CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

This quotation, from a response by William Sanday to the book Supernatural Religion, perfectly sums up my own thoughts on apologetics (my own emphases in bold), and I think it speaks for itself:

Ideally speaking, Apologetics ought to have no existence distinct
from the general and unanimous search for truth, and in so far as
they tend to put any other consideration, no matter how high or
pure in itself, in the place of truth, they must needs stand aside
from the path of science.

But, on the other hand, the question of true belief itself is
immensely wide. It is impossible to approach what is merely a
branch of a vast subject without some general conclusions already
formed as to the whole. The mind cannot, if it would, become a
sheet of blank paper on which the writing is inscribed by an
external process alone. It must needs have its "praejudicia"
i.e. judgments formed on grounds extrinsic to the special matter
of enquiry--of one sort or another. Accordingly we find that an
absolutely and strictly impartial temper never has existed and
never will. If it did, its verdict would still be false, because
it would represent an incomplete or half-suppressed humanity.
There is no question that touches, directly or indirectly, on the
moral and spiritual nature of man that can be settled by the bare
reason. A certain amount of sympathy is necessary in order to
estimate the weight of the forces that are to be analysed: yet
that very sympathy itself becomes an extraneous influence, and the
perfect balance and adjustment of the reason is disturbed.

But though impartiality, in the strict sense, is not to be had,
there is another condition that may be rightly demanded--resolute
honesty. This I hope may be attained as well from one point of
view as from another, at least that there is no very great
antecedent reason to the contrary. In past generations indeed
there was such a reason. Strongly negative views could only be
expressed at considerable personal risk and loss. But now, public
opinion is so tolerant, especially among the reading and thinking
classes, that both parties are practically upon much the same
footing. Indeed for bold and strong and less sensitive minds
negative views will have an attraction and will find support that
will go far to neutralise any counterbalancing disadvantage.

On either side the remedy for the effects of bias must be found in
a rigorous and searching criticism. If misleading statements and
unsound arguments are allowed to pass unchallenged the fault will
not lie only with their author.
(From The Gospels in the Second Century)

6 comments:

That's a really great quote. I absolutely agree that apologetics (in fact, Christianity as a whole) ought to be about truth -- and nothing but truth. After all, if Jesus didn't truly rise from the dead, then no amount of apologetics will make belief in Jesus worthwhile.

I also agree that we all come at the issue with notions that we either affirm or disaffirm in the process of apologetics.

Good ideas.

I'm not really sure why you would think a book making extraordinary claims is significantly more likely to be true if it also contains parables with a good moral message.

Another point, correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to be thinking of the message of these stories and parables as originating with the Gospels. Have you actually checked to see if that's the case? Jewish rabbis, among others, were telling stories with a moral long before Jesus.

Um... did you mean that comment to go in the AfIM post, David? (Because, I keep looking for some topical link to parables or stories with morals in this post, or in BK's comment, and I can't find any. And "Nice's" comment looks like some kind of coding spam -- note to self, check on that when I get to the office and consider deletion...)

If so, you're welcome to repost. If not... well, I'm confused. {g}

JRP

(PS: the new journal format can be a little confusing. On the main page, the comments link button is now at the TOP of the relevant entry, when it used to be at the bottom. But on the particular page for a journal entry, the 'post a comment' button is all the way at the very bottom, after all current comments. Certainly your fault if you missed--I've almost done it myself a couple of times already!)

Note: removed coding spam post. (Wonder how that got there in the first place? Is Blogger's password system failing?)

Far more important note: The final sentence of my postscript should read, "Certainly NOT your fault if you missed it"! Hopefully that was clear from the context. (My memory tells me I originally wrote it as "Not your fault", and went back to emphasize it with the "Certainly", but inadvertently replaced the "Not" with the "Certainly" in the process. Sorry, David!)

JRP

I'm not really sure why you would think a book making extraordinary claims is significantly more likely to be true if it also contains parables with a good moral message.

Another point, correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to be thinking of the message of these stories and parables as originating with the Gospels. Have you actually checked to see if that's the case? Jewish rabbis, among others, were telling stories with a moral long before Jesus.


why do atheist cringe in fear at the prospect of anything "supernatural?" They don't know what the word means in the first place, but why are they so alamared by something that challnaged their world view when they label themselv "free thinkers?"

how can one think freely when their whole mantra is "never dpeart from our body of solganizing, the world can only be one thing there is only possilbity: science! om many podmey scinece! Om moni podmay science!

I thought his questions were reasonable enough in principle, Meta. (Though I'm not sure which thread he intended the questions to be in. If they were actually addressed to me, for my previous journal entry, I'd rather answer them there.)

JRP

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