Re: Descendants and Thomas Trap

Glenn R. Morton (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 20:33:23 -0800

Hi George,

At 07:49 AM 11/20/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:

> It's clear from all you've said in previous discussions that you feel
>that the type of truth conveyed by scientific statements is superior to
that >conveyed by parables, theological statements, and poetry. The
implication >has been that if Genesis isn't truth in the first sense, it's
worthless - as >below. If that's not what you believe, I'm happy to be
corrected. This could >make your apologetic efforts much more effective if
applied properly.

I do think that objective, observable truth is superior to subjective,
non-falsifiable beliefs. On this charge I stand gladly guilty. But to show
you that I believe that parables can relay truth I will write one for the
group. Lets consider this:

Lets say you are late for an absolutely ultimatley important engagement.
You simply can't miss it. You are running late. You go to your car and
find that it won't run. Not having time to call a cab, you run down the
street to the used car lot and tell the guy you want the cheapest car that
runs that he has. (whatever this engagement is (a relative's wedding
perhaps) is worth a lot of money to you to get there.)

The salesman says "Yes I have a car that is great. It will take you
anywhere you want to go. When you sit in it, you and the machine will form
a bond, a unit that acts as both man and machine. It will be a superb
driving experience. An experience without comparison or equal anywhere in
the world. "
"Quick, how much?" you demand.
"$500" the saleman responds
You pay the $500, get the key and run out to the car. Inserting the key
into the ignition, you find that the car won't run. As you go back into
the dealer's office you notice how slimey he is; his greased back hair
shines in the artificial fluorescent lighting fitting nicely with the
checkerboard suit with large lapels.

"I thought you said this car could take me wherever I wanted to go?" you ask.
"Sure it can. It can take you to the far reaches of the solar system" he
"No it can't," you protest. "It won't run."
"Run? You have a limited understanding of the word 'run'." he says. "Go
back to the car, sit in it, close your eyes and imagine where you want to
be. You can go to Paris, New York, LA or anywhere."
"It won't run!!!" you yell.
"Well, you obviously don't understand." the salesman smiled, "I am
telling you how things are in salesman-speak. I have to speak to you in
this fashion because you wouldn't have been able to deal with the truth.
Your emotional maturity isn't too great and you expect people to speak as
you want them to speak. So I speak in a fashion that makes you feel good.
It is a language designed to communcate the deep truths about the cars to
you, one who couldn't otherwise understand the sublime truths of the
man-automobile relationship."

"I don't care about deep truths or relationships; I want a car that runs.
Why didn't you tell me it didn't run?"
" You don't understand the deep meaning that I am trying to impart to you.
This is obviously your fault. You failed to determine the genre of speech
that applied when you were listening to me. This is car salesman speech
and it isn't meant to be taken literally. When you sit in that car it
makes a wonderful metaphor of a man and his machine. Now trot on back and
sit in your car. Shut your eyes and you can be anywhere you want to be."
With that the salesman waved you off with his hand.
"But I want a car that runs." you protest.
"What I told you was never meant to be taken literally" he says.
"I am going to get a lawyer."
The salesman smiles, "More idiots who think language should mean something."

I want a religion that 'runs'. I don't want a religion in which I can sit
in the car shut my eyes and imagine what ever I want. It must run, it must
be real or it isn't worth much. So I will plead guilty, proudly to the
claim that I think propositional evidence is better than
metaphorical/allegorical evidence.

> My "pedantry" is simply insistence on paying some attention to what we
>are talking about and speaking about it carefully. I have said
repeatedly >that I believe God to be the creator of the universe and that
Gen.1:1 states >that. But by its very nature such creation cannot be an
act "in history" or >even "in the universe". Since history studies events
in history & science >studies events in the universe, neither can have the
creation of the universe >as part of its subject matter.

I don't agree with your limited definition. God's actions are part of
history or we wouldn't be here because we wouldn't have been created. While
you want to limit history to only those events that occur in actual
space-time, I don't because a real event(whatever one wants to call it)
took place when God commanded the universe into existence. That event was
the cause of our universe. As the cause of the universe it is also part of

>> In another note tonight you wrote:
>> > Well, if someone finds a skeleton unmitakeably identifiable as
that of Jesus
>> >of Nazareth there would be such a misfit.
>> That is an easy bullet to dodge. There is no way ANY skeleton could ever
>> be unmistakeably identified from that time. Lets say we found a tomb with
>> the inscription Jesus of Nazareth. C14 dated to the 1st century. Is this
>> OUR Jesus? Was Jesus the ONLY guy named Jesus (Yeshua) from Nazareth at
>> that time? The odds are against it since Yehoshua was a common name. So
>> what are you going to use to 'unmistakeably' identify the skeleton? mtDNA?
>> DNA fingerprinting? Fingerprints? photos? This is something that can
>> never happen. And because it can't happen it is a meaningless gesture. I
>> would ask again what could possibly falsify the Bible for you? this
>> skeleton business simply can't do it in any way, shape or form.
> The Easter message is that Jesus is alive. The way of disproving it is
>to demonstrate that Jesus is dead.

You didn't answer the question. How could you even in principle prove that
Jesus was dead from the vantage point of today? Are you proposing we use
Mary's DNA to verify the skeleton is the son of Mary? That doesn't exist.
We can't prove that Jesus is dead. So, I say that you are not able to
falsify the Bible by the method you suggested. If you agree, ooutline a
method whereby without doubt we could prove Jesus is dead? If not, is there
any other misfit that would cause you to say the bible is false? If not,
you have divorced science from Scripture.

>> Exactly what evidence do you present to prove to me that Jesus is the one
>> in whom all things hold together? This is a question I can hear my current
>> and former atheist bosses asking me if I told them the above? If all we
>> offer the world is an assumption, we will have few converts indeed.
> 1) Please re-read what I said earlier. One explores the consequences
>of this assumption.

Exploring assumptions does not make things true. One can explore
assumption that the world is being taken over by worm-like creatures that
burrows into the back of the neck and thus control people. But are we to
believe that? What evidence can one use to show that Jesus holds the world
together (as you said and as I believe). I know of the strong force, but
there is actually no evidence that it is God holding things together. That
is an assumption on both of our parts. While I believe that God is holding
the universe together it is an assumption. Are you saying that exploring
assumptions is enough to generate faith?

Of Thomas George wrote:
> You've simply missed the point of his story, a point given to it not by
me >but by the gospel writer: "Have you believed because you have seen me?
>Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
> Then lest there be any doubt, the purpose of the whole book follows -
>"That you [i.e., all to whom the gospel comes, including us] may believe
that >Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have
life in >his name." He does not say "That you may go and find further
evidence before >you believe."

So why didn't Jesus condemn Peter and John for running to the tomb rather
than sitting there eating breakfast. It clearly says that they thought the
women's story was crazy. They went to check it out, which is evidence

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