Thursday, November 03, 2005

Heddle on Apologetics

Over at He Lives, David Heddle offers this creepy post about Christian apologetics. Apologetics is the branch of theology devoted to proving the various truth claims of Christianity.

Heddle writes:


Apologetics is the discipline of defending your faith, using logic and reason. It is helping people know what they believe and why they believe it. It is an intellectual defense of the truth of the claims of the Christian faith. However, as a defense, it is not merely defensive, it is also offensive; the proactive construction of a case for Christianity, not just a reactive defense against assaults.

For the average Christian it means this: learn sound doctrine, and learn how to support it biblically. It can be viewed this way:


  1. Have a way to defend biblical inerrancy. It won’t (and can’t) convince someone who has not been moved by the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:18). Nevertheless, we should be able to do more than simply say “I just believe it.”

  2. Be able to defend and demonstrate that the bible does in fact teach what we claim to hold as our beliefs. Does the bible teach that if homosexuals are born that way, God would surely never punish them for it? Prove it. Does it, instead, teach that God will in fact punish not only homosexuals but everyone else, not in spite of but because of how they are born (unless they are saved)?, prove it.



My exposure to Christian apologetics came during the years I spent in Kansas. While there I listened to the local Christian radio station on virtually a daily basis, often for several hours at a time. Defending Christianity was one of the most popular sermon topics (bashing evolution was not far behind). Their preachers were constantly offering litanies of arguments for how we can be sure that Jesus was God, that He died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected three days later and all the rest.

The phrase “... helping people know what they believe and why they believe it,” was one I heard over and over again on the radio. Personally, I wouldn't know how to believe something without also knowing why I believe it. The prevalence of this phrase in discussions of apologetics paints a dim view of a large segment of modern Christianity. The implication is that large numbers of people are describing themselves as Christians without really understanding Christianity, and without having any basis in logic or reason for accepting its claims as accurate.

Equally creepy is Heddle's first numbered point above. He instructs his readers to have a way to defend Biblical inerrancy, but then says no such argument will convince a person who has not been moved by the Spirit. That's a pretty stark admission that there is no good argument for Biblical inerrancy. The fact is that if Christians had any good arguments to make in defense of Biblical inerrancy, those arguments would be persuasive to an open-minded person.

What role are these arguments playing if they must be supplemented with divine intervention before they seem persuasive? If I am moved by the Spirit to accept Christianity, why would I need a logical argument to go along with it? Apparently, Heddle is concerned simply with his readers having talking points to spew when confronted by a skeptic. How is simply saying “I just believe it,” different from saying, “The Spirit has moved me to believe these things, and here's an unperusasive argument I learned how to say.”

Heddle closes his essay with this:


Spurgeon’s lion—is it then just a paper lion? Profoundly no. Spurgeon was wrong in assuming that scripture was its own apologetic. Scripture’s power comes not in proving that God exists, but in its revelation about the God it assumes. Once God is proven to be true, independent of scripture, and scripture is proven to be the word of God, then the Spirit makes the word come to life in the hearts of men.


The reference here is to preacher Charles Spurgeon, who, Heddle informs us, took a dim view of apologetics.

This seems to contradict what Heddle said previously. There we heard that before you can be persuaded by rational arguments you must first be moved by the Spirit. Here he is saying that after you are convinced by “proof” that God exists and that the Bible is His word, then the Spirit will start working in your life.

The Christian radio station I listened to never said anything about having to be moved by the Spirit before being convinced by the arguments of Christian apologists. Their attitude was quite the opposite. The arguments they were making were supposed to be persuasive to everyone independent of their starting point.

One of their heroes was Lee Strobel, who seemed to be on every other day. In books like The Case for Faith and The Case for Christ, Strobel was fond of telling people about how he was an atheist for much of his life. He worked as a journalist, and was moved by his Christian wife to take a journalist's approach to the evidence for Christianity. Strobel recounts how he began the project with the intention of refuting Christianity, only to find the evidence was simply too convincing the other way.

If Christianity will only seem plausible to you if you first put yourself in a highly suggestive state of mind, then I would suggest that apologetics is, indeed, a waste of time.

