An Unconvincing Argument from the Comments
In the comments for an article I wrote back in November (here, if you’re interested) a chap called Brian Overholt posted something that I feel deserves addressing in a new post. The original post is about the problem certain Christians have when they claim to ‘have had things revealed to [them] in such a way as they can know them for certain’ by their invisible cloud buddy – basically, I pointed out that the ONLY way to be sure that the message you were getting was correct was to be able to check the veracity of the source of the revelation against what you already know. In other words, the only way to know ‘god’ is omniscient is to be omniscient oneself, so you can check you’re not being lied to.
Anyway, Brian had this to say, which I’ll go through point by point –
“One of the regular mantras of Presubullshitters is that they can have thing revealed to them in such a way that they ‘can know them for sure’. They claim that they know they are correct because an Omniscient being has told them so.”
This is a misrepresentation of the majority of Christians. In my experience, most Christians (myself included) do not claim any direct revelation from God… and would be suspicious of anyone claiming to have heard directly from God today.
Sadly it’s not a misrepresentation of a certain type of Christian. If Brian is lucky enough not to have run aground on the relentless hollow echo chamber of the Presuppositionalist gang he should count himself lucky. These guys (and it’s almost always guys) claim direct contact with their ‘god’, some (like Dan Marvin and Syecular) stating that part of this revelation was supernatural in origin! Even the more easily interacted with (‘easy’ as in ‘not complete arseholes honking their ‘opinions’ over and over in place of actual ‘debate”), such as Dustin Segers, seem to think their god has spoken directly to them
Direct revelation is predominately believed to have ceased with the apostles. God could certainly give new revelation today, but nobody believes that he will, and it would take a lot to convince anyone that a new revelation was legitimate.
Maybe amongst moderates, but I can assure you, Brian, that the fanatical lunatic Fundie Fringe firmly believes that they are getting messages directly from the supposed Creator of the Universe on a daily basis! To be honest, it’s not just the lunatic fringe! Want an example? This video is of a deluded, clearly mentally ill, individual being practically encouraged to share his insanity with the public –
No, that’s not from some comedy program, or an episode of ‘Lunatics Unleashed’, that’s a Christian TV channel gladly talking to a man who is clearly unstable! (You can read more about Pat Robertson’s bonkers outburst here)
So what does lead Christians to believe in an omniscient God? Primarily I would have to say the historical evidence is what convinces most of us. There is significant positive evidence for the accounts recorded in the Bible (especially considering how old they are), and very little evidence that directly negates the biblical accounts.
Actually, you’ve got that almost 100% wrong. A year ago I dealt with this particularly faulty line of reasoning in this post, go read it then come back.
The only exceptions to this are possibly the creation and flood accounts… but while most Christians will defend the biblical accounts, those stories carry less weight than the History of Israel and the accounts of the ministry of Jesus, which are much more historically solid.
The history of Israel, as laid out in the Old Testament, is (up to the 7th Century BCE, during the reign of Josiah) almost entirely a work of fiction based propaganda. You really need to read ‘The Bible Unearthed’ by Finkelstein and Silberman if you want to learn what archaeology has to say about the ancient past of Israel (you can watch the TV documentary based on the book here). If you’re believing because you think the evidence supports the claims made in the Bible, then you’re on very shaky ground indeed.
Even Jesus has virtually no historical evidence. You may have been told time and time again that there’s loads of extra-Biblical texts that mention him, so you might be surprised to learn that there isn’t a SINGLE genuine account! Don’t believe me? See for yourself in this article I put together last February.
If the historical evidence is convincing enough to someone for them believe that Jesus really did what was written about him… then we have to believe that he was truly God, as he said he was.
As we’ve seen though, there isn’t any historical evidence at all to even confirm the man existed! And to claim that ‘if Jesus existed then he’s definitely God’ is a logical fallacy that even a child would question.
Could you doubt that he was omniscient? Sure, but why would you? When the guy that walks on water and raises himself from the dead tells me he knows everything… I’m impressed enough to believe him. He’s obviously more than human, and I have no tangible reason to think that he’s lying.
You’ve also no tangible reason to believe he existed, so the rest of your rather bizarre argument for his omniscience collapsed completely
Then beyond historical evidence…..
(which doesn’t exist)
…there are still certain logical and scientific arguments to suggest a creator exists, such as the need for a primary cause and the overwhelming statistical improbability of life itself.
The need for a ‘primary cause’? I think you need to read up on Quantum Vacuum Fluctuation. I wrote about that back in April, read it if you like, but I recommend you go straight to this excellent article on Infidels.org. I’d also suggest that something being ‘improbable’ is somewhat moot when we’re clearly here to discuss it. It is entirely likely that life is incredibly common throughout the Universe, certainly it is almost everywhere on this planet. Really, Brian, an argument from incredulity isn’t any way to foundation faith!
I find them convincing. And as long as I am convinced that there is a creator, I would think that such a transcendent being (whose knowledge was sufficient to create the universe) would know enough that, for all intents and purposes, he would seem to us to be omniscient.
If you find them convincing I can only assume that you’ve never really thought about, or researched, these issues. Your last line is plain weird though, are you saying that your god might not be omniscient at all, being instead merely almost omniscient? Surely if he’s not entirely omniscient he cannot be ‘god’?
Brian, I recommend you go away and do some research – start by watching ‘The Bible Unearthed’, or watching this video about the history of YHWH (which rips him from the realm of the ‘real’ into ‘the man made’). Your faith is built on sand.