28 February 2013

Here's a great example of why I deconverted from Christianity

Recently, I penned a quick post about the logical absurdity of Jesus being God. For one, it violates the law of non-contradiction. It also leads to a number of absurdities, like God praying to himself and granting (or not) his own request, or God sacrificing himself to himself as sacrifice to save us from what he'll do to us if we don't believe in him.

So, what does a Sophisticated Theologian™ have to say about it? Well, I found this video featuring John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician and philosopher who has debated several of the gnu atheists, including Richard Dawkins. What he says in this video exemplifies the kind of evasive, profound-sounding but ultimately trite garbage that I was often fed as I asked tough questions about my faith:




Notice that he quite conspicuously doesn't answer the question. He doesn't even try. Instead, he says that there are certain things you can't explain about the world, like what exactly consciousness is, or what exactly energy is. But clearly, consciousness and energy have lots of explanatory value, so Jesus being God is like that: maybe we can't explain it, but for Christians at least, it explains stuff about the world.

Where to begin with such nonsense? Unlike Jesus and God, we have direct evidence that consciousness and energy actually exist. We can manipulate them and use them in scientific experiments to make falsifiable predictions about reality. And I think that while it might be difficult to conceptualize exactly what they are in an intuitive way, I think the overwhelming majority of neuroscientists and physicists would object to the notion that consciousness and energy defy explanation altogether.


The other elephant in the room is that consciousness and energy, unlike Jesus being God, do not embody a litany of logical contradictions. When people ask How can Jesus be fully God and fully human, they're asking How the fuck is that logical at all?! If Jesus and God are one person, why does he pray to himself? Conceive himself? Sacrifice himself to himself? Sit at his own side? Talk about himself in third person?

There's a fine line between accepting that certain things may defy intuitive explanations and accepting something that is, on its face, complete and utter bullshit.

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