Incidentally, have a look at this article about Strobel, from Hour of Power ministries:


Lee Strobel wasn’t always a believer. As an investigative journalist specializing in legal issues at the Chicago Tribune, he said he was an atheist living a not so wonderful life. Then, in the fall of 1979, his wife became a Christian after being invited by a friend to a church.

“It was really the positive changes I saw in her character and values that prompted me to start intensively investigating the evidence for Jesus,” Strobel says. In January of 1980, he began what would become a nine-month investigation of the evidence proving that Jesus is the Son of God.


I mention this because in the comments to this previous post I wrote:


In fact, as I understand Christiantiy, one of the ways I, as an nonbeliever, am supposed to come around to the belief that Chrisitanity is true is by observing Christians. I'm supposed to be able to see that they have something I want, and currently lack. Call it contentment, or inner peace, or whatever.


Heddle replied with:


No, that is not true. You have to be born again. That is, first you have to be regenerated, and then you will begin to seek God; It is never the other way around. You will never, ever become a Christian by observing Christians. You don't talk yourself into Christianity. You don't “come around” to Christianity, You are “drawn” in by God (John 6:44), not by other Christians (the Greek word translated as “drawn” is translated elsewhere as “dragged” and means “compelled by irresistible force.”


In Strobel's case it seems that my description of things was accurate.

And if the only way I will ever become a Christian is if God draws me in to it, then I can only ask why He has not chosen to so draw me thus far. It is not as if I haven't been doing my part. I have sought Him in every way I know how, and with every ounce of sincerity I possess. Apparently, it's not enough.

There seem to be some theological problems with Heddle's position. It implies that the enormous number of lost people in the world are in that state because of some lack of action on God's part. I don't htink any of my Christian friends would take Heddle's side in this.

30 Comments:

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Heathen Dan said...

At least he hasn't used Ray Comfort's banana apologetics yet. Ugh.

 
At 6:54 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

Jason,

Gee, I’m surprised that post struck a nerve. Now, where to begin?

Personally, I wouldn't know how to believe something without also knowing why I believe it.

That sounds right, but it’s a little simplistic, don’t you think? Aren’t there students in an evolution class who believe evolution, maybe by instinct, but could not defend it against a well-prepared opponent? Won’t they be better at defending it once they are on solid ground? So, in a sense, they believe without knowing why they believe. Is that really surprising?

Equally creepy is Heddle's first numbered point above. He instructs his readers to have a way to defend Biblical inerrancy, but then says no such argument will convince a person who has not been moved by the Spirit.

Creepy? Possibly. But definitely self-consistent. For once you accept inerrancy (the next topic in the class) then you accept, as the bible teaches, that its words are foolishness to non-believers (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:18)

What role are these arguments playing if they must be supplemented with divine intervention before they seem persuasive? If I am moved by the Spirit to accept Christianity, why would I need a logical argument to go along with it?

The point is, the arguments are not meant to persuade someone to be a Christian (although they may be instrumental—i.e., your arguments may be the means God chooses to reach someone, someone He is already working on.) The real reason of being able to defend your faith is that you are commanded to do so (1 Pet. 3:15-16), i.e., it glorifies God. Making converts (purely through the power of logical arguments) is not the purpose.

In Strobel's case it seems that my description of things was accurate.

That is one way to look at it. Using Strobel’s testimony, you might (and Strobel) might interpret it this way: he was influenced by the positive changes in his wife and began seeking, ultimately arriving at and affirming Christianity. I often, when I give my testimony, give similar credit to my autistic son. Nevertheless, I would say that God first changed Strobel’s (and my) heart, then he used his wife (in my case, my son) as the instrumental means to, in effect, preach the gospel. From the Christian’s perspective, even if they have a Calvinistic theology (I don’t know about Strobel), it is still natural to give their testimony in terms of how it appears, humanly speaking.

I would refer you to Romans 3:9-18 where Paul tells us that nobody in the flesh, absolutely nobody, seeks God.

