Debates with Atheists (And Good News for Them)


Recently, a friend sent me a link inviting me to a debate between a prominent evangelical intellectual and a prominent atheist thinker. It made me remember how I used to eat those sorts of things up when I was in college, and I really appreciated this friend sending it, but at this point in my life, I genuinely had no interest whatsoever.

Eventually, you realize that every debate of this sort goes the exact same way. At some point–without fail– there’s comes a moment when the evangelical says something to which the atheist responds with “well, what proof [or “evidence” or “basis” or “reason”] do you have to make such a claim!”, to which the evangelical responds with something like “well, it’s faith” (or something like that).

And then the debate should end. The fool’s errand of these events has been exposed.

Atheism, by definition, assumes that this world is a closed system. Nothing can exist outside of it. Only that which is empirical is “real”. And even if there was anything outside this “system” of “reality”, we couldn’t know of it at all because our reason and logic is borne from and exercised within this system and so we can “know” nothing else beyond or outside of it. But Christians, by definition, believe in a “Christ”–we believe that we can know things “outside the system” because that which was “outside” came “inside” and lived among us.

And so as long as these two groups have these differences, they more or less aren’t even speaking the same language. “Debates” are useless other than to “score points” with your own side.

And yet, I still find myself engaging with my atheist friends–though in a very different way.

A while back, I heard a story from a former campus minister about a kid that was “pulled away from faith” after going to his first college-level Biology class and learning about Evolution. The campus minister, at the time, was trying to show how it was wrong of universities not to “teach the other alternatives to Evolution”, but I pulled a very different moral from the story.

The problem that this student encountered was not the “evil” of Evolution. It was the choice that was forced upon him; it was the dogma that it is “us or them”–that Evolution was inherently antithetical to a Christian worldview and so if it was true, then Christianity had to be entirely false, and if Christianity was true, then Evolution had to be entirely false.

And so this is the source and sustenance of Atheism. (And I think that Atheists would agree with me here, even though they’ll disagree with the implication I draw from it.) When someone has come to “know” something–cognitively, intellectually, existentially, or experientially–that seems fundamentally at odds with Christianity, or has no place within it, they will become an Atheist.

In other words, if someone comes to a truth that they believe is far from the truth/experience/reality of Christianity, they have no other intellectually-honest recourse other than to reject the notion that there is such a thing as the truth/experience/reality of Christianity.

So far, I think that the Atheists out there will be tracking with me. Here’s where they’ll stop.

I think that–by and large–most Atheists are reasonably choosing the far more reasonable side in a choice that does not exist.

If the Incarnation is true, then I have a fundamental belief that all aspects of human experience, knowledge, and reality have been incorporated into the Divine experience of God Himself–including all the parts that usually lead people to be Atheists.

Every reason I’ve ever heard about why someone becomes an Atheist or “unbeliever” is something that I firmly believe that God has–by life and by blood–baptized as part of the normal human Christian experience. And so (in case you haven’t picked this up), the real problem isn’t even with the Atheists! They are actually acting and choosing quite reasonably (considering what’s been offered to them, at least).

The problem has been an Evangelicalism that has divorced historical dynamics of the mystical Christian experience from the modern cognitive Christian experience.

Doubt, pain, suffering, injustice, abuse by religious authorities, betrayal, alienation from God, forsakenness, darkness, God not delivering from death (when he could), frustration, weeping, anger, crying out, lashing out, questioning, and–indeed–even the experience of atheism itself are all human things that have been invited into God’s own experience of being God.

Modern evangelicalism seems content to say that the human that experiences and tastes these things is far from this same God, and so that person needs to do whatever it takes to “get past this” or “move on” or “mature” or “grow their faith”. But in reality, in those moments when we are acquainted with such existential realities, we are actually closer to the experience of the Divine than we could ever possibly know.

And so, in my own past and continued engagement with Atheists, I often find myself trying to “re-articulate” Christianity in such a way that it might seem beautiful to them once again; to show them that the choice they were offered was a false one. To acknowledge that yes, these thoughts and experiences are real and legitimate, but they were experienced by Christ himself, and were the very vehicles by which he tasted Resurrection.

Resurrection. That is really the only question that Atheists need to wrestle with when it comes to faith. Not these other normal aspects of human intellectual and emotional development. As my pastor has said (quoting someone whose name escapes me): if the Resurrection didn’t happen, then nothing else matters. But, if the Resurrection did happen, then nothing else matters.

