nonsense is itself not in the realm of science. I object to the idea of scientifically testing God because He is not matter in motion and that’s a category fallacy. I don’t object to doing philosophy and metaphysics and I don’t object to using scientific tools to gather data, but the final ground is not science.

    That is not a fault of science any more than it’s a fault of literature that it can’t tell us what the speed of light is or a fault of mathematics that it can’t tell you if Babylon conquered Israel. When it comes to the matter of studying, well, matter, science is superior. When it comes to studying other areas, leave it to those areas.

    If asked what caused the Big Bang, Taylor says:

    The Christian already knows the answer of course, they say the answer is their god. Yet challenge the Christian to explain what was before their god and the response is it’s not a valid question because god is beyond time. The very answer that they reject with reference to the big bang, is the answer they give for their god.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    Yes. It is a nonsense question because God is by definition eternal so if you ask “What came before that which is eternal?”, it’s nonsensical. That is not the case with the Big Bang. Even if somehow the universe was eternal, an event is not. The Big Bang is not eternal so it makes sense to ask what was before the Big Bang.

    There is a trend in Christian apologetics to claim that this can only be the case because the Christian god created everything to be this way. The process of science can only work because matter interacts and behaves the way it does. If the interactions of particles, chemicals and everything else was arbitrary then science would be impossible. The reason why everything acts the way it does is because of the properties of each particle. The elements hydrogen and oxygen exist the way they do because they can’t exists any other way. of how their atoms are formed. They interact the way they do because their make up means that there is no other way for them to interact. Why is this the case? Well we don’t know at the moment, could there have been any other way for these particles to exist and interact? We don’t know at the moment. Will we ever know? Maybe, which is why the efforts are being made to find out. Does any of this mean that a god should be invoked as the unexplained explainer? No, because that doesn’t explain anything.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    If it is asked “Does God explain how all of this works?” then yes, just saying God is not sufficient. If God is used to explain why all this works, then yes, God is sufficient. It works because God created the universe to provide for us. We can use science to study the how, but the why, the final cause, is known by theology and philosophy.

    What’s more, a supernatural god can create a universe that operates in any way it likes, intervene with miracles whenever it chooses, all without regard to natural laws or consistency. Creation can be reordered, man can be made from mudpies, snakes and donkeys can talk, and the sun can be stopped in the sky in order to create a longer work day. On the other hand, for a natural universe to exist it would have to be bound by a variety of predictable and consistent constraints that serve to make its continued existence possible. All that we know about nature and the universe is knowledge that has been gathered through the scientific process. More than that, the scientific process has only provided details and information on what is natural, science hasn’t provided us with any clues about the existence of anything extra natural or supernatural.

    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

    Taylor ignores that in Scripture, the strength of the covenant is based on that natural order. Consider Jeremiah 31:35-36

    hus says the Lord,
    who gives the sun for light by day
    and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord of hosts is his name:
    36 “If this fixed order departs
    from before me, declares the Lord,
    then shall the offspring of Israel cease
    from being a nation before me forever.”

    Not only this, but you have to have order in order for there to be miracles. If there is no order and anything could happen at any time, there would be no miracles. The fixed order is not a shock to the Christian. It’s a necessity and the early scientists wanted to study this order to see how God did what He did.

    As for leaving evidence, I consider existing itself to be the evidence. Why should there be something rather than nothing at all? Why is there truth, goodness, and beauty in the universe? These are philosophical questions, but they need answers just as much as scientific questions do. We ignore science to our peril, yes. We ignore philosophy to our same peril.

    More will be said in later chapters on suffering. It looks more like this chapter was about explaining the universe instead of suffering. Unfortunately, we won’t find much good in many of those chapters.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)

    Comment


    • #3
      Part 3

      -----------------

      What about the cause of the universe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

      I will say in his defense that chapters by Skydive Phil tend to be well-researched and better than most other chapters. That’s not saying a lot, but that is something. Unlike many other authors, he does have a copious list of notes for what he says. Seeing as this chapter is largely scientific, as you all should know by now, I will not comment on science as science. However, when we get to philosophical points, I will say something.

      So let’s get to one:
      When we think of causes though, we always do so in the context of time. We could say all events that have causes have prior moments in time. If the universe had a beginning then there was no prior moment of time and hence we have no right to demand there must be some prior cause. Causality may also be a consequence of the laws of physics and the arrow of time. If we had some state with no space or time, no laws of physics and no arrow of time, are we really in a position to demand there must still be a cause?

      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

      Ah, but this is assuming chronological causation. Now I fully grant that there is time in that A causes B. My hands are typing on this keyboard which is causing letters to pop up and my hands typing were caused by my willing them to type. That is all well and good. Could it be possible for something to be eternal and still have a cause?

      Yes.

      Imagine a mirror that has been standing for all eternity. In front of this mirror stands a man who is also somehow eternal. This man is eternally looking in the mirror unmoving. The man sees his reflection eternally in the mirror.

      Is his reflection caused?

      Yes, and yet it is eternal.

      Hard to fathom and get your head around? Sure, but it doesn’t change reality.

      The point is all of this is in the context of the Kalam and Phil deals with the modern version that is about the origin of the universe. The historical version of it is not.

      In Q. 46 and article 2 of the Prima Pars of the Summa Theologica, it is asked if the beginning of the universe is an article of faith. This doesn’t mean blind belief. It means if this is something that is taken on authority revealed from God. Now were people like Phil correct, Aquinas would say “Of course not! Our argument shows the universe has a beginning!”

      He does not.
      On the contrary, The articles of faith cannot be proved demonstratively, because faith is of things “that appear not” (Hebrews 11:1). But that God is the Creator of the world: hence that the world began, is an article of faith; for we say, “I believe in one God,” etc. And again, Gregory says (Hom. i in Ezech.), that Moses prophesied of the past, saying, “In the beginning God created heaven and earth”: in which words the newness of the world is stated. Therefore the newness of the world is known only by revelation; and therefore it cannot be proved demonstratively.

      Ah! But doesn’t he in his first way assume a beginning?

      No. He does not. After all, the ways are built on truths that can be known from reason alone. Therefore, Aquinas’s arguments do not depend on the universe having a beginning. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t nor does it mean that were he here today he would hold the same opinion on if the universe had a beginning. We don’t know what he would say today, but we know what he said then.

      Phil goes on to say:
      What then caused God? Theists must agree that there is something that doesn’t need a cause. And whilst acausal interpretations of quantum mechanics are still on the table it seems they have the advantage over God because at least we know that quantum mechanics actually exist. The theistic response is that only things that begin to exist need causes. As God didn’t begin to exist then he doesn’t need a cause. An obvious question to ask is how do theists know this? It seems to me like a pure assertion. But what if the universe didn’t begin to exist? Then it wouldn’t need a cause and we will not require God.

      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

      From a Thomistic perspective, we know this because God’s nature is to be. His nature is existence itself. What does it mean to be? Look at God. What does it mean to be limited in being? Look at everything else. Saying “What made God?” is like asking “What created existence?” It is by no means an assertion. The great classical theists gave arguments for it. You might think they were wrong, but it was by no means an assertion.

      And as for the final part, I have argued that that is just wrong. Saying the universe is eternal does not mean it doesn’t have a cause. Unless the universe contains within itself the principle of its own existing, in other words, it exists somehow by its own power it needs a cause.

      From a Thomistic perspective, since the universe is changing, it is limited in its being, and thus needs a cause. My formulation of Kalam in the style of a syllogism goes like this.

      That which has passive potential which is actualized depends on something else for its being.
      The universe has passive potential which is actualized.
      The universe depends on something else for its being.

      Passive potential is capacity for change and being actualized means the bringing about of that change. This doesn’t apply to God since He has no passive potential.
      When the steady state theory was popular, theologians appealed to passages that describe God’s continual sustaining of creation to make the bible compatible with that too. So it seems that it is not so hard to find passages in the bible whose meaning can be molded to support whatever narrative suits.

      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

      This can be done, unfortunately, but that is not the fault of the Bible, but of modern man. It’s why I reject Concordism. The Bible is not meant to be read as a modern scientific text and Christians and atheists both make this mistake.

      As for design arguments:
      What about design? Well the problem here is that Justin isn’t just asking us to believe in a designer, but an immaterial one. Whenever we see design by agents we see they are physical, they need external energy to do their design work. We also see that complex creatures capable of design arise after long periods of evolution. We also see that the more complicated a designed object is, the more the number of designers are needed. Think of the Large Hadron Collider, one of the most complex objects on Earth. It wasn’t designed by one person. So if cosmic design is like Earthly design, shouldn’t we presume there are many designers? Design by a single immaterial being that didn’t undergo evolution and doesn’t need any external energy source, doesn’t seem to fit what we know about design at all. Theists merely appeal to the similarities that suit and ignore the ones that don’t. As an atheist then it seems this type of design is the least plausible of Justin three explanations.

      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

      The problem here is that this is a sort of part to whole fallacy. All designers we see are material designers, therefore all designers are material. That doesn’t follow. It depends on the nature of the designer and again, classical theism argues for a God who is simple since He is not material and has no parts to Him. Were it otherwise, He would need a designer. Whether design arguments work overall, I leave to my friends who are more scientifically inclined.

      In a later statement on miracles, Phil says:
      If God frequently performs miracles, can we really say there is so much regularity in the world? We are being asked to believe that God sets up immutable mathematical relationships in the world only to suspend them every time he does a miracle.

      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

      As said in earlier posts on this, not only can we, we have to. If there is no regular order, there is no way to recognize a miracle. Miracles only make sense if there is a regular order where all things being equal, A consistently causes B in C.

      There is a whole lot in this chapter I have not replied to because I realize I am not trained in the area to do so. I leave that to the more scientific among you. Next time we look at this book, we’ll discuss morality.

      In Christ,
      Nick Peters
      (And I affirm the virgin birth)
      What about the cause of the universe? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. I will say in his defense that chapters by Skydive Phil tend to be well-researched and better than most other chapters. That’s not saying a lot, but that is something. Unlike many other authors, he does have a copious … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 3

      Comment


      • #4
        Part 4

        ---------------

        Does God make sense of morality? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

        This chapter is by Michael Brady. We will be looking at his explanation for the origins of morality. At the start, he does at least seem to agree that there is objective morality, though I prefer to say objective goodness instead.
        Premise Two: Objective moral duties and obligations do exist. Agreed. Or at least it seems so. Unless one is a sociopath, each and every human being has an innate moral sensibility. This intuition that there is right and wrong, equitable and unfair, true and false, and that in all cases the former is better than the latter. Where do these intuitions come from? The theist argues that their creator wrote the moral code upon our hearts; we know right from wrong because we were formed in God’s image.

