Showing posts from December, 2007

The King of Stories -- Blood of Kings and Children

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.) Time for my favorite secondary characters in all the Gospels to arrive! {g!} Blood of Kings and Children Now when the eight days were fulfilled (the Scholar says), to circumcise the Child, His name was called 'Jesus'--as called by the angel before His conception in the womb. ....... And when the days of her purification were also completed (from the birthing blood), according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord; for it is written (says the Scholar, referring to precepts delivered in the books of Exodus and Numbers) that "Every first-born son opening up the mother shall be declared holy to the Lord". Also, they gave a sacrifice (for thanks and sin atonement) according to the declared law of the Lord (in Leviticus): "A pair o

Is Richard Dawkins Suffering from Cognitive Dissonance?

Mason Murch has located a quote by the bombastic Richard Dawkins that is . . . well, not in line with his so-called devotion to reason. In a post entitled Dawkins Wishes Us a "Happy Christmas" , Murch points out: Richard Dawkins says : “For better or worse, ours is historically a Christian culture, and children who grow up ignorant of biblical literature are diminished, unable to take literary allusions, actually impoverished. I am no lover of Christianity, and I loathe the annual orgy of waste and reckless reciprocal spending, but I must say I’d rather wish you “Happy Christmas” than “Happy Holiday Season”. Most people in western civilization, I think, are aware Dawkins is an atheist. He does, however, propagate some problematic ideas. Psychiatry might even label him as someone suffering from cognitive dissonance. Decrying Christianity as a delusion, while singing the praises of the cultural benefits derived from it, apparently doesn’t seem to bother Dawkins. I suppose there

How Should I Be a Sceptic -- one brief history of the reason/faith dichotomy

[Introductory note from Jason Pratt: the previous entry in this series of posts can be found here. The first entry can be found here. ] There are many devout people who rightly (I believe) value a faith in God above all other possessions, but who will also see my attempts as striking against a true relationship with God. I think they are quite correct (as I will discuss much later) that it is better to have a living relationship with God and to work with Him, than only to understand God in some technical sense. Furthermore, I agree that if it is possible to discover the existence and character of God by reasoning from neutral propositions, this neither can nor shall ultimately benefit the thinker unless he takes the next step and chooses to work with God personally. [See first comment below for a footnote here.] But although I agree with these notions, I do not think it logically follows from these notions that such a discovery by logical analysis must necessarily fail. Consequently

The Best Attested Event in History?

A few days ago I was thumbing through the The Empty Tomb , by Robert M. Price and Jeffrey Jay Lowder which is a book which (according to the inside cover) "scrutinizes the claims of leading Christian apologists . . . and critiques their efforts to provide the best historical explanation for the resurrection." In a rather rambling prologue, Robert M. Price tries to point out what he sees as an irony of Christian apologetics: that Christians believe in a God who really was resurrected and that Christians seek certainty of that resurrection. He does so visiting a wide array of subjects making claims that are, in my view, silly. But he finally gets to the point: And thus apologists love to make the claim (a claim that will be exploded many times in the course of this book) that the resurrection is the best attested event of history. The irony here is that the claim is always made amid a plethora of probabilistic arguments the very existence of which demonstrates that the resurrec

The King of Stories -- The Birth of the King

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.) And Merry Christmas to all our readers around the world; for the birth of Christ is indeed good news to all the nations! The Birth of the King Now it came about in those days (says the Scholar) that a formal decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census should be taken of 'the inhabited lands'. [Footnote: as we would say, 'the civilized lands'; a term for the Roman Empire.] This first (or prior) registration occurred in the Syrian governorship of Kyrenius. And all went to be registered, each to his own city. So Joseph left Nazareth in the Galilee region, and went up into the hills of Judea, to the 'city of David', also called 'Bethlehem' ('house of bread'), because he was descended from David, to be registered with Miriam, she having been betro

Christmas, the Archbishop, and the Facts

Here's a story that I find very difficult to understand -- apparently, the Archbishop of Canterbury made some comments that questioned some of the details of the Christmas story and has been criticized for doing so. According to Archbishop of Canterbury's Comments on Nativity Spark Debate Among American Christians , Archbishop Rowan Williams called portions of the Christmas story "legend" and is described as actually "debunking" portions of the story. According to the article: In an interview with BBC Radio Five earlier this week, Archbishop Williams debunked various details Christians have come to associate with the birth of Jesus Christ — including the number of wise men, whether they were kings, the snowy weather and the Dec. 25 date. In the full text of his interview , the Archbishop's comments cover the full range of the usual events surrounding Christmas -- the manger, the birth by the Virgin Mary, Joseph, snow on the ground, the visit by the three

The Problem of Evil: A Problem For Skeptics?

