Monday, March 24, 2014

A Logical God?

Christian apologists are continually telling us that their god is logical, that its own nature is the standard of logic, and that everything that it does is impeccably logical. Now of course we do not learn this from the bible itself; rather, we hear it from Christians who have taken courses at some bible college or seminary, or from other believers who are simply repeating what they’ve heard such Christians say. As such, it represents an attempt by apologists to acquire “rights” to logic, as if there could be no logic if their god did not exist.

But if the actions ascribed to the Christian god as they are characterized throughout the bible are supposed to be “logical,” I can only suppose that Christians mean something other than what I learned about when I took courses on logic back in my college days.

There are many areas I could pick on for this, such as the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the global flood, the instruction to Abraham to prepare his own son as a burnt offering, the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, Balaam’s talking ass, the sacrifice of the ideal to the non-ideal in the gospel story, a parent turning its back on its own child while it is being tortured and executed, etc.

But one example that I have always found quite illogical, but which is never talked about, is the choice of Paul to take Jesus’ message to the gentile world.

Is it logical that Jesus would take to himself twelve traveling companions, spend upwards of three years teaching and mentoring them in his message of salvation, performing miracles, healings and other wonders in their presence, and divulging all the “secrets of knowledge” and “spiritual truths” of his “Word” to them through speeches, prayers and parables, but then choose to send to the non-Jews of the world (a significantly larger population) someone who was not one of Jesus’ companions and thus did not witness Jesus’ wonders and miracles, who did not learn directly from Jesus, and who did not even see him crucified?

Indeed, this is completely illogical.

Is it even logical to teach a disciple with the foreknowledge that he will inevitably defect?

According to the story, after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, there were still eleven disciples who had been brought up under Jesus’ tutelage up until his crucifixion and even witnessing his post-resurrection appearances in a body that still had fresh wounds. They would have known what he taught. They would have witnessed the miracles he performed. They would have had firsthand knowledge of “the way, the truth, and the life” that Jesus is said to have claimed to be (cf. John 14:6). And yet, the book of Acts says next to nothing about these remaining disciples, and switches focus onto Paul’s missionary adventures. It seems that all this teaching had gone to waste on most of these disciples.

In his several letters, Paul gives many teachings – teachings that are found in the gospels and there put into Jesus’ mouth. But when Paul gives them in his letters, he does not mention that Jesus had ever taught them. (For a few of the many examples of this, see the lengthy quote from G. A. Wells which I included in this blog entry.) How did Paul know these teachings, and why didn’t he credit Jesus for teaching them? If he learned them from one or more of the remaining disciples (e.g., James or Peter), this seems to go against what Paul himself says in Gal. 1:11-12. There Paul stresses the following:
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And if indeed he learned these teachings from James or Peter, we still have no answer as to why Paul does not credit Jesus with teaching them. In later epistles and post-canonical documents (and as we find in the gospels themselves), early Christians were eager to attribute what they were saying to Jesus, thereby giving their pronouncements the stamp of Jesus’ authority. Thus if Paul had known that the teachings he was giving in his letters were actually issued by Jesus, we could hardly expect him to have failed to credit Jesus as their source. It seems much more likely that Paul originally gave these teachings, perhaps by his own theological speculation, and they were later put into Jesus’ mouth by authors who themselves approved of those teachings and thought they needed to be sealed with Jesus’ authority. And so the gospel stories were born.

Thus we seem to be faced with a very clear set of alternatives: either the illogic of a “logical god” [sic] which chooses to spend three years teaching disciples but then decides to discard them in preference for sending a person who did not benefit from that teaching (while giving little or no explanation about the fate of the disciples), or the logic of the legend thesis which demonstrates that the way the New Testament reads is just as we might expect it were the whole Jesus story just a fiction developed over time.

by Dawson Bethrick


Anonymous said...

I have told them before that if they convinced me that logic required "justification" such justification would have to be logical. That, since their god is far from logical, then their god cannot possibly be a justification for logic. Then they answer that I failed to judge their worldview "from the inside." In other words, their worldview's nonsense is not nonsense "from the inside."

They fail to see that if they have to renounce logic just to stand on their worldview, then, of course, the more reason why their worldview can't have any justification for logic. It's just absurdity on top of absurdity.

They don't see that their "answers" just confirm the diagnosis.

wakawakwaka said...

thanks for all your help anwsering people like Lisle and Sye Dawson and Photosythsis you guys have been great help, but would you consider the entire presup argument or at least the one Eric and Sye puts out to be just one big fat argument from ignorance?

Anonymous said...

