The Parsons Test of Biblical Literalism

A number of posts and commentaries recently have argued that even conservative Christian apologists have now largely abandoned the old-fashioned literalist view of scripture. I am still not sure. I don’t know how deep or broad their skepticism is. Hence I offer the following Parsons Test of Biblical Literalism. It is, of course, a completely unscientific test that I made up just for fun. Still, I would be very surprised at many scores of much less than 40 from our evangelical interlocutors. … [Read more...]

Does Hume Commit a Fallacy?

One respondent to my previous post, “The Gospels and Critical History,” in addition to the usual bluster and bombast, manages to offer a few interesting arguments. He had this to say about Hume’s miracle argument from section 1o of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:"As for Hume's beautiful argument; it is demonstrably fallacious. Hume had an excuse because probability calculus hadn't been fully developed in his day, but we now know that what Hume forgot to factor was the probability that … [Read more...]

Question about the Templeton Foundation’s $3M Grant to Biola University

The blog Why Evolution is True commented on the Templeton Foundation's decision to award a $3,030,000 grant to Biola University to setup a "Biola University Center for Christian Thought."Stereotypes about Christian institutions of higher learning aside, I received my undergraduate degree from a Christian university. I met a lot of bright students and professors there who certainly seemed to think deeply about the "big questions." If asked, I would have described it, like many other … [Read more...]

The Gospels and Critical History

I follow with interest some of the debates posted on SO concerning the historical reliability of the Gospel narratives. Christian apologists often accuse skeptics of approaching those narratives with an unwarranted degree of skepticism that assumes the falsehood of those narratives until and unless they meet unreasonable standards of proof not imposed on other ancient testimonies. For instance, they say that skeptics raise no quibbles about the general historicity of the accounts of … [Read more...]