I was away from the computer yesterday, so I didn't see John's comment.
And you are being extremely disingenuous Vic, to the point of lying (yes, lying. You are at least lying to yourself).
Look at Walter Martin's book on the cults. Listen, I am not stupid. You are. Martin and all others assume there is a natural explanation for every other religion but their own.
I have never seen such utter stupidity before.
I am not subscribing. Anyone with a brain can read Martin's books or Geisler's or McDowell's.
Listen, if you wish to engage me take a basic primer in apologetics.
Sheesh. Is this the level or ignorance it takes to believe?
I think so, and that's why I want nothing to do with it. I am a thinking person. Critique this all you want but with such a buffoonish post as this it is MORE obvious than the nose on your face.
I am going to ignore Mr. Loftus' unfortunate tone here, and proceed to the logical point I think he has missed. Martin, Geisler, and McDowell, I take it, believe that the founding of other religions can be explained naturalistically. Of course, it is critical only in Western revealed religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc. to have supernaturally explained founding events. Christians believe that God was active in the founding of both Judaism and Christianity, but they do not think God participated in the founding of the Islam, or the founding of Mormonism. It is certainly open to Christians to accept a supernatural explanation for the founding of these religions, namely a demonic explanation, but Martin and others don't ordinarily go that way, and I am inclined to suppose that they are right to do so. I heard a Christian caller to Hank Hanegraaf's show say that Moroni was an angel, but he was a fallen angel. Richard Abanes, a Mormonism expert, said that he didn't think that this was the case.
The obvious point, which seems to have escaped Mr. Loftus, is that explaining something naturalistically is not sufficient to make one a methodological naturalist. Here is the definition of methodological naturalism, provided by Paul Kurtz here.
First, naturalism is committed to a methodological principle within the context of scientific inquiry; i.e., all hypotheses and events are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events. To introduce a supernatural or transcendental cause within science is to depart from naturalistic explanations. On this ground, to invoke an intelligent designer or creator is inadmissible....
In other words, before investigating some phenomenon, a methodological naturalist decides that whatever explanations are to be given it cannot be a supernatural explanation. Someone who adopts methodological naturalism assumes from the outset that no supernatural explanation can or will be given. What that means is that if an event in fact has a supernatural explanation, the investigator, who has committed himself to MN, will miss that explanation.
Now, people who believe in miracles explain many, indeed most things non-miraculously. When Catholics canonize saints, they have to verify the miracles. They can conclude that the prospective saint didn't produce any miracles, in which case he (or she) is not canonized. That doesn't mean they are methodological naturalists, that means they didn't find enough evidence to support this particular prospective saint's miracle claims.
Now, look at the structure of the arguments in the comparison between the founding of Islam and the founding of Christianity, which I linked to in the previous post. I'm not even vouching for the argumentation in defense of Christianity here, I am just making the case that that site compared the manuscript evidence, the documentary evidence, and the archaeological evidence for the Bible as opposed to the Qu'ran. No doubt the author of this site thinks that the founding of Islam is in fact to be explained naturalistically, but there is nothing on the site that I can see that says it must be explained naturalistically. The central characteristic of methodological naturalism is a necessity that the subject matter be explained naturalistically, and that any supernatural explanations, even if true, be overlooked. In fact, by presenting this kind of evidence, the author of the website is implying that if the evidential situation were reversed, them we ought to seriously consider the Qu'ran, and not the Bible, is divine rather than human in origin.
Martin, Geisler, and McDowell do not assume that there is a naturalistic explanation for the founding of Islam. I contend that they argue that, in this case, there is a naturalistic explanation for the founding of Islam.
So Mr. Loftus is making a leap from
1) Martin, Geisler, and McDowell in fact explain the origins of Islam naturalistically,
2) Martin, Geisler, and McDowell are employing methodological naturalism in their explanation of the founding of Islam.
And this, I submit, does not follow. Only be conflating the acceptance of a naturalistic explanation in a particular case with the acceptance of methodological naturalism can Mr. Loftus make his case that my last post was stupid. Once the distinction between these is clarified, his criticism falls flat.