Life, be it biological or spiritual, is never entered into by way of peaceful, sustaining confidence and quiet trust. Rather, it’s always by the way of trauma, tears, and exhaustion. And, ironically, it’s this very doubt, darkness, and “existential atheism” that leads us into the little tastes and vignettes we get of that quiet trust and confidence we know is waiting for us in full, at the other side of Resurrection.

And that, hopefully, is something we can all call “Good News”.

[art credit: Robert Motherwell’s “Elegy to the Spanish Republic”]

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17 thoughts on “Debates with Atheists (And Good News for Them)

  1. “Atheism, by definition, assumes that this world is a closed system. ”

    No, Paul.

    Atheism is the position of disbelief in a god or gods.

    Skepticism refuses to assume or accept that something exists without good evidence. That may be what you are referring to.

    “It was the choice that was forced upon him; it was the dogma that it is “us or them”–that Evolution was inherently antithetical to a Christian worldview and so if it was true, then Christianity had to be entirely false, and if Christianity was true, then Evolution had to be entirely false.”

    It depends what one means when they say ‘Christianity’.

    If you mean a literal reading of the Bible, then yes, evolution destroys that. If you’re a more liberal Christian who takes some things in the Bible as literal and some things as metaphor, then no, evolution doesn’t destroy Christianity.

    “Every reason I’ve ever heard about why someone becomes an Atheist or “unbeliever” is something that I firmly believe that God has–by life and by blood–baptized as part of the normal human Christian experience. ”

    Really?

    My reason for being an atheist is the lack of evidence for the claims made by religions.

    Not sure how that fits in with your hypothesis, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    “Doubt, pain, suffering, injustice, abuse by religious authorities,…”

    Okay, but none of those are reasons why I’m an atheist. They’re reasons why I might not like certain people, or certain organizations, or certain people’s conceptions of what their god is…but not a single one is a reason for my not believing.

    “if the Resurrection didn’t happen, then nothing else matters. But, if the Resurrection did happen, then nothing else matters.”

    I suppose, if you want to phrase it that way.

    If you started supplying good evidence for things like the resurrection claimed in your scriptures, atheists would certainly start converting. So…go for it.

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    • First of all, welcome to the blog and thanks for the comment!

      Concerning said comment…

      First, I would like to point out that you said that my “definition” of Atheism was wrong and then proceeded to tell me that you’re an Atheist because none of the evidence (or, in my terminology, items from “within the closed system”) “proved” religious claims to be correct. How is this different than insisting on having “inside the system” reasons for belief in an “outside the system” entity?

      Second, I still wonder what “evidence” you point to for your Atheistic belief? No, I’m not trying to get into a “who has the burden of proof” pissing contest, I simply think we all should have grounds for the things we believe. And so, once again, what might be the proof that religious claims are false (and, once again, how does this insistence not fit in the “outside/inside the system” scheme I articulated above)? Further, what is the proof that Atheistic claims are the correct alternative? Also, what would be the “evidence” of religious truth that you feel is lacking? Are there any religious claims that you feel are verifiably incorrect?

      Is there really no answer to any of those questions that even touches on these lists of items I’ve offered on why people become Atheists?

      I’ve heard others say “there’s no proof of religious claims”, and when pressed what proof there might be that these claims are false, it usually ends up being something like “it doesn’t produce any difference in their own morality or the world in which they live; if there was a God, you’d think he’d actually change his people”, or “I look around, and there simply does not seem to be a God. My intuition experiences no inclination towards thinking all of this points to some deity”, or “this world, with all of its injustice and evil, does not point to some benevolent God. It doesn’t seem like he’s around, and even if he is, he’s not someone that deserves my faith.”

      So is there any different schema you can offer? (Once again, without saying something like “well, you’re the one making supernatural claims, the burden lies on YOU to prove it to ME, not the other way around”. I get that. Please just indulge this one moment of thoughtful reflection.) I’m genuinely interested if there is. This is just the best I’ve been able to come to as I’ve thought about all of this.

      Also, believing that Genesis is not speaking to scientific human origina is not a “liberal” or “lower” view of the Bible. It’s simply reading it the way the original hearers would have taken it. I read it that way because I think it is MORE faithful to the Bible, not less. I’m in no way trying to “accomodate” the Bible or be “more comfortable” with it, or “change” it in any way. I’m simply reading it the same way many, many Christians in the past have read it. Origen, Augustine, Calvin, C.S. Lewis, and the Catholic and Anglican Churches all read Genesi that way, and these are hardly “liberal” individuals/institutions.

