Doubting Thomas

Doubting Thomas April 11, 2010

Are you a doubting Thomas? Mark Shea has a great article on InsideCatholic here–a robust defense of the resurrection of Christ.

Increasingly I believe Christian apologetics ought to focus on the resurrection of Christ. We really need to understand that on that everything else hangs. If Christ is not risen our faith is in vain. Old fashioned ‘Who Moved the Stone’ type arguments should be known by all Christians and when faced with smart alec atheists we should start there.

They really must be pressed about the resurrection, and it is no good them simply waving a hand and saying, “Such things cannot happen therefore it did not happen.” This approach to miracles first put out by philosopher David Hume is balderdash. The definition of a miracle is that it is something extraordinary so it is not good enough to say, “Extraordinary things don’t happen therefore something extraordinary could not have happened.” How dumb is that?

The skeptic is afraid that if he allows for the resurrection that he must accept every other supernatural tale that comes along from images of Mother Teresa in a bagel to “healings” by sweating televangelists. He dare not take seriously the Catholic understanding of miracles: that they are possible but that we are properly skeptical and we look for every natural explanation first. Such a common sense approach seems perfectly reasonable. It allows for unexplainable phenomena –and who can deny that such things happen? But it also seeks the natural explanation first, and even when a natural explanation is not possible it still does not necessarily ascribe the phenomena to God.

The supernaturalist therefore is more open minded than the logical positivist who denies the possibility of miracles. The supernaturalist has room for the unexpected even if he does not understand it. The logical positivist has room only for the natural, physical explanation. The supernaturalist has both/and. The logical positivist has only one.

The irony is that the logical positivist is neither logical nor positive. He is illogical and negative. The supernaturalist is able to be objective and coolly rational in the face of the unexplained. The logical positivist can only react with incoherent rage for the unexplained reveals that he has no explanation–not even a bad one.

The foaming rage and bitter, irrational, bile spitting rants of Dawkins and Hitchens proves my point.

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