I carry on various discussions via emails, blogs and on Facebook. Here's an interesting one that took place recently over at Vox Popoli that I'll pick up in midstream:
Just some guy wrote:
Just some guy wrote:
Again, the importance of reading what opponents of Christianity have to say is important for Christians, just as it's important for atheists to read up on what theists argue. But just as one can do a lot better than, say.. Jim Bakker for "Christian arguments", one can do a lot better than Loftus for atheist argumentsI responded:
One thing you should know is that I'm taking scholarship down to the level of the university student. I'm able to explain their arguments in ways that students in the universities can understand. I do this on purpose. I aim to reach more people with good scholarship than the scholars can reach because they write over people's heads. But precisely because you can understand me you think you can so easily dismiss my arguments. Okay, I guess.Amigo responded:
But the scholars know better. They know my arguments are scholarly without being over people's heads. It seems as though people like you think that if you can understand me you have the educational background to argue with me. But you don't. So when many different scholars on both sides of the fence say my arguments are good ones, I would think you should take heed. This is a puzzling phenomenon to me. I compare it to a Bible thumping teenager who thinks he can argue against me because all he needs to do is quote from the Bible to show me I'm wrong. See how easy that was? See how little that atheist knows? He don't know jack sh*t.
While that is an exaggeration to make a point, the point is that if scholars from both sides say my book is an important one then if you think it's no better than reading the arguments of Jim Bakker this is much more telling on you than it is about my arguments.
You think you're better able to judge these things than they are, and you and others have already found ways to dismiss what they say. It seems to me that you cannot understand the force of my arguments until you're at least up to speed educationally. Of that you will not agree, that is, until you are better educated. This isn't to say you will agree once you become better educated. It's just that you'll see what these scholars see that you fail to see right now.
Yeah...that's it. It's not because these guys are your friends from seminary or have become your friends at SBL meetings and such, is it? Or because you send them copies and then cut and paste the parts of their blurb that you like (something that I'm not condemning since it's common practice)? It couldn't be that they find your book the best of the bunch, but still not very convincing? I guess the Christian friends (I mean professors) who support your book are simply among the deluded as well and incapable of fully understanding your argument. Those deluded ignorants! At least you can still use their blurbs, right?I responded:
Almost monthly there is a new "five views" book, or a new collection of essays on theism/atheism with contributors from both sides of the issue. Some of these books include some of your friends (Linville, Sennett, Giesler, Craig, etc.), yet I haven't seen your name and arguments included in any of them...I wonder why these contributions would miss the opportunity to include the end-all-be-all of atheist apologists if the arguments were so convincing. It's a shame that your devastating arguments can't reach the masses but are confined to "academic" publishers like PB. I guess all of the big publishers are just deluded as well.
I'm the new kid on the block, okay? Who knows what the future will bring? But if one of these publishers wants to edit a book on why Christians disagree over how to properly interpret the Bible I hope they ask me. But I suspect they won't even do such a book.And then again Amigo wrote:
And come on, I never said anything remotely akin to your mischaracterization of me above. With such thinking skills no wonder you believe.
By the way, if your routine was two or three years old, we could consider you the new kid on the block. Unfortunately, you've been doing this for much longer, have been read by apologists and atheists alike and still don't seem to be getting asked to join in the more serious discussions...maybe it's not because you are a newcomer, but simply because you aren't making a worthwhile contribution yet? If you want to be taken seriously, then stop the self-promotion, go out and work hard to get the proper credentials for the authority you claim (sorry, we don't buy the whole "equivalent" of a Ph.D.), and then start publishing academic work. If your arguments are so strong, then this shouldn't be a problem. As it is, I've read your work, find it lacking and no matter how many arguments from authority you present (so and so loves my book, so it must be good), I remain unconvinced.I responded:
The only book most people know of is the one I had published just one year ago. So I know why I'm not asked in some skeptical circles to speak at their conferences; it’s because I’m still unknown. It’s also partly because I think there was a historical founder to the Jesus cult, the atheist shibboleth. And I take Christian arguments seriously rather than dismiss them like many skeptics do with the flying spaghetti monster. My target audience is Christians, so I cannot really expect skeptics to take notice of me, although they are. And my forte is not science either, but theology, apologetics and philosophy, disciplines which many scientifically trained skeptics shun. Then too, because I don't have a Ph.D. degree many intellectual skeptics don't think I know what I'm talking about. Although, this is changing. You did read the blurbs for my forthcoming book, didn't you? And maybe you'd like to consider who I got to write chapters in my next proposed book. When I trash Dinesh D’Souza in our debate, as I think I probably will, then I’ll get noticed. But in fact I was asked to debate him by the head of a department at the University of Illinois, so that means intellectuals are already taking notice of me. Plus a debate with William Lane Craig is in the works, despite Craig saying he won’t debate me.Okay, sometimes I have too much time on my hands. It's just a bit of fun.
I have no intention of getting a Ph.D. or in publishing in scholarly journals. I would consider that a distraction from my goals. I have no need to be recognized as having written a scholarly article. Many scholars just talk to themselves. I have a target audience and I plan on sticking to it. Rather than the shotgun approach of targeting religion in general, I target evangelical Christianity. And rather than write for the accolades of scholars, I write for the university student. I see nothing wrong with knowing where I fit it and then fitting in. My goal is to change the religious landscape, and I know where my talents are best used to do this. You might as well try to distract me by asking that I debunk Islam or Scientology too, but anything like that is a distraction from my target audience and my set goals. You can disagree all you like but it won't change what I'm setting out to do. The narrower one's focus is then the more apt someone is able to do what he sets out to do.