Author Topic: A Coherent Defense of Christianity  (Read 15560 times)

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Offline d_senti

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A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« on: January 23, 2010, 04:58:25 PM »
I have read the book and believe it presents extremely good arguments, some of the best I've ever seen in defense of atheism (though you object to the term, for ease of discussion I will use it). However, I also completely disagree, and can offer a coherent defense of Christianity, and an answer to all the proofs used in the essay. I guarantee you've heard that before, but I will say this:

1. I will only use a single, logical framework for discussion, instead of a scattershot approach.
2. I will not use the "only God knows" defense.
3. I will be respectful.
4. I will only quote Scripture at you when it is relevant to the discussion.
5. I will attempt, to the best of my ability, to address every question posed.

I believe that, initially, the major flaw of all the arguments presented in the essay is this assumption:

False Assumption 1: All those who claim to be Christians are Christian.

The essay itself does a wonderful job of proving this assumption incorrect. It demonstrates a great number of cases where the Bible (specifically the New Testament) states certain beliefs and teachings that these people do not believe or follow. That is, I think, absolute proof of the insincerity of their "beliefs." That's not to say they don't actually believe what they believe, but the terms "hypocritical" and "opiate for the masses" both come to mind.

Once you accept that which the essay amply demonstrated - that these people DON'T believe in the Bible as it is - a lot of other things become easier to explain. For instance, why is there no statistical evidence for the validity of prayer? Simple. The people they used were, for lack of a better term, deluding themselves. This is why the "unambiguous miracles" were conspicuously absent in the "miracle" claims. The "miracles" they claim to be real are, just as the essay states, ordinary statistics.

To truly use the actions, beliefs, and miraculous claims of Christians as a litmus test for the validity of their claims, you cannot simply accept as "Christian" anyone who claims to be as such. They must meet the qualifiers that the essay proposes (and that any reasonable person ought to expect from a Christian). They have to actually believe in and accept the Scriptures. For example, how many of the 30,000 or so protestant sects actually have their women wear veils? The Bible clearly and unambiguously states that it is required. Anyone who doesn't accept it, then, does not meet the requirements of the litmus test of "believers."

I will continue with this if I get a response, but I don't want to spew forth a hundred different points at once and not give people any time to respond. So if you feel up to it, feel free to ask questions or engage in healthy debate!

Offline Positiveaob

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2010, 05:07:14 PM »
So only true believers will get their prayers answered?  That's why no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb, why no down's syndrome child has ever been cured of his/her affliction, why no one with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) has ever been cured, etc. etc.?  Because no one with true faith has prayed for them?
If you desire peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you would be a disciple of truth, then inquire. - Neitzsche

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Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 05:07:36 PM »
I believe I am an atheist.
what do you believe?

Offline ReasonIsOutToLunch

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 05:19:06 PM »
Drat foiled again. I was really hoping to see the first coherent defense of christianity.
God, doesn't know pi.

Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 05:21:27 PM »
just wait till the babble versus are referenced by number.

Offline Agga

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 05:39:24 PM »
bookmarked
I've left WWGHA now, so do everyone else a favour and don't bother replying to my old posts and necromancing my threads.

Offline d_senti

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2010, 06:08:02 PM »
So only true believers will get their prayers answered?  That's why no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb, why no down's syndrome child has ever been cured of his/her affliction, why no one with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) has ever been cured, etc. etc.?  Because no one with true faith has prayed for them?

First, the statement that "no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb" is not true. However, it is obviously exceedingly rare. There are nonetheless stories from St. Anthony of Padua, St. John Damascene, and others of people regrowing or reattaching feet or hands, legs, and so on. In the New Testament, Christ reattached the ear of a soldier that was cut of by St. Peter, which is essentially the same thing. These examples don't by any means satisfy the standard of scientific inquiry, so I mention them only as anecdotes. I believe them to be true statements, but there certainly is no reason for someone else to accept them at face value without further investigation.

So in a word, yes, that's correct. Again, we are using only the criteria that was stated by the essay itself in this assessment. The essay quotes the Bible numerous times showing that your prayers will be answered "if you believe," with that qualifier. The question, then, is what does "believe" mean? By the essay, again, and by any reasonable standard, we are talking about believing in the teachings of the Bible (since obviously Christ was referencing His own teachings in His statements).

To use any other standard would be ridiculous, as I'm sure any reasonable person would agree. If Christ says "if you believe you will see the results of prayer," He obviously means if you believe what He taught. So to run a proper test of the effectiveness of prayer, as mentioned in the essay, you need to have people who meet that requirement. That's all I'm saying.

