The Great Hippo wrote:I have no fucking clue. I'd have to thoroughly weigh each religion on the merits of its claims, its historicity - set up rules like 'does the canon text count, or do we include supplemental text like the Muslim hadiths', etc. How do I even define the believability of Jesus rising from the dead versus Muhammad ascending to Heaven on his horse? How are those events comparable in credibility? I don't even think this is possible. Or useful.
You're addressing the wrong type of historical evidence then. Of course its impossible to verify the claims of an individual miracle, but it's definitely rational to examine a group of miracles done by a single person or group of person, taking into consideration the possible affects on the witnesses and their testimonies...
If I may ask again, assume miracles are possible and that one exclusive religion is true. Which immodest religion, in your opinion, even if it's completely speculative, is the most likely
(however unlikely) to be correct? If your answer is still, "I'd have to thouroughly weigh each religion on the merits of its claims... set up rules etc..." that's fine. But isn't that exactly the sort of discussion I'm trying to prove is vaild when investigating claims about Christianity??
The problem here is the word 'significant'; to you, 'significant' may mean 'religiously or doctrinally important', to me, 'significant' might mean 'useful for historiographic purposes'. Their nonexistence (as a result of their active suppression) makes it harder for historians to validate the documents that do exist. It's like this for all historical documents - I'm just pointing out that the Bible faces the same problem of any historical document - passages were lost. For whatever reason. It's not important if the destroyed passages are irrelevant to you; they're relevant to historians.
Actually, historically is exactly what I mean there, and it is exactly the sort of argument expressed in the link. The fact that I am a Christian, partially based on personal experience, partially based on study, should not detract from the fact that both I and you would like to see the truth in this matter... historically. I'd like to make this less of a back and forth argument (I mean, we'd still take sides) and more of an investigation, rather than making the assumption that the only thing I am interested in is Theology.
If Christianity is not historically viable, then I don't want to be a Christian.
So please, keep giving me more and more arguments, and in my "opposition research" I may just find that the opposing arguments are weaker than yours. Of course, it would probably take a good full year of independent research for me to be even minimally satisfied that giving up my faith is the correct course of action, but feel free to provide the foundation.
I wanted to quote this because, while I'm more than willing to accept the premise that Irenaeus' proposition that 'four' is a good number because of its aesthetic virtues came after four had been decided on (it's a very plausible alternative I hadn't thought about), I like how the author of this article defines the group 'the early Church fathers' as those that did not disagree, thereby creating a situation where the early Church fathers did not disagree. Christians were bickering with other Christians all the time over doctrine, that's what's important. Going "these people we're defining as early Church fathers all agreed" is irrelevant because the early Church fathers are the ones who ultimately 'won'; what's important to us from a historical perspective are the losers, who we know precious little about.
That's not really the nature of Mr. Miller's argument. He actually attempts to base orthodoxy on the standard of how prevalent and reliable (based on how they cite reliable documents) the theologies were that were espoused by various factions, rather than how close to supposed orthodoxy they were. Of course there were losers, but it would be extremely speculative for you to say that the losers were a large and influential force without backing historical evidence.
...right, exactly where have I been doing this again? Because this sounds like some sort of passive-aggressive "Hippo, you could do so much better!" BS. I've been citing sources, providing arguments, etc.
If your problem is with the idea that I am utterly dismissive towards the notion that Christian history is superior to other religions' history, then yeah - I'm going to be dismissive. Before you can even begin to make an assertion like that, you damn well better be familiar with the history of the world's religions - to a degree that I suspect none of us here are.
I don't mean to say you're being non-persuasive, illogical, or a bad debater. But you also seem unwilling to accept at least the possibility that Christian history might
be more valid than any other religion's history, or that miracles might
have more than a marginal possibility of actually occuring. Also, some of the argumentative links you provide
are all very similar in their 'over-arching-ness' to your own arguments. They say things that amount to, "That's just the way the early church was," and while it could be the case, it fails to provide any meaningful, full-scale discussion as to whether their specific claims are valid or if they stand up to the best counter-arguments. It'd also be great if these arguments provided a good overview of the best opposing claims, and at least a minimalist refutation of them. Of course, I might be a little guilty of the same sort of thing, so I won't press the personal issue further.
oxoiron wrote:There are two problems here. One is that your 'very specific arguments' don't address the veracity of supernatural claims and the second is that what I wrote is not a random accusation (see below).
They aren't supposed to address the veracity of supernatural claims. That wasn't the discussion, so please stop assuming that I'm trying to convince you entirely of my argument in the course of a single post. We can get into the veracity of supernatural claims, why Christian ones should be trusted over other religions', etc... If you'd like. Also, to requote you:
It's silly to unquestioningly accept stories of miracles as fact when they support your ideology and dismiss them as myth when they don't.
First, you assume that I or my religion unquestionally accepts things. It's funny, if I said that about you, you'd probably be offended. Second, you assume that I or my religion only accepts facts that support my ideology. Please, provide a "fact" that I don't accept because it conflicts with my ideology. And it better be a fact.
...I'll ask again. Why should I accept that stories of Judeo-Christian miracles are true and all others are false?
Give me some time, I'll go there if you'd like.