What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

Reminder: Austerity means tax hikes

Comment posted by Truth Unites... and Divides on Mar 2, 15:24:

How about using "limited government" instead of "austerity"? ... [More]

Reminder: Austerity means tax hikes

Comment posted by Lydia on Mar 2, 13:49:

Could we use "fiscal responsibility" instead of "austerity"? ... [More]

Reminder: Austerity means tax hikes

Comment posted by Jeffrey S. on Mar 2, 10:43:

Paul, We've had this discussion before and while I don't like abandoning a perfectly good word to the Left, I think that as a practical matter you are correct -- conservatives (and Republicans) should be more specific and focus their rhetoric on spending cuts. Even better we should talk about reducing the size and scope of the federal government -- both because it is necessary and good public policy and because I think voters instinctively understand the principle of subsidiarity. Here is the wonderful T ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Mar 1, 15:45:

How many senses of inerrantism are there? Several, actually. :-) I guess I have a minute to list a few: 1) Chicago statement inerrantism. (Look it up.) 2) Inerrantism regarding matters of doctrine and religious requirements/practice. Similar: Inerrantism regarding all doctrinally important matters, including many historical matters. 3) Inerrantism regarding all that Scripture "affirms" combined with with a lot of wiggle room provided by *very generous* statements that "God wasn't really affirming P but ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tony on Mar 1, 11:19:

MA, I wish I had thought of saying that! ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Mar 1, 11:09:

Any strong appeal to an outside source, whether that is a particular tradition, authority, or the imagined “rest of the story” by the reader is demonstrative that the Bible alone is insufficient to avoid contradictions. A Catholic in the making. ;-) (Though to be fair that sounds like a faulty understanding of Sola Scriptura.) ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tony on Mar 1, 10:18:

How many senses of inerrantism are there? About as many as there are different Christian sects. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Step2 on Mar 1, 09:26:

So, you didn't read my main post, where I expressly disclaimed inerrantism in anything like the usual sense. How many senses of inerrantism are there? "Contradictions" are frequently manufactured by critics who assume that if one thing is true another thing isn't also true. I'll admit to only reading a little of Bart Ehrman's work, but he states that the reason he brings up contradictions, some of which he also explains ways they could be resolved, is to attack two principles of Sola scriptura; namely t ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Scott W. on Mar 1, 08:41:

For the record, I didn't see anyone say Bob's claims were invalid because he was a concern troll. Rather, one side proposed, another side responded, and the first side acted like no one said anything. I assume readers can figure out which is which. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 28, 13:44:

I'm sorry, Bob, but I'm afraid that after having started off merely sounding friendly and, in my own opinion, incorrect, you're starting to sound a bit like what is known in the blogosphere as a concern troll. Okay, I shall bid everyone adieu, then. I have a very low tolerance for ad hominem attacks of any kind. Fascinating discussion, tho. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 28, 12:31:

Belief is the acceptance of something as true based on the authority of another. In the past, and still today, people come to faith in Christ either because they were born into a Christian community -- and just believe the articles of faith because they trust that community -- or because they encounter Christians, hear the Gospel and believe it (interior testimony of the spirit a la reformed espistemology). This presents another of those false dichotomies. People who are "born into a Christian community ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Beth Impson on Feb 28, 10:09:

Bill -- such an eloquent testimony. Thank you. I'm going to copy it to keep handy as a reminder of the beauty of the Truth. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 28, 09:41:

Wenham has argued for Matthean priority. I have not read all of his arguments, but since all I said above is that the issue is "live," that is sufficient. Wenham also had (prior to his book arguing for Matthean priority) an extremely interesting article arguing that Peter could have been in Rome for a relatively short time in the 40's, which would accommodate Markan priority, patristic evidence concerning the origin of Mark, and the evidence that Acts was not written later than the early 60's, giving us a ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Patrick on Feb 28, 08:24:

Bob: “1. On Matthean prioroity: That would require you to believe that Mark came along and CUT OUT most of what Jesus says (i.e., the Sermon on the Mount) as largely irrelevant. This is a bridge too far for, yes, "most" professional New Testament scholars. Hence the Four Source hypothesis remains relatively unchallenged” If one assumes that Mark’s Gospel was written after the other two Synoptic Gospels and that Mark used the latter it can be argued that it wasn’t Mark’s aim to replace the other Gospels and ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Paul J Cella on Feb 28, 06:27:

What a magnificent comment, Bill. Have you ever considered taking up blogging? ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by William Luse on Feb 28, 02:13:

Belief is the acceptance of something as true based on the authority of another. And thus do I believe in the authoritative witness of those who claim to have seen the body of the risen Christ, to have spoken with Him, touched Him, eaten with Him, and worshipped Him. The sincerity of their desire to tell the truth blazes through every passage of the New Testament; and to tell it not entirely for their own sake, but for mine and for all men, since they had not much to gain from embellishment or delusion bu ... [More]

