Theology, philosophy, math, science, and random other things

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 23)

Let us now turn to some figures from Buddhism who are said to have appeared after their deaths. Bodhidharma is the Buddhist monk credited with bringing Chan Buddhism to China, some time around the 5th century AD. Here is Wikipedia's summary of the legend surrounding his death: Three years after Bodhidharma's death, Ambassador Sòngyún of […]

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 22)

We now come to Hinduism's Krishna, who's another god that's sometimes compared with Jesus. He's said to be have been the incarnation of Vishnu, who is either the supreme god, or one of three or five most important gods, depending on the specific tradition in Hinduism. Krishna has perhaps a greater claim to a real, […]

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 21)

How about we look at some ancient gods? Jesus is often compared to the gods in other religions, but can any of them actually serve in our comparison of historical evidence for a resurrection? Mithra, for instance, is a god in the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, who then inspired a Roman mystery religion. He often […]

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 20)

Next, let us consider Zalmoxis, whom Herodotus writes about in his "Histories" as a divinity in the religion of the Getae. Herodotus wrote that Zalmoxis's followers believed they have a form of immortality in him, and performed a kind of human sacrifice to communicate with him through death. According to Herodotus, he was told by […]

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 19)

Fortunately, skeptics of Christ's resurrection often do some of the early leg work for us, in that they compile lists of purported people who have been said to be like Christ for one reason or another. We'll look at a representative sample from such lists. First, let us consider Apollonius of Tyana, who is sometimes […]

Bayesian evaluation for the likelihood of Christ's resurrection (Part 18)

We are interested in quantifying the Bayes' factor for the testimonies concerning Christ's resurrection. We will do so by comparing the level of evidence for Christ's resurrection against the level of evidence we find in world history through a naturalistic process and outlook. Here is how the procedure will work: As a conservative estimate, let […]

The lifetime of evil (part 2)

In the last post, I introduced the idea that an act - an evil act in particular - has a characteristic time-scale over which its consequences become clear. This time-scale can be determined from the mechanics of the act in question. I was initially inclined to call this the "half-life of evil", but that phrasing […]

History, moral progress, and moral perfection (part 2)

In the last post of this series, we examined the nature of social progress, and where that leaves us in the course of history. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. In the future, it will continue to bend towards perfection - and away from our current state. The […]

On same-sex marriage

Last Friday, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states. I had long intended to write something on this important and contentious issue - in fact, you can see that my last few posts have been laying the foundation in preparation for speaking on this topic. But, as many observers noted, the matter […]

History, moral progress, and moral perfection (part 1)

Do you think that you live at the apex of moral history? That, after thousands of years bumbling and mistakes, your particular place (America, for instance) and time (June 2015) is when your society has finally gotten things right and achieved perfect virtue? Obviously you don't. I hope none of us are so foolish, provincial, […]
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