Saturday, March 21, 2009

Richard Carrier vs William Lane Craig Debate MP3 Audio

Richard Carrier and William Lane Craig debate the topic: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? at Northwestern Missouri State University. Audio quality is tolerable, yet substandard and includes coughing and some movement. Better quality will be provided when available.

Full MP3 Audio here.


30 comments : said...

Do let us know when the better quality is available. I'd love to hear how Craig deals w/ Carrier.

Unknown said...

I attended the debate and hoped that someone would ask Carrier about the story of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida in Mark. That two miracles were necessary couldn't have been known, given the state of science at the time. Cf. .

This is added proof that Mark is not a simply folk tale, concocted by sophisticated Greek authors from Hebraic sources, as Carrier claimed.

Lennius said...

Great debate...btw, James drake, are you the same james living in Birmingham al? This is lenny, and if so it's reallyfunny to see you here!

Unknown said...

No, Lenny. The closest I came to living in Birmingham was Huntsville. I now live in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska.

Anonymous said...

Carrier's comments are here:

Dave Huntsman said...

You guys are being way too nice to Craig. He out and out called himself a historian - which, I guess, makes me a brain surgeon instead of a space engineer. (Oh, wait; the brain surgeon and I both deal with reality, so it doesn't apply).

The man is also dishonest; poisoning the well by attacking Carrier as an 'atheist' (gasp!!) who wouldn't even consider god if there is evidence, which I don't think correctly describes Carrier at all; and I think he knows that.

Craig also refuses to debate the real questions with Carrier, as Carrier noted. Craig is not interested in intelligent discussion to find the truth; he's a propagandist.

Carrier is far from being alone in thinking that the historical Jesus may not have existed at all. In fact, in his good blog writeup on the December Jesus Project seminar, he noted how he came out of the seminar surprisingly more tending to believe that the historical Jesus didn't exist than before he went in.

Scholars I respect, like Bart Ehrman and Dom Crossan - real historians - both believe that a historical Jesus existed. (Ehrman said this a few weeks ago at a talk at Otterbein College several of us from Cleveland Freethinkers attended). However, neither Ehrman or Crossan, at least in their books, give the same rigor to support that assertion as they do for the remainder of their analyses. In short, I still don't know whether a historical Jesus, on which the later Christ mythologies were based, really existed. If there is any 'bias' among real historians as to whether a real historical Jesus existed, in other words, that bias seems to be in the pro-Jesus-existed direction, not the other way.

Carrier also agreed with Craig that not only was there a general historical consensus that a Jesus existed; but that their is agreement that Jesus died and was buried. I don't think that's true; Crossan goes out of his way to point out that if you were crucified, you were not supposed to be buried, by anyone; that was one of the points of crucifixion. It was deliberate state terrorism, destroying the individual both physically and otherwise. Crossan points out that, of the many thousands of people the Romans crucified right outside the walls of Jeruselem in those couple of decades, only one - a single individual - has been found, with a nail through his foot. That is the exception that proves the rule, I think. And even that individual was almost certainly was not taken down the very night that he died. Crossan goes farther, laying out the chronological 'trajectory' of the death and burial story of Jesus. ie, he starts with the one actually written first - which was the simplest; and shows that each new version written over the next century got more and more elaborate - never less elaborate. Looking at that trajectory; and then folding in the historical facts of that era that said burial was generally not allowed for crucified criminals - which has been backed up by the evidence (or lack of same) - and it's pretty clear there was no burial, unless and until a crucified body with a sword wound in his side is found after rolling back the stone on a tomb. Of course, if that happens (the subject of an Antonio Banderas movie, by the way, called The Body, available on Netflix), would disprove that 'Christ' rose from the dead; meaning Christianity is simply wrong.

Also, the 'majority of new testament scholars' Craig talks about otherwise, almost - from the names I recognize, anyway - seem to all be theologians - NOT historians. Why didn't Carrier point that out?

As Carrier points out, all Craig really has is the gospels and epistles; which not only are not historical documents, but contradict each other. That's not history; and it certainly doesn't prove that some supernatural event, like a resurrection, happened.

Unknown said...

Richard Carrier endorses Rook Hawkins, Tom Verona. Nuff said!
Carrier is on the fringe!

Leslie said...


First, what is an historian? Someone who studies history. Does Craig study history? Yes. Not only that, but he has published in journals and elsewhere regarding the historical Jesus. Sounds like an historian to me. If that's not "real" I'm not sure what exactly is. Certainly it's as real as Ehrman and Crossan.

