Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Garbage in, garbage out

Yestuhday I challenged Martin at the Atheist Experience to substantiate his throwaway claim that the Bible contains contradictions.
I asked him to provide his 5 best "contradictions" and take into account the rules I laid down in a previous post on the topic. The conversation with Martin has recently degenerated due to his emotional outbursts and difficulty in keeping track of his own arguments, his own worldview and its implications, his own previous statements, and my own worldview. But let's see how he did on this count.
Okay, that's one down. Jeez, Judaism isn't even in the top five!
I'm not sure what he means here. I listed 3 theistic religions, and Judaism is certainly in there.

So the Bible is infallible because God wrote it and God is infallible because the Bible says so.
Strawman (he's fond of these).
And it's not surprising, really. I took a listen to one of the Atheist Experience radio shows yestuhday (the show of which Martin was previously a host) and found it a morass of poor arguments, question-begging assertions and just all-around ugliness. So he's apparently not been exposed to the better side of Christian apologetics. That's OK; I'm here to serve!
Notice, however, that he's already broken one of the rules. We must assume theism, and he's not doing so.
I'll add to the already-stated reasons of why we must assume theism, why we must perform an internal critique: Nobody would accept if I said "Deuteronomy 6 says there is a God! Atheism is wrong!!!!" as an argument. That would be ASSUMING theism and critiquing atheism based on its presuppositions.
So, the Bible is infallible b/c God wrote it, yes. God is infallible b/c He is the fount of logic, reason, intelligibility, etc.
Now, we KNOW He is infallible partly b/c of the Bible, yes, but that's a separate question altogether.
Didn't you tell us before you weren't a presuppositionalist?
That's rich. You, dear reader, do click on that link and see what I said. Martin, in his haste to try to make me look foolish, has completely misunderstood what I said and then proceeded to dance a victory jig. Premature celebrations usually make one look silly.

Onward through the usual claims about prophecies and stuff
Which he doesn't even try to deal with. And the link is even dead. Hopefully he'll try again.

the two creation stories and the four conflicting accounts of the resurrection put that one to bed
The 2nd creation story is a magnification of the 1st. The only possible contradiction I see is that Gen 2:5 says "and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth" though the plants had already been created. However, the "of the field" provides the key. Martin is giving this the 5th-grade book report treatment, which does little for the credibility of his claim.

As for the "discrepancies" between the 4 resurrection accounts, see here (pdf alert), or better yet, here and here. Remember that a contradiction is when 2 conflicting accounts exist and NO POSSIBILITY for harmonisation exists.
As one writer, Steve Hays, puts it:
The problem with trying to harmonize the Easter accounts is not that we have no way of sequencing the materials, but too many ways of sequencing the materials.
Combining the four accounts, we have the following people at the tomb and elsewhere at one time or another:
2 angels
The Magdalene
Mary (mother of James & Joses)
“Other women” (from Galilee)
That, right there, gives you ten independent variables (not counting the guards), which can be combined and recombined in literally a hundred different ways. There are, moreover, several different trips to the tomb—probably with some folks meeting each other coming and going. That adds a number of temporal variables to the mix.
Furthermore, you have appearances at three difference locations—Jerusalem, Emmaus, Galilee. That adds a number of spatial variables to the mix. So there are dozens of possible harmonizations. (p. 346)

Those seem to be 2 of Martin's 5 "best". Not a good showing so far.
Next Martin wonders aloud:
If we as humans are fallible, then how can we claim to know that anything is infallible?
Which I answered already, and amazingly he even cited it without dealing with the distinction I made between knowing something infallibly and knowing it sufficiently.

You would argue, circularly, that we know the Bible is infallible because God says so and the Bible's all about God so they both must be right.
Here he repeats his strawman.

I do like the way the Gospels, presumably written by "men in a position to know with certainty," make a real pig's ear out of the resurrection accounts.
No argument is given, leaving us with a bare assertion.

does that mean that you really believe that Jonah lived in the belly of a whale

that the resurrection of Jesus prompted a zombie invasion of Jerusalem?
Not a zombie invasion. These people were brought back to life; where does the text say they were undead or zombies? Martin is just making things up now.

I don't have time to do my top 5 contradictions.
But he somehow had time to type all this out. Very well, I guess we'll all have to be patient.

1 comment:

G-man said...

This is completely off-topic, I'm sorry... just thought I'd let you know I wrote a post in response to your question.