Debate: The Evidence for Jesus from the Talmud – Wrap-Up Comments

I summarized Joe Hinman's argument from the external evidence of the Talmud this way:1. There are MANY references to Jesus in the Talmud that were censored but that were preserved in some texts. 2. There are A FEW references to Jesus in the Talmud that were not censored. 3. ALL of the references to Jesus in the Talmud speak of Jesus in a way that assumes or implies that Jesus was a flesh‐and‐blood historical figure. 4. IF (1), (2), and (3) are true, THEN the external evidence from the Talm … [Read more...]

Worldviews as Problem-Solving Proposals

Can a worldview be true (or false)?  I have been thinking of a worldview as a set of basic assumptions that contitute a philosophy of life, or a logical structure that approximates a philosophy of life.  On this conception of a worldview, it seems that a worldview is the kind of thing that could be true (or false).However, I have also been thinking, for many years, that worldviews can be understood in terms of problem solving, especially as analogous to problem solving for medical issues.   … [Read more...]

Is Christianity True?

As indicated in a previous post,  for the next four or five years I plan to focus on the question:Is Christianity true?I plan to do most of my Christianity-centered posts on my old Cross Examination blog site, where I have set up the initial logical structure of interconnected blog posts (including a number that only have titles and no content): the question "Does God exist?"  I will do most of the posts here at The Secular Outpost and wi … [Read more...]

My Twelve-Year Plan

In October of 2013, I came up with the idea of a Ten-Year plan to write a four-volume critique of Christianity: Plan for a Multi-Volume Critique of Christianity Some of my posts here at the Secular Outpost have been closely related to the Ten-Year plan and the topics it will cover.In January of this year, I did a short post outlining the high-level logic of my critique of Christianity:Ten-Year Plan: Revised ScopeI thought this plan was a bit ambitious, but I am now considering an … [Read more...]

Skepticism and Conjunctions

Belief in God and belief in the Christian faith are both vulnerable to skepticism in view of the fact that both beliefs consist in conjuctions.Some of the key divine attributes are:eternally bodiless eternally omnipotent eternally omniscient eternally perfectly morally good the creator of the universeIn order for God to exist, there must be one and only one person who has all five of these divine attributes.If there is an omnipotent person who is evil or morally flawed, … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Wrapping up the Debate

Josh McDowell and various life events have distracted me from the debate with Joe Hinman about the external evidence for the existence of Jesus. (Sorry for the delay, Joe.)I wrote an introductory post about the debate:Introduction to the DebateHinman presented five arguments for the existence of Jesus based on external (non-biblical) evidence:Arguments 1 Through 4 (Talmud, Papias, Polycarp, Josephus)Argument 5 (Web of Historicity)I criticized the five arguments, typically … [Read more...]

Repost: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence (ECREE), Part 2: Is ECREE False? A Reply to William Lane Craig

(This article was originally published on this blog on June 21, 2012. I am reposting because William Lane Craig recently tweeted a link to a video in which he objects to ECREE.)In my last post, I offered a Bayesian interpretation of the principle, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" (ECREE). William Lane Craig, however, disagrees with ECREE. In a response to philosopher Stephen Law, Craig wrote this. This sounds so commonsensical, doesn’t it? But in fact it is demonstrably … [Read more...]

McDowell’s Trilemma – Part 5: The Creator of the Universe

McDowell's Trilemma Argument (hereafter: MTA), can be found in The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (hereafter: NETDV) by Josh McDowell (see pages 158-163).The first key premise of MTA is this:Jesus claimed to be God.None of the canonical Gospels report Jesus as having asserted the claim "I am God" nor the claim "Jesus of Nazareth is God" nor the claim "The Messiah is God, and I am the Messiah".  Based on the canonical Gospels, Jesus never directly CLAIMED to be God. However, it i … [Read more...]