Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Brief Thought Experiment

Experiment: suppose Jesus came onto our modern scene, worked miracles, and, unlike the first time two millenia ago, He was recorded doing these things on some medium, such as film, videotape, etc. Perhaps He could go on Larry King and work some miracles. Then he ascends into Heaven [again].

This may or may not convince freethinkers of the present era to reconsider their position.

Now step up into the time machine I've rented for this thread, and set the dial to "AD4001." [Whoops, I should be politically correct and say 4001CE or 2028 After Roe.]

What would a modern freethinker relative to AD4001 think upon viewing these old-by-now media?

One such objection would be that the art of "special effects" and "computer graphics" and such were highly developed in the motion picture art form of the late 20th and early 21st centuries [the "Middle Medieval Era"]. The artisans of those ancient days could make just about anything on film seem real and believable. Therefore, this tape of Jesus doing a certain type of miracle may very well be a special effects deal put forth by somebody with a closet agenda. That is, whatever is on the old media could reasonably be explained by some other explanation.

But perhaps there would be records of eyewitnesses from those times in which Jesus worked his miracles, and they'd leave behind some sort of record [perhaps] that yes, the material is authentic as is not some side project by Industrial Light & Magic.

It seems to me that the same rationalizing objections given against the eyewitness testimony of the gospels could be applied to the hypothetical eyewitness testimony of the late 20th and early 21st century as well, and hence the evidential value of a videotaped Jesus today [in 2005] could be dissolved by the same sort of rationalistic acid in the 41st century as it is dissolved today in 2005.

Conclusion to the thought experiment: the very advanced nature of our media today would not, to future generations, make a visit by Jesus to AD2005 any more believable to 41st century scepticism than the actual gospel records themselves from the first century.

In other words, I conclude after a moment's thought [and not much more than that] that a recorded appearance today by Jesus wouldn't make the case for or against Christianity any stronger in, say, AD4001.

What do Pedantic Protestantistas think, if any such people exist?


Blogger kletois said...

Why use the time machine to see if skeptics will believe the media footage in 4005AD? The skeptics now won't be convinced of the evidence, they would use the same arguments. When one starts with the apriori assumptions that God doesnt exist, and miracles don't happen (due to the first reason that there is no God in their minds), then Jesus can go on Larry King and still not be believed.

Sunday, June 12, 2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers --so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'

But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'

And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'

He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'"

I think you're right. How patient does God have to be, really?

Monday, June 13, 2005 6:21:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

In dealing with sceptics of a more noble stripe, I've had it advanced that were something Jesusesque to happen today, this would make it much easier for subsequent generations.

But it doesn't seem that way. If the evidence from the 1st century is poor now, it will of course be poor later; if the evidence from the 1st century is sufficient now, it should be sufficient for later.
That is, a 21st century Jesus World Tour wouldn't present an unanswerable bit of evidence for, say, 41st century skeptics.


Monday, June 13, 2005 2:22:00 PM  

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