Also, this is only one point of many to address, but I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I realize that this doesn't come anywhere near answering the entire essay. The only thing I ask is this: if you do have a problem with what I say, then please address the argument (for instance, what about my statements did you find unreasonable or incoherent, Reasonisouttolunch?).

And None, I am obviously a Christian. The statement about atheism being an objectionable term has to do with the essay, the section called "there are no atheists." I don't agree with that section and think it's an argument of semantics. Someone may not call their religious affiliation "atheist," which is fine, but in regards to whether one believes in God or not - as a matter of position instead of affiliation - one is either atheist, agnostic, or theist by definition.

Finally, I do want to add something: hostility is of course to be expected in any forum. I also know that at least most people who look at this thread will be doing so without any attempt to actually assess the validity of Christianity vs. atheism. That's ok. I just hope we can actually engage in debate and conversation instead of taking shots at each other. I don't think atheists are worse people than I am. I believe they hold an incorrect position. It's a matter of intellectual discussion, not personal gripes. And I'm certain that everyone on these forums have come across more than their fair share of nutjobs (on both sides of the fence).

Oh, and I also don't know what the "babble verses" are, but as I said, I'm not going to quote Scripture at you all willy nilly. If someone doesn't accept the Bible as valid, I find it quite idiotic to do so. If an atheist came up to me and simply started randomly quoting statements from Dawkins et al., I certainly wouldn't be convinced. I'd just be annoyed. The Bible certainly will come up in discussions like these, but I won't quote-bomb or use them in a...proselytizy? manner. For lack of a better word. :)

Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 06:17:42 PM »
Oh, and I also don't know what the "babble verses" are, but as I said, I'm not going to quote Scripture at you all willy nilly. If someone doesn't accept the Bible as valid, I find it quite idiotic to do so. If an atheist came up to me and simply started randomly quoting statements from Dawkins et al., I certainly wouldn't be convinced. I'd just be annoyed. The Bible certainly will come up in discussions like these, but I won't quote-bomb or use them in a...proselytizy? manner. For lack of a better word. :)
ok fine then don't use the babble at all.
let just make up stories that fit our expectations...
better know as self projection as god.
the bible as truth is ridiculous.
in the begining...
yeah it was inspired and written...
what a joke.

Offline Emily

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2010, 06:18:15 PM »
bookmark
"Great moments are born from great opportunities." Herb Brooks

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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2010, 06:20:09 PM »
d_senti,

Indulge a few questions?

They allow me to decide whether to engage in serious discussion with anyone. Succinct responses please.

1) Is the age of the planet earth best measured in millions or thousands of years?

2) Do human beings, and all other animals on the planet probably share a common ancestor at some point in history?
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Emily

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2010, 06:22:50 PM »
I believe they hold an incorrect position. It's a matter of intellectual discussion, not personal gripes.

The atheist position tends to lead where the evidence point to. It's not the atheists fault that whatever god might exist has never once left behind any evidence for his/her/its existence. Your position is based on faith and, well, faith requires no proof. It's beyond me why someone would want to hold a position that has no proof for that position.
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I edit a lot of my posts. The reason being it to add content or to correct grammar/wording. All edits to remove wording get a strike through through the wording.

Offline Idioteque

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2010, 06:31:24 PM »
Quote
First, the statement that "no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb" is not true. However, it is obviously exceedingly rare. There are nonetheless stories from St. Anthony of Padua, St. John Damascene, and others of people regrowing or reattaching feet or hands, legs, and so on. In the New Testament, Christ reattached the ear of a soldier that was cut of by St. Peter, which is essentially the same thing. These examples don't by any means satisfy the standard of scientific inquiry, so I mention them only as anecdotes. I believe them to be true statements, but there certainly is no reason for someone else to accept them at face value without further investigation.

This is a bit of a dodgy answer to the question posed to you, don't you think? Let's restate it:

"That's why no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb, why no down's syndrome child has ever been cured of his/her affliction, why no one with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) has ever been cured, etc. etc.?" Because no one has existed with true faith since before the time of documented medicine and prayed for these things?

Either:
1. You agree that nobody has "true" faith anymore (at least no one that goes to the hospital).
2. God doesn't answer prayers pertaining to phenomena which could not come about through natural means.
3. ?

