On Faith And Reason

“”I think this is more fanciful and absurd theorizing. Every Christian knows that Jesus, the son of God and man, died and rose again on Easter Sunday,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesperson for the Catholic church in New York, where details of the discovery will be unveiled this morning.“No alleged DNA test or Hollywood film is going to change that,” he told the New York Post.”

~ The Toronto Star

What might have been said some centuries ago:

“Every good Christian knows that the earth is flat. Theorizing about it being spherical is just fanciful thinking. Every Christian knows that the Word Of God is innerant and therefore the earth must be flat, with four corners. No ship going out to sea heading west and only west will ever return to our port, no matter what they say.”

A paraphrase of what was said a few decades ago:

“No scientist worth his salt will deny global cooling.”

A paraphrase of what is being said today:

“This is the best science we have – to even question what is being theorized about fossil fuels and CO2 is unscientific. We preach only the truth today in our Church Of Science – and you must have faith in what we tell you.”

By the way, I have no opinion on the claims about Jesus’ tomb and remains being found.

Update: Interesting discussion going on after Treehugger posted his thoughts on the debate about the “Jesus Tomb.”

14 thoughts on “On Faith And Reason”

  1. Well the Church has never provided a single iota of proof of their story for 2000 years, so its not surprising to their reaction is “la-al-la I can’t hear you!”

    As for “the Church of Science” the big difference is science is more than willing to change when presented with evidence, more than willing to abandon those ideas and hypotheses that no longer have evidence or fall apart in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    The Church? Not so much…

  2. Mike-

    Do you mean like divorce? Or contraceptives? Or marriage?

    I mean, the Church has always been steadfast and consistent with all of these ideas, right?

    If the “Church of Science” is so willing to be questioned, then why is there such a political will to silence dissenters and marginalize certain opinions?

    I can see which church you belong to!

  3. Reminds me of the James ossuary, now considered a fake by archeological experts.

    Also reminds me of a film called, if I remember, “The Body” where a seemingly empty tomb was found. But after careful excavation, a hidden inner chamber was discovered with a body that had all the markings of crucifixtion. There is a scene in it where one Israeli gov’t official expresses concern that this could be the end of Christianity. The more senior official said not to worry, because even if it did turn out to be the very remains of Jesus, the church would only lose a few members. The others would carry on with blind faith, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Overall, it was a silly movie, but somehow I think that scene gave the truth. There are a great many Christians, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant that will never change their beliefs, regardless of what evidence is put before them, or what reasonable arguments are presented to them.

  4. It’s interesting how many Christians jumped on the James ossuary discovery when it first came out. If I recall, even the Toronto Free Presbyterians were excited about it. I wonder if they will get the same level of excitement over these claims… or will their first reaction be anger…
    … Just wondering…

  5. Mike,

    Have they offered no proof, or just no proof you’re willing to accept? They ask for “faith” in the accounts of those who either were there or heard from those who were there.
    They ask you to believe in events you cannot see. So far that sounds like a courtroom, to which I am sure you are willing to accede legitimacy.

  6. Tom, this statement contradicts itself, can you not see that?

    “There are a great many Christians, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant that will never change their beliefs, regardless of what evidence is put before them, or what reasonable arguments are presented to them.”

  7. Tom, the contradiction is the fact that there are Christians with differing opinions: Protestants are Protestants because they broke away from the Catholic Church over a change in beliefs. Luther put forward his argument and persuaded many to follow him, exactly the kind of thing you say will never happen.

  8. Hooligan,

    Thanks. I can see now what was referred to as a contradiction. But I still believe that my statement is correct. I didn’t say that no Christians will change their beliefs. Obviously the existence of liberal/modernist churches attests to the fact that some people will change their minds. However, I personally know many Christians of the Protestant (specifically fundamentalist) and Catholic persuasion who I doubt would drop their beliefs even if very strong conflicting evidence were presented to them. Many Catholics still believe in the authenticity of the Shroud or Turiin, in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary. Many Fundamentalists believe the Bible contains no contradictions.

  9. “if the “Church of Science” is so willing to be questioned, then why is there such a political will to silence dissenters and marginalize certain opinions?”

    The irony is that science is fairly conservative. It takes time. And even marginalized dissenters are right and eventually come to the fore – Galileo, for instance.

    Do not mistake those who try to use science for their own ends for science itself, or the scientific method. There are still people involved. Beware of them as much as we should beware of those who ignore science.

    And don’t forget that sometimes dissenters are silenced and marginalized not because of some protection of orthodoxy by some power structure within science, but because people stop paying attention to them and listening to them. Because they are simply wrong.

  10. “Have they offered no proof, or just no proof you’re willing to accept? They ask for “faith” in the accounts of those who either were there or heard from those who were there.
    They ask you to believe in events you cannot see. So far that sounds like a courtroom, to which I am sure you are willing to accede legitimacy.”

    No there is no proof at all that stands up to rigorus examination. Passages in Jospehus have been shown to be forged, the Shroud is from the 1300s France etc. In fact, the “accounts of those who were there or heard from those who were there” has also been shown, via textual criticism, to be incorrect.

    In a court room, hearsay is not allowed (”heard from those who were there”) and there would also be physical evidence, multiple witnesses that have no stake in the outcome and the opportunity to present contradictory evidence.

    The only “proof” is the Bible, which itself has a dubious history that even most Christians are not aware of. Yet I am supposed to believe in an extraordinary, supernatural being who rules the world and all in it base on THAT proof?

    You want to believe it? Knock yourself out. So long as it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my legs, go for it. But don’t expect me accept the truth of such beliefs if no evidence is presented except the holy book of the belief itself.

    And don’t think that even constitutes evidence at all.

  11. Textual criticism is an opinion about the contents of written passages. You are willing to accept this but not the contents themselves? Fair enough, but should we not, then, subject the first “textual criticism” to a textual criticism itself, in order to ascertain whether its contents are reliable, or say what we think it says? Where does this process end? Who decides which written form will be accepted? Personal bias will affect your choice.

    My courtroom analogy is about the process itself: verbal evidence is weighed and judgements are made. You are correct that some evidence is determined to be hearsay, and therefore unreliable, while some evidence is given more credence. Again, personal bias decides which versions are deemed reliable in the courtroom: many an appeal is launched based upon dispute over the validity of a judge’s ruling within a decision. I submit that you do not find the courtroom system to be faulty, that is, you find it to be an acceptable method for determining the “truth” of something you cannot personally know.

    Ultimately, you will be the judge of what you accept to be true, which was my original comment. Proof has been offered to you as the jury; you have not accepted it. But proof was indeed offered.

  12. Proof can be defined as “evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth. ” I quote here from an online dictionary source. In this case, I am referring to proof as in the second part above, sufficient to produce belief in truth. Irrefutable? No, not a chance. Enough for belief? That, as I said before, depends on the individual judging the material.

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