        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

        It is not a shock that Euthyphro is brought up. As Brady says:
        So the Christian God can do nothing that is not good, by definition? Every act, every utterance is a reflection of his perfect goodness? The difficulty in assigning this sort of goodness to the deity worshipped by the Hebrew is that He ordered acts which our internal moral compass tells is wrong. When the God of the Old Testament ordered genocide, ethnic cleansing, infanticide, the murder of pregnant women, marital rape, and the taking of pre-teen girls as war prizes. Does he make such acts good? Suddenly, and counter-intuitively, the proscriptions against murder, theft, and coveting are no longer absolutes. Such acts become merely prohibited until ordered, at which time they become not only good but obligatory? Failure to commit such acts when ordered by God – because they offend our own God-given moral sensibilities – become a sin? What has happened here?

        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

        Oddly enough, he doesn’t try to press Euthyphro. He says “God does things that I don’t like.” Many of these are thrown out there without any real interaction. Where does God order marital rape for example? I suspect pre-teen girls as war prizes is an interaction with Numbers 31 which I have dealt with here.

        This would have been a good time to have brought up the idea of goodness and what it is, but that was not brought up. This is a great weakness in many atheistic, and many theistic, arguments. They never talk about what goodness is. It is assumed that morality is the same thing. All that is moral is good, but not all that is good is moral. You think your favorite food is good, but does that mean you think it is moral?

        Brady does get to likely what he thinks is marital rape when he says:
        “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” Deuteronomy 21:10-14 If a modern soldier took a vanquished female captive after a battle, shaved her head, locked her up in his house for a month, and then forced himself on her, he’d be guilty of violation of the laws of war. He’d be correctly accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment, physical and emotional abuse, and rape. He would be keeping a sex slave. If delivered into the hands of the law, he’d be imprisoned and his victim set free. To this and other hard passages, Christians routinely make the relativistic retort, that’s just the way things were in those days. That other tribes’ soldiers just raped women on the battlefield. That in Jewish society unmarried women were destined to poverty or prostitution. Rather than accepting such equivocations as an excuse, why is this not seen as an indictment of Jewish society? Under whose strict rules – and God-given morality – was Jewish culture operating at the time?

        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

        But it’s not relativistic to say that was the way it was at the time. Brady obviously wouldn’t want the woman killed or he’d complain about that, so what does he want? Her to go and get a job at the local Wal-Mart or sign up for CanaaniteMingle.com and get a guy? If this was a case of rape, why on Earth does the guy wait a month before he does anything. If anything, this is actually looking out for the woman. He is not allowed to sell the woman or treat her like a slave. This woman is brought into the society and cared for.

        Unfortunately, much of the chapter is just that. Bringing up things in the Bible the author doesn’t like. There is very little philosophy. At the end, he does say this:
        As for naturalistic expressions of the good, we might not be having this dialogue if flourishing wasn’t better than suffering, life better than death, or success better than failure. Perhaps you can’t derive an ought from an is, but this system has been working since the dawn of life on our planet. It seems unlikely the life would endure in any other way, here or on any other planet in universe. Objective? God-given? Perhaps not. But universal and ubiquitous? Certainly.

        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

        But if we want to say that X is better, we want to know why, and why is it that this applies to human flourishing. There are some who think it would be better if humans went extinct and nature was left to flourish without us. Brady doesn’t give us any idea of what good is. He just assumes it.

        The final part also undoes everything. If morality is not objective, then what has this whole chapter been about? One can say it’s universal, but so what? It could also have been universal that the sun went around the Earth at one point. Doesn’t matter.

        Brace yourself. Next time we’ll look at a chapter on why the gospel is not good news. It’s going to be a painful ride.

        In Christ,
        Nick Peters
        (And I affirm the virgin birth)
        Does God make sense of morality? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. This chapter is by Michael Brady. We will be looking at his explanation for the origins of morality. At the start, he does at least seem to agree that there is objective morality, though I prefer to say objective goodness … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 4

        Comment


        • #5
          Part 5

          -------‐------

          Is the gospel good news? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
          This is the first chapter by David Johnson and would that it had been the last. For some reason, Johnson was given multiple chapters to write which befuddles me since I got so tired of highlighting after awhile in my Kindle because so much was wrong. Well, let’s dive in so I can demonstrate my point.

          In this chapter, Johnson is going to accept everything about Christianity is true but argue that it isn’t good news. Some of you might be wondering how that could be. I finished the chapter and I’m still wondering. Let’s start at the beginning with a Scriptural citation.

          Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. Matt. 7:13-14

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Johnson argues that this means the majority of the human race will not make it to the presence of God. Now someone wanting to study this might look and see if this has always been understood to mean that very few people overall will make it, but nah. Why bother doing that? If one wanted to take in all of Scripture, you could go to Revelation 7 with a great crowd no man could number from every people group, but no, we have an agenda to fulfill.

          I contend that Jesus is speaking about His immediate audience. He is not speaking on a global scale. He is saying of the people listening, few will find the way.

          And then he told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Those who believe and are baptized will be saved. But those who refuse to believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16 That is quite the sales pitch. Believe or be condemned! I’m not sure how that differs from conversion by sword. Believe or perish! Just to add some modern context, Grant me sexual favors or be fired, might also go well on the list. Any talk of hell renders all other motives for faith moot. If you learn of the tortures of hell as a child, you are going to do everything in your power to avoid it. If that means you have to believe with all your heart things that don’t seem to make sense, you are going to believe them with all your heart.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Let’s leave aside that it’s doubtful Mark 16:9-20 is original. Atheists regularly tout this out not getting they’re misrepresenting the story. It’s not “Love me or burn!” It’s more “You are already guilty of a crime and if you pledge loyalty, I will set you free and give you great benefits.” Not only that, but most evangelicals today do not hold that Hell is a fiery torture chamber.

          And the coercion doesn’t stop there. The manipulation continues: If you really love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. John 14:15 I like the way the Amplified puts it because it is more in keeping with the way we would say it today. And it makes it easier to recognize the manipulative nature of the passage. Just think of all the evil, twisted, manipulative things that started with, if you really love me.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Meanwhile, think about all the true things that start with this conditional statement.

          If you love your spouse, you will be faithful to them.
          If you love your children, you will provide for them.
          If you love your parents, you will respect them.

          All of these are true. So it is with Jesus. If you call Him Lord and don’t do what He says, it is right to question if He is Lord or not. That the statement can be misused does not mean it is never properly used, unless Johnson wants to question the above three statements I have.

          When speaking about how Hebrews say without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, Johnson says:

          Try to put this into a modern context so that you can fully grasp how dark this is. What civilized culture still believes that there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood? How would that even work?

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Considering a lot of civilized cultures today believe you can mutilate a child’s body and change their sex or rip apart a child in the womb, saying a civilized culture doesn’t really mean much. It boils down to him saying “We don’t like this, therefore it’s wrong.”

          In reality, what is being said is that capital offenses require a capital payment and to forgive a capital offense also requires a capital payment. Why do I not need that to forgive you? Because you haven’t committed such an offense against me. For any sin against God, it’s divine treason. Johnson has a view more that God is Superman than God.

          God was really big on punishing the children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of the father. The staggering weight of this unfair system is readily apparent. The curse would never be lifted as there would never be four generations of people who didn’t sin. No wonder people were so desperately begging for mercy.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Desperately begging for mercy? Not really. If they were doing that in the Old Testament, they sure had an odd way of doing that by running around constantly committing idolatry and adultery. As for the New Testament, you don’t see that either. About the only exception I can think of is the repentant tax collector in the parable. Johnson is telling more about himself than the world of the Bible.

          As for the passage, yes. We still see this today. Many families bear the sins of the fathers down through the past. Lessons of abuse and alcoholism are easily passed on.

          If humans could get unmerited guilt, they could get unmerited grace. This means that a person who spent his life murdering and destroying can ask for forgiveness just before he dies, and he will end up in heaven. This, while another who spent her life as a good person will burn in hell because she was raised in a muslim country, unable to do anything but follow tradition in her region. What could be more unfair?

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Ah. That little word fair. One of the most overused words today. If the claims of God were true and He was fair, no one would enjoy His loving presence. Can a repentant criminal be forgiven on his deathbed? Yes. Would Johnson prefer he wasn’t? As for those who have never heard, Johnson acts like this is an open and shut case. Not really. Consider many in Muslim countries are having dreams and visions of Jesus. Also, it is debatable whether those who never heard through no fault of their own are automatically lost, see here.

          Johnson also says the message is unclear. Consider how many differences there are:

          Catholicism vs. protestantism • Calvinism vs. Arminianism • Baptism? Sprinkling Pouring Immersion • Old Testament laws and observances • Salvation by: Grace alone Grace and faith Grace, faith, and other works • Women in authority • Marriage, remarriage, and divorce • Speaking in tongues: Actual language like Chinese you have studied? Unknown language that only the spirit understands?

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          However, very few in these groups will say that everyone else is automatically lost and condemned. We agree on far more than we disagree on.

          In the paper, M. Bar-Ilan, ‘Illiteracy in the Land of Israel in the First Centuries C.E.’, we learn that the literacy rate among Jews in the Christian century would have been no higher than 3%. For a people of the book, there were precious few of them capable of reading it. (M. Bar-Ilan, ‘Illiteracy in the Land of Israel in the First Centuries C.E.’, S. Fishbane, S. Schoenfeld and A. Goldschlaeger (eds.), Essays in the Social Scientific Study of Judaism and Jewish Society, II, New York: Ktav, 1992, pp. 46-61.) https://faculty.biu.ac.il/Given this low rate of literacy, it is curious that god would make a highly complex and intricate set of texts the primary way god delivered his message. The vast majority of Christian truth claims can only be found in the Bible. So it is critical to understand it well. It is somewhat ironic that the people least capable of synthesizing written information are the ones most called to do so. That situation has not changed in the modern era. Psychology Today reports that from a review of 63 studies, there is a negative correlation between religiosity and education. Again, the world’s most religious people have the least education to support it.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          I am not surprised on the supposed connection between religiosity and education seeing as much of education is extremely anti-religious. Getting to Johnson’s main claim, what would he propose instead? A book is a steady and objective form of communication. Would he prefer constant personal communication like many Mormons claim? Were Christianity based on people allegedly having God talk to them regularly and tell them about the life of Jesus, are we to think Johnson’s skepticism would disappear?

          Not only that, but the Bible has led to the rise of literacy throughout the world. Christians have been known as people of the book and developed the codex to aid in reading and set up educational facilities and universities for study. Since Johnson can read, he should thank the church.

          On another point, he later says:

          And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised. (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.) Justin puts a lot of stock in the resurrection of Jesus. But he, like many others, is focusing on the wrong resurrection. They should be talking about the one where many dead saints came out of their graves in the big city, and appeared to many people. This should be the most well-attested, undisputed resurrection miracle of them all. It isn’t. The reason why Christians do not focus on this resurrection story is because as a historical event, it is completely made up. It simply never happened. What’s more, they know it didn’t happen. And they are embarrassed by it.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Ah yes. Christians never talk about that because it never happened. Never mind that up until this point, we have been accepting that Christian claims are true for the sake of argument, but I guess that Scripture is wrong was suddenly inserted in. It’s almost like Johnson is inconsistent.

