apologetics

The Wrap Up – Part 2

My last post was five months ago.  You know, the one that I called “Part 1” and promised a “Part 2” follow-up post?

So, Seth, what gives?

Well… ever feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?  Or that you have so much to say about something, but don’t want to publish a novel on your blog since no one would probably read it?  Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, check this out:  I make a promise to my readers to compile and discuss (in a single post, mind you) all the evidences that I believe exist for the Christian faith.  Yeah yeah, I hear you skeptics chuckling out there — I can hear you thinking, “Well, that should be a short article!”  Go ahead, have your moment… I’ll give you a minute or two to enjoy your cleverness…. (more…)

The Wrap Up – Part 1

So much to say, and hundreds of ways to say it.  I must have tackled this post a dozen times, only to leave it unfinished to go and sleep on it, so to speak.

What I’ve decided to do is to make a wrap-up post in two parts, concerning my exchange with the folks at Roll to Disbelieve (which started here and, by way of here, here, here and here, left off here).  Throughout the course of the discussion, several people weighed in, many of whom brought up some really good points that I’m anxious to discuss further.  Alas, though, my free time to write is sporadic at best these days, and facing an army of opposition single-handedly only compounds and exacerbates this predicament.  I hope those who engaged do not begrudge me the delay — after I finish these two posts, my goal is to have responded directly to those comments that I found the most relevant and engaging.  Thank you for your patience!

To preface this wrap-up, my nutshell assessment of how the discussion went down is something like this:  In essence, the entire discussion comes down to evidence — whether or not the Christian claims have the evidential legs to be taken seriously as a feasible (or even likely) model to explain the reality of our world.  This comprised perhaps 3% of the discussion.  The other 97% or so was a kitchen sink of statements and accusations concerning topics such as my discussion tactics, my motivation in becoming a Christian, my motivation in sharing my faith, my sub-par mental faculties, my flawed character, my failure to apply the teachings of Jesus in my own life, my vile hatred of those who oppose Christianity and the various ways I have threatened and insulted them, my inability to understand the points being presented to me, my failure at presenting good arguments in favor of my worldview, my poor logic skills, my inability to think for myself, my penchant for parroting other peoples’ opinions without understanding or questioning them, and my general depravity as a human being.

Pretty par for the course, I’d say, when it comes to typical discussions of this nature. (more…)

My Favorite Atheist and Christian Thinkers

I love watching debates, especially on the topics of God and Christianity.  Thankfully, in our Internet age there are hours upon hours of such footage for someone like me to watch.

In summary of my experience so far:  I’ve seen a lot of bad debates.  Let me clarify what I mean:  I consider a debate to be bad when any of the following occur:

  1. One or both parties fail to treat the other in a personable manner and with respect
  2. One or both parties make blanket statements without backing them up
  3. One or both parties fail to offer any definitive arguments for their position (rather resorting to “talking points”)
  4. One or both parties fail to answer the other’s points directly
  5. It is apparent that one or both parties are not “on their game”

Thus, by these criteria, a debate in my opinion can be good, even if the atheist presents a better argument.  In fact, I’m not so much concerned with who wins a debate, as much as I am the manner in which it is engaged.  If both sides bring their A-game, engage directly and respectfully with each other, bring up good points and adequately answer their opponents’… hey, that’s a good time for me!  I’m that way with sports too — I don’t enjoy watching games where one side absolutely obliterates the other, even if it’s my team who’s doing the pummeling.  I’d much rather watch a good match (even one where my team loses) then see my team wipe the floor with the other.  I’m curious if you all feel similarly or not in this respect.

So, first things first:  I’m in the market for some new debates.  If anyone has any recommendations, shoot them my way!

I’m also always looking for new faces in the world of theological debate, especially on the atheist side of the table.  I’m very interested to hear from my readers (atheists especially) who your favorite thinkers are in favor of the atheist position.

As for me, in watching many debates and applying the criteria above, I have established somewhat of a scoring system in my mind for the various prominent thinkers who tend to fill one side of the debate table or the other, and have a mental list of my favorite and least-favorite debaters.  A few prominent names on my list, starting with my favorites and working my way down: (more…)

Why do apologists exist?

makagutu commented on my post about intelligent design by asking:

Why, if god is self evident as most believers think it is, does it need apologists?

It’s a valid question.  And since makagutu has gotten on my case in the past for being too loquacious, I’ll try to keep my answer brief 😉

For one thing, though I can’t speak for others, I for one would not categorize God’s existence as something that is self-evident.  makagutu is right:  If such a thing were self-evident, there would be no need for argumentation, and reasonable people would be expected to believe without needing to be convinced.  I don’t think that is the case, though — though I believe there are good arguments for theism, they are still arguments nonetheless — it takes some effort to get there.

So, that’s the quick answer (so makagutu, you can stop reading at this point if you’d like 😉 ) — but I think there’s more to the issue.  I may be making a jump here, but I think the heart of the question is: If the case for God is compelling, then why are there reasonable people who don’t believe in Him? (more…)

Some reheated Aristotle (maybe)

I’m going to try my hand at one of the classical arguments for the existence of God: the cosmological argument, or the first-cause argument.  A lot of you have heard it before, I’m sure — it’s one of William Lane Craig‘s favorites, in any case; and as I don’t have an original thought in my head, I’m pretty sure that anything I say here has been said by someone else before.  That being said, here we go!

(more…)

Do Atheists Have a Burden of Proof? – Response to Comment (2)

I received another thought-provoking series of comments from tildeb on the topic of burden of proof, and I thought the ideas warranted another entry.  Below are my direct responses to some quotes from tildeb — I appreciate tildeb’s contribution to the discussion, as well as the content of the ideas presented therein.  My thanks! (more…)