Understanding that the Problem of Evil has already been addressed on the CADRE, I thought I would do a short exposition on the problem and how it proves to be more a problem for skeptics than for Theists. Skeptics, often invoke this problem known as the “Problem of Evil”, as source of rejection of a divine being. The argument goes as so: 1.) The Divine Being is claimed to be All-Powerful (Omnipotent) and All-Good (Omnibenevolent). 2.) If the Divine Being is Omnipotent, It has the power to stop Evil. 3.) If the Divine Being is Omnibenevolent, then It wishes the greatest good for all creation. 4.) Evil exists 5.) Therefore, God does not have the power to stop evil and is not Omnipotent or God has the power to stop evil, but is not Omnibenevolent. Though it does not follow from this argument that “God does not exist”, many skeptics tend to take that very route when using this argument. The question that remains is if this argument is truly sound. In the course of this article, I will be t

How Should I Be A Sceptic -- presuppositionalism vs. progression to a worldview

[Introductory note from Jason Pratt: the previous entry in this series of posts can be found here. The first entry can be found here. ] Now I will examine another set of tactics, similar (in ends if not in means) to those of the negative agnostics. I will do this, not only to (at least partially) justify myself to some of my brethren, but also because (thanks to those same brethren) a sceptic might think she had grounds we have chosen, for dismissing my attempt before I have even begun. [Footnote: please keep in mind that my goal throughout this chapter, as is often the case throughout this section of chapters, is to see whether a particular stance or set of stances properly prevents me from trying with any good hope to reach conclusions that can be legitimately shared by opponents and myself, on metaphysical topics. Keeping this in mind will help avoid misunderstanding what I'm actually trying to do here; and will also help avoid critiques of what I am not actually trying to do

Recent Apologetics on the Nativity

It is Christmas time and so time for skeptics to grinch their way into our celebrations by trying to spread Christmas doubt. I have responded to such attempts in the past, which my co-blogger BK was nice enough to reproduce here . More recently, the good folks at Triablogue have been doing some fine posts on the Nativity as well. They have helpfully put together two posts, one on Matthew and one on Luke, that link to their previous posts on the respective infancy narratives. These links include several references to the recent work by Jason Engwer on neglected evidence related to Luke's census.

The King of Stories -- The Messengers of the King

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry, which also happens to be the first entry of the series. It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue. The Messengers of the King Most excellent Theophilus! (salutes the Scholar) Since many have, in fact, already put their hands to drawing up an account of certain matters--of which we are fully assured among ourselves, as sure as those who, having become eyewitnesses and deputies of the Word since the beginning, have passed those things down to us--it seemed fitting for me, having traced everything carefully from the very first, to also write it out for you in consecutive order; so that you may know the certainty of the words about which you have been taught! So: in the days of Herod, King of Judea, there came to be a certain priest, who served (his yearly duties ministering in the Jerusalem Temple) during the course of Abijah. [Footnote: priests of this course would serve in the temple

A Note To Our Atheist Friends about "Atheist Watch"

I have started a new blog called Atheist Watch . Its general concern is keeping up with the developments in the atheist movement in general, and refuting their ideas. Part of that mission is to keep tabs on a segment of atheism that I think is rapidly developing into a hate group. This is the fringe, probably no more than about 10% at most. I don't say they are a hate group, but that they are becoming one. I think the atheist community has a duty to use peer pressure to keep them in line. But the atheists are incensed about it. They are angry about the site. Atheists have always been hyper-sensitive to any sort of criticism. That is my experince on message boards anyway. The site is totally my own and has nothing to do with the views of the CADRE. As atheist named "Peter," on the comment section of this blog, the post on atheist hymn said: This blog is used to drive traffic and attention to "The Atheist Watch". I would like to know what the other members of the