Re: Apologists and other salesmen

Geoffrey Horton (
Sun, 03 Nov 1996 15:15:25 -0600

> In the case of "mythical", why would we use a word which has the connotation
> of "lack of truth" to describe something if we believe it is true? This seems
> to be a poor sales tactic to me. Why theologians want to use this technical
> term of Myth, when the masses always think you are talking about fairy tales
> when it is applied, is beyond me.

I agree, though I am not much of a theologian. I used "mythical" because I couldn't
come up with a better substitute. What would you suggest?

> I am operating under the general principle that it is better to have a
> religious book tells us true things rather than false things. If the Bible
> told us that the earth was riding on the back of a turtle swimming in a cosmic
> sea, in light of modern knowledge what would we say about the value of that
> part of the religious document?

If that's all that it said, it wouldn't mean a thing. If it said that God created
the world and set it on a turtle in the cosmic sea, I'm net sure I see any essential
difference between that and a creation account that is also not, to my mind,
objectively accurate. That's an off the cuff response, and I'm willing to reconsider
if needed.

> If God did communicate the idea of the earth being on the back
> of a turtle, then that god doesn't know what he is talking about. If God
> didn't communicated that, then it is nothing more than gobbledy-gook written
> by a human. This is a terrible place for a religion to find itself.

Or maybe God was communicating ideas for which the exact mode of the earth's
transportation through the cosmic ether was unimportant.

> The reason I raise the strategic issue is that all our "evidences" that I
> could lay before my friends at work, for God's involvement in Christianity are
> rather weak.<snip>

> The only real way to strengthen a religion is to find out
> that the documents relate things which could not have been known by the
> ancient writers of the documents. That would mean something like how the
> world was created or events in the distant past.

Well, then we're at an impasse. I would not regard this as a way to strengthen
religion. Those who want to believe, will. Those who don't will find an explanation to
suit their needs and continue onward. I don't believe that God meant to provide
scientific, verifiable proof of his existence. If that's what He had in mind, he could
have done so in the first place.

> I agree with this.Truth does not come to fit our strategic needs. But, what
> if there was a possibility of verifying a flood acount which exactly matched
> the Biblical record? Why would one not want it? Is this any different than
> wanting verification for the existence of Jericho whose walls fell down? or
> wanting verification for David's existence? or wanting verification of the
> Exodus? Surely verification of these events is better for our religion than
> falsification!

It is better to have it, if it exists. It is not better to wish for it when it is not

> This is an interesting twist. If you were an Old Testament Jew you would have
> no certainty in your religion? Or better yet, if you were a modern Jew with
> modern knowledge, would you have no certainty of your religion?

I really don't know. The foundation of my faith is my experience of Jesus. Short of
that, I'd have nothing.