Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heather from Glendale, CA that is

A redated post.

A lot of debate on this site is between people of one world-view and those of another. People like Keith Parsons have a naturalistic world-view, people like myself have a Christian theistic world-view. We tend to think that this is the great debate of our culture. But is it? There seem to be a lot of people in our culture today who seem to make no effort to develop a consistent world-view, and grab from here, there, and everywhere to meet their needs until next Friday night. How many of you run into people like this, say, in undergraduate classrooms? This is from an essay entitled Babel Undone by Richard Mouw.

This syndrome was brought home to me in a poignant manner a while back when I was a guest on a radio talk show. It was during a time when two major newsmagazines had just run feature articles about "the historical Jesus," and the host was quite eager to discuss the topic. My fellow guest was a church leader of liberal bent, and he expressed strong skepticism about the reliability of the New Testament accounts of the resurrection of Jesus—an assessment with which I strongly disagreed. When we opened the discussion to questions from our listening audience, one of our callers was a young woman who was identified as Heather from Glendale. "I’m not what you would call, like, a Christian," Heather began. "Actually, right now I am sort of into—you know, witchcraft and stuff like that? But I agree with the guy from Fuller Seminary. I’m just shocked that someone would, like, say that Jesus wasn’t really raised from the dead!"

Now this has to be Glendale CA, not its namesake in AZ, where no one (I hope) is that confused. This sort of thing, of course, often leaves us philosophers, atheist or Christian, tearing our hair out. Is there something that the Richard Dawkinses and William Lane Craigs of the world have in common (wow!) which is being lost be the culture at large?


philip m said...

This is my first year in college, and I have run into a case of belief which really surprised me. We were in the cafeteria discussing beliefs about the universe, and a girl explained to me how her beliefs about the universe were derived from an episode of the twilight zone. She said she really liked the episode, so she started thinking the universe was like it was presented there, where the universe is akin to a tank of water and human are god's meaningless pets--where god is a physical being who created the universe. The entire basis of her idea, which sounded complicated upon explanation, was this episode of the twilight zone. For someone who likes to think about what I believe a lot, I had a sort of mental cringe thinking about it.

Ilíon said...

I especially liked this: "There is a sense in which Heather is a microcosm—or a microchaos—of the larger culture."

Bill Snedden said...

Unfortunately while the blatant nature of this particular example is somewhat glaring it doesn't really surprise me as much as I wished it did. And it's quite apropos given the ongoing discussions re: moral culpability for belief in other posts.

"Is there something that the Richard Dawkinses and William Lane Craigs of the world have in common (wow!) which is being lost be the culture at large?"

Yes: serious engagement with ideas. Whatever happened to, "the unexamined life isn't worth living"? I'm not so jaded that I can't still be amazed by the number of people who seem to take everything for granted. Whenever I see a poll or news analysis that proclaims that a greater percentage of people now think X is good/bad/whatever, I always find myself wondering if the change is due to people really investigating X or because Paris Hilton endorsed/rejected it.


Ilíon said...

Somehow, I just can't encompass Richard Dawkins and "serious engagement with ideas" within the same thought.

slaveofone said...

You're pretty much correct. The age when people thought there was such a thing as a "consistent" world-view or that such a thing could even be known ended at least a generation ago. I'm still amazed nowadays when I run across people who have no clue about the way the rest of the world thinks and behaves... Seems a lot of fundamentalist Christians are living in bubbles of former time--especially Reformation Christians (like anyone anywhere believes in faith as something that must can or could be earned through works--what an antiquated concept of faith that has nothing to do with the way anyone thinks anymore)

Ilíon said...

Ah, yes!

Because *some* persons(*) either have and manage to get by with incoherent worldviews OR go further and assert that it is impossible to have a coherent worldview, therefore the Age Of The Coherent Worldview has passed; for we now know that not only does no one have a coherent worldview but also that there is no such possible thing as a coherent worldview.

Only "fundies" living in a time-warp would imagine otherwise.

Do I have the right of it?

(*) Of these persons: whether due to inability to reason and consider, or whether due to disinclination to reason and consider, or whether due to refusal to reason and consider.

Lewis Moore said...

I have noticed this too, especially when it comes to people's views on ethics. I work with some guys who are quite intelligent (and well-read) and one day we'll be discussing ethics as it relates to political issues of the day and they are hardcore moral objectivists, and then another day we'll talk about ethics more specifically and they start talking like relativists and how it's all just a matter of opinion. It surprises me how people that bright can hold such contradictory views and not notice, but I think that's exactly because we have learned to think too little about what our beliefs imply and we are so susceptible to platitudes.

