The Dim-Post

April 30, 2009

Gabbin’ about God redux

Filed under: books,general idiocy — danylmc @ 6:14 am

lovejoyRelated to the post from a couple days back, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon has a glowing review of Terry Eagleton’s new book Reason, Faith, and Revolution, which is a rebuttal of the neo-atheism of Hitchens, Dawkins et al, whom Eagleton refers to as ‘Ditchkins’, which gives you some idea of the quality of Eagleton’s thought. O’Hehir loves the book and titles his review ‘Those Ignorant Atheists.’

Obviously I haven’t read Eagleton’s new book but I have read his review of The God Delusion. His main argument is that the Christianity attacked by ‘Ditchkins’ is a parody of the true faith – ie the one practised by Eagleton – which is far more intellectually robust and philosophically sound than we give it credit for. There are a few problems with this, the first of which is that Eagleton is a Marxist Catholic liberation theologist who believes that ‘God is not a principle, nor an entity and not even existent’ and ‘neither inside nor outside the universe’ but is instead’ the condition of possibility’. I think it’s fair to say that he does not speak for the majority of Christians, or even Catholics, or even Marxist Catholics, and that it’s fair for ‘Ditchkins’ to aim their critiques at the hundreds of millions of Christians who believe in creationism, biblical inerrency, demons, the rapture etc than cater to Eagleton’s singular and complicated Kantian sophistry about ‘the condition of possibility’.

And then there’s the special pleading:

What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? Has he read Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope? Has he even heard of them? Or does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case?

PZ Meyers has a wonderful rebuttal to this kind of pompous rubbish. The Courtiers Reply:

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots, nor does he give a moment’s consideration to Bellini’s masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor’s raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all.

Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor’s taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

In his review O’Hehir remarks:

A few years ago, I read an article by a Roman Catholic theologian who wryly observed that the quality of Western atheism had gone steadily downhill since Nietzsche. Eagleton heartily concurs.

I’ve never understood what Nietzsche was talking about, but I do think the neo-athiests are basically just regurgitating what Bertrand Russell said eighty years ago. His famous lecture Why I am not a Christian is online and it’s essentially a breezy, chatty, condensed and less dyspeptic version of The God Delusion:

I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'” That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject.”

That is, by the way, where the  ‘turtles all the way down’ meme probably comes from – although some people attribute it to William James.

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42 Comments »

  1. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity LOL. I notice the form of argument in question comes up in the wikipedia piece you linked to before.

    There was a review in the New Yorker I remember for saying that as atheists go Hume was a gentler and far more effective propagandist than the recent wave.

    The way Russel talks about the turtles, he’d seen it somewhere too. I think the first place I heard that was a lecture on the radio from a north-american native guy – my take-away message was you don’t get anywhere thinking of myths as literal.

    Comment by lyndon — April 30, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  2. Okay, I have to say if the best that this guy can offer is:

    -“‘God is not a principle, nor an entity and not even existent’ and ‘neither inside nor outside the universe’ but is instead ‘the condition of possibility’.”

    He shouldn’t be all too surprised if people don’t want to base their lives on that.

    “‘condition of possibility.'” Seriously? Although, I will be the first to admit I couldn’t even bluff a knowledge of the ‘epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus’, but surely, in the realm of theological angels dancing on the head of a pin discourse, there is dancing on the pin head, and then there is falling off the pin head.

    Could I get a mortgage based on the ‘condition of possibility’ I would pay the money back to a bank? Unfortunately no: if only my bank manager was Terry Eagleton…

    Comment by Sean — April 30, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  3. It’s nice that Eagleton has actually pinned down what he (sort of) believes, since he’s spent the past couple of years playing a low target game in which he debates people like Dawkins and Hitchens, announces that he is a Catholic and then scoffs at them for bringing up issues like the virgin birth, sneering that they’re attacking a straw man because he doesn’t believe in it.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  4. Leaving aside whether these ideas have merit … the big unanswered question for God-apologists is this: What is the relationship between their “God” and the “Gods” people worship?

