Friday, February 19, 2010

Funny Bible Quote #83

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:13-19, KJV


  1. I'm not sure what you find amusing, though I may be wrongly assuming that you find those verses contradictory.

    Paul is saying (to a bunch of Greeks) if there is no such thing as a resurrection than the entire premise of Christianity breaks down, both for us who are alive and place our faith in the truth of that message, as well as those who've died having placed their faith in that message.

    Actually, that's a true statement, inasmuch as Christianity is dependent upon the resurrection. Paul is being quite honest here, setting out the question which everyone must answer at some point.


  2. So let me get the right:
    1) I am amused because:
    a) if there is no resurrection then there is no christianity. (ok)
    b) if no christianty then no christ. (ok)
    C) Ergo Jesus is a scam?? traveling salesman? Snake Oil Salesman, politian?
    d) I forget.
    e) spellin' does not count.
    2) I'm amused because you are not??

  3. Punch, actually, I meant if by amusing you mean you disagree, then fine. I was assuming (my bad, BTW) that amusing meant something internally, logically inconsistent.

    We all go on our own metaphysical hikes and reach certain conclusions. You've reached yours; I've mine. So be it.

    Thus, your amusement is predicated upon your conclusion that the resurrection is impossible and therefore did not occur, a conclusion which, as Paul points out in other missives, is a matter of faith, a statement upon which you and I would agree, I surmise.

    Cheers, my friend.

  4. RS., et al.

    What this passage shows is that Christianity is rational. The irony, then, is not that Paul is irrational and does not know it. It's that posting the passage -- as evidence that Christianity is irrational -- shows that Ginx doesn't get it, and that's what makes it funny.

    Paul demonstrates that he's completely committed to the either/or, to the law of non-contradiction. Jesus is either alive, or he isn't. The dead are raised, or they're not. Pretty straightforward logic here.

  5. Personally, I think the irony is that Paul so often uses logical thinking to defend faith. However, faith inherently rejects logic.

    Faith is belief without or even in spite of evidence. No-- I'm sorry-- faith is the evidence:

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.

    But when the scientific method is applied to any conjecture or claim, faith isn't evidence for anything at all. If your premises is steeped in illogical thinking, a sudden switching to logical thinking won't salvage the premises.

  6. Uruk,

    You seem to be making a distinction. Please, tell me the distinction between faith and knowledge.

    Faith does not reject logic; logic is dependent on faith. Faith is the beginning of all knowledge. Don't you know?

    See "The Existence Of God: A Letter To Christopher Hitchens." Start there, and then let's talk.

  7. Bill,

    I'm one that can agree to disagree. So, I mean no malice in my response to you, Bill. And, I have not detected any malice from you, either.

    I read your post and I must say that you make some interesting points.

    Faith can often be unavoidable when deriving an initial premise for a logical argument; I will admit that.

    But how does the necessity for faith towards a premise prove that God is necessary to our universe-- let alone the idea that Christianity is God's true religion for all humankind?

    Also, a logic based argument can be "true" even when the premise does not reflect reality.

    Yes, I do make a distinction between faith and knowledge. Hear me out:

    In the endeavor to gather knowledge, perhaps we start off with faith. But faith eventually needs to go through a vetting process of some sort before we declare knowledge. Let's take our faith and pretend it's now wrong. Now, let's search for physical evidence that contradicts the notion that our faith is wrong. If such evidence exists, we have validated our faith and turned it into knowledge. Until then, we only have faith.

    In the context of science, the term "faith" is replaced with the term "hypothesis". When a significant amount of evidence supports a hypothesis and turns it into "knowledge", then science calls this knowledge a "theory".

    This method doesn't answer all questions and validate all leaps of faith or assumptions that we make. This method isn't perfect. But faith cannot be consistently treated as knowledge without some attempt at finding validating evidence. Otherwise, ideals can be enforced that have no bearing on reality. Sometimes this is harmless. Other times, this is quite deadly.

    But in a religious context, faith doesn't (to me) seem to operate this way. Religions do not typically encourage the vetting of each tenant within a faith beyond some ancient scripture text or charismatic leader. Any questions, expressions of skepticism, or doubt about the declarations of faith is often pushed to the side in an effort to protect one's faith.

    Faith in this way does not bring about knowledge, but rather encourages superstitions (some harmful, some benign), fundamentalism, absolutism, and (I'll dare say) despotism.