If you pick 2, it raises the question of why you would mention anecdotes of healing in the first place since it contradicts your belief.
Just 'cause you feel it, doesn't mean it's there

Offline Dragnet

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2010, 06:53:46 PM »
The only conclusion I can then draw, is that the only TrueChristianTM was Jesus. Maybe one or two of the disciples.

Everybody's faith falters, and the vast majority of the believers are simply trying to figure out how to be that faithful.

No one, not even the pope has it in enough quantity to demonstrate it. That is really all I would need is a reliable demonstration.
Why is that not forthcoming?

The big question for me, why is the bible to be considered true while other texts are not? Without the demonstration, I must reject it just as I must reject the green monster in my closet.
I am responsible with my actions NOW so I don't HAVE to be responsible for them later.

Offline Agamemnon

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2010, 06:58:46 PM »
First, the statement that "no amputee has ever grown back a lost limb" is not true.

That means you have some really solid evidence to show us, right?

However, it is obviously exceedingly rare. There are nonetheless stories from St. Anthony of Padua, St. John Damascene, and others of people regrowing or reattaching feet or hands, legs, and so on. In the New Testament, Christ reattached the ear of a soldier that was cut of by St. Peter, which is essentially the same thing. These examples don't by any means satisfy the standard of scientific inquiry, so I mention them only as anecdotes.

I would call them "hearsay" unless you have something more substantial to offer about them.

I believe them to be true statements, but there certainly is no reason for someone else to accept them at face value without further investigation.

You believe they are true based on what evidence? If you have no evidence then you have no reason to form conclusions about them. Since the claim that any amputee has had a lost limb re-grown is an extraordinary claim, it can be easily dismissed until the claimant provides some pretty amazing evidence to support it. Until then one can easily assume that the claim is rubbish.

As far as I can tell, you believe them to be true statements because you want them to be true, not because there is any reason to believe they are true.
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.  --Bertrand Russell

Offline anthony_retford

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2010, 07:06:07 PM »

False Assumption 1: All those who claim to be Christians are Christian.

To truly use the actions, beliefs, and miraculous claims of Christians as a litmus test for the validity of their claims, you cannot simply accept as "Christian" anyone who claims to be as such. They must meet the qualifiers that the essay proposes (and that any reasonable person ought to expect from a Christian). They have to actually believe in and accept the Scriptures. For example, how many of the 30,000 or so protestant sects actually have their women wear veils? The Bible clearly and unambiguously states that it is required. Anyone who doesn't accept it, then, does not meet the requirements of the litmus test of "believers."


So you are directly saying that true believers must believe in and accept the bible? It looks that way, and so we should stone children, have slaves, kill wantonlessly, live our lives in belief of ridiculous tales, etc?
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Offline Idioteque

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2010, 07:32:55 PM »
Things always seem to get overwhelming for these "I'm going to justify all of Christianity in one thread" types. I wish you the best of luck, as your plate seems to be already filling!
Just 'cause you feel it, doesn't mean it's there

Offline ReasonIsOutToLunch

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2010, 07:41:57 PM »
Things always seem to get overwhelming for these "I'm going to justify all of Christianity in one thread" types. I wish you the best of luck, as your plate seems to be already filling!

Then it seems it would be incumbent on them to not overwhelm themselves with such a large task. Perhaps they could just try to prove one part of the babble to be true. Like the world wide flood, rofl.
God, doesn't know pi.

Offline JesusHChrist

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2010, 07:43:40 PM »
    
A Coherent Defense of Christianity = oxymoron.

If you are able to do it, you would be first in history.

I would be content to hear the coherent explanation as to why god/Jesus/ghost have not healed a single amputee, Down Syndrome or ALS sufferer. Ever.

Later, you can try to make the explanation of the trinity cohere.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 07:46:19 PM by JesusHChrist »
Love the Christian. Hate the delusion.

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Offline Narrow Mullen

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2010, 07:44:57 PM »
Ah, the OneTrueChristianTM argument.
"Oh, I'll have a slice of heaven, a side of personal guidance, but no Leviticus today, I like my shrimp. Now, I've accepted Jesus, do you accept Master Card?"

Offline Count Iblis

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2010, 07:46:48 PM »
To truly use the actions, beliefs, and miraculous claims of Christians as a litmus test for the validity of their claims, you cannot simply accept as "Christian" anyone who claims to be as such. They must meet the qualifiers that the essay proposes (and that any reasonable person ought to expect from a Christian). They have to actually believe in and accept the Scriptures.

