Matthew Kissel

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Let's say I was an atheist who watched a bunch of Craig's debates and was convinced by his 4 main arguments.

-I believed that the universe was created by a God who existed outside time and space.
-I believed that God fine-tuned the universe for life.
-I believed that Jesus came back from the dead somehow (probably some kind of performance by said God).
-I believed that morality was dependent on God.

This still seems far from the kind of Christianity Craig endorses.  I realize this has been addressed before as a God of Philosophy vs. God of the Bible type of discussion but this one is slightly more than a God of philosophy.  This gets us to a God that is tangentially linked to Jesus (at least enough to give Jesus' followers a huge shock on Sunday) but that is still far from traditional Christianity.  Does Craig present evidence for the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the divine inspiration of the Bible (according to his argument he analyzes them as historical documents, not divine literature) or some sort of afterlife for normal people?


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John Quin

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It's unrealistic to expect natural theology or the defence of the Resurrection to extend to proving detailed Christian Doctrine. WLC does produce some arguments to show that Christian Doctrine is not logically incoherent ie His defence of Christian Particularism.
The main thrust of WLC's arguments is to provide a strong philosophical foundation to complement an individuals conviction that the Bible is true.
As some point in time you need to read the Bible and let the Holy Spirit convict you of its truth.  
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What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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Filip Prsic

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If the Gospels are assumed to be generally reliable, then you have the fact Jesus believed in the inspiration of the Bible. Ergo, if He rose from the dead, that's a good reason to take those claims seriously.

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Joseph Evensen

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gunman wrote: If the Gospels are assumed to be generally reliable, then you have the fact Jesus believed in the inspiration of the Bible. Ergo, if He rose from the dead, that's a good reason to take those claims seriously.
Did Jesus believe in the inspiration of the Bible, or the OT?  Or certain books of the OT?  Considering the NT was not yet written, it seems hard to argue that he believed it was inspired.

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Matthew Kissel

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I suppose Craig's arguments (which I find convincing) make Christianity plausible and provide a basis for accepting religious intuition (as in, maybe these feelings/intuitions are really God talking to me) even if they do not prove the specifics of Christian doctrine.  It just seems that at some point reason does have to shut off and fideism has to kick in to get all the way to traditional Christianity.  You can be a logically coherent Christian but you have to accept specific doctrines on faith alone.


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admiralmattbar wrote: Let's say I was an atheist who watched a bunch of Craig's debates and was convinced by his 4 main arguments.

-I believed that the universe was created by a God who existed outside time and space.
-I believed that God fine-tuned the universe for life.
-I believed that Jesus came back from the dead somehow (probably some kind of performance by said God).
-I believed that morality was dependent on God.

This still seems far from the kind of Christianity Craig endorses.  I realize this has been addressed before as a God of Philosophy vs. God of the Bible type of discussion but this one is slightly more than a God of philosophy.  This gets us to a God that is tangentially linked to Jesus (at least enough to give Jesus' followers a huge shock on Sunday) but that is still far from traditional Christianity.  

I reach the opposite conclusion when I read your post.  I don't see how it's rational for someone to accept the conclusions of all those arguments, and not be a Christian.  It doesn't seem rational for someone to make a comments like "God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead.  I'm going to become a Muslim!"  

Does Craig present evidence for the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the divine inspiration of the Bible (according to his argument he analyzes them as historical documents, not divine literature) or some sort of afterlife for normal people?


The arguments that you listed are evidence for those things.  That's especially true with the first two (the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus).  If you don't think evidence for a miracle of Jesus is evidence of his divinity and of the Trinity, then it's hard to imagine what would qualify as evidence of those things.  

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admiralmattbar wrote: It just seems that at some point reason does have to shut off and fideism has to kick in to get all the way to traditional Christianity.  You can be a logically coherent Christian but you have to accept specific doctrines on faith alone.

I disagree.  Why can't verses from the New Testament count as evidence for the things that you mentioned?  Even if they are nothing more than ancient historical documents, they are still worth something, and they can still count as evidence.    

I personally am not aware of any specific doctrine that I accept on faith alone.  Moreover, I don't use the word 'faith' that way.  We can have faith in a belief and have reasons to hold that belief at the same time.  For example, when a man has faith in his wife, he often has reasons for having that faith in his wife.  His faith is not irrational at all.  

