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Thread: Can Your Christianity Be Disproven?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Can Your Christianity Be Disproven?

    What if your faith is more fideism?

    The link can be found here.

    -----

    Are you open to the possibility of being wrong? Let's plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Let me state it right at the start. I am not doubting Christianity. I am not writing from a position of doubt. I am convinced that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead. Despite that, I should always be open to being wrong. This hit home again for me reading Zondervan's*Five Views On Biblical Inerrancy.*

    Al Mohler has the first chapter and in it, he pretty much equates inerrancy with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, or CSBI. For Mohler, it seems difficult to imagine inerrancy that does not conform to this statement and if Jesus and Paul or anyone else is an inerrantist, then they would have signed on entirely with the CSBI. That is too much of an assumption I think to make, but a major problem came when I read his response to problem passages that Zondervan asked each person to write on.

    In the Kindle version at location 772, I read the following:

    Archaeologists will disagree among themselves. I am not an archaeologist, and I am not qualified to render any adequate archaeological argument. The point is that I do not allow any line of evidence from outside the Bible to nullify to the slightest degree the truthfulness of any text in all that the text asserts and claims. That statement may appear radical to some readers, but it is the only position that is fully true and trustworthy. Any theological or hermeneutical method that allows extrabiblical sources of knowledge to nullify the truthfulness of any biblical text assumes, a priori, that the Bible is something less than the oracular Word of God.
    Well, yes. This position is very radical. Naturally, if the Bible is inerrant and is true in all it claims and teaches, then if it says X, then X is true. Yet at the same time, if God is the God of reality and has written two books as it were with nature and Scripture, then we should expect that nothing outside of Scripture will contradict Scripture.*

    The problem is that this is the very claim under question. How do we know the Bible is inerrant? Do we start with that as a presupposition or do we reach it as a conclusion? If we say the former, why do this with the Bible and not the Koran or the Book of Mormon?*

    Let's picture Al Mohler in a discussion with a Mormon. This Mormon holds to the position on the Book of Mormon that Mohler holds to on the Bible. Mohler goes and points out many archaeological difficulties with the Book of Mormon. The Mormon does not change his position. Why? Because he says he won't allow any line of evidence from outside the Book of Mormon to conflict with the Book of Mormon.*

    Now Mohler goes to a Muslim. The Muslim is convinced that the Koran says that Jesus did not get crucified or die on a cross. Mohler goes to several lines of evidence to show that Jesus was crucified, but the Muslim is unconvinced. After all, no line of evidence outside of the Koran is allowed to contradict the Koran.

    Are the Muslim and Mormon being unreasonable here? Yep. The sad thing is, so is Mohler. What is being said is a way of saying the double-theory of truth is true. By this, something could be true in the world outside of the Bible and something else contradictory true in the Bible. May it never be!

    This is also one reason why I don't say something like "Show me the bones of Jesus and I'll abandon Christianity." If we were to hypothetically say that Jesus never rose from the dead, it seems strange to think that not only would His bones be here, but that we could tell they were His bones. I instead ask people to give me a better explanation for the rise of the early church than the one that the church itself gave that explains the data agreed to by critical scholars.

    If we want to evangelize people, it is disingenuous for us to tell them that they must be ready to abandon their worldview and accept ours upon conflicting evidence, but we are not doing the same. Some might think that that is a risk. It is only a risk if you think that Christianity could be false. If you are convinced you are right, it is not a risk. Even if you turned out to be wrong, you should be thankful. After all, who wants to believe something that is false?

    I cannot go with the position of Mohler. I am convinced it is a blind faith and it makes inerrancy the central doctrine when the resurrection is. I believe in the Bible because I believe in the resurrection. I do not believe in the resurrection because I believe in the Bible.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Of course it can be disproven. If God came down here and told me he didn't exist then I would stop believing in him.

  3. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    His position doesn't sound much different from Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica.

    First Part, Question 1, Article 6, Reply to Objection 2: The principles of other sciences either are evident and cannot be proved, or are proved by natural reason through some other science. But the knowledge proper to this science comes through revelation and not through natural reason. Therefore it has no concern to prove the principles of other sciences, but only to judge of them. Whatsoever is found in other sciences contrary to any truth of this science must be condemned as false: "Destroying counsels and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:4,5).