      And lastly, I really do believe that at every level of human existence, the Resurrection is evidenced as much as any ancient event can be. But it’s sort of like the Big Bang, I guess: we can’t necessarily scientifically “verify” and “test” for it, but as we look at everything the way it is now, it looks the way it would if the Big Bang had occurred. I think the same holds true for the Resurrection. And, once again, if you are looking around saying, “really? You think everything looks the way it would if the Resurrection had happened? You’re crazy”, you’re making an interpretive judgment based on assumption that these things you see and experience are antithetical to Christian truth, which goes right back to what I was saying before. I believe it’s not antithetical.

      Thanks again for the comment.

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  2. “How is this different than insisting on having “inside the system” reasons for belief in an “outside the system” entity?”

    If the object of your belief exists ‘outside the system’, what reason do you have for believing in it? What reason do you have to believe there is an ‘outside the system’? And couldn’t one use that to justify belief in just about anything?

    “I simply think we all should have grounds for the things we believe.”

    Reality is comprised of many different things. Every one of those things I believe I back up with evidence. ‘Atheism’ is a word to describe something I don’t believe.

    If you want to break down the individual things about reality I believe in, we can totally do that, but it will probably take a while.

    “And so, once again, what might be the proof that religious claims are false (and, once again, how does this insistence not fit in the “outside/inside the system” scheme I articulated above)? ”

    Sorry, because you asked me not to do this, but I can’t help it…that’s not how the burden of proof works.

    I could just as easily ask you what might be your proof that claims of alien abduction are false?

    “Further, what is the proof that Atheistic claims are the correct alternative?”

    Define what you mean by ‘atheistic claims’, please.

    Also, I don’t look at it as ‘an alternative’. If we disproved all of science tomorrow (a tough job, but let’s say we could hypothetically do it), that wouldn’t mean that your claims were correct. There aren’t only two (or three or four) alternatives. There’s evidence, and what we can determine based on that evidence.

    “Also, what would be the “evidence” of religious truth that you feel is lacking?”

    Video tape of miracles taking place. Miraculous events that are repeatable under laboratory conditions. Clear, unambiguous and completely specific prophecies. Things like that.

    “and when pressed what proof there might be that these claims are false, ”

    I don’t mean to pounce on you for this, but this specific sentence seems to indicate that you truly don’t understand the burden of proof. I hope you don’t take that as an insult, because it’s not meant to be.

    A claim is made. It is the burden of the person making the claim, or supporting it, to provided proof and evidence that the claim is true. Until or unless they do so, it is not sensical to believe that claim.

    The claim may be true, but we should not believe it until the burden of proof is met.

    “It doesn’t seem like he’s around, and even if he is, he’s not someone that deserves my faith.””

    Just as a quick note, I don’t use faith for anything. I don’t see it as a useful way of thinking.

    “So is there any different schema you can offer? ”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. Please clarify.

    “the Resurrection is evidenced as much as any ancient event can be.”

    Then I would ask you, do you believe any other supernatural events based on ancient written records?

    I don’t believe any, because I don’t see anecdotes as good enough evidence for that kind of extraordinary claim.

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  3. It is such Grace that any of us ever believe in the Gospel. I ponder this and am amazed, since it wasn’t until after I believed that the Holy Spirit started teaching me. It is the Spirit that teaches us what is beyond this enclosed system. It is also the Spirit that seems to be the most absurd to the unbelievers.

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  4. Really, I promise I’m not trying to say the same old, tired things Christian apologists have been saying for thirty years now.

    I can already tell this is turning into the hypothetical debate situation I talked about in the opening of this post.

    Long story short, I wholeheartedly believe that science, specifically psychology and neuroscience, has shown that we humans are feeling and interpretive creatures before we are thinking ones. We simply do not live life and make decisions based on simplistic evidentiary calculations at every turn. It really does seem like the vast majority of things we do (and even believe) are “felt” first and then backed up with “facts” later. We don’t reason our way through life.

    At the end of the day, you have to come to some reason why people of every intelligence level, intellectual fortitude, educational background, and upbringing have been able to look at all the same evidence there is and come to vastly different conclusions. Why are there people smarter and more reasonable than you that are doggedly religious and why are there people far smarter and reasonable than me that are doggedly atheistic?

