Tag Archives: Basic Apologetics

Q&A: How to Dismantle Christianity

A while ago, I wrote a post called “How to Dismantle Christianity” where I explained why I am a Christian and how, if you were so inclined, you would be able to persuade me to abandon my beliefs. Due to the fact that “apologetics” was a central player in my conversion story, the logical and rational defense of the Christian worldview is not something I stumbled upon after being a Christian for several years.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 11.46.50 PMA little while after I posted it, @ArchAngelMike had some questions for me (those can be found here). Its been a long time coming (life sorta… happened, you know how it is), but here are my brief answers to Mike’s questions.  For the reader, I’m going to try to make it so that you don’t have to jump back and forth between posts. I hope I’m at least partially successful.

Mike asks a LOT of questions. And these questions come with significant philosophical baggage that needs to be sorted out. As an example, imagine a child asking “how does a plant eat?” There is a lot there to unpack, isn’t there? (Also, I’m not calling AAMike a child) For this reason, this post is probably going to be much, much longer than the posts I usually write. Every single one of these questions could easily be a lengthy blog post in itself.
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Arguments & Evidence – Remix’d

About 6 months ago, I wrote a post called “Arguments and Evidence – Should an Argument Be Considered Evidence?” where I examined the relationship between arguments and evidence. The conclusion of my analysis was this:

argument5Evidence is used in justification for certain truth-bearing propositions. An argument is a series of truth-bearing propositions, logically leading to a conclusion. If the premises of an argument are justified by evidence, and the argument is both valid and sound, the conclusion logically follows.

That logical conclusion from the evidence is also evidence for a certain conclusion. So, an argument is evidence. However, this is not meant to be a bifurcation between the concepts. Arguments and evidence are interdependent upon each other.

I think my point is rather trivially true, but not everyone seems to agree with me.
I think its because they don’t actually understand my point. I did my best to respond in the comments section of the previous post, but I received a blog response from @nonprophetess titled “An Argument for Evidence“. This post highlights the primary misunderstanding behind the rejection of my conclusion.

She didn’t particularly like the evidence for my mortality, in the form of this argument:
1. All men are mortal.
2. Elijiah is a man.
3. Therefore, Elijiah is mortal.

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Consider the Following – Ham Vs Nye Debate

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Ken Ham (of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (the ‘Science Guy’) debated whether or not creation is a viable model when it comes to the question of origins. The debate happened last night (Feb. 4th, 2014) and the blog-o-sphere is erupting with people tossing their opinions in.
Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 12.50.53 PM
I’ve read a lot of these blog posts and I’m going to point you to several that I think are quite good. However, you should watch the debate first.
You can find it here.

Why are they debating? Great question.
It is because Bill Nye said some stuff about creationism that Ken Ham didn’t agree with, and the stork came and delivered a debate.
The debate was announced on Ken Ham’s Facebook page on Jan. 1st.

My first impression was that this debate was going to be rather silly, because neither Ham nor Nye are known for their good debating skills. Ham is an unwavering young earth creationist whose approach is unapologetically presuppositional. Nye was the frontman for a kids’ science show and is currently a science popularizer.
– I would have rather had people a little more qualified talking about this topic.
– I was afraid that people might assume all Christians agree with Ken Ham’s approach.
– I was concerned that this would continue the false “science vs god” dichotomy.
But! The world doesn’t revolve around me, so the debate happened anyway. Continue reading

Just Give Me Evidence! EVIDENCE EVIDENCE EVIDENCE!

Hi everyone.6a00d8341bf68b53ef01348624d3f9970c-800wi
As usual, yet another blog post is being inspired by twitter conversations. Twitter gives me such great #BlogFodder

If you’ve spent any time discussing the existence of God or the truth of Christianity online, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is how it might go:
1. An atheist (or group of atheists) will demand evidence for God.
2. You respond by giving them evidence for God.
3. They just label it a fallacy (or worse, say that ‘arguments are not evidence‘) and repudiate it.
4. They ask for evidence again.
5. You reply with, “I just gave you evidence, you didn’t address it. What do you mean by evidence?”
6. The atheist(s) reply, “STUPID CHRISTIAN! DON’T TRY TO REDEFINE EVIDENCE! GIVE ME EVIDENCE!!!11”

Remember that conversation you had with that one [group of] atheist(s) that sounded just like that? That was incredibly frustrating, wasn’t it?
I know that feel, bro.
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Please Stop Arguing Definitions, Thanks

Ok, everyone. Lend me your ears!

Many atheists want to define atheism as “lack of belief in god(s)” and faith as “believing without evidence”.
Many theists want to define atheism as “the belief that god does not exist” and faith as “confident trust based on knowledge”.

Definitions-demotivator

… aaaand the conversation starts and stops there.

The goal of a conversations is NOT to strong-arm the other person into accepting your definition of a word. The goal of conversations is to discuss the issues reasonably and ultimately… discover the truth.

Stop it.
Stop this senseless bickering over definitions.

I can’t imagine someone thinking, “faith is belief without evidence? Christianity is a lie!” or “atheism is the belief that god doesn’t exist? Christianity must be true!”

If someone says they have faith, ask, “what do you mean by faith?”
If someone says they’re an atheist, ask “what do you mean by atheist?”

Accept their definition and move forward.

In this particular instance, suspend your inner analytic philosopher and channel your inner pragmatist.

This is a plea to everyone.
Let’s all work to move the conversation forward. Stop getting stuck arguing definitions. And stop defining your opponents position into irrationality.

– ElijiahT

Ps. This is not some kind of post-modern “words don’t have definitions” appeal. Words do have meaning. But we want to continue the conversation, not stop it because we can’t agree on the basics.

God of the Gaps? Really?

God of the gaps quote

You’re just shoving your god into the gaps in our knowledge.
They used to do that, you know… about thunder and lightning.
As our knowledge of the world increases, the room for your god decreases.

Yes, people used to marvel at thunder and lightning and come to unreasonable conclusions. They did not know what was going on, and they concluded that god (or gods) must be responsible.
This is a ‘gap reasoning’.

But when a logical argument concludes with “therefore, God exists”, it is not a god-of-the-gaps conclusion.

If someone says, “I don’t know… therefore X”, that is gap-reasoning.
If someone says, “here are several reasons why it is reasonable to conclude that X”, that is not gap reasoning.

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Believe It or Not, Atheists Need Hermeneutics Too!

http://www.zazzle.com/real_men_practice_good_biblical_hermeneutics_tshirt-235103064594238396

I’ve recently been in several discussions where I defend what the Bible says against skeptics. Now, you might be thinking, “um… yea, that’s what apologists like you do”, and you’d have a point.

But this is different.
I’m not only defending what the Bible says; I’m defending the idea that the Bible actually says anything at all.
The skeptics aren’t denying that there are words on the page, of course. But they are denying that there is a proper interpretation of those words. They are [apparently] under the impression that the Bible isn’t actually saying anything objective at all, and that all (or most) interpretations are somehow equally valid.

As a side note, I am amused by this. These same skeptics are the ones who point to passages in the Old Testament in an attempt to say that God is behaving immorally. But their arguments rely upon the fact that there is an objectively correct interpretation of scripture.
Consistency, guys. Either the Bible does have an objective meaning, or it doesn’t. You can’t have both.

If the Bible is saying something objectively testable, our goal (and the goal of proper hermeneutics) is to understand what the Bible is actually saying. The Bible claims to be making statements about [historical, spiritual, theological, etc] reality, and can therefore be tested.
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