As for nobody seeking God (on their own, before they are regenerated), that must be distinguished from something that looks the same: seeking the things God has to offer: peace, assurance, (less) fear of death, etc.

And if the only way I will ever become a Christian is if God draws me in to it, then I can only ask why He has not chosen to so draw me thus far. It is not as if I haven't been doing my part. I have sought Him in every way I know how, and with every ounce of sincerity I possess. Apparently, it's not enough.

Well, there is nothing you (or I or Strobel) can do, on your own, that is enough. But maybe He is drawing you. One thing is clear, those He draws He brings to repentance. If, by “doing your part” you mean “doing good stuff” then I’m sure you know that’s not the point. If “doing your part” includes acknowledging that you are a sinner who cannot save himself, then He is drawing you.

There seem to be some theological problems with Heddle's position. It implies that the enormous number of lost people in the world are in that state because of some lack of action on God's part. I don't htink any of my Christian friends would take Heddle's side in this.

Sort of true, I’d quibble with the language. They (the lost) are in that state because of their own sin. They can only be rescued from that state if it pleases God to do so. Why doesn’t He choose to do so for everyone? I don’t know, although I would say the absolute best place to look for a hint at an answer is Romans 9. As for your Christian friends, if any are Calvinist leaning, they would agree with me. Maybe you should ask.

 
At 8:08 AM, Anonymous J-Dog said...

Verily I say unto you He that acts like a Heddle is damded to eternal torment, for my Father don't go for smarmy, whiney little babies.

For mine is the Kingdom, not of this world, but of a better world, where Heddles are unerringly scorned and swirlied.

Yay, now go , all ye saints and do not get Heddled, for he who Heddles is lost. Blessed are those that choose my way, for the otherway is truly the highway to Heddle, and will be properly scraped off your shoe and flushed with all Heddles back into the ecosystem.

Thus he spoketh just before he dumpeth a Heddle into anathema.

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Lord Runolfr said...

They (the lost) are in that state because of their own sin. They can only be rescued from that state if it pleases God to do so. -- David Heddle

Seeing that claim, I have to wonder why the Christian establishment works so hard to proselytize, convert, convince, and otherwise "advertise" Christianity to non-Christians.

I mean, haven't you just said, David, that anyone who is not a Christian is not one because God doesn't want them to be one? You seem to be saying that unbelievers are unbelievers because God wants them to be unbelievers. In other words, no one chooses to follow God and be saved; God makes all the decisions for them.

God creates flawed humans, condemns them for their flaws, arbitrarily saves a few, and condemns the rest because He chose not to "call" them. Do you not see any ethical problem with that behavior?

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger gravitybear said...

Wow. Just read that banana apologetics.
A veritable cornucopia of logical flaws and quote mining.
Truly frightening.

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

lord runolfr,

We proselytize because we are commanded to proclaim the gospel and because it is a privilege to be used by God as his instrument to reach the lost. We do not proselytize because our words, in and of themselves, will convict anyone.

I never said that God wants anyone to be an unbeliever. In fact, scripture teaches just the opposite, God wants all men to come to salvation (1 Tim. 2:4-6). It is equally clear that God doesn’t actively decree all to salvation—in other words it is clear that some will be lost.

I also didn’t say that nobody chooses God. I chose God. Strobel chose God. But only after we were regenerated. Before that divine initiative, we were morally incapable of choosing God. After regeneration, we are morally capable and, normatively, are assistant by other Christians who proselytize us—to make contact with your first point.

I don’t see an ethical problem. We all are born in rebellion to God. He is under no obligation to save anyone. That’s why it is called mercy. That’s why it is called grace. He would be perfectly just and ethical to save nobody. On the other hand, even if I did consider it an ethical problem, there is nothing I can do about it. It’s the only game in town, so to speak.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Mark said...

It would appear, then, that one ought to expect to see Christians spontaneously generated around the world, even where no Christian from elsewhere has approached.

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

"We do not proselytize because our words, in and of themselves, will [B]convict [/B] anyone. "

until we get you to testify in court in the Delay/Abrahmov corporate funding scandal abot how churchs were used to lauder funds stolen from the Indians.!!

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous darthwilliam said...