    Ultimately, I feel, it’s because nothing is ever as simple as “what’s the evidence” or meeting the “burden of proof”. There are so many presuppositions (if Christianity is right, then spiritual predispositions also) that lead people to intuit beliefs before looking at facts.

    I find Christianity compelling. That’s it. The picture it paints of reality, human nature, where we’ve been, where we’re going, what’s wrong, how it’s fixed, and why, is so comprehensive an interpretive filter upon reality that it asserts itself as the framework by which reality is judged rather than the framework reality itself judges. It verifies what I see in the world. The methods of the world do not themselves verify Christianity. I think that is a far too simplistic view of the world. And, I don’t think that other claims on reality hold this same level of comprehensiveness, and so this is not just some ideological self-justifying free-for-all.

    And, I do think the Resurrection is evidenced and “proved” as much as any ancient even can be. Other miracle stories have not (even other miracle stories in the Bible!). The Resurrection, uniquely, has met a “burden of proof” that no other ancient supernatural claim can boast. It’s not the same bar as, say, a repeatable experiment, but no historical event is. Like I said, it’s like the Big Bang. We can’t reproduce that. But, we can look at the way things are now and see that they testify to this having happened. The development and spread of Christianity, the accounts that have been written down, the community that has been formed around this event are, simply put, only explained by there actually having been a Resurrection.

    But not only that. I think these reverberations through history are metaphysical and existential as well, not simply historical and sociological. Going to church every week, and in the relationships in my life, and in my attempts to love those around me, the Resurrection breaks into our lives over and over again, verifying ITSELF, in a deeply mystical and (sorry) un-scientifically verifiable way. Why? Because reality is greater than verifiability.

    I truly don’t expect this to change your mind. I think the problem I outlined in the post has been shown. It’s as if we met in a tool shed shed in the back of a house and you were insisting on me using the tools inside this shed to “prove” that I have a wife waiting for me inside the house. I can show you my wedding ring, show some scars I have on my body from injuries sustained during trips we’ve taken together, tell you some stories, point out tools in the shed that she bought me as gifts, show off things I’ve used the tools to build for her, and even invite you to come out of the shed and meet my wife. But as long as you’re saying “you’re the one claiming to have a wife, not me, so the burden is on you to prove it, but you can only use these tools inside this shed we’re in”, we can’t really move forward.*

    I hope you stay well.

    * By the way, I don’t have a wife, nor a tool shed, nor a backyard (I live in the city), and so I don’t know where that analogy came from, but it works nonetheless.

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  5. Neither of us are good at short replies, are we? 🙂

    Here we go!

    “has shown that we humans are feeling and interpretive creatures before we are thinking ones. ”

    I 100% agree.

    I just don’t think that it’s a good thing, nor a particularly smart way to look at the world if our goal is to determine what is true.

    “At the end of the day, you have to come to some reason why people of every intelligence level, intellectual fortitude, educational background, and upbringing have been able to look at all the same evidence there is and come to vastly different conclusions. ”

    I have some ideas, most of which relating to your ‘people are feeling, not thinking’ proposition.

    “Ultimately, I feel, it’s because nothing is ever as simple as “what’s the evidence” or meeting the “burden of proof”. ”

    I feel like this might be a different subject.

    Are we talking about “why people believe” or “are these beliefs true”? They’re different subjects, though both are interesting.

    For some people, belief isn’t simple as evidence and burden of proof. I think it should be. And for me, it is. But to each their own, I suppose.

    “And, I do think the Resurrection is evidenced and “proved” as much as any ancient even can be. ”

    Not to get bogged down on a discussion of historical evidence…but documentation decades after an event don’t seem to me to be particularly ‘proved’. Particularly when you’re dealing with a supposed supernatural event, but even if you’re not.

    “Like I said, it’s like the Big Bang. We can’t reproduce that.”

    True. But the evidence for it is clear and unambiguous and not just anecdotal. The evidence for an itinerant rabbi raising from the dead 2000 years ago is not so much.

    “The development and spread of Christianity, the accounts that have been written down, the community that has been formed around this event are, simply put, only explained by there actually having been a Resurrection. ”

    I fundamentally disagree.

    All of it is easily explained merely if you have people who believe the story is true. The story doesn’t have to be true, but the belief has to be real.

