Why Don't Christian Sites Link to Skeptical Sites?

I've asked this question before, and I'll ask it again. Only very rarely do I ever find Christian apologetics websites linking to skeptical ones. There are very very few that do, and among those that do, DC is usually found linked there with a small number of others. Compare what Christians do with what we do here at DC. At DC we not only link to several of the best Christian apologetical sites, I even link to some popular Christian apologetical books from time to time, like the new Apologetics Study Bible. Why is there this disparity? I think we can link to and provide people with the best that Christianity has to offer and still beat their best arguments. If they truly thought as we did they should have no problem doing likewise. Maybe they're just worried something like this could happen.

First posted on 10/06/07

20 comments:

Kerry said...

I not being pessimistic (or optimistic) and I don't know about anyone else, but for me this is a stupid question. Is the answer not obvious? Why do atheists constantly engage in meaningless and worthless dialog? Is it a form of entertainment? Although I am a man with no belief system, I have done extensive work on understanding the illusions of self and the projections of these illusions. I have also done extensive work to understand the origin of this universe and the origin and proponents of life on earth. I have been able to demonstrate that there are natural energies at work in gene selection and mutation and that the cosmos has the capacity for some form of intelligence, or directive mind. Now let me just say that I accept everyone as perfect just the way they are as long as they bring no harm to others. So please accept me, because I have no desire to harm anyone. Disbelief is all too often the opposite side of the same coin as belief and the intellect may at times be the biggest hindrance to truth. My email list consist of atheists, agnostics, Deists, Christian Deists, and even a few deeply religious Christians that seek to understand the truth of this energy behind all creation. I sent John W. Loftus a copy of my manuscript entitled THE DAWN OF INTELLIGENCE, but apparently he did not take the time to read it. Then, on another issue in my life, he sent a letter to the local media to help me confront them for covering up malfeasance and corruption in the southern town of Canton, Georgia. ? (Go to YouTube and search “kerry walker false arrest” or put “kerry walker story” in Google, be sure to check out the “Articles” and other stuff on these blogs) Now, get this, he included my story in a debate about same sex marriage! Now, I'm open-minded, but there are so many topics more important than this and my subject had nothing to do with this topic. Does anyone know how hostile a small southern town is about homosexuality and guy marriage? The “Christian” thugs have already ruined my life because I was labeled “an atheist” and my mother died under this pressure, and now this gives them more ammo. I forwarded his email to many on my email list and I got the same opinion from most of them. I personally think John was trying to help me but somehow got lost in his efforts. Basically they echoed the same sentiment as I am here, and that is does this “atheist” contemplate, question or think at all about what he does, and does he hate my family and me for some reason and want more harm to come to us? Mr. Loftus said that he was going to write more on my story. I sure hope so.

John W. Loftus said...

For anyone interested in the post where I defended Kerry you can find it here. I apologize if he and others did not like my reference to him in that post, but I think people ought to learn how to read and understand better than that too. I was not linking him to anything gay.

Yes, Kerry did send me a chapter from a manuscript to read to see if I would endorse it. I read it but I told him I could not endorse it, nor will I. I do not endorse just anything that a non-believer writes. Now he lashes out at me after trying to defend him in his case. I will do so no longer.

By the way, does anyone else think my question is "stupid?"

Tyro said...

No, I think it's very apt.

I participate in a number of online Christian forums and there are actually explicit rules forbidding any links to sites which "promote" atheism. When defending an idea, we have to exchange links by e-mail! So I think your observation applies not only to blogs but also to other Christian communities.

It has been said that where there is a free and open exchange of ideas, truth will prevail. It is only when you rely on faith that you need to promote ignorance.


There's also the other facet. PZ Meyers of Pharyngula has said that he gets virtually no traffic from Uncommon Descent (an ID blog) so even on the occasions where UD links to him, it seems that few if any readers click on the links.