    I can’t see one at all. These arguments seem to be of the form:

    “1+1=2. Therefore, invade Iraq.”

    “Religion represents a metaphysical state of possibility. And there was a first cause. Therefore, do what I say or you are going to hell. And no women priests either.”

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  5. I agree Vibenna. You hit the nail on the head.

    Comment by Sean — April 30, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  6. Vibenna: Religion represents a metaphysical state of possibility. And there was a first cause. Therefore, do what I say or you are going to hell. And no women priests either.

    Eagleton: Oh you atheists are SO ignorant. I don’t believe in hell and I think there should be women priests! Your uneducated argument is a flimsy straw man. Why, you probably haven’t even read the Directa by Siricius! How can you have the gall to even raise a subject you know nothing about?

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  7. It’s so easy for ctitics of christianity.
    You have millions of people who claim the title, and all you have to do is pick out the nut bars and claim you are attacking the faith.
    Oh, and then Dawkins say’s there is no need for engagement with theology, or the argument from experience, in other words a fair and resonable defense is inadmissable.
    There is no glory in defeating a team that is not allowed past the sideline.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  8. “It’s so easy for ctitics of christianity… …There is no glory in defeating a team that is not allowed past the sideline.”

    Actually Shunda, the team has got past the sideline. I’ve heard the argument for God of Fundamentalist believers (in their many forms), Academic Methodists, Sunday School teachers, Society of Friends, as well as the old Pressbuttons, Left-Footers, and the C of E crowd.

    Beyond them, I’ve heard the arguments on attractions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam,and the Latter Day Saints.

    I just find all these beliefs poorly supported by primary evidence, and just not very likely to be true. And if that basic point makes it easy to be a critic of Christianity, can you blame people for being Atheist?

    And while we are on the topic, it isn’t socially easy to be a critic of Christianity, you have to be prepared to take some flack. This is the reason most people who aren’t strongly convinced about the validity of religion avoid the topic.

    Comment by Sean — April 30, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  9. Oh, and then Dawkins say’s there is no need for engagement with theology, or the argument from experience, in other words a fair and resonable defense is inadmissable.

    I agree that the argument from experience is a huge problem for neo-atheism. Of course, it’s also a huge problem for the primacy of individual faiths, because millions of people of other religions have equally powerful, equally valid encounters with their own Gods.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  10. “Of course, it’s also a huge problem for the primacy of individual faiths”

    yes, but the main thrust of aitheism seems geared against Christianity.
    I accept this is largely due to creation scientists, (if such a term is even valid) that have picked a fight, primarily with evolutionary biologists. But is it fair to attribute these people with their “flood geology” and “young earth” beliefs to the message that Christ preached?
    It seems to me that if opponents to christianity understood the difference between the essential and non essential doctrines of the faith, the christian argument would become a lot more compelling.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  11. Shunda barunda – actually, I distinguish between Christianity and believing in God. In fact, I would almost be prepared to describe myself as an atheist christian. (No, I’m not an Anglican bishop ….)

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

  12. ” I distinguish between Christianity and believing in God.”

    I have a sneaking suspician that believing in God IS an estential doctrine of Christianity.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  13. shunda:then Dawkins say’s there is no need for engagement with theology, or the argument from experience

    This isn’t just Dawkins. Personal experience is poorly regarded by moden cognitive science for the simple reason that we know of so many cases where it is wrong or misleading. Dawkins is just refelcting standard academic practice here.

    Danyl:I agree that the argument from experience is a huge problem for neo-atheism.

    I still don’t see the problem. Read up on neurotheology sometime.

    Comment by chiz — April 30, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  14. “Personal experience is poorly regarded by moden cognitive science for the simple reason that we know of so many cases where it is wrong or misleading.”

