Monday, May 30, 2016

Is unbelief a function of intelligence?

Apparently not, based on these studies provided by Joe Hinman.

13 comments:

B. Prokop said...

I think one's intelligence, learning, and analytical skills are irrelevant to a person's relation with God. I wish I could remember the source of this quote (though I do know it came from a Jewish rabbi), but truer words were never spoken: "God is not a proposition to be verified, but a Person to be encountered," or words to that effect. Or as St. James put it (somewhat paraphrased), "You believe in God? Good for you! But guess what? So do the demons!" (James 2:19)

And this is precisely the point where all this (admittedly entertaining) intellectual conversation over the internet fails. I can't think of a single atheist who came to God by argument alone. He needs to experience His presence in his life, to acknowledge that Man's life is more than what his senses tell him, that reason is a useful tool where applicable, but (just as a hammer is useless when you need to drive in a screw), will not always do the job.

This is a lesson we see over and over again in the Old Testament. The Hebrews had advantages far over and above the Nations. They had the Covenants, the Law, the Prophets. But again and again, Israel had to reach "rock bottom" before they could appreciate God's presence in their individual lives and that of their nation.

So all this talk about who has the most education, or who scores highest on (unquestionably flawed) IQ tests, is dust on the scales. It does not matter.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Miguel said...

I wouldn't say these things are irrelevant to a person's relation to God. But I guess it depends on how we understand "relevant" and "relation" in this context.

I don't think every believer has to provide and defend arguments for his faith. And there's certainly a great many simple, uneducated people who have much better and profound relations wih God than educated believers. That being said, however, I think that more sophisticated knowledge can potentially improve one's relation with God at least in some situations and in some cases.

And I do know some atheists who became theists solely because of rational arguments -- stuff like the cosmological argument, for instance. Granted, I do think there must be a special grace from God involved, especially in moving from bare theism to Christianity (although I do think are strong and rationally persuasive arguments for Christianity), but I do happen to know people who were atheists who, just by carefully analyzing and discussing classical arguments, came to believe that God exists and atheism is false.

Speaking for myself (and I'm not saying I'm a role model or anything like that, I'm really just stating personal facts about myself), my belief in God was, and is, motivated in a *very large* part by natural theology. It plays a very, very large role in my belief. I simply could not possibly be a rational atheist -- it would make absolutely no sense to me and would conflict with way too many things I independently hold to be true (especially PSR, teleology in the universe, and the existence of immaterial souls). I would probably have a very lackluster relationship with that Person, but I would still believe in the proposition.

Anyway, thay's me. Enough with my rant.


B. Prokop said...

Rant away! That's what we're here for.

As for myself, my rejection of atheism was more of a negative thing. I was never convinced by any of the arguments, and I found too many holes in the entire proposition. Atheism has no answer for why is there something rather than nothing. It cannot account for my personal existence as an entity, and no amount of neuroscience will ever explain why we are genuinely self aware rather than just acting like we were. Atheism is incompatible with free will, and I simply choose not to accept such a philosophy (yes, that bit of wordplay was intentional). Atheism puts a damper on morality, beauty, love, meaning, purpose.. in short, everything that makes life worth living at all. For an atheist to just get through the day, he is compelled to at least pretend that he believes in all those things, despite his worldview screaming at him that they don't actually exist.

But the game-ender for me is the Resurrection. I have been examining this event for as long as I can remember - from the late 1960s in fact. And I have never heard a coherent, believable alternative explanation as to what happened on the 27th of March, A.D. 33, other than that Jesus the Christ did indeed rise from the dead - literally, physically, historically, and verifiably - after having been most definitely executed by Roman authorities, unquestionably the most competent executioners around. I've seen enough evidence to convince me beyond all reasonable doubt that the historical record is trustworthy and accurate. In short, we know what happened.

And once that fact sinks in, there is no question of not embracing Christianity. The very idea of remaining a nonbeliever becomes madness. Which is why (as I have posted elsewhere) the demand for "non Christian" sources that verify the Resurrection is a logical absurdity - like asking to be shown a square circle.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Joe Hinman said...

We can't touch on this topic without mentioning the many IQ test claims made by atheist propaganda.Here are some articles I've done on it.


A list of the articles I've written on it
several about Barber and the atheist IQ scam


Zuckerman part 1
a big deal was made of this study supposed to prove atheists have higher IQ's

Zuckerman 2

all of those atheist IQ guys are part of a citation circle that functions as a big propaganda machine around psychology today.

Joe Hinman said...

hey prokop you said "And I have never heard a coherent, believable alternative explanation as to what happened on the 27th of March, A.D. 33, other than that Jesus the Christ did indeed rise from the dead - literally, physically, historically, and verifiably - "

you might be amused this lit of 30 or more alternative explanations Bradly Bowne put out on Secular Outpost. I did a thing on it for fun at Atheistwatch,.some of these are hilarious.

HERE

Miguel said...

