Philosophy, Religion, and Supernaturalism

Let’s take a short break from my review of Richard Bauckham’s book and look at another topic:  Philosophy, religion, and supernaturalism.

“Over the last decade I have found that one bastion for Christian apologists has been philosophy, especially the philosophy of religion. The scholars have honed their definitional apologetics in such a fine-tuned manner that when engaging them in this discipline, it’s like trying to catch a greased pig. Or, to switch metaphors, trying to chase them down the rabbit’s hole in an endless and ultimately fruitless quest for definitions. What’s an extraordinary claim? What constitutes evidence? What’s the definition of supernatural? What’s the scientific method? What’s a miracle? What’s a basic belief? What’s a veridical religious experience? What’s evil? They do this just like others have done over questions like, “What is the definition of pornography?” And then they gerrymander around the plain simple facts of experience. I would rather deal in concrete examples like a virgin who supposedly had a baby and a man who supposedly was raised from the dead. ”     —atheist author, John Loftus  [From Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End, p.28]

Gary:  I am following an online discussion between two groups of skeptics here and here regarding the issue of philosophy and religion.  I personally do not believe that philosophy is necessary to understand reality.  I believe that reality is simply…biology.  I posted a comment on one of the two blogs involved.  I have copied it here:

Naturalist: Hey, Christian. Do you believe that people all over the world are being abducted by space aliens?

Christian: No.

Naturalist: Why not?

Christian: That’s silly. There is no good evidence for these extra-ordinary claims other than alleged eyewitness testimony by people who WANT to believe in space alien abductions.

Naturalist: Good answer.

Christian: Hey, Naturalist. Do you believe that a first century god/man, conceived by the magical copulation of a ghost with a human virgin, paid the legal penalty for your ancient ancestor’s forbidden fruit eating, so that when you die you can live forever in a mansion in outer space?

Naturalist. No. That’s silly. There is no good evidence for these extra-ordinary claims other than alleged eyewitness testimony by people who WANTED to believe in god/men, virgin-impregnating ghosts, and space habitation.

Comment: Just as this Christian does not need to consult a philosophy book or a book on critical thinking to deny the probability of space alien abductions, neither does the naturalist need to consult a philosophy book or a book on critical thinking to deny the probability of virgin births, (holy) ghosts, and resurrected god/men. Christian apologists’ attempts to steer the conversation away from the improbability of these central claims of their belief system to abstract philosophical theory is simply a defensive strategy of diversion. I suggest we NOT take the bait.

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