    I don’t contend that people have and do believe Christianity is true. I just don’t agree with their opinion.

    “Going to church every week, and in the relationships in my life, and in my attempts to love those around me, the Resurrection breaks into our lives over and over again, verifying ITSELF, in a deeply mystical and (sorry) un-scientifically verifiable way. Why? Because reality is greater than verifiability. ”

    Again, at the risk of being rude, I have no idea what you mean by this.

    If it makes you feel good, if you think it improves your life, and it causes you or others no harm…cheers!

    ” It’s as if we met in a tool shed shed in the back of a house and you were insisting on me using the tools inside this shed to “prove” that I have a wife waiting for me inside the house.”

    There are two problems with this analogy. (All analogies fail at some point, of course.)

    The first is that we can leave the tool shed to get more evidence. I’d gladly leave it to collect evidence. In the analogy we could. In the real world, it doesn’t appear we can.

    Second, the claim your making doesn’t match up. If, in the analogy, you were trying to prove the existence of your wife who happened to be able to fly and had other seemingly magical powers, then we’d be closer to an accurate analogy.

    ““you’re the one claiming to have a wife, not me, so the burden is on you to prove it, but you can only use these tools inside this shed we’re in”, we can’t really move forward.* ”

    If you have tools from outside the shed, show them. But I just need to be able to determine the difference between these tools and something akin to ‘desire’ or ‘wishful thinking’.

    “I hope you stay well.”

    And same to you.

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  6. The universe is definitely a system of things. As an atheist, I don’t consider it a closed system or an open one (although those things aren’t what make me an atheist). All of the things “inside” the system (or I guess in this universe) we consider to exist, all of the things outside of that system we consider to not exist. Everything that exists in our system is subject to our physical laws. If something is subject to the physics of our universe, then it can be explained via science. So if there are real gods that exist within our universe, I can’t conceive of a way they exist without being subject to the laws that govern our universe without being “intellectually dishonest”.

    That being said, we know that our system isn’t a closed one. There are particles that flash into existence for almost immeasurable amounts of time, that up until recently, could be considered to not exist at all. The point of that is, that when they do exist here, in our world, from wherever they existed, they are subject to our laws (which, I suppose is why they don’t last very long). Maybe, just so I’m not misunderstood, in the future, when [if] we advance as a species (or I suppose far enough in the future as another species) we would potentially have to change the meaning of existence to allow for things that would be outside of our reality that can now enter it. But that’s just crazy.

    Anyway, about atheism- Its not about beliefs, or proof, or anything like that. There is no atheist doctrine I subscribe to, no teachings. As I learned how the world worked, I tried to reconcile Christianity with reality. It worked. For a while. Then I saw myself, essentially no longer a Christian, liberally adapting Christianity to fit reality. So yeah, I’m not here for a debate or anything like that. In fact, I fully support what you’re doing. I enjoy reading your page, not for argumentative reasons, but because you put stuff out there that Christians should be thinking about and it’s refreshing.

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  7. In this thread Paul says some absolutely absurd things which at least the big boys of the debate teams try to steer away from. Just for example, the ol’ “but what evidence is there that my (insert negative here) is incorrect?” where we insert resurrection etc for the negative. Asking people to prove a negative is just plain silly Paul, why you would keep doing it to your audience and visitors is beyond me. At least the big boys don’t go down that road.

    As they have noted, atheism is simply stating that the positive assertion (the resurrection tots happened u guis!) you are making lacks evidence. If you lack evidence, your assertion fails at the outset in terms of being credible. There is no need for evidence against your assertion for this to take place.

    Protip: Steer clear of this nonsense for the same reason the big boys do. The reason the big boys steer clear of this little game is because they know who has the “burden of proof”, as that is incontestable. They simply shirk it, in all debates that I’ve been privy to (a lot of them), and differ to mystical experience, i.e. faith.

    P.S. There is plenty of evidence that many many claims in the bible are not true. Just for one, that every single creature on earth can fit on an ark built to the specs in the bible (much less food for them all as the bible implies they took). They just got done building a life-size ark, and it is nowhere near big enough to hold all the creatures on the earth. That is but one glaring example, but of course you’ll dismiss that one, because of the perfectly reasonable “interpretation” you take of the old school mythological portions of the bible. Take it one step further bro, you’ll find yourself realizing that anyone reading the story would also blatantly see the resurrection as just as mythological.