    What about theology then?,you seriously think you can challenge the Christian faith without even knowing what it’s all about?
    Is there a reduction in the number of atheists everytime one actually reads the bible?, maybe that’s what Dawkins is so afraid of!

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

  15. “…the main thrust of aitheism seems geared against Christianity.
    I accept this is largely due to creation scientists, (if such a term is even valid) that have picked a fight, primarily with evolutionary biologists.”

    There’s always been two major schools of thought that have had a problem with evolution. There’s the Christian Right and the Marxist Left.

    While the CR have had plenty of media attention for what has been a very ineffective campaign to have Creation Science taught in schools, the ML have been far more sucessful in causing havoc in numerous liberal arts faculties in just about evey university and receive just about zero attention.

    Comment by Neil — April 30, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  16. Shunda – the “you don’t understand” is just a non argument. It’s the Humpty Dumpty argument; I know what it all means, but you don’t, so you can’t disagree with me: so there.

    Besides, there is a complete disconnect between all this advanced theology, and what the churches peddle and people believe. And can your theology tell me which is the true God? Horus? Vishnu? Ganesh? Jesus? Some old guy on a cloud? The Unbearable Lightness of Being? The Big Bang? Looking at a Rainbow? How can theology differentiate between all these options as the fount of religious experience?

    The fact is, you might as well believe in Jupiter. Or the flying spaghetti monster. They are just as consistent with ‘proofs’ and ‘theology’ as other concepts of God.

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  17. “Shunda – the “you don’t understand” is just a non argument. It’s the Humpty Dumpty argument; I know what it all means, but you don’t, so you can’t disagree with me: so there.”

    Rubbish, I hear plenty of “you don’t understand” from biologists when the thoery of evolution is challenged, does that make their argument a “non argument”?
    If people are going to directly challenge the Christian world view, they at least need a partial understanding of it.
    The constant attempt of Dawkins and co to bring the debate into the shallows, with ridicule and “spaghetti” is just pathetic.
    I also marvel at how many of his diciples preach the “god delusion” like blind little lambs, I’ve been a Christian long enough to know religion when I see it.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  18. What’s this “Christian world view”. I’m challenging belief in the existence of God.

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

  19. “Besides, there is a complete disconnect between all this advanced theology, and what the churches peddle and people believe.”

    Now we’re getting somewhere, you do realise that this “disconnect” is a central part of the gospel message and the entire new teatament.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  20. “What’s this “Christian world view”. I’m challenging belief in the existence of God.”

    Yes, and I am tying to have written information added to the debate, that could quite possibly be a record of a “god’s” interaction with the human race spanning thousands of years. To have this information and associated world view shrugged off is nothing short of bizzare.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  21. Well God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
    Abe said “Man, you must be putting me on”
    God said “No.”
    Abe said “What?”
    God said, “Hey you can do what you want,
    “But the next time you see me coming, you’d better run.”
    So Abe said “Where you want this killing done?”
    And God said “Out on Highway 61 …”

    If the Bible is a record of God’s interaction with the human race, then God is a psychopath who doesn’t deserve followers. I’ll grant you Jesus is different, though.

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  22. There’s always been two major schools of thought that have had a problem with evolution. There’s the Christian Right and the Marxist Left.

    I don’t really think there is a ‘marxist left’ at any universities anymore. There are post-modernists, who are hostile to all science since they see it as a ‘privileged imperialist metanarrative’ (or whatever) and they have captured the humanities and made them totally redundant – but I don’t think they have any impact on the teaching of evolution or biology or any kind of science.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

  23. Yes, and I am tying to have written information added to the debate, that could quite possibly be a record of a “god’s” interaction with the human race spanning thousands of years. To have this information and associated world view shrugged off is nothing short of bizzare.

    There’s a famous quote by Hume that covers the various divine appearances and miracles in the Bible, Koran, Upanishads etc:

    When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.

