Archive for November, 2012

Misquoting Jesus

Posted in The Facts and Ideas on November 28, 2012 by RWZero

I had this book on my to-read list for a long time, but I never got around to it until now. While the general issues discussed in the book were not new to me, many of the specific details were both new and interesting to me.

Perhaps what’s most interesting is that, when you go to church multiple times a week for decades, nobody teaches you anything about the Bible.¬†You have to go somewhere else for that. Obviously they don’t think the information is very helpful to the faith.

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Posted in The Facts and Ideas on November 19, 2012 by RWZero

I cannot see how this will ever end. If Israel leaves the Palestinian territories, they will still be attacked. If they stay, they will be occupiers.

As a little Christian, I used to think that it was evidence for Christianity, that the Jewish nation had come to exist again, that Jerusalem was so hotly contested–scores of (now dusty) books on end-times prophecy confirmed it. Why would so much international attention focus on Jerusalem if it weren’t truly important, just as Christianity predicted it would be?

Well. I hope I don’t have to explain this to anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet.

The Rational Explanation

Posted in The Facts and Ideas, The Narrow Path on November 5, 2012 by RWZero

“There must be a Rational Explanation for this!” says the skeptic.

The believer chides the skeptic for calling anything surprising, new, or unsettling a “non-rational” explanation. It might just be the case that God, or angels, (or ghosts?) are a rational reality, and a rational explanation.

The skeptic replies that we must choose the most likely explanation: a non-supernatural explanation.

The believer replies that there is no way of telling how likely it is that God did a miracle, since that is not something you can calculate. If God exists, then the probability is 100%. If he doesn’t, it’s 0%. But that’s exactly what we’re trying to find out.

The skeptic says that with no proof of God doing miracles, but with plenty of examples of conventional explanations, we should believe the conventional explanation. It’s more likely in our experience.

The believer says that God is real in his experience, so…

Stop.

It is true, believer, that if something mighty unusual is reported, witnessed or described, then it is worth looking into it instead of doing backflips in an attempt to explain it using “conventional” means. If we did backflips all the time, we’d never discover new things, because we’d always be stuck in the old framework.

But it is not true, believer, that we should believe in something invisible, divine or unconventional if there is a perfectly good, normal, everyday explanation for it. And this is the real problem: almost all of the believer’s claims fall into this category. There is nothing remarkable, nothing unusual, nothing that can’t be explained in ordinary terms.

So we explain those things in ordinary terms. There is nothing willfully blind, nothing sinful, nothing rebellious about that.