Seems that few ID supporters take the time to educate themselves about opposing viewpoints. Am I cynical to think that this is a self-defense mechanism?

Kerry said...

This is amazing! I feel like I'm debating with a radical Christian, yet he is a radical "atheist". The fact is they are opposite sides of the same coin. I did send a copy of one chapter, and he did critique it. I then edited it and sent it again, and he noted the changes (but I don't think he actually read it again). Sometime later I sent this man an entire copy of a 335-page manuscript that is the product of over 20 years of research. Dr. John Henderson, and a few others, helped me to edit this work. I have had some excellent reviews and positive comments on it as well. Yet John mentions nothing about this manuscript. If anyone respected me enough to send over 20 years of work in a complete manuscript I would certainly read it. It’s odd that this narcissistic atheist makes no claim to having received a copy of my work. If atheist ruled this earth it would be a selfish and destructive place to live. Look what happened to the USSR where atheism was encouraged. Atheism is a self-centered belief system based on intellect. We should find out what it means to live with no belief system and to live with a sense of wonder, learning all the time. A man with no beliefs may come to recognize the sacredness of life and to understand that being whole and having love for others has nothing to do with belief in religion. Have 3.4 billion years of processes of life on this earth brought us to this?

John W. Loftus said...

Kerry said...I have had some excellent reviews and positive comments on it as well.

Bravo! Go with those. Not everyone will approve of your work, so don't expect everyone to, okay?

KW: Yet John mentions nothing about this manuscript.

After you sent me your full manuscript I asked you to send me your best chapter. I read it and offered you some suggestions. Based on what I said you made some changes to it. But just because you made these changes doesn't mean that I should now endorse it. I don't. I would have to repeat this whole process about 5 times for me to endorse it, and I frankly don't have the time to write that chapter for you, much less do the same thing for all of the rest of your chapters, if it should turn out that I need to.

KW: If anyone respected me enough to send over 20 years of work in a complete manuscript I would certainly read it.

No you wouldn't. Not if you received about one such manuscript a month, and you weren't that interested in the topic, especially coming from a complete stranger. I have other things on my plate. I cannot read things that don't interest me that much, so I tell people to send me one chapter. If I like it I'll read the rest. That's only reasonable, I think. After reading your best chapter I didn't care to read the rest, that's all. Maybe your manuscript is the next best seller. Bravo! I hope it is. A lot of manuscripts get rejected before they get published (not that I'm publishing anything), and some turn out to be best sellers. Sometimes people make errors. Maybe I did. Then move on. Find someone else to recommend it. Ignore me. I'm not important at all, and my lack of a recommendation certainly won't do you any harm, unless you provoke me and I do read through your manuscript and write a long detailed negative review of it.

So just move on. Be happy that some people like it. Focus on them. Ignore me.

John W. Loftus said...

Now, does anyone have a specific comment about my initial question? Or does anyone want to address Kerry's other claims about atheists?

Joseph said...

Kerry, what are you hoping to accomplish by airing a private dispute between you and John here, of all places? I have to say that I feel like a voyeur reading this kind of stuff. Can't we just stick to the issues?

"If atheist ruled this earth it would be a selfish and destructive place to live. Look what happened to the USSR where atheism was encouraged."

I think the problems associated with communist Russia and China had more to do with an oppressive regime and power-hungry dictators than with atheism, per se. And, as we've noted elsewhere, atheism isn't a structured belief system, per se (so it can't be accurately defined as the flip side of the coin to Christianity) so it's not really fair to make broad, sweeping statements about it. There are different stripes of atheists just like their are different stripes of Christians. I would think you would understand that after studying these kinds of issues for --20 years was it?

If your perspective was at all balanced, you would have also brought up excesses of Christian governments (e.g. Calvin's Geneva, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Crusades) and other theocracies (the Taliban's Afghanistan).