Ilíon said...

Upon closer examination, "moral relativists" always (*) turn out to be "moral objectivists" or even "moral absolutists."

Even those, such as Richard Dawkins, who deny the possiblity even of "moral relativism" (for even *that* assumes "free will" and he asserts determinism), turn out to be "moral objectivists" when pressed.

(*) Only some of those the rest of us call "insane" are consistently "moral relativists."

Jason Pratt said...

Isn't this what populations, generally speaking, have always done, though? I don't find it surprising at all, or different. Heck, if it comes to that, I routinely find nominally Christian theologians who when pressed prefer to explicitly reject the idea of having a coherent theology. (That's especially among the Calvs in my experience, btw, Slav. {g} Who, to be fair, would strenuously affirm that faith is a gift of grace, not something earned--it's a key part of their whole elect/non-elect system. {s} Whether they dump that idea for a different one in other discussions is not unimportant, of course.)

Anyway: coherency is hard. And most people don't perceive a need to even try for it; convenience is almost always easier and more immediately pleasing. (A fact that trained philosophers are just as vulnerable to the temptation of, in principle.) For that matter, Mazlow's hierarchy often keeps people from even having the resources (including mental energy and time) to try for coherency. Good enough is good enough, for most people. I'm not entirely sure I can even blame them for that. It's just how things are.


Edward T. Babinski said...

There is more than only one coherent belief system.

There is more than one coherent form of Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, etc.

And even the most coherent system involves assumptions, rationalizations and admissions of lack of certainty, lack of certain knowledge.

And just as you are amused by the views of a modern day Wiccan who has not studied the Bible historically at a major institution of learning, Herodotus was amused during his travels that he discovered so many people who believed the earth was a flat circle.

Even today none of us knows that much about the cosmos' origin or its exact limits or whether it is the only cosmos.

And what do we see? We see humanity living on a single planet among 8 or 9 uninhabited ones, and a cosmos with colliding galaxies, black holes, and on our planet earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and floods, poisonous bacteria and parasites. And we see living things dying all the time. We do not know how we got here, but it does appear we are going to die, as we see it happening to everything, everyone around us. We see the fragility of life in this cosmos.

Some say that before this cosmos was born there was a beautiful compassionate God who had it in his mind to create a perfect cosmos but something went wrong, so we wound up with this cosmos. These same people say everything will be alright in the end, at least for some humans who will live forever.

But these people need only look at what can be seen, at the prima facia evidence they have in front of them every day, while every story and dream of a perfection that existed before this cosmos, or a perfection that will exist after it, remains less than prima facia evidence.

If we saw people popping out of graves, and could interview such early risers on TV, or even just interview some ghosts on TV, then we would have different prima facia evidence to contend with.

As things stand, when it comes to stories concerning past perfection or future perfection, I have more questions than answers.

Such a questioning world view doesn't make me joyful nor popular. It just means I'm asking questions that seem the most obvious in light of the prima facia evidence.

Maybe the distant past was perfect, maybe the distant future will be, at least perfect for some humans. But such questions remain behind a metaphysical curtain that I don't claim to be able to see through even with the aid of "inspired holy books," which themselves were composed during ancient times by ancient men I never met, telling fabulous tales of miracles I never saw--tales only told in collections of writings composed by and for particular tribes or groups of believers.

The N.T. was composed after the intertestamental period when the notion of Satan took wing big time (he's hardly mentioned throughout the O.T., where the word, "satan" simply means "accuser," and is applied to men as well as to an angel of God (in the Balaam story), and who has no trouble gaining entrance to God's court as well, serving as God's prosecuting attorney), along with tales of eternal punishment and eternal bliss, and end times expectations. That was the intertestamental period. That was the milieu of the N.T. writings. Little wonder they came out as they did.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Did she say something that was a direct contradiction? If so, I missed it.

My friends and I in High School would do ouji boards, but we were all Christian. In that group of seven-or-so people, only one girl refrained from the ouji board because it was against her religious beliefs. It would not have been a long step to being "into" witchcraft for any of us Christians.

Hence, I was tempted to say she sounds like a typical wishy-washy teenager, but that's belied by the fact that she cared enough to phone in to a radio show. No way my friends nor I would have done that.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Does the fact that logical relations are tough for people to learn, that logic seems to be an earned cognitive achievement rather than a birthright, have any implications for the argument from reason?

legodesi said...

