Saturday, November 26, 2011

C. S. Lewis on the Hallucination Theory

"Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and if it is invention [rather than fact], it is the oddest invention that ever entered the mind of man) that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus (Lk 24:13-31; Jn 20:15; 21:4). Even granting that God sent a holy hallucination to teach truths already widely believed without it, and far more easily taught by other methods, and certain to be completely obscured by this, might we not at least hope that he would get the face of the hallucination right? Is he who made all faces such a bungler that he cannot even work up a recognizable likeness of the Man who was himself?" (Miracles, chapter 16)


A more detailed response to hallucination theory can be found here. 

86 comments:

JSA said...

If they lived in very close quarters with Jesus for so long, and then didn't recognize him even after an extended face-to-face conversation, doesn't that militate *against* the resurrected Jesus having a similar body or mannerisms? IOW doesn't it lend cadence to the idea that they were seeing Christ in someone else?

In cases in the real world where people mistakenly believe that a close friend or family member is dead, and then they meet that person, is it common to have a long conversation without recognizing the loved one?

Ryan Anderson said...

I think it's disingenuous to say that versions 2, 3 and 4 couldn't have happened interdependently.

Hiero5ant said...

If "our uniform experience of what brains will and will not do" tells us it is absurd that there might be multiple independent hallucinations, then a fortiriori our uniform experience of what brains will and will not do tell us that it is beyond absurd that a brain might be deprived of oxygen for 3 days and yet return to complete function.

This is the sort of thing that gives apologetics a bad name.

Anonymous said...

That begs the question & misses the point.

Presupposing a purely naturalistic scientific worldview the concept of mass hallucination (i.e. a group of individuals sharing the same subjective hallucinatory experience) has no scientific or empirical backing.

Now maybe in a reality that includes the supernatural a brain deprived of Oxygen and having been dead for Three days can live again by supernatural forces and or the Great Supernatural Force can cause individuals to all experience the same hallucination even thought it would be beyond highly improbable by natural means. Akin to a Trillion flipped coins all coming up heads.

Anonymous said...

"This is the sort of thing that gives apologetics a bad name."

And trigger-happy, dismissive people like yourself are what gives modern atheism a bad name. You provide sour icing on an already rancid cake (atheism), and for that, I am glad.

Hiero5ant said...

Who is talking about "naturalism"? No one until an apologist was put into a tight spot and needed an out. I am not a naturalist.

If it is absurd to believe that a trillion coin flips could come up heads, then a fortiori it is more absurd to credit a story in which a quadrillion coin flips come up heads.

But apologists like Lewis special plead and help themselves to the notion that our knowledge of the way the world works is fundamentally erroneous when we flip a coin a quadrillion times, but suddenly become dogmatic "naturalists" when they want to dismiss the idea of a coin coming up heads only a trillion times.

The double standard is quite obvious to anyone.

Walter said...

Presupposing a purely naturalistic scientific worldview the concept of mass hallucination (i.e. a group of individuals sharing the same subjective hallucinatory experience) has no scientific or empirical backing.

What about the dancing sun at Fatima? That seems to be evidence that masses of people can share visionary experiences, especially when a group of people are *expecting* to see something miraculous.

I subscribe to the "me too" theory that one particular disciple--maybe Peter--had a visionary experience of Jesus after his death. Then other disciples upon hearing Peter's story began having their own experiences of religious pareidolia--they started seeing a risen Christ everywhere. This might account for bizarre tales of disciples talking to Jesus for hours before they "realized" it must be him.

Anonymous said...

>What about the dancing sun at Fatima? That seems to be evidence that masses of people can share visionary experiences, especially when a group of people are *expecting* to see something miraculous.

It is after that phenomena the concept of mass hallucination was first entertained. Largely from a prior philosophical commitment to the belief miracles are not possible therefore another explanation must be entertained.

Yet so far cognitive science has not been able to duplicate the experience of a mass hallucination in the lab. Given the subjective nature of hallucination it is unlikely it can.

