Why do Moderate Christians often Appeal to Philosophy to support their Supernatural Beliefs?

Moderate and liberal Christians frequently want to prove the veracity of Christianity with appeals to complex philosophical and metaphysical formulations. Is this really necessary? I suggest that one can determine the probable veracity of Christianity fairly easily. Here it is:

Christianity is based on two primary claims:

1. The ancient Hebrew god Yahweh is the all-knowing, all powerful, perfect, good, Creator of the universe.
2. The bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in first century Palestine is historical fact.

Prove either of these claims false and you have discredited the veracity of Christianity. In my many discussions with Christians, they will often attempt to prove one of these claims true by appealing to the other as evidence without ever giving any evidence for the second claim.  This is poor logic.  The Christian needs to prove both claims correct, independent of each other, to establish the veracity of the Christian religion.  Christians cannot prove the existence of Yahweh by appealing to the Resurrection of Jesus if they have not first provided evidence for the historicity of the Resurrection without appealing to the existence of Yahweh.  Without the existence of Yahweh, the resurrection of Jesus is very improbable.   And without the Resurrection of Jesus, the probability of the existence of Yahweh comes down to proving the veracity of  mostly vague, disputed, prophesy claims.   The evidence for each of the two major claims of Christianity are very weak on their own.

So which is more probable based on the available evidence:

1. Yahweh exists and is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator
2. Yahweh is the invention of an ancient superstitious people.

Which is more probable based on the available evidence:

1. Jesus of Nazareth really was resurrected from the dead, an event never heard of before or since.
2. The claims of Jesus’ resurrection are based on visions, dreams, false sightings or other natural explanations for someone/someones believing they had seen a dead person alive again.

If you ask Christians to provide evidence for the two principle claims of Christianity WITHOUT presupposing the other argument is true, I believe that you can easily show that the probability of Christianity being true is very, very low.

Below is an example of moderate Christians immersing themselves in complex philosophical and metaphysical theories to prop up their very improbable supernatural belief system:

Naturalistic Atheism Is An Extraordinarily Strange and Unlikely Worldview

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7 thoughts on “Why do Moderate Christians often Appeal to Philosophy to support their Supernatural Beliefs?

  1. Gary,

    There is nothing illogical with the reasoning that the resurrection of Jesus proves He is who He claims to be, Yahweh. Assuredly, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then His claim is false. However, that only means the truth claim of Jesus being Yahweh would be false. There is certainly nothing illogical in arguing the existence of Yahweh should it be the case that Jesus did not rise from the dead. There are some Rabbis who would agree.

    You claim “Prove either of these claims false and you have discredited the veracity of Christianity.” Ok. Let’s start with your first item. Prove that Yahweh does not exist. And, if you will, please do so using the scientific method. In case you have forgotten the steps here they are:

    1) Ask a question.
    2) Do your background research.
    3) Construct a hypothesis.
    4) Test with an experiment.
    5) Analyze your data and draw your conclusions.
    6) Check to see if your conclusions are supported by your data.
    7) Present your data and conclusions.

    I am very interested in seeing your arguments. I suspect you will have a problem at step 4. Most people who look to the scientific method to ascertain truth typically can not overcome the test-ability of their hypothesis. Give it a try by using the above method and test the following question. Did/does my mother love me? Let your readers know how you will test your hypothesis. What kind of experiment will give conclusive results to your hypothesis?

    You write: “2. The claims of Jesus’ resurrection are based on visions, dreams, false sightings or other natural explanations for someone/someones believing they had seen a dead person alive again.”

    You should recognize your petitio principii in your claim. You are, in fact, presupposing that all the sightings of the post-resurrected Jesus, as recorded in the NT documents, are “false.” You are also assuming that all “visions” and “dreams” must be ruled out apriori which is surprising given you claim to be such a big science guy. Where is your testable evidence that all “visions” and “dreams” cannot provide factual evidence? Furthermore, if Yahweh does exist, then certainly He can choose to communicate to His creation through “visions” and “dreams.”

    I look forward to your study answering the question, “Did/does my mother love me?”

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    1. You are correct that I improperly phrased my question, Jim. I should not have asked skeptics to prove the Resurrection false. I should have asked Christians to prove it true. In our society, the person making the extra-ordinary claim bears the burden of proof, not the skeptic of that extra-ordinary claim. And the same goes for the existence of Yahweh. The burden of proof is not on me or any other skeptic to prove that Yahweh does NOT exist. The burden of proof is on Christians (and Jews) to prove that he does.

