Merry Christmas, everyone! It’s only 5 days away and I have to say I’m extremely excited myself. My in-laws will be visiting and it’s going to be a ton of fun. Then, in January, my wife and I are making a trip to visit my parents. But of course, at the center of it all, there is reflection upon the meaning of Christmas and its application to our lives. And, equally unsurprising, I’m most interested in those writings which explore the evidence. Check out my finds below. And again, Merry Christmas!
Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?– Here, Tim McGrew takes on the suggestion that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. He analyzes it from a number of angles, including the notion that the birth in Bethlehem was invented or that there was disagreement among the Gospel writers. This post comes highly recommended. For more on the evidence of the birth narrative of Christ, check out my post Jesus’ Birth: How undesigned coincidences give evidence for the truth of the Gospel accounts.
Was the Virgin Birth Incorrectly Prophesied?– A brief, interesting post opposing the notion that the virgin birth was not a prophecy about Christ. For a post on the importance and meaning of the virgin birth, check out a guest post on this site: Rev. Kent Wartick on “The Virgin Birth.”
A More Accurate Picture of the Original Christmas Morning– What would the Christmas morning really have looked like? Check out this post for a brief, interesting summary of what the surroundings of Jesus would most likely have been at his birth.
A Moment in Eternity– Ravi Zacharias is a phenomenal speaker and writer. Here, he reflects upon the meaning and celebration of Christmas from his time in Dubai and other Middle Eastern areas.
The Gift of Christmas Was Predicted With the Gift of Prophecy– J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity, has put together a nice brief summary of a number of prophecies which were fulfilled by Jesus’ birth and life. Check out this interesting post related to prophecy.
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas– Are Christians allowed to participate in an allegedly pagan holiday? Check out this brief post for some answers.
I think I should maybe write a post dealing with objections against the virgin birth and its alleged improbability.
I’ve explained why I am skeptical about Bayesianism.
I think that the frequentist probabilities of many historical events are meaningful (even if the event itself only occurred one time) and can be reasonably well approximated under the assumption that these events can be traced back to purely natural causes and are thus (in principle) repeatable .
But if you drop this assumption, you can no longer argue that Jesus was not born of a virgin because nobody else was, since Jesus’s life and birth would be a unique and singular event which either occurred or not.
This is why I think the spektic can only use this line of reasoning if he has either showed there is no God or that for God Jesus was only an average human being.
If you find the time, I would be very glad if you could take a look at what I wrote on the philosophy of probability (in the link above) and tell me your thoughts on such an endaveour.
I asked for your opinion because I find that you are a pretty insightful and honest young thinker and I’d be happy to receive your wise advice.
Lovely greetings from Europe.
Thanks for your comment. I admit my own skepticism involving Bayesianism simply involves the notion that I’m not sure we can always accurately plug in numbers for the probabilities.
Your own post presents an interesting argument, but I’m not sure it actually is successful. For example, you wrote, “The mathematical demonstration used to prove Bayes theorem relies on related frequencies and cannot be employed in a context where propositions (such as S and UEP) cannot be understood as frequencies.”
I’m actually not sure your example yields this. Although it does demonstrate that unrelated things generally do not yield any meaningful results for Bayesians, it doesn’t show that things without frequencies cannot be factored into Bayesianism. The problem with the latter case is not so much tat it is impossible for Bayesians to utilize such things as probability for propositions which are not frequencies as it is that they must essentially assign probability to such things fairly arbitrarily (so far as I can tell). I am by no means an expert in Bayesianism, so take that is you will, but I think that the greater difficulty is that in the cases like you describe, the probabilities simply must be assigned by whatever criteria the Bayesian desires.