Indeed in the area of Fatima it would be better to entertain Stanly Jaki's view Fatima was an unknown local natural celestial phenomena that miraculously happened to occur at that time.

Mass hallucination is a scientific dead end.

Anonymous said...

"but suddenly become dogmatic "naturalists" when they want to dismiss the idea of a coin coming up heads only a trillion times."

There's nothing absurd about a coin coming up heads a trillion times. It just means the coin wasn't fair.

No one is becoming a "dogmatic naturalist" here, nor did anyone in this thread make reference to what you quoted about uniform experience.

anonymousHater said...

No matter what evidence there is, A or ~A, the apologists will find a way to make it seem to increase the likelihood of their view.

After all, we are dealing with a non-academic branch of propaganda. Apologetics is the art of persuasion and manipulation. It is not philosophy, history, logic, science. It is applied rhetoric. Some great speakers/debaters come out of apologetics. Why do you think every apologetics blog has so many posts devoted to talkinga bout who will debate whom?

Loftus shows he is still just an apologist, his shirt may have changed colors, but underneath he is still not after truth, but promotion.

He was trained well in those jokes...I mean colleges, he almost got a PhD in.

Apologetics: where the stupid are put out to pasture.

PhilosophyFan said...

If we're using by the numbers reasoning, maybe we can get to the truth of Christianity that way. Lots of people believe, you know?

Chris W said...

Too bad Parsons' reply to Kreeft and Tacelli isn't available online. Some of it is summarized here: http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com/2006/04/empty-tomb-jesus-beyond-grave.html

parbouj said...

So the fact that they didn't know it was Jesus is supposed to be good for Christianity? Wow.

Victor Reppert said...

Is it something you would include in a fictional account?

Walter said...

Is it something you would include in a fictional account?

Well, one of these guys did include a pretty tall tale about zombie saints invading Jerusalem. That's a story that even many hardcore evangelicals have a hard time swallowing. Just ask Mike Licona.

parbouj said...

Victor: so if something would go against Christianity, but is included, that is taken to support Christianity?

You guys...wow....both A and ~A do support Christianity, as hater said above.

parbouj said...

Walter, what are you referring to?

unkleE said...

Parbouj said: "So the fact that they didn't know it was Jesus is supposed to be good for Christianity? Wow."

It's a fairly standard part of historical analysis as far as I can tell. Historians have to sift the small amount of evidence we have left after a long period of time, and make judgments on each piece of evidence.

If you didn't know this, then perhaps you might read up on historical method. If you did know this, then it is unfortunate that you chose to ignore it and make a comment that made you sound as if you didn't know. I guess it depends on whether you (and I) want to discuss things with a view to learning and coming closer to the truth, or just mocking the opposite opinion.

Walter said...

It's a fairly standard part of historical analysis as far as I can tell

Yes, it is known as the criterion of embarrassment. Problem is, we don't know for sure whether such anecdotes would have been embarrassing to the author. If I am not mistaken there are parallels among pagan god myths where pious believers did not realize they were talking to one of their gods. So we can't say if this narrative is embarrassing or a standard theme of the day.

parbouj said...

UnkleE I have never seen such a blatant appeal to authority, yet you have the gall to talk about concern for truth?

If X is in there, that is somehow great because it undermines their argument (I don't think any of you are thinking this through, it is really incredible as you are all smart people (except Ilion/Troy)).

So if it is in the text that Jesus did not actually rise, that someoen stole his body, this would be great for Christianity!

parbouj said...

Principle of embarassment is an embarassment to historical scholarship. Is it any surprise that we'd find people endorsing it whose beliefs are full of embarassing boners?

B. Prokop said...

Not intended to be a conversation stopper, but you're never going to get to a slam dunk proof either for or against the Resurrection (and I suspect that is what God intended). A person determined to be skeptical will always find enough ambiguity to comfort him, whilst a believer will always find enough historical evidence to assure him he's on the right track.

That, however, should not stop one "side" or another in this debate from knocking down specific arguments advanced by the other, or from buttressing such arguments from their own camp.

