The Problem of Death's Door: Part 3 Beginning the Investigation

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

In Part 2, I gave reasons for why and where we should start our investigation as to what lies beyond Death's Door. We ended up with Christianity being our starting point. Please remember that this is my suggestion and that you are free to go about your own investigation any way you want. Just remember that while we will likely have years to look into this matter... You never know when that might get cut short. Death's Door is always approaching.


In my previous post, I recommended starting with Christianity because it says that if we fail to do something before we open the door, then what we are greeted with is eternal conscious torment. Our goal now is to prove that Christianity is false beyond a reasonable doubt. Some people think that if you have any doubt about Christianity being false, you're better off believing it's true anyway.


You read that right. Christianity is to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. It's to be treated as true until proven false.


Why?


Again, because in rejecting Christianity, we are risking eternal conscious torment. That is something that we do NOT want to get wrong. So, we are better off assuming that it's true until we have very good reasons to believe that it is false. On top of that, all the other worldviews (except a couple others listed in the last post) have periods/places of torment that are finite and/or escapable. So, even if Christianity turns out to be false we are likely to escape eternal conscious torment anyway. But don't worry. We will address the other worldviews and compare them to Christianity later on.


Let's say, however, you think considering Christianity to be true right off the bat is too extreme. Then I recommend tentatively accepting the proposal of Christianity while looking out for evidence that would convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that it is false. The main point is that we are looking to prove that it is false, we are not looking to prove that it is true.


Now with all that said, how should we start our investigation? I think we should start with these two questions:


  1. What is the worldview?

  2. Does it make any falsifiable claims?

1. What is the Worldview?


I recommend that we start by determining what Christianity is. What even is Christianity?


How do we find out?

This is just the beginning, so we should look at Christianity in broad brush strokes. We can flesh out the details later.


When doing worldview analysis I think we need to determine the most trusted sources for that particular worldview. And for Christianity, that is the Bible. Sure, there are arguments about whether to include the apocryphal writings or if the Bible needs to be supplemented with another book and, perhaps, certain traditions. But, in all their different lists for things that should be considered a "trusted source", all the major sects and denominations have the Bible as one of them. That means both the old testament and the new testament.


So, for now, let's consider the Bible the most trusted source for Christianity. If you think we should include other books or exclude parts of the Bible... all of the Bible... that's up to you.


What do the sources say?


There are many resources available online to help us find out without having to read the whole Bible. That book is really big. Here is a list of propositions that I think are central to what Christianity is in a broad stroke:


  1. God exists (1)

  2. God created the universe

  3. Heaven and Hell are real places

  4. God is the king of the universe

  5. Humans have rebelled against God

  6. Jesus is God

  7. Jesus was sent by God to restore humanity to God

  8. Jesus was crucified for the sins of humanity

  9. Jesus rose from the grave

  10. Jesus rising from the grave vindicates His claims

  11. Humans are to acknowledge Jesus as king and that His crucifixion was sufficient punishment to restore them to God

  12. Humans earn a one way ticket to Hell (2) by failing to do 11.


Feel free to add or take away anything from the above list. Just remember that we are trying to truthfully represent Christianity in a broad sense. This is what I think Christianity is in a nutshell.


2. Does it Make Any Falsifiable Claims (3)?


Falsifiable claims are the only way that we can prove that a worldview is false. Unfortunately, with eternal conscious torment on the line, I think we ought to grant a worldview all of its unfalsifiable claims. However! If one of its central claims is falsifiable and is proven beyond reasonable doubt to be false, then, in my opinion, that would lend some justification to someone risking eternal conscious torment by rejecting that worldview. Depends on how gutsy you are I guess, and what you have to gain for rejecting that worldview.


I also think that we ought to prefer worldviews in which one or more of its central claims are falsifiable but, those claims have not been proven to be false. Those worldviews would be preferred over and above worldviews that have no central claims that are falsifiable and, of course, any worldviews that do have central claims that are falsifiable which have been proven false. That's because I think true falsifiable claims should qualify as evidence while true unfalsifiable claims can't.


Of course, you are free to disagree. I'd just like to know why you would prefer an unfalsifiable claim over a falsifiable one. Seems odd to me. Leap of faith, much?


Now!

Are there any falsifiable claims in the list that I provided above?


Personally, I think that only 9. is really falsifiable. I know that some people think that 1. or 6. or, perhaps, 2. are falsifiable. I just think that's disputable. To be sure, yes, part of 8. is falsifiable. But, how do we falsify that Jesus' crucifixion was for the sins of humanity? So, I recommend that we turn our attention to 9. and try to see if we can prove that it is false. But, that will have to wait until the next post. Thanks for reading!


END NOTES:

(1) The Bible goes into more detail describing this god and how humans relate him. For now, I'll just say that he is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, good and loving.

(2) That is, as you might remember, eternal conscious torment.

(3) By falsifiable I simply mean that a claim can be proven false. For example, the claim, "All swans are white," can be proven false by discovering one swan that is not white.

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