Rebuttal to AKA Winston's "The Simple Explanation That Resolves Christian Paradoxes"

Link to AKA Winston's Hub is...

http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Simple-Explanation-That-Resolves-Christian-Paradoxes


Rebuttal...

Winston was not his usual caustic self and that was refreshing.

Among other statements in his opening was a really fair disclaimer and it too was very refreshing, but unfortunately not repeated nor applied to himself...

- "The trouble that all Christian philosophers fall prey to is the same condition that affects us all, a totally human psychological process: confirmation bias." -

He then goes on to the first sentence of the next paragraph and make this blanket assertion...

- "Christians do not believe in Jesus or God because of successful philosophical arguments." -

The before and after of Winston's diatribe that surround his "fair disclaimer", takes as his examples some of the worst (laying aside bigotry) of Christian attributes, making them a catch-all and lumping all together.

He then goes on to cite his 3 paradoxes, these of course "fall prey" to his common malady, maybe in reverse, but they never the less succumb. I will provide my concise answer to each in turn.

1) - "The answer is as simple as it is concise - bad things happen to good people because bad things happen to everyone in equal proportions. The best explanation for why this is so is equally simple: there is no God." -

Bad things do happen to all people equally... yes, they do.

We live in a fallen world where man has insisted that he will be his own god. This has resulted in man exercising the power of life and death over his fellow man (murder) to prove his power. He does this as an atheist as well as in the capacity as a believer, commandeering religious expression for his own ends.

Through all the suffering however, the expressions of true faith, courageous postures of compassion and mercy have been glowing examples of Godly behavior... Christian or otherwise. (The Hiding Place eg. Shindler's List is another)

2) Objective miracles..?

Please... even were you provided one Winston, you would poo poo it. It then becomes an "objective miracle" by your definition of what is objective doesn't it..? Falling into the category of "confirmation bias".

Here is a link to a recent History Channel re-visitation of the Shroud of Turin where new evidence is provided (1st of 6 parts)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Vz74IhxaE&feature=share

The reason I bring this up is that it is scientific evidence of "someone" tortured to death but the cloth never showed signs of the body decaying in the shroud. Miracle..?

Then there are the disciples of Jesus who were all tortured, and all but one tortured to death, because they testified about the truth of the resurrection. Their last breath testimonies of this miracle would hold up in any court of law, but not in your court eh Winston..?

3) - "The last paradox we will examine is the bible itself. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, why did he allow contraditions in holy written teachings?..." -

For me this is moot wranglings, the examples he cites for contradictions are not contradictions at all, it is further evidence of honest reporting(s). Somethings get left out of various accounts even among eye witnesses at a crime scene.

Conclusion to Winston's "Conclusion"...

If Winston were to step back and be "honest with" himself, he might see that the suffering of the world is brought on as a result of man being in charge of his own destiny... or being his own god.

The demand for this "power" was raised in the garden of Eden, which of course all non-theists and atheists relegate to myth or superstition, but of course to the Christian and Jewish believer, is the beginning of all man's inhumanity to man.

As a result we have the godly contrast of God expressing Himself through man's faith in God, and showcased through courageous behavior where men/women are willing to die for the compassion and cause of Christ, as probably the best example of self-sacrificing "faith(s)".

Finally...

I did not, and would not post this on Winston's Hub, as he and I (I think) agreed long ago to not darken each others Hub thresholds with comments, ever again.

Comments 15 comments

Chasuk 5 years ago

@Merwin: Would it have been better if Winston had written:

"Few Christians believe in Jesus or God because of successful philosophical arguments."

Or:

"Few Christians believe in Jesus or God because of successful philosophical arguments alone."

I guess I'm asking, are you objecting to the blanket nature of his assertion, *or* to something else? Or are you objecting to the blanket nature of his assertion, *and* to something else? Or are you not objecting to his assertion at all, and I am misreading?


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

I appreciate your pursuit of clarification. In my first objection... it was the all inclusive "Christians..." and then the assertion.

Perhaps I was nit picking but I would have appreciated his declaration in the better light of "few" or even better, "some".

I would have even given... "Very few Christians believe in Jesus or God because of successful philosophical arguments alone." a pass.

Is that clearer I hope..?


Chasuk 5 years ago

Yes, now it is crystal clear. Thank you kindly.

My apologies in advance, but I'm going to skip your first point for now and return to it later.

As for your second point, I submit that Winston in his Paradox #2 should have used a better word than "objective." Read his Paradox #2 again, but replace the word "objective" with the word "incontrovertible."

I think the context justifies this.

The summarizing assertion of Paradox #2 then becomes:

"Again, the best answer to why God has never [presented an incontrovertible miracle] is because he can't - because there is no God."

Now take into account that Winston has explicitly invoked Occam's Razor, and we can rewrite his assertion one last time:

"Again, the [simplest explanation as] to why God has never [presented an incontrovertible miracle] is because he can't - because there is no God."

