This atheist thinks you’re committing a “logical and hypocritical fallacy” by believing Christian miracles and rejecting the miracles of other religions:
Christians accept without reservation that the miracles described in the Bible were actual historical events. However, at the same time they discount the miracle stories of other religions, such as:
Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem and then to heaven
Mohammed splitting of the moon
Mohammed’s food and water multiplication
The spider web protecting Mohammed in the cave….
What should be evident to an objective person is that the evidence for the Christian miracles is no more convincing than the evidence for non-Christian miracles. To selectively believe one religion’s miracles while discounting all of the others is a logical and hypocritical fallacy. It is highly unlikely that all of the world’s proclaimed miracles are true, still unlikely that the miracles of one religion are true and the others false, but otherwise it is very likely that they are all false.
How would you answer this objection? Give it a try in the comments below, and we’ll hear Alan’s answer on Thursday.
Relativism Undermines the Mission of the Church by Brett Kunkle: “[I]f religious claims turn out to be subjective, they are merely preferences of individuals, just like our preference in ice cream flavors. Does this idea have consequences? Absolutely. Think about it. How much passion do you feel for your favorite flavor of ice cream? Would you attempt to convince customers inside the local ice cream parlor they should only choose your favorite flavor? Would you stand in front of the parlor, handing out brochures listing five arguments why your favorite flavor of ice cream is the one true flavor? Of course not. We don’t take preferences that seriously. But if religion is like a preference in ice cream, wouldn’t we approach it the same way?” (Read more.)
Two Things to Remember When Discussing Creation with Other Christians by Tim Barnett: “When it comes to this issue there are two key principles that all Christians should keep in mind. The first principle is that Christians gather truth about creation from two sources: general revelation and special revelation. Nature is God’s general revelation and Scripture is God’s special revelation. God communicates through both sources of revelation, and both need to be studied and interpreted. This leads to the second principle: everyone interprets.” (Read more.)
Inoculate, Don't Isolate by Alan Shlemon: “Abortion-choice advocates. Angry college students. Graphic pictures of abortion. Not really what you want to expose your ten-year-old son to. That’s what I did, though. I took my son to the center of UCLA’s campus during an abortion protest and had him engage abortion-choice advocates that were twice his age.” (Read more.)
A common question that comes up after I give my talk titled Why I Am Not an Evolutionist is, “If there are so many good scientific arguments against evolution, why is it so widely believed?”
I recently came across an article by Dr. William Lane Craig where he responds to this exact question. In his brilliant response he makes two key observations, which I will highlight here.
First, Dr. Craig points outs that the mainstream acceptance of the theory of evolution is not for scientific reasons; it’s accepted for philosophical reasons. More specifically, it’s believed because of a commitment to methodological naturalism. Craig says:
I think the short answer is that it’s the best naturalistic theory we’ve got. If, as a result of methodological naturalism, the pool of live explanatory options is limited to naturalistic hypotheses, then, at least until recently, the neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution driven by the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection was, as Alvin Plantinga puts it,the only game in town.” [Emphasis mine.]
Methodological naturalism simply means that scientists must assume philosophical naturalism—only natural causes exist—when doing science. Of course, this assumption excludes all supernatural explanations a priori. Therefore, for anyone holding to methodological naturalism, creationism and intelligent design are not on the table as possible explanations. Even if all the scientific evidence pointed away from evolution and towards intelligent design, they would still need to cling to the theory of evolution because it’s the only possible naturalistic explanation. It’s the only game in town.
Second, Craig offers a helpful reminder. He says, “It’s helpful to remind ourselves that the word ‘evolution’ is an accordion word that can be expanded or contracted to suit the occasion.”
Evolution is an equivocal word. This means that it can have more than one meaning. For instance, it can mean anything from simple, biological change over time—change in allele frequency—to universal, common descent of all organisms from a single, common ancestor. The former is accepted by virtually everyone, including the staunchest young earth creationist. The latter, on the other hand, has many highly qualified biologists questioning whether the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations is up to the task.
So when the question arises as to why evolution is so widely believed, we need to find out what the questioner means by evolution. In one sense, evolution is believed because it’s true; organisms change over time. In another sense, it’s believed because it’s the only theory in play given their commitment to methodological naturalism.
So while evolution in an innocuous sense is well-established, belief in evolution in [other senses] is not universal among scientists, and the dominance of neo-Darwinism heretofore is due to the constraints of methodological naturalism and the want of a better naturalistic alternative.
[E]xclusivity is petty and dangerous. Many people do get upset when told their religion is not as good as the next guy's—this is why Jews, Muslims and Christians have been slaughtering each other in Palestine for centuries. So it occurs to me that exclusivity runs contrary to the general moral character of Christ, as people tend to portray him at any rate, and I can't imagine him being particularly happy with his followers preaching it with such vehemence.
Is preaching Jesus as the only way “contrary to the moral character of Christ”? How would you respond to this challenge? Give us your answer in the comments below, and we’ll post Brett’s video response on Thursday.