Personally, I find the hallucination theory weak. Even in the case of Fatima. No one has ever put forward a bona fide example of mass hallucination to set beside the Fatima accounts. Until someone does, you're going to have to account for the Fatima miracles in some other fashion, because the mass hallucination explanation is putting the cart before the horse. (You must first prove that mass hallucination exists, and that has yet to be done.)

Same applies to the Resurrection. I'm not even going to give the theory the time of day until someone shows me a proven case of such events actually existing. I am aware that Mass Hysteria can (and often does) occur, but that is a whole different ball of wax, and does not apply to this instance.

Walter said...

Bob, If you read the above article you would see that *mass* hallucination is not what is being argued. Apologists are still boxing with 19th century protestant rationalists who affirmed biblical inerrancy while denying any actual miracles occurred. Modern skeptics do not have to propose mass hallucinations since modern skeptics do not grant the historical reliability of the post-resurrection accounts.

parbouj said...

Walter what single skeptical book on Christianity would you recommend I read? JUST ONE. Please nothing by Carrier. I'm talking something good, but accessible to the ignoramus like me.

Same question for the believers. JUST ONE.

I will read both.

Walter said...

Walter what single skeptical book on Christianity would you recommend I read?

If you wish to focus on claims about the resurrection then I would try this one:

The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave

Official Companion Web Site:

the empty tomb

parbouj said...

Great, I just ordered it thanks. You seem to know more than the usual skeptical riff-raff.

BenYachov said...

Robert Price is a Jesus Myther like Carrier.

So what is the difference between them?

BenYachov said...

Walter is a Deist with a non-theistic Personalist view of God(thought not as developed as Aquinas) & you are a "Platonic Atheist".

Both of you IMHO are just a micro meter away from being Classic Theists. Since you both mercifully reject an overly Anthropomorphic so called "god".

B. Prokop said...

Parbouj,

If I were to recommend just one "pro" Christianity book (and I guess that's what I'm doing), it would be G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man.

If I were allowed two recommendations, the second would be Dorothy Sayers's translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.

parbouj said...

Do others like that suggestion by Bob? I'll wait a day or so before ordering.

Ben you are right. OTOH, what I would say is you are just a hair from being an atheist. :) If your God is not personal, what's left for me to worship? As I mentioned once, I don't worship abstract objects like the proposition that 1+1=2.


I think the big difference isn't in your theism/my atheism. It is your Christianity/my lack thereof. But then what is more personal than sending your son that talks, walks, eats, etc.. How can that be an impersonal God?

BenYachov said...

>If your God is not personal, what's left for me to worship?

Maybe you should start with GOD MATTERS by Herbert McCabe & disabuse yourself of the false alternative fallacy you hold.

To repeat you are giving me a false alternative, either I believe in a Theistic Personalist God (ie. a God who is a person unequivocally compared to a human person only wihtout a body and more uber) or I believe in an Impersonal God.

I believe in neither. You need to learn Aquinas Doctrine of Analogy like it's nobody's business.

To paraphrase McCabe (who in a dialog with an Atheist in his book had the Atheist say essentially the
same thing you said to me) if I am an Atheist by your standards then so is Augustine, Aquinas, and all the Scholastic Theologians for the past 1500 years.

BenYachov said...

THE LAST SUPERSTITION by Edward Feser couldn't hurt either.

It changed my life. It restored my belief in God. Made it impossible for me to ever take the Atheism of the Materialist Reductionist variety seriously.

Gave me a better rational conception of God and as an added bonus it killed any possibility I could take Intelligent Design theory seriously or Atheist claims Evolution refutes God seriously.

parbouj said...

If his book is as full of hot air as his blog...no thanks. Sorry Ben I really have no patience for your idol Feser. If you have anyone but him I will put it on the pile of potential books, with everlasting man.

And again I ask 'But then what is more personal than sending your son that talks, walks, eats, etc.. How can that be an impersonal God?'

How does an impersonal being have a son?

unkleE said...

Parbouj said: "UnkleE I have never seen such a blatant appeal to authority, yet you have the gall to talk about concern for truth?"

