Sunday in Outer Blogness: Miracles and Tragicles Edition!
Pixelfish reports a tragicle: the death of Paul Harvey. She and her readers reminisce about listening to “The Rest of the Story” — I know that for me it brings back plenty of memories of the long drive to seminary, at 5 a.m., in the still-freezing car when the weather was twenty below. Good times! In the miracles department, we have a couple of stories that could be straight out of fast-and-testimony meeting: Bull has an unexpected twist of good fortune, and Susan Mercedes experienced an unexpected chromatic alignment. The only odd thing is that the authors don’t seem to view these events as confirming the hand of the divine.
In the non-miracle department, Jonathan Blake found a cogent explanation of evolution, especially meant to overcome a lot of the misinformation thatâ€™s floating around. (Also, don’t miss the non-miracle of Jonathan’s deconversion.) And Christopher Smith had an interesting run-in with an LDS historian who found his critique of Nibley’s work to be “un-academic” because the LDS historian “felt that an ‘academic perspective’ will ignore or suspend pro/con debates about faith and historicity.”
In the religion department, Andrew tackles the truly hilarious argument that Mormonism canâ€™t be Christian because it is a religion. PhillyChief reports that Catholics are urging citizens to vote for secular candidates. Well, in India that is. Not in Christian countries of course! Says Philly: “They know all too well what happens when one religion is in charge, it generally makes life rough for the other religions, but secularists? Well they’re your best shot at a fair shake.” So true. If you’re confused about your own religious position, you can take this helpful quiz to discover whether your morals align with the moral teachings of the Bible (weirdly, it doesn’t seem to cover how to swear an oath).
But let’s not just pick on the religious people — Brent Rasmussen offers a list of suggestions on how to be an atheist, including popular atheist pastimes such as “Call the Pope ‘Pope Ratty McRatty-Rat’, and his vehicle the ‘Popemobile'”, and “When debating creationists, roll your eyes a lot and sigh.”
And, of course, you know the title of this edition comes from one of my favorite satirical videos: Give God Some More Credit!
When religious authorities pronounce empirical truth claims, of course, historians have an obligation to test such statements.
In fact, Christ’s advice was to determine false prophets by their fruits. That admonition implies two statements:
1. Believers can tell the difference between good and bad fruit.
2. Fruits are observable.
The latter means that prophetic fruits are subject to empirical investigation.
At least when it comes to false prophets, there is no difference between the ‘Christian’ and the rational methodology.
Other religions might be less concerned with empiricism but it is a feature of Christianity.
Joseph Smith made any number of statements that are beyond the direct scope of empirical inquiry. However, Smith also proclaimed a multitude of truth claims that can be empirically tested.
Bushman was quite clear. He believes because he desires to believe. His faith validates his parents and his relationship with them.
That is not history. It is identity validation.
Christ’s admonition about the false prophets means that inquiry takes precedence over faith. Any demand to suspend the standards of academic inquiry is an indication of a lost cause.
You’re talking about Christopher Smith’s history article, right? I agree, and thought it would be an interesting debate to highlight. 😉
I have yet to meet anyone, even devout Catholics, who do not call the Pope’s vehicle the “Popemobile”. It’s just what it’s called.
That’s what it’s really called? It’s still funny, lol.
>>â€œWhen debating creationists, roll your eyes a lot and sigh.â€
You don’t have to be an atheist to do that. You just have to have an IQ above 15. 😉
As usual, thanks for the link!