Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann (fwd)...Knowing where not to stop

From: Joel Cannon (jcannon@jcannon.washjeff.edu)
Date: Fri May 23 2003 - 14:11:45 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann"

    > From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@earthlink.net>
    >
    SNIP
    > Now we don't know where to stop. Where does myth dovetail into legitimate
    > history? Can you draw lines of distinction and tell who were the real
    > flesh and blood patriarchs and which ones were inventions?
    >

    I find it difficult to related to (or support) this sort of
    reasoning. I am sure that Dick believes his position to be true on its
    merits. However, leaving aside the question of why God must have
    chosen to speak in the intellectual categories of Dick's 21st century
    mind, arguing that Michael and others should believe something because
    "we don't know where to stop" seems absurd. Dick's argument is not
    that a particular detail such as Adam having a navel is true. Rather
    the operative thrust of this is fear of the consequences of accepting
    it whether it is true or not.

    The structure of the logic seems to be:

    1. We know what is true on other grounds

    2. Admitting that this or that detail may not be true (in Dick's
       sense!) may cause (or will inevitably lead) us to question other
       details.

    3. Since we have no reliable demarcation tool to "draw lines of
       distinction" between what is true in Dick's sense and what is not,
       it will ultimately undermine belief in what he (we) know to be true
       on other grounds.

    A reasonable conclusion to draw from this logic is that whatever the
    other grounds are that causes "us" to "know" what is true, they must not
    be terribly solid. By this logic any evidence for the resurrection
    for which we have much relevant historical evidence is captive to the
    tail-wagging question of whether Adam had a navel.

    Ironically, it seems that Dick's charge that Michael and others choose
    what they want to believe is precisely what he is doing. He chooses to
    believe these absurd details because otherwise he would not know where to
    stop.

    How has the evangelical church developed so much intellectual insecurity?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Joel W. Cannon | (724)223-6146
    Physics Department | jcannon@washjeff.edu
    Washington and Jefferson College |
    Washington, PA 15301 |
                                         
                        



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