As for this nonsense about the gospels not being historical documents, Carrier is simply wrong here. He can come up with all the lame pseudo theories he wants, but it doesn't change the fact that they were written and intended to be taken as historical documents, and indeed were taken as such by the people who read them at the time.

The funny thing is, no matter what happened, there would be a skeptic crowd who was intent on taking them otherwise and there would always be some excuse. If it is taken that there are contradictions, the skeptic says "See? They can't get their story straight, so it can't be trusted!" If, however, it is taken that there are not contradictions, the skeptic would say "See? They all collaborated on the documents and made up the stories! It can't be trusted!" Nothing is ever good enough.

Mad Wombat said...

"He can come up with all the lame pseudo theories he wants"

At this point, the rest of the argument is irrelevant.

Brian said...

Here is a good little article regarding some of the atheist responses to the debate.

Nick Norelli said...

Dave Huntsman: You're probably not aware of this (if you were I doubt the first part of your comment would have been the way it was) but Craig has a Master's in Church History and the History of Christian Thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and he earned his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich by doing his dissertation on the historicity of the resurrection. So maybe he called himself a historian because he's a trained historian. He's also got a Master's degree and PhD in philosophy so he's especially qualified to debate such subjects.

And whole Carrier might not be alone as a Jesus Myther, he's certainly in the minority and for good reason, the evidence points to a historical Jesus. You can debate whether he was the Son of God, Messiah, or God incarnate until you're blue in the face, but there's no question that he existed.

Dave Huntsman said...

Though Richard Carrier is a true historian - going wherever the truth leads, based on evidence and reason, and never deliberately misleading - he is very young and inexperienced. For a debate where the difference between a man who has made himself a real historian, and a theologian misusing the words of history to justify his already-decided faith, view the Ehrman- Craig debate on exactly the same subject. You can tell from Craig's relative (non-) performance against Ehrman why after that he stuck to preferring to debate the Richard Carrier's.

Dave Huntsman said...

The funny thing is, no matter what happened, there would be a skeptic crowd who was intent on taking them otherwise and there would always be some excuse.

There are always supposed to be true skeptics; ie, people constantly and critically thinking, analyzing, asking questions about everything. That's the way science works. That's the way real historians work. After all, there are still (millions?) of humans on this planet who believe both: millions of Jews were not killed in the Holocaust; and 9/11 was perpetrated by the Jews/Israel/CIA. Millions of of the most rigid Christians believe every word of 'The Bible' is literally true, in spite of most evidence and analysis by historians (not theologians) being to the contrary. So I agree there will always be skeptics; there should be - if by skepticism, you mean true critical thinking whose sole aim is to try to figure out the truth, no matter whose dogma is gored.
Theologians -like Craig - don't fit that description.

Polls show that tens of millions of American believe that evolution - the word that describes the observation that life changes over time - is not correct. This in spite of many hundreds of millions of fossils, and the now huge DNA analysis, supporting it - and absolutely none against it. That's not 'skepticism'; that's willful ignorance.

and whole Carrier might not be alone as a Jesus Myther, he's certainly in the minority and for good reason, the evidence points to a historical Jesus.

That's probably true; both Ehrman and Crossan, for example, as well as Joseph Campbell previously, believe that an historical Jesus, on which the Christ mythologies were overlain, probably existed. They also agree that he was probably crucified for making a rukus. They also agree, as do other historians, that Jesus was truly a Jewish prophet - not the first 'Christian', and did not think of himself as divine.

You can debate whether he was the Son of God, Messiah, or God incarnate until you're blue in the face, but there's no question that he existed.

There's no debate among historians as to whether he was any of the Son of God/Man, a Messiah-type (he's clearly not the Jewish Messiah, since the Jewish Messiah was/is supposed to be a human-warrior type, and not divine); or a god. That 'debate' is only among theologians of one type or another.

Dave Huntsman said...

Does anyone know whether - or if - William Lane Craig's 2nd PhD (from Munich), is available in English anywhere? I went to his website; while articles and debates are posted, there's nothing from his academic years; and their is no general contact email to ask a question.

Anonymous said...


A skeptic, at base, is simply someone who does not endorse a specified proposition. Skepticism does not involve any additional positive attributes of tireless work, accurate analysis, honesty etc. A person may be an ignorant tyrant and a skeptic. Nearly everyone can be said to be skeptical of something.

