Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why Christians Don't Go "Seems Fiction" (All That Much)

OK, when I see a new novel, I do go "seems fiction" because it is presented as a novel.

Video I
Atheist Lee, "Does Christianity make atheists?"
Lee Lemon | Ajoutée le 23 janv. 2013

When we talk about "raised Muslim and become atheist" (as I think you are going for), I recall some great neighbours, cultural Muslims but of atheist conviction, where I studied.

[That was what she was going for.]

Other analysis of his reaction.

"Seems fiction"

You know Arabian Nights? It contains much more stories than (at least very fleshed out) the Coran does.

This work is generally regarded as fiction.

Now, I think Arabian Nights as well as Santa Claus can be used to give people the idea that "x seems fiction" because of similar content.

When I judged - just the other day on quora - some diaries by Richard Lionheart as fictional, it was based on:

  • diary keeping was not a big thing with chivalry, its literary pleasures were more about hearing recitals than reading and turning pages, so, they would normally not be very obsessed with the idea of writing
  • Richard spoke French and Occitan, the "editor" pretends to have translated them from Latin
  • Richard was known to be very taciturn, he was nicknamed "Oc e No" - meaning "Yes and No" (like : he hardly uttered other words), his writing diaries is about as probable as a local hockey star doing so
  • the diaries were supposedly lost for centuries and discovered very recently in moves including a Nazi desecrating a tomb to get them
  • while Nazis on lower levels could desecrate Jewish tombs - or perhaps not, perhaps that is more what certain Neo-Nazis are supposed to do - descrating tombs was not really a big thing with Nazis. If they ditched pieties forbidding cruelty in some cases, respect for tombs was not one they ditched
  • since the paper or even parchment is supposed to have been in a tomb together with a corpse, it would be a miracle if the diary survived
  • no miracles have been tied to that tomb.

When a Muslim says about Gospels "seems fiction" he is more like ...

  • Satan takes Jesus off to a high mountain, Jinns do that with people in Arabian Nights
  • Herod and Pilate are political authority, in Arabian Nights you find powerful people being wrong (unless they are Harun arRashid or Jafar)
  • the story seems to be the point in the Gospels, as in Arabian Nights, while in the Coran, if there is a story, it is always (or nearly always) explicitly a side issue to illustrate a point which Muslims "cannot doubt"

There is a saint we celebrate day after tomorrow. St Blaise. He's invoked for diseases of the throat. One boy had swallowed a fish bone and choked to death, St Blaise raised him by picking out the fish bone.

To a Muslim, this "seems fiction," because of the Garrulous Barber doing so in Arabian Nights.

It's a bit as when Samson story is dismissed on the ground that "oh, obviously unreal, we've seen the Incredible Hulk do that too".

Nothing, really nothing specific to the case is needed with that attitude, just knowing your fictions and being able to draw parallels. And by case, I obviously mean the case of "supposing it is real, how do we know that" case.

So, actually the Muslim is not "biassed about his community". He is simply using its criteria.

Now, the problem is, they seem also to use this as criteria about mental sanity.

When I read Arabian Nights, one thing stuck with me. You could tell which weekday it was, what the order of the weekdays were, and recite the Shahada, you were sane. Later I figured, great idea, I can recite the Apostolic Creed and ... er, no. Only works for Shahada, I think. I think one origin of the practise may have been to give "apostates" to Christianity a "second chance" by declaring them insane, and ... well, on THIS level I would say Muslims definitely do have a community bias. Not despite the "seems fiction" criterium, but because of it.

Oh, by "no miracles have been tied to that tomb" - I mean not even dubious claims which have been debunked. Or attempted to debunk. As a Catholic and a miracles fan, I am obviously somewhat knowleddgeable on whether a Latin Catholic of the Middle Ages has or has had a canonisation process ongoing.

Video II
Atheists - Why Christians Think the Bible is Proof of God
Lee Lemon | Ajoutée le 4 nov. 2012

2:04 No. My normal logic does not go out of the window.

My normal logic does not involve "miracles do not happen, this includes a miracle, therefore it is fiction".

My normal logic does not involve "obviously God can't have spoken to Mohammed" or "to Joseph Smith" or "to Arjuna" (there are some Hindoos who have monotheist leanings and would call Krishna in Bhagavadgita a manifestation of God) or "to Zarathustra" : it only concludes God didn't because their revelations involve sth contradicting mine.

If I had no idea of Christianity (and were not a dedicated atheist), I would definitely be open to one or more of them really having a genuine revelation.

My normal logic does not involve "this reminds me of a work of fiction, therefore probably is fiction".

My normal logic does involve "if earliest mentions of a text take it as fiction, it probably was fiction, if earliest mentions of a text take it as lies or truth (doesn't too much matter which) it probably was lies or truth (and let's find out which)". It does involve "if God reveals Himself, He can't contradict Himself" (hence Christianity or Islam, Christianity or Brahmo Somaj, one in each pair has to be a lie, if they contradict). It does involve "if miracles do happen, they have a connection to God (or at worst the Devil)".

2:47 You mentioned Flood or Sodom and Gomorrah.

Has it occurred to you that some people who suffer rather than perpetrate unbearable living conditions can find relief in death?

Some atheists are fine with man taking "euthanasia" in his own hands, but find it terribly unjust if God were to do so to a society ("euthanasia" for the relatively innocent and punishment as punishment for those more perpetrating what makes others want to die)?

4:14 I am definitely not your "first type of Christian".

While some OT rules are no longer applicable, they were good and perfect for their time.

5:51 I would definitely consider God did help out translating OT to Greek through seventy translators who all got the same text, independently of each other. Makes me the second kind of Christian, right?

7:06 While it is not crazy for God to write the whole Bible, as He did three times with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Exodus 34, John 8) each time on mineral support, it is neither what the Bible says about itself, nor what the Tradition says about it, nor what Biblical inerrancy logically requires.

A mum is not allowing her kid to put gazoline in food, and that parallel is just so right.

7:41 No, that is not entirely the reason.

I do not believe the Coran was inspired by God, remember, but I will count it as evidence about events in Muhammed's life.

Precisely because the kid is not getting to use gasoline in food, I believe the Bible is also inerrant. But I believe it is sound evidence even before it is recognised as inerrant.

Biographically, I have never been there. I knew the Bible was inerrant, mother toild me, at least a year before I read Dale and Elaine Rhooton's Can we know? - but I totally agree with them, a sound investigation of what really happened has to treat the Gospels as some type of actual evidence, not as an irrelevant fable.

I cannot treat Lord of the Rings as evidence of physical events in the 20th C. I cannot NOT treat the Gospels as evidence of physical events in the 1st C. AD. Because of who was believing what about the texts soon after they were written. Soon may be relative, in the sense Papias is several decades a near century after Synoptics were written, and some centuries even after St John's Gospel.

But even with "early reception" getting "early" as a relative word (Papias is not a bookreview published in a newspaper between printing event and release event), it is conclusive. Gospels may be fact or error (apart from the faith excluding the error part of lemma), but they are not fiction and not meant as fiction.

8:22 Different type of evidence?

Well, if so, the Gospels containing evidence about the Resurrection would, on your view, rationally, be marred evidence.

How about going through how many types of marred evidence there is (lie, honest mistake by sane people, someone going insane and hallucinating, there aren't umpteen more of them), and then see whether any of them would fit the bill with the Gospels?

With the Coran, even without insulting the sanity of Mohammed, two types of marred evidence come to mind and cannot be excluded : Mohammed could have lied (he was not exactly sacrificing his life for what he had "received") and Mohammed could, himself, have been deceived by an evil spirit.

And probably some Mohammedans reading this will go "Hans Georg could be lying or be batshit crazy - if he prefers, deceived by an evil spirit" (I don't equate those concepts, by the way). The thing is, I am not lying, because I am not the one discovering for the first time ever this cannot apply to the Gospels, the thing is, I am not receiving this in a vision either; the thing is, your own version of apologetics is not to prove Mohammed could neither be a liar nor deceived, but to get past that question (mostly) and get philosophising and conclude "if Mohammed's religion makes philosophical sense ..." no, there are more philosophies than one which make sense to the mind of fallen man, even atheism at times!

8:43 Again, even if you don't believe God had anything to do with writing of the Gospels, how do you explain they record miracles, and especially the Resurrection?

We do NOT have the Gospels lost from sight over hundreds of years and then someone digging them up pretending this is what the followers of Jesus wrote down just after, then it was lost, now we have found it. We do NOT have them lost from sight for hundreds of years and then someone claims "oh, we were secretly copying them and teaching they were the truth". We do NOT have the scenario I was outlining for a dystopia as a teen, where Gospels were lost for centuries and then someone finds them and concludes that, if people believed this, it cannot have started out as a story book.

We DO have Gospels recorded as being from the first the record of the Church and from the first, believed by it as such.

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