I hope that you consider my clarification fair and accurate.

As for the disciples, remember that what might have been a firsthand experience for them is still only secondhand testimony to us. If I presented at a trial documents which may or may not have been written by the alleged eyewitnesses, those documents would not provide incontrovertible evidence of anything.

As for the Shroud of Turin documentary, I watched it, and the team of graphic artists seemed more intent on answering the question, "What did Jesus look like?" than on providing proof of the miraculous. I saw nothing incontrovertible, let alone anything even remotely as incontrovertible as the regrowth of an amputee's limb.

Anyway, those are my objections to your objections. I'll wait for your reply.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chas...

Incontrovertible, is not going to work on too many applications, not the least of which is Winston's "confirmation bias" which he rightly describes as a common malady "that affects us all".

It really boils down to "incontrovertible" to who..? One person's incontrovertible, is another's bit to be scraped off their shoe.

And therein lies the controversy. I think Winston is absolutely correct in his...

- " ...the same condition that affects us all, a totally human psychological process: confirmation bias." -


Chasuk 5 years ago

Confirmation bias has zero relevance in Paradox #2. The regrowth of an amputee's limb would be incontrovertible evidence to absolutely anyone, regardless of any tendency to prefer information confirming their preconceptions.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

My friend, I do not see how you can be that... whatever it may be that goes into that - "Confirmation bias has zero relevance..." - conclusion.

I believe it not only has relevance, but is unavoidable. People just cannot accept certain things when (incontrovertible proofs) are presented, especially if their livelihood (or long lived conclusion) is placed in jeopardy by those proofs.

This may be in evidence for you even now with your own definition of what is incontrovertible. It is a subjective acceptance, or lack thereof, no matter the topic, or position.


Chasuk 5 years ago

Respectfully, I think that you misunderstand the scope or the meaning of the term "confirmation bias."

Suppose that within a certain group of people the existence of sandwiches is in dispute. Those who believe in them are called sandwichists. Those who don't believe are called anti-sandwichists.

Because they already believe in sandwiches, the sandwichists point to plastic bread bags as evidence. Because they already believe in sandwiches, they point to twist ties as evidence. Because they already believe in sandwiches, they point to discarded crust and bread crumbs as evidence.

Each are examples of confirmation bias: the acceptance of evidence because it seems to confirm something that one already believes.

The regrowth of an amputee's limb would not -- and could not -- confirm the non-occurrence of miracles.

If a sanwichist approached an anti-sandwichist and slapped a sandwich in his face -- lettuce, tomato, and bacon between two slices of bread -- no amount of confirmation bias could refute the existence of the sandwich. If the anti-sandwichist did try to refute it, he would be illustrating denial bias, which is the tendency to discount or disbelieve uncomfortable fact.

Again: The regrowth of an amputee's limb would not -- and could not -- confirm the non-occurrence of miracles. Ergo, it can't accurately be described as confirmation bias. If a skeptic were intellectually dishonest enough to deny the incontrovertible, it could instead be described as denial bias.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

fine


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

Denial bias then.


thebrucebeat profile image

thebrucebeat 5 years ago from Nags Head, NC

@coauthorU

Do you know there are many devout Christians that look upon much of scripture as useful stories that never happened? They are not slaves to the inerrancy doctrine, and yet honor Christ as their Lord. It is really a relative few who find talking serpents and fathers that are honored for giving their daughters over to be gang raped as historical narrative. Most understand the necessity to approach scripture with discernment and not irrational abandonment, and yet maintain their faith.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@CoauthorU:

Paradox #2 is thus distilled as, "The simplest explanation as to why God has never presented an incontrovertible miracle is because he can't - because there is no God."

Unsuspectingly, I agree with Winston's assertion. You can rebut it or not, as you wish.

Paradox #3 seems, to me, weak, and I won't try to defend it.

Paradox #1: God, omnipotent and omniscient, placed us is a world of his own devising in which he knew we would fail. He then punishes us for a failure that he engineered. Therefore, bad things happen to good people because that's the way God wanted it.

It's perfectly possible that God, if he exists, is the type of heartless monster that this implies. Why choose to believe in a heartless God before it has been established that any God at all exists? This is putting the cart before the horse, to me.

I know that this isn't Winston's objection, but Winston's objection doesn't convince me.


jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Good work Coauthor, I was tempted to do the same thing. Thanks for this.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 thebrucebeat...

I am not certain how your comment tracks with the Hub or the following comments..?

2 Chasuk...

It is late I will reply tomorrow.

2 jreuter...

Thank you for you kind words.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

2) Severe denial bias

1) A complete misinterpretation of the written account. This one calls for another Hub to be written wherein I will attempt to re-describe your (and many other non believer's) assessments.


CoauthorU profile image

CoauthorU 5 years ago from Inland Northwest, USA Author

2 Chasuk...

*more like a significant misinterpretation, rather than a complete one.

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