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...]

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...]

Religious Minimalism

This is an interesting article that I find largely congenial:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-clayton-phd/science-religion-religious-minimalism_b_1143257.htmlI do wonder what the authors mean by "humility," which is an attitude they recommend for both believers and non-believers. Humility is a Christian virtue, and it has its positives and negatives. On the positive side, a dose of humility can be a fine corrective for some of the overweening arrogance on display, for instance, among the … [Read more...]

Amazon Review of my Hell Essay

Someone named James D. Zimmerman has reviewed the volume The End of Christianity, edited by John Loftus (Prometheus; 2011) on Amazon. I found this paragraph especially interesting:So, “many Christian denominations have long since dispensed with hell?” I wonder which ones these are. Catholics? The Greek Orthodox? Southern Baptists? Here is what the Greek Orthodox Catechism says awaits people following the final judgment:The condition of each individual will no more be changed, but those, who have … [Read more...]

Hume’s Beautiful Argument

In two of my classes this term we have been reading Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Whenever I read his Section X, “Of Miracles,” I am once again struck by the beauty, simplicity, and the power of his argument. Oceans of ink have been spilled by philosophers commenting on this argument, and many of those comments have been critical, often harshly so. Hume himself was rather proud of his reasoning on miracles:Nothing is so convenient as an argument of this kind, which must at lea … [Read more...]

Geisler and Scholarship

If found it highly risible that Norman Geisler would criticize fellow apologist Licona for "bad scholarship." A few years ago Geisler published a critique of the volume The Empty Tomb edited by Jeff Lowder and Bob Price. His critique of my contribution (criticizing Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli on the hallucination argument) was so spectacularly inept, that I am afraid that my reply was a bit intemperate. Readers of SO know that I usually am less truculent with critics, but sometimes, when the … [Read more...]

Theism and the Genetic Fallacy, Part II

(Editor's note: redating this post; originally published on 5-Mar-09)A few weeks ago I engaged in an exchange with Victor Reppert on theism and the genetic fallacy. I had meant to get back to him right away, but administrative b.s. of the sort always imposed on university faculties slowed me down. Anyway, our conversation made me think of ways to employ some of the recent biological belief theories (BBT's) of Boyer, Atran, Dennett and others in constructing a more rigorous atheological argument: … [Read more...]


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