I have to say that your puzzling assertion that ‘millions?’ (certainly a very large number) of people currently deny the holocaust/assert 9/11 involved conspiracy is somewhat speculative and not particularly compelling. My own limited knowledge of the demographic of both beliefs is that they are confined to a very limited number of extremists.

Your definition of ‘evolution’ also needs work. It seems to deny even the existence of saltation/punctuated equilibrium propounded by Goldschmidt/Gould et al. In any event, why does it matter (for the purposes of debate) what tens of millions of Americans do or do not believe? For very similar reasons to Michael Behe, I too have always been highly skeptical of Darwinism but it doesn’t matter what I think – I would however say that I have spent many hours studying the arguments and facts (exemplifying the very characteristics you seem to praise) and probably know more about them than most, so I do not readily agree that I am engaging in any kind of willful ignorance, as you suggest.

You say, rather stridently, that there is ‘absolutely’ no evidence against evolution (what evidence are you taking about here?) and say that the fossil record/DNA analysis supports a wholly gradualist position. More reading would reveal that this is simply not the case. There are several very real problems with both gradualist and saltationist darwinism, which you do not appear to recognise.

I also find it very difficult to accept that any serious point can be derived from whom one does or does not debate with. Your assessment of the performance by Ehrman/Craig is itself open to debate. In any event, although I don’t agree this establishes any valid point, I think that it is fair to say that Carrier is thought of quite highly in the online atheist community.

It appears to me that both Ehrman and J ‘Dom’ Crossan adopt positions which are entirely antagonistic towards Christianity (whilst neither would seem to describe themselves as atheists). Do you propose that they remain entirely unattached to and affected by those positions when they subject the Bible/Christian history to analysis? Indeed, Thomas Howe has described Ehrman’s ‘Misquoting Jesus’ for example as ‘a tight web of exaggeration, partial truths, falsehood, and misrepresentation …truly a DeVinci Code of textual criticism’.

It is clear that crucifixion was an extreme in the raft of penalties open to Roman authorities. I therefore find it irrational to suggest that a mere one-off ‘rukus’ would warrant this sentence. Whether Jesus revealed Himself to be divine is a theological question.

I also take issue with your description of the Jewish messiah, which seems to ignore Isaiah Ch 9; a text which speaks of the implements of war being destroyed utterly at the coming of the ‘Son’. Furthermore, I take issue with your objections to theology as an intellectual discipline and theologians generally. It’s fairly clear that both Ehrman and Crossan are theologians. Indeed, Crossan teaches biblical studies at DePaul University.

In reply to your post today; I would suggest contacting the relevant department at Munich - Like most theses, I doubt however that it would be available for free. What I don’t understand however is what relevance this would have to the arguments which Craig raises.

Gareth McCaughan said...

Leslie: It's probably true that however good the evidence for anything there would always be some people who would refuse to be persuaded. That's irrelevant to actual skeptics here in the real world where the evidence is what it is, unless you have some reason to believe that *those* skeptics are skeptics because of some sort of mental defect that means that they would refuse to be persuaded whatever the evidence. Do you have any reason to believe that?

Simon H: Crossan describes himself as a Christian. His idea of Christianity is doubtless quite different from yours, of course, but "entirely antagonistic towards Christianity" seems a bit excessive.

Anonymous said...


A person can be a skeptic for a number of reasons. For a theist, who believe in ‘persons’ and not merely physical entities, the reason why any person might be skeptical can include a spiritual aversion to the notion of an infinite, personal God. I’m not aware of any cognitive defects (or indeed any working brain structure) that explains any complex behaviour, let alone a desire not to believe a specified proposition ( ‘memes’ are mere fairy tales). Further, Leslie’s point appears to be that objective data is generally framed within an over-arching worldview. The same data can be explained in a number of different ways.

I wasn’t aware that Crossan describes himself as a Christian but it really doesn’t surprise me in the least. This is simply semantics and a very old trick. Crossan does not promulgate the doctrine we call ‘Christianity’ (this term is not found in the Bible but is perfectly acceptable). Many have sought to call their own peculiar take on Christ ‘Christianity’ but that doesn’t mean that there are lots of wildy different forms of the same fundamental doctrine. I might ask why Crossan does not seek to delineate his position from Christianity and aid clarity by referring to it as ‘Christism’ or something similar. Why confuse the two positions by calling both the same thing? Why? Because using the same terminology disguises the theological and philosophical chasm between the 2 positions and makes his views appear more respectable. The fact is, his views, whatever you may wish to call them, are entirely antagonistic towards Christianity. Whilst that fact, of itself, does not negate them, I do not think that such a statement is excessive.