1. Can you please explain to me why appealing to historical authority is wrong in this context? I really want to see your answer please.

2. I didn't appeal to authority, I pointed out that what you dismissed as silly was a useful tool, among many, that historians use, and you were misrepresenting the situation.

"So if it is in the text that Jesus did not actually rise, that someoen stole his body, this would be great for Christianity!"

I see you didn't take notice of my last sentence. This is a silly point, an inapt exaggeration. You know no-one would say that. If you want to discuss historical method, I suggest you do it thoughtfully as Walter is doing, or not at all. So I'll leave you to it.

BenYachov said...

>If his book is as full of hot air as his blog...no thanks.

Interesting excuse. Feser PhD is a former Atheist and he has a professional knowledge of Aristotle and has a professional knowledge of Plato.

Plus there is the bibliography which references Ascombie, Davies, Oderberg, Kennedy etc...

Don't just read one book(any book) then ignore the Bibliography.

I personally find Bill Vaciella to be a bit of a Yutz on his blog but he is a damn good philosopher.

This is not a rational reason to not read Feser.

If you don't feel like reading him then fine, politely blow it off in a way that helps you save face, but at least don't make yourself look reactionary.

Weak.

>How does an impersonal being have a son?

I already denied believing in an impersonal being so your question is a non-starter.

Since you don't want to read the sources that explain my view then there is little point in us talking now is there?

Sorry you have to deal with the God I believe in not the one you wished I believed in.

JSA said...

@parbouj - Everlasting Man is out of copyright, so you can find the full text in several places on the Web. You might want to read a chapter or two first before ordering.

I really enjoyed "Everlasting Man" and Sayers "Divine Comedy", but I don't know if they are right for you. If you're a fan of poetry, literature, metaphor and the numinous, then you might like them both. But if you're more into cold hard logic and argument, you won't like them.

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"JSA" does have a good point about what works for one person may leave another cold. I believe the strongest arguments for the faith are often found in poetry, fiction, and music. So I gravitate towards works such as The Brothers Karamazov, The Divine Comedy, Taliessin Through Logres, Four Quartets, or even A Canticle for Leibowitz. Among the strongest arguments for Catholicism in my view, for example, is Graham Greene's novel The Power and the Glory or the music of William Byrd.

I also am drawn towards autobiographical works, such as Lewis's Surprised by Joy, Daniel Berrigan's the Trial of the Catonsville Nine, or Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness.

Whereas strictly apologetic works just don't do it for me.

But Chesterton's The Everlasting Man is "augumentative", which is why I picked that one. It presents a case for the likelihood of the New Testament narrative being true (using the "Outsider Perspective" in approaching them), and I think does the best, most coherent job of it I've ever read in English.

BenYachov said...

I prefer brute philosophy & Logic before apologetics and I believe we should start with Natural Theology before moving into revealed Theology.

Papalinton said...

Bob: "Not intended to be a conversation stopper, but you're never going to get to a slam dunk proof either for or against the Resurrection (and I suspect that is what God intended)."

I suspect god's intention is also never going to be 'slam-dunk' proof. More's the case of closing both eyes tightly with fingers crossed with both hands behind one's back.

Papalinton said...

"THE LAST SUPERSTITION by Edward Feser"

What irony.

BenYachov said...

Paps you have never read it and you are on the same intellectual level as J. accept without his insanity and vicious streak.

You also to date don't want to be anything more then you are intellectually which is sad.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

I feel that even Christians fail to pay to the Temptation narratives the attention they deserve. If we are to assume that the temptations were real, and not simply some shadow play without significance, then they have to be something that could tempt God Himself. You must know by now that I take the Gospels quite seriously, so I therefore have to wonder, "What could tempt God?" Suffice to say (for the current discussion) that I have my personal theories about all three, but I will speak here only of the second temptation (per Matthew).