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Matthew Kissel

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"'God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead.  I'm going to become a Muslim!'"

I agree that evidence of Jesus' resurrection would not lead to Islam but it does not prove Biblical inerrancy, Trinity, etc. which is traditional (well, at least the Trinity part) Christianity.  All the arguments show is that one can make a historical case for the resurrection of Jesus without seeing the Bible as divinely inspired, which could actually lead many people to become believers without accepting much of traditional Christian doctrine.  Just because we know there is a God and history shows Jesus came back from the dead does not mean we have to call on him to save us or that he is God incarnate (unless you want to argue that Lazarus, Samuel and about 500 Jerusalem locals are God incarnate as well).

"Moreover, I don't use the word 'faith' that way."

That is why I also used the word fideism to show what I meant by faith.  When I used it I was not simply talking about faith as in faith in my wife but faith as opposed to reason.  Craig's arguments still leave holes in the case for traditional Christianity because his case only really covers God's existence, morality and Jesus' resurrection so you have to accept the Trinity, soteriology, inerrancy, christology, apart from an evidential case.  That would be the kind of faith that is described by fideism.

"Why can't verses from the New Testament count as evidence for the things that you mentioned?"

Because you would have to accept without proof that the texts are divinely inspired to get to Christian theological claims and not simply see them as a tradition that you can derive certain historical facts from.


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admiralmattbar wrote: "'God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead.  I'm going to become a Muslim!'"

I agree that evidence of Jesus' resurrection would not lead to Islam but it does not prove Biblical inerrancy, Trinity, etc. which is traditional (well, at least the Trinity part) Christianity.  

That evidence doesn't need to "prove" those things.  Perhaps it's rational to believe those things because of the evidence for them despite the fact that they aren't proven to be true.  That's the way history works.  There are plenty of historical facts that can't be proven, yet are still rational to believe because of the evidence for them.

The evidence for the resurrection doesn't lead to Islam, and it also doesn't lead to the conclusion that many of the other religions out there are true.  Instead, it leads to Christianity.  I think that's incredibly significant.

All the arguments show is that one can make a historical case for the resurrection of Jesus without seeing the Bible as divinely inspired, which could actually lead many people to become believers without accepting much of traditional Christian doctrine.  Just because we know there is a God and history shows Jesus came back from the dead does not mean we have to call on him to save us or that he is God incarnate (unless you want to argue that Lazarus, Samuel and about 500 Jerusalem locals are God incarnate as well).


But that ignores almost the entire New Testament.  The New Testament gives us plenty of information about Jesus that makes sense of his resurrection.  Also, there is nothing in the Bible about Lazarus, Samuel and the 500 Jerusalem locals having the power to raise themselves from the dead, and they never even suggest that they might be God, so I think that's a moot point.  

"Moreover, I don't use the word 'faith' that way."

That is why I also used the word fideism to show what I meant by faith.  When I used it I was not simply talking about faith as in faith in my wife but faith as opposed to reason.  Craig's arguments still leave holes in the case for traditional Christianity because his case only really covers God's existence, morality and Jesus' resurrection so you have to accept the Trinity, soteriology, inerrancy, christology, apart from an evidential case.  That would be the kind of faith that is described by fideism.


I think it's important to remember that Dr. Craig makes his usual arguments in his debates, and those debates are usually about the topic of the existence of God, and not on the divinity of Jesus or anything like that.  I suspect that Dr. Craig would have arguments for believing in those other things if someone asked him.  I know I've seen him make an argument for inerrancy before.

"Why can't verses from the New Testament count as evidence for the things that you mentioned?"

Because you would have to accept without proof that the texts are divinely inspired to get to Christian theological claims and not simply see them as a tradition that you can derive certain historical facts from.


I see it differently.  We can know what Jesus said without believing the texts are divinely inspired just like we can know what other people in history said without assuming that any other documents are divinely inspired.  


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Matthew Kissel

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Perhaps it's rational to believe  those things because of the evidence for them despite the fact that they  aren't proven to be true.  That's the way history works.


I guess the main difference between you and me is that I don't see Christ's resurrection in itself as evidence for certain Christian doctrines.

We can know what Jesus said without  believing the texts are divinely inspired just like we can know what  other people in history said without assuming that any other documents  are divinely inspired.


