Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two boats and a helicopter

The idea in some people's minds seems to be that even if there is good evidence for the NT, God should have provided more, and that he did not provide more is evidence that the evidence he provided isn't any good. Reminds me of this old joke:

A farmer is in Iowa during a flood. The river is overflowing, with water surrounding the farmer's home up to his front porch. As he is standing there, a boat comes up, The man in the boat says "Jump in, I'll take you to safety."
The farmer crosses his arms and says stubbornly, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. The water rises to the second floor. Another boat comes up, the man says to the farmer who is now in the second story window, "Jump in, I'll save you."
The farmer again says, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. Now the water is up to the roof. As The farmer stands on the roof, a helicopter comes over, and drops a ladder. The pilot yells down to the farmer "I'll save you, climb the ladder."
The farmer says "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The helicopter goes away. The water comtinues to rise and sweeps the farmer off the roof. He drowns.
The farmer goes to heaven. God sees him and says "What are you doing here?"
The farmer says "I put my trust in you and you let me down."
God says, "What do you mean, let you down? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!!!"


Paul D. Adams said... of my favorite "old" jokes.

Unbelief is incorrigible it seems. There just ain't 'nuf evidence!

Bilbo said...

If I were to argue for the farmer, I might say, "Both boats were taking on lots of water and the helicopter was pouring out thick black smoke."

Of course, many would think it was more reasonable to take a chance on the boats or helicopters than to risk certain drowning.

Likewise, I think the evidence is sufficient. But then my priors are different from others.

Steven Carr said...

So what evidence is there for Jesus flying into the sky and disappearing into a cloud on his way to Heaven?

Should God have provided some evidence that Heaven is somehow above the clouds, as people of 2000 years ago believed?

Steven Carr said...

It is interesting that Victor thinks the evidence for Christianity can best be compared to an old joke.

Bilbo said...

Actually, Steve, Vic's point was that your attitude could be compared to an old joke. My point is that it depends upon who the farmer is.

I find it fascinating that you are so fascinated by Jesus. Like a moth drawn to the flame. I'm guessing you got burnt once. So you won't come too close, but you can't go away either.

They say there is a balm for burns like yours. In Gilead.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

I think Bilbo the more fitting analogy is Gollum. He wants to be rid of his atheism but just can't let go. It's twisted a him and made him arrogant. I would hope his real life persona is a little more compassionate.

While I would shout him a drink at the pub I can't say he would be fun to be around.
I wonder what the younger presumably happier Mr Carr was like?

Matt said...

I think what atheists are looking for in terms of proof are events to which the only possible explanation is some sort of external manipulation of the universe. Granted if such an event were to occur today many would continue to look for natural explanations even if supernatural were the best based on our current understanding of the universe. The boats and helicopters have perfectly natural explanations and are not really proof of God acting even though they may have been sent by him.

In the case of the NT even if Jesus' actual resurrection is, based on the historical method, the most satisfactory way to explain the points in the gospels that can be asserted as history what the atheist wants is proof that any miraculous thing can happen at all. Because he has not experienced this he will deny the resurrection not based on historical analysis but on doubt that miracles ever happen.

Ken said...

Matt, I don't think miracles are the only stumbling block. Suppose there was historically known physician (about 2000 years ago) who only vaguely described a concoction that he administered to a patient with epilepsy, who later was completely relieved of symptoms. Here we have a description of a naturalistic method, and yet modern scientists and doctors would take the account with a grain of salt, unless they could reproduce the results. Ancient historical evidence lacks the vigor of a modern investigation and accounts of extraordinary incidents that can no longer be vigorously investigated will always remain anecdotal.