Updated: Unapologetic Encyclopedia

Just a quick note to say I’ve gone back and updated the Unapologetic Encyclopedia (the “Encyclopedia” link at the top of each blog page) with new entries covering some of my more recent posts.

I’d like this encyclopedia to include entries for all of the various apologetic arguments used to defend Christianity, so feel free to suggest topics that ought to be included.

XFiles Friday: “The problems with Christianity”

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 24-25)

For today’s installment of XFiles Friday, authors Geisler and Turek take us on a tour of what they see as the problems with Christianity. After a brief nod at a couple problems in Christianity itself, the authors devote most of this section to “flaws” that really reflect–or purport to reflect–flaws in non-Christians.

Is Christianity reasonable? We believe it is. However, unless one makes a thorough investigation of the evidence with an open mind, belief in Christianity may appear to be problematic. First, there are many perceived intellectual objections, like those mentioned above (the problem of evil and the objections of many scientists).

Right away we start with the insinuations. Belief in Christianity may appear problematic if you have a closed mind. In other words, there aren’t any genuine problems with Christianity, just false perceptions among those who refuse to examine the evidence with an open mind. The emperor is not really nude, there’s just a perception of nudity among those who are not sufficiently wise to be able to see and appreciate the exquisite quality of his rare, fine new clothes.
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Mere Gullibility

I agree with VJack over at Atheist Revolution. And yet, in the interests of evangelical realism, I’m going to disagree with him. Slightly.

To insist that faith is required for one to reject claims about my neighbor’s gnome, unicorns, fairies, Santa Claus, Odin, angels, or gods misses the mark completely. The individual who refuses to accept such claims need not offer any sort of claim of his or her own. All he or she is doing is pointing out that the evidentiary burden has not been met.

It’s a good post, and I recommend that you drop by and have a look at the whole thing. He’s arguing that “an atheist’s faith” is like the variety of apple you have when you don’t have an apple (as one commenter at another good blog phrased it). But my recent discussion with the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society leads me to believe that there’s a better answer.

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How Meyer lost the Ward/Meyer debate

At the recommendation of my good friend Mr. Admin at the Manawatu Christian Apologetics society, I’ve looked up the transcript of the debate between Stephen Meyer, of the Discovery Institute, and Peter Ward (whom Mr. Admin refers to as “Peter May” for some reason), a paleontologist at the University of Washington. Mr. Admin claims that “Your guy lost” (according to the Discovery Institute, anyway). But ID fans are easily impressed by anyone who stands up and agrees with them. My question is, did Meyer present any actual scientific support for his position? Let’s look at Meyer’s arguments (plus some of Dr. Ward’s remarks).

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