Wednesday, February 21, 2007

God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger

In preparation for a sermon series titled Confronting the Skeptics I am reading God: The Failed Hypothesis - How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist by Victor J. Stenger. Stenger has not changed my mind - as I'm sure I wouldn't succeed at changing his either - but it's helpful to try and understand his perspective.

One of the shortcomings of his book, as is common with most writings of unbelievers, is that Stenger sets up the usual "straw man" arguments. He argues, for instance, against the six day creation timeline in Genesis, saying that science has proven the evolution of the world and the universe is in the billions of years. I would certainly not argue with him on this point. To deny the reality of an evolving world and universe is, in my opinion, neither a sensible or scientifically tenable argument. Certainly there are people who would hold to the idea that God created the world in only six 24 hour days and that it was done only five or six thousand years ago, but this kind of bad theology doesn't disprove all theology just as bad science (just watch any diet pill commercial for an example of bad science) doesn't disprove all science. Stegner demonstrates very little understanding of religious and Biblical metaphor, which is incredibly important when we approach the Bible. To wonder why God would need to rest when he was done creating is an argument that just cannot be taken seriously. God did not need to rest. The word rest is implying something far deeper than an inane insinuation that God was physically tired from his creating and needed to rest.

1 comment:

Brandon Marone said...

I agree with you 100% that Victor Stenger has very little understanding of biblical metaphors. I also wanted to point out that Stenger makes a false claim that no records outside the bible exist to support the sudden darkness during Jesus' crucifixion. In REALITY, multiple corroborating records of the day going dark do indeed exist. Just look at the ancient historian Pliny the Younger. He clearly stated in his writings that the sun was eclipsed on the day of the crucifixion. Even though he tried to explain away what caused that darkness, he still admitted that the day went dark!! Also, if you look closely, Stenger does not even come close to attempting to disprove the conversion of Paul the Apostle or the disciples of Jesus dying for their TESTIMONY, not mere beliefs, expecially when they denied Jesus before the crucifixion. Stenger makes very little attempt to disprove the history of Christianity, and when he does, he uses extremely feeble arguments. Going back to his poor understanding of metaphors, he tries to disprove the existence of dragons written in the King James bible. Now these dragons are clearly metaphors for satan or false prophets, etc. Stenger is by no means a historian, he is a physicist. Science cannot disprove history, at all. You cannot prove scientifically that Columbus sailed the ocean or that Washington crossed the Delaware river. You still know they did though, because we are here in the U.S. Well, you still know that Jesus existed because of the growing popularity of the church, and the existence of the church alone. Maybe Stenger should stick to science and leave history to the experts.