I have to give credit to someone else for the post. I never went back through Norm Geisler’s petition to check if his reference to the ICBI statement was accurate. I guess most of us simply took him to be honest and quoted it accurately. To much disappointment it appears that we have been mistaken and Geisler conveniently left out important statements from the ICBI statement. Below is the comparison between the ICBI statement and Geisler’s use of it. For complete transparency, please view the ICBI document here. (What appears in black is taken from the ICBI statement, what appears in red is Geisler’s use of the statement, and what appears in blue is a note of comment).
The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette. Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations. Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University. He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media. You can view his website at moondogsmediahouse.com.
You could describe me as a binge thinker. Often perfectly satisfied hanging out on the periphery of ignorance. I occasionally strolled into the hallowed halls of academia–mostly when challenged by opposing worldviews–and then only selectively dipping my toe into the apologetics pool. I could bandy about words like existential, presupposition, relativism—and quote what little I understand from Francis Schaeffer—“Ah, what an intellectual high!”
Each binge is informative, satisfying, and provides quick, easy answers in debate to support my Christian worldview—in many cases just to replenish my ever weakening apologetic force-field. I have given my life to Christ and believe there is rational justification for the truth claims of the Christian faith; however, I was not loving God–with all of my mind—it was more like by the seat of my pants.
Truthfully I have never jumped entirely into the apologetic pool and certainly had no idea of how deep the waters ran. That is until I encountered the likes of Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, Alister McGrath, and John Lennox. Up until then I was quite content challenging my skeptic and atheist friends with my devastating charm and sophisticated good looks—or was it my full-throttled arrogance and freshman understanding of the brilliant text Introduction to Philosophy “A Christian Perspective” by Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg?!
I was quite encouraged when someone forwarded an email to me containing this blog post by Pastor Tim Rogers. I’ve recently been defending Mike Licona along with several other scholars, i.e. Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, et al. from unwarranted accusations from Norman Geisler. (You can see my posts listed at the end of this response). The reason why I was encouraged was because it seemed that the Geisler camp wasn’t really listening or paying attention to our responses and arguments (contra Geisler’s refusal to read footnotes). To much disappointment, my enthusiasm was quickly squandered when I read the response offered by Pastor Rogers. You can view his response on his website pastortimrogers.com.
When we think of infinity we usually think of the usual two categorical distinctions: a potential infinite and an actual infinite. A potential infinite suggests that infinity is only an idea or a concept but doesn’t actually exist in the Platonic sense or in the physical sense. In any set, one may always be added. An actual infinite is the notion that there exists such a set, Platonic or physical, which is infinite. A potential infinity may be symbolized by a lemniscate: ∞. An actual infinite can be depicted by the aleph-null or aleph-nought: ℵ0 (The Hebrew letter aleph with a subscript zero).
W.K. Clifford summarized his deontic model of rationality when he stated, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind… the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.” I will need to clarify a few of the nuances to Clifford’s epistemic ethic. I would part ways with Clifford in his sea-worthy ship story with regards to his alternate ending (see below). The ship owner is not responsible or equally guilty for the shipwreck even though it never happened. Such counterfactuals are absurd to consider as having deontic statuses since they do not pertain to reality. I would merely suggest that someone’s wrongfulness for believing upon sufficient evidence is congruent and the wrongfulness is not congruent to the consequent of actions taken based on that belief. William James’ position states that it is permissible to believe upon insufficient evidence and, perhaps, even obligatory for us to believe on insufficient evidence. I disagree with James (see my argument for justification for the contrast).
Last week Mike Licona presented his paper, “When The Saints Go Marching In (Matthew 27.52-52): Historicity, Apocalyptic Symbol, and Inerrancy,” to fellow scholars of the Evangelical Theological Society, which included William Lane Craig, Craig Blomberg, Paul Copan, Dan Wallace, and Darrell Bock in the audience.
I appreciate Licona responding to Geisler in the academic arena. I hope many scholars take this issue and carry the research to verify or falsify this interpretation of Matthew’s raised saints to the best historiography can offer. (Also, you’ll note that Licona takes the modest position of agnosticism at the moment.) I certainly hope that Matthew 27 doesn’t become the litmus test for society membership or that it sneaks its way into some statement of faith (anymore than it already is).
My only hope is that Geisler either responds in the academic arena haven been given the chance to read Licona’s footnotes or that he drop this whole sideshow and move on.
The following is a guest blog post by Doug Andrews. Doug has been in retail for almost thirty years and is currently runs a side-project of assisting others get better jobs. You can find more information at his website JobCoachHQ.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @JobCoachHQ.
The opportunity to write a guest blog is one I couldn’t pass up.
My background is from the business world. I have a BS in Business Management from Bloomsburg University. I have worked for 3 of the largest corporations in their respective industries, Foot Locker, Gateway Computers and for the past 10 years I have been with Barnes and Noble. I have recently been publicly speaking on the topic of Interviewing. I have a website that promotes my efforts to inform others of the job search process, JobCoachHQ.com.
Norman Geisler has recently been emailing a petition against Mike Licona to members of the Evangelical Theological Society. I have been able to obtain a copy of the petition. Please download the petition here. (I have not edited the petition in any way except for removing Geisler’s email at the bottom since that is private information).
My conclusion about this whole situation and petition is that this is presumptuous and a demonstration of either a refusal, inability, or lack of attention to sources, context, and footnotes (Yes, he actually blatantly ignored footnotes…). Additionally, this is a complete abuse and neglect of the scholarly process of handling the material in a way to wrestle with the claims and issues being made. There is no consideration for the evidence Licona uses. This is embarrassing. This is what one may expect from a bad blog by someone who has no credentials. This isn’t following the evidence. Below are the points of contention Geisler has listed on the petition. All formatting is original and emphases are Geisler’s.
The following are a list of podcasts that I’ve been following and listening to that have been quite helpful in my philosophical, scientific, and theological studies. The criteria for consideration are based on 1) quality of content, 2) accurate presentation of the material, 3) constructive and respectful criticism of opposing views, 4) frequency of podcast release, and 5) a broad range of topics/issues discussed.