Gareth McCaughan said...

Simon H, I would describe an inability or unwillingness to believe something simply because one has a "spiritual aversion" to it as a cognitive defect. Likewise an inability or unwillingness to believe something no matter how strong the weight of evidence in its favour.

Is it your opinion -- this is a question for Leslie too, if he's reading -- that either of those is an accurate description of the majority (or even a large fraction) of people who are skeptical about Christianity? If so, do you have any evidence?

On the face of it, it seems to me a very improbable claim, and an insulting one at that. (Very much like claiming that people who believe in God all do so because they can't cope with the idea of a world that's indifferent to our welfare.)

I don't think there's any enlightenment to be had from arguing about whether Crossan's position (or yours, or anyone else's) should be called "Christianity" or not. Those are questions about language only. The questions that actually matter are ones like "Is Crossan right?" and "Assuming for the sake of argument that something like the traditional Christian ideas of salvation and damnation are correct, which one is Crossan likely to end up with?" and so forth. And, precisely because questions like those are the ones that matter and ones about definitions tend to be so sterile, I think it's unhelpful to say things like "Crossan's position is entirely antagonistic towards Christianity" and say instead just what it is that he opposes so -- the authority of the Bible, the Incarnation, or whatever.

... Actually, I think the whole thing originated with an ad hominem attack; you basically said: Ehrman and Crossan hate Christianity, so their investigations into Christian issues are bound to be partisan and biased. It seems to me, from what I know of Ehrman's and Crossan's history, that their current attitudes to Christianity are *derived from* their long investigations into Christian issues. Ehrman, at least, started off as an impeccably orthodox Biblical scholar, no?

Anonymous said...


I would disagree with your proposition whether or not you adopt a theistic or materialist view of humanity. If you adopt a materialist view, then there is no independent ‘person’ in charge-of or separate-to the physical parts. In such a worldview, consciousness is a delusion (what precisely becomes deluded is perhaps a question for another day) and thought/actions are absolutely determined by the interaction of internal (in the brain) and external (the environment) physical materials in accordance with chance and necessity (physical laws).

Even in such a worldview however, it would not be accurate to describe the inability of a brain mass to accept a well-supported proposition as a ‘cognitive defect’. This is simply because in such a worldview nothing could be accurately described as a defect. There is no defect because there is no objectively ‘correct’ way for the brain mass to function. If the brain mass accepts propositions which are not well-supported (or even absurd) and rejects propositions which are well-supported, there is no objective moral standard by reference to which this behaviour can be described as wrong/bad/defective. Even if such behaviour led to the ‘death’ of the physical brain mass (i.e. it ceased to function), it still could not be described as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ only that it had happened. Indeed, in materialism, anything which happens (whether thought or action) was in fact always going to happen – exactly how it happens. Any sense which ‘we’ have of control, altering outcomes or affecting history is simply a delusion.

I am not a materialist. As a theist, I believe that there is a ‘you’ independent of your physical parts i.e. a ‘person’ rather than a mere ‘collection of chemicals in a sack’ (as one materialist has put it). I believe in a ‘you’ which has free will and can choose whether to believe a proposition or not. I say that there are a variety of factors which affect whether this choice; factors which include attitudes towards things and, at a very fundamental level, whether or not a person is willing to accept the authority of the infinite person (which we call ‘God’) or seek to rebel against His authority/who a person has more faith in, the infinite person or their finite self. We should always be careful to examine our fundamental presuppositions.

In terms of ‘spiritual aversions’ we would no doubt both agree that such a factor would be inherently metaphysical and therefore not capable of constituting a physical ‘cognitive defect’.

I agree with much of your 4th paragraph. Yes the important question is whether or not he is right. I am certain that he isn’t. I don’t think anyone but God and Crossan can answer whether he has accepted God’s gift of salvation from eternal separation from God which he, like all humanity, already faces.

I haven’t said that either Ehrman or Crossan hate Christianity. I don’t know whether or not that is the case. That said, they certainly seem to be doing all in their power to argue against it. Yes, Ehrman started off his studies in an evangelical seminary but that doesn’t really tell us much other than perhaps he was at one stage open to Christianity. Besides, there are plenty of others who have subjected the bible to the same or greater scrutiny and drawn entirely different conclusions (see my quote of Howe above).