So God is under no moral obligation to save anyone even though as a deity with unlimited power he/she could, if He/She chose, save everyone?

Interesting ethics there. As a volunteer firefighter, I am under an ethical oblication known as "duty to act". It states that if I come across an emergency situation that I am obligated to use my training to assist the victims. Medical personnel are typically held to the same standard (a doctor can't just abandon a patient, etc). So if God doesn't even hold himself (herself) to this standard, why would I want to know her/him?

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Lord Runolfr said...

I also didn’t say that nobody chooses God. I chose God. Strobel chose God. But only after we were regenerated. Before that divine initiative, we were morally incapable of choosing God.

There's the rub, David. If God doesn't "regenerate" you, you aren't capable of making the choice to turn to Him. Anyone that God doesn't choose to "regenerate" is doomed without a hearing.

Or did you actually mean to say something else.

I don’t see an ethical problem. We all are born in rebellion to God.

We are only "born in rebellion" because God set an impossible standard. There is no reason that had to be the case.

To see what I mean by an impossible standard, answer this: How could Adam and Eve have been rebelling when they bit into the "fruit of knowledge of good and evil", since they had no such knowledge until they ate the fruit? They couldn't have known at the time that what they were doing was wrong, but God punished them anyway. And not just them; he punished (indeed, continues to punish) all of their descendants for actions they didn't commit.

And you have no ethical problem with that?

 
At 2:56 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

lord runoflr,

If God doesn't "regenerate" you, you aren't capable of making the choice to turn to Him.

Yes, that is correct as I see it.

As for Adam and Eve, you are wrong--they knew what they were doing was an act of disobedience.

It is not correct to say anyone is punished for actions they didn't commit. That is an incorrect view of "original sin." It is rather this: as a result of the fall, man has been left in a state where his nature is sinful. This sinful nature makes being a sinner inevitable--but it is for those sins (not Adam's) that we are in danger of being lost.

I have no ethical problem with that.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger les said...

If you have no ethical problem with that, it's hard for me to see you have any ethics.

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Jim C said...

Mr Heddle,
I honestly can't listen to any of you religious people explain your complex, obviously contrived, set of silly rules without laughing. Are you really serious? I find that even hard to believe. It feels more like a gag being played on me. Adam & Eve..origional sin..bla,bla,bla. It's an allegory, you twit. You know, a representation of an abstract idea. Every culture has a creation myth. It comes down to this; you people lead your life by an arcane set of rules developed organically by different people over time, interpreted differently by every silly splinter group, that do nothing but give your lives a sense of meaning. Good, fine. But why burden sane people with your faith (faith=taken without proof). I have a sense of duty to my fellow man without religion. It comes from being part of a community, feeling needed, and knowing that you will one day need. It comes from the need of being around other people..so, hey, guess what if you're a good person other people want to be around you, and so on. So, My Heddle do whatever you have to do to fill the hole in your life but if it's something based on "faith" do us all a favor & keep it to yourself.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

jim C,

Well, all that is really special for you, but you might have noticed that Jason's post was about my views. It seems quite within the bounds of blogging protocol to respond to the post and then further respond to additional questions, such as those from lord runoflr, at least until Jason asks me to cease and desist. If you are not interested, don't read it.

I think you are the first one on this thread to resort to name calling. How proud you must be!

 
At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Fred said...

Heddle said: I think you are the first one on this thread to resort to name calling. How proud you must be!
--

Why in HEAVEN'S name are you blaming Jim C??? It's God's fault he wrote those things. God CHOSE not to regenerate him. Jim C is not responsible for his actions. Then again, neither are you, so I guess it's just God playing puppets with both of you for his own amusement. Let's all worship him for playing us like puppets, OK? That God, what a kidder.

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger Ahab said...

Those who believe in a god are responsible for what kind of god they believe in. The god that Mr. Heddle believes in sounds like a monster to me.

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous The Prophet said...

The argument from nonbelief developed by Theodore Drange seems appropriate here.

