RE: Full disclosure (was Grand Canyon Tears America Apart )

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Fri Jan 23 2004 - 08:25:16 EST

Glenn quotes Ed Babinski as follows:
        "Thus, I was awakend to the shocking thought that the authors of hte
bible
may have taken for granted that the earth was flat! and the more I studied
the matter, (at first to debunk it) the more Bible verses I found that
implied a strictly horizontal view of the cosmos." Edward T. Babinski, "If
it wasn't for Agnosticism..." in Babinski Ed. Leaving the Fold, (Amherts
NY:
Prometheus Press, 1995), p. 221

This quotation, assuming it's not out of context, is almost astonishing for
its naivety. Substitute "geocentrism" or "demons cause diseases" for the
flat earth, and you can begin to see the point. The Biblical authors
believed X, which modern science has shown to be false, therefore they can't
be trusted about anything (or so I infer Babinski then concludes). It's
absurd logic.

Babinski reminds me of a fellow who used my whale story in a skeptical
newsletter to show that myths can in fact grow and propagate within just a
few years of an event, well within the memories of those who actually
experienced the event. He wanted to use this point then to attack the
authenticity of the resurrection narratives. I didn't play ball with him,
for many reasons including some things that had occurred to me as I was
writing the whale story. There are no good parallels that I can see,
between the one set of stories (the various versions of the spurious tale of
James Bartley) and the other set (variaties of Easter appearances). We
*can* get close to the alleged events of Bartley, and the closer we get the
smellier it becomes: neither the captain nor any crew members of the (named)
vessel are ever quoted by name, despite the fact that reporters in the 1890s
would surely have named them; no one named James Bartley was on the specific
vessel named at the time alleged (we have the full crew list); no "French
scientists" ever authenticated the story; no medical records related to
Bartley's alledged hospitalization have ever popped up (despite spurious
claims that a book containing just such information was published less than
a decade later); etc.

Whereas any open-minded person who reads NT Wright's recent book, The
Resurrection of the Son of God, will see that the evidence for the literal
bodily resurrection of Jesus is extraordinarily strong, speaking
historically and biblically. There is no better hypothesis to explain the
narratives as they have come down to us. Among his many points, let me
simply repeat one of them that has been made by other authors as well: if
the narratives were truly invented years later to justify a belief already
held purely on faith, then the discovery of the empty tomb would not have
been left to women. Women didn't count in the first century, their
testimony on such an enormous event would never have been introduced into a
story concocted for the purpose of convincing others to believe. It don't
add up that way. Etc.

Babinski does leave me with the impression that, having rejected a rather
unreflective and probably inherited Christian fundamentalism, he is now a
rather unreflective fundamentalist of another type. This is as I say an
impression, one that I would of course be willing to abandon upon the
production of further evidence.

ted
Received on Fri Jan 23 08:26:05 2004

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