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Whitaker House, Comfort, Ray. How to Win Souls and Influence People.
Bridge-Logos Publishers, The Evidence Bible. The Way of the Master. Tyndale, Understanding Jesus. McGrath, Alister E. Understanding the Trinity.
Morey, Robert. Trinity: Evidence and Issues. Riverside World, Doctrine of Scripture Archer, Gleason L. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Bruce, F. The Canon of Scripture. Intervarsity Press, A General Introduction to the Bible.
Moody Press, Doctrine of Salvation Alleine, Joseph. A Sure Guide to Heaven. Banner of Truth, Lloyd-Jones, D. The Plight of Man and the Power of God. Piper, John. Future Grace. Multnomah Publishers, Definition statements are devoid of content and say nothing about the world; empirical statements have content but tell us nothing about any alleged reality beyond the empirical world.
Definitional statements are useful in empirical and practical matters but not at all informative about reality in any metaphysical sense. The Nonsense of God-talk. God is unknowable and inexpressible. In fact, the term God is meaningless. Hence, even traditional agnosticism is untenable, since the agnostic assumes that it is meaningful to ask the question whether God exists. Hence, it is impossible to be an agnostic. The term God is neither analytic nor synthetic. Hence, it is literally nonsense to talk about God.
Ayer came to revise his principle of verifiability see ibid. This form admitted the possibility that some empirical experiences are certain, such as those of a single sensory experience, and that there is a third kind of statement with some analytic or definitional verifiability.
He did not come to allow for the meaningfulness of God-talk. The verifiable experiences would be neither true nor false nor factual, but simply meaningfully definitional.
Ayer acknowledged that an effective elimination of metaphysics needs to be supported by detailed analysis of metaphysical arguments Ayer, Even a revised principle of empirical verifiability would make it impossible to utter meaningfully true statements about a transempirical reality such as a God.
God does not reveal himself in the world. Hence, there not only is no propositional revelation, but there is no cognitively transcendent being. Wittgenstein believed that language games are possible, even religious language games. God-talk can and does occur, but it is not metaphysical; it tells us nothing about the existence and nature of God. It is disastrous to the theist, whether God cannot be known as in Immanuel Kant or whether he cannot be spoken of as in Ayer.
Both traditional agnosticism and contemporary acognosticism leave us in the same dilemma philosophically: There are no bases for truth statements about God. Unfalsifiability of Religious Beliefs. The other side of the principle of verifiability is that of falsifiability.
For one cannot allow anything to count for his belief in God unless he is willing to allow something to count against it. Whatever is meaningful is also falsifiable.
There is no difference between an invisible, undetectable gardener and no gardener at all. Likewise, a God who does not make a verifiable or falsifiable difference is no God at all.
Unless the believer can show how the world would be different if there were no God, conditions in the world cannot be used as evidence. It matters 9 little whether theism rests on a parable or a myth, the believer has no meaningful or verifiable knowledge of God.
Like its cousin agnosticism, acognosticism is vulnerable to serious criticism. As already noted, the principle of empirical verifiability set fourth by Ayer is self-defeating. It is neither purely definition nor strictly fact.
Hence, on its own grounds it would fall into the third category of non-sense statements. Ayer recognized this problem and engaged a third category for which he claimed no truth value. Verifiability, he contended, is analytic and definitional, but not arbitrary or true. It is metacognitive , that is, beyond verification as true or false. It is simply useful as a guide to meaning. This is an ill-fated move for two reasons. First, it no longer eliminates the possibility of making metaphysical statements.
Rather, it admits that one cannot arbitrarily legislate meaning, but must consider the meaning of alleged metaphysical statements. But that means it is possible to make meaningful statements about reality, a denial of complete agnosticism and acognosticism.
Second, to restrict what is meaningful is to limit what could be true, since only the meaningful can be true. Hence, the attempt to limit meaning to the definitional or the verifiable is to make a truth claim that must itself be subject to some test.
If it cannot be tested, then it is itself unfalsifiable and a meaningless belief by its own standards. Reply to Wittgensteinian Mysticism. Ludwig Wittgenstein engages in a self-stultifying acognosticism. He attempts to define the limits of language in such a way that it is impossible to speak cognitively about God. God is literally inexpressible. And that whereof one cannot speak, he should not attempt to speak. But Wittgenstein can be no more successful in drawing the lines of linguistic limitation than was Kant in delimiting the realm of phenomena or appearance.
The very attempt to deny all expressions about God is an expression about God. One cannot draw the limits of language and thought without transcending those very limits. It is self-defeating to express the contention that the inexpressible cannot be expressed.
In like manner even to think the thought that the unthinkable cannot be thought is self-destructive. Language thought and reality cannot be mutually exclusive, for every attempt to completely separate them implies some interaction between them. First, in the narrow sense of empirical falsifiability, it is too restrictive. Not everything need be empirically falsifiable. Indeed that very principle is not empirically falsifiable.
But in the broader sense of testable or arguable, surely the principle is alive and helpful. For unless there are criteria for truth and falsity, then no truth claims can be supported. Everything, including opposing views, could be true. Second, not everything that is verifiable need be falsifiable in the same manner. As John Hick pointed out, there is an asymmetrical relation between verifiability and falsifiability.
