I love it when I wake up to an email like this, showing me that there’s still work to be done among the neuronally deprived. Unfortunately, readers like “Henry” are unlikely to be persuaded since they instantiate the very definition of faith discussed below.
At his friend’s behest, Henry started reading my 2016 post, “Peter Boghossian accused of hate speech for correctly defining ‘faith’.” (By the way, Peter’s definition of “faith” was “pretending to know things that you don’t know” and “belief without evidence”.) Peter’s definition angered Christian apologist named James Bishop, who wrote a long article attacking Boghossian and his claim (it’s no longer online). Bishop’s response was the subject of my piece: was there was anything more to “faith” than Boghossian’s simple definition? Note that Bishop played the “hate speech” card way back in 2016:
I consider Boghossian’s view to be bordering on hate speech. It’s not simply Boghossian’s redefinition of a word that appears hateful but it is the implications it has when it comes to human people – since many religious people do in fact match Boghossian’s definition of faith. In other words, history well tells us that it is an incredibly dangerous thing to single out a people or a group in such a way as to ostracize and demonize them. That is what it would appear Boghossian is doing here.
Note that there are 120 comments on the post, but that was back in the day when people actually made comments. Now I weep in frustration. . .
At any rate, reader “Henry” was directed by his pal to the piece above, and decided he had to comment on it now; his comment responded not just to my post, but also to a comment made by reader Sastra.
Instead of posting Henry’s comment in the original thread, which nobody will read since it’s seven years old, I’ll put it here because it’s not only bizarre, but shows the mindset of those marinated in faith: how readily they reject a ton of evidence so that they can believe what makes them feel good. So much for those who claim that there’s no conflict between science and religion!
Here’s Henry’s comment:
I’m only commenting on this because a friend sent me the link. I started reading the above article with the intention of finishing. However, after progressing to roughly the middle of it I concluded the rest wasn’t worth reading. The author would do well to get a grasp on what constitutes “evidence”. The evidence so far supporting evolution as ‘fact’ as opposed to the convoluted diatribe used by atheists towards Christianity (you know, that irritating value system which underpins western civilisation) is somewhat scant. In contrast the evidence for the existence of Jesus as an historical character is fairly comprehensive. The issue is whether or not he rose from the dead. If Jesus was not raised from the dead then the house of cards collapses. The bible as a book, is a collection of books & writings assembled in antiquity with the authors (& eye witness) being much closer to the event than we are today. If you can believe that historical characters like, Julius Caesar existed then why do atheists get upset when Jesus is mentioned ??? I suspect the answer to that lies in psychology. Bad behaviour by organised religion has ruined many lives & generated much (deserved) anger & damaged the credibility of institutions who profess a faith which they themselves have abused. Distinguishing ‘saint’ from ‘sinner’ has become blurred to the point irrelevance in the minds of those who hold a genuine well founded grudge.
Note the absolutely ridiculous claim that we have more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than we do for biological evolution, despite the fact that evidence for evolution appears in many books and papers, with more coming out daily, while the Resurrection appears in only one book and there’s no more evidence since the Old Testament appeared. (There could be—if Jesus came back again!)
Note as well that Henry’s “evidence” that Jesus rose from the dead goes beyond just what the New Testament says: he considers it “evidence” that if the Resurrection isn’t true, then Christianity collapses. This is of a piece that if a religion persists for a long time, then its truth claims must be accurate. So much for all those many dead religions that flourished for a long time!
Finally, note that Henry really instantiates Boghossian’s claim: Henry’s a guy who rejects one claim in favor of another, even though there’s a gazillion times more evidence for the former (evolution) than the latter (Resurrection).
But of course the validity of evidence has nothing to do with the existence or duration of social structures based on that evidence. Does the presence of 17 million Mormons in the world mean that Joseph Smith did indeed find that now-disappeared set of Golden Plates discovered in 1820. After all, the evidence for that is not just a sacred book (The Book of Mormon, of course), but the fact that the book is prefaced by the sworn testimony of eleven people (in the 19th century, not 50-100 A.D.) who said that they had actually seen the golden plates. Doesn’t that make the evidence for Mormonism stronger than that for Christianity?
But I digress. It’s a bit cheeky of Henry to tell me about the relative weight of evidence for evolution vs. the Resurrection when I not only wrote the book about the former, but have also read read a lot about the latter. There is no comparison. It would be great if reader Peter Nothnagle sent me one of his patented New-Testament-debunking pieces to forward on to Henry.
If I wanted to refute “Henry” further, I’d go into the lack of evidence for Jesus’s miracles (and perhaps his very existence), including his vow to return before some of his contemporaries had died (but he didn’t show), that prayers don’t work, nor does a trip to Lourdes restore missing eyes and limbs, and that there’s been a disturbing lack of evidence for Jesus in the past two thousand years. It’s as if after he was Resurrected, he decided to vanish forever.
But I’ll leave any rebuttal up to the readers. Address your comments to Henry (or take on this topic) below, and I’ll forward him the link tomorrow.