10 oct. 2011

Bad Arguments: Christianity is Unique

This argument, common in apologetics, is that Christianity is unique because it can be historically verified in ways that other religions can not. Appeals to historical documentation and eye-witness accounts bolster the faith of those who need a bit more evidence for their belief. The problem here is that the so-called historical evidence is just tenuous enough that someone investigating it, from a Christian point of view, is likely to go too far and realize that the evidence on the other side is a bit more convincing. Maybe not, but that is a risk. Once you make it make a religion subject to empirical proof, you make it subject to empirical disproof too.

Much of these arguments are the circular, "bible-said-so" kind of thing anyway. It seems awful convenient that the evidence happens to have been collected by those who wanted it all to be true.

I've always maintained that the surest road to disbelief is simply thinking about religion in a serious way, whether subjecting it to the most banal sort of scrutiny, the same you would use to try to figure out anything else, or to serious scholarly inquiry. Start at the beginning. Why does God prefer one kind of sacrifice to another? Why does he choose one group of people over the other? Why does he change his plan millions of years into the game? None of it makes the least amount of sense, and it is kind of amusing to watch brilliant people tying themselves up in knots to explain it.

2 comentarios:

Whimsy dijo...

Hi, Jonathan.

Actually, I would think that followers of Islam would have a greater claim to historicity, as there is no doubt about the existence of Mohammed. I've never read any convincing evidence of Jesus's existence, though (surprisingly, even among agnostic researchers) the fact that someone very like him existed is generally conceded.

For iron-clad historicity, I suppose you can go to Scientology or Randism.

Jonathan dijo...

With very recent religions the historicity actually works against the truth claims, because the latter are easier to disprove empirically.