          So why do Christians not talk about this? Because what difference does it make? Let’s suppose we never knew about the resurrection of Lazarus. Have we lost anything ultimately in Christianity? Has Christianity changed fundamentally? Not at all. That’s because Jesus’s resurrection is different in kind. A resurrection alone doesn’t bring salvation and change history. Jesus’s did. Jesus began new creation by a resurrection of a different nature and verifying His claims.

          Not only that, but we just don’t know a lot about the Matthew 27 resurrection, assuming it to be a historical event. How many people were raised? With what kind of bodies were they raised? Did they just pass through or did they keep living? The text doesn’t tell us.

          There is no need to quote it here. We all know the saying about the mustard seed. Jesus was making a point about the kingdom, and highlighted the mustard seed as the smallest seed of them all. In fairness, this is exactly what any Palestine man might have said who knew anything about botany.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          It could be entirely that Jesus was saying that it was the smallest seed that they used. That would not be a problem. However, the word micros is also used to describe children, which doesn’t mean the smallest child is the most valuable. It is saying that for the people of the time, the mustard seed was the least valuable seed, but it still could grow into something great. Either way works fine.

          One of the easiest examples is this little nugget: Give to everyone who asks and don’t ask people to return what they have taken from you. Luke 6:30 A shorter and surer road to poverty, I have never seen. There is no context where any part of this advice makes sense. And Christians know it. Not one of them lives this way. Watch how I improve this advice just by saying the opposite:

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Yet in the world of Jesus, if someone was bigger than you, what could you do? Run to the police? Especially if the person was a Roman, they were the police. What is being said here is to not escalate violence. Johnson takes this from one setting, puts it in another, and then declares it invalid.

          Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:16-21 Ask yourself: What did the man in the story actually do wrong? Was it the fact that he had worked hard and done well for himself? Was it the fact that he could retire with confidence and enjoy the rest of his life without excessive labor? What was his real crime? It was that Jesus thinks savings are bad because one is relying on his own work, and not god’s providence.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          What did he do wrong? Greed. This man was only thinking of himself and what he could do and didn’t care about God or the world around Him. It is nothing against savings, of which the average person in Jesus’s audience would have none of.

          Now Johnson could have studied any of these, but alas, we have an agenda.

          When Jesus said to turn the other cheek, my imagination abandons me as I try to come up with something even stupider to say. Even if you don’t want to tell a person to fight back and defend yourself, here are a few other things one could try: • Run like the wind. • Fall to the ground. Curl up in a ball. And cry like a baby. • Beg for mercy. • Start praying for your enemy right there on the spot. Are any of these great pieces of advice? Probably not. But they are all infinitely better than defiantly turning the other cheek so that it makes an easy and inviting target for further assault. What Jesus says on this matter can get you killed. Do not do it at any time, for any reason.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          A slap on the cheek was a personal insult. It was not a cause of assault. Jesus is again telling people to not escalate violence. Yet if all of these show the intense ignorance of Johnson, the next one really puts it in full display in flashing neon lights.

          Do you have two eyes and two hands? Jesus might wonder why. He famously said that if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it right out of your head. And if your right hand causes you to sin, chop it off with a sharp blade. Why are there so few one-eyed, one-armed Christians who have self-mutilated? Because they are not stupid enough to follow the advice of a mad man.

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Every atheist and agnostic who contributed to this book should be ashamed to have their work alongside someone who writes like this. Jews spoke in hyperbole. They would have understood the point. Get to the root of the matter. No one would have understood Jesus as telling them to mutilate their own bodies.

          Did you know that if you as much as looked at a woman with sexual desire in your heart, Jesus deems it the same as the physical act of adultery? That was a particularly incendiary thing to say in a place and time when adultery was a death penalty offense. Did you know that hating a person is the same as physically murdering a person? It is to Jesus. He said so. Do I even need to say more about the moral intuition of a person who can’t work out the difference between hating and killing?

          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

          Jesus says that if you look at the woman with the purpose of desiring her, it is as adultery. He also says similar about hating your brother. Why? Because if you do these things in your heart, what will stop you from doing them in real life? The moment you think the benefits outweigh the consequences. Again, deal with the root and you can avoid murder and adultery both.

          Unfortunately, this is not the last chapter by Johnson. He seems to have more than anyone else in the book, which is a shame.

          In Christ,
          Nick Peters
          (And I affirm the virgin birth)
          Last edited by Apologiaphoenix; 02-12-2024, 10:53 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Shouldn't that be Part 5?
            When I Survey....

            Comment


            • #7
              Will correct that

              Comment


              • #8
                Part 6

                ----------------

                Did Jesus rise from the dead? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                This chapter is about the resurrection and it is written by Ed Atkinson. He and I had a few debates on the Unbelievable Facebook page when I was there. It was kind of reliving the past to go through this chapter. Let's look at an early part right off.
                First, let’s step back for a moment. How can we know, with even remote certainty, what happened 2,000 years ago? Let’s imagine the parallel idea from Derren Brown that Justin quoted, and expanded here with my imagination. In about 1940, in an African outpost under the control of the British Empire, a new sect emerged. It was claimed that their leader had come back from the dead after being killed in the War serving the Axis Powers. Furthermore, it seems that he had apparently appeared and even had meals with some of his followers before vanishing permanently. Unfortunately, we have no records from the time but there is an authentic letter by a follower who was close to the original witnesses. This letter, stamped 1965, briefly lists the leader’s appearances1. Then there is silence until the 1980s, at which point, religious tracts about the affair start to be published in London. These now describe a missing body as well as post-death appearances but there are large discrepancies in their description of the events. The first outsider to write about it that we know of was a specialist historian2 who was native to that country - he was born in the 1940s, left for London in 1980 and wrote about it in the 2000s but there is good reason to think his words have been corrupted by sect members. That story roughly matches what we have as source documents for the resurrection, but with a change of geographical setting and with the dates moved from 30AD to 1940.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                This might sound similar to some people, but it's hardly an analogy seeing as we are talking about different types of cultures. The 1940's is a post-Gutenberg time and the 40's would have some basic abilities with cameras and even some video cameras. Nothing sophisticated, but certainly far different from the time of Jesus.

                Jesus lived in an oral culture and what we get is within the first century, four biographies about His life, a historiography written as a continuation of one biography, and numerous epistles. We have far less for figures that we don't really doubt at all and most ancient historians would be thrilled to have something like this.
                Historians of the classical world don’t even make a tentative conclusion when the evidence is as weak as this. One example is the death of Nero’s mother Agrippina. There are surviving stories by respected Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius who wrote 60 to 70 years later, which is equivalent to the time gap between the resurrection and the last of the New Testament gospels, John. However, modern historians consider the circumstances of Agrippina’s death as largely unknown because the accounts contradict each other, are generally fantastical and display anti-Nero bias.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                Unfortunately, these historians are not named and we are talking about one incident in one person's life as opposed to a whole account of the life. Our biographies of Alexander the Great come centuries later and they are based on accounts that we don't have access too and yet, they are considered reliable. Again, most historians would love to have four biographies like this of any figure in the ancient world within at the most two generations. The dating of someone like John A.T. Robinson in Redating the New Testament has not been answered.

                Atkinson goes on to write about Gary Habermas's data for the minimal facts saying:
                Meanwhile Gary’s website says “there is approximately a 3:1 ratio of works that fall into the category that we have dubbed the moderate conservative position, as compared to more skeptical treatments.” So 75% of scholars are conservative Christians and 25% are everyone else: non-conservative Christians, agnostics and unbelievers.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                I emailed Gary about this who referred to this as a bad reading of his work. There are non-conservative Christians who hold to the Empty Tomb and a strong view of the resurrection. There is also a confusion between moderate and conservative. With Habermas's works being published on this book by book, we can expect there will be more coming. (I do have a copy of the first book and will start it after finishing the Larry Hurtado one I'm reading.)

                Atkinson talks about the creed in 1 Cor. 15 and says
                Paul is probably quoting a creed which implies that it should be dated well before the approximate 55AD date of this letter, but I don’t see why that means ‘the very inception of the church’ as Justin claims.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                Well, let's see if there are any historians that disagree with this and think it goes back to a very early time.
                Michael Goulder (Atheist NT Prof. at Birmingham) "…it goes back at least to what Paul was taught when he was converted, a couple of years after the crucifixion." ["The Baseless Fabric of a Vision," in Gavin D’Costa, editor, Resurrection Reconsidered (Oxford, 1996), 48.]

                Gerd Lüdemann (Atheist Prof of NT at Göttingen): "…the elements in the tradition are to be dated to the first two years after the crucifixion of Jesus…not later than three years… the formation of the appearance traditions mentioned in I Cor.15.3-8 falls into the time between 30 and 33 CE." [The Resurrection of Jesus, trans. by Bowden (Fortress, 1994), 171-72.]

                Robert Funk (Non-Christian scholar, founder of the Jesus Seminar): "…The conviction that Jesus had risen from the dead had already taken root by the time Paul was converted about 33 C.E. On the assumption that Jesus died about 30 C.E., the time for development was thus two or three years at most." [Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus, 466.]



                The answer is no. Because there is no refutation of this claim—other than “maybe possibly it originated later,” which is the logical fallacy of possibiliter ergo probabiliter (“it’s possible, therefore it’s probable,” see Proving History, index). In fact the evidence for this creed dating to the very origin of the religion is amply strong; and there is no reasonable basis for claiming otherwise."- Atheist apologist Richard Carrier. https://www.richardcarrier.info/arch...P0hnNM-WayuXAY

                None of these are Christians. James Dunn even says it comes within a few months of the Easter event.

