Thursday, July 20, 2006

Naturalism vs. Theism

I've been reading Richard Carrier's work recently on Naturalism, which got me searching for a debate of his that I've found for your metaphysical palates delight. I warn you, its quite a read, and seems to require a few English classes to understand, but a cup of coffee should allow you to follow the arguments well.
The article can be found at,, or by clicking the title of this update (Natualism vs. Theism, above). Thank you to for hosting the article.

The statement based debate is between published historian and philosopher Richard Carrier and Christian writer/apologist Tom Wanchick. While I am frequently and swiftly nauseated by the propositions of most apologists, who become so pious about such an irrational attribute as 'faith,' Wanchick makes good points for his side. The arguments credit is somewhat hurt by its Christian conclusions, but the metaphysical premises are entirely rational and, I find, very intriguing. I would recommend for Mr. Wanchick a book I purchased a while ago by William Henry Burr, which effectively concluded my Christian years, albeit with some help from Sam Harris. The book, compiled in 1859, is entitled "Self-Contradictions of the Bible," and was very useful to me in realizing the irrationality of the premise that God wrote a book, especially the Bible.

There are 144 self-contradictions in the bible, according to William Henry Burr, and after further study, most of these are indeed perfect self-contradictions. That is, one cannot be true without the other being false. And of course if one is false, then all of it is, because the entire premise of the bible is of it being 'inspired, inerrent, and infallible word of God.' I still remember that from the top of my church bulletin. The book covers 4 theaters of debate, Theological Doctrines, Moral Precepts, Historical Facts, and Speculative Doctrines. Here are a few from the opening chapter on Theological Doctrines. (taken without permission from William Henry Burr's book, don't sue me)...

God is Seen and Heard - "And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend. Exodus 33:11"
God is invisible and cannot be heard - "No man hath seen God at any time. John 1:18"
God Tempts No man - "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. James 1:13"
God Tempts Men - "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham. Genesis 22:1"
God Cannot Lie - "It is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18"
God Lies by Proxy - "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet. Ezekiel 14:9"

In theory, the existence of 1 self-contradiction in a document allegedly produced by an infallible omnipotent being would be sufficient evidence for its nonexistence. With the existence of around 140 self-contradictions, this conclusion can almost be rationally certain. I ask you, what rational reason do we have to make such a fantastic claim about our existence, that a long, long time ago the creator of the universe wrote a book?



Blogger Tom Clark said...

Carrier is a first-class thinker and committed naturalist. Might I also recommend to your attention the Center for Naturalism, which seeks to promote naturalism as a comprehensive worldview that can compete with faith-based religions in the marketplace of belief.

best regards,

Tom Clark

7:39 PM  
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