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, He will give his angels charge of you, and On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Matthew 4:5-7)

I could write (and have in fact done so) pages on this theme (don't worry, I won't), but the gist of my thoughts on this passage is that Jesus must have on multiple occasions gotten to a point of frustration in the face of hypocrisy and intransigence, and might have been tempted to think, "All it would take is for Me to perform some spectacular sign that all could see and that none could contest, and My job would be done!" But doing that would play right into the Devil's hand, who would love to see man's free will made a mockery. And that is precisely what such a sign would have done. It is essential to God's plan that we be free to choose, and overwhelming, incontestable evidence of the Resurrection would deny that to us. So He's given us sufficient evidence to believe, but stops short of forcing it down our throats.

I'm not arguing this to you, but simply explaining what I believe to be the case.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, He will give his angels charge of you, and On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Matthew 4:5-7)


A couple of things to notice and query. By what power, either physical manhandling or convincing articulate guise, did he [the devil] manage to have jesus set on the pinnacle of the temple with such apparent ease and to instruct him to jump off? The legendizing ludicrousness of this situation ever happening, of the devil positing a compliant and unresisting jesus atop a building, is gob-smackingly far-fetched and improbable.

If the story is claimed to be literal, then it is without credibility. If it is claimed to be figurative, then it seems rather a pointless exercise if all it succeeded was to elicit an arcane non-answer to tempting god. It is folkloric mythos to the core. I might add, and more to the point, the response, "Again it is written, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Matthew 4:5-7), is simply a classic christian euphemism in religious theospeak, roughly 'interpreted' [a very favourite pastime of believers], 'When you jump, expect to die."

B. Prokop said...

I guess credibility is in the eye of the beholder, then. I see no problem in taking the story literally, but also no need to do so. The point is well made either way. Dostoevsky (who knew something about the art of telling stories) considered the temptation narrative to be the best crafted story of all time.

(For the record, I take it literally, but wouldn't "fall on my sword" over the issue.)

parbouj said...

Ben you have too much of a man-crush on Feser and are overreacting to me not wanting to read one book. There must be something else worth reading beside your idol. He is a blow-hard, I don't care how many references he has, he is just not someone I am going to commit to reading. One person. If that is the only one you can think of, then I'll go with Bob (who is right I prefer a more logical argumentative approach).

JSA said...

Couldn't post-hypnotic suggestion explain the sightings of Christ? A modern-day hypnotist could easily recreate many of the experiences reported, and there is ample Biblical evidence for Jesus telling the disciples things that they only realized later (including cues of a resurrection, which they reportedly did not process consciously at the time). And appealing to a future communication from "the spirit" at an unspecified time is fairly standard hypnotic technique. This would also be consistent with the reports of initially mis-identifying the stranger on the road.

Not that I'm saying this is what happened, or that it would even be relevant to the truth of Christianity. But it's certainly plausible, and would make the most sense for someone seeking to deny the events, just as the authorities in Bulgakov's "Master and Margerita" conclude at the end of the story.

JSA said...

@parbouj - You may be disappointed with "Everlasting Man", since it covers a small chunk of the possible apologetic space. It gives a good counter-argument to people who think that Christianity was a form of paganism, and places in the context of humanism. But it won't even begin to touch on half of the topics raised in Loftus's anti-Christian books.

I don't read apologetics books, but I have heard that Keller's "Reason for God" is a good one that touches on most of the popular challenges that atheists throw at Christianity. Maybe you could read that one and read Loftus's latest. Personally, I think Loftus's compilation is the strongest popular anti-Christian book you will find. The "outsider test" he proposes is complete nonsense (and Chesterton uses the outsider test to support Christianity, as Bob says). But the rest of the book is good. It's the best intro to atheist arguments you can find, IMO.

Finally, I don't think anyone arrives at Christianity by argument, nor should anyone. The best outcome of argument is that you realize all of the arguments are hollow and inconclusive at the core, and then you start living your life and learn to appreciate beauty like "Divine Comedy". Then from there, you can revisit argument.

BenYachov Jim Scott 4th said...

@parbouj
>Ben you have too much of a man-crush on Feser and are overreacting to me not wanting to read one book.

What part of the sentence"If you don't feel like reading him then fine" is unclear to you?

