Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Sat Jun 27 2009 - 14:32:23 EDT

Moorad, I've always sorta liked the simplicity of Pascal's wager. But it
seems to me that there is a potential "hazard" if one chances to extend
the applicability of Pascal's wager (at least based on the experience of
some I know). For example, one might observe that there has been a
pretty prominent shift in the weighting of Christian hymnody in the last
few decades away from worship and praise of God to a very heavy focus on
Jesus in much of mainstream and conservative Christian practice and
thought. If one were to apply the Pascal question to the underlying
wholly-God/wholly-man proposition that is broadly accepted in our time
with little question, it seems to me to pose a potentially difficult
problem for today's orthodoxy. What is the consequence in light of
Pascal's wager of any inaccuracy of this seemingly contradictory posit,
and the consequential redirection of the focus of worship that flows
from it?

JimA [Friend of ASA]

Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> Let us face it, when analyzing historical events; one must make some presuppositions about events considered. Surely, an atheist and a Christian will arrive at different conclusions when reading Scripture. I suppose that is why Paul emphasizes faith over works---I am 100% on the faith side of the equation. God gave freely in the person of Jesus the Christ. One can take it or leave it. However, there are consequences. That is the hitch. Perhaps here is where Pascalís wager comes into play.
> Moorad
> ________________________________
> From: Merv Bitikofer []
> Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2009 8:55 AM
> To: Alexanian, Moorad; asa
> Subject: Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism
> Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> The virgin birth is peanuts compared with the notion of a Creator God. I never quite understood why that issue is ever brought up. The virgin birth must be something to be doubted only by atheists.
> Moorad
> ___
> Playing atheist's advocate here...
> Yes, but it's also peanuts for hyperbole, hagiography, and general "story growth" to work its way into cultural "memory" even over a single human life span. Atheists don't doubt that an existing God could do what he wants. What they doubt (other than His existence obviously) is that the event actually happened as recorded in some of the gospels. To atheists, it's a matter of choosing the simpler explanation.
> ....and yes, some Christians do doubt the literal virgin birth, though I can't recall any big names to back this up (other than 'Jesus Seminar' folks like Marcus Borg --but then they doubt a lot of things that are pretty essential to Christianity). But it seems I have read somewhere how some wonder why the Apostle Paul who makes the earliest written contributions to the N.T. and who gives us otherwise expansive and comprehensive theology never once mentions this little detail about the virgin birth. As you can tell, I wrestle with doubts of my own, but they aren't doubts about God's capabilities. They are doubts about human cultural ability to resist the temptation of embellishment, in their zeal of reporting on a cherished cause. Since Luke, a physician, records it, and since it is O.T. prophecy anticipating it, these are marks in favor, even to one who doesn't automatically accept all Scripture literally. O.T.O.H the prophecies of Isaiah refer to the Hebrew word 'a!
> !
> ah' literally referring to 'young woman' when they could have used 'bethulah' which more literally is associated with virginity. So doubters can reference this dispute as evidence that later gospel writers are imputing something back into prophecy to make it match. At least this is the case according to an ex-Christian blogger at this site:
> Does he have his Hebrew straight?
> --Merv (quester after Truth wherever that may lead; Lord, help me in this!)
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Received on Sat Jun 27 14:33:06 2009

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