The Goal of My Book Was to Overwhelm the Believer

A few Christians and skeptics have criticized my book WIBA because in it I quote from many different sources to make my points for me. Let me explain why I did this and see if it makes sense.

My goal was to overwhelm the believer. I learned this from my mentor James Strauss at Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln, IL. He did this to his Seminary students. The syllabi he handed out for each one of his classes were sometimes books in and of themselves. They included extensive bibliographies. Sometimes they were annotated bibliographies. In his classes he was able to remember and refer to these works quite fluently, and he expected us to get many of them for his classes. We were overwhelmed by him and his arguments because of his wide ranging knowledge of the relevant literature.

If one expects to change someone's mind about a whole religious worldview s/he must overwhelm the believer. That is my conclusion, and it comes directly from Strauss, but in reverse, since I'm arguing against what he taught. Nothing short of that will do the trick. Strauss was interested in religious worldview change and he taught us well by personal example. To change one's religious worldview means that every key religious belief must be called into question at the same time, if at all possible.

So I attempted to do this in my book. I presented a whole case, a complete case, a comprehensive case, from start to finish as a former insider to Christianity. I threw everything at the believer plus the kitchen sink. I referred to as many books as I could in it, using the very words of other scholars to argue for me so readers can see for themselves that it's not just me saying these things. I did this over and over and...well you get the point.

With this unique goal of mine I was also able to get together some great recommendations for it which were placed on the back cover and inside front pages. You can read them plus others here. Having multiple recommendations also helps to overwhelm the believer, since if so many people are saying such great things about it, this can challenge anyone who wants to think otherwise.

While the book may be a bit difficult reading because of this, especially some of the first few substantive chapters, what I did can be very effective as a change agent. Again, nothing short of overwhelming the believer has a chance to work in my opinion. This then is the reason for so many references quoted in my book.

Besides, since in order to overwhelm the believer I had to question every key belief of Christianity, my problem was that as a mere mortal I could not have a scholar's grasp on every topic in it. Science is actually my weakest area, especially the creation/evolution debate. So sometimes I merely refer believers to what scholars in their respective fields of research have argued. No one can have a scholars grasp of God and the universe using the disciplines of science, philosophy, theology, ethics, history, the Bible, and apologetics. No one. So I constantly refer my readers to the scholars who argue my case for me.

My goal was to overwhelm the believer in just one thick densely packed comprehensively argued book replete with references for further reading.

Some people understand this. Others don't. Now you know the rest of the story.

[First posted 11/17/09]


Edit: You see, I aim to persuade, and because I do believers think I'll use any trick in the book. That is most emphatically a non-sequitur. I use rational arguments in my persuading. I know more than I can say, and since I am nearly certain that Christianity is a delusion because of the totality of the things I know that I can't say, I aim to persuade. Christians do this as well. They seek to persuade. They "know" more than they can say, and since they are nearly certain that Christianity is true because of the totality of the things they "know" that they can't say, they seek to persuade. THAT'S WHY THERE ARE MANY LIARS FOR JESUS OUT THERE. These liars for Jesus will lie because they know Jesus is their savior. So anything they can do or say to convert people is worth it when it comes to saving people from hell. Just ask Christians if they are happy with someone who converts for less than adequate reasons, and you'll see that they do. Many Christian scholars think Josh McDowell's Evidences books are not rationally persuasive, but they do convert. So Christians are happy of the end result because of the totality of all the things they claim to know. And then these scholars hope to show these converts the real reasons for faith.

Furthermore, I do not think people are all that rational. We are sometimes hopelessly irrational. Many psychological studies have shown this. Anyone who has the slightest understanding of epistemology knows this. Since that is true I have an additional reason to be skeptical of absolute and certainly held positive faith claims. I think Christians cannot be reasoned out of their faith since they were never reasoned into it it the first place. So along with my reasoned case I must also seek to persuade. There is nothing inconsistent at all about my approach. I must overwhelm the brainwashed and indoctrinated believer in order to persuade them to adopt the adult attitude of skepticism. Nothing else will work if this doesn't.

Finally, the fact that I must overwhelm the believer in order to persuade them otherwise is not my fault. It's that fault of their delusion. Lacking an intervention (which they will not tolerate for one moment) this is what must be done in lieu of one.