Since criticisms have already been made of Heather, maybe let's try to sympathize. I don't expect everyone to apply analytical skills to looking at the presuppositions of some belief here and there to see whether they are consistent or not. It does seem like most people just form contradictory philosophies out of their experiences and convictions, but we're no different; we just have a greater capacity for abstracting ideas.

I think Blue makes a good point, though I'd say it the other way around. It is contradictory for a Christian to practice witchcraft or hinduism, but it is not contradictory for a hindu or witch to believe in Jesus' resurrection. Ravi Zacharias notes how proving the resurrection of Jesus does nothing for the hindu, who already believes it.

Gordon Knight said...

Thinking about this, I have decided that Heather may be quite consistent. I think BDK is right that there is no explicit contradiction. Here is what might be heather's view:

Pluralist Supernaturalism: supernatural claims of various religions are to be accepted, except when a pair of such claims logically contradict one another, in which case one must choose which supernatural claim one does accept.

Perfectly consistent. Perhaps a bit arbitary.

Ilíon said...

BDK: "Does the fact that logical relations are tough for people to learn, that logic seems to be an earned cognitive achievement rather than a birthright, have any implications for the argument from reason?"

This isn't really true.

One doesn't *learn* logic and one doesn't learn logical relationships; one recognizes them because already one knows, intuitively, how to make logical inferences.

Certainly, one may learn how better to recognize illogic ... but that is because one already grasps, understands, knows the standard, which is logic itself.

What people find so difficult to "learn" is the discipline to stop retreating into illogic (or even outright irrationality) in order to protect certain incorrect and/or false beliefs they wish to hold: atheism, for instance; moral relativism, for another.

BDK: "Does [a correct understanding of our relationship to logic] have any implications for the argument from reason?"

It does, indeed.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion said: "One doesn't *learn* logic and one doesn't learn logical relationships; one recognizes them because already one knows, intuitively, how to make logical inferences."

I have TAd logic so I guess that makes it easier for me to think this is false. Some are quick and pick it up with little effort. Some are just not, and with great effort and study just don't get things like how conditionals work.

It is an interesting hypothesis that Ilion raises that there is a kind of fundamental "intuitive" logic. What are the rules in this logic? Is the logic a set of propositions? Is it structured as an axiomatic system or a loose collection of obvious logical truths?

Real-life reasoning is peppered with inconsistencies and such. Perhaps your intuitive logic should be modelled with paraconsistent logics, where the LNC does not of necessity hold but still not everything is provable.

And if you would argue against the claim that paraconsistent logics should be the fundamentally intuited logic, based upon what rules of inference, from which logic would that spring?

We've gone through all this in great detail in the comments here.

Ilíon said...

One might ask BDK to delineate the content of this logic he amusingly imagines one may be taught.

Then -- assuming BDK does more than self-importantly fluff his feathers and look down his nose -- one might say, "Prove it!"

BDK will, of course, entirely miss the point. It's a well-developed habit, don't you know?

Anonymous said...

Having discussed beliefs with a lot of different people on the internet (and in person, but that's rare for me), that does not surprise me at all. I was surprised at first how much people like to mix and match beliefs, but inquiring about it more deeply from them normally reveals something they believe holds things together (unless they're really postmodernist - I've only met one person who I knew for sure held this) or they just admit they haven't thought things totally through.

But if you think about it, Jesus could have simply had some kind of magical powers. That doesn't fit too well, and magic doesn't seem to have a lot going for it, but it's not impossible.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion: good to see you have mastered the metaphysics and epistemology of logic in addition to all the other things you like to talk about.

Put another way, even if we have an intuitive, pre-theoretic logic, that is only one candidate logic among many. And choosing which logic is best requires extralogical considerations (e.g., pragmatic, means-end type of considerations). How does this intuitive logic deal with the liar's paradox, for instance? Should we expect it to extend to strange cases?

By analogy, intuitive physics may help you build a cart for your deer carcass, but it is actually quite wrong as we see once we formalize its assumptions and apply them to things outside of the context of medium-sized dry goods.

That's the bumper-sticker of the 50-post discussion I linked to.

Keep the dismissive one-liners coming Ilion they are classic.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Oops I deleted a paragraph between the first and second in my previous comment.

It should say:

Assume for discussion that humans have an innate pre-theoretic, pre-linguistic intuitive understanding of logic. What follows? If it differs from classical logics as you'd learn at Frege's knee, how do you decide which is the one to go with?