                When Atkinson gets to his explanation of the appearances, it's to no surprise, hallucinations.
                I will nail my colours to the mast and use the scientific term ‘hallucination’ for a vivid vision of Jesus. The first thing to say is that hallucinations are common: about 15% percent of the global population experiences them. They are more likely to occur with increasing age, which seems not to apply here, but they are also associated with factors such as stress, grief, trauma and anguish which do. The two most frequent types of hallucination are of a recently deceased loved one (usually a spouse after a long marriage) and of a respected religious figure.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                Except hallucinations like this don't lead to the belief that the person is alive. They more lead to the belief that the person is dead. Besides this, it's usually shortly after that unless a person is in an advanced state of dementia, they know they had a hallucination. We knew my great aunt was in such a state when she kept insisting she had four cats that she saw when she only had one.
                Research by resurrection proponents such as N T Wright has shown that first century Jews, like the disciples, generally had a physical understanding of resurrection, and so a ghostly vision is probably not sufficient. But hallucinations are not mere ghostly visions. The American Psychiatric Association’s well-known manual, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, describes hallucinations as ‘a sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception but that occurs without external stimulation’. (Note that sensory perception includes all of the senses, not just vision.) And here is a quote from ‘Tara’, a contributor to the discussions on the Unbelievable? show’s website, she wrote after the October 2015 episode on the resurrection: “I've had two new patients just this week that have told me about their 'visiting' spouses. By the way, no one yet has talked about them as appearing ghostly ....... and I've heard dozens of accounts. Instead, they describe them as seeming very lifelike, as if the spouse is there in complete physicality.”14

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                But did Tara talk about anyone going to dig up the coffin and see the dead person was no longer there? No one is doubting hallucinations happen. What is being doubted is that they are capable of explaining the data.
                Hallucinations are only individual experiences and group hallucinations with the same content are not reported in the scientific literature. But the key,1 Corinthians 15 creed mentions at least one group experience and the passage it sits within has two more group experiences, one of which is an appearance to more than 500 people. Even if the appearance to the Twelve means one by one, it is seriously implausible that they each had a hallucination of Jesus. This is the reason Justin gives for completely dismissing hallucinations as an explanation. To me the best explanation is that the first individual experiences of ‘the risen Jesus’ would prime the others. I use ‘priming’ here partly because it is a jargon term from psychology, where it refers to how our behaviour or judgements can be changed by subtle stimuli including the behaviour of others.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                Except Atkinson has it backwards. The first data we have here is the largest number of appearances and yet when we get to the Gospels, the number of people seeing Jesus doesn't get larger, but rather it gets smaller. If the "legend" was being built over time, why would it be this way?
                There are many potential examples in recent history, such as appearances of the Virgin Mary to crowds of believers. Once the expectation is set up that Mary will appear, then the slightest stimulus will be interpreted as an appearance and reported as such to others. That is just human nature.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                But here, Atkinson can be arguing what he wants to demonstrate. Let's take a Marian apparition. It is up to Atkinson to demonstrate absolutely nothing was seen. Can he do that? Even a Protestant like myself could say something was seen. Perhaps it was a demon even. That still would be something that would be seen. I can't speak for any one vision. I would have to see them on a case-by-case basis.

                Of course, no skeptical account would be complete without those two favorite words that skeptics love to use.
                There is another possible factor to throw in the pot here: Cognitive Dissonance. It can be summarised: “A key tenet of cognitive dissonance theory is that those who have heavily invested in a position may, when confronted with disconfirming evidence, go to greater lengths to justify their position.”24. The study of cognitive dissonance began with Leon Festinger's 1956 book, “When Prophecy Fails”25. Leon and fellow researchers heard of a cult led by a Chicago housewife. The cult believed that they had received messages from a planet named Clarion, and these messages revealed that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954, and also that a UFO would rescue the group of true believers. Festinger and his colleagues joined the group. Then the appointed time came ........... and …………. passed without incident. The cult members faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victims of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant in order to resolve their inner tension: they believed that the aliens had given Earth a second chance and that the group was now empowered to spread the word that Earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically, and immediately, increased their proselytising as a direct response to the failed prophecy.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                Well, I have read When Prophecy Fails, which is the account of this event. Unfortunately, it was hardly a valid study in some ways because the researchers actually actively interfered in the events. That is not to say the theory is not without any credibility, but this is not the best instance. Not only that, but normally when this happens, the group doesn't grow beyond its number at the start. The exact opposite happened with Christianity.

                As for Paul:
                However, there is still the need to explain Paul’s experience. We can assume that there were many early opponents of Christianity, all of whom were exposed to the preaching, hope and fearlessness of the apostles. And people do convert. So it should not be a surprise that one of the opponents converted. Paul himself seemed to be prone to visions: he was later “caught up to the third heaven” in a visionary experience, so his conversion being prompted by a vision is not so remarkable. An alternative, more cynical take, is that both Paul and his ‘biographer’ in Acts, needed to emphasise his credentials as a leading apostle and being an eyewitness of the risen Christ was one key criterion.

                Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                But what could we assume this based on? How do we know there were many early opponents doing what Paul was doing? We have no record of them at all. If such was actively going on regularly, why would Pliny write years later unsure of what to do about these people instead of just following regular protocol?

                As for a vision, why would Paul have this vision of Jesus? A guilt complex is not fitting in the ancient society of Jesus. Our idea of a guilty conscience would not be understood by the people of the time. Paul also had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

                There is material on the empty tomb. Unfortunately, like Bart Ehrman's work in How Jesus Became God, there is no interaction with scholars in the field on this. Ehrman doesn't cite any scholars specializing in Jewish burial practices at the time. Neither does Atkinson. I will not play that game.
                “Jesus came from a modest family that presumably could not afford a rock- cut tomb. Had Joseph not offered to accommodate Jesus’ body his tomb (according to the Gospel accounts) Jesus likely would have been disposed in the manner of the lower classes: in a pit grave or trench grave dug into the ground. When the Gospels tell us that Joseph of Arimathea offered Jesus a spot in his tomb, it is because Jesus’ family did not own a rock- cut tomb and there was no time to prepare a grave- that is there was no time to dig a grave, not hew a rock cut tomb(!)—before the Sabbath. It is not surprising that Joseph, who is described as a wealthy and perhaps even a member of the Sanhedrin, had a rock-cut family tomb. The Gospel accounts seem to describe Joseph placing Jesus’ body in one of the loculi in his family’s tomb. (Jodi Magness, Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus, pg 170)

                “There is no need to assume that the Gospel accounts of Joseph of Arimathea offering Jesus a place in this family tomb are legendary or apologetic. The Gospel accounts of Jesus’s burial appear to be largely consistent with the archeological evidence” ( Magness, pg 171)

                “When every argument has been considered and weighed, the only conclusion acceptable to the historian must be that the opinions of the orthodox, the liberal sympathizer and the critical agnostic alike—and even perhaps of the disciples themselves—are simply interpretations of the one disconcerting fact: namely that the women who set out to pay their last respects to Jesus found to their consternation, not a body, but an empty tomb.”
                -Geza Vermes Jesus the Jew 41

                There is also the idea that Arimathea means best disciple town. The Greek word for disciple is mathetes, but that is as far as this idea goes. The idea has never really caught on with Greek scholars and Atkinson gives no sources for this claim.

                In conclusion, I remain unconvinced by Atkinson.

                Next time, we shall return to Sophie who continues her testimony.

                In Christ,
                Nick Peters
                (And I affirm the virgin birth)














                Did Jesus rise from the dead? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. This chapter is about the resurrection and it is written by Ed Atkinson. He and I had a few debates on the Unbelievable Facebook page when I was there. It was kind of reliving the past to go through this … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 6

                Comment


                • #9
                  Part 7

                  --------

                  What’s it like for someone falling away? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
                  In this chapter, we return to Sophie and her testimony. I really don’t want to speak ill of her at all. If anything, I have sympathy for her, especially since I think she was sold a false bill of goods on what the Christian experience was to be like. A lot of that will be in the conclusion. For now, let’s see what all she has to say. This one is about the dealbreakers.

                  With regards human suffering, Lane Craig and other theists on the Unbelievable? show, ultimately concede at some point, that we don’t know why there is so much horrendous suffering in the world but that it must be justified to some extent, as in God must have his reasons, or at the very least, things will be made right in the future. This, of course is conjecture, rather than any type of evidence.

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  Yet how is this conjecture? If you accept that for the sake of argument there is a God who has the omni traits, then yes, there has to be a good reason why He allows this evil. It is up to the skeptic to show that there is no good reason, and that’s a hard sell to do. Not only this, but what do you gain in the problem of evil if you remove God? The evil is still there. You’ve just removed the solution. How is this a help?

                  Epicurus puts it best with his idea rejecting the notion of evil with an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. It can of course apply to suffering too. If God willing to prevent suffering, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
                  If he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
                  If he both able and willing? Then why is there suffering?
                  If he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? No amount of books, explanation, sermons and teaching will ever make theodicy go away for Christianity, nor can it, or the issue would be put to bed by now. It’s a continual stumbling block to belief, which is never truly answered, much less an explanation given as to why it has arisen in the first place. And this brings me to my next deal breaker.

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  Except it has as even atheists will admit. This is the logical problem of evil and it hasn’t really been used since Plantinga wrote his work on the topic. There are still other versions of the argument from evil, but this one is not really used anymore except on the internet.

                  With no Satan, hell or human fall, there is no real explanation as to why evil and suffering exist. Even, the free will argument which somewhat relies on these constructs, and states, that if there is no possibility to sin, you cannot have free creatures who liberally come to love you, doesn’t work. This argument, often brought up on the show, completely misses the fact that God can in fact arrange paradise, with free will and exempt from suffering, pain and the devil. It’s called heaven.

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  But everyone who is in the blessed presence of God is there by choice. That is a huge distinction and it is one atheists meet regularly. The first time I ever encountered this question was in a systematic theology class when a student asked it and that was over 20 years ago. I thought of the solution then and have spent more time refining it and I still haven’t seen a response to it.

                  Besides, like human parents, let’s be honest, God could just choose to forgive us. There is no need to murder anyone. It was making less and less sense.

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  And again, questions like this have already been answered.

                  The gospels were oral traditions written decades after the death of Jesus with the earliest being Mark dated at around 70CE and ending with the discovery of the empty tomb, and the latest gospel being John, possibly as early as 90CE. They are all of anonymous authorship and certainly the earliest manuscripts didn’t include the title by which we know them today. They do not claim to be authored by eyewitnesses to any of the events they describe. They are not written by people who knew Jesus. We do not have the originals, only copies of copies of copies of copies of copies. They are written in Greek by educated people living in a different country to Palestine. Jesus’ disciples would have spoken Aramaic, were quite possibly illiterate and were living in Palestine. Jesus himself, other than some writing in the sand, leaves no written record (which would have been very helpful), nor did He ask anyone to make notes as they went along. In addition, major events are undocumented by other sources, such as when the graves spill out their dead onto the streets after the resurrection mentioned only in Matthew. If these are in fact gross error or made up, how are we to distinguish what else is or isn’t invented or erroneous in the text?

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  There’s a lot here and I have written plenty on it elsewhere. Does Sophie know the dates of when other books in the ancient world were written and when the earliest manuscripts are and how far apart the events are from the writing? The Gospels are a goldmine by comparison to most ancient literature.

                  The books were supposedly anonymous. Are we to think that no one knew who the books came from? Someone delivering the scrolls would say who they were from. We only know who wrote Plutarch because one of his descendants tells us. Other sources are also silent on major events, such as the eruption of Vesuvius and that TWO towns were destroyed in the blast. I plan on doing a series on the Gospels eventually so I will save this for then.

                  There is a lot of stuff I am going to skip over as I have addressed it elsewhere, but I want to say something about this:

                  And, it doesn’t even begin to explain why God would prefer to continue hiding when He is apparently desperate to have a relationship with us.

                  Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                  This is a great reason why I oppose the personal relationship model in that Christianity is about Jesus wanting to have a personal relationship with you. Christianity is about Jesus being king. There is not a lonely God out there who is desperately seeking to find someone to love.