Of course, that Heddle has already shown a willingness to adopt a position that it is of no ethical concern if God does or does not do everything in his power to "save" someone. If he fully goes down that route, then the issue is David is proposiing the existence of a God that is essentially not benevolent. In fact, his God is flat evil in any normal sense of the word. God's benevolence is a very key premise in a lot of arguments for positions held by Christians, such as God not being a liar. Doubtless David will want to preserve God's benevolence, but he'll have a hard time doing that while proposing that God acts in egregiously unethical ways according to any coherant account of ethics.

Heddle, given everything he's said thus far might then try to reach to a Divine Command Theory account of ethics, which of course is a complete joke of a theory, and that will be his Waterloo as far as this debate goes.

(I rather liked the Dembski reference)

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

No need to reach. Do you believe a judge who gives sentence to the guilty is unethical? Is the governor who pardons all regardless of guilt the only perfectly ethical person in your schema?

Since we all are born in rebellion, nobody deserves or has merited salvation.

Justice for all would only mean all are lost. God showing mercy to some does not require that the others have received an injustice. Mercy is a gift, not an obligation. Some receive justice, some mercy, but nobody receives injustice.

You can only conclude that God is unethical if he is obligated to save all those who hate him.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

"As for Adam and Eve, you are wrong--they knew what they were doing was an act of disobedience. "

Did they know that disobedience was wrong, David?

 
At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Jim C said...

Mr Heddle,
You are right. I called you "a twit" and I implied that you were both "silly" (or, at least did silly things) and possibly "insane" (collective insanity, that is). I apologise to both you & Jason for that. I've switched to decaf. For the record, I wasn't suggesting that you shouldn't respond to Jason's topic entry. I'm suggesting that the topic entry should not have been necessary for Jason to enter. I don't feel the need to "convert" anyone to atheism. Sure, at times I will seek the confort of like minded people but I understand that my metaphysical beliefs are just that...beliefs. Now, you have a BELIEF system that mandates that you do whatever you can reasonably do to convince me. Only it's not just you, there are millions of you people doing the same thing. But it's just a belief system. If someone has the desire to find out more about your belief system they'll find you..they can't miss you. Why does your internal mandate trump my basic human need not to have your mandate shoved down my throat?
Since this is ultimately an Evolution blog I'll ask you another question: when there's overwelming evidence for evolution from multiple scientific disciplines why should the rest of society bend and stall its' educational practices to conform to your particular belief system? You, I think, were being disingenuous when you responded to Jason with the "students in an evolution class who believe evolution" anology. I guess that you could argue that every analogy breaks down at some point but this one never gets off the ground. You are comparing instruction in something that by defination can't be proved (faith) to something that has to be provable. Even if the child walks into the class not knowing anything about evolution but believing it anyway she will have her belief tested every time she learns more of the theory & TESTS the evidence. The religious student has no choice but to believe something that must always be taken on faith. And that's ok, like I said, I acknowledge that my atheism can't be proved either. I take it on faith (yes, for you literalists, that was also a joke). My point is that you were comparing apples and oranges. God bless.

 
At 12:31 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

Jim C,

"Now, you have a BELIEF system that mandates that you do whatever you can reasonably do to convince me."

I have no such belief system. I am required to proclaim the gospel, not to convince anyone. Nor am I required to force anyone to listen. I have never in my life tried to convince anyone, or compel anyone to listen. I will answer questions—but you’ll never get from me (or any Calvinist) an incessant plea to get you to say the sinner’s prayer. I think you are painting all Christians with the same brush.

"I'm suggesting that the topic entry should not have been necessary for Jason to enter."

That, of course, you should take up with Jason.

"when there's overwelming evidence for evolution from multiple scientific disciplines why should the rest of society bend and stall its' educational practices to conform to your particular belief system?"

You might be under misconception that I am calling for the teaching of intelligent design, or maybe some sort of mandatory religious education. I am not.

I disagree that Christianity is all about faith. Furthermore, the bible disagrees as well. We are never called by the bible to engage in blind faith. Instead, we are actually called, in effect, to do science—to learn about God not only from the bible but also from creation. So I think the analogy to the classroom stands. In either Christianity or in a science like evolution we should not be satisfied that we merely believe something, but why we believe it.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Prophet said...

