procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the other journal and apologetics

continuing my comments a couple of days ago on apologetics, i noticed the latest issue of The Other Journal has just come out, with this great article on What to do when Christianity Looks Stupid! by Randal Rauser (what a great onomatopoeic name!)

what he means is best summed up here:
[... L]ogically valid arguments for theism do not necessarily increase the perceived plausibility of Christian belief.

A plausible religious system is, to use William James' terminology, a live option for belief; that is, it is one that, even if we do not accept it, we still take seriously; that is, we do not immediately consider it ridiculous. By contrast, a credible religious system is one that we consider to have requisite rationality, evidential support and internal coherence. Christian apologists have often focused on establishing the narrow credibility of Christianity, without due concern for its background plausibility.
that is, in order to have a meaningful discussion with a non-believer about Christianity, regardless of how true what you say may or may not be, by entering into discussion with your listener having zero confidence in your how plausible whatever you will be, by-and-large you're wasting your time.

so you may be soundly convinced we are surrounded by angels (and there is good Biblical weight that could build such a case - eg Ps91:11, Eze1, 1Cor4:9, 1Tim5:21, Heb12:22, Heb13:2, not to mention throughout Rev), YET, or should i say BUT, if there is no built plausibility in the way such a thing may be introduced, you can't really blame someone for thinking you're deluded.

so you could imagine two conversations
  • Christian: So, did you know we're surrounded by thousands of angels that protect us and look after us?
    Atheist: UM, no. Do you actually believe that?
    C: Oh, for sure. It says so in the Bible.
    A: And all Christians believe that?

you can imagine the rest of the conversation for yourself

how might the second conversation go?
(i.e. the one where the atheist goes away convinced that it is entirely plausible for angels to exist and us be unaware of their presence)

this is interactive, hypercolour, techmographical blogging at it's height.



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