                  I hope Sophie finds out sometime soon more information than the atheists have sold her. It’s a shame there weren’t better-informed Christians in her life.

                  Brace yourselves because next time it’s David Johnson again. *Groan*

                  In Christ,
                  Nick Peters
                  (And I affirm the virgin birth)


                  What’s it like for someone falling away? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. In this chapter, we return to Sophie and her testimony. I really don’t want to speak ill of her at all. If anything, I have sympathy for her, especially since I think she was sold a false bill of … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 7

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Part 8

                    -----------------

                    Is suffering worse than you think? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                    So we have another chapter by David Johnson….

                    Sometimes I wonder why I went into this field….

                    This time, he’s going to try to convince us that the problem of evil is worse than we think.
                    One of the best tactics of the Christian is to so confuse the issue with philosophical high-speak that no one can be certain of anything. Making a thing philosophically possible is like saying in the vast world of quantum physics, anything is possible. You don’t have to be a physicist to know that in the part of the world we inhabit, anything is not possible. No matter how confused someone attempts to make you with talk of physics, you know that when you step out of bed, you are not going to fall through a swirling vortex of time-traveling tachyons, and find yourself whisked into another world.

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    Unfortunately, no example is given of this. Also, I find it marvelous how incredulous and gullible Christians are on the one hand, and then on the other they’re capable of philosophical high-speak. If Johnson is interested, I will back anything I say philosophically. Second, with this example, why do we think that? If the universe is a brute fact and just an accident, why not? Why should I expect the laws of physics to be constant? However, if they are, doesn’t that need an explanation?
                    This is one of those times when the Christian does not carry the emotional argument. The emotional argument is against them. But it is not just emotional. It is intuitive. god is supposed to be a loving father. If you are a loving father, or have had a loving father, you know that loving fathers do everything in their power to limit the amount of suffering experienced by their children.

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    Kudos at least on this. Johnson admits this is an emotional argument. That doesn’t make it false, but it should be considered. We also know that the analogy isn’t always true. Sometimes, loving fathers let their children suffer for their betterment or any number of reasons.

                    A couple of years ago after my divorce I worked at a Wal-Mart and I worked the money center where at times I had to send money orders. One day, a man comes in wanting a money order and as I’m placing it I hear him say “I don’t want to do this.” This is where I go into my ministerial mode and ask about it.

                    He tells me about a son that he has in Florida (I think it was. The exact state doesn’t really matter.) This son is wasting his life away and needs money constantly to pay for things. The man said he and his wife were spending their savings as a result.

                    “Then don’t send him the money.”

                    “Then he’ll go to jail!”

                    “And it could be the best thing that ever happened to him. Right now, you are rescuing him from the consequences of his actions every time. He’s not going to learn that way and you’re running yourself ragged.” I heard the man on the phone then talking to his son and saying that this was going to be the last time.

                    Not too long after, the man came running back in on the phone and talking to who I found was his son saying “I’m talking to Nick,” indicating this guy now knew who I was. The man told me he had rushed red lights to get back before the money center closed because his son had told him he had sent the money wrong. I looked at his receipt and told him everything was correct and then told him he had just now worn himself out again over his son and made his son’s problem his own instead.

                    This loving father needed to let his son fail. He needed to let him suffer.

                    Also, God is not a “Father” in the same sense to everyone. We all come from Him, but not all are children of Him in the covenant sense. God is also not Superman in that He is not just a big man. He can do things no one else can do, like know the future and right any wrong out there, bring about a resurrected cosmos, and raise the dead.

                    Next we have a set of questions about the Garden of Eden. Why was anything forbidden? Quite likely because people needed to have the freedom to fail. “Quite likely?! So you don’t know for sure?” Don’t need to. All I need is a possible explanation. The burden is on Johnson to prove his case.

                    Why was the serpent allowed in? Same reason. Why do we pay for Adam’s sin? I contend you don’t. You will answer for your sin only. You have a sin nature, but you repeat Adam’s sin everyday in your own way.

                    In talking about the free-will defense, Johnson says:
                    We have something that functions a lot like free will.

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    I puzzle over what this means. Okay. What do we have? Semi free-will? And if we don’t have it, what do we know that does have it so we can know what it is like? Johnson doesn’t explain any of this at all.
                    Far from a paradise, this earth is a death trap. And it is really good at killing its occupants. But the earth doesn’t just kill us. It makes us suffer. Most of it is water in which we cannot breathe. Large portions of it are too hot and sandy, or too cold and icy. The parts of the surface where we can live are full of sharp edges that are hard and unyielding. Have you seen a human body? It does not hold up well when thrown against sharp, hard, unyielding surfaces. Many of the animals want to kill us. The foliage wants to prick us or poison us. The sky wants to burn us or give us cancer. At higher climates, the thin air wants to suffocate us. In many populated parts of the world, the land wants to starve us. It is a wonder any of us survive. No matter how the Christian argues it, from the fall, to free will, to disease, to nature, God is the sole author of our suffering. And though he could lift it, he is content to watch it unfold before him. The only question that remains is why. Again, Christian answers undersell the problem:

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    I strongly suspect Mr. Johnson lives in a building with heating and air conditioning, a refrigerator, a locked door, indoor plumbing, a warm bed, and many fine comforts of life. Not every inch of this planet is a death trap or else we wouldn’t have some nigh 8 billion people on the planet. Somehow, we have survived for several thousand years if not longer.

                    Some people say that we build up the character of who we will be in eternity:
                    But why do we need character building for the next life? Is heaven also going to require honesty, hard work, and social responsibility? If it is, what makes anyone think that suffering in this life will prepare us for it?

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    I contend that the reason is the degree that we have developed good character is parallel to the degree that we can enjoy God in the next life. We are letting ourselves be made more and more into beings that can enjoy the presence of God. People like Johnson are doing the opposite making themselves into beings that will detest the presence of God.
                    Paul tells us that god is strong in our weakness. Why would we praise that? Why can’t god be strong when we are strong? The god of the Bible would rather us be timid stutterers so that we can’t take any credit for a powerful speech.

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    I shared that quote on my Facebook along with this response:

                    As someone on the spectrum, I do praise in my weakness. Someone who can easily communicate gets up and speaks to 1,000 people. That’s good. Someone who used to be unable to be understood by those outside his family and had speech therapy does the same? That’s different.
                    My parents were told growing up that I would never graduate from high school (First on the spectrum in my county to graduate from the public school system), never drive, (I do and have my own car), never go to college (working on a Master’s now), never have a job (I have had several), never get married (divorced now, but pray for remarriage every night), and never live on my own. (I live in my own apartment over 600 miles away from my parents.)
                    I love advantages I have on the spectrum, such as my memory, math skills, less fazed by emotional arguments, and ability to multi-task.
                    Are there difficulties? Yes. I have to have someone go with me when I have to do evangelism offline since one-on-one communication is hard. I struggle in relationships with women many times making dating hard. I can’t recognize many social cues. I don’t know what to do in a crowd and groups involving meals fill me with anxiety.
                    Yet everyday I see myself defying what was said about me and autism and I attribute that to the grace of God in my life. I have my own website, a Patreon for those who want to support my work, and hope to soon have the podcast and YouTube channel up again.
                    So yes Mr. Johnson. I celebrate how God made me and His grace. If I had been made neurotypical, my life might have been easier in many ways, but it wouldn’t be the example that it is now.
                    Let’s go with one final quote from the chapter:
                    From the moment you were born, god knew the kind of filthy, no-good subhuman you would turn out to be. And you deserved every second of suffering you received. You probably deserved even more.

                    Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                    Yes. If God is holy and just and perfect, then I do. It is grace indeed that we get forgiveness. We did nothing to deserve that. The gospel is not that God loves us because we deserve it. He loves us despite that we don’t deserve it. That is what makes it incredible. If we were all really excellent people, it wouldn’t be a shock that He does. We are all instead traitors to the king and yet He gives it all for us.

                    Maybe step away from the emotion a bit, Mr. Johnson, and you might start to realize the rational arguments.

                    Next time, Skydive Phil returns to talk about evil as well.

                    In Christ,
                    Nick Peters
                    (And I affirm the virgin birth)


                    Is suffering worse than you think? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. So we have another chapter by David Johnson…. Sometimes I wonder why I went into this field…. This time, he’s going to try to convince us that the problem of evil is worse than we think. One of the best … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 8

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Part 9

                      --‐-----------

                      Is there a case from suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
                      When we go through this chapter, as per the last chapter from Skydive Phil, I will not be responding to scientific matters seeing as I am not a scientist. There are others who are who can handle that. It is the philosophical and theological matters that interest me. Let’s look at this first point Phil has:

                      Justin’s first point is the theist has many arguments, the cosmological, the fine tuning, the moral etc. and he suggests the atheist has just this one argument (i.e. the problem of suffering) on their side. So weighing the two sides, the theist comes out on top. Of course this is only true if the theists’ arguments are valid. If they are not, then this is irrelevant. You can have as many bad arguments as you like, they don’t add up to one good argument.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      This is true, but I have found that the authors of this book do not understand a lot of the arguments and do not touch the Thomistic arguments. Thus, I contend I still have several excellent arguments. Phil is also not denying the claim that atheists have one big argument, that of evil.

                      From here, Phil goes on to talk about morality:

                      Suppose that morality is subjective and not objective. That would still not stop someone from making statements about moral right or wrong. We can still say a painting is beautiful, even if beauty is subjective. We don’t need objectivity to make reasonable statements, especially if people share our aesthetic instincts. Similarly if people share the same moral instincts (and they do), we can find common ground. Justin writes in very black and white terms as if moral questions are binary, either purely subjective and anything goes, or purely objective. “Anything less than an objective standard makes our moral beliefs a matter of opinion and feelings”. But why should we think this?

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      So morality is subjective and we can still make statements? If morality is subjective, we are not saying anything about objective reality. We are saying something about our personal preferences and just saying “Other people agree with my personal preferences” doesn’t mean those preferences are right. For instance, if we went back to the Roman Empire, everyone had the “personal preference” that slavery was just fine. Would Phil like to say that back then, slavery was moral?

                      It’s interesting that right after this he says he found Robert Nozick’s case for vegetarianism convincing. If there is no objective morality, then upon what can such a case be made? Nozick is just stating his personal feelings. In what way could anyone deny that? “I feel like eating meat is wrong.” “No you don’t! You feel like it’s just fine!” The atheist can deny that God exists, but he cannot deny that I think that God exists.

                      Another confusing statement from Phil is the following:

                      Literature can also have truthful statements, so the claim that science is the only way to truth is false. ‘The Emperor is the villain in Star Wars’ is a true statement, but not in the same way as ‘The Earth is smaller than the Sun’.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press.

                      Kindle Edition.