Most atheists and agnostics (there are BOTH contributing to this blog, BTW) support rational thinking and not blind, obedient, unquestioning devotion to any religious book. Do we really want to base our social norms, morals, and laws on a book as confused and confusing as the Old & New Testament Scriptures? This is not to say that there aren't good and inspiring things in the Bible--if interpreted rationally.

"We should find out what it means to live with no belief system and to live with a sense of wonder, learning all the time."

I'm wondering, how is it even possible to have NO BELIEFS? Isn't that a little like having a ship without a rudder?

Gandolf said...

I think its very much the same as how many christians close down and refuse to debate .Many are quite happy to knock on your door to try to convert ,not many athiests do this however many christains will not even allow questions and debate and slam the door in your face .
For those that are willing i have respect .Those that dont i say it only shows ignorance

GordonBlood said...

Well in all honestly being abit of an internet nomad when im bored i find most sites dont link to whatever their "opposite" (i recognize thats not a great word but it gets my point across) world view is. Not many atheist websites offer too many links to Christian websites so just as some sites like DC offer exceptions so to do some Christian ones. Of course most websites, Christian and atheist, are absolutely terrible, mainly because the people who make them often dont know what theyre talking about.

achtungpanzer said...

The idea of the Soviet Union's problems originating solely or even significantly from atheism is a poor idea.

metaphyzxx said...

I'll be honest with you. It's most likely because most Christians don't really believe in the first place, and only go to christian websites to shore up their houses of cards. Your arguments as to why NOT to believe tend to FAR better thought out than most Christian aplologists answers as to why they SHOULD believe.

Unfortunately, the average christian is only a believer because they're told they have to be. Me, I'm a former agnostic. I became a believer by my own study, my own choices, my own research. And this is after LEAVING the church to become an agnostic because the church's arguments as to why I should believe were found to be empty.

Maybe the authors of "christian" websites really don't know what they believe, or why they believe, and are scared to put their faith to the test. Unfortunately, they won't let you do it for them either.

By the way, thanks for this website... I LOVE intellectual discussion, even if from a differing perspective

Miles R. said...

It's most likely because most Christians don't really believe in the first place, and only go to christian websites to shore up their houses of cards. --Metaphyzxx

No doubt, that describes a lot of "believers." Whether it describes most of them, I don't know. But whether someone's belief is stable or is merely an ongoing effort of self-persuasion, he has in either case committed himself, or she herself, to certain conclusions, and simply has no use for facts or arguments that tell against those conclusions. The skeptic is open to all sources because he has committed himself, or she herself, to following the evidence wherever it leads. So the skeptic can evaluate whatever the believer has to offer, while the believer, or equally the wannabeliever (if that is not a term in common use, it should be), cannot return the favor. For them, skeptical voices are inherently noxious, as they are destructive of their enterprise of sustaining particular beliefs.

Al Moritz said...

On this forum:

http://jameshannam.proboards.com/index.cgi

and blog:

http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/

there are constantly references to atheist websites and articles, and it's very interesting to read and discuss all that 'skeptical' stuff.

But then, its participants (including me) are no creationists, Bible literalists etc.

Joshua Blanchard said...

It's fairly common practice in the blogosphere to have a blogroll that reflects the viewpoint of the blogger, blogs which the blogger can link to with approval, not just respect. Permanent links are generally understood to be some kind of an endorsement.

However in a specifically apologetical context there's an additional reason to not link to skeptical sites, which is that atheistic arguments work against apologetics. Pretty straightforward.

Even on your blog, one can't help but notice that you categorize the links, leaving no mystery as to what you think about the viewpoints advocated there. After all, why not just have one list of links? I'm sure it's partially convenience, but also you don't want people misunderstanding your links as endorsements of viewpoints.

John W. Loftus said...

What's your point Joshua? Do you suppose to be telling us something we don't already know? And how exactly does anything you say dispute in any way what I wrote:

I think we can link to and provide people with the best that Christianity has to offer and still beat their best arguments. If they truly thought as we did they should have no problem doing likewise.

