My ongoing review of “Lord or Legend“ by evangelical apologists Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy, part 13. I will intersperse my comments with theirs in this post:
Body and Eddy: Dogmatic naturalism is nothing more than an ethnocentric metaphysical assumption that has to be accepted on faith. There are no compelling philosophical, logical, or historical arguments that require us to assume (or even justify) this stance. Moreover, this assumption has not been shared by most people throughout history, and it remains unshared by most people today—including the vast majority of people in contemporary Western culture. It is an assumption held by a relatively small group of Western academics who insist that their own culturally conditioned way of looking at the world is the only true way, all the evidence to the contrary withstanding.
Gary: No, the Scientific Method (the antithesis of supernaturalism) is the foundation of every advanced, industrialized nation on the planet.
Body and Eddy: Though these scholars often hold that their naturalistic assumption is the cornerstone for all truly critical historiography, we submit that, as a matter of fact, it is not nearly critical enough. Rather, a truly critical approach would begin by being critical of the culturally conditioned nature of its own presuppositions—including the academic, Western presupposition that truly supernatural events cannot occur.
Gary: Starting out with a non-supernaturalist worldview using the Scientific Method is not racist or ethnocentric. It is the most intelligent, rational action to take. To use the most reliable method of truth discovery available is not racist.
Boyd and Eddy: If one can genuinely remain open to the possibility that such naturalistic presuppositions are incorrect, we submit that there is widespread evidence throughout the world, and compelling evidence within the Gospels themselves, that these presuppositions are, in fact, incorrect. And once the naturalistic presupposition has been suspended, one finds there is nothing in the Gospels inherently implausible—at least not to the point that would justify calling the general reliability of these works into question.
Gary: Widespread evidence? You mean the millions of claims of supernatural events? At one time, millions of people, in all cultures, claimed that their illnesses were caused by evil spirits. People in the educated, industrialized West (at least most of them) no longer make these claims. Is that because evil spirits have suspended their illness-causing activities or because the Scientific Method disproved this superstition? Claims of the supernatural are not evidence of the supernatural.
Christians stomp up and down demanding that the academic world give their supernatural tall tales the same level of respect as the Scientific Method. Yet, when Muslims, Hindus, and Mormons stomp up and down demanding the same level of respect for their supernatural tales, Christians dismiss them with a chuckle and a wave of the hand. Imagine a world in which scientists, historians, law enforcement, and physicians were required to give supernatural causes equal respect and attention as non-supernatural causes. What chaos! How could technologically advanced societies continue to function? They wouldn’t. They couldn’t. We would regress to the Dark Ages.
We should give no more respect and attention to the supernatural tales and superstitions of Boyd and Eddy than we give to those of the witch doctor in the remotest jungle. Let’s discriminate against both worldviews equally! And let’s continue to work to extinguish all supernatural worldviews, regardless of race, religion, or color.
End of post.