David

Two points

1) It is your God who set up the the nature of sin and consequences for it. In so far as God created a universe in which there would be people born into a state that would default them to suffering eternally, yes, God is acting unethically. Your God allegedly created the twisted system and its rules, if you recall. It's rather absurd, actually. As for your invoking of the term "justice", to our human notions of justice, it is unjust to punish someone infinitely for a finite offense, especially under circumstances where it cannot serve to rehabilitate the offender, where his punishment cannot possibly serve as an example or deterrent to others, and where he cannot possibly have made an informed choice. That's plain as day injustice as a matter of fact.

2) Yes, it is the obligation of any benevolent being to act in such a way to prevent the suffering of others when doing so constitutes no risk or cost to oneself - even if they hate you. Therefore, God is under moral obligation - if we are to apply the term benevolent - to do everything he can to save others. This point, believe it or not, isn't typically disputed by theologians when it comes to any generic argument from evil. Generally, retorts to this consist of tepid theodicies and skeptical theism (unknown purposes), but you've skirted both those here.

All you are saying, as far as I'm concerned, is "Yep. God is one malevolent entity."

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger Jim Lippard said...

mark wrote: "It would appear, then, that one ought to expect to see Christians spontaneously generated around the world, even where no Christian from elsewhere has approached."

But instead, the demographics of Christianity appear to be the same as every other religion--transmitted socially, usually from parents to children. It's as if the causes of belief in Christianity are entirely natural causes with no supernatural input of any kind!

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Adam Ierymenko said...

David Heddle said:


I disagree that Christianity is all about faith. Furthermore, the bible disagrees as well. We are never called by the bible to engage in blind faith. Instead, we are actually called, in effect, to do science—to learn about God not only from the bible but also from creation. So I think the analogy to the classroom stands. In either Christianity or in a science like evolution we should not be satisfied that we merely believe something, but why we believe it.


Interesting.

I have a persistent question that I've wanted to ask to representatives of several Christian schools of thought for quite some time. Maybe Mr. Heddle will answer, and anyone else who wishes to do so may do so as well:

The question is: is it possible that there are lies inherent in the creation?

Let me clarify.

Is it possible that there are real observable natural pheomena in this world that are nevertheless "lies" in a deeper sense in that they are contrived to lead us away from God.

Note that by saying 'natural' I am disqualifying any deliberately sought out demonic phenomenon experienced though, for example, ritual magick (assuming for the sake of argument that such things even exist). I am also of course excluding hallucination brought about by, for example, eating LSD. I am referring only to reproducible natural phenomena, especially those that can be harnessed in a technological sense.

I would guess that any current mainstream Christian theologian would answer "no" to this, since "yes" would be the position of the gnostics. The gnostics believed that the world was created by an "evil God" or by the devil. Gnosticism was regarded by the early church founders and, if I'm not mistaken, by almost all modern Christians as a dangerous heresy. If the modern Christian perspective is that the world is the creation of the true God, then the answer would seem to have to be 'no', and so that's what I would expect.

It does not seem to me that the true God would embed systemic lies in his creation.

The reason that I ask is this:

One of the reasons that I am an atheist is the apparent willingness of so many theists (not just Christians) to *lie* in their apologetics. To me, this destroys their credibility as witnesses (in the theological sense of the term 'witness') and so undermines their other claims regarding God, salvation, etc.

Let me give you an example:

Modern Christian apologetics routinely claims that the evolution of sequences of functional information longer than a certain length is impossible since the probability of such sequences evolving is too low. For example, a DNA sequence 512 base pairs in length would have, according to these folks, a 1 in 4^512 probability of coming about by chance.

However, this argument is wrong. I have personally written computer-based evolutionary programming systems that have evolved sequences of computer instructions much longer and more complex than a 512 base pair DNA sequence. This is possible because evolution is not a "random" process and so straightforward multiplication is not a mathematically valid means of calculating the probability of a sequence's evolution. Multiplication of discrete events is only valid if the events are independent of one another.

