I am posting my arguments from my recent debate with “Nick the Christian” on Theology Web:
Why do I choose the scientific method and reason as my worldview for determining reality? Answer: Because that is the primary worldview in western culture for evaluating truth claims, including claims regarding ancient history. For example, we don’t need to resort to philosophy to know if there is evidence for the biblical exodus story. We use science. We are able to study archeological evidence, genetic evidence, etc. to come to the conclusion that the biblical account of several million Hebrews living in Egypt for several hundred years as slaves is unsubstantiated and therefore almost certainly not true. We can also use the scientific method to study medicine (I am a physician, by the way) and learn that the reanimation of dead human tissue is NOT biologically possible.
The scientific method has an excellent track record. Instead of believing that angry gods are responsible for droughts, floods, and lightning, we now know, due to the scientific method, that none of these events are caused by tempermental gods, but due to natural, scientifically testable, phenomena.
Let me be clear. You don’t have to agree with my worldview or use it…except maybe in your occupation…unless you are a priest, pastor, rabbi, or mullah. I can’t say that my worldview is better than your supernatural-based worldview, but it is better for ME, and it seems better for most people in our society. I support your right to believe that the Tooth Fairy or some other invisible being controls our planet, just don’t try to force this belief on society as a whole, pushing it into public school curricula and using your superstitions to discriminate against people who have the same rights as you do to the pursuit of happiness, ie., marriage. That’s all I ask.
All of Nick’s evidence rests on what biased Christian “experts” believe, and that a few non-Christian experts believe that the early Christians had resurrection EXPERIENCES. I would like to see Nick explain why the overwhelming majority of Jewish scholars, experts in the Hebrew Bible, for two thousand years, have rejected any Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible that suggests ANY prophecy about Jesus, and, why these same scholars believe that the resurrection claim is ridiculous and preposterous.
Let me close with the following story:
There once was an emperor who was very vain. One day, two clever, very quick-witted fellows arrived in the imperial city announcing that they were professional tailors, and, that they had discovered the most luxurious, finest thread ever known to mankind; thread with which they could spin the finest, rarest clothing that only the most refined could appreciate…at a hefty price, of course. The town was a buzz with excitement.
The vain emperor heard of the tailors’ rare thread and summoned them to the palace. The tailors quickly convinced the emperor, using very complicated, sophisticated, tailor terminology, that no other tailor in the world could spin a finer suit of clothing for him than they.
The tailors worked furiously in a closed-door room for days, making all kinds of impressive grunts and other sounds as they spun their spinning wheels and sliced and sliced with their specialized scissors. Finally, a week later, the royal suit was finished! The emperor was called to the dressing room to try on his new clothes. The two tailors handed the emperor a beautifully wrapped package and asked him to step into the fitting room while they dressed him in his new suit. The emperor removed his old clothing, and watched as the tailors opened the box. With great fan fare the two men pulled objects out of the box, one after another, asking the emperor to push his arm through here, and to stick his leg through there…but the emperor saw nothing coming out of the box! The tailors then asked the emperor to stand in front of the mirror and tell them what he thought of his new, rare, very luxurious clothing.
The emperor stepped in front of the mirror…and gasped! He was completely naked. He could not see one stitch of clothing on him!
“How dreadful!” he thought to himself. “If I say that I see nothing they will think me unrefined and lacking in the latest style and taste.” “It’s exquisite!” he proclaimed to the delight of our clever, slick-tongued tailors.
The emperor ordered that all his court assemble in the Great Hall so that he could parade his new suit of clothing in front of everyone. However, when he stepped into the hall accompanied by the tailors, there was an audible gasp from the entire assembly.
“My god! The emperor is buck naked! I can’t see one stitch of clothing on him,” thought each adult present. “But if I say that, everyone else will think that I am unrefined and lacking in good taste and knowledge of the latest styles.”
“Gorgeous!” “Splendid!” “Amazing!” they all cried.
However, as the emperor reached the half way point in the great hall, one small child stepped out from behind his mother’s dress and shrieked, “The Emperor is naked! He’s not wearing any clothes!”
“Why you stupid, silly child!” exclaimed the tailors. “You obviously have no training in the world of suit-making and fine thread! We have extensive training and very difficult to obtain degrees from the finest institutions of cloth making in the world. In addition, we have many, many famous scholars and experts whom we can quote who confirm our conclusions regarding the exquisite quality of our thread. Yes, it is invisible to the common man…or child, but to those who take the time to thoroughly study thread, and are willing to expand their minds with sophisticated, philosophical theories regarding the properties of thread, then and only then will one see that the Emperor’s clothing is the finest in the world!”
“There’s no such thing as invisible thread!” said the child, as he ran off to the courtyard to play.
Moral: You don’t need a scholar to know that the bodies of dead Jewish prophets cannot be magically reanimated…except in science fiction flicks.