Sunday, January 24, 2021

I can't believe the Bible, its full of miracles.

Stand to Reason answers this challenge in a podcast.

I think more can be said.

One approach I might take is to start with calling out the protagonist's philosophical position: she is clearly a naturalist and has an apriori commitment to not only the doctrines of naturalism, but its prejudices too.

So I could start her on defending her naturalism on naturalist grounds (JP Moreland has some good videos on this, and another) then run to a critique of Hume's view of miracles, by asking 'what do you think a miracle is?' I might bring in Arthur Clarke's 'third law', below.

Alternatively, I could say, 'so I guess you'd not read Caesar's Gallic Wars either. They contain things that we know are wrong, and not just what we prejudicially opine so'.

Not only does the Gallic Wars contain the passage below, but often refers to pagan practices such as checking the auspices before planning a battle. On her grounds we wouldn't read it.

But then I could add that there's a big difference between the unusual events in the NT and pagan stories: in the NT they have a point, they are mentioned without the fanfare of the pagans, and are stated in observer terms, and so convinced those present that they sacrificed their lives to talk about them.

From Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Book 6, paragraph 27, written about 53BC
There are also creatures called elks. These resemble goats in their shape and dappled skins, but are slightly larger and have only stumpy horns. Their legs have no joints or knuckles, and they do not lie down to rest; if they fall down by accident, they cannot get up or even raise themselves. When they want to sleep they use trees; they support themselves against these, and in this way, by leaning over just a little, they get some rest. When hunters have noticed their tracks and so discovered their usual retreats, they undermine the roots of all the trees in that area, or cut the trunks nearly through so that they only look as if they were still standing firm. When the creatures lean against them as usual, their weight is too much for the weakened trunks; the trees fall down and the elks with them.

In 1962, in his book “Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible”, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated his famous Three Laws, of which the third law is the best-known and most widely cited: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Thus, I could relate this to my friend and suggest that because she cannot understand an event's causal process, doesn't mean that it could not happen. Clarke seems to think that any sufficiently advanced technology looks just like 'magic' in his words, but 'miracle' in mine. So the basis of your criticism seems to be perhaps a personal limitation rather than an inherent problem in the facts.
If the input space included a will that was not constrained by the matter that it had initially created, there is no problem.

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