    His logic is hard to argue against – especially given everything we now know about the authorship and redaction of the Bible – the Gospels simply being wrong sure seems like the lesser miracle.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  24. “then God is a psychopath who doesn’t deserve followers. I’ll grant you Jesus is different, though.”

    The answer to the seeming injustice of God’s request to Abraham is found in the new testament, turns out it was all a phophecy of the comming Christ, and it turns out that is what Abraham suspected all along.
    You mention Christ was different, yet He claims to be the same God of the old testament. Perhaps with this in mind it is resonable to suspect our misinterpretation of some of the “difficult” scriptures, is due to a shallow understanding of His nature, and His possible plan for humanity.
    Perhaps it is not so much God that is the psyco, but some (most?) of those claiming to follow Him.
    Do you think Jesus would be any safer from crucifixion today?

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  25. ” the Gospels simply being wrong sure seems like the lesser miracle.”

    The raising of the dead is no greater claim than the existence of a “god” so as fantastic a claim as a resurection may be, it still does not render the scriptures inadmissable or even question their authenticity.
    The weight of the question at hand demands serious investigation of the claims of Christ and the apostles.
    Focusing on the ignorant, or bad behaviour of Christians as Dawkins loves to do, is not an excuse to reject the scriptures.

    Comment by shunda barunda — April 30, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

  26. I think that Jesus would be very safe from crucifixion. Nobody practices that ancient Carthaginian punishment any more, not even the Italians. More likely he would be elected president of the United States. Imagine his response to the economic crisis – “there will be poor always, look at the good things you’ve got …”

    I think the scriptures are fascinating historical documents. But they are as likely to be the work of god as a bagel shaped like the Virgin mary. What’s more, Abe and Isaac are only one of many many problematical stories in the old testament. Further, if you are into prophecy, why not see Bar Kokhbar as the messiah? He fulfilled lots of the old testament prophecies. He even breathed fire, unlike Jesus. Seems that there is a bit of prophetical picking and choosing going on.

    Oh, and I’ve never heard a biologist say “you don’t understand” to defend the theory of evolution.

    Comment by vibenna — April 30, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

  27. Shunda Barunda you are cherry picking your version of Christianity. You say ‘read the Bible’ but you can’t get past chapter 1 without going ‘what total crap’ so you drag out ‘the scriptures’ and other parts of the Bible that suit your point of view and conveniently ignore all those parts of the Bible that don’t fit your view. Of course ‘your faith’ is ‘yours’ and you can believe what you want, but when it comes to attacking those who attack Christianity, because they point out all the obvious holes, you can’t use the defense ‘look lets ignore that bit, but what about that bit?’ because Dawkins isn’t attacking ‘your’ version of ‘your’ religion he is attacking the established religion, its set of beliefs, the whole thing.

    Take Catholicism, the various Popes have been very clear that to be a Catholic you have to accept the whole thing (not ‘your’ version), the latest Pope even came out and said ‘Hell is real’ (just to remind people). So Dawkins is right to question the whole religion, to attack parts of it, and if parts of the religion start to fall down under scrutiny doesn’t that bring the whole thing down?

    Comment by ieuan — May 1, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  28. “because Dawkins isn’t attacking ‘your’ version of ‘your’ religion he is attacking the established religion, its set of beliefs, the whole thing.”

    And I welcome these attacks, to a certain point.
    When it comes down to it, the conflict between science and faith is a conflict over truth, unless you are a post modernist (which is far more dangerous than religion).
    And as a conflict over truth, both sides need to be striped back to the core principles they stand on. I would suggest, for instance, that much of established religion represents christianity about as well as post modernists represent the scientific comunity.

    Comment by shunda barunda — May 1, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  29. “I have a sneaking suspician that believing in God IS an estential doctrine of Christianity.”

    Actually shunda, I was lead to believe that the essential doctrine of Christianity is that there is a God (QED) and the only way to him is through Christ (QED).

    Otherwise, it would be Judaism, or Islam.