Gordon Knight said...

logical truth is not innate, but the capacity to recognize it is. Of course, like other cognitive abilities, it comes in degrees.

Having also taught logic, I know that some very intelligetn people just don't get formal logic, but even here I think its the abstract character of logical proofs that get them down. No one has ever told me they did not understand why

"It is raining and it is not raining" is a necessary falsehood.

I see logic as a branch of knowledge that involves seeing the relations that obtain between universals. Its like mathematics in that way (though mathematics may be said to deal with relations between abstract objects)> Not everyone is good at math, not everyone is good at logic. The ability to see these connections, like other human abilities, varies from individual to individual

Think of the experience of seeing how to do a proof. you can be starign at it for hours then.. a certain relationship becomes apparent.

Gregory said...

In an important sense, I don't see the "contradiction" between the Playboy bunny sticker and the plastic Madonna figurine.....granting that the car owner placed the sticker and dashboard figurine together.

Both icons represent two important facets of salvation history:

1) God promised salvation would be accomplished through sexual relationships (Gen. 3:15,16; Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; 1 Tim. 2:13-15).

2) Christ, in the Incarnation, was born of a virgin as part of salvation history (Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35).

Contrary to Gnostics, Neo-Platonists and certain Zealots, Christianity teaches the goodness of the body and the holiness of sexual expression within the context of marriage.

In fact, engaging in any heterosexual "intimate" relationship, ceremony or not, initiates a marriage (1 Cor. 6:14-20; 1 Kings 11:1-4). For God only instituted marriage between a man and a woman from the beginning (Gen. 2:24).

Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that the Greek god of marriage is named "Hymen"....of which we get our word "hymn". "Hymn", in the Christian "spiritual" sense, denotes the invitation of the Bride-groom (i.e. Christ) into the "Bridal chamber" of our heart and/or is the vocal response to the presence of Christ already present and experienced within our hearts.

Unless one has already bought into a doctrine that denigrates the body and sexual expression, then it should be obvious to the Christian theologian that the "Playboy bunny" (i.e. sex) and the "Madonna" (i.e. chastity), were/are important facets of human redemption.

Therefore, I think that Mouw has jumped the gun in trying to make a philosophical point.

Of course, we can quibble about the sinister and "impure" implications and meanings that the Playboy icon represents, but that would be missing an important point. Also, the car owner might not have any more significant reason for attaching the sticker to their car, other than the one I have already outlined above. What deeper meaning could the "bunny" have other than simply "sex"? I, for one, don't know. Perhaps, I wouldn't want to know. So, for me, that symbol has a very simple meaning. I believe it is the same for the car owner cited in Mouw's essay.

And to Blue Devil Knight:

Please explain to us what "logic" you are allegedly using in your responses, in contrast to what I or anyone else might be using here; and explain how we might begin to align our "reasons", "explanations" and "communications" so that we can all be on the same page here.

Otherwise, you won't be making any sense to anyone, except yourself.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Gregory: Excellent post. Hilarious.

I never said to be illogical. However, to put any particular logical system on a pedestal as the "core" runs into problems.

As I've argued lots at other posts, I think logical relations are the result of our attempts to formalize those inter-sentence transitions that preserve truth. It isn't clear that there can be a logic before language because it isn't clear there exists propositional thought without language (I am agnostic on this empirical question).

Again, this is stuff I've hashed over here before to a rather excessive degree, especially in the context of the multitude of possible logical systems, our inability to prove the consistency of arithmetic, and other weird stuff.

However, those of you that think there is a proto-logical core from which all logic springs, that is certainly reasonable! I think that may well be true. However, that isn't sufficient to justify the said logic. For instance, what if the fallacy of affirming the consequent were written into our genes? That's why I brought up intuitive physics.

Second, logic itself must be subject to revision as we explore the implications of our putative intuitive logic, formalizing things and tweaking bits here and there. This is exactly what has happened from from Aristotle to Frege to Russell to Godel. Each time refining and clarifying the meaning of logical terms.

Indeed, if you want to see a good attempt to formalize some intuitive logical notions, see Frege. Then see what Russell did to that, and all the problems and 'Type Theory' and such.

Gregory said...

Blue Devil Knight:

Reality can be very funny....but that wasn't my intention.

You said:

"to put any particular logical system on a pedestal as the 'core' runs into problems"

There has to be a shared "core" of logic, otherwise communication, inferences and linguistic constructions would be non-starters.

