Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Few More Random Thoughts on Licona/Ehrman

A couple of more points I think are worth mentioning on this debate between Licona and Ehrman.

I was disappointed to listen to Licona go off on a wild ad hominem diatribe against people that hold to the mythicst position. These people are not "serious and sober minded." They remind us of those contestants on American Idol that think they're so good, but we all know better. Is that what he really thinks? I remember Licona in another debate offering pretty high praise for Robert Price. I believe he called him a "very smart man." Has Licona heard Price's debates with Greg Boyd and W.L. Craig? His performances are generally regarded as among the best from sketpics. He's a fellow at the Jesus Seminar and Jesus Project. Holds 2 PhD's in the field. In fact Price single handedly debated Habermas and Licona on Infidel Guy radio with Richard Spencer as Spencer kind of listened in (not to criticize Spenser, who does really good interviews. He was getting out muscled by heavyweights Habermas and Price). In my view Licona didn't look too great in his attempts to tangle with Price. Pick any random episode of the Bible Geek and try and sustain the view that he's nothing but a clown.

I would like to think this is beneath Mike Licona. People can rationally disagree about things that are as complicated and murky as ancient history. Why such hostility? I think dismissal is being substituted for refutation.

Another point is that Licona grossly misrepresents skeptical claims regarding hallucinations. He says that hallucinations are not group events. It's not like you can have a dream about a vacation and wake up and shake your wife and say "Honey, wake up. I'm having a dream I'm in Hawaii. Come join me in my dream and we'll have a free vacation." That's not what skeptics are claiming when they posit a group hallucination, yet Christians follow Licona down this straw man path. The claim from the skeptic is not that a group of people all saw the exact same thing in their own mind. The claim is that they experienced something and later upon talking with others they came to believe they had witnessed the same thing. One may have experienced Jesus descending the clouds wearing a blue sash. Another many have experienced Jesus simply floating towards him or her wearing a red sash. When they compared notes they may have bent their own memories so they came to believe they had seen the same thing. This vacation analogy from Licona is really awful.

But one positive thing. Licona denies inerrancy. He admits that he believes the Gospel of John changed the timing of the crucifixion of Jesus for theological purposes. For John Jesus dies on the Day of Preparation while the lambs are being slaughtered whereas in the synoptics Jesus dies after the Passover meal is eaten. So there's a step in the right direction.

1 comment:

GeneralTHC said...

Well, Licona is just flat wrong in holding that the group hallucination theory hasn't any merit. For example, anyone that's experimented with LSD most likely did so in a group setting for that very reason--so they could "trip out" together. That's how and why those drugs are done. Are their hallucinations exactly the same? Probably not exactly. Just like in everyday life, though, are any two people's experience about an event ever exactly the same, i.e. do they perceive/process things the exact same way? I doubt it. Nevertheless, people can come away from an event united in their thinking.