One can verify personal immortality by consciously observing his own funeral. But one cannot falsify personal immortality.
One who does not survive death is not there to falsify anything. But if it is necessary to posit an omniscient mind or God, then it would be eminently self-defeating to use falsification to disprove God. So we may conclude that every truth claim must be testable or arguable, but not all truth claims need be falsifiable. A total state of nonexistence of anything would be unfalsifiable, for example, since there would be no one and no way to falsify it.
On the other hand, the existence of something is testable by experience or inference. Sources A. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic H. Hick, The Existence of God I.
Ramsay, Religious Language J. Flew, ed. The Testimony of a Roman Historian. Sherwin-White is a case in point e. Another historian added the weight of his scholarship to the question of the historicity of the book of Acts. In addition, Luke manifests an incredible array of knowledge of local places, names, conditions, customs, and circumstances that befits an eyewitness contemporary recording the time and events.
In some cases, specific local knowledge must be discounted because evidence is not available.
Numerous things are confirmed by historical and archaeological research. A natural crossing between correctly named ports —5. Mount Casius, south of Seleucia, stands within sight of Cyprus. The name of the proconsul in cannot be confirmed, but the family of the Sergii Pauli is attested. The proper river port, Perga, for a ship crossing from Cyprus The proper location of Lycaonia The unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra and the correct language spoken in Lystra.
Correct identification of the two gods associated with the city, Zeus and Hermes The proper port, Attalia, for returning travelers The correct route from the Cilician Gates The proper form of the name Troas The proper identification of Philippi as a Roman colony.
The right location for the river Gangites near Philippi Association of Thyatira with cloth dyeing Correct designations of the titles for the colony magistrates , 35 , 36 , The proper locations where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey The presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica , and the proper title of politarch for the magistrates The correct explanation that sea travel is the most convenient way to reach Athens in summer with favoring east winds The abundance of images in Athens , and reference to the synagogue there Depiction of philosophical debate in the agora Use in —19 of the correct Athenian slang epithet for Paul, spermologos , and the correct name of the court areios pagos ; accurate depiction of Athenian character Logical reaction of philosophers who denied bodily resurrection.
Areopogites the correct title for a member of the court Correct identification of the Corinthian synagogue Correct designation of Gallio as proconsul The name Tyrannus , attested on a first-century inscription The cult of Artemis of the Ephesians , The cult is well attested, and the Ephesian theater was the city meeting-place Correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate and the proper title of honor, Neokoros Correct name to identify the goddess Correct designation for those holding court Use of plural anthupatoi in is probably a remarkably exact reference to the fact that two men jointly exercised the functions of proconsul at this time.
Use of precise ethnic designation beroiaios and the ethnic term Asianos Implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to Troas — Implication of the danger of the coastal trip in this area that caused Paul to travel by land Correct sequence of places visited and correct neuter plural of the city name Patara The appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favored by persistent northwest winds The proper distance between Ptolemais and Caesarea Purification rite characteristic of pious Jewish Accurate representation of the Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple area The permanent stationing of a Roman cohort in the Fortress Antonia to suppress disturbances at festival times The flight of steps used by guards , The two common ways of obtaining Roman citizenship The correct identifications of Ananias as high priest and Felix as governor Identification of a common stopping point on the road to Caesarea Note of the proper jurisdiction of Cilicia Explanation of the provincial penal procedure —9.
Agreement with Josephus of the name Porcius Festus Note of the right of appeal by a Roman citizen The legal formula of de quibus cognoscere volebam The characteristic form of reference to the emperor Correct identification of the best shipping lanes at the time Use of the commonly joined names of Cilicia and Pamphylia to describe the coast Reference to the principal port at which to find a ship sailing to Italy Note of the typically slow passage to Cnidus in the face of a northwest wind The locations of Fair Havens and neighboring Lasea and correct description of Fair Havens as poorly sheltered for wintering Description of the tendency in these climes for a south wind to suddenly become a violent northeaster, the gregale The nature of a square-rigged ship to have no option but be driven before a gale correctly stated Precise name and place given for the island of Clauda The fourteenth night judged by experienced Mediterranean navigators, to be an appropriate time for this journey in a storm The proper term for this section of the Adriatic Sea at this time The precise term, bolisantes , for taking soundings.
The position of probable approach of a ship running aground before an easterly wind Correct description of the severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape Accurate description of the local people and superstitions of the day —6. Correct identification of Rhegium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry a ship through the strait The historicity of the book of Acts is confirmed by overwhelming evidence.
Nothing like this amount of detailed confirmation exists for another book from antiquity. This is not only a direct confirmation of the earliest Christian belief in the death and resurrection of Christ, but also, indirectly, of the Gospel record, since the author of Acts Luke also wrote a detailed Gospel.
This Gospel directly parallels the other two Synoptic Gospels. The best evidence is that this material was composed by A.
This places the writing during the lifetime of eyewitnesses to the events recorded cf. Luke —4. This does not allow time for an alleged mythological development by persons living generations after the events.
The Roman historian Sherwin-White has noted that the writings of Herodotus enable us to determine the rate at which legends develop. None exist.