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10/17/2018 4:28 pm  #1


Question about the resurrection

For Christians, is someone acting in an epistemically vicious way if they don't find the evidence for the resurrection compelling?

 

10/29/2018 2:45 pm  #2


Re: Question about the resurrection

I think not. Faith is of things unseen. The evidence is precisely less than compelling.

 

10/29/2018 5:43 pm  #3


Re: Question about the resurrection

Greg wrote:

I think not. Faith is of things unseen. The evidence is precisely less than compelling.

Maybe not the evidence for the resurrection, but the evidence for at least one previous point in the epistemic chain must be compelling.

Let us take a look at the definition of faith by the Ecumenical Council Vatican I in its Dogmatic Constitution "Dei Filius", ch. 3 "On faith":

"The Catholic Church professes that this faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, is a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the inspiration and assistance of the grace of God, we believe that the things revealed by Him are true, not because the intrinsic truth of the things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived."

Clearly this definition of faith cannot apply to the identification of the medium of divine Revelation, lest the epistemic situation be circular, as a person should have to identify M as the medium through which God reveals by an assent to the truth that "God reveals through M" based on the authority of God who revealed (through M) said truth (i.e. that He reveals through M). Thus, the medium of divine Revelation must be identified on the basis of rationally apprehensible motives of credibility.

The medium of Revelation which must be identified includes two stages:

- the original medium through which God has revealed in the past, and

- the proximate medium that currently holds the "deposit" of what God has revealed through the original medium and, in magisterial paradigms of divine Revelation, provides authoritative identification and interpretation of that Revelation.

Placing it all together in the case of someone listening to an Apostle preach in 50 AD or to Church X (claiming to have apostolic succession) preach in 2018, this person must, first of all, identify the teaching of the Apostle/Church X as the proximate medium of divine Revelation on the basis of rationally apprehensible motives of credibility, and the evidence for that identification must be compelling. Only then can this person believe that what this Apostle/Church teaches is true based on the authority of God on whose behalf this Apostle/Church preaches.

Reframing now the original question as

"is someone acting in an epistemically vicious way if they don't find the evidence for the teaching of [place your Church here] as the proximate medium of divine Revelation compelling?"

my answer is that the only answer that matters is God's, not yours or mine, because only God sees the intellect of a person, and He sees it with total clarity. Thus, only He knows with certainty whether the person in question is acting in an epistemically vicious way, and He certainly does not need our opinion on the subject.
 

Last edited by Johannes (10/29/2018 6:01 pm)

 

10/29/2018 6:48 pm  #4


Re: Question about the resurrection

Interestingly, what I wrote in my previous post applies to the very first person hearing an account of the Resurrection: the Apostle Thomas (Jn 20:24-29). Were there rationally apprehensible motives of credibility, i.e. evidence, for Thomas to conclude that the other Apostles were telling him the truth?

The issue can always be framed in terms of the options of the modifed version of Lewis' trilemma: legend, liar, lunatic or Lord.

"Legend" would apply if the other Apostles had said to Thomas: "X and Y told us that Jesus appeared to them". Since what they said was: "We have seen the Lord", it does not apply.

"Liar" meant in this case that the other Apostles had set up a conspiracy in order to dupe Thomas. Since they were the people with whom Thomas had been living for the past two years, to all practical purposes his family, and since they had been gathered as a group by a Teacher Who made a point of telling the truth, the possibility that they had just flatly betrayed Jesus' teaching in order to deceive Thomas (and BTW, for what purpose?) was unthinkable.

"Lunatic" would apply if the other Apostles showed signs of not being in their right minds, e.g. as the result of eating some bad food or of inhaling some strong stuff. But Thomas could (and should) discard this option by just asking the other Apostles some additional questions, both general and specific to Jesus' apparition, and looking at their answers.

Therefore, there were indeed rationally apprehensible motives of credibility, i.e. evidence, for Thomas to conclude that the other Apostles were telling him sincerely the objective truth, and from their testimony to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.

 

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