God bless Judge Roy Moore

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 22:53:

As Titus pointed out above, Moore is making an even narrower legal point, since no actual court order has been issued to the probate judges by any court following a SCOTUS ruling. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 22:38:

A secular scholar at the University of Sheffield, James Crossley, wrote a book in 2004 in which he argued that Mark, at least, could have been written around AD 39. Why? Because, he says, the "desolating sacrilege" that is "set up" in the Temple likely refers to the Caligula crisis, mentioned by Josephus. That means Mark could have been written within 10 years of the crucifixion. Because of course Jesus didn't actually _predict_ any of this. You can cut the presumptions there with a knife. Luke, of cours ... [More]

God bless Judge Roy Moore

Comment posted by whirlwinder on Feb 27, 22:23:

Lydia, your essay on Judge Roy Moore is brilliant. Judge Moore understands the Constitution far better than most people today. If a higher court comes down with a ruling that is unconstitutional, those supposedly affected by the ruling simply ignore it. This is called nullification. We, the people have a higher standing than the creature we created in the Federal government--legislative, executive and JUDICIAL. The Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of the law in this land. If they are wrong, We the peo ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tim on Feb 27, 22:04:

I think this obsession with PROVING the facts of the Gospels is really an outgrowth of fundamentalism and a need to prove the Bible inerrant. Two points. First, you are the one who is talking about "proving." Everyone else is talking about making a good historical argument. Proof may be your white whale, but you're reading it into what other people are writing. Second, you are indeed completely wrong about where this sort of argument comes from, even as a matter of the history of apologetics. In order to ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by David Marshall on Feb 27, 22:00:

Bob: My father-in-law "pretends" that he remembers the atomic bombing of his hometown, Nagasaki, Japan, 70 years ago. That would correspond to 100 AD or later, if he wrote an account of Jesus' resurrection. My wife's former pastor "pretends" to recall events on the European front, in Patton's army, the same year. Why should recalling events a mere 60 years past have been a problem for the Apostle John? ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tim on Feb 27, 21:59:

Now, in order to protect their idea of inerrancy, conservative apologists can try to argue that Jesus made one prediction recorded by Mark... and, on a different occasion, made a different prediction recorded by Luke. So far as I can tell, nobody in this discussion is trying to protect an idea of inerrancy. Critical scholars, however, accept the less complicated explanation that Luke simply EDITED Mark and put DIFFERENT WORDS in Jesus' mouth, to reflect what he saw happening when he was writing. This is ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 21:48:

Belief is the acceptance of something as true based on the authority of another. In the past, and still today, people come to faith in Christ either because they were born into a Christian community -- and just believe the articles of faith because they trust that community Fine as a sociological description. Lousy as a _basis_ for faith that will withstand the first breath of the understandable "If you'd been born in Iraq you'd be a Muslim" line. Many a young person has lost his faith *precisely because* ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 27, 21:35:

And in any event, there is no rational alternative. Actually, I think there is: classical Christian theology. Belief is the acceptance of something as true based on the authority of another. In the past, and still today, people come to faith in Christ either because they were born into a Christian community -- and just believe the articles of faith because they trust that community -- or because they encounter Christians, hear the Gospel and believe it (interior testimony of the spirit a la reformed ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tim on Feb 27, 21:28:

Luke, of course, appears to change Mark's version of what Jesus says and has Jesus say, "When you see" -- not the desolating sacrilege but -- "Jerusalem surrounded by armies" -- to reflect what he likely saw when he was writing, perhaps in the late AD 60s [emphasis added] Hold on a minute. Earlier today you were saying this, above at February 27, 2015 12:05 PM: It's not until we get Luke and John, which even conservative scholars say were written after AD 80 or so -- or a full 50 years after the events th ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 27, 21:14:

By the way, speaking as a layman, I know of no insuperable reason why Matthew, Mark, and Luke (not necessarily in that order) could not have all been completed by AD 60. Actually, you're right: there really isn't. A secular scholar at the University of Sheffield, James Crossley, wrote a book in 2004 in which he argued that Mark, at least, could have been written around AD 39. Why? Because, he says, the "desolating sacrilege" that is "set up" in the Temple likely refers to the Caligula crisis, mentione ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 21:00:

Actually, probability is the guide of life. You base your life on probabilities every single day. You couldn't get into your car without doing so or a million other activities. There is no way to get away from probabilities or from dependence upon them, and it is rational so to depend. Leaping into Barthian anti-rationality is a disastrous alternative. History happened the way it happened. It is a mere confusion to refer to the shifting probabilities of history. History is made up of facts. And as for ou ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tim on Feb 27, 20:59:

Bob, You write: But, again, do you REALLY want Christian faith to be based on the always shifting "probabilities" of history? Actually, the probabilities of well-evidenced history don't shift all that much. You'll have noticed that there isn't a lot of debate for the past century or so over whether Caesar crossed the Rubicon or whether Lincoln was assassinated. And in any event, there is no rational alternative. Barth was wrong. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 27, 20:23:

