Friday, October 3, 2014

In the Beginning...

The opening verse to the bible says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  For
millennia, there was no empirical evidence to suggest there was such a beginning.  Indeed, many people thought that the universe was eternal.  Nowadays, of course, we know different.  Virtually all of the scientific evidence we have points to a beginning to our universe at some finite time in the past (i.e., the "Big Bang"). So, is this scientific fact, that the universe had a beginning, reason to believe in the God of the bible?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harry Potter vs Jesus

There is a common trend among internet atheists that, if you want to prove that Jesus didn't exist, all you have to do is show similarities between Jesus and some other mythical figure.  Of course, this approach doesn't work for two reasons.  First, it ignores the wealth of positive historical evidence we have for His existence.  Second, superficial similarities are irrelevant; the differences (of which there are many), are what's important.

Don't be fooled: these arguments are vacuous.

Friday, September 12, 2014

God commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac: a horror?

Statue of Abraham & Isaac (Princeton)
The story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son disturbs many people, and has been a favorite point of attack by atheists on the Christian religion.  The stance is that anyone who thinks he hears a voice telling him to kill his son is psychotic, and any God that would ask someone to do that (even if He were never planning on letting it happen) is a horrendous deity.  But is this attack fair? I think not.  In fact, I think that every single one of the folks attacking this story, were he in Abraham's shoes, would have done the exact same thing that Abraham did.  Furthermore, an honest look at this story shows us that the bible does not want us to have blind faith, but instead a faith defined by trust build on evidence.  Here's why.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dawkins vs. Bayes

Recently we've taken a look into several atheist arguments that seem valid on the surface, but are actually circular reasoning.  In particular, we've discussed Richard Dawkins, Bart Ehrman, and David Hume.  Dr. Dawkins assumes God cannot exist in his attempt to prove God does not exist.  Dr. Ehrman assumes miracles are probability zero (i.e., impossible) in his attempt to show that miracles are not accessible historically.  Hume assumes one must see a miracle in order to prove a miracle.  But besides circular reasoning, what do each of these have in common?  Each of their arguments are easily defeated by simply applying rigorous probability theory.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hume's Maxim and Circular Reasoning

Recently, here at The Cumulative Case, we've looked at a few quotes from atheists, including Richard Dawkins and Bart Ehrman, that show their circular reasoning.  Here, we will look at another popular quote, often called "Hume's Maxim", which again falls victim to circular reasoning.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bart Ehrman and self-contradiction

When in an argument with someone, have you ever contradicted yourself?  You say one thing one moment, then turn around and say the exact opposite, just a few minutes later?  It appears Bart Ehrman is guilty of this when he discusses whether or not historians can conclude that miracles have happened in history.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bart Ehrman's Circular Reasoning on God

In a debate, everyone wants to claim they have reason on their side, often to the exclusion of their debate opponent.  Atheists  have even gone so far as to hold a "Reason Rally" in the name of atheism.  In this regard, here at The Cumulative Case, we've been examining some logical blunders of leading proponents of atheism.  In our last post, we discussed how Bart Ehrman's claim about miracles (that they are, by definition, "always the least probable explanation for what happened") equates to the presupposition that the probability of a miracle is zero, which is blind faith of the worst kind.  Does he make any other logical blunders in his position on God and miracles?  The answer is yes, and there are many.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bart Ehrman's Circular Reasoning on Miracles

Circular logic: that's what happens when you arrive at a conclusion only because you assumed it was true from the start.  Last time, I highlighted a particular claim by Richard Dawkins that showed his faulty reasoning through circular logic.  This time, we'll look at a quote from Bart Ehrman.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More on Richard Dawkins' Circular Reasoning.

