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Culture, God, Life, origins

Theology, Apologetics, and Twitter

So I thought I would write this post to talk about some points raised by people I was discussing the validity of Christianity with on Twitter.  I do this for two reasons.

  1. It is really hard to get a point out in 144 characters. And generally speaking if a point can be misunderstood it will be.  So perhaps I just want to be wordier than others or based on the topic I feel it needs longer responses, I’m doing it this way.
  2. I’ve found that many times when I do try to get out a thought people respond to the first tweet in a series of 3 or 4 that express an idea so their objection is based on a faulty understanding of what I was saying. It’s not really their fault, they see a tweet and they reply, but again Twitter isn’t great for big ideas.

So I’m going to ignore a large portion of the tweets (I had something like 50 + notifications when I checked) as many were pats on the back, references to other conversations with other people, etc.  Nothing inherently wrong with those, they just don’t add to the conversation so I don’t feel a need to respond.  Nor will I respond to the “Christians are stupid” posts.  We know they have no real value other than to make oneself feel good so again they require no response.  If an insult is your best argument you have no argument.

So a few people said that the clay tablets (like the one that contains part of the Epic of Gilgamesh) are older than the Torah therefore the Torah stole from them.  That line of logic assumes that the clay tablet is the origin of the story which is the point they are trying to prove.  That’s called begging the question.  It is a logical fallacy.  Neither the tablet nor the Torah are the source for those stories.  Or at least they don’t logically have to be.  The source is outside of either of those two physical items.  For example if I were to write a book about a day my brothers and I went to an old abandoned house near our home in the early ‘80s that book is not the source of that story.  The experience was.  The same is true here.  The source could be legend, or it could be an actual event.  We can discuss why we differ on our views of the origin but neither physical item is the origin.  There are reasons I don’t believe the Epic of Gilgamesh is the origin.  One such example is the boat in the story is a cube.  A cube would not make for a stable boat.  However the dimensions for the ark in the Bible are very much the ratio you would want for a sea going vessel.  That is one reason why the biblical version is, in my opinion, less likely to be legendary than Gilgamesh.

Another comment I saw was that the theory of how life began is more complicated than “a macro molecule that came from a rock” so I don’t understand chemistry.  Well first of all, it was an off handed (and short, remember it’s twitter) comment to a post with a picture making fun of Christians for believing God made man from “the dust of the Earth.”  I realize that there is more to the idea.  I wasn’t giving a full scientific rebuttal to the idea.  It was a tongue in cheek response to post.  This again is why discussing weighty matters like this on twitter is doomed to fail.

The last thing I’ll address for now is the idea that we don’t see the supernatural therefore it’s illogical to believe in it.  First of all, that’s not how logic works.  An argument can be logical and be wrong.  For example, this is a logical argument:

  • If it’s raining outside, the grass will be wet
  • It’s raining outside
  • Therefore the grass is wet.

That’s logical.  However if the second premise isn’t true, then the argument is wrong, not illogical.  That’s how logic works.  Secondly we don’t see a lot of things happening that these same people believe in.  For example they believe that life can come from non-life.  We have never observed that.  In fact it’s that fact that caused Francis Crick to develop his theory of panspermia.  Which of course doesn’t really solve the problem but only pushes it back as alien life would then have had to come from non-life.  They believe that the universe sprang into existence from nothing (big bang) yet we don’t see things come into existence from nothing.  Yet the universe would have had to because it can’t be eternal (logically and scientifically).  So the question isn’t really do I believe in something that can’t be proven and has never been observed to happen, it’s a question of what will I believe in that I can’t prove and no one has ever seen happen.

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