                      I am glad he doesn’t hold to scientism, but what does he mean he mean these statements aren’t true in the same way? He doesn’t explain. Both of them are true. It’s not that the Earth is smaller than the sun is more true than the emperor is the villain in Star Wars. They are different fields of truth and we could say one is more important than the other, but they are both true.

                      Being objective usually refers to depending on something outside of mind, and since God has a mind, it just pushes the problem out further: if morality comes from God, then it is not necessarily objective. To counter this, theists claim that God simply is good. But this is pure assertion. When I think of something that is purely objective, I think of something a machine could measure.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      Again, people like Aquinas and others for centuries made a case apart from Scripture that God is good that they got straight from Aristotelian thinking. Phil doesn’t touch these cases at all. He doesn’t bother to define goodness.

                      Also, none of this can be measured by a machine, so per Phil’s standard, how can it be objective? How would you measure goodness using a machine? How would you measure beauty? How would you measure the idea that all objectivity can be measured by a machine?

                      My moral instincts told me this was wrong. And here comes the problem for Justin’s argument: If my moral instincts come from God, why do they tell me God is immoral? Justin claims we know objectively that rape is wrong. OK, so why shouldn’t we also say objectively that killing every first-born Egyptian is also wrong?

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      Because moral instincts are not infallible. This was also something taught for thousands of years. There are some beliefs that Christian thinkers said you can’t not know, in the language of Budziszewski. However, there are some beliefs that you can be mistaken about that are moral.

                      Also, saying the killing of the firstborn is wrong assumes that God is again, Superman. He’s a big man who is on the same moral plane as we are and has to obey a moral law. He’s not. God does not owe anyone life and can take it whenever He wants to.

                      Have you noticed that when theists try to convince us of the existence of moral facts, they always use cases such as torture or rape, but never genocide? Surely if there is such a thing as moral facts, genocide is chief among them. And this leads to a contradiction: God commands genocide in the bible, so he must not be the source of our morality. When God asks Abraham to kill his own son as a sacrifice, is this not torture? Ask how you might view a person who forced someone to go through a mock execution of their own child (keep in mind they don’t know it’s not going to happen). Would they be guilty of psychological torture? I certainly think so and the International Red Cross rule #90, forbidding torture and degrading treatment, seems to agree.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      There is no interaction with Copan and Flannagan obviously. As for Abraham and Isaac, Isaac was at least a strong teenager by then. Does anyone think he could be taken down by a 100 year-old man? Isaac is shown as a willing sacrifice. Life in the ancient world was a lot tougher than it was for us today. Everyday was about survival.

                      But God is supposed to be able to predict the future with 100% certainty, so it’s hard to see how free will is consistent with God’s foreknowledge.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      Okay. Let’s try a simple idea. God knowing what I would freely choose does not mean that God causes me to choose that. For instance, I did not watch the Super Bowl. Suppose you did and you watched it multiple times because you loved it so much for some reason and you ask me to watch it with you. You know everything that will happen, but it doesn’t mean that you caused it.

                      In the New Testament we learn that all sins are forgivable except one: Matthew 3 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. So we have a God that can forgive murder, torture, rape or even genocide but not blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Does this really look like a God that favors free will so much that he reluctantly accepts terrible human and animal suffering? I think it’s clear this argument is extremely implausible.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      The reason blasphemy against the Spirit is not forgiven is because it is a lifelong sin in that someone refuses to believe the Spirit. If you do not believe, you cannot be forgiven. It is not a one-time deal. It is something done forever.

                      1 Samuel 15 is cited as an example of genocide but added with “Why did the animals suffer?” What is assumed is that this is wrong, but he doesn’t tell us why. I am not supporting going out and wanton killing animals, but not all of it is wrong. If hunters didn’t kill the deer population to some extent, for instance, there would be more deaths from traffic accidents involving deer. In this case, the people were not to profit from a holy war at all.

                      If Jesus is God, does it really make sense for him to ask why he himself has abandoned himself? If Jesus doesn’t know the future how is he able to make predictions and do miracles? It seems he has God’s properties when it’s convenient for the Christian.

                      Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                      Hint. If you are going to argue against the Trinity, try to learn about it first. This is like the anti-evolutionist asking “If people came from apes, why are there still apes?” It has been a traditional Christian position that Jesus gave up access to a lot of His divine attributes except for when they were necessary to His mission.

                      Next time, we will deal again with David Johnson talking about miracles.

                      In Christ,
                      Nick Peters
                      (And I affirm the virgin birth)

                      Last edited by Apologiaphoenix; 02-16-2024, 10:02 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Part 10

                        -------------

                        Can we expect miracles today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                        David Johnson begins this chapter telling you about a miracle he wants to tell you about. This miracle is mind-blowing. Not only that, but it specifically confirms the existing of the God of the Bible. He would love to tell you, but unfortunately, that miracle doesn’t exist.

                        I would also like to tell you about a mind-blowing chapter I read. In this chapter, Johnson takes on the best cases of Craig Keener and Candy Gunther Brown. He looks at the best evidence of Near Death Experiences. He takes on the best philosophers defending miracles today. He deals with all of them in a breathtaking display.

                        Unfortunately, like the miracle Johnson wants to speak of, this chapter does not exist. At least, it doesn’t exist in this book.

                        Instead, consider the way how Johnson thinks Christians argue:
                        That is how the Christian treats his god. They know that if their god could be disconfirmed, he would be. So they try to talk about god and his actions in ways that can never be challenged.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        This is from Johnson’s background in a cessationist movement. It’s not the way Christians have always argued. If anything, the early Christians violated this rule right from the start. It would be nigh impossible to disconfirm a spiritual resurrection. “Yes. Jesus is dead, but His spirit has been ascended to the right side of YHWH.” How would you argue against that? Instead, they went the hard route, that of bodily resurrection.

                        Then, suppose you wanted to argue that. Well, it would make sense that if you were telling a falsehood, that you got away from the area where it would not be as easy to confirm. Maybe go to Rome or Athens or Alexandria. Nope. They stayed right in Jerusalem. Not only that, they stayed where their enemies could easily find them.

                        But hey, Johnson has to go by his personal experience which, since it’s his, is normative for everyone. He could have cracked open a book describing miracles with documentation that take place today. He could have looked at philosophical writings on the topic. Nope. Atheists never seem to tire of talking about their personal experiences. (By the way, those are always normative, but when a Christian experiences something, that’s just a delusion.)

                        So here are some of the problems Johnson sees with miracles:
                        Free will is violated. On the one hand, Christians claim that bad people have to be free to do bad things despite the harm done to good people. So if god ever intervenes, he is thwarting free will. Violating the laws of nature implies a problem with the laws of nature. If god could have set things in motion to achieve a certain outcome, why didn’t he? The fact that god ever intervened suggests that the world is exactly as he wants it to be. If god intervenes to make sure his will is done, then we have to believe that everything is going according to his will. Otherwise, he would intervene some more.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Having free-will only means you get to make your own choices. It doesn’t mean someone can never step in and interfere with your choices. That only takes a little bit of thinking on the topic, but alas, people like Johnson stop at the objection and don’t bother thinking about it.

                        The second is asking for a non-miraculous miracle. God should have worked the laws of nature in such a way that they would always confirm to what He wanted. Why? It is saying miracles should have been built into the system. Also, the world is not the way He wants anyway.

                        The third doesn’t even make sense. God intervenes because the world is going the way He wants to? How many times do you intervene in something when it’s going the way you want it to?

                        He goes on to talk about why Jesus didn’t do mass healings like remove all leprosy from the world or have it that a hospital would never be needed.
                        This would be a powerful confirmation that simply does not exist. I am left cold by the healing miracles of Jesus. He did no more to improve health in his time than televangelists do today. Even if his healing was real, it was useless.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        So if Jesus did really heal someone, then that means what? In some cases, some miracles could be psychosomatic, but when you have people recovering from paralysis, blindness, and coming back from the dead, guess what that means. A miracle has taken place. Johnson’s argument is “Well that doesn’t count because it’s not the miracle I want!”

                        Nothing like moving the goalposts is there?
                        Why did Jesus never grow back an arm, or a leg, or a missing eye?

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Well, He did grow back a missing ear. Could it be maybe He didn’t meet anyone with those conditions? After all, it could be if you lost an arm or a leg, you would have bled out and died awfully quickly in Judea.

                        He then talks about two cases of resurrection in Acts, that of Dorcas and Eutychus:
                        There is no explanation why she was singled out for the gift of resurrection. But she was because some people pestered Peter into doing it.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        And
                        I guess Paul felt guilty, and healed the man back to life. There was nothing special about this man or this occasion.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Which again is “God didn’t do a miracle the way I’d want him to!” We shall alert the Almighty that He doesn’t measure up to the standards of the Great and Powerful David Johnson. I’m sure He’ll get right on that!

                        Johnson also asks why Christians don’t talk about these miracle claims as much and others like Matthew 27. As he says:
                        When examined a little more closely, Christians don’t care about resurrection at all per se. They only care about one resurrection event.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Well, yes, because this resurrection is different in kind and degree. Why should I take Johnson seriously as an ex-Christian when he doesn’t even understand this basic theology? If our people are this little trained to know the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, then is it any wonder they fall away? Hint. It’s not just “Now you can go to Heaven when you die!”

                        He goes on to talk about 1 Cor. 15:12-20 and says:
                        First, Paul only seems to care about the resurrection of Jesus because that is the mechanism by which sins are forgiven, not because resurrection is such a great and convincing miracle.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        That’s certainly part of it, but yes, Paul was not trying to convince people that God exists or that miracles are possible per se. He was trying to convince them resurrections were and that Jesus isn’t just an exception to the rule. Jesus’s resurrection is the basis for any other resurrection.
                        The second thing of note is that Paul failed to mention any other resurrections. This passage focuses only on one resurrection. There is plenty of space to speak of other resurrections such as the one he supposedly performed, or Lazarus, or any of the others, especially the mass resurrection.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Because if they don’t believe in resurrections, other stories won’t matter. If they do already accept Jesus’s resurrection though, he will begin with the one they accept. They could also just as well say “Well, those resurrections are exceptions because Jesus did them directly.”
                        This may explain why they are unimpressed with contemporary stories of resurrection, as in the resurrections performed by Sathya Sai Baba. He purportedly raised at least two people from the dead in our lifetimes. Christians don’t even care enough to bother denying it. Because for them, there is only one resurrection and one empty tomb that matter. The rest don’t really register at all.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Okay.

                        So Mr. Johnson, why do you not believe the accounts of Sai Baba?

                        Oh, wait. I know why! Because the evidence doesn’t matter for them. You have a dogma that says they aren’t allowed to happen. As Chesterton said:
                        Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.