But, again, do you REALLY want Christian faith to be based on the always shifting "probabilities" of history? Really? This is what Karl Barth saw clearly. Faith based on historical probabilities isn't faith at all -- certainly not the kind of faith to base your life on. Caesar may well have crossed the Rubicon, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. ... [More]

Why I Don’t Believe “Science”

Comment posted by Step2 on Feb 27, 19:34:

Paul, It was Daniel Smith. I appreciated his theory since I had wanted to make "somebody with a briefcase" as my appeal to authority for a long time and that gave me the perfect opportunity :) ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 19:03:

I think that Bob may be confusing "there are other possible explanations" with "there are other explanations that are just as reasonable or almost as reasonable to believe." Now, I myself don't think the empty tomb makes a super-strong case all by itself, but of course even the minimal facts advocate isn't using it _by itself_. And the evidence for the empty tomb is data. I think that when people are opposing the evidentialist approach they tend to think that if the skeptic can come up with _some_ other exp ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tony on Feb 27, 18:03:

What if, as James Tabor claims, Jesus was buried in a temporary, borrowed tomb due to the approaching sabbath... and then moved to another location for more permanent burial? I don't believe that for a second, but it's inherently possible. The mere fact of an empty tomb, even if it could be proven, which it can't, isn't sufficient to prove the resurrection because there are other possible explanations for it. Such an account is of course theoretically possible. But it remains a poor account taken with the ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 17:35:

Yes, I just randomly picked Lincoln because I was trying to be clear about the word "prove," which Bob had introduced. By the way, speaking as a layman, I know of no insuperable reason why Matthew, Mark, and Luke (not necessarily in that order) could not have all been completed by AD 60. ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Jeffrey S. on Feb 27, 17:28:

Bob, Just a quick point on the issue of Abraham Lincoln. I kind of wish Lydia had used the better example of Caesar crossing the Rubicon, because in point of fact just about any example from ancient history (and really any pre-modern history before photography or mass printing) suggests that the Gospel accounts of Jesus' resurrection (plus Acts and Paul) is more evidence than we have for many, if not most, events from ancient history. Plus we have archeological evidence to back this all up! If only we ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 17:16:

He seems respectful of the Objective Vision Theory. No, not epistemically respectful or respectful from a scholarly point of view of the theory itself. He's respectful of W. Pannenberg personally, because he was his teacher, but it's quite clear that Craig believes the objective vision theory has been refuted. Classical apologetics -- that miracles in the New Testament prove Jesus was God and the fulfillment of OT prophecies -- no longer convince anyone. We need better arguments, and William Lane Craig is ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 27, 16:53:

Jesus didn't die and stay dead but rose again, even if we aren't sure what exactly that means. It might have been physical, might have been purely spiritual. We don't know. Isn't that the most pragmatic, honest approach? No. A "purely spiritual" resurrection would have left a body behind, and Christianity dead on arrival. So to speak. Yes, good point... if we could prove the empty tomb... but we can't. We have the reports of the empty tomb in the Gospels (but not in Paul!) but, again, these sources a ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Bob on Feb 27, 16:36:

"There is a middle path between fundamentalist literalism and John Dominic Crossan -- and that is the path of historical critical scholarship as practiced by Christian exegetes, such as James Dunn, Bauckham, N.T. Wright, John Meier, the late Raymond Brown, etc." Bob, where do you think Drs. William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, and Michael Licona fall on your spectrum? I would rather not speak for them... and I only know Habermas and Licona from articles. I think William Lane Craig is personally very cons ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 16:17:

Yes, I did not happen to address Bob's claim that if the evidence were really that strong most people would be Christians. The answers to this are *so obvious* that it almost seems they should not need to be made. Here is one example: The atheist philosopher J.L. Mackie, who was a much higher quality atheist than the "new atheists" we have around these days, nonetheless stated *in so many words* that if one saw what seemed to be a miracle before one's very eyes one should conclude that one's senses were ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Tom Larsen on Feb 27, 15:39:

We can PROVE the resurrection with the same certitude (not of mathematics) that we can prove Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford Theatre? . . . If that were the case, then most people would be Christians. Since when did belief that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated commit a reasonable person to turn to God, to abhor idols, to acknowledge the corruption of human nature, the need for atonement between God and man, the gracious provision of this atonement in a man both astonishingly powerful and thoroughly humble ... [More]

Minimal facts vs. Maximal Data

Comment posted by Lydia on Feb 27, 14:16:

The primary advocates of the minimal facts argument try to evade these issues about the gospels because they don't want to get into them. That is not the same thing as being forced by evidence or even feeling forced by evidence, to concede that it is probable that they do contain legendary accretions. For the most part it is a preference (in my view, a misguided preference) for deferring to the "consensus of scholarship" for strategic reasons. To parse this strategic decision not to get into those issues as ... [More]