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.

For example, in his debate with William Lane Craig (transcript can be found here), he says, that "historians cannot presuppose belief or disbelief in God, when making their conclusions."  The great irony about this statement is that, in his presupposition that the probability of a miracle is zero, he smuggles along with it a presupposition that God cannot exist.   (Sound familiar?  That's the maneuver that Dawkins tries to pull that I discussed here.)  Because if God exists, then miracles are possible.  And even if God possibly exists, then miracles are still possible.  The only way that miracles are impossible is if God cannot exist.  In other words, in saying miracles are the least probable event, he is implying that the probability that God exists is zero.

And if your presupposition is that the probability of God is zero, then you are making just about the strongest presupposition about (dis)belief in God that you possibly can!  So how can he say both that "historians cannot presuppose...disbelief in God" while at the same time presupposing that God's existence is impossible?  Is it because he doesn't realize the implications of his definition of a miracle?  Or could it be that he hides behind these rhetorical, but intellectually absurd statements so that he doesn't have to face the facts?  It may very well be that Dr Ehrman, consciously or not, is using these empty claims in an illegitimate attempt to shield himself from the obvious conclusion: God exists and raised Jesus from the dead.