We can know a lot of what Jesus said but we can't accept everything the gospels claim he said or even everything Paul claims he said.  We have to open a discussion of which verses are historical and which are not before we derive doctrine from them.  If we get doctrine from the words of the Bible before assessing the historicity of them (not even getting them close to the autographs but assessing the historicity of the autograph itself) then we really are taking them on faith (and not the good kind of faith that apologists argue is compatible with reason).


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admiralmattbar wrote:
Perhaps it's rational to believe those things because of the evidence for them despite the fact that they aren't proven to be true.  That's the way history works.


I guess the main difference between you and me is that I don't see Christ's resurrection in itself as evidence for certain Christian doctrines.

I don't think those doctrines would be just as believable if Christ never rose from the dead.  If Jesus never rose from the dead, then at best it would be very difficult to argue why we should follow Jesus instead of Muhammed or Joseph Smith.

The resurrection validates the claims that Jesus made about Himself.  That's how we get ideas about Jesus being God, or about the Trinity.  

Quote
We can know what Jesus said without believing the texts are divinely inspired just like we can know what other people in history said without assuming that any other documents are divinely inspired.


We can know a lot of what Jesus said but we can't accept everything the gospels claim he said or even everything Paul claims he said.  We have to open a discussion of which verses are historical and which are not before we derive doctrine from them.  If we get doctrine from the words of the Bible before assessing the historicity of them (not even getting them close to the autographs but assessing the historicity of the autograph itself) then we really are taking them on faith (and not the good kind of faith that apologists argue is compatible with reason).


I don't see a problem at all with having a discussion about which verses are historical and which ones are not.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  In addition, some Christians use some of the things that Jesus said to argue for inerrancy.  

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Matthew Kissel

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I don't think those doctrines would be just as believable if Christ never rose from the dead.

We're certainly in agreement about that.

I don't see a problem at all with having a discussion about which verses are historical and which ones are not.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.

So it really seems to come down to: 1. Do the quotations from Jesus we get doctrine from mean what we think they do? 2. Are the quotations from Jesus that we get doctrine from historical?  I'll have to start my research.



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GRWelsh

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admiralmattbar wrote: Let's say I was an atheist who watched a bunch of Craig's debates and was convinced by his 4 main arguments.

-I believed that the universe was created by a God who existed outside time and space.
-I believed that God fine-tuned the universe for life.
-I believed that Jesus came back from the dead somehow (probably some kind of performance by said God).
-I believed that morality was dependent on God.

This still seems far from the kind of Christianity Craig endorses.  I realize this has been addressed before as a God of Philosophy vs. God of the Bible type of discussion but this one is slightly more than a God of philosophy.  This gets us to a God that is tangentially linked to Jesus (at least enough to give Jesus' followers a huge shock on Sunday) but that is still far from traditional Christianity.  Does Craig present evidence for the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the divine inspiration of the Bible (according to his argument he analyzes them as historical documents, not divine literature) or some sort of afterlife for normal people?

Hello, I am an atheist, and I will try to answer this.  I think the arguments above other than the one about Jesus's resurrection only take one as far as "the Philosopher's God."  If I found one or more of those arguments compelling, it would make me shift from atheist to deist.  

For example, if I were only persuaded by the first argument, I might come to the conclusion that there is something that exists -- an unmoved mover, an extra-natural or supernatural creative force -- but I might not think that it has anything approximating intelligence or intentions, or that it cares about morality, or that it has ever interacted with humanity.

But if were persuaded by the next argument, I would conclude this supernatural creative force must have some intentions, and therefore some intelligence, if it fine-tuned a universe that could contain life.

If I were persuaded by the last argument, I would conclude the intelligent supernatural creative force cares how other intelligent beings treat each other, since it is the source of morality (which is now beginning to look a lot more like a traditional conception of God).  

And if I were also persuaded by the argument of Jesus' resurrection, then I would conclude the intelligent, caring, supernatural force (which we call God) has interacted with and revealed itself to humanity through the miracle of resurrecting Jesus.

So, the arguments are additive and serve to "block off" large philosophical areas, which serve to funnel one in the direction of Christianity.  The resurrection argument is the keystone to link the Philosophers' God to the Christian God.
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.

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Matthew Kissel

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Thank you for answering this!  Do you think Christ's resurrection would lend credibility to his historical teaching?

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GRWelsh

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Yes, I do.
The morning sun rose and burned off the ghosts; it seems they were nothing but shapes in the fog.