In line with our most recent post here at The Cumulative Case, which exposes Richard Dawkins' circular reasoning, there is a nice post from the Two Books Approach that discusses the same idea.  Below is the relevant excerpt from that post (But math-o-phobes beware: there is a dose of Bayesian inference!).  Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Richard Dawkins' Circular Reasoning on Fine-Tuning

I have recently noticed atheists making a lot of claims that are not based on reason, but on their own philosophical presuppositions.   Problem is, this is circular reasoning.  Over the next series of posts, we'll take a look at a few of these claims; today, we'll focus on a claim by Richard Dawkins.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Hostile Witness to the Resurrection

When someone testifies against themselves, or against their own position, you can be pretty sure of that testimony.  Such is the case with biblical scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman. There are a lot of things that Dr. Ehrman says that go against Christianity.  But in the end, he actually gives the Christian faith a lot of credibility.  In the end, he almost proves Christianity to be historically accurate for us.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The "Minimal Facts" Approach

In our last post, we introduced "The Minimal Facts Approach" for the case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This approach has been described by Gary Habermas and Mike Licona and can be found in their book, "The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus."  In brief, the five "facts" that Drs. Habermas and Licona use in this approach are:
  1. Jesus died by crucifixion
  2. His tomb was found empty
  3. The disciples believed and preached He is risen (indeed)
  4. Paul the church persecutor was converted
  5. James the skeptic was converted

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Jesus is risen: a well attested historical event

There are several things about history that we can be very sure of.  Napoleon was a short man.  George Washington cannot tell a lie: he chopped down a cherry tree.  Socrates was forced to take hemlock.  Oh, and Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

But how can such a (seemingly) far-fetched and miraculous event be something we are certain of?  The answer: it is the most plausible conclusion from what we know historically.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Can miracles happen?

The question of miracles can be quite divisive...even within the Christian community.  How does God act today?  Does he still perform miraculous healings?  If so, where are they?  If not, why not?  These are very difficult questions to wrestle with, and it is not always clear how to answer them.

On the other hand, one question is very clear to answer: "Has science disproved the possibility of miracles?"  The answer is a very definitive and resounding "NO!"

Monday, March 31, 2014

Is Jesus the Only Way?

Have you ever been infuriated by someone who insisted their favorite sports team was better than yours? For the most part, these things are a matter of preference, so any argument that one franchise is historically and exclusively better than all the others is just someone's opinion.

But is the same true in religion?  Is religion a matter of preference, or is it a matter of what is really and actually true?  If it is simply a matter of preference, then the common claim that Christians are arrogant because they claim Jesus is "the only way" may hold some water.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cosmos 2: Why even talk about Bruno?

When was the last time you watched a movie sequel that was as good as the original?  Some are fantastic, such as the Dark Knight, the Empire Strikes Back, and Terminator 2, but others are simply horrendous and don't even make it to the big screen.  Fact is, sequels are almost never as good as the original.  I have a sense that the reboot of Cosmos (or "Cosmos 2") might be one of those that fall horribly short.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is Jesus just a retelling of other myths?

One of the myths that's been going around the internet these days is that Jesus was himself a myth.  These folks like to claim that Jesus didn't actually exist!  This is quite a radical claim; indeed it is far more radical than the claim that Jesus simply was not who Christians say he was.  This is the claim that Jesus was completely made up by first century crazy people.

Well, it turns out that such a claim has no actual historical data on its side.  In fact, in regard to the credentials of those who hold this "mythicist" view, Bart Ehrman makes this point (quoted from his HuPo article here):

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Cumulative Case for Christianity

Have you ever seen a TV show in which a criminal is being brought to trial, and the cops or prosecutors are lamenting over the fact that their case is entirely "circumstantial"?  Or maybe the defense attorney is confident in a victory because of that fact?  These (fictional) scenarios portray "circumstantial" evidence in a very negative light.  However, the fact of the matter is, if you have enough circumstantial evidence, then your case becomes nearly air-tight. 

The evidential case for Christianity is a very strong case because it is based a panoply of circumstantial evidence.  Each piece adds more weight to the Cumulative Case for Christianity.  Denial of any one piece of evidence is like trying to remove a single stone from a mighty fortress: you may think you have done something until you realize the fortress is built on a massive foundation.  Yet to deny enough of the evidence to try to shake the foundation requires such extreme (and unfounded) skepticism that such a position does not hold up well to criticism.