>There must be something else worth reading beside your idol. He is a blow-hard, I don't care how many references he has, he is just not someone I am going to commit to reading.

Hello? I also recommended Herbert McCabe's book GOD MATTERS on this very thread before bringing up Feser.

Why you missed that and choose to go out of your way and make an issue of your "hater" mentality towards him is the real mystery.

You don't think some people might see that as overreacting?

>One person. If that is the only one you can think of, then I'll go with Bob (who is right I prefer a more logical argumentative approach).

I think you need to eventually learn to separate persons from arguments. If even only in theory till you acquire the maturity and experience to put it in practice in the not too distant future.

If you are so put off by Feser's polemical tone in TLS then read AQUINAS by Feser it has a more irenic tone.

Learn something about Thomism and the Classic view God so you don't cause me to role my eyes with your either/or fallacy (i.e. either I believe in an Anthropomorphic human "god" mind minus a body or I believe in The Force). I still don't believe in an Impersonal God. I am a Thomist.

I believe God can't be compared to creatures unequivocally or wholly equivocally but analogously.

You clearly seem to conceive of God as comparable to human persons and things in unequivocal terms. I do not.

Besides the last time we spoke on another thread I recommended AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION. by Brian Davies see the chapter on God concepts.

Also THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL by Davies has a whole chapter on the Classical View of God vs Theistic Personalism.

So either read and learn all this or don't.

But I gotta tell ya the one size fits all anti-religion polemics by modern New Atheist Apologists is getting stale.

A Platonic Atheist should be more discerning IMHO and get out in front.

Chris W said...

JSA,

This is very interesting: "Finally, I don't think anyone arrives at Christianity by argument, nor should anyone. The best outcome of argument is that you realize all of the arguments are hollow and inconclusive at the core, and then you start living your life and learn to appreciate beauty like "Divine Comedy". Then from there, you can revisit argument."

I wonder, are you are soteriological inclusivist? It seems to me that if you agree that the evidence for Christianity is so ambiguous as to be rationally deniable or worthy of suspended judgment, and that God wants to give every person a genuine choice to accept salvation, you might think salvation is available to people who haven't assented to the Nicene Creed.

BenYachov said...

>I wonder, are you are soteriological inclusivist?

Translation: A person who believes God will save those who don't formally profess Jesus threw no actual moral fault of their own and follow any extra-ordinary saving Grace He grants them.

I don't know about JSA but I am one.

BenYachov said...

>It seems to me that if you agree that the evidence for Christianity is so ambiguous as to be rationally deniable or worthy of suspended judgment,

Of course I don't agree with that & I don't see how you have too?

People can resist believing good evidence. Or they never are presented with the good evidence.

Chris W said...

Good to know, Ben. My point about the ambiguity/rational deniability of the evidence was to point out that even some people familiar with all the best arguments might not profess Jesus through no fault of their own. Do you agree? And what do you mean by "resisting good evidence"? Is this resistance culpable? BTW, by "rationally deniable" I don't mean "should be denied by a rational informed person" but more like "reasonable, nonresistant disagreement is possible."

I know we are getting off topic but I am interested in this stuff.

BenYachov said...

@Chris W

Hey!

>even some people familiar with all the best arguments might not profess Jesus through no fault of their own. Do you agree?

It might be possible if they have some sort of mental reservation.
I leave those judgements to the Just God.

Of course Pius IX taught us Catholics we can't know who among the unbelievers falls into that category and we can't use that possibility of their extra-ordinary means of salvation as a pretense not to preach the Gospel.

>And what do you mean by "resisting good evidence"?

They might be presented with Good evidence and arguments they don't want to be true.

>Is this resistance culpable?

It could be. But I don't waste time trying to figure out who falls into that category since I agree in Principle with Pius IX it's a futile pursuit.

>BTW, by "rationally deniable" I don't mean "should be denied by a rational informed person" but more like "reasonable, nonresistant disagreement is possible."

I don't completely understand you here but I don't completely misunderstand you either.