                        For my part, Johnson is free to present the evidence for Sai Baba’s claim. If somehow he raised them from the dead, great. That just gives more evidence that a God exists who can perform miracles. If not, oh well. Unfortunately, Johnson doesn’t understand the concept of “looking at the evidence.”
                        There were 9 resurrection events in the Bible. Take away the mass resurrection of Matthew 27, and you have 8. This includes the resurrection of Jesus. Here’s a shocker: 3 of them were in the Old Testament performed by two different prophets, one, while he was dead. The most impressive resurrection story is of a man whose body was tossed in with the bones of Elisha. After making contact with Elisha’s bones, the man came back to life. Now that’s a resurrection. I suspect 90% of Christians don’t even know about this supposed event.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        I know about it, which is why this wasn’t a shocker to me, but it does tell me that Johnson hopes his readers are just as ignorant as he is.
                        This is why Stevie Wonder is still blind. No one is going to try to heal a known blind person. They know they can’t do it any more than they can raise the dead. No one is going to try and publicly pray some famous person out of their wheelchair. No one is going to try to pray back a missing limb. These are the types of miracles that expose miracles as frauds.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Here are some of the miracle claims Keener documents:
                        1. “a sudden disappearance of a child’s massive brain tumor after prayer, before any medical treatment could begin.” The tumor covered almost one-fourth of the girl’s brain, with MRI confirmation from both before and after (vol. 1, 428).
                        1. An eight-year-old boy had two holes in his heart, a condition that also impaired his lungs. After prayer he was taken to surgery. But before and after tests showed that the holes that were there the previous day had now been healed. He did not need surgery and was cleared to play baseball just two days later (vol. 1, 431-432)!
                        2. A physician related that a patient was “immediately cured from metastasized breast cancer after prayer” including before and after medical evidence (vol. 1, 435).
                        1. Another physician confirmed that a woman with tuberculosis was healed after prayer. The physician could confirm that her cure was permanent, because they were later married and spent the rest of their lives together (vol. 1, 435)!
                        1. While away from home at a Christian retreat, a man broke his ankle badly, and went to a hospital, where an orthopedist set the ankle in a cast. Upon arriving home the next day, several states away, he was sent by another physician to another hospital for X-rays. After studying them, the physician informed the man that his ankle was never broken, as indicated by the lack of a break or even tissue damage where the break had been. But the earlier X-rays were ordered and clearly confirmed the break. A set of the radiology reports were also sent to the author, Craig Keener (vol. 1, 440).
                        1. A hospital physician reported watching as a ten-year-old girl’s club foot “straightened before my very eyes” while the girl was being prayed for (vol. 1, 463).
                        1. A woman’s spleen was removed by surgery but when she was later examined, she had another spleen in its place (vol. 1, 491)!
                        1. A baby was born without hip sockets or a ball at the end of her bone. It was determined that she would need a cast throughout her life. But the church prayed and, when she was examined again before being placed in the cast, contrary to the earlier X-rays, she now had both hip sockets and the ball at the end of the bone (vol. 1, 503).
                        1. Forty physicians confirmed the specific case of a cure from Lourdes, France “of a medically incurable, quadriplegic postencephalitic idiot—a child who went from complete insensibility and lack of control to intelligent normalcy” (vol. 2, 680)!
                        1. In another case, cancer had spread and the patient was given up by physicians, but was cured instantly with damaged organs reforming (vol. 2, 682, note 206).

                        We can be sure Johnson will not look up any of these. His dogma won’t allow it.

                        By the way, as an aside, here is one last part of this chapter I want to share.
                        The whole point of all these milk toast prayers is to keep prayer, itself, from being falsified. It is to keep non believers like myself from being able to say that prayer does not work.

                        Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                        Yes. He says Milk Toast prayers. Not only did he not realize this, but whoever edited this book did not realize the term is milquetoast. I suspect Johnson wanted to say something to look really sophisticated and failed miserably.

                        Unfortunately, next time, he’s back to talk about spiritual warfare.

                        In Christ,
                        Nick Peters
                        (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                        Can we expect miracles today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. David Johnson begins this chapter telling you about a miracle he wants to tell you about. This miracle is mind-blowing. Not only that, but it specifically confirms the existing of the God of the Bible. He would love to tell you, … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 10

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Part 11

                          -----------------

                          What about spiritual warfare? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                          Why oh why did these people give David Johnson so many chapters to write?

                          Let’s get into it:
                          For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. Eph. 6:12 This passage reads like something out of a dystopian fantasy, or the manifesto of a crazy person. It does not read like something well-adjusted people should take seriously. Christians take this both seriously and literally.

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          I’m not sure what he means by both seriously and literally. It’s nice to see that he thinks people who are well-adjusted will not take this seriously. In all fairness, I don’t really take Johnson seriously either. Is this really any different from a lot of political language that we can often see from both sides in speaking about the evils of the other side? Not really.

                          Yet let’s see if Johnson can show that this is all nonsense talk and there is no spiritual warfare going on.

                          So the first tactic Johnson asks is “Why is the war still going on? Why isn’t the devil defeated already?”

                          In concluding it, he says:
                          If god is omnipotent, there is no war. If there is a war, then god is not all powerful. He is limited. The devastating consequences of that idea render the Christian faith position irrecoverable. A limited god is indistinguishable from a powerless one. And a powerless god cannot be trusted to save anyone, not even himself.

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          Now with my Preterist eschatology, I say for the most part, the devil has been defeated. Why did God wait so long to do it? I think the plan of salvation somehow requires that Jesus be the one to go toe to toe with him and defeat him. Can Johnson show I am wrong? Doubtful. If he cannot, then as long as my case is possible, then Johnson’s case is not demonstrated. If Johnson can show I am wrong somehow, he still has to show there is no good reason whatsoever. Good luck with that one. Remember, he is making the claim so he has the burden of proof.

                          Why does God just not end things now? For some reason, He wants more people and people only last for a limited time this side of eternity. He wants to get a great multiplicity of people into the kingdom. Again, that’s my answer. It’s up to Johnson to show it is wrong.
                          On the side of the angels will be Jesus leading the fight as general. He will overtake the strongholds of the god of this world, and physically occupy a physical throne for a literal thousand years. It will be the apocalypse. And for many, it can’t come soon enough.

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          Apparently, Johnson only knows one kind of eschatology. He does say some Christians hold this view, but he doesn’t take on any other positions. If he wants to knock down this one, go right ahead, though I think most any able dispensationalist even could take Johnson down on this.
                          Beyond a few passages in a book written by people who believed animals used to talk, what evidence do we have that such a war is raging just behind the scenes, or anywhere else? I have never had a Christian provide me an answer when asked. Let’s see if I can help them out:

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          This is another snide remark that Johnson makes thinking it’s a major dig. It’s not. He needs to show that Jews did believe that animals used to talk. Pointing to one serpent in the garden and what would be a miraculous occurrence of a talking donkey is not sufficient.

                          He then talks about “You shall know them by their fruit.”
                          Before progressing, I need to pull out a part of this quote for closer examination: A variety that produces delicious fruit never produces an inedible kind. And a tree producing an inedible kind can’t produce what is good. This is not only wrong, but completely wrong. Not every apple on a tree is good. One bad apple does not constitute a bad tree. But it is most wrong when it comes to people. Just because a person does some good things, that does not make them a good person who can do no wrong. And just because a person does some bad things, that does not make them a bad person who can do no good. The very idea is dangerously absurd.

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          Jesus is speaking to people far more agricultural than Johnson and I are. They know this. Most of us on Planet Earth know that this means that generally, good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. That Johnson thinks this is a gotcha shows the kind of bad argumentation he has.

                          There really isn’t much more to be said that hasn’t been said before. Next time, we’ll cover chapter 10. Hopefully, it will be better and….
                          Chapter Ten Necessary Evil David Johnson

                          Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                          ……

                          Why did I get myself into this?

                          In Christ,
                          Nick Peters
                          (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                          What about spiritual warfare? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. Why oh why did these people give David Johnson so many chapters to write? Let’s get into it: For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 11

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Part 12

                            --------------

                            Is there such a thing as necessary evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                            Once again, David Johnson is back, unfortunately. Let’s see how this one goes.
                            You can suffer without any evil being done. It can simply be the consequence of living in this world. Before sin, suffering was possible. Presumably, falling down a hill would have still left a mark. On the other hand, evil can be done without anyone suffering. One only needs to displease god by acting against his desire. It might make you happy, and benefit people around you. But to god, it is still evil, and must be punished.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            The problem I see here is there is no clear explanation of what is suffering and what is evil. What is the difference? If all suffering is not an evil, then how can you tell which is which? As I often say when it comes to good and evil, atheists never seem to define their terms.

                            Johnson says we can have ethics without God. No explanation is given for this. Could we have systems we agree to live by? Sure. (Granted though I don’t think anything could be without God so this is a huge hypothetical) Would they be true systems? On what grounds?
                            Since evil is both cause and result of sin, it also can’t exist without god. This bears repeating: By Christian formulation, there can be no sin and evil without god.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Well since there couldn’t be anything in existence without God, then yes. The difference is God did not actualize evil. He did not create the reality. He left it a possibility for us and for the angels, but He didn’t make it real.
                            I wonder if the Kalam Cosmological Argument applies here. Did evil have a beginning? Or was it always in existence? It is a problem for the Christian either way. If evil had a beginning, then it must have the same beginner as all things with a beginning: god. It does not work to say that one of god’s creatures created evil. One wonders how such a thing would even be possible. A creation might choose evil. But evil would already have to exist for it to be a choice. The other option is to say that evil is as old as god. It is as eternal as good. Can there be good without evil? Can morality be represented by a one-sided coin? If good is the only option, then in what way is it good. Evil is a necessary opposite. Some Christians argue that we can’t know a straight line unless we know what a crooked line is to which we can compare it. If that were the case, then god could not have been always good unless there was always evil for comparison.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Johnson has really mastered the art of muddled thinking. On the first, what does it mean something has to exist to be chosen exactly? Does the future exist to Johnson such that I am choosing it? Johnson is treating evil as if it has a real substance on its own, when Christian thinking has always argued against this and said evil is the absence of good or choosing a lesser good over a greater good.

                            As for the line about a crooked and straight line, you would think Johnson would go back and look at the most likely source of this quote, C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, to see what he said.
                            “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if i did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

                            Lewis argues the exact opposite way Johnson says Christians argue. I only know that something is wrong, because I know there is some idea of what is right.

                            As we go on, Johnson does get predictable with one Scriptural citation:
                            That is because god is not only the personification of good, but of perfection. Yet in Isaiah 45:7, god takes responsibility for evil by saying that it is he who creates darkness and disaster.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            I have answered that here.
                            But Christians tell us that god is perfectly good without the option of evil. He does not avoid doing evil. He cannot do evil. That is very different. Evil is not even an option for the one who is the personification of perfect good. So why would evil be an option for his offsprings? The Christian would say that it is so we could freely choose to love him. But that also makes no sense. God is in some kind of love relationship within the triune godhead: the father, son, and spirit. They all choose to love one another without the possibility of evil hanging over them. So we shouldn’t need it to choose love either.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            hmmmm. Let me think about this for half a second.