    I acknowledge that you made a valid point in your letter that you invited me to read. You made some valid points concerning despotism and I won't turn my head from them. But I submit, that the missing element in any such a situation is freedom of thought and speech. Non-religion or religion that allows freedom of thought and questioning of authority will deter despotism. I think true reason and skepticism encourages this better than religion in most cases. I think the United States tries to balance this concept best with the First Amendment. It's wrong to force someone to worship god and discriminate against someone who doesn't believe. It's also wrong to suppress religion and punish those who want to express their religious beliefs in god. I do not personally advocate ridding the world or religion. I advocate encouraging skepticism. After that, let the vetting process for knowledge take you where ever it leads you.

    As for disproving god, I tend to think that one cannot fully do this. However, I'm of the perspective that my burden is not to disprove god. Those who claim god exists bear that burden to prove that he does.

  8. Dear Uruk,

    Just quickly, OK? I will get back later; I've not read all of your comment.

    I was not arguing that since faith is the first step in knowledge such faith proves the existence of God. If you read the comments thread following that essay, I think you'll find I explain myself more fully. My point is this: If we say that religious faith is inherently irrational, then all knowledge is ultimately irrational, since all knowledge is based on faith. Faith MUST be the starting point in epistemology. What I resist, really, is this utterly conceited, arrogant idea that atheists are NOT faith-based. Yes, they are faith-based. We all are.

    So, once we admit this, humility and open-mindedness should surround our conversations. The snickering really needs to stop; the conceit -- on either side -- is misplaced.

    Also, faith is not "wishful thinking." It is like an axiom; you have to accept some sort of unprovable to begin the process of learning, knowing, understanding.

    Of course, there is such a thing as wishful thinking.



  9. Bill:

    I see. You've given me much to think about. If I'm to be true to my claims of being a true skeptic, then I must give your argument honest thought. I do admit to at times showing conceit during my time as a former fundamentalist and during my time as an atheist.

    While being an atheist I have heard other non-believers say things to the effect that believers are too dull minded to leave their faith.

    Um . . . where does that leave me, then, having been a former pentecostal fundamentalist Christian.

    My personal frustration is with fundamentalist more so that religion in and of itself. Fundamentalism can show up in any ideology-- religious or not, in my view.

    As for atheism being a "faith" . . . hmmmmm . . . if kept strictly in the sense that the premise of is atheism unprovable, then maybe I can agree with your point. To me, it follows that everyone is in this same boat, then-- including the religious.

    But atheism, to me, isn't the practice of any religious faith filled with tenets and doctrine which are geared for the purpose of appeasing any given deity or deities. In that sense, I don't think atheism is a faith. At least, not for those who embrace skepticism.

    But, I'll look over your comments on your post sometime and give your words some honest thought.

    Thanks for taking the time to share.

  10. Dear Uruk,

    You're very welcome, and thanks for the conversation.

    May I say one thing: I am VERY familiar with pentecostal fundamentalism, and that variant of orthodoxy makes me think there can't be a God at all.

    Can I ask you -- and Ginx, and everyone else -- if you believe that life has an intrinsic meaning? Not only that, but do you think life has an objective purpose -- a telos -- some end that possesses import, value, meaningfulness? Or is the meaning and sense of over-arching purpose I feel not just my life but all of life possesses; are these just subjectively held, having no connection to objective reality at all? Is my sense of purpose, value, meaning, or whatever I want to call it, is it strictly mine, constructed by me, perhaps as some sort of coping mechanism?

    And do you believe that death is death; that there is no afterlife, no heaven or hell or conscious state of being of any kind; that death is nothingness?

    I would love it if each of you shared your thoughts on this matter.

  11. Well, Bill . . . I believe the cosmos is driven by physics and chemistry and that these processes have no inherent purpose. But-- for example-- when a star forms in outer space, the left over stardust eventually forms the planets. If conditions are just right, physics and chemistry turns into biology. I think this connectedness that we have to the cosmos because of these processes encourages a sense of purpose for life. Biological life may be the only point of consciousness that this universe has. And I think that being self aware also lends itself to a sense of purpose. And however relative or artificial this sense of purpose may be-- I think it's valid, meaningful, and real.

    As for life after death, I think we've only got one shot. We live on in the memories of others in some sense. Or our words, if preserved, can communicate for us long after we're gone. But I think our consciousness ceases when we die.

    But I've never been dead before. I can't tell you for sure what to expect.

    I know what I'm saying might sound like a paradox. What can I say? Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! Besides, this is clearly my opinion. I may be totally wrong.


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