Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The God Delusion - The God Hypothesis Part 1

I looked at the previous chapter of The God Delusion here.
The next chapter of “The God Delusion,” which is "The God Hypothesis," seems to be Dawkins' brief survey of the different ideas about "God". I say "seems" as I don't know if I can encapsulate it in one succinct idea or flow of thought. Some of his ideas which are more random I will probably leave out or wait for a later post. I will deal with this chapter over two posts, as there is a reasonable division I can make in the ideas presented.
Overall I think he is really looking at the "western" ideas for "God", and maybe we could say the western ideas about the “Christian” God. He also says the idea of God is a "scientific hypothesis", but I'll bring this up in the next post where I'll primarily deal with his thoughts on agnosticism, since that's his main audience for this “idea”.

So in this post we will look at what he says on theism, since this where he goes first. He splits Theism into Polytheism and Monotheism.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hallucinations and the Resurrection of Jesus

I've been doing more thinking about the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus recently, especially after a video call with a world expert on this, Mike Licona.

An aspect of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, that I hadn't thought about in detail until recently, is how feasible the theory of hallucinations are as an explanation for the "resurrection appearances" presented in the gospels.

Previously my main consideration was that the empty tomb and other aspects need to be explained, which hallucinations don't deal with. But are hallucinations useful, or even the best explanations for the records of Jesus' disciples accounts of seeing (and talking to) a "Resurrected Jesus".

Since the video call with Mike Licona, I have bought his book "The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach". Written primarily at an academic level and at 700 or so pages, I haven't managed to read all of it. He does consider in detail, and pass through a 5 fold test a number of hypotheses, some of which include hallucinations and/or delusions (and similar) to account for some of the historical bedrock, the "historical facts that are regarded as virtual indisputable".

I won't give an overview of the book here - that would be a large enough task - though I may some time (once I have read all of it!). But recently I came across an article by John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, who asks the question: "Eliminating the Impossible: Can a Scientist believe the Resurrection?" Lennox also engages "hallucination theories", and provides a number of more succinct points against them.