                            How about we’re not God? Could that be it? We are not perfect beings who lack nothing. We are limited creatures. God is not limited. God is not in time and does not make choices like we do.
                            This theodicy of choice is also utterly defeated by the doctrine of heaven. There, we will be like god, perfectly good without the possibility of evil. Yet we will still have our free will intact. Choice offers us no excuse for god allowing the possibility of evil.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Except Heaven is the result of choices. Those who are there are there by choice and are now in a place where they will eternally freely choose the good based on seeing the blessed presence of God. That is not forced. It is chosen.

                            Not too much later in this chapter, Johnson says:
                            We have thoroughly explored all the Christian claims that exonerate god for the presence of evil.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Imagine if I wrote about 30 page in a book, and I doubt that this chapter is that long, and I was arguing against position X, be it evolution, Arianism, dispensationalism, old-Earth creationism, anything, and saying “We have thoroughly explored all the claims used to defend this position.”

                            Yet Johnson thinks he has done this, and without citing ANY scholars that disagree! Amazing!
                            It is only a rhetorical device to say that god is all good with no possibility of evil.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Again, there is no interaction with church history at this point. Aquinas wrote on this issue, for example You can read that here. Too many atheists seem to raise what they think is an objection, and just stop right there.

                            In speaking about Eden, Johnson says:
                            God gave them an order that they couldn’t have possibly understood, or fathomed the consequences. The forbidden fruit imparted the knowledge of good and evil. That means they went out into the world with no real ability to sort right and wrong. They didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil.

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Good and evil is a merism. It refers to wisdom in this case. What Adam and Eve were being tempted with was making themselves the center of wisdom.

                            Everything after here I have already addressed multiple times, but for now, let’s see what’s coming up next. Ah. A chapter on faith and what it is. This should be a train wreck. Who is behind this?
                            Chapter Eleven Faith: All the Way Down David Johnson Andrew Knight Michael Brady

                            Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                            Well, after this chapter, I guess we can say that some suffering is self-inflicted.

                            In Christ,
                            Nick Peters
                            (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                            Is there such a thing as necessary evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. Once again, David Johnson is back, unfortunately. Let’s see how this one goes. You can suffer without any evil being done. It can simply be the consequence of living in this world. Before sin, suffering was possible. Presumably, … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Part 12

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                            • #15
                              Part 13

                              ------------

                              What is faith? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

                              There were times doing this chapter where I was thinking “They’re almost there. They’re about to get it right.” Then the authors would, as if thinking they might get too close to something actually accurate, would pull back and go for the standard ideology in atheism.

                              So let’s see what all they have to say.
                              So, when we read books like Unbelievable? or any book making a persuasive case for a world view, we should necessarily ask to what degree the author or authors is asking us to take on faith the views offered, and we should also ask what kind of faith is being promoted. Are we being asked to accept the claims based on equal evidence, or are we being asked to cover some lack of knowledge by simply having faith?

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              I don’t really have a problem with this. I also think it applies to this book as well. As you have hopefully seen by now, this book does not make a persuasive case. The best chapters are by Skydive Phil and Ed Atkinson as they seem to actually research what they disagree with to some extent. The others do not.

                              For Christians, they go on to say:
                              Here, the idea is that there is some amount of empirical confidence that a Christian can have and the remainder is covered by faith.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              I will try to put this in a better light. There are some things that can be known with certainty. These are things that can be known deductively from logical syllogisms that have a sound form and true premises. This definitely includes mathematics. There are some that are believed, but not known with certainty. Some are ridiculous to deny, such as Jesus dying by crucifixion or Abraham Lincoln being assassinated. Still, insofar as you have to believe something you can’t know with certainty, there is faith involved. Faith often entails an element of risk as well. You cannot know the plane will get you there safely, but you have faith it will and normally, that is well-founded.
                              What they will sometimes dispute is the definition of faith. We are not suggesting that there is an absolute definition of faith on which everyone must agree. But we must come to some consensus on what the bible means by faith when its writers use the word. We might also consider the fact that different writers might have used the word differently in different places.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              The latter part is definitely true. We need to know what the Biblical writers mean when they used the word faith. Like I said, I started having hope sometimes that the writers might get it right.
                              A better way to understand the kind of faith to which James is referring is actionable trust. It is not merely agreeing with a claim. It requires taking some type of action as a result of that agreement. I can’t just say that I believe that the poor should be provided the needs they cannot provide for themselves. But the kind of faith James writes about requires that I not only believe that, but become an active participant in taking care of those needs.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              Okay. This is promising. Keep going. Keep realizing faith is not just a belief statement, but also entails acting properly on the knowledge one possesses.
                              In the same category, inviting someone to our church is not an act of faith. That is no more an act of faith than is inviting someone to your school play. One is hard-pressed to come up with anything the average Christian does on a semi-regular basis that would constitute a genuine demonstration of actionable faith. In a place like the US, taking a strong faith-based position on an important issue is still not an act of faith. The majority of the US population claims to be either Christian or god-believing. Here, you are viewed with suspicion if you don’t have some type of openly faith-based orientation. So stepping out on a stage and saying controversial things in the name of your religious faith is not a risk. In fact, it is the best way to get your crazy idea a serious hearing. It is a good tactic even for people without faith.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              I get what they’re saying, but I think going out on a stage and saying Christian beliefs is a risk today. If a famous person says they’re a Christian, they’d better be prepared. Go out in public and say you disagree with the LGBTQ squad and see what happens.
                              I think if we really want to understand faith as it refers to religious commitment, we have to go to the bible and see what it means there. I will start with the closest thing we can get to a definition of religious faith in the bible: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 I like the King James Version for this passage because it uses two words that play well with secularists: substance and evidence. We understand substance. That is the stuff of the universe. We understand evidence because that is the proof of a theory. You see, Christianity is substantial. And it has plenty of evidence. But a closer look explodes that notion. The real words to watch in the verse are things hoped for, and things not seen. Your hopes are only as substantive as your faith. And unseen things are backed only by the evidence of faith. It is the confidence that your hopes will be met, and the assurance that invisible things are real. The Christian hope is entirely in the insubstantial, invisible realm that offers no proof outside of faith. The chapter goes on to call out one example after another of people who showed confidence in the face of uncertainty.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              And here it starts to go downhill. The writers don’t bother to look up any lexicons or anything to try to understand the word. I happen to regularly use my article on what faith is due to the common misunderstanding.
                              When it comes down to it, I believe this is the only definition of faith that matters. It is confidence in the absence of tangible proof.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              If this was the case though, then the writers need to admit everyone is a person of faith. A huge amount of what we believe comes by authority. However, a lack of proof does not mean we don’t have a lot of evidence. Court cases are not settled by which side proves their case but which side best explains the data.

                              Then the writers go to John 20 and doubting Thomas and say this:
                              Thomas believed because he saw. But the greater blessing is reserved for those who believe without seeing. Jesus was not fond of evidence. He preferred faith from his followers: the kind that did not involve seeing convincing evidence.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              If Jesus was not fond of evidence, why did He do miracles? Why in Acts did He do many proofs? Why did He show Himself to His disciples at all? The writers have created a straw man here. Thomas’s fault was not asking for evidence. It was rejecting the evidence he already had.

                              They then think they have found a verse from Paul that tells what faith is:
                              It is blind faith. Paul says it as a matter of fact: We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 2 Cor. 5:7

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              Paul is not here talking about how we make a case and evaluate evidence. He is saying that when we see ourselves suffering the aches and pains of mortal life and fear death coming, we have trust in Jesus that He will provide for us in death and take us to be with Him. Our eyes may tell us that our end has come, but Jesus tells us it has not.

                              Note that Paul is also the one who appeals to the Galatians to what they saw with their own eyes. Hardly someone who thinks that across the board you deny what you see. But hey, since when does biblical context matter to these guys?
                              Peter Boghossian, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University, defines faith as pretending to know things you don’t know. Christians do not react positively to Boghossian when he defines faith in these terms. It is easy to see why. It combines the worst implications of blind faith with an intent to deceive. At the very least, it implies self-deception. It is both definition and accusation. Boghossian cuts to the heart of why Christians do not like to be painted with the brush of blind faith. It would actually require Christians to admit to all the things they don’t know, but espouse with the confidence of those who do. To take it a step further, is it not an act of dishonesty to promote a thing as true with more confidence than the evidence permits.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              Imagine if I said this. “Christian author XYZ made a convincing case that atheism is just an excuse to engage in sexual immorality. Atheists don’t like to hear this and be painted with this brush. It would require them to admit they don’t have rational reasons for what they believe. To take it a step further, atheists care for indulging their pleasures more than they do for truth.”

                              Now it could be that some Christian has made that argument out there somewhere. If they do, I disagree. Are there some atheists that mainly hold to atheism to allow them to do what they want? I am sure there are. Are there a lot of Christians that really do have a blind faith? Yep.

                              Yet the reason I object to Boghossian is a simple one. His claim wasn’t true. Writers like the ones we have here never seem to consider that notion and say Christians react as if it means that it is true. By this standard, if I say the above and an atheist reacts, then I can say “See? That proves it’s right.”

                              As we get closer to the end, in a statement of irony, the authors say:
                              We become hardened to our conclusion and lose the ability to give contrary arguments a fair hearing. We become so invested in the belief that it ceases to be a mere true/false proposition. It becomes something more – a part of our identity without which we would no longer know who we are or how to live our lives.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              Unfortunately, this matches atheists I meet more than Christians. I have Christian friends who love to read atheist books. When I interact with atheists, the overwhelming majority would rather commit ritual suicide than read a book they disagree with.
                              There is a war between faith and the forces of reason, evidence, and science. Many Christians want to deny it. They want to be seen as reasonable people with a faith based on evidence and backed by science. But faith is antagonistic with, and even antonymous to those concepts.

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              And this will be the last point I cover in this chapter, but no. The first Christians were scientists and saw no problem. There is none today. It is doubtful that either of these authors have ever read Plantinga’s Where the Conflict Really Lies or Tim O’Neill’s articles or even books such as Newton’s Apple, Galileo Goes to Jail, and other such books.

                              Okay. Looks like there’s one more chapter and then the conclusion. What do we have coming?
                              Chapter Twelve Choosing to Live in Reality David Johnson

                              Johnson, David; Knight, Andrew; Atkinson, Ed; Skydivephil; Taylor, Matthew; Brady, Michael; Dumas, Sophie. Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics . Reason Press. Kindle Edition.

                              …….

                              Saying this will be awful is not a faith proposition definitely. It’s a knowledge proposition.

                              In Christ,
                              Nick Peters
                              (And I affirm the virgin birth)
                              What is faith? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out. There were times doing this chapter where I was thinking “They’re almost there. They’re about to get it right.” Then the authors would, as if thinking they might get too close to something actually accurate, would pull back and go for the standard … Continue reading Book Plunge: Still Unbelievable Chapter 11

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