      So go ahead, Jim. Let’s start with Yahweh. Give me the evidence for Yahweh’s existence.

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      1. Gary,

        I see you have not engaged the “meat” of my post. However, you are correct that it is he who affirms (negatively or positively) who shoulders the burden of evidence.

        (1) If Yahweh exists then he has the properties of omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and necessary existence.
        (2) Either Yahweh has necessary existence, or he does not.
        (3) If Yahweh does not have necessary existence, then he necessarily does not.
        Therefore:
        (4) Either Yahweh has necessary existence, or he necessarily does not.
        (5) If Yahweh necessarily does not have necessary existence, then Yahweh necessarily does not exist.
        Therefore:
        (6) Either Yahweh has necessary existence, or he necessarily does not exist.
        (7) It is not the case that Yahweh necessarily does not exist.
        Therefore:
        (8) Yahweh has necessary existence.

        Following Leibnitz we may build upon the above argument with the following:

        1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
        2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
        Therefore:
        3) There is an explanation of this fact.
        4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
        5) This necessary being is Yahweh.

        Each argument presented above is logically valid. If the premises are true, then so are the conclusions. Keep in mind that the concept of Yahweh includes in it necessary existence. Through out the Holy Scriptures Yahweh is described as an eternal being who cannot change. That is, He alone cannot fail to exist at any time. Therefore, He necessarily exists. Some have tried to present counter arguments with the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and “Cthulhu,” but none of these “beings” contain in their concepts necessary existence. One way of explaining that point is using the Cartesian argument that there is something that exists which is greater than the FSM or Cthulhu and that being is Yahweh. If you object saying I may have only proven the existence of God, not Yahweh, my response will be that Yahweh (YWYH) is the I AM whom I AM as revealed in Exodus 3. The I AM of the scriptures is described in the Bible of having all the properties included in the above arguments. Furthermore, He also is the creator and is personal. In short, proving the existence of a personal being who created the world and has the properties of omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and necessary existence is to prove the existence of the I AM, Yahweh, God.

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        1. Yes, you have done a good job of presenting evidence for an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God. But just because the followers of Yahweh claim he possesses these properties in no way confirms that he does. How do you know that the true Creator is not a God who prefers NOT to be known? He/she/they/it is all-knowing, all-powerful but prefers to leave his Creation to the dictates of natural selection and random chance? To me, if there is a Creator, that is what the evidence indicates.

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          1. “How do you know that the true Creator is not a God who prefers NOT to be known? He/she/they/it is all-knowing, all-powerful but prefers to leave his Creation to the dictates of natural selection and random chance? ”

            Gary,

            If you had evidence for the existence of “the true Creator,” then it stands to reason that he wants to be known. After all, if he is all powerful, but fails at completely hiding himself, then that’s hardly a coherent view of omnipotence. The fact that we do know the I AM/God/Yahweh exists means He is a personal God who wants to be known by His creation. Furthermore, we can know He has the properties I described earlier, because He discloses to His creation His properties. Of course, the skeptic can always retreat to their quip that all of what I am referring to are fanciful ideas having no basis in reality. If you affirm that view, then please shoulder the burden by presenting your evidence.

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  2. Please provide the evidence that the Creator wants to be known. I think you are Begging the Question.

    Although the current state of scientific/cosmological evidence does not preclude a Creator, neither does it require one. You and other conservative theists may disagree, but the majority of cosmologists (the experts in the field) say otherwise. They agree that an event described as “The Big Bang” occurred at the inception of the universe, but they have not agreed on the cause of this Big Bang.

    You have not provided any evidence whatsoever for the ancient Hebrew god, Yahweh. You are assuming evidence for a generic Creator is automatically evidence for Yahweh.

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    1. Gary,

      Your quip “provide the evidence that the Creator wants to be known” is just silly. Honestly, you’re like the little kid who keeps asking “why?” no matter what you tell him. It is evident to me that you’re not in an honest search for truth, but rather you are wanting to tickle your own ears with skepticism.

      Here’s my prediction. If you keep digging into how science is done, you will eventually get to a point where you understand the great amount of faith put into the processes used for explaining the world around us. At that point you’ll hopefully abandon your faith in science and take a more moderated approach, maybe even entertaining the idea that if God is Yahweh, and He is, He has spoken to you through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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