Hi and welcome to the forum. As regards to the definition of a True Christian perhaps you can point me to where in the Bible Jesus says "The Bible is the way, the truth, and the light. No man comes to the Father except through it." Or something reasonably close. Thanks.
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Offline JesusHChrist

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2010, 07:48:22 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forum. As regards to the definition of a True Christian perhaps you can point me to where in the Bible Jesus says "The Bible is the way, the truth, and the light. No man comes to the Father except through it." Or something reasonably close. Thanks.

Yes. Especially since the source material for the bible didn't even exist until 40-100+ years after his alleged existence, death and zombiehood.
Love the Christian. Hate the delusion.

"you dick hole just go f**k your self in hell go to hell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! damn iam a strong beliver in the christ and he is compbeled at you !!!!!!!! screw you baster !!!!!!!!" -- random Christian #1636

Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2010, 07:48:36 PM »
...I would be content to hear the coherent explanation as to why god/Jesus/ghost have not healed a single amputee, Down Syndrome or ALS sufferer....
thou shalt not quote thine bible, lest ye circular story be known of thine god/jesus/ghost is abominable.

Offline jazzman

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2010, 07:50:09 PM »
To truly use the actions, beliefs, and miraculous claims of Christians as a litmus test for the validity of their claims, you cannot simply accept as "Christian" anyone who claims to be as such. They must meet the qualifiers that the essay proposes (and that any reasonable person ought to expect from a Christian). They have to actually believe in and accept the Scriptures.
If we assume you mean ALL the scriptures -- Old Testament and New Testament -- then all true Christians will advocate stoning to death anyone who engages in homosexual sex, and all true Christians will be first in line to initiate the stoning.  After all, the scriptures say homosexual sex is an abomination before God, and the penalty for homosexual sex is death.  Supposedly.
All true Christians will advocate death to women who aren't virgins when they marry for the first time.
All true Christians will not wear garments made of more than one type of cloth.
All true Christians will advocate for women's silence in church and for the prohibition on women discussing church teachings with anyone other than their husbands.  All true Christians will agree that women can never be appointed to church leadership positions over any man.  All true Christians must agree that women can never lead a congregation in any manner.
There are other laws to mention, but these suffice for my purposes.

If you're a reasonable person, you'll admit these rules are egregiously stupid.  But they're part of the scriptures, and, according to you, all true Christians must believe in and accept these scriptures.

If you don't mean to include ALL the scriptures, then you should clarify which scriptures you mean.  Surely you understand that the Old Testament writings were for the Jews, not Gentiles.  Old Testament Jewish laws don't pertain to non-Jews; most Christians are not Jewish.  Therefore, most, if not all, Old Testament laws are irrelevant to modern Christianity.

If you mean ALL the scriptures, then you must understand it's impossible for a Christian to believe in and adhere to all the scriptures.  Thus, there are no true Christians, because no true Christian would advocate the murder of another human being, which the presumed prohibition on homosexual sex (and non-virgin marriage, and other religious infractions) would require.



The reason your deity doesn't heal amputees and other non-reversible ailments and physical limitations has nothing to do with people's faith.  It's because your deity either doesn't exist, doesn't care, or is incapable of miraculous healing.

By the way, how do we know when someone truly believes in and accepts scripture if we can't take their word for it?  What is the litmus test that allows us to sort out the true Christians from the wannabes?

Jazzman





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Offline d_senti

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2010, 07:50:56 PM »
Ok, I'll try to address everyone. If I miss something please let me know.

First, None: I'm not going to answer something like that. It's just a series of assertions and insults, not discussion.

Amb Pony: The short answer is I don't know for both questions. The long answer is that there is a preponderance of evidence that strongly, strongly supports the idea of a 13.7 billion year old cosmos. The most definitive argument, in my opinion, is that of simple light speed. I can see the Andromeda galaxy. So either there's some crazy time dilation going on or the universe is at least 2.2 million years old. And so on.
As for a common ancestor, I certainly believe it's possible. I'm not an expert so I can't claim one way or the other. In regards to that issue, I simply don't see a proper mechanism for the process of evolution. Natural selection doesn't work on a genetic level, so we've dismissed that for years in macro terms (as an initial cause of adaptation, though it certainly exists). Genetic mutation is a better answer, but on a philosophical level I see an information problem.
Life is mindboggingly complex. The origin of life as a random process is very hard to swallow, to say the least, since the required mechanisms, proteins, and information to have life operate are even beyond our current understanding in many ways. I've seen the numbers, the odds for amino acids to randomly synthesize properly, etc, and it's beyond large. The "methinks I smell a weasel" argument only applies to living organisms, not the spontaneous generation of life. But I'm getting off track here and I don't want this to be about these issues at the moment, or I won't be able to address everything. Great quote by the way. :)

