How to Be An Apologist For Christianity and For Skepticism

Since others are getting into the act here, here, and here, let me throw my hat in the ring as well. Let me tell you how to be an apologist for the Christian Faith, as well as how to be one for skepticism. Like theirs, this too is sarcasm.

How to be a Christian Apologist:

1) Hide your head in the sand. Believe that people in the ancient world weighed the evidence for their beliefs with the same rigorous standards that we do today. But the Bible itself tells us otherwise.

2) Demonize the skeptic. Believe he or she is willfully ignorant of the obvious truths that you believe. Believe that the skeptic is just not interested in knowing the truth. Believe that the whole reason he is a skeptic is because he hates God and is in rebellion against him. Believe that he just wants to live an immoral life apart from God.

3) Claim that skeptical objections have been refuted long ago. Claim that Hume’s arguments have already been refuted, as William Lane Craig said to me at a conference. If they've been refuted, then why are they still very potent? In fact, Hume’s arguments against miracles cannot be refuted, strictly speaking, since he’s talking inductively. He argued that a wise person proportions his belief to the evidence. How can that be refuted?

4) Use rhetoric not substance. Do what William Lane Craig did in his debate with Bart Erhman. Claim that Erhman’s argument is “mathematically fallacious.”

5) Mischaracterize what skeptics are actually claiming. We do not claim to know that there is no God. We just think there isn’t enough evidence to believe in one. We do not claim miracles are not possible. We just don’t see enough evidence for them. We do not claim to have more knowledge than God purportedly does with regard to how he could’ve created a better world than this one. We just think that a Being with omniscience would know how to create a better world, especially since we have some knowledge about how a better world could’ve been created (like getting rid of all raced based conflict and slavery by creating all human beings as one race, and with no law of predation in the natural world).

6) Claim that the skeptic is ignorant of recent scholarship. While some skeptics are ignorant of recent scholarship, it isn’t more knowledge that is needed. As Dr. James D. Strauss would repeatedly tell his students in Seminary, “It’s not more knowledge we need. What we need is better interpretative schema.” Control beliefs, after all, control, and each side has them. The rise of modern science in the Occident, and the knowledge of religious diversity on the planet, and the presence of intense suffering around the globe aired nightly on the news have developed the skeptical control beliefs. Furthermore, Christian scholarship itself leads many Christians away from the faith. Me included.

7) Earn your living off what you claim to believe. So long as you are a preacher or a teacher in a seminary, you have a need to squash your doubts. I know of a few Christian professors and preachers who have openly expressed their doubts to me. But they refuse to entertain them for fear of losing their jobs and their livelihood.

8) Don’t ever take the skeptical arguments seriously. Just read them to refute them. You are sure of what you believe, so only read skeptical arguments with a view to refuting them. Never actually think about why that skeptic takes that view. Never try to step inside his mind. Never truly consider his viewpoint. Never think about whether or not his arguments could be true. After all, consider the source. According to #2 above, he doesn't really believe them sincerely either.

9) Deride the skeptical position and the skeptic himself. Talk about Stalin, Lenin and Marx. Talk about Soviet communism, Hitler, or other atrocious dictators as often as you can. Refer to gulags, concentration camps and even the Holocaust itself (although, about these things there is more to the story, especially inside Germany). Talk about Gay radical activists, mass murderers, and gang rapists who do not have “a moral compass.” At the same time explain away the Crusades, Slavery in the American South, Inquisitions and witch hunts. No one has a corner on moral truth…no one. But go ahead and continue to claim that Christians do, despite the evidence to the contrary, and despite the evidence that Christians do not get their morals from the Bible alone. Then simply deride the skeptic as a person as often as you can, in whatever way you can. Find some flaws in his character that will prove his arguments are wrong, then bring them up as often as you can. Doing so will refute all of his arguments.

10) State your arguments over and over until you believe them, and state them as if they are obvious to any intelligent educated person. Any falsehood can be believed if it is stated honestly and sincerely enough by many people over and over. Stay securely inside the Christian community from which you gain your beliefs. They will be reinforced every time you get together. However, if the Christian set of beliefs are truly obvious then anyone who encounters them should believe them. But it’s simply an illusion to think Christianity is a rationally superior faith.

How to be a Skeptical Apologist: [This too is sarcasm, by the way, although not entirely! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. ;-). ].

1) Think evidentially.
2) Think scientifically.
3) Think philosophically.
4) Think psychologically.
5) Think archeologically.
6) Think anthropologically.
7) Think historiographically.
8) Think about religious diversity.
9) Think about the amount of intense suffering in the world.
10) Think about how often the superstitions of the past have been refuted by science.

25 comments:

Hallq said...

I think Craig's behavior in his debate with Ehrman would be more accurately described as "invoke jargon that doesn't actually affect the debate but which your opponent cannot reasonably be expected to understand."

Anonymous said...

It's not a "claim" that you hate God when you do evil deeds and don't trust in Christ. The Bible says you hate God since you reject Jesus Christ who sent from God and you do evil deeds. So you're working from the Biblical world view and in that case you do hate God and it's a fact. Don't try to pretend you're working from neutrality and are innocent.

John W. Loftus said...

anonymous, no I don't hate God. That's just one of the delusions your faith has. I do dislike ignorance. I would honestly love it if I could have something solid to believe which has enough evidence to it. I tentatively hold to atheism because it's the best I can make out of the available evidence.

