Sunday, May 03, 2009

[christianity] is fair discussion possible [6]

You can call this saccharine sweet but it's still an endangered species.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6


Summary

So, there's a fair bit of evidence, none of it in itself conclusive, just as none of the alternative theories supporting the other side are conclusive. How can they be with something metaphysical, where we're only equipped to observe phenomena and speculate.

In the case of Jesus of Nazareth though, it's hardly necessary to speculate, as he was quoted and commented on by a wide variety of people.

Recently, there was a Scottish blogger who was arguing for gun control and an American was opposing him, laying down evidence after evidence, none of it in itself conclusive but the sheer weight caused the other to say he preferred his intuition to mere evidence.

The first problem is how to ignore the weight of evidence and to, in effect, deny it. The only real way to do that is to provide counter-evidence, e.g. quoting from the Hadiths, putting the Kabbalistic perspective and so on. The difficulty is that it does not negate what is in these five posts, which are only a fraction of the textual documentation.

The second problem is that if you do concede the weight of evidence, then the next step is to accept that the miracles might have occurred, that he might not have been in the tomb and the stone might have been rolled back.

Or are you going to rely on your intuition in 2009, as Hume did in his day, that it's 'just not possible' because you don't want it to be possible and you can't get your mind around the concept?

Another thing you can do is bring in tangential arguments such as: 'If there is a G-d, why does he 'allow' such suffering in the world?' There's an answer to this one too and that will appear in the articles on Satan later in the week.

Yet another angle is to stand on your rationalist authority and open with, 'James, I don't know where to begin in correcting your false assumptions, rash generalizations and unsafe conclusions.' Unfortunately, that doesn't negate what's written, it only makes an assertion, unsupported by evidence.

The third problem is that if you do concede it might be so, then you might also have to concede that what He said was gospel. And in that case, there are such uncompromising, unpalatable things you're asked to subscribe to that you might blanch at the prospect. An example, from the Sermon on the Mount, is that if you divorce for any other reason but infidelity on the part of your partner, you're in trouble.

Best just to put it all out of mind, yes? :)

Dearieme might need to use his + button to see the text on this article on the Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

4 comments:

Sonus said...

James, I have read all of the foregoing.

If my time online appears limited, it is because I am familiar with most of it.

I would like to commend you for your diligence, attention and knowledge.

There are however, some very important issues which you have omitted.

I won't labour those points here.

Instead I will promise you a full, very full reply in due course.

This reply will take some time, in the order of a month or two, - as you may appreciate, I am rather stretched at this moment.

I will say this, though, and it may arouse your interest, - the debate on religion is a smoke screen for a debate that should have been taking place for at least several decades, but it is being denied. It's outcome will affect our future as a species.

Via population movements, theocratic debates are aroused, and help the smoke screen.

Could you please post these articles of yours on the side bar, underneath my first one on religion, for ease of reference, as they will form a composite when my reply is delivered

Be patient, James, this subject is so vast.

Sonus said...

Needless to say, James, I will enter fully into the subject, the debate, that has been denied for so long.

I would say that fewer than one in twenty thousand would be aware of it.

Douglas Hippo said...

I have just read with increasing fascination your series on [christianity] is fair discussion possible.
I have long been a believer and understand what you mean (though in your own words) by true conviction coming only with faith.
One thing though does trouble me. It was your reference to the letter of Pontius Pilate to Tiberius in which he descibes Jesus in such glowing terms. I had never before heard of this letter but what troubles me so is why, after such a glowing reference, would Pilate then allow Jesus to be crucified. Or did the letter come after the crucifixion and form an attempt by Pilate to exonerate himself, yet even this is problematic - why would he need to exonerate himself with his Emperor?
I would dearly love to hear your views on this. I can understand if you don't wish to comment further within this series - if so you can reach me at: starlingsnest@gmail.com

James Higham said...

Sonus - good, all things in good time.

Doug Hippo - yes, it worried me too and I'd be willing to drop that one of course.