Sunday, October 04, 2020

Miracles, Proof, and Power

The "Counter Apologist'' (aka "the CA") has an argument designed to undermine confidence in the resurrection as proof of the veracity of the faith. Here.This piece by CA is extremely long and it's not divided by pagination or any markings to indicate where quotes are found. I will not deal with the entire argument but only deal with the crucial point.

the CA:

I am countering the resurrection argument in a very specific way, my aim is to debunk the argument as it is used specifically as a means to convert non-Christians into Christians, as well as to counter the idea that Christians remain in their faith due to any supposed strength that is in the historical argument for the resurrection of Jesus...
 "we assume that miracles are evidence for the truth of the philosophical and theological teachings of the miracle worker"

He references  1 Kings 18:

"The idea is that like god sending fire from the sky to burn a wet alter or a person rising from the dead, it would be evidence for the truth of the teachings of the miracle worker."

The CA's point actually centers around Hume'spoint:

"This was Hume’s point - testimony in principle can’t overcome our inductive experience of the world."

Now that is his most crucial statement because it's the crux of his whole point. We never see people raised from the dead so there is no basis for assuming the reports are true because the  experience of the way the world works, He does posit that experience is universal. He actually believes no one has ever seen a  miracle.

My argument is that this is true in almost all cases,[testimony can't overcome experience] with only one exception for young children getting testimony from their parents when they are too young to do anything but accept that testimony from a reliable source and treat it as knowledge. That said, in almost all cases we are right to be skeptical when someone tells us something that wildly violates our background knowledge.

Violating our background knowledge is the point. That outweighs testimony. Meaning, we have to ignore Biblical testimony of the Risen Christ because it contradicts how we know the world works. That's a standard atheist assumption. He goes a little more in:

I want to stress that this conclusion holds even if you are a mere theist, especially a “recently convinced mere theist”. After all, a god can exist but just not interfere in the physical world. Even if a god could resurrect someone, in your inductive experience of the world how many times have you witnessed god raise someone from the dead? It’s a virtual certainty that even if a god exists, it doesn’t do that.

His argument is really Hume's argument, it doesn't happen enough to trust the accounts..He tries to sell it on the premise that no one would accept it if it were not tied to a religious context:
Does my moon lunch scenario become any more plausible if I amend it to say “God transported me to the moon for lunch and then sent me back home to Earth for dinner that same day”?... If I were to try and use a defense in a murder trial that my concealed carry gun levitated out of my holster and fired on my hiking companion in the middle of the woods all to the sound of a demon taunting us, would the jury accept or reject that claim? Would you want the jury to accept that claim?

His founding accusation, "we assume that miracles are evidence for the truth of the philosophical and theological teachings of the miracle worker" yes we do assume so and it is a reasonable assumption. Given that religious histories of many faiths use miracles as part of their testimony. He really offers no reason to reject the premise.

His most basic assumption, that we never see miracles, is just plain wrong, MIracles are seen more often than most people imagine, They don;thave to be resurrections oset up the notion that impossible things happen. Thinking of resurrection, however, I have known four people who either claimed to have been risen or who met others who made that claim. The one example I will defend is that of my father. He was dead for 11 minutes. He was on the operating table.The Doctor thought he was dead. They shocked his heart so bringing him back was something medical science does do. Still he was dead and came back maybe it is not as amazing as we thought?

The doctor himself said it was a miracle. He said "I have never used the term 'mirealceofmypractice eforebuthtiswa a miracle." Certainly there was prayer. I watched the Pope's midnight mass and praed for him, I dreamed God brought him to me and told me he would be well.When I woke up the next morning I expected him to be dead. We had been told he was not expected to live through the night. My brother told me he was alive and the staff in the ICU was amazed. When I went down there the first thing they said to me was "have you heard about the miracle?" The staff was actually spreading the word "God worked a miracle here last night."

The Lady who led me to the Lord had miracles occurring in her life on a regular basis. It's not something that can turn it off but one might think so knowing her. Her name was Judy Romero. She is now with Jesus. Another example of a miracle that I witnessed: this was in the convalescent period after my father came home from the previous miracle. He was having an attack of some kind. We called EMS they had him all hooked up to their equipment and monitoring his vital signs. He was clearly in danger. My mother and brother laid hands on him and prayed; the EMS guys saw the readings change before their eyes. They were all going "what the hell is happening?" One of them was really upset. He was cying and saying "it didn't happen! It did not happen, you didn't see that!" One of them told me "he's an atheist." The EMS guys said there's nothing wrong with my father and they left but there was a hush, they were in awe. The head guy said "I've never seen anything like this." The thing is my brother was not a Christian he was very negative about Christianity. He only laid hands on our Dad with my mother to humar her. He agreed with the account  I have given. He did return to Christianity eventually.

Is there a logical difficulty with extending from the small scale exampes of God's powerimouirlives to trstin theaccountsof resrurrection? Why should there be? If God can create the universe, all universes, can create all there is,  Why can't he raise one guy from the dead? My point here is that resurrection is not beyond the scope of logical extension of the power we see God exert in  our lives.

The CA winds up accusing Christians of worshipping power. The appeal to miracle is actually appeal to the greater power.That argument is a microsom of the fawin the argument as a whole. It tries to impose upon the believer a set of assumptions most believers do not make. I assume God has all power because he created the universe and I think it would take all power to do that.I don't assume he created because I first assume he has all power. I think it's the CA who is obsessed with power.

Right makes might CA assumes that Christians believe might makes right and that is evidenced by the appeal to miracles. I think it's really that right maes might. God is being itself. Because power flows out of being itself God is the basis of power just he is the basis of being. But that being the case, God is the basis of the good because he is love. Thus it is God/s goodness that grounds reality in the creative wisdom of God.Power is but a side effect. [1]The Counter Apologist, "Countering the Resurrection Argument (Full Version)," Counter Apologist Countering Christian apologetics arguments with logic, evidence, and reason.

No comments: