Sunday, June 15, 2008

Parchment & Pen Offers Sufficiency Of Probability

Websters's: Indubitability:too evident to be doubted : unquestionable. Yes, I had to look up the big fancy word.

Michael Patton : The Sufficiency of Probability

In part he says (after giving an illustration of slapping his kids behind when they are looking then claim he didn't do it, but rather some guy who ran into the room then ran out):

There was celebration at Descartes seeming defeat of the skepticism of his day. His “I think therefore I am” looked as if it provided a bridge to attain the type of certainty to which humans have never been privy. His methodology, which became known as “the Cartesian method,” was adopted in large part by those in the West. And thus began the Age of Reason, where certainty—indubitable certainty—reined supreme.

Christianity was never bound by any sort of indubitability from a human perspective. We have never been required to check the lock on any door. In fact, no one actually can or does live by such a method in the acquisition of truth.

But alas, we often think we are supposed to. We have turned “the evidence that demands a verdict” into “the evidence that produces indubitability.” At least that is what we are pressured into doing.

Once this method does not produce absolute certainty, once we cannot account for the door being unlocked, we find ourselves wondering why we are being forced to check the door in the first place. Yet we do it anyway. When the door is unlocked, those who are epistemically conditioned to find this substantial, either, like my children, enter into a state of suspended belief, doubt, or skepticism or opt for a “leap of faith” that demands no evidence, and then sneer at those who do demand evidence as if it is passé.

Probability is sufficient. We neither need to go into intellectual hibernation and accept our beliefs on blind faith. Nor do we need to suspend our belief until all the objections are answered (we don’t need to check the door).

What I posed to my children was merely a possibility to explain the slap, but possibilities do not create probabilities. We are responsible in this life to act upon the revelation given to us, not to seek absolute indubitability.

We are neither postmodern skeptics nor modern rationalists. We find value in both skepticism, when truly warranted, and rationality, when the probability is conditioned by God to be such.

In other words, our belief in Christ’s resurrection should not be sidetracked simply because someone presents an alternative possibility. Yes, we engage these alternatives, but we don’t give them more credit than they deserve. Those who say that the Christian story borrowed from other religions or that Christ’s body was thrown into a shallow grave have simply presented other possibilities that are often no more sufficient to warrant credibility than my “look, the door is unlocked.” Possibility, yes. Probability, no.

Don’t be shaken by unlikely theories.
Don’t hypocritically require indubitability.
Don’t think that all possibilities are equal.
Don’t opt for a “leap of faith” type of faith.
Don’t become unglued because all we have is probability.


Yet again Patton feeds on doubt and skepticism, rather than the Truth we KNOW. Scripture doesn't deal with probabilities, but knowable Truth.

1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--
1Jn 1:2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--
1Jn 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1Jo 2:21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

1Jo 3:19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;

2Pe 1:12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

1Ti 4:3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

Joh 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows Him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Act 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

Act 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it....

Act 26:22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass:
Act 26:23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

Probabilities, even possibilities are not part of Truth. Instead they consider falsehoods.

Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Are we to think on "what if's" or what is probably true? No. We are to KNOW the Truth and then THINK ON IT.

It is NOT possible that the body of Jesus was thrown into a shallow grave. Why? Because God Himself told us what happened: Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God. Therefore we destroy any argument to the contrary; any "alternate" view, because it slaps the face of Truth given clearly by God.

1Jn 5:9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.

There is a reason we are to have childlike faith.

There is never enough evidence for a skeptic and Scripture is never enough for a "scholar" nor skeptic. That is their condemnation before God.

(It would seem to "be fair" that Patton must also use"sufficiency of probability" to what is false. Just how far is he willing to go? He already admits to giving some veracity to the "possability" that Jesus did NOT resurrect.)


NWProdigal said...

Patton obviously believes that God's Word is "possibly" inerrant?
We must convince people to become believers through analytical proof that the Bible's assertions are more "probable"?

My oh my! Does he even have any faith?

Denise said...

Sure he has uncertainty. LOL. Its so ridiculous how people entertain the scoffing of Scripture, murmuring the Serpant's words, "Has God said?"