Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.
I just read your article on the myth of Christianity and why you are opposed to it. I enjoyed it, but there’s an aspect of Christianity that goes mostly unnoticed--yet it is perhaps the greatest obstacle to serious criticisms. To make this as brief as possible, I’ll "cut to the chase"…
Someone very near and dear to me has strong Christian beliefs, but a mind open enough to allow him to take part in serious discussions both for and against his beliefs. During such a discussion, in which about fifteen people participated, someone challenged him to come up with even the smallest scientific evidence to support his beliefs.
He stood before the group and held out his hand, palm up, as if he were holding something. "If I were to pray right now for a miracle, he said, and if a rose were to suddenly appear in my hand, each of you would have one of two reactions. Some of you would fall down and worship God. The rest of you would swear it must have been some kind of trick. You’d come up and look at my hand and examine the rose and look for every possible clue to how I did the trick. I dare say some of you would study it for the rest of your lives, saying there must be a scientific reason for the rose to appear as it did.
[What has a parlour trick got to do with whether God exists? What kind of evidence would be convincing?
Don’t look behind the green curtain! Ignore the man behind the green curtain!
~ Frank Baum (1856-05-15 1919-05-05 age:62) The Wizard of Oz
In other words the promises of the Bible won’t stand up unless you close your eyes to the reality they are untrue. Further, I don’t think that is what Jesus meant. For wisdom, you need a balance of both head and heart, not just head, not just heart. He made some outlandish claims, but he never asked anyone to pretend to believe obvious untruths.
I’ve often thought about his example. If he’s right, then it’s reasonable to believe that people who follow Jesus because of scientific evidence will be turned away--because such people have faith in science, not in him. Instead, the ignorant people who put their faith in him--and not in science--are first in his heart.
[If the promises of the Bible were true, there would be no conflict between science and faith.]
Simply put, I’d rather have someone be my friend because he likes me, not because it’s scientifically beneficial to him.
No other critic seems to address this issue and I was wondering if you would.
While you say that if the Bible were true, it would agree with science, one might also make the argument in the reverse, since science, too, has its limitations (i.e., paradoxes concerning infinity, parallel lines, energy/matter conflicts). Carried to extremes, both science and the Bible have their limitations. But science seems to be able to address only the things that matter least in the world, while the Bible addresses everything else. Until science can explain what Beethoven had in mind, or why some people are willingly die to save others, I think I’ll give the Bible my undivided attention (and study science in my spare time).
The Bible is a book written by men who say "Trust us. We were inspired by God. Don’t believe your eyes. Believe us. The scientist says, I looked and here is what I saw. If you don’t believe me, look for yourself." Who is the more likely con man?
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