There will always be room for doubt but is the doubt reasonable or not? That is the question.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

BTW one last point of clarification being a soteriological inclusivist IMHO does not equate with being a Universalist(every non-believer is saved) or a religious indifferentist(i.e. a person who believes God is indifferent to what religion you profess).

I reject both those views.

Walter said...

To parbouj

I would say that the sine qua non of Christianity is the resurrection. Christians dispute amongst themselves virtually every doctrine that they hold except the belief that Jesus was supernaturally raised. That is why I linked you to a book that cuts straight to the heart of these claims. If you are looking for a pro-Christian argument, I would read those that make the strongest case *for* the resurrection. Something like The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas or perhaps Mike Licona's new book The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.

(I am too lazy to create hyperlinks at the moment.)

parbouj said...

Ben you are hysterical. In both senses of the word.

parbouj said...

Thanks Walter.

parbouj said...

Which would the Christians here recommend if they had to pick between Habermas or Licona?

BenYachov said...

>Ben you are hysterical. In both senses of the word.

Like the non-hysterical person way you said "I will check out McCabe's book, Thanks?".

Oh wait that didn't happen.;-)

"WHAT! FESER! HE IS EVIL AND A MEANIE! MEAN I SAY!"

Seriously physician heal thyself young dude.

Neither Habermas or Licona will serve you as long as you hold Hume's latent philosophical errors.

Which is why you should read TLS.

But clearly you are threatened by Feser.

So we can't help you till you descide to get serious.

Sorry.

B. Prokop said...

Come now, there's no need to get upset over which book a person chooses to read, or which one works for them. Like I said, most strictly argumentative, apologetical books leave me cold. I personally get far more out of something like God as Nature sees God by John Mabry, Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire by Christine Valters Paintner, Full of Grace by Judith Dupre, or He Came Down from Heaven by Charles Williams than I do from any book advertising itself to tell me "this is why Christianity is True". Even with a predominantly apologetic writer like C.S. Lewis, I prefer his fiction, such as Out of the Silent Planet and its sequels, or even The Great Divorce to his book length essays like Miracles or Mere Christianity.

That's just the way my mind works. Perhaps someone like Parbouj would profit more from the A+B=C approach of some of the other writers being mentioned here.

It matters little which approach works, as long as something does. I myself haven't read anything by Feser, Habermas, or Licona. (In fact, outside of this web discussion, I had never heard of any of them.) But before anyone criticizes me for not having done so, I'd like to ask them first: "Have you read any of the works (excluding Lewis) that I just listed?"

Chris W said...

Thanks, Ben. Sounds so reasonable.

Walter said...

If someone wishes for a book that makes the case for mere theism, then I would clearly recommend someone besides Habermas or Licona. They are arguing specifically for the resurrection; you have to grant the assumption of theism or at least the possibility of the supernatural before their arguments will even get off the ground.

BenYachov said...

@Chris W

>Thanks, Ben. Sounds so reasonable.

No problem, I never did find theological restrictiveism reasonable.

But Inclusivism sans Universalism and Indifferent-ism is better.

Unfortunately some people believe the former implies the later two.

Cheers.

Chris W said...

Funny thing, I had a conversation with a lapsed Catholic friend this weekend who thought universalism meant what you (and I) call inclusivism.

BenYachov said...

I don't doubt it.

B. Prokop said...

Ben & Chris,

Here is where I think C.S. Lewis nailed it (in The Great Divorce), when he wrote that all such speculation is dangerous as long as we are still within Time, and that our focus for the present must be on choice.

After the Resurrection, the most indispensable doctrine is almost certainly that of Free Will. Blue sky speculations about universalism, etc., usually end up watering down Free Will, which is equivalent to burning down the house in order to cook dinner. Not gonna go there!

parbouj said...

Ben how many Feser posters are hanging on your wall? I am open to just about anything (I'll read Chesterton, Lewis, Habermas, whatever), and just because I don't like one person's bloated self-serving style, you get all offended? Does your wife know about your Feser man-crush?

I bet you've photoshopped Feser's picture (you know the one on his blog where he looks like a douchebag magician) onto your favorite male model.

parbouj said...