    Comment by Sean — May 1, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  30. “You say ‘read the Bible’ but you can’t get past chapter 1 without going ‘what total crap’ so you drag out ‘the scriptures’ and other parts of the Bible that suit your point of view and conveniently ignore all those parts of the Bible that don’t fit your view.”

    Actually I don’t ignore anything, I am “fundamentalist” in that I believe the bible to be the word of God.
    Just because I don’t accept young earth creation dosen’t mean I think Genesis is crap, I just don’t think it was intended to be a scientific text book.
    Creation science is not an esential doctrine of the faith, personally I think there can only be one “science”.

    Comment by shunda barunda — May 1, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  31. Dawkins has a central thesis: that science proves in so far as it is possible that God does not exist and that belief in him is a delusion.

    But Dawkins surrounds that thesis with a whole army of smaller arguments, such as the nature of religion, supposed errors in the Bible, hypocrisy in the Church etc. These have the effect of apparently reinforcing the main argument whilst at the same time allowing his supporters to complain when these surrounding arguments are challenged, that the challenger’s views are irrational and stupid because they do not address the central thesis.

    As we deconstruct these we can see that many of them are either red herrings, irrelevant or just simply wrong. And then we are left with the central kernel of Dawkins’ argument, which shod of this scaffolding, is seen to be naked and without any significant support. The atheist emperor is seen to have no clothes.

    The God Delusion is basically a poor book, and yet PZ and his followers insist on its holy inerrancy! As one reviewer put it,

    It has been obvious for years that Richard Dawkins had a fat book on religion in him, but who would have thought him capable of writing one this bad? Incurious, dogmatic, rambling and self-contradictory, it has none of the style or verve of his earlier works.

    As “Professor for the public understanding of science” or whatever, Dawkins has carelessly misinterpreted basic theology, and even misrepresented scientists as obnoxious protagonists in a culture war. Science is much more interesting than that.

    Comment by ropata — May 1, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  32. Ropata, your playing the man and not the message.

    Dawkins has never said science ‘proves’ anything about religion, he has always said it is extremely unlikely there is a God.

    Comment by ieuan — May 1, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

  33. “he has always said it is extremely unlikely there is a God.”

    And as critics have pointed out, that is based more on his personal opinion than anything science is saying.
    He just seems like an angry man intollerant of religion, like the polar opposite to a southern “hell fire and brimstone” preacher.

    Comment by shunda barunda — May 1, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  34. Let’s call arguments in favour of a first cause, or supreme being, or being of ultimate good/smelliness/pick your attribute God 1. Then let’s call the God of the various religions God 2x. (2a for the Egyptian Gods, 2b for the Greek Gods, 2b1 for the Roman Gods, 2c for Jews, 2d for the Hindus, 2e for the Christians and so forth).

    Then all these pro-god arguments fail on three grounds
    (a) They are wrong.
    (b) They assume evidence for God 1 is evidence for God 2x. Which does not logically follow.
    (c) They assume that God 2e is superior to the other Gods 2x. Which does not logically follow.

    Most of the arguments on this blog have centered on (a). But the arguments from (b) and (c) are both essential to belief in the god of the Christians. Yet they completely wrong.

    If this still isn’t getting through, let me try one more time. Any argument that the God of the Christians exists, could serve equally well as an argument that Jupiter Optimus Maximus exists. (And yes, the Greek and Roman gods have a substantial ancient literature to back them up, together with eyewitness accounts of many miracles.)

    Comment by vibenna — May 1, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  35. Shunda Barunda sciences role in the religion debate has been to gradually close all the ‘that can only be explained by God’ holes in our knowledge. Science does not attack religion it attacks ignorance.

    This is the ‘God of the gaps’ argument and as the gaps get closer and close to zero then the probability of there being a God gets closer and closer to zero.

    Of course this is not the only argument for there being no God, there are many others. It should also be said that many scientists are religious so ‘believing’ in science is not mutually exclusive to having faith.

