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Author Topic: Recent Orthodox Convert and Prominent Philosopher Addresses Todays' Skepticism  (Read 3555 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 15, 2005, 07:38:57 AM »

IT'S LOGICAL: REASONING SHOWS A 97 PER CENT PROBABILITY JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD
 
22nd July, 2005

DAVID ADAMS


For many Christians, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead - a central tenet of Christianity - is simply a matter of faith.

But according to a visiting Oxford University academic, Professor Richard Swinburne, it's also a matter of logic.

Using the tools of logic and mathematics, Professor Swinburne says there is a 97 per cent probability that Jesus Christ rose from the dead as described in the Bible.


“What I argue is that it's very probable that Jesus was raised from the dead," he says. “And if you give some artificial values that more or less capture what's involved and certain other probabilities then you get the value of 97 per cent."

Professor Swinburne, who has formally retired from his professorship but still lives in Oxford, is in Australia on a month-long lecture tour of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane which kicked off with a presentation to an international philosophy conference in Sydney and has since included lectures at places such as the Australian Catholic University and the University of New South Wales.

Professor Swinburne, who was the Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at Oxford University from 1985 until 2002, has written more than 10 books with titles such as The Existence of God, Faith and Reason, and The Resurrection of God Incarnate.

While he doesn't expect to write any new books, Professor Swinburne is currently reworking some of his earlier texts to incorporate some of the discussion that has occurred since they were published as well as some more of his own thoughts.

Professor Swinburne, who became a member of the Greek Orthodox Church after leaving the Anglican Church about 10 years ago, says he was led into philosophy by an “interest in deep metaphysical questions".

“I also thought the tools of philosophy would be useful in examining the evidence for and against the Christian religion and providing a justification of it," he says.

Professor Swinburne says that an evidence-based approach to the existence of God had played an important role in Christian history up until the past 200 years.

“Natural theology - the argument from the nature of the universe to God - has always been a part of the Christian tradition until Hume, Kant and Darwin came along," he says.

“It would be silly to worship a God who almost certainly doesn't exist; it would be silly to be involved in the practice of Christian religion if it was almost certain that religion was false."

He says the text of the Biblical book of the Acts of the Apostles reveals that Paul and Peter used an evidence-based approach in their sermons.

“They didn't say, 'Believe it on faith'. They said 'Believe it because we've met the risen Jesus'. I think we should continue in that tradition."

Professor Swinburne says that Christians have traditionally believed in Jesus for “all sorts of different reasons".

“Some people have a deep, personal religious awareness of the presence of God - they don't need arguments," he says.

“Some people in closed religious communities - such as some small village in the Middle Ages - when asked why do they believe in God say because the priest told them so and as they haven't heard from anybody else, it's always sensible to believe authority.

"But in the modern age we have many authorities teaching different things and a relatively few people, I should have thought, have a deep enough religious experience for it not to need backing up by argument. So certainly in our time we need these arguments as we did in the fourth century and the third century AD when there was a similar availability of all sorts of different views."

Agreeing that an evidence-based approach to God can also be a stepping stone to a deeper experience of His presence, Professor Swinburne says an evidence-based approach has been "all important" in his own faith walk, particularly in recent years.

“I've always been a believer but no doubt I didn't believe at first for the reasons I believe in now," he says. “But whilst my reasons for believing may have changed, my beliefs remain the same."

Professor Swinburne doesn't believe the church addresses philosophical issues as often as it should and says this is particularly the case when events such as the recent bombings in London take place.

He says churches tend to avoid the issue rather than trying to provide a justification of why God might allow such things to happen.

“It just says 'Oh well, God must mean it, we don't know why and that's that'. Which isn't a very satisfactory answer. I have my own theodicy (a branch of theology that examines how the existence of a good God is reconciled with the presence of evil in the world) which has been developed at considerable lengths, and yes, I think they need that."

PROVING THE ARGUMENT

Drawing on arguments contained in his 2003 book 'The Resurrection of God Incarnate', Professor Richard Swinburne employs a combination of logic and mathematics is to reach his conclusion that it is 97 per cent likely Jesus was God incarnate and rose from the dead.

     “The resurrection, if it happened, was clearly a violation of natural laws," he says. “If natural laws determine what happens then it couldn't have happened. But if it's God, then He's responsible for natural laws and He can set them aside if and when He so chooses. So one can't possibly discuss...whether the resurrection happened without considering the other evidence about whether there is a God."

      Professor Swinburne argues that the evidence of natural theology - such as the existence of the world and its conformity to order - make it “modestly probable that there is a God".

      Ascribing an arbitrary value of a one in two chance to that probability, he says that if there is a God, then there are three reasons why He might choose to become incarnate and live among us:
• Firstly, given that He created humans, God would be expected to be involved with them and, as a result, see the need for atonement of our sin. It follows that if we can't atone for our own sins, God needs to provide a means for that atonement;
• Secondly, if humanity is suffering for a good cause (and if there is a God, we must be suffering for a good cause), He will identify with humanity by suffering with us;
• Thirdly, if there is a God, He would see the need to better inform us about “moral truths" through revelation.

      Ascribing the probability of God becoming incarnate with the arbitrary value of one in two, Professor Swinburne then argues that if God was incarnate, "He's got to live a good life, a hard life to identify with our suffering - and a hard life ending in a brutal execution is apt".

      "He's got to teach - as far as we can judge - the moral truth, He's got say He's making atonement for our sins, He's got to show that He believes Himself to be God, and He's got found a church to continue that work. But also, if God is to really show us that it is He, God, who has done this, He's got to put His signature on His work and that would be done by doing an act such as bringing to life again the person or prophet who teaches these things contrary to the laws of nature."

      Professor Swinburne says that there is only one candidate in history who either lived the sort of life required or was the subject of a “signature act" such as resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ.

     “The amount of evidence there is of that life and the amount of witness testimony there is to that resurrection are unparalleled in either case in human history..." he says.

      If God did become incarnate, Professor Swinburne assigns the probability that there is only a one in 10 chance the evidence available about His life and resurrection would equal that found in the case of Jesus.

     “Since there is only one prophet in human history who satisfies either of these demands to the extent that Jesus did, the chance that they would be associated together by chance - without God linking it - in one prophet is immensely low and I would call that one out of 1,000."

      Taking all four figures, Professor Swinburne then puts them into a mathematical equation which results in the finding that it is “97 per cent probable that the resurrection occurred and that it occurred to God incarnate".

==================================================================================

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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2005, 08:36:34 AM »

You know that appeared in Australian newspapers, but not once did they mention he was an Orthodox.

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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2005, 12:05:31 PM »

Swinburne is hardly a "recent convert". He came into the Greek Orthodox church in 1991.

And the article doesn't mention that the use of probability calculus is only part of the appendix of "The Resurrection of God Incarnate". The bulk of the book is a traditional work of philosophy.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2008, 07:52:44 PM »

Fwiw, I found the article hard to read (now) because of all the extra characters, so I went searching for the article elsewhere and found it here.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2008, 11:41:27 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 06:48:27 PM »

It's true that if you could prove it then there wouldn't be any place for faith. However, doubters like me need heavy doses of evidence sometimes.
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 07:13:24 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 08:30:27 PM »

Wonderful argument.  It's true that, for the one who will not believe, no reason is sufficient -- while for the one who will believe, no reason is necessary...but...there are some who WANT to believe, and things like this do an excellent job of pushing us (yes, I said "us"; this logic surrounding the resurrection is basically what kept me Christian during high school) back where we need to be.

Christ didn't tell Thomas, "You never should have doubted"; rather He said, "Reach here...touch here...stop doubting and believe."
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 08:38:36 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked

Here, let me show you the formula.

We all know that women require time and money, which we can mathematically express as:

women=time*money

Now, since time equals money, we may substitute money for time as follows:

women=money*money


With anything multiplied by itself being that thing squared, we can express this way:

women=money2

Next, since money is the root of evil, we can again substitute:

women=(root of evil)2

Finally, when you square the root of a value, you wind up with that value, which leaves us at:

women=evil

Any questions?

/tangent
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2008, 10:22:17 PM »

^ See? This sort of silliness is all the sillier because it is perfectly logical (although there is a flaw in that the proverb is not that money is the root of all evil, but rather the love of money). What I mean is that logic is not perfect, and it certainly has nothing to say about relationships. Since Christianity is primarily about a relationship--St. Paul describes it as a "circumcision of the heart"--logic falls short when attempting to describe how to follow God.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2008, 11:11:11 PM »

What the last two posts are is silly games that no one would take seriously. The Cable Guy might make such an argument for a laugh!

Prof. Swineburne is a professional philosopher using logic and statistics to make a valid point.

Natural theology is present in the Bible (Acts, already sited in this thread) and in the first two chapters of Romans (among other places). It's also there in tradition - many theologians of the Church, east and west, have made rational arguments from nature and philosophy to validate the faith to the authorities or pagans.

I used to have to endure this kind of tedious argument with fideists (presuppositionalists) when I was a Presbyterian. Evidential apologetics is completely legitimate.

To surrender natural theology or evidential apologetics is to surrender the law of non-contradiction and the validy of sense perception and self-consciousness as valid to human experience and hence to our understanding and experience of the world and also of God.

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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 11:37:57 PM »

The two things that reason is good for, is to disprove the impossible and to improve our understanding of what is not understandable. It usually leaves one agnostic. At that point your heart will lead you towards faith or atheism. Because faith is nothing more than hope, for the love that is in your heart to be realized.
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 01:42:18 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked

LOL!  I was just about to say you don't need a mathematical formula to figure that out.   Wink  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2008, 04:04:15 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked

LOL!  I was just about to say you don't need a mathematical formula to figure that out.   Wink  Grin

My wife would actually AGREE! She would say, yes, all women except me.  Shocked
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2008, 04:21:08 PM »

The two things that reason is good for, is to disprove the impossible and to improve our understanding of what is not understandable. It usually leaves one agnostic. At that point your heart will lead you towards faith or atheism. Because faith is nothing more than hope, for the love that is in your heart to be realized.
The impossible cannot be disproved. Only that which is possible can be proved or disproved.
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2008, 04:32:46 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked

LOL!  I was just about to say you don't need a mathematical formula to figure that out.   Wink  Grin

My wife would actually AGREE! She would say, yes, all women except me.  Shocked

Your wife is a smart woman.  Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2008, 06:08:28 PM »

Here, let me show you the formula.

We all know that women require time and money, which we can mathematically express as:

women=time*money

Now, since time equals money, we may substitute money for time as follows:

women=money*money


With anything multiplied by itself being that thing squared, we can express this way:

women=money2

Next, since money is the root of evil, we can again substitute:

women=(root of evil)2

Finally, when you square the root of a value, you wind up with that value, which leaves us at:

women=evil

Any questions?

Yes, how can the square root of women be women if women is plural?

So, you have (women)^1/2 = evil which is a fallacy; a humorous fallacy but a fallacy nevertheless.   Wink

Note that the equations become true when money = 1 and time = 1.
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2008, 09:37:30 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
What's EoK have to say about this? Shocked

Here, let me show you the formula.

We all know that women require time and money, which we can mathematically express as:

women=time*money

Now, since time equals money, we may substitute money for time as follows:

women=money*money


With anything multiplied by itself being that thing squared, we can express this way:

women=money2

Next, since money is the root of evil, we can again substitute:

women=(root of evil)2

Finally, when you square the root of a value, you wind up with that value, which leaves us at:

women=evil

Any questions?
While I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion I cannot deny that is the singularly most brilliantly wrong bit of deductive reasoning and mathematics I have ever heard in my life.  Brilliant!   If that doesn't qualify as a post of the month, I would say it at least deserves a Nobel Prize in mathematics or the Barney Fife Philosophy Trophy.