Emily: The atheist position is, at least in theory, an attempt to apply scientific rigor to all knowledge. While an admirable goal in itself, it quickly breaks down, since the scientific method itself is based upon certain philosophical assumptions that are not themselves scientifically proven. For instance, we assume that all nature is subject to cause and effect, universal laws of physics...an orderly universe, in other words. Science rests upon those assumptions, and they are correct ones, but they are not scientific knowledge. They are knowledge of a different sort. (Note: please, no one take this as an attack on science. I love science. It just has limitations, which we all acknowledge.)
Faith is simply the third category of knowledge. The ordinary use of the term by the average evangelical protestant is nonsense, I agree. But there is another perspective on faith.
The first category of knowledge is a priori knowledge. That's "2 and 2 are 4" and so on. They are things we know by force of either definition or logic itself, not experience, and conclusions in a priori knowledge are universally deductive.
The second category is a posteriori knowledge. That's the stuff we learn by experience, such as "I have ten fingers." The scientific method is the application of the first type of knowledge (a philosophical framework of an orderly universe) to the second type (the world).
The third category is faith, or testimony. For instance, I have never been to australia, yet I know it exists. How? People have told me as much, from a hundred different sources, all trustworthy. Now, I have neither an intrinsic or experiential knowledge of australia. But I know it exists, and that really is true knowledge, not just speculation. Faith, real faith, is only that, nothing more.

Idioteque: I agree, it was a dodgy answer. Sorry. I meant to make that point and continue, but it slipped my mind. :) The answer to your question is that 1. yes, virtually no one has true faith anymore. I would like to state however that the standard the essay set forth regarding healing was, in my opinion, unfair. It stated that God, if He existed, would heal ALL amputees. I don't believe that. And I think you would agree that one unambiguous, clearly supernatural act of healing would be proof of God, and not only if EVERY amputee was healed. Correct?
The idea that God does not heal people except according to that which can be done by natural means is, quite simply, poppycock. Great word that. Clearly an all-powerful God is able to do more than what naturally happens, even if He created the natural order and that is the ordinary means of business (providential action, as it's called, the Divine ordering of creation according to God's plan, as opposed to singular acts of supernatural miracles).

Dragnet: You present a terrific point, one that the essay also presented. All throughout the Bible, and in the stories of saints, you have any number of clear, unambiguous, supernatural acts to convert people. Some may convert by the force of arguments or internal inspiration, but most do not. Christ even said "at least believe for the very works' sake," that is, at least accept that this is real because you've clearly seen me do things that are impossible naturally.
I'm curious though: to what other texts are you referring? After all, testimony of, for instance, the campaigns of Julius Caesar are considered historical and believed. If you are talking about other religious works, it's a matter of two issues:

1. The nature of the testimony (for instance, the works of hinduism, the collection of greek and roman myths, and so on, are all readily admitted to be compilations of myths and stories passed down over centuries and written down. The Gospels, on the other hand, are firsthand accounts, like the works of Caesar.)
2. The compliance of a religious text with reason. If a religious text is clearly in contradiction to reason in a fundamental way, then it's obviously false. I'm certain a lot of you, like the essay, would assert the same about the Bible, but I disagree, and would be happy to address whatever issues you may have with it.

Agamemnon: I agree that they are hearsay. But if something is hearsay, that doesn't mean it isn't true. My beliefs about the particular accounts' veracity has to do with the nature of the authority of the Church, which is a much different argument at the moment. So for now, let's just say yes, they are hearsay, not proof.

Anthony: No, we don't have to do those things because by the words of the Scriptures, the old law has been superceded. Were I arguing the case for Judaism, then yes, we would have to do those things, though I don't agree the tales are "ridiculous" obviously. If you bring up something from the New Testament that asserts something, however, then yes. We are talking about what constitutes a "true believer" by the standards set forth by Christ, as regards a sample group for a test of prayer. As I said, the group to be tested, and the only group that one could truly assert to be "real" believers, would have to be one that accepts ALL the teachings of the Bible, and doesn't handpick what to believe and what to disregard.

Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2010, 07:56:43 PM »
Ok, I'll try to address everyone. If I miss something please let me know.
First, None: I'm not going to answer something like that. It's just a series of assertions and insults, not discussion.
the truth hurts more than you care to admit.
look, your fallacy of jesus and what not is easily ripped apart if you weren't so indoctrinated to believe that some person was inspired to write about the beginning of creation without being able to discuss creation in rational terms.
so I ask: "what creation?"
lets not use the bible? right?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 07:59:42 PM by none »

Offline Tinyal

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2010, 08:02:17 PM »
"Now, I have neither an intrinsic or experiential knowledge of australia. But I know it exists, and that really is true knowledge, not just speculation. Faith, real faith, is only that, nothing more"

Incorrect.  Evidence-based confidence statements such as "I have faith that Australia exists" have absolutely nothing, nada, zip to do with the word faith as it's used by religious (any and all religious) people.

As in many, many English words, a given word has several meanings, depending on context used.   In every case, those who are christian use the word faith according to the following (paraphrased) definition:

Faith:  Belief without evidence, or in the face of contradictory evidence.

If you actually believe that using the word faith as in the Australia example is the same thing as religious faith, I have no hope a reasoned discussion with you is possible.  You cannot simply define words willy-nilly as you wish - doing so is either intentionally deceitful, or ignorant.  Since I have corrected your definition, we've covered the ignorant part.

As for the rest, those here much more experienced & educated that I shall, I am sure, carry on. :)

<edit: changed the word 'do' to 'so' in the 3rd to last sentence>
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 08:10:52 PM by Tinyal »
Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water?

Offline jazzman

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2010, 08:08:38 PM »
The third category is faith, or testimony.
Faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive.  Faith can ONLY exist where knowledge is absent.  Knowledge always and in every situation trumps faith.  It is always better to know than to resort to belief on faith.  Faith is not a category of knowledge; faith is a by-product of ignorance.

Jazzman

"Things you don't see: An old man having a Twix." -- Karl Pilkington

Offline none

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2010, 08:11:40 PM »
ahh yes all other religions are false except chrisitanity because d_santi believes it to be true.
appeal to authority? anyone?

Offline d_senti

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Re: A Coherent Defense of Christianity
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2010, 08:17:01 PM »
Ok, getting a lot of stuff here, so I can't type that fast, though obviously a few of you aren't actually looking for an answer but are just stating whatever they personally believe without presenting arguments. I am just one guy, so it's not easy to address 20 some posts quickly. Plus I have to work, so this will be shorter than the others, but I'll be back later.

JHC: It is not an oxymoron. I refer you to the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose standards of logic are certainly greater than whatever a mere forum can provide by someone like me. Specifically the Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles. You can access the Summa Theologica in its entirety online at www.newadvent.com. Just click the "Summa" tab. Aristotlean syllogisms at their best. He also explains the Trinity quite well.
I also did offer an explanation. First, there are examples, though you'd have to take those people's word for it. Secondly, the reason it never happens today is that there are almost zero Christians in the world today, even by the standards of 1900, let alone by the Bible.
Finally, the source material of the New Testament was over a wide swath of time, but the earliest Gospel account was estimated to have been written less than 10 years after Christ, Matthew. And the people who knew Him and followed Him were the ones who wrote the testimony.

Count Iblis: Complicated question, but a good one. The Bible as a singular work of canon didn't exist, at least in a universal fashion, until after the Council of Carthage in 397 AD. Before that there were variations. It is for that reason that one can easily demonstrate that the Bible's authority rests upon that of the Catholic Church. The "sola scriptura" argument doesn't hold water for a hundred reasons, but the most notable is the lack of a list of Scripture in Scripture. So if only Scripture is a valid source of knowledge from God, and the Scripture doesn't tell you which books are Scripture (after all, Catholics and Protestants have differences between them), then we enter a reductio ad absurdum argument. Protestants totally and wilfully disregard the historicity of the Church and the development and growth of Christianity. They look at neither the Church Fathers nor the process by which the Bible was even compiled.

Jazzman: As I stated, the New Testament unequivocally asserts that the Old Testament period has ended, and Mosaic Law has passed. Christians, by the Bible's own words, are not held to those obligations. However, let's say that they are. Your argument to me, like parts of the essay, seems to simply be one of moral repugnance, which isn't a reasonable argument, merely a statement of personal taste. Not to mention the problem of asserting an objective morality in the absence of a God (objective, not subjective).
And I'm not talking about positively proving this or that person has true faith. Only that those who believe contrary to the Bible obviously do not.

I know I didn't get to everything, but I'll be back later.