I'm not sure I accept the idea that "logic" and "mathematics" are synonymous. Carnap, Frege and Russell did. But they were more interested in the peculiar relationships of mathematical notations and structure, and those relationships math had to a more fundamental "logic", than with analyzing the origins, meaning and structure of mankind's primitive and primary cognitive anchor.

This primary "ability" to think---and not to the implications of some broadly formal system of mathematics---is what I was alluding to.

Russell's "paradox", rather than undermining the veracity of some "core" of logic, strangely enough, affirms it. For how can Russell's argument, itself, be sound, except by the universality of some core intuitions and insights of logic?? Should we understand "Russell's Paradox" as indicative of some deficiency, and/or intractable problem, for "logic"??

If the answer is "yes", then Russell's own "paradox", paradoxically, is deficient and/or problematic. But I don't think Russell was consciously attempting a self-refutation of his own thought when he criticized Frege's particular version of "logicism"....neither do I think that Russell would agree with Blue Devil Knights conclusions, nor BDK's assessment of "many-type logics"---whatever that might mean.At any rate, I'm not going to delve into the philosophy of logic and language now. I only wanted to iterate a primitive, universal "logic" as the foundation and basis of communication and reasoning.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Gregory: Russel's paradox only needed Frege's system and used it against itself, deriving conclusions that were explicitly disallowed within the system. It didn't require reference to some more general logic. The theory of types is how Russell and Whitehead avoided such explosions.

Perhaps if you articulated what you think this core general logic is like, we could have a discussion about it. It would be interesting to see how it fares against formal logic (which doesn't necessarily mean mathematical logic). Most likely, you would want to say that the law of noncontradiction is pretty central. We discussed that in great length at the post I cited above.

As I said, I don't have a problem with the claim that there is a folk logic that predates formal logic. My problem is giving it special status (especially giving special status to something people often just want to wave toward and not specify).

Even if the folk logic is somehow required for us to communicate (and you have simply stated that as a claim, not defended it), that still doesn't justify it. But until those defending folk logic actually articulate the theory, it is impossible to discuss it.

This is a complicated topic, of course. Luckily it is amenable to empirical exploration, so there is research on it. Children, for instance, commonly will make claims such as 'X is a Y', 'Y is a Z' and 'X is not a Z' (e.g., Rex is a dog, Dogs are animals, Rex is not an animal). That is, before the age of four or so they seem to violate certain Aristotelian notions (and their predicate-logic/set theoretic counterparts in modern logic). People are pretty bad at understanding the conditional (as shown in the Wason task). There is a whole literature on cognitive bias. What do they use to judge the folk logic? Formal logic. The researchers have the same biases.

So someone seriously interested in the psychology of this (as the claim that there is a core folk logic is a psychological claim) should look into the empirical evidence. It is a very interesting, and (Ilion notwithstanding) complicated topic, but luckily there is an empirical dimension to it which means we don't have to leave it to the philosophers to ruin.

Ilíon said...

I keep telling you that (as a general rule) 'atheists' only *pretend* to care about logic (and reason). Marvel at the on-going demonstration of this truth by one 'atheist' about himself.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion: even for you that was a lazy zinger. Perhaps you could enlighten us about the core folk logic that makes all thinking possible.

Blue Devil Knight said...

The irony in this thread is that we have Ilion, an arch GI Joe antinaturalist, defending a form of psychologism (probably without realizing it).

Husserl and Frege are the antidote.

Anonymous said...

"There is a whole literature on cognitive bias. What do they use to judge the folk logic? Formal logic. The researchers have the same biases."

Nicholas Taleb's book are the most interesting thing I've read on this.

Still, I don't know why you guys are arguing about different forms of logic. I took Critical Thinking, Philosophical Reasoning, Formal Logic I and II, and read over two dozen books on logic and it didn't make me a much better thinker. I don't think any forms of logic that come out in the future are going to help us much.

Ilíon said...

An Intellectually Dishonest Fool: "[blah, pointless blah]... folk logic ...[blah, pointless blah]"

BDK, as even you surely ought to know by now, I mock (*) foolishness, I hold it up for public examination and ridicule; but I *never* pretend that foolishness is not foolishness, and I never pretend that fools are stupid. Fools *choose* to be fools; which is to say, fools *choose* to be intellectually dishonest.