Joshua Blanchard said...

If linking to Christian sites is in the context of some kind of victory dance - see what I can do with my arguments still standing! - then the reason why other sites don't do this is because perhaps they just don't care for that sort of bragging or taunting.

In any case, you clearly understand the need to be clear that you are not endorsing links, which is why you list them separately. Most people just don't see any need for having lists of links presenting views they don't endorse, probably because the need to imply their own confidence doesn't arise for them, psychologically or otherwise.

In my own case I just list a very few links that I (a) endorse and (b) happen to think are especially engaging or informative. I have no need to list all the links I think fail to overcome my own arguments. Those links are implied when, say, I respond to people directly on my blog and link to them in that context. Or, as frequently happens, when I comment on those blogs.

You asked, "Do you suppose to be telling us something we don't already know?"
If your question was honest, then I would be telling you something you don't know. Since it apparently wasn't honest and you had the predictable answer ready-made (Christian bloggers are irrational, or not confident or something), I am not telling you anything you don't know.

Rob R said...

FYI I do not think the question is stupid. (I do however think it is poorly thought out to judge something as meaningless, engage in a discussion and then claim to have no belief system)

John, perhaps you think or thought that wrestling the veracity of Christianity is one of the central tasks for every believer. This is in fact a very one dimensional view of the challenges of our faith when challenges come also from temptation, the need for obedience, compassion and love for others, forgiveness and so on.

Since our faith is so multidimensional, so must the body of Christ be multidimensional as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 12. Since our community needs to be complex for a complex world, it just isn't necessary for everyone to be trained to do everything that the church needs to do. Since they don't need to be trained to do everything that the church needs to do, not every believer needs to be adequately prepared for every problem that the church faces. Since not every believer needs to be adequately prepared for every problem, it is irresponsible to think that we should provide easy or immediate access to problems for just any individual believer that is not prepared to handle.

Just because a believer has read a few apologetic blog articles and several popular apologetics books doesn't mean they are prepared to handle just anything from an atheist website. As we are serious about our beliefs and their necessity to life eternal, it just isn't ethical to provide easy immeadiate access to just any material that could threaten that.

At the same time, that's not to say that it is healthy for the church to bar the gates tightly against critics and skeptics because faith without risk is hardly faith. But to fail to provide a front page link to a skeptic web site hardly qualifies.

But it also makes sense to link to skeptic websites if and when it is relevant. I've done so when I've posted blogs on topics as responses to skeptics (but I'm just not posting blogs on that very much as of recent)

And I also post links to skeptics websites when they make my point such as I needed to do when I once posted an argument against materialism on the basis of morality. A fellow Christian insisted I wouldn't find many atheists who'd sympathize as they wouldn't believe morality was necessary for humanity. It wasn't hard to find a counterexample so I linked to it.

Whateverman said...

Is it a silly question? No, but I don't think the answer is overly difficult to find, either.

My hypothesis: Christians often appear to feel as if the world is assaulting them (and their beliefs). As such, they surround themselves with things that reassure and comfort. On the intarwebz, this equates to lots of links to Christian resources, and little else.

Additionally, the people who maintain such Christian web sites aren't interested in asking unanswered questions. They are not searching for the truth - they claim to already know it. This equates to ignoring information/opinions which contradict that truth.

In strategy-based video games, this strategy is known as "turtling"

Twilight Z. Clown said...

whateverman,
in other realms its known as
Disconfirmation Bias

Al Moritz said...

Additionally, the people who maintain such Christian web sites aren't interested in asking unanswered questions. They are not searching for the truth - they claim to already know it. This equates to ignoring information/opinions which contradict that truth.

Again, on the forum that I mentioned we have -- sometimes outrageous -- fun with the atheist 'truth' (we accept scientific truth anyway, which is clearly less biased than the atheistic 'truth'). We are not afraid of it at all.