Friday, 13 November 2009

Doubting Thomas


I keep hearing that Xianity is all about evidence, that Xians ask for evidence and receive it, and that god's cool with that. You know, he thinks we should be inquisitive and all that, and he'll provide evidence for us if we really want to see it. For an example of this, Xians often point to the story of Thomas. See, he doubts that Jesus has really come back from the dead, so Jesus literally has him touch the wounds that were inflicted by the crucifixion.

Wow, who could argue with that, right?

Except, there's still one small detail that usually gets left out of the story (and they say that atheists cherry pick from the Bible...) If you read just one more verse, you find this:
20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Notice the part that I took the liberty of bolding. Jesus shows Thomas the marks, and the rebukes him for needing evidence. He says that those who simply believe without requiring evidence are blessed, which doesn't include Thomas. This isn't Jesus saying that Xians should seek evidence, but that they should simply believe on faith. Instead of supporting the argument that Xianity is about evidence, it undermines it.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Thomas never touched his hands.

GCT said...

I'm sure that will be news to most Bible readers:

"20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."

Anonymous said...

And show me the verse where he actually did it. You know, "Then Thomas reached out and..." It doesn't exist. Thomas wanted the to touch the holes, but when he got the chance, he didn't need to. That's why Jesus says "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed" and not "Thomas, because thou hast touched me, thou hast believed."

GCT said...

Thomas says that he needs to touch the holes before he'll believe and then Jesus says touch the holes, and Thomas believes. FFS, this is pretty legalistic for you. And, does it really make any sort of difference? The point is the Jebus rebukes him for wanting any evidence at all.

ethinethin said...

Is that the best answer a christian apologist can muster to this post?

I sympathize with Thomas, as I require evidence to believe things. Did he go to hell for not having faith? Do modern christians go to hell for looking for evidence of "creation science"?

I also recall reading that the gospel of John may have been written after the gnostic gospel of Thomas, and included this passage to discredit the gospel of Thomas. Obviously there's really no way to quantify that outside of textual criticism and finding and dating original manuscripts, but it would be interesting if that was the case!

Tracy said...

As I've said previously, I'm fine with the whole concept of Christianity being about faith. That very reason is why you'll frequently hear someone's religion being referred to as their faith.

Most things in life require faith of one sort or another. I think to pretend that we have all the answers without any kind of faith is to choose to only look at certain things while ignoring others.

GCT said...

Tracy,
Although I like the fact that you are open about having faith, verses having proof or evidence, I'm uncomfortable with the equivocation that tends to happen with the word "faith." The difference between "faith" that a chair will support your weight and "faith" that some supernatural being lives in the sky and will take you into heaven after death are like night and day. We really shouldn't be using the same word. The former is based on actual, empirical knowledge. The latter is based on faith and faith alone, with no foundation to buttress it.

Tyler said...

Tracy: As I've said previously, I'm fine with the whole concept of Christianity being about faith.

:snort:

It's not like you have any choice in the matter.

Tracy: Most things in life require faith of one sort or another.

That's simply not true. As G pointed out, you're playing fast and loose with definitions here.

The only things in life that require belief without evidence - faith - are things for which there is no evidence. Things like, your (and every other) god for instance.

Tracy: I think to pretend that we have all the answers without any kind of faith is to choose to only look at certain things while ignoring others.

Just like you pretend your religion has all the answers; choosing only to look at certain things while ignoring others, huh.

Tracy said...

I have no problem agreeing with you GCT, that I can not toally, with only emperical evidence, PROVE the exsistence of God.

In the Bible, in Hebrews 11:6, I'm told that:

"without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

I also see that when people came to Jesus asking Him to prove Himself to be God, that it's recorded in Matthew 12:39-40, that the he told them:

"But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

My understanding is that God is God and I come to Him on His terms, not mine. By His grace and goodness, as I've stepped out toward Him, He has given me the faith to be able to believe in Him.

Tyler said...

Tracy: I have no problem agreeing with you GCT, that I can not toally, with only emperical evidence, PROVE the exsistence of God.

So, you're willing to admit you might be wrong about your god. That's a start.

What do you think it would it take to convince you that you're wrong about your god?

All it would take to convince me I'm wrong in not believing in your god is some evidence that your god exists (or any other god, for that matter). Mind you, that doesn't mean I'd necessarily worship your (or any other) god, but no one, least of all god, could say I don't believe god exists.

Any idea where I can find evidence for your god?

Tracy: In the Bible, in Hebrews 11:6, I'm told that:

"without faith it is impossible to please God...


Blackmail. Believe god exists (in spite of an utter lack of evidence for any god) or else baaad things will happen.

Tracy: ... because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists...

Well, obviously. Of course, even when I used to believe he exists, I could never find him, no matter how hard I looked. Kind of hard to "come to him" when I can't find "him" anywhere.

Tracy: ... and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

I'm earnestly willing to accept evidence for a god. I've looked everywhere I could have possibly looked, but I haven't found any evidence. Do you have any suggestions as to where else to look?

For that matter, do I get a reward for earnestly seeking but not finding god?