Dave Huntsman said...

I agree with much of your 4th paragraph. Yes the important question is whether or not he is right. I am certain that he isn’t.

I also agree with his 4th paragraph; but, you don't. You say you're certain that Crossan isn't 'right' - yet have no evidence against him. (And evidence would be needed: Crossan in his published work does not spare detail on his methodology, or how he reaches his conclusions. So much so that he had to be prevailed upon to write a short- and, readable - version of his biography of the historical Jesus. I read the original; it was indeed quite a slog that most mere mortals would not put themselves through!)

I don’t think anyone but God and Crossan can answer whether he has accepted God’s gift of salvation from eternal separation from God which he, like all humanity, already faces.

I'm not sure which 'god' you're referring to here - humans have so many, of course - but if you had read Crossan's work, which you appear to have not, you would know his background as a priest and an historical scholar of ancient Mediterranean areas at a Catholic university.

My own take on where he is right now, based on reading his stuff: is that he really admires the real historical Jesus (Crossan is one of the few who has a credible claim to knowing what type of thing the historical Jesus was actually preaching). As a moral follower of the real Jesus - not of the Christ figure from Christian mythology - he might want to call himself something like a 'Jesuit' - except that rumor has it that title has been claimed by some other group................

I haven’t said that either Ehrman or Crossan hate Christianity. I don’t know whether or not that is the case. That said, they certainly seem to be doing all in their power to argue against it. Yes, Ehrman started off his studies in an evangelical seminary but that doesn’t really tell us much other than perhaps he was at one stage open to Christianity..

I've got to be blunt here: I don't think you've read Ehrman's books, at all; or gone to any of his lectures, or listened to his interviews. Most of the words you are using seem to come straight off of those 'Christian' websites that attack any historian studying the NT, early Christian development, or the historical Jesus. Your breaking down the arguments into only an "theistic or materialist view of humanity" is another giveaway. Am I right?

Ehrman was very passionate in his rightwing, Bible-inerrant views, especially after graduating from Moody. He says in his books he went from Moody to less-pure (in his view then) Christian schools like Wheaton to straighten them out on how to be a real Christian. It was starting a little at Wheaton - and especially later, at Princeton Theological Seminary - that he was taught it was not only ok to think, and question; but that that is what a real scholar had to do, by definition. That is when he started growing up, as it were.

Besides, there are plenty of others who have subjected the bible to the same or greater scrutiny and drawn entirely different conclusions (see my quote of Howe above).

You're not correct. Howe, for example, is not a historian, he is a theologian. What's the difference? A theologian is someone who starts off with the answer; in this case, he knows there is a god, and he knows what he wants to call that god. He then looks at everything from that context, rearranging it to fit that basic conclusion. He never - ever - not even once, has challenged his basic starting presupposition that I (and, I think, you) know of. In short, he's a preacher.

A historian - now matter what the background, even in theology - has only two basic questions: what really happened? And how to understand it, and put it in context. Her methodology: to follow the truth wherever it leads, no matter whose presuppositions or ox get gored - including their own. Both Dom and Bart both started out as 'theologians' - of two different bents (ie, Catholic priest, and Evangelical Minister). Their search for truth had them over-riding their own presuppositions, one can imagine with great soul-searching. They are to be personally commended. And it is interesting that coming from two different directions, and adopting different methodologies, they end up with relatively compatible historical conclusions, I think.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Gareth’s 4th paragraph made the very good point that arguing semantics is largely sterile (in fact he appeared to assert that it was entirely sterile) and the really important question is whether a proposition is true. I essentially agree with him there, although I think it is also important to aid clarity when discussing various positions. I don’t think that Gareth was attempting to argue anything substantive about what Crossan says.

I don’t say that Crossan has somehow failed to work hard, nor am I saying that he is not clever. I simply do not find his theses compelling. I find your distinction between theologians and historians intriguing. Personally I think Howe and Crossan are both; but why would it matter what a person is? Surely all that matters are the propositions any person asserts and the arguments in support? Howe has also clearly worked hard and is very clever. More importantly however, the arguments he raises are good ones.

You mention methodology as a delineating factor, yet you say that Ehrman had different methodologies. At times you appear to propose that only positivists are capable of ascertaining truth – yet positivism itself presupposes many things about the world and indeed the data-gatherer. You say that, in terms of data, an ‘historian’ must work out, “…how to understand it” – precisely – the data is fitted to an over-arching evaluative and philosophical framework.