No more anonymous comments. I don't know if it's the same person I'm responding to, here there and everywhere.

thomas4881 said...

John it's not a delustion. You created a God to suit yourself, that's idolotry. The God I'm talking about that you hate as shown by your lifestyle is the God of the Bible.

John W. Loftus said...

Thomas, I don't believe the Bible for many reasons that I state here every week. Would you please deal with those objections rather than to merely assert I hate God?

thomas4881 said...

John so you read some anti-christian literature written by one fallable author with bad reaserch. That's what you put faith in to try and justify to yourself you made the right decision. The point is you haven't shown any good reason from any angle to not believe the Bible. The Bible does tell me good reasons for why you do what you do. That is the amazing thing about the Bible. You do as the Bible says you will do.

John W. Loftus said...

Thomas, I suspect you haven't read my other Blog entries. Read them and then get back to me.

thomas4881 said...

I have looked over them and I don't see anything other than a lot of pressupositions making up straw men.

Bruce said...

so you read some anti-christian literature written by one fallable author with bad reaserch

So being skeptical of Chrisianity is now "Anti-Christian"?

thomas4881 said...

bruce you diden't think up these cleaver skeptical questions on your own and you diden't think them up based on neutrality. Don't try to claim you're netural and innocent.

Drunken Tune said...

thomas4881,

Are you trying to make an argument or do you just get your kicks attacking Bruce and John?

thomas4881 said...

bruce said:

So being skeptical of Chrisianity is now "Anti-Christian"?

Thomas4881 said:

So being skeptical of the anti-christian literature you read is now "anti-intellectual"?

thomas4881 said...

drunken said:

Are you trying to make an argument or do you just get your kicks attacking Bruce and John?

I don't consider it an attack since I provided sound reasoning. I did respond to the claims made against Christianity.

Drunken Tune said...

thomas4881,

Well, no. You didn't give any reasons for your claims; you didn't respond to his arguments.

thomas4881 said...

drunken tune explain what you mean? I did respond to the question posted and I expanded my response to include other thoughts.

Drunken Tune said...

thomas4881,

I read your posts and found no substance to your comments. Your 'response' was to insult both John and Bruce, claiming that

1. John practiced idolotry (begging the question: How do you know that your god isn't the idol?),

2. John "hate[s]" God (though John does not believe in the Christian god),

3. John formed "straw men" (which you failed to elaborate on),

4. Bruce wasn't "netural [sic] and innocent", and

5. Bruce doesn't think for himself.

That's the gist of it. I don't see a response other than personal attacks.

So are you trying to make an argument or do you just get your kicks attacking Bruce and John?

John W. Loftus said...

Thomas, you are ignorant even though you don't know it. You are taking up space here that other more informed Christians could be using. Get a college education and then come back to us. No more comments from you, sorry. None.

thomas4881 said...

Drunken said:


1. John practiced idolotry (begging the question: How do you know that your god isn't the idol?),

I know because I'm operating from the Biblica world view. You are operating from your presumptions as well.

thomas4881 said...

John said:

Thomas, you are ignorant even though you don't know it. You are taking up space here that other more informed Christians could be using. Get a college education and then come back to us. No more comments from you, sorry. None.


See John you do as the Bible says you will do. Your every response is text book.

1 Corinthians 15: 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[a]
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

Proverbs 14:Fools mock at making amends for sin

See John? Your text book responses are not unexpected because the Bible says you think that way because of your unredeemed nature.

Daniel said...

Thomas,

Let's say you're right about one thing -- that the message is foolishness to John.

Is it foolish because God has not granted John the mercy of regeneration? If so, can you blame John for calling foolishness what it is? If God has given John a brain, and if Rom 11:8 applies here, then why, exactly, would you expect anything else? Why should John NOT call foolishness what it is?

Could I appeal to you and say, "Here is something that you regard as foolish, X. Now, if you don't believe in and accept the reality and truth of X, despite its foolishness, you will perish. Oh, what, you reject it? Aha! I knew you would, and my super-duper magic book told me you would!" ??

Perhaps you should think about that -- atheists would call your beliefs foolish not because they are being unreasonable, but because they are being reasonable. God chose it thus (cf 1 Cor 2-3).

John W. Loftus said...

Thomas, you have blinders on.

Hallq said...

Guys, after the third round of comments it should havebeen obvious that you weren't going to get a productive conversation out of him.

Though we did get to see an amusing defense mechanism on display when he claimed that the fact that people think he's ignorant is evidence of Christianity... what he doesn't know is that an exactly papallel apologetic could be made for UFO cults, since some of the leaders in those groups have claimed that the aliens told them that humans tend to ridicule great truths they don't understand.

Drunken Tune said...

Hallq,

But the aliens told me you'd say that!

Anonymous said...

john it doesen't appear thomas4881 had any blinders on. I see he shows he is willing to accept any and all objections to Christianity. It is you who kicked that guy off your blog because your conscience convicts you and you coulden't take it anymore.

Tommy said...

It's the classic Christian circular argument. It's true because the Bible says so. Beginning and end of story. Sigh....

I've said it before and I will say it again. The Bible is not the word of God. The God of the Bible does not exist. Jesus was not born from a virgin, he did not rise from the dead, and he was not the son of the creator of the universe. We do not have souls that are in danger of suffering for an eternity in some nasty place because we don't believe the claims of the Bible. Thomas and Neo, get your heads out of the mental prison of the Bible and wake the hell up!