Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Is christianity contingent?

Of course, I think it is.  But I don't believe in the god of christian theists, so I see christianity as something largely made up by Paul, perhaps together with some advisors, partly based on a mythical or mythologised Jesus character.

My question pertains more to the world view of a christian theist.  There are problems on both sides, as I see it.

In short, if christianity is contingent, then the god of christian theists screwed up and created creatures that unexpectedly ran off the rails and had to be saved by the uncomfortable execution of the Jesus character.  The ability to screw up is not a recognised characteristic of the god of christian theists.

If christianity is not contingent, which seems to be the preferred position of christian theists, then either the Garden of Eden event was staged and the "Fall of Man" was a known outcome right from the start, which could have been prevented but wasn't (thus making the god of christian theists responsible for the event, since that god is so much more powerful and knowledgeable than its creations), or the god knew that there was "sin" built into humanity that would eventually require the uncomfortable execution event (which again could have been prevented, but wasn't, thus the god of the theists is responsible for the "sin" that is built into humanity is).

Personally, I so see christianity as contingent, even within the christian theist's paradigm.  Assuming Adam and Eve existed and had free-will, they could have chosen to ignore the serpent.  Assuming an old universe creation, events could have been different, due to small decisions anywhere in our history, such that the Jesus character never existed (or was never invented), or Paul could have decided to go to the pub for a few refreshing ales rather than head to Damascus the day that he fell over and had his vision.

This sort of contingency is transferrable to other Abrahamic, if not all religions.


When I initially floated this argument (which I admit only hints at the problem), the primary defence seemed to be a total misunderstanding of what "contingent" means.   There was some variation in the lack of comprehension though, which was nice.  I took it to be a sign that some of the WLC fan-club were thinking for themselves rather than just following the party line.

The point that I was trying to make with this argument was that if the universe itself is contingent (per WLC), how could anything within the universe be fundamentally necessary?  If something in the universe is fundamentally necessary, then the universe itself would be necessary - so long as it's also essential to that universe and/or being in the universe is part of the inherent nature of that thing.

That might take some explaining.  Say we have a thing "P in a bucket", say that this "P in a bucket" is necessary, there is no world in which there is no "P in a bucket".  It would therefore follow that there is no world in which there is no bucket just as much as there is no world in which there is no P – because in any world that exists, there would be P and that P would be in a bucket.

The question that could be raised is whether, given our universe, is X necessary (is X like "P in a bucket" or is X like a different type of P, P that may be in the bucket, but might easily be somewhere else, like in a can, or lying on the floor)?  Note that X can be "something", "anything" or "a specific thing", like christianity for example.

The necessity or otherwise of X, given my caveat above (“given our universe”), would depend on the nature of the universe, would it not?  And what is responsible for the nature of the universe?  In a sense, what the objections to the argument revolved around was what could be called “the contingency of necessity”, because the theist’s god apparently gets to choose what is and what is not necessary.

On the grand scale, what that means is that what some theists consider as "necessary" is, in fact, contingent.  Unless, of course, their god is not omnipotent.

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