    Comment by ieuan — May 1, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  36. Science does not attack anything.

    People use both religion and science to attack one another.

    The role of science in the religious debate, or the role of God in the science debate?

    I read; man used God as a prop to fill a knowledge gap and as our knowledge grows we rely less on that prop until we will have no need for it. Once the gap is fully filled we will have no further use for God in our science debate.

    Comment by cj_nza — May 1, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  37. “Science does not attack anything.”

    No but scientist aeitheists do.

    “Once the gap is fully filled we will have no further use for God in our science debate.”

    Well here in lies the problem, the more we understand about the universe, the more viable a deity of some sort seems to become.
    While I am no scientist, I have always had a keen interest in science and there is certainly no need to run for cover and hide from the latest discoveries.
    Infact I would suggest that science had the best shot at religion several decades ago before we learnt more about the finer points of Darwins theory.

    Comment by shunda barunda — May 1, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  38. shunda:What about theology then?,you seriously think you can challenge the Christian faith without even knowing what it’s all about?

    shunda:If people are going to directly challenge the Christian world view, they at least need a partial understanding of it.

    God created the world. He sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. Okay got that. What more do we need to know? There is no evidence or compelling theoretical evidence for either of these two claims so why is it necessary to delve further? The bible is not a credible document. There is no logical philosophical resaon to believe in God, and personal expereinces of God are unreliable.

    shunda:I believe the bible to be the word of God.

    You may beleive the bible to be the word of god but which bible are you talking about? We have multiple versions, some of them being earlier than others. The evidence is pretty clear that the text has been modified over the years by copyists.

    shunda:as fantastic a claim as a resurection may be, it still does not render the scriptures inadmissable or even question their authenticity.

    The Resurrection is absent from earlier versions of Mark and was added on by a later author. Depending on how you interpret Papius it appears that Matthew was originally just a sayings gospel and that everything else in it was added in by later authors including the resurrection.

    Now this presents problems. The resurrection is the greatest miracle attributed to Jesus so why would people not mention it? They are happy to write that he went here, said this, went there, said that and so forth, so why not the resurrection? Logically if Mark and Matthew aren’t mentioning it then its because there was no such story circulating when the authors of those documents wrote them.

    Now go back one step further. How is it possible for there to be an actual historical Jesus who went here, said this, went there, said that, than came back from the dead but that only stories about the former spread, but not about the resurrection. Logically it never happened.

    The resurrection ccounts differ from one another and some of them are clearly embellishing for dramatic effect. They also contain puzzling references to Jesus appearing to people who don’t recognise him which is strange if we are talking about a physical bodily resurrection.

    One resolution of these problems is that the resurrection story grew over time with an earlier version talking about a spiritual presence rather than an actual bodily return with this story then transmogrifying – and there are various routes by which this can happen – into a claim about physical resurection.

    shunda: the more we understand about the universe, the more viable a deity of some sort seems to become.

    A personal opinion that I and others do not share.

    Comment by chiz — May 1, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  39. Shunda: what are the scientific arguments for a deity? Could that deity be Jupiter Optimus Maximus?

    Comment by vibenna — May 2, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  40. “Shunda: what are the scientific arguments for a deity? Could that deity be Jupiter Optimus Maximus?”

    No, its SpongeBob, and Patrick is his prophet.

    Comment by shunda barunda — May 2, 2009 @ 1:42 am

  41. “No, its SpongeBob, and Patrick is his prophet.”

    Fair enough Shunda, that is as good a faith as any.

    You and Vibenna really should get to bed earlier judging by the times of your last posts. Afterall, God (QED) will still be/not be there in the morning, but you’ll never get that beauty sleep back.

    Comment by Sean — May 2, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  42. Im not religous but if i was it would be buddhist which i partly am anyway

    Comment by Georgia — January 6, 2010 @ 11:35 pm


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