A theist like Howe is not starting out with ‘the answer’ when it comes to biblical history but rather a certain evaluative framework. All that Crossan/Ehrman do is fit the same data into a different framework. You seem to dismiss, a priori, anyone starting with a theistic, overarching, evaluative framework when assessing biblical history . I don’t believe that is rational, nor do I think that Howe adopts any circular arguments when analyzing biblical history. You will accept that it is at least conceptually possible that biblical data may be capable of being fitted into several different frameworks.

I am dimly aware of the backgrounds of both Ehrman and Crossan (didn’t ‘Dom’ leave the priesthood before starting his academic career?) although I certainly wouldn’t pretend to be an expert on their personal histories. Even so, I’m not certain they are relevant in any event. Further, I dont find it compelling to argue that their positions must necessarily have potency because they themselves may once have held theistic belief. As I have said, I believe that there are many factors affecting belief, not all of which are purely cognitive (presumably they believe in free will - Betrand Russell famously didnt - do they 'know' something he didnt?).

I have not resorted to any ‘flat-packed answers’ but what would it really matter if I had, if they were true? Yes, in answering Gareth’s post I have discussed a theistic and materialist worldview. It’s possible that Gareth is a deist but that wasn’t the impression I got.

The God I am referring to is the infinite personal God. Do you believe in the other gods that you refer to? I gain the impression that you don’t, so you will understand that it intrigues me as to why you would raise them. Do you say that the existence of these beliefs somehow invalidate a belief in the infinite personal God?

Anonymous said...

To return to the topic of the debate, I have to say that I found Carrier's position was really straining believability.

I once attended an undergraduate class at a respected university in which the lecturer set out a well-supported polemic to the effect that charlie and the chocolate factory was in fact all about sex. By well-supported I mean that each point was made by close reference to the text of the book. Irrespective of the obvious work gone into it, the premise was clearly garbage. Charlie and the Chocolate factory is very clearly a kids fantasy story about chocolate, an amazing factory, umpa-lumpas and adventure.

Carrier's whole approach is very reminiscent of that lecture - So Richard, the bible was a story written by first centuary literary geniuses...which people were strangely willing to die for?

Dave Huntsman said...

So Richard, the bible was a story written by first centuary literary geniuses...which people were strangely willing to die for?

I'm not Richard.... but, people have been willing to die for all the varied gods created by humans for as long as their have been humans. The Christ figure was far from the first; and was not the last either, course; since more than a few followers of the later Allah have proven themselves even more willing to die for their god than early Christians were for theirs.

Going back to your previous post:

Do you say that the existence of these beliefs somehow invalidate a belief in the infinite personal God?

I say that I see no effective difference between them. All appear to be mythological, created in the minds of humans. None have been found to have really existed. Methinks I detect a pattern there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Yes people die for all sorts of causes – absolutely – but not for the sorts of fairy tales which Richard is suggesting – That is my point. Richard seems to really want the gospels to be something more than what they clearly are - and clearly were to the people willing to give their lives. Look at the overall picture and his ideas just don’t make sense.

Turning to the second issue, the mere existence of the ‘pressure-flow’ theory for water movement in plants does not inherently negate the ‘cohesion-tension’ theory nor does the fact that both will have their adherents. In the same way, the fact that humans have come up with all sorts of ideas and theories about God and have different beliefs does not negate the logic of an infinite personal God.

“None have been found to have really existed.”

Firstly you are grouping together fundamentally different notions in the preposition 'none'. Secondly, how do you ‘know’ that no God exists? and thirdly how do you propose that finite beings might existentially authenticate (as opposed to merely knowing of their existence) an infinite being in any event?

You assert that all notions surrounding God have been created in the ‘minds’ of humans. Quite aside from how you might possibly support this assertion; within a materialistic worldview, there is no such thing as a 'mind' (a dualist notion) to create anything. All ideas, including all ‘you’ think about, just happen - in a cognitive sense. There is no real subjective - Neurons fire in a certain pattern and that is that. Nothing chooses that pattern.

So, if you are a materialist, the neurons in the physical biomass referred to as ‘you’ were always going to react in such a way as to fire in such a way as to make ‘your’ fingers type what they type. Nothing can stop or change the inevitable process. Arguments are not only pointless but also illusory. On that basis, no concept, whether of God or otherwise was ever 'created'.

