Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Humpty Dumpty Meets Reductio ad Absurdum--How Christian Rabbits Morph into Mad Hatters

This post is a followup to my previous post, “What Happened When Humpty Dumpty Met the Sons of Gods.” 

When I wrote the post, I was setting up a snare to catch Christian rabbits, as they take the bait and travel further down the rabbit hole. In doing so, they are “hoisted by their own petard” as they try to explain away problematic Biblical passages—in this case, Genesis 6:1-4. The Christians claim that Jesus is the only son of god, but then Genesis 6:1-4 states there are “sons of gods” --meaning there are many gods, and many sons of gods! It also implies there are goddesses as well, and that gods and goddesses have sex. This is where Humpty Dumpty semantics comes in, as I want them to admit that the words don't mean what they say they mean—literally. In doing so, they get entangled in a Humpty Dumpty semantic snare, as their explanations can then be turned against them, because now they have provided weight to these explanations that can now be used against them in the case of the Trinity. It leads to an absurd position for the Trinity doctrine and the historic Christian faith as a whole.

The following is my reply to Cody Rudisill's comment on the "Debunking Christianity" blog, where I also made this post.  There, I promised to catch some Christian rabbits. It will set the stage for this post:
“Christians who believe in and argue for the Trinity are caught between a rock and a hard place. They need the "etymological rigidness" for their claim that Jesus is the literal "son of God" but also need to reject the "etymological rigidness" when it counts against their claim--see the “Humpty Dumpty Semantics" at work. Whenever I present or use the material that I used in this post, I do so with this in mind. Then when the Christian rabbits goes down the rabbit whole, they get entangled in their own “Humpty Dumpty Semantics" as they point out that their argument for the divinity of Jesus is based primarily on an etymological rigidness in relation to the meanings of the terms "son" and "god." Being a son requires some filial relationship and "begating," and to be a son of god would certainly imply, in a literal rendering, that god did the begating. But we use all kinds of phrases in a non-literalist sense and this should be taken into consideration when discussing the concept of "son of god."--to paraphrase you. I argue this point against the Christian conception of trinity. See the following link: http://aisforatheist5760.blogs...

Now, here are the rabbits I caught going down the rabbit hole:

Marcus, who routinely attempts to “Debunk” Debunking Christianity, read my post, and then offered the following feeble response. He presented a video of another rabbit who had already gone down the rabbit hole:
For the sake of reductio ad absurdum, I will assume what Christian apologist and "Bible Answer Man" Hank Hanegraaff said in the above video is true. Let's break down the video. Hank rejects Number 5 that sons of Gods in Genesis 6:1-4 makes reference to “angelic demons” which is the Christian Credo House's theory, and the dominant view of most Christians. Hank claims Number 5 is merely a “an interjection of pagan mythology on the Scripture.” Hank has this partially right. It is not just an interjection of pagan mythology on the scripture, it is the basis upon which the scripture was manufactured. The Jews copied/pasted materials and concepts from numerous groups (especially those that had at one time or another enslaved them, such as the Babylonians and Egyptians) and they are well known for doing this, and have admitted to embellishment.

Hank goes on to argue against Number 5. This is the opening to the rabbit hole that I mentioned earlier. This is where we want the Christian rabbits to go. As Hank notes:
“Words and phrases in the bible are not univocal, they are equivocal, and so every time you read “god” you don't have to read the “almighty who created the heavens and the earth” into that word. Satan for example, is called the “God of this world,” and he obviously is not god in the sense that god is god by nature or essence. Men are called gods in the bible, but not in the sense that they are actual gods in the sense that they are god's representation to the people.”
But now everything said by Hank here, can be applied to the Trinity question. To paraphrase Hank:

“Jesus is called “god” in the Bible he is obviously is not god in the sense that god is god by nature or essence. Men are called gods in the Bible, but not in the sense that they are actual gods in the sense that they are god's representation to the people.”

The Christian conception of the Trinity is that Jesus is god in the strict philosophical sense of the word 'same' i.e., a=b, in that they have all of the same properties, nature, and essence. As I showed in my post on the Trinity, this is illogical. However, as Hank points out, a better explanation is that the better explanation for Jesus being the “son of god” or “god” is in the “loose and common” sense of same. i.e., Jesus is a “representation” of god to the people, and not god by nature or essence.That is, not actually a god. Hank offers further proof of this. Hank says that the “biblical precedent is ALWAYS THE SAME, each kind reproduces after its own kind. ” So, in the case of Jesus, if Hank is right, then God would not have reproduced with the mortal Mary, as she was not of his “kind.” Now, Hank gave us an explanation for this part of the text, that being, the Christian writers are interjecting pagan myth onto the text!

Furthermore, as Hank points out, if Number 5 were true, then Jesus himself could have been the “son of a demon” because Mary could have been tricked by a demon! The fact that Hank says that each kind reproduces after its own kind, and the text is not univocal, but is equivocal—meaning there is more than one way to interpret the text--means the text can be taken literally or metaphorically. In the case of the trinity, given what Hank says in that “ each kind reproduces after its own kind” this leads to the best explanation being that Jesus is the son of god in the “loose and common” sense of same, and this does not require some filial relationship and "begating." The only gospel that uses the term “begotten” is the gospel of John, which was written most likely sometime between 70-100 CE, and this could be, as Hank says, an “interjection of pagan mythology” on the text by the unknown writer(s) of the gospel of John.

However, neither of the above options work for Christians, as it puts them between a rock and a hard place. As Hank says, “Once you go down this line of reasoning, the ramifications for Christians are dire for the historic Christian faith....So now you do not have a divine Christ, and you do not have epistemic warrant for the central event in Christianity.” Hank's explanation to counter the other explanation of the “sons of god” in Genesis 6:1-4, also undermines the historic Christian faith and its epistemic warrant that Jesus is the “son of god.” What is amusing is Hank doesn't realize his explanation to get out of the snare of the first Humpty Dumpty semantical explanation, gets him even more ensnared in our Dumpty Dumpty semantical snare. This absurdity drives them into madness—the Christians rabbits morph into Mad Hatters!

Like Marcus said, we sure did learn a lot from watching Hank's video! We witnessed a Christian rabbit morph into a Mad Hatter.

Silly rabbits--myths are for kids!--or for a clever philosopher...;)

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