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KviteKrist

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God of the gaps?
« on: May 25, 2014, 10:27:20 am »
Isn't the resurrection argument just like the God of the gaps? We don't know therefore it's God?
"You scare us with your god, who is both blind and deaf and can neither save himself nor others, and who can not get the stain without anyone carrying him...  Look up now, look towards the east, where our God comes with great light!"
-Olaf (II) Haraldsson, debating with a group of Norse pagans.

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Soyeong

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 11:13:04 am »
Do you think it's possible for an argument to conclude that God exists without it being a God of the Gaps argument?
"Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it.”

Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God. - Matthews 22:29 (CJB)

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 07:40:44 am »
I was going to start my own thread when I saw this.

I think the minimal facts argument, the context of Jesus' ministry and my prior belief in a god, makes the resurrection hypothesis more plausible than not.

However my question is related to the Opening Post. What do you say to someone who says? Ok, swoon hypothesis, wrong tomb, conspiracy, hallucination, secret twin brother, etc don't explain things very well but why can't we just say that we don't know what happened? Some combination of events occured and we just don't know.

I was wondering what people would suggest as an answer?


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Branden Holmes

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 07:54:02 am »
I was wondering what people would suggest as an answer?
As an atheist I think that we should be agnostic about the resurrection, in the sense that the available sources do not allow us to draw any definite conclusion. Provided that one accepts the possibility of miracles, and that God's existence is at least equally as plausible as not, then what we are left with is, not facts as such, but rather, information about what people believed. We can either take their claims at face value, or we can try to hypothesize some set of events which account for the facts equally well. Either route has its difficulties.
I'm an atheist.

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 08:37:39 am »
@Brendan,

I think given you that you aren't a theist, then you are right in being an agnostic about the resurrection. Although I imagine that plenty of people would disagree.

I accept the cumulative case for theism from Natural Theology. Given I find the historical case for the resurrection plausible, maybe I should hold the belief that it happened more strongly?

 

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Branden Holmes

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 08:43:14 am »
@Branden,

I think given you that you aren't a theist, then you are right in being an agnostic about the resurrection. Although I imagine that plenty of people would disagree.

I accept the cumulative case for theism from Natural Theology. Given I find the historical case for the resurrection plausible, maybe I should hold the belief that it happened more strongly?
That depends, I guess. There is a distinction between "God exists and has properties x, y and z", and "God raised Jesus from the dead (for whatever reason)". Do you think that it would be natural for God to resurrect Jesus given God's powers and will? Theists admit that God's will is mysterious, so I find it hard to put myself in such a position to have to decide whether the resurrection is something God "would do".
I'm an atheist.

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 08:53:29 am »
Thanks for the reply Brendan,

I guess I can imagine God of Natural Theology (especially given the Moral and Ontological arguments) putting a "Rescue Plan" in place like sending Jesus to save us.

I find the alternative theories relating to the events to be very lacking. However I guess I want just a bit more evidence. William Lane Craig at some point suggested that if God erect a huge cross in the sky with the words "Jesus Saves" then belief in the resurrection would be coercive (I may have got this story a bit muddled). However I think the example he uses is a bit too extreme. 

How about just a bit more evidence? A few more sources? A visiting Roman Historian who "just happened" to be in the right place at the right time? I don't know. But then I guess, how much evidence would be enough without being coercive. 

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Branden Holmes

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2014, 09:02:59 am »
Thanks for the reply Brendan,

I guess I can imagine God of Natural Theology (especially given the Moral and Ontological arguments) putting a "Rescue Plan" in place like sending Jesus to save us.

I find the alternative theories relating to the events to be very lacking. However I guess I want just a bit more evidence. William Lane Craig at some point suggested that if God erect a huge cross in the sky with the words "Jesus Saves" then belief in the resurrection would be coercive (I may have got this story a bit muddled). However I think the example he uses is a bit too extreme. 

How about just a bit more evidence? A few more sources? A visiting Roman Historian who "just happened" to be in the right place at the right time? I don't know. But then I guess, how much evidence would be enough without being coercive.
I think WLC and Richard Swinburne both argued for the same basic point: that the certainty of God's existence would deprive at least some people of the good of having faith, etc. That's probably what he meant in that context :)
I'm an atheist.

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 10:32:58 am »
Thanks for your reply Brendan.

As a matter of interest, do you want Christianity to be true?

I strongly think that Theism is true and hold Christianity to be probably true. I am not sure how I feel about it from an emotional point of view. ATheism is kind of attractive to me on an emotional level - we get to be the masters of our own destiny for a short while anyway. There is something kind of noble to "rage against the dying of the light". BUt I guess nothing is objectively noble or meaningful in that view anyhow.

 

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Branden Holmes

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2014, 10:39:31 am »
As a matter of interest, do you want Christianity to be true?
Intellectually, I simply follow the evidence/arguments. Emotionally, I'd like for there to be ultimate justice, but that doesn't have to take the form of Christianity.
I'm an atheist.

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Soyeong

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2014, 03:40:19 pm »
Quote from: Brian
However my question is related to the Opening Post. What do you say to someone who says? Ok, swoon hypothesis, wrong tomb, conspiracy, hallucination, secret twin brother, etc don't explain things very well but why can't we just say that we don't know what happened? Some combination of events occured and we just don't know.

I think for any historical event, someone could propose any number of possible unsupported alternative explanations, but I don't think their cumulative weight means that we can't know anything about history. 
"Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it.”

Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God. - Matthews 22:29 (CJB)

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2014, 06:19:49 pm »
Hi Soyeong, thank you for your reply. I agree with you to a certain extent. I think though that we are talking about not just any event in history but the a most important event where God acted in the world. I believe it happened but probably only on a fifty percent plus one basis

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Soyeong

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2014, 07:00:46 pm »
Hello Brian,

I'm in the middle of reading Mike Licona's book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.  I'm not sure if you're taking book recommendations, but I think it would be right up your alley.
"Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it.”

Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God. - Matthews 22:29 (CJB)

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Jon S

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2014, 07:04:55 pm »
I'm confused by the OP's question.  Is it that evidence that the resurrection happened is like God of the Gaps, or is it that it is a God of the Gaps argument to argue that, assuming the resurrection happened, that it is evidence for God. 

In either case, I do not think it is God of the Gaps.  God of the Gaps is essentially an argument of the form:

There is no way that a, b, and c, can explain X.

Therefore the only explanation of X is God.

This is a bad argument because just because we do not know the non-divine explanation for something, doesn't mean that there is not one.  It also doesn't offer any positive evidence to think that God is the explanation for something.

The resurrection arguments, by contrast, usually point to positive evidence specifically in favor of God.  For instance they often point to logical reasons why the biblical narrative can be taken to be reliable, why the witnesses whose accounts are recorded in the bible should be considered trustworthy, etc.  In terms of going from "the resurrection happened" to God exists, it's not God of the Gaps - it is (assuming the reliability of the Bible) what Jesus said after the resurrection. 

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Brian Boru

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Re: God of the gaps?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 04:38:28 am »
Hi Soyeung, thank you for your reply. I will have a look at that book.

At the moment my main problem is that I am very confused about God and how I sdealsd think about God and relate to  God so if you knew of a source that dals with those big issues please let me know