I think I only read one article by this Brad guy. In it, he was saying that before one could argue for the Resurrection one had to first prove that Jesus had died. Apparently, he didn't realize that this amounted to begging the question against corroborated lines of evidence that are part of standard arguments for the Resurrection (such as the fact that people sincerely came to believe Jesus had been raised from the dead; or the Crucifixion, etc) or endorsing something like a swoon theory (which has its own problems and isn't of course a new alternative). He really didn't seem to realize that if the Resurrection happened (as the argument claims) then a fortiori it would also be established that Jesus was dead at one point, so that bringing that up as an "objection" was question-begging.

So my first impression wasn't good.

B. Prokop said...

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”


There are so many, many things wrong with the once-fashionable late dating of the New Testament by Biblical scholars that it's hard to decide where to begin when listing them. Somebody, someday, will explain why it was that for a century or more, the most unremittingly skeptical attitude concerning the scriptures came from the Church itself. "Scholars" fell over each other in their eagerness to show that they couldn't possibly trust the Early Church Fathers, despite their temporal proximity to the composition of the NT. The most tenuous hypotheses were leaped upon, despite there being not the least shred of evidence for them. And worse - far worse - once introduced, they were rote-memory passed along from one generation of scholars to the next, with no reexamination of the premises, no skepticism whatsoever. How ironic! The quality of skepticism was most missing amongst those who styled themselves skeptics (a state of affairs that persists to this day).

Case in point - The Gospel of Luke. Even in the officially sponsored Catholic translation of the Bible, the New American Translation, you'll find statements like this: "the Gospel of Luke is dated by most scholars after [the destruction of Jerusalem]; many propose A.D. 80-90 as the time of composition." And the "evidence" given for this? Jesus predicts it! What? Are you saying the Son of God cannot make a prediction about future events? Gimme a break!

Even worse, however, is the dog that did not bark. Luke structures his entire Gospel thematically around the Temple. The infancy narratives end with the presentation of Jesus to Simeon and Anna in the Temple. The 12 year old Jesus is discovered in the Temple. The temptations in the wilderness end in the Temple. The very last words of the Gospel are "And [the Apostles] returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the Temple blessing God." Don't you think there would have been a word, a syllable, the merest whisper even, indicating that the Temple was no longer there, had Luke been written any time after A.D. 70?

The fact is that there is no good reason to believe that any of the NT was written down after A.D. 70, and hundreds of reasons to affirm that it was complete before that date (with the possible exception of Revelation, which could well have been written in the 80s or even the 90s).

The increasingly accepted early dating of the Gospels (to between the years 35 and 60) is yet more reason to take them seriously as reliable accounts of actual events.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Miguel said...

Besides the Temple issue, another reason for an earlier datin of Luke would be that the Acts (which was written by the same author in succession) don't mention the death of St Paul. Some scholars tried to circumvent this by saying that the end of the text implies Paul was martyred, but I find this doubtful. This problem gets even bigger when you consider that the Acts of the Apostles -- the work supposed to tell us relevant facts about the early Church and apostles -- also makes no mention of the death of the apostle James, who was a very important christian figure at the time. The lack of any mention of the death of James the Apostle, coupled with other facts (some already discussed) seem to push the date of Acts (and, consequently, Luke) to around 60 AD.

jdhuey said...

A nice analysis of a complicated topic:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/epiphenom/2015/07/does-more-education-mean-more-or-less-religon-it-depends-whether-you-take-intelligence-into-account.html

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "The quality of skepticism was most missing amongst those who styled themselves skeptics (a state of affairs that persists to this day)."

Isn't that the whole point of engaging in selective hyper-skepticism in the first place?

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "(with the possible exception of Revelation, which could well have been written in the 80s or even the 90s)."

Revelation seems to date itself to the reign of Nero -- Revelation 17:10 "They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while."

Five kings have fallen --
Caesar
Augustus
Tiberius
Caligula
Claudius

One is --
Nero (reigned 54 - 68)

the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while --
Galba (reigned June 68 - Jan 69; the first emperor of "the year of the four emperors")

Joe Hinman said...

Miguel I have a lot of problems with Brad. he has 17 parts to one argument and I mean 17 posts . It's like why William Lane Craig is wrong about something part 17. The Sec Oupost guys go after Craig like he's Donald trump.

Joe Hinman said...

There are so many, many things wrong with the once-fashionable late dating of the New Testament by Biblical scholars that it's hard to decide where to begin when listing them. Somebody, someday, will explain why it was that for a century or more, the most unremittingly skeptical attitude concerning the scriptures came from the Church itself. "Scholars" fell over each other in their eagerness to show that they couldn't possibly trust the Early Church Fathers, despite their temporal proximity to the composition of the NT.

there was a website by a guy who complied lists of recent scholars who give early dates to the gospels,. he showed there.s a trend to earlier dating, the site ispulled but I got his lists for Matt.