    PPS there’s better debates than ones that devolve into that nonsense, I’ll try to send you the better ones when I see them.

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    • Please do send them my way. But, I really feel like I need to say this. First, I never asked for proof the Resurrection never happened. Second, I asked for one person’s thoughts on what they think shows religious thought to be false, but (and here’s the key) NOT TO TRY TO PROVE RELIGIOUS THOUGHT. I do not see that as a “proof”. I do not see that as a “point” for religion. I do not see it as some terminus of debate that is some “victory go-to item” for faith. I know other people have done that, and I really tried hard to show that I was not using it that way, but apparently it is such a sensitive nerve to hit that if you go near it at all, it is thought that you’ve said something that you’re not.

      My very specific point in saying that was to try and connect what the commenter was saying to what I had said in my post about some of the leading causes I had heard from others that led them to consider Atheism. Time after time and study after study and culture after culture has shown that human beings, by default are born as religious creatures. It is the most natural state of humanity. Now, it could very well be evolutionary leftovers that helped us create meaning and community where there would otherwise be none and so give us a reason to survive and prosper; and it might be something that Atheists believe is now unnecessary, unhelpful, and we have to move past, but my firm belief (that I don’t know if you guys would agree with or not) is that “religiousness” is the default state of humanity. Not Atheism. If you leave an individual or a culture alone from its beginning, it will inevitably become religious, not atheistic. That’s what history has shown us time and time again.

      Once again, this is not a proof of ANYTHING. There are many things that people will just “naturally believe” that are completely wrong (earth being flat, the center of the universe, etc.). But, it does mean that something outside of normal human experience must be introduced in order to inspire someone to consider Atheism. In my experience, this original inspiration to consider Atheism is not a mere dispassionate presentation and consideration of “the evidence”. It has roots elsewhere–mainly in those things I listed in the post. It could be as simple as “Uh… God doesn’t look to be around here, bro”. And once again, as I went on to say in other comments, the fact that there’s this “extra stuff” behind why we come to consider things such as Atheism in no way speaks to the truth or un-truth of anyone’s claims, because we’re ALL interpretive creatures, not evidentiary ones.

      And so, I was trying to connect the commenter’s Atheism to these things to further the conversation. I was trying to do this by asking what “evidence” led this person to Atheism. When they said “the lack of evidence”, I tried to push further with, “Well then, what lack of evidence? What was the evidence you were looking for? What would constitute evidence in your mind?” It was an attempt to get to know the commenter better to further the conversation, not “win” the conversation with some “burden of proof” thing.

      And lastly “anon”, your comments on the other post and this one both show me just how much I’ve underestimated how much a modern, reactionary evangelical view of Scripture still reigns in America. Honestly, when it comes to the Bible, I spend much more of my time reading either older scholars and theologians or European ones. Honestly, most of Church History has had a far more nuanced and sophisticated (and common-sense, I’d say) view of the Bible than what you’re painting here. The Bible is not a magical book with secret powers. What makes it special is not the words on the page as if they have some supernatural component to themselves. It’s the God to which those words testify. To paraphrase Karl Barth, the Bible is not some magical “revelation machine” where God magically sits, making the words have extra-human capabilities in history, science, and philosophy. It is a testament and witness to the acts of God in history that THEMSELVES reveal who God is. And so, the words themselves are human words in human ways about divine things.

      Not all parts of the Bible are written the same way. Ancient myth (as a literary genre) can testify to truth like theological truth can, but it’s going to be in a very different way. The flood story is giving us truth in a very different way than the Resurrection ones. The flood tory shows no indication that even IT ITSELF wants us to take it a scientific account–it’s a conscious stitching together of various ancient stories with substantive differences among them. It’s not even TRYING to be historical, and the whole “well, if you don’t think a global flood happened, then you will eventually see the Resurrection the same way” is naive and uninformed at best and unfair caricature at worst. The vast majority of Church History has held an EXTREMELY different view of the Bible than modern Evangelicalism which itself is an over-reaction to early 20th-century movements, and not some “neutral” or “plain” reading of the Bible. To say that that’s the only “faithful”, “orthodox”, or “intellectually honest” way to read the Bible, and therefore characterize differing opinions as simply “accommodating and becoming less faithful in light of the damning evidence against them”, is silly and is a straw man that removes SO MUCH credibility from what you say.

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