Note also, with Walter I said 'Nothing by Carrier please' and he didn't whine like a little bitch. I don't like Carrier's bloated, self-serving style, so refuse to read a book of his. Not because I am threatened by Carrier/Feser, but because we have a finite number of books to read before we die, and I don't like wasting such choices.

If your view is strong, it shouldn't depend on one man.

BenYachov said...

parbouj

>"douchebag magician" "man-crush"?

What are you 12?

I can't help but notice when you run out of reasonable responses you fall into teenage insults?

Calling me "Ben Jack-off" because you couldn't handle discussing an essay I found online written by a self-professed "Platonic Atheist".

For example.

>just because I don't like one person's bloated self-serving style, you get all offended?

It's still not an objection based on reason or philosophical content.

I can say Dawkins is a blow hard & he is one. But by itself that means little without the rational criticism of his nonsense from Atheists like Ruse and Nagel, liberal Theists like Eric Retain as well as conservatives like Feser or McGrath.

Your objection was irrational.

Live with it because at this point you are channeling "J" with the teenage insults.

I really don't believe you are better then that.

BTW I didn't attack you first.

Grow up.

BenYachov said...

> 'Nothing by Carrier please' and he didn't whine like a little bitch. I don't like Carrier's bloated, self-serving style, so refuse to read a book of his.

Which is a dumb reason not too as well. I tend to reject Jesus Myth persons like I reject Young Earthers, flat earthers and holocaust deniers.

It's just discredited 19th century nonsense.

BenYachov said...

@parbouj

Why are you allowed to be a jerk to your foes but other (Feser Carrier) don't have that same privilege?

Now I am a jerk to Gnus' & I don't apologize for it. But I love rational Atheists who are not Gnus.

BenYachov said...

BTW I don't care if you don't read Feser or Carrier and I know there is a finite number of books you can read.

But be rational about it and if you can't at least appear rational.

Geez!

Why do I bother? Young people don't listen.

JSA said...

@Chris - I'm a Calvinist, so I don't think it's wise to assume that oneself can get into heaven any old way. But no Christian should be speculating about who else gets into heaven. As soon as you start speculating or making firm statements about who else is in or out, you're no longer believing in God; you're believing you are God.

BenYachov said...

>If your view is strong, it shouldn't depend on one man.

I don't from Feser I went on to Oderberg, Adlar, Davies, McCabe, Brian Leftow, Ascommbie etc.

But where it not for Feser I would not have known these.

So I am grateful.

BenYachov said...

Let us not forget Aristotelian David Conway whose "The Rediscovery of Wisdom: From Here to Antiquity in Quest of ‘Sophia’" helped Flew change his mind.

parbouj said...

I fetishize Frege. :o

BenYachov said...

Oderberg & Feser reject Frege & Davies incorporates him.

I'm indifferent.

parbouj said...

Ben you should know by now I am not to be taken too seriously. Except when I criticize Troylion.

BenYachov said...

Fine.

Walter said...

I don't like Carrier's bloated, self-serving style, so refuse to read a book of his.

Oops!

The book "The Empty Tomb" that I recommended to you is an anthology of essays, and three of the fifteen essays are from Carrier. I suppose you can skip his chapters if you have a strong dislike of the man. I don't particularly like Carrier's triumphalism, but some of his arguments seem pretty good.

parbouj said...

Walter, I figure I could treat it as a buffet.

B. Prokop said...

OK, everybody! I'm withdrawing my suggestion of The Everlasting Man, and replacing it with The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight, or perhaps, The Berenstain Bears Learn How to Get Along with their Fellow Bear, or maybe even The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners. You're not ready for Chesterton yet!

Chris W said...

For real, Bob, I'd recommend the Berenstain Bears for training in righteousness.

B. Prokop said...

I must have read them hundreds of times to my daughters years (decades) ago!

Anonymous said...

i am not really good with bibles so I won't say anything that relates to it but what matters to me is that what i want to agree with you is that hallucination is an invention or a product of our mind.


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