    Second Part of the Second Part, Question 110, Article 3, Reply to Objection 1: It is unlawful to hold that any false assertion is contained either in the Gospel or in any canonical Scripture, or that the writers thereof have told untruths, because faith would be deprived of its certitude which is based on the authority of Holy Writ. That the words of certain people are variously reported in the Gospel and other sacred writings does not constitute a lie. Hence Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. ii): "He that has the wit to understand that in order to know the truth it is necessary to get at the sense, will conclude that he must not be the least troubled, no matter by what words that sense is expressed." Hence it is evident, as he adds (De Consens. Evang. ii), that "we must not judge that someone is lying, if several persons fail to describe in the same way and in the same words a thing which they remember to have seen or heard."

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    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    Well there are two reasons I remain a professing Christian. Setting those two reasons aside. The refutation of Christianity consists of two things. Superstition and wishful thinking.

    Superstition. The God question. Can traditional theism show that it is impossible for there not to be any God? Why should simple arithmetic need God to be true? 1 + 1 = 2.

    Wishful thinking. That the dead some day will come back from the dead. Etc. The fact of the human need for hope is how we have evolved.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
    . . . Well, yes. This position is very radical. Naturally, if the Bible is inerrant and is true in all it claims and teaches, then if it says X, then X is true. Yet at the same time, if God is the God of reality and has written two books as it were with nature and Scripture, then we should expect that nothing outside of Scripture will contradict Scripture.*
    I agree that the same God is creator of all. But while I am convinced that nothing outside Scripture will contradict Scripture, I is needful that facts outside Scripture can influence how we interpret.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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    Department Head Apologiaphoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    His position doesn't sound much different from Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica.

    First Part, Question 1, Article 6, Reply to Objection 2: The principles of other sciences either are evident and cannot be proved, or are proved by natural reason through some other science. But the knowledge proper to this science comes through revelation and not through natural reason. Therefore it has no concern to prove the principles of other sciences, but only to judge of them. Whatsoever is found in other sciences contrary to any truth of this science must be condemned as false: "Destroying counsels and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:4,5).

    Second Part of the Second Part, Question 110, Article 3, Reply to Objection 1: It is unlawful to hold that any false assertion is contained either in the Gospel or in any canonical Scripture, or that the writers thereof have told untruths, because faith would be deprived of its certitude which is based on the authority of Holy Writ. That the words of certain people are variously reported in the Gospel and other sacred writings does not constitute a lie. Hence Augustine says (De Consens. Evang. ii): "He that has the wit to understand that in order to know the truth it is necessary to get at the sense, will conclude that he must not be the least troubled, no matter by what words that sense is expressed." Hence it is evident, as he adds (De Consens. Evang. ii), that "we must not judge that someone is lying, if several persons fail to describe in the same way and in the same words a thing which they remember to have seen or heard."
    For the first part, Aquinas also said this.

    “The suppositions that these men [Ptolemaic astronomers] have invented need not necessarily be true: for perhaps, while they save the appearances under these suppositions, they might not be true . For maybe the phenomena of the stars can be explained by some other schema not yet discovered by men” This is in book 2 and lecture 7 of his commentary on Aristotle's "On The Heavens." Aquinas was likely a holder of geocentrism, but didn't marry his interpretation to the text. If he did at any point, then I think this is just wrong on his part.

    For the second, if Scripture is inerrant, and I think it is, this is true, but we should not hold to inerrancy in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary.

  8. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber TheWall's Avatar
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    I think a far bigger issue is how the objective truth affects each of our lives subjectively. People look for evidence and that is awesome. People look at the moral existential historical and theological issues and at hand and must come at some point to a decision. Belief or unbelief both take a leap of faith. Faith is not blind as evidence and loyalty are key to the word , but we as human beings can not fully grasp God in all of his glory.

  10. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    No one has responded to the OP. I believe the reasoning is correct. Inerrancy is a classic example of special pleading.

    My concern is that it's based on a lack of trust of Scripture. I find people who believe in inerrancy commonly assume that if we apply normal criteria to Scripture, not enough will survive to support Christianity. I don't think that's true. But if we apply normal criteria, we will certainly conclude that Scripture is less than perfectly accurate as history. That is, of course, why inerrancy exists.

  12. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    That there are errors in the Bible can easily be demonstrated to the "beyond all reasonable doubt" level. None of them can be demonstrated to the extent of being absolutely, wholly beyond any possible doubt proven to exist: very little can be.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

  14. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Christianbookworm's Avatar
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    Didn't some one a long time ago say that the survival of the early church would determine if it were really from God or not?

    Gamaliel’s Counsel

    33 But when they heard this, they were cut [t]to the quick and intended to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. [u]But he was killed, and all who [v]followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who [w]followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or [x]action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” Acts 5:33-39
    Well, nearly 2,000 years later, so...
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

  16. Amen LostSheep, Jedidiah amen'd this post.

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