Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
Post Reply
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-08-2013, 10:57 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
(12-08-2013 03:39 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  No, it isn't a theist argument, although I love dropping the hammer on them. It's an atheist argument -- the one that goes "everything from the Bible is stolen from earlier mythologies".

To start with, it's logically fallacious; correlation doesn't prove causation. It doesn't matter if the Noah flood story appears to have many correlations to the Epic of Gilgamesh, because it's entirely possible that they both plagiarized from a different source (or just have coincidental similarities).

You assert that the argument is logically fallacious, but can you state clearly what argument you are shooting down?

You seem to be shooting down an argument that rarely is made--that a story in the Bible borrowing from another religious tradition disproves the underlying story. I'm going to pick the flood story since I've heard leading atheists use this line of argument that you criticism. I've heard Dawkins argue that flood stories are common in religious traditions, especially where peoples live near flood plains. Dawkins is not asserting that the flood story is a complete fabrication, but rather there is a better explanation for the story being in the Bible other than 'god did it'. It would be unusual, Dawkins argues, not to find such an oral history in a culture subjected to periodic floods. This observation that the Bible borrows from other religions is consistent with the atheist position that religious texts are man made.

The other line of attack that the observation of similar stories in religions supports is an attack on credibility of the religious text as an ultimate source of truth. If the flood story can be found in other religious traditions, especially if those stories pre-date the timeline suggested in the Bible for when the flood occurred, then claims that the Bible is an inerrant source of truth are untenable. Now, the Bible's version of the facts might be true (setting aside evidence from geology for the moment), but the fact that other religious texts have similar but conflicting versions of facts means that accepting the Bible as the truth without other independent evidence is not justified. The Bible is just one of many conflicting versions of revelatory truths, all of which would be on equal footing with respect to their truth claims.

I would agree that the argument as you laid out might be fallacious if it is only put forward as a disproof of the specific stories in the Bible. But that's not the only argument using the observation that the Bible borrows from other religions.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: