the atheist question

Glenn Morton (
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 20:06:57 -0500

I have several questions I call Atheist questions because they arose during
and after my crisis of faith several years ago. I am going to throw this
question out and then not answer anything. I am interested in other peoples
answers because this issue has been on my mind over the past few weeks and I
have no answer for this. Warning, this question will probably slam every
viewpoint. The question concerns the effect of the way Christians handle
observational data and its effect on the resurrection. This question is
based upon the vital need for historicity in Christianity and thus the need
for competent observers.

A couple of days ago I posted a note about the error of fact concerning how
much mass that Donald Chittick claimed had been moved or lifted by modern
technology. I pointed out that he was factually wrong and complained that
young earth creationists do this all the time.

YECs claim that the entire geologic column doesn't exist. It does in 20+ places.

YECs claim that overthrusts don't exist but seismic data shows them.

I won't go on about today's YECs. But I want to look at yesterday's
Christians. Some were not happy with Newton because they thought that
Newton removed God from his proper place in directing the heavens. Some
were not happy with Copernicus because they thought God made the earth the
center of the universe. Some didn't want lightning rods because God couldn't
zap you.

The point here is that Christians have unfortunately been willing to ignore
observational data in order to believe what their theology requires.

On the other hand, the more liberal and scientific portion of christianity
has their own problems with regard to the harmonization of science and
Scripture. It can best be illustrated by the topic I know best, the flood.
The more scientific portion of the church is willing to believe any flood at
all might be the cause of the story of Noah REGARDLESS of how different the
events and the scriptural accout are. The Mesopotamian flood is the most
popular, but it would flush Noah and the ark out into the Indian Ocean in
about a week, it couldn't last a year, the ark couldn't land in the Ararat
region. The idea that the Black Sea infilling was the Flood is also
problematical because the rate of rise is so slow that on the south side of
the Black Sea, one would only have to move about 300 feet each day and there
are no mountains to be covered. One could always see the shore because no
matter where you were when the flood started, you would only have to move 20
or so miles to avoid the flood altogther.

Now, here is the question. Christianity relies upon the truthful observation
of the missing body of Christ. This means that the disciples must have:

1. been capable observers of the facts.
2. been trustworthy reporters.
3. been able to distinguish observational reality from wishful thinking.

Assuming that the ancient Christians are no different than modern
Christians, and knowing that Christians today seem so poor at handling
observational data as the YECs show, or are so willing to accomodate any
event as matching the account, no matter what the event or what the account,
how is one to really trust what the disciples reported?

Were they willing to either believe the body was raised when they didn't
bother to check out the fact for themselves (as the YECs seem quite willing
to do when it concerns modern technology) or were they willing to say that
the body was resurrected even though it wasn't because by saying this they
could make the predictions of Christ "true" even though they knew that
Christ wasn't really predicting a literal rise and the genre of Christ was
parables not history?

To me this illustrates three issues. One is how do we know the resurrection
occurred if we christians and our predecessors don't handle observational
facts correctly or don't care that there is no correspondence between the
event and Gods Word (or Jesus's prediction in the case of the resurrection)?
Two, this is why I have argued that Christians must treat early Genesis
more historically than many scientific christians do and why they must treat
science more accurately than many YECs do. Three, it illustrates that there
is an unwillingness on both sides of this issue to allow for any
falsification of the Scriptural accounts. But this latter is related to the
first because if there was such an unwillingness to allow for falsification
of Christs predictions among the 1st century disciples, then there is no
resurrection and Christianity is false.

In short, if christians of all strips can't handle observational data
correctly, how can one know that Christianity is correct?

I will sit back and listen to the responses, if any.


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


Foundation, Fall and Flood