There is also something else fundamentally wrong with materialism. It fundamentally requires an observer – a ‘you' - because it is, fundamentally, the notion that only that which can be observed exists. However, the observer cannot be observed - accordingly the observer cannot rationally exist (this is another way of phrasing the above result of materialism). However materialism requires an observer. So, materialism is dependant on the very thing it proceeds to deny.

Dave Huntsman said...

the fact that humans have come up with all sorts of ideas and theories about God and have different beliefs does not negate the logic of an infinite personal God.

er, it doesn't show that there is one (i.e.,still no evidence), either. It doesn't negate the logic of a pink unicorn's existence, either (after all, reference to it shows up in more than a few places); but neither is it evidence for the unicorn. Which, I guess, means any undefined 'infinite, personal god' has the same probability of existing as the pink unicorn........ (Prove me wrong!).

how do you ‘know’ that no God exists?

I didn't say I 'knew' that no gods existed; or that no pink unicorns existed. But there's no evidence for either. Nor am I - or you - willing to spend a lot of time or money trying to find the evidence for either, I'll wager. Since we both know none is likely to be found.

You assert that all notions surrounding God have been created in the ‘minds’ of humans. Quite aside from how you might possibly support this assertion;

As far as we know, all of them appear to have been creations in the minds of humans. And you have no evidence to support the assertion they do - which you are required to do, if something really is to be believed as existing. I don't have to disapprove pink unicorns, or gods. But I do know that over thousands of years none of the thousands of gods has been shown to have been anything but made up. And may the gods strike me dead if I am wrong.............

Anonymous said...

We began by discussing Carrier’s negation of the traditional approach to the gospels. I said it didn’t work, you disagreed. In doing so, you pointed to the existence of different beliefs about God as if it were problematic to Christian belief - although you did not explain how this might be so. I pointed out that this does not negate Christian belief.

In response, you have said that the existence of several different ideas about God does not, of itself, positively authenticate the existence of God empirically. I agree.

What I ask is how this could possibly be done. I assert that finite beings cannot existentially authenticate an infinite being empirically, although they can know of and enter into a personal relationship with that being.
If you think about it existentially, any part of the empirical world (however big or small) rationally authenticates Gods existence, because, rationally, no part of the empirical world can exist without infinite existential authentication. For anything to exist rationally, there must be an infinite authenticator. So the presumption of an empirical world rationally includes the presumption of an infinite being to authenticate it.

For a more practical outworking of this, let’s turn the question you raise on its head. What empirical evidence do you have for ‘your’ existence? (I am not talking about your physical parts here but rather the more fundamental ‘observer’ part). I would assert that, as a finite being, you require an infinite being to rationally authenticate your existence. Same goes for the existence of pink unicorns or flying monsters of a decidedly noodled persuasion.

“As far as we know, all of them appear to have been creations in the minds of humans”

So, you say that God ‘cannot’ exist because he ‘was’ soley created in the minds of humans. Can you not see the problem with this assertion? The first part (there cannot be a God) is fundamentally dependant on the second part ( Because He is definitely, solely the creation of human minds). To show the first part, you are obliged to prove the second part. It is quite different to say that there is no evidence of a God. I suggest that there is no evidence which shows that God is solely the product of human imagination.

Further, you do not appear to see the big hole in your worldview. You begin with the assertion that only that which can be observed can be true. But crucially you fail to authenticate the observer first. Only if you rationally have an observer can you start to assert that only that which is observed is true. A finite observer can only rationally exist if an infinite observer exists to authenticate it.

Being struck down is ironically slightly better than the consequences of materialism, for in a materialist worldview, there has never been any ‘you’ for anything to strike down dead – just an illusion.

Brian said...

Video of the Craig/Carrier debate can now be found here. Enjoy.

Unknown said...

Interesting discussion. Pity about the audio.

Anonymous said...

Better audio is available at Craig's website
I was surprised how weak Carrier's arguments were - vague and speculative.
The one interesting point I thought he made was about 'Bararbas' being a fake name meaning 'son of man' or some such; this indeed does strike me as an improbable coincidence, and I found Craig's response not really convincing on this point.
Otherwise, a clear victory for Craig.

Unknown said...

Craig AND Carrier are BOTH propagandists for their beliefs. neither one lays out the data fairly, neither one gives an even handed consideration of the data and the differing conclusions that may or may not be reasonably held.

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