The good news is that today’s apologists find their own core belief indefensible. This is leading to an attempt to draw the debate away from the many core logical absurdities found in the “gospel”, and to a focus on arguments absent from what has lead most of them to their faith. These are just a decoy. Any proposal of a spherical cube of gold can be immediately dismissed due to the impossibility of a spherical cube, evidence of gold not withstanding. In like manner, any proposal of the logically impossible Christian god can be dismissed based on the impossibility of that god, in spite of proffered evidence of “changed lives” or “fine tuning” or perceived weaknesses in evolutionary theory or the need for “objective purpose”. Whatever gods may exist, the logically impossible god of the Bible is disqualified as a candidate due to his logical incoherence. Let’s avoid the intentional distractors, and bring the argument home to the apologists, smack-dab in their incoherent backyard of redemption.
A response to a christian claiming biblical faith was rational.
This notion that faith is rational is a new invention recently promoted by apologists who increasingly find the irrational faith happily promoted for centuries untenable in a world that increasingly values rationality. This might be considered a good step in a good direction were it not so mendaciously inconsistent with what the bible says about faith. Until recently, faith was proudly considered to be an irrational commitment to some god, and the more the gulf between your faith an the evidence, the more virtuous you were. Luther called reason a “whore”, a consistent notion throughout all the history of christianity. Were the millions of christians consciously and proudly accepting Jesus based on this irrational faith actually damned to hell? Are you willing to say that, those now admitting their faith is irrational, can not be real christians?
In the bible you actually have a man coming to Jesus to request that he heal his son. When Jesus asks whether he believes, he actually responds, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief”. This is biblical faith; when in doubt about the credibility of someone, ask that someone to help you believe more. Jesus also blesses those who believe without actually seeing the evidence rather than those who request evidence.
Your claim that your faith is rational would seem much less dishonest if you were first teaching little children the foundation of rationality BEFORE you introduced them to your particular god. However, what you are doing is the opposite; you first get them to commit to “Jesus”, then build your “rationality” around that. Do you understand how absurd it then sounds when you claim your faith is based on rationality?
Finally, simply consider where prior commitments to faith or rationality take people. Those who contemplate gods prior to learning rationality often end up believing quite the opposite to someone doing the same on the other side of the world. In contrast, those who are first introduced to the basics of rationality BEFORE they are introduced to various notions of god tend to converge in their conclusions; most consider a personal god improbable, and an Einsteinian god uncertain. Simply consider the converging philosophies of all the world’s scientists who grew up in various religious contexts, yet were taught the proper need for rationality prior to assessment.
So, this silly claim that your faith is rational does not stand up historically, biblically, nor experimentally, and runs counter to your own practice of promoting your god to children before equipping them with the tools of rationality.
This essay will be dealing with the concepts of rationality and knowledge, and the abuse of these terms by presuppositionalist apologists.
I will first make statements of my own personal beliefs that will be clarified and defended in subsequent expanded arguments.
I have no absolute knowledge of anything outside my subjective perceptions, nor does anyone else.
(This will be true of every statement in this essay. But read the next point carefully.)
- Having no absolute knowledge does not equate to an inability to assess the likelihood of various propositions since I have access to my perception of regularity.
- Making statements about things for which I have a high degree of belief does not require that I have absolute knowledge in those statements since the default conventional definition of truth does not imply absolute knowledge.
- A rational position does not necessarily equate to an objectively true position.
- I am rational in my high degree of belief that an objective world exists based on the high degree of regularity I perceive.
A case study in the inherent dishonesty of presuppositional tactics
(More about Sye now at http://syetenbruggencate.wordpress.com.)
Sye Ten Bruggencate is a Christian presuppositionalist. He does not think you have any basis for rationality other than his choice of a god. After centuries of emphasizing faith, Christianity was forced by the success of science to focus on its “evidences”, and having manifestly failed there, is now justifiably cowering in the face of scientific scrutiny, and is desperately employing increasingly absurd tactics in an attempt to destroy the utility of rationality in order to salvage a god who, most Christians admit, would eternally torture all those who follow a nature they neither requested nor can avoid. Sye is a prominent promoter of a new tactic that attempts to wrest the right to rationality away from those rational enough to reject the bible myth by irrationally suggesting that, in the very use of rationality, those promoting rationality must acknowledge the god of the bible as the author of rationality.
They were passing out bibles just outside Shibuya Station the other day, and I thought I’d stop by for a chat. The young American man heading the operation (we’ll call him Tom) was kind enough to engage me in dialog, and soon both of us were presenting our positions on the question of the existence of the biblical god.
I began by questioning the very notion of faith, suggesting that, unless the degree of belief matches the degree of the evidence, the belief is irrational and certainly not anything any creator of rational humans would consider virtuous.
Tom countered by suggesting there was more than sufficient evidence to Continue reading
This 6-stage debate I’m posting on a sister blog found here.
Occam’s Razor (OR) is the default to the explanation with the least amount of complexity for any ontological inquiry. OR has 2 warrants.
This is the most obvious justification for employing OR. OR has successfully aided the pursuit of knowledge. Without OR, the body of human knowledge would have been a distorted and bloated unwieldy jumble with a tendency to collapse into technological and pragmatic inefficacy under the weight of many unfiltered conjectures. Through induction we have learned that any complexity within our universe seems to be constructed from a buildup of simple mathematical rules and more basic material entities. To the degree that OR has successfully produced theories that yield efficacious heuristics, processes and technologies that have accomplished our human goals, to this degree we are warranted in our confidence that it will continue to serve us well into the future. But what warrants OR prior to its track record of successes?
Beginning with, what seems unarguably to be, the self-evident fact that thought requires logic, we can come to understand that, with each additional node in any logically interdependent and causally interlaced ontology, there is an increase in possible logical incoherencies and material impossibilities. For each additional node posited in an ontology, there is a greater chance that there will be a logical or material transgression. It may be possible that each additional node added to the ontology can be vetted by assessing its coherence with all other nodes in the matrix of logical and causal relations. However, even if that vetting is not possible, it is still understood from within a basic rationality that there is decreasing probability of total coherency with each additional node. Therefore any mind capable of thought is warranted in defaulting to OR based on the fact that there is a higher probability of logical coherence to the most parsimonious ontology.
So the justification for employing Occam’s Razor is not wholly dependent merely upon the vetting of induction, but also finds justification in the very existence of logical considerations available to any thinking mind, even to an mind devoid of experience and thereby incapable of any inductive assessment.