(*) Or, sometimes, I try to ignore it; as I don't see a rational third alternative.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion: While I don't expect you to provide substantive discussion or a display of understanding of complicated philosophical issues, I do expect entertaining one-liners and zingers. Earlier in this thread, you had me worried you were losing it, but your most recent is in perfect alignment with expectations.

Tip top shape, Ed Anger, though not very original.

J said...

Formal logic is of little help in terms of establishing the reliability of scripture--it's an empirical question, not really deductive. Even Russell would have granted that (especially the BR apres-Tractatus, when BR agreed with Wittgenstein's tautological views of formal logic).

I suspect Russell followed Hume in regards to infallibility, miracles, alternative explanations, etc--ie. scripture isn't infallible. He doesn't accept the reports of miracles. Quite a bit of Russell's writing is online, both technical and journalistic (some a bit longwinded)

Russell considers Christ a sort of sage, but not divine, and not really equal to say a Socrates. Russell also rightly objected to witchcraft and the occult, along with criticizing fundamentalist zealots and "neo-scholastics"--they still persist. See Frater Ed Feser for the latest updates on the Chestnuts of Aquinas--bring back the Inquisition! (one of the Flying Saints, btw)

Anonymous said...

Heather from Glendale has a point. It's pretty silly for a Christian to say Christ was never resurrected.

Ilíon said...

If far worse that silly for someone who claims to be a Christian to equivocate over or even deny that Jesus was actually raised from the dead, it is wicked, it is sin.

But that isn't the point of Mr Reppert's OP. The point is the total inconsistency maintaining that Jesus was actually raised from the dead while also being "... right now I am sort of into—you know, witchcraft and stuff like that? ..."

If Jesus was indeed raised from the dead, this is an event of first importance. It is foolish to maintain that Jesus was actually raised from the dead and yet ignore the meaning of it.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Oops, my bad. I sidetracked this discussion into a discussion of philosophy of logic.

Getting back to the post, I think generally, Gordon Knight is right: many people (especially younger people) adhere to a kind of supernatural pluralism, where things like wicca, Christianity are employed to greater or lesser degrees of seriousness. There is no direct contradiction, just a kind of superficiality. I think was the main point of the original post--the idea that Heather contradicter herself came up on the comments.

Victor's main point seemed to be about the lack of inferential depth in Heather's claims, that she hadn't really worked out all the implications of what she was saying, or explored the systems of thought she was judging.

Part of me is not bothered by this. If Heather is the mother of four kids, and works full time, then I don't expect her to have had the leisure of thinking through such things. Whatever floats her boat. (I'm definitely not in the 'Unexamined life is not worth living' camp).

Anonymous said...

As a thoroughgoing sexist who belives that women are much smarter than us men, but that they think differently than we do, I'm sure Heather has this all figured out, and she's not about to be reasoned out of it by some troglydite male. It would take either another woman or an act of God to make her see the light. -- Bilbo

Jason Pratt said...

Go Beth Moore! {gggg!}


Bilbo said...

I think we should ask Heather what she means that Jesus was raised from the dead. Does she mean a bodily or merely spiritually? I suspect the latter.

kbrowne said...

Dr. Reppert,

I was puzzled by this post the first time I read it and now, reading it again, I want to ask you: How is a belief in the Resurrection of Jesus inconsistent with the world-view of a Wiccan?

Admittedly, I do not understand why Heather from Glendale is shocked to discover that there are people who do not think that Jesus was raised from the dead. Surely she has come across that viewpoint before. But she could certainly believe in the Resurrection while also believing in witchcraft.

I think that Hindus could believe in the Resurrection and that some do. Certainly some believe in the Incarnation, with Jesus as one avatar among many. Some Jews believe that Jesus was the Messiah and I think some believe in the Resurrection, while not believing that Jesus is God. Muslims do not even believe in the crucifixion so maybe they do not believe in the Resurrection but they certainly believe in other Christian doctrines, such as the Virgin Birth.

My point is that a belief in the Resurrection of Jesus can be combined consistently with many different world-views, not only with the Christian one.

Of course some of the reported sayings of Jesus may be inconsistent with the Wiccan world-view but Wiccans do not have to think that Jesus was right about everything and, anyway, he may not have been reported correctly. A lot of the Christians I know think he was not reported correctly in the Gospels. There is no reason why Wiccans should not think the same.

Bilbo said...

Hi KBrowne,

By the resurrection of Jesus, do you mean a bodily resurrection? Would Heather or other Wiccans have meant that?

kbrowne said...


Why not?