It is a big fat god-of-the-gaps argument for sure. But it is mainly and foremost a debating strategy. It's a Kinder-Garden-level "argument" whereby they try and "win" by rhetorical comebacks, rather than by reason.

wakawakwaka said...

so would this be considered a shining example of sophstry and rhetoric? some one accused a presupptionalist we all know well and love of an argument from ignorance and this is what he said...

" An argumentum ad ignorantiam is when a person tries to justify an assumption by pointing out that there is no evidence to the contrary. That is not what is happening here. Instead, it is an argument based on what we do know; the various gods of other religions are not transcendent, and therefore cannot account for any precondition of intelligibility that doesn't change with time or space."

Unknown said...

Hello friends. Here's a link to a chart showing Sye's main fallacies.

Unknown said...

Gosh. STB's spiel makes me long for the Zombie Apocalypse.

wakawakwaka said...

thanks for that post Robert, at anyrate I dont think Lisle is going to publish your comment, but still did you see how arrogantly he dismissed Dawson saying that everything on Bahnsen Burner can be easily refuted by anyone epstiomoligcally self-concious? Seriously how arrogant and deluded is he? So between him and Sye and Eric Hovind who do you think is the worst? As well what do you think Dawson out of all the presuppers you know and dealt with who is the most arrogant and delusional

Unknown said...

Hello Waka. The most delusional presuppositionalists who are operating in the world today are arguably the terrorist of Al-Qaeda. They will frigging kill all of us for their beliefs. If those people get control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, the poop will hit the fans.

wakawakwaka said...

good point Robert, but what about the most absurd presupper you have personally delt with? Eric? Sye? Jason Lisle?

Unknown said...

Hi there Waka.

I've only interacted with Jason a little. From what I've observed, he's a typical presuppositionalist. As such, he's no more delusional than any other religious magic believer. Recall, presuppositional apologetics is simply invoking scripture or some religious authority in hope the magic woo will do whatever the believer has "faith" it should do.

All the stupid bantering arguments about the issue of primacy, the role of evidence, or epistemology are intended to keep conversation going while the P.A. waits on its magic woo to do its thing. The P.A. loses when they are disregarded.

As for Ken Hovind and S.T.B. I've not interacted with them, and there's no reason to as they've been answered and refuted. The same arguments and points that work against them work against all presuppostional positions.

However, I did post a comment on Sye's Godorabsurdity FB page at

I asked him: "How does the Christian world view answer the question? Where in the Bible can one find description of an epistemology or a theory of concepts? I've read the Bible and as far as I can tell, it's silent on this."

Paraphrasing Sye's loaded question: 'How does one validate their reasoning without using their reasoning?'

So it begins. Best and Good. Many Thanks.

wakawakwaka said...

the God or absrudity page is not run by Sye, Robert its by a sye-clone named Brendan Larsen

Unknown said...

GM Waka - oops. My bad. If Larsen responds, I'll do my best to make him think about how silly his mythology looks to rational minded people. Thanks for the heads up. :)

wakawakwaka said...

he has responded on his "god or absurdity page to your comment about bible and concept theory

wakawakwaka said...

anyways robert, i still found it a little upsetting the way he arrogantly dismissed Dawson like that, i mean not even people like James Anderson would act so arrogantly, and its been weeks so i dont think he will be responding to it

Unknown said...

Hello Waka > Thank you.

wakawakwaka said...

at anyrate i doubt Jason Lisle was the most obxious or arrogant presupper that Dawson has delt with and propalbly there were far more who acted way more arrogantly with Dawson

Unknown said...

Hello Waka. About twenty years ago, I watched a bit of a movie that depicted a post apocalyptic dystopian speculative fantasy about the survivors. I don't remember the film's title or whom were the actors. Those poor unfortunate characters were reduced to living in dream worlds induced by hallucinogenic drugs while being physically cared for by serving robots. A few people desired to live life a it actually was rather than "enjoy" drug induced stupor and dreams. For their audacity, they were prosecuted by the robot-care-taker government. The movie from that plot twist became about the stress on the characters as they went about escaping back to reality. Though a stupid analogy, many mystics prefer pleasant dreams and mental stupor to facing a reality requiring work and effort to acquire happiness. But so doing is noble and provides existential purpose. :)

wakawakwaka said...

Also Dawson there has been something that i always wanted to ask you, what do you think of people whom always claimed to have experianced the supernatural? how do you explain stuff like that in an objectivist worldivew

Bahnsen Burner said...

Hello Wak,

I have posted a new entry on my blog addressing your question. You can find it here:

On the Claim to Have Experienced "the Supernatural"

I hope you find what I have written there helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.