/tangent

Fixed the quotes, nothing else.--YtterbiumAnalyst
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2008, 04:17:58 PM »


While I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion I cannot deny that is the singularly most brilliantly wrong bit of deductive reasoning and mathematics I have ever heard in my life.  Brilliant!   If that doesn't qualify as a post of the month, I would say it at least deserves a Nobel Prize in mathematics or the Barney Fife Philosophy Trophy.

/tangent

I want the Barney Fife Philosophy Trophy!   laugh laugh laugh
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2008, 05:40:27 PM »

Logic and mathematics can be used to prove that women are evil. We don't need any proof that Jesus is risen from the dead.
Actually no. I hae seen that "proof" before, and let me say, its not logical or rational.
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2008, 07:43:41 PM »

Yes, how can the square root of women be women if women is plural?

So, you have (women)^1/2 = evil which is a fallacy; a humorous fallacy but a fallacy nevertheless.   Wink

Did you just make an incorrect supposition about an imaginary equation?  WHAT MADNESS!
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2008, 08:40:52 PM »

The two things that reason is good for, is to disprove the impossible and to improve our understanding of what is not understandable. It usually leaves one agnostic. At that point your heart will lead you towards faith or atheism. Because faith is nothing more than hope, for the love that is in your heart to be realized.
The impossible cannot be disproved. Only that which is possible can be proved or disproved.
I used the wrong wording. The word I should have used is the unexplainable. You are certainly correct.
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2008, 09:47:37 PM »

Yes, how can the square root of women be women if women is plural?

So, you have (women)^1/2 = evil which is a fallacy; a humorous fallacy but a fallacy nevertheless.   Wink

Did you just make an incorrect supposition about an imaginary equation?  WHAT MADNESS!

Gee, I think my logic went way above everyone on that one, lol....
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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2008, 05:20:36 PM »

^ See? This sort of silliness is all the sillier because it is perfectly logical (although there is a flaw in that the proverb is not that money is the root of all evil, but rather the love of money). What I mean is that logic is not perfect, and it certainly has nothing to say about relationships. Since Christianity is primarily about a relationship--St. Paul describes it as a "circumcision of the heart"--logic falls short when attempting to describe how to follow God.
Its not perfectly logical at all. The idea that women take time and money should be mathematically reprsented by women = time*money is ridiculous.
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« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2008, 05:32:43 PM »

^ See? This sort of silliness is all the sillier because it is perfectly logical (although there is a flaw in that the proverb is not that money is the root of all evil, but rather the love of money). What I mean is that logic is not perfect, and it certainly has nothing to say about relationships. Since Christianity is primarily about a relationship--St. Paul describes it as a "circumcision of the heart"--logic falls short when attempting to describe how to follow God.
Its not perfectly logical at all. The idea that women take time and money should be mathematically reprsented by women = time*money is ridiculous.
Oh, okay. I'm sorry, I was wrong. I won't do it again.
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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2008, 06:39:54 PM »

A few other logical "insights" on Theology that Swinburne has made:

"Suppose that one less person had been burnt by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. then there would have been less opportunity for courage and sympathy..." - page 264, The Existence of God

In a British televison broadcast debate between Swinburne, Richard Dawkins, and Peter Atkins, Swinburne tried to justify the Holocaust by stating that it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble. Atkine aptly replied "May you rot in hell." The later final broadcast edited this bit lest it raise controversy.

EDITED: Took out critical judgment that need not have been written.
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2008, 01:18:04 PM »

^ See? This sort of silliness is all the sillier because it is perfectly logical (although there is a flaw in that the proverb is not that money is the root of all evil, but rather the love of money). What I mean is that logic is not perfect, and it certainly has nothing to say about relationships. Since Christianity is primarily about a relationship--St. Paul describes it as a "circumcision of the heart"--logic falls short when attempting to describe how to follow God.
Its not perfectly logical at all. The idea that women take time and money should be mathematically reprsented by women = time*money is ridiculous.

Oh ye of little faith!
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