Readers of this blog know that I have an interest in Antony Flew, having even had the honor of corresponded with him. Click here for a list of posts I’ve written regarding Dr. Flew. The short story below may be understood better by some if you read this particular post of mine where I discuss…
Christian apologists are constantly asking skeptics and genuine seekers to hold to the question of God and Jesus the same standards of evidence they hold anything else. The question of Jesus being also a question of history, we are satisfied if non-biased standards of historical research were employed. Usually, it is the skeptics employing ad hoc standards based on priorly held beliefs about reality.
On this basis then, we see that one cannot dismiss the idea that there was really a man named St. Nicholas just because 350 years separates him from the (current) best sources. On that reasoning we’d have to ditch much of what we know about a great many historical figures, including big ones like Alexander the Great. So, let it be agreed: Santa Claus existed; it is a fact of history.
In the last week or so I had two exchanges where the debate turned on why the atheist/agnostic was demanding a higher level of scrutiny for ‘religious’ claims than other kinds of claims. In one of the cases, the really odd thing is that the person(s) had admitted that science, being limited as it is to the natural order, is unable to touch the supernatural and yet continued to say that science nonetheless remains the best way to learn about the world. This is not coherent. When pressed, in this case they again admitted that science couldn’t prove or disprove the supernatural but continued to insist that we use science to investigate the question. Truly, this world leaves me scratching my head.
So, far from being evidence for atheism and far from supporting a presumption of naturalism, the observed patterns of the universe are the pre-requisite, the minimal requirement, for reliably detecting a supernatural agent, namely God. That doesn’t mean that there is a God. It doesn’t mean we have to believe every report of a violation of the laws of nature that we hear. It does mean that we can’t dismiss them out of hand if the very point of our investigation is to decide if there is a God, for it is precisely such accounts- and only these kinds of accounts- that could allow us to reliably determine that there is a God.
Atheist One. It is not very often that you get an admission as clear as the one that was posted on my forum today. I asserted in this post on my blog that at the bottom, most atheistic arguments against the existence of God are based on the ‘presumption of naturalism’ with The atheist on…
It may sound like ‘reducing’ much of the Bible to human revelation about special revelation I have greatly diminished its veracity but in truth what this move does is place our testing of the Bible’s claims into the same category of testing that we use for any other historical claim. In other words, it is the atheists that raise special challenges against the Biblical texts (ie, ‘Extraordinary claims…’) while Christians worth their salt are merely asking atheists to employ the same standards of evidence and proof, the same principles of reasoning, the same sense of fairness, that we apply to any other claim.
One might think then that this is simply a question of shifting one’s presuppositions and evidence has nothing to do with it. Certainly assumptions have a lot to do with the matter. I think my point is that the question of abortion belongs in a different class than the question of atheism or theism. After one has decided where they stand regarding God, conclusions about abortion more or less follow. That doesn’t mean that one’s stand regarding God needs to rest only on assumptions!