The fact that I have personally constructed and run systems that disprove these claims is important. IF there is a God and IF that God is the creator of this world, that means that this God created the world in such a way that I am able to *personally* generate these phenomena at will through entirely mundane and natural methods. In other words, God created a universe whose nature disproves the arguments that His followers are making to attempt to get me to "convert."

Many of the people making these claims, such as William Dembski, are mathematicians, biologists, etc. I have personally had Ph.D biochemists who are Christians make this claim to me. I must assume that anyone with a Ph.D in math or biochemistry *knows* full well that this claim is false, and yet they make it anyway. I can therefore only assume that they are deliberately lying to me in order to bring me into their system of belief.

You can see how this destroys their credibility.

The serial multiplication fallacy is by no means the only example of a lie found in modern Christian apologetics. Indeed, examples are not merely confined to evolution-denial, although that happens to be a fruitful area to look for lies.

So you can see what I'm getting at. This behavior is very common among modern-day Christians. I suppose that some Christians might say that anyone who lies for the faith is merely misguided, and that such behavior should be expected because... well... we're all sinners. However, at some point this whole argument just collapses. There comes a point, a point that I have personally reached, at which a more plausible explanation is that the whole thing is a lie.

 
At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Heddle,

I feel one of the flaws to any argument you make is that you use the bible as a factual reference.

The bible has great and motivational stories and many positive lessons can be learned. It is not, however, a data base of scientific data. To use it to support anything scientific, unless is can also be supported with independent secular data is wrong.

As the scientific community does not accept the bible as a reliable source of information, your positions are unsupported.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Jim C said...

Mr Heddle,
Now I know that you're acting disingenuously. I said that the topic entry should not have been NECESSARY to enter. "Necessary" means, well, "necessary" not "the feeling of necessity". My dictionary defines a "twit" as, "a foolishly anoying person." Now, I'm not calling you that I just think that it'd be nice if you refrained from acting so foolishly annoying.
No, your classroom analogy does not work. The religious student is never presented with anything that could be verifiably tested. The student could only ever come to the conclusion of God if she already believes that it will. This is not science, I don't care what you call it. You hang your hat on the premise of your theology's proof (just like anonymous stated above). It's beyond me how you don't see your argument as circular. & I don't see any real difference between you and people who follow their faith blindly. You are still folling something blindly. You just provide more smoke. But what I'm really interested in is how you would address Adam Ierymenko's question about lies in creation.

 
At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you believe a judge who gives sentence to the guilty is unethical? "

Here's a better analogy, David, particularly for OT God. What if a particularly sadistic judge fathered (you know it would be a man) a child, raised him/her in such a way as to engender all kinds of vices in the child. Then when said child reached maturity, the judge turned around and said - all those things you like doing? They're wrong. If I catch you doing them, I'll torture you slowly for the rest of your life.

Would that be unethical?

Oh, but that's not accurate, you cry. God is about forgiveness. He won't torture you for sinning if you repent and accept Christ as your saviour. So the abused child is supposed to be grateful not to be punished for reacting to the abuse. And if they're not grateful they'll get abused even more. It's no wonder an unbeliever isn't going to be convinced by any logical argument. It's like getting someone addicted to smack and then blaming them for not being able to resist the urge to shoot up. If that's ethical then I'm a movie star.

Ginger Yellow

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh?

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Science is not a democracy. There is no "scientific community" only scientists in pursuit of verifiable truth, many of whom disagree intensely.

"Scientific community" sounds like a cabal. And it has been wrong...often.

 
At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Jeff the Archer said...

Adam

People are misinformed about many topics because hearsay is very powerful. The fact that many Christians are minsinformed about the probabilities of DNA evolving naturally (assuming your computer simulation reflects nature perfectly) does not mean that creation is made in such a way as to lead one away from God. Assuming that Darwinistic evolutoin as it is taught in ninth grade biology classrooms is 100% true (I personally have no stance on the ID-evolution debate because it does little philosophical work), there is still nothing about creation that should lead you away from God. That a basic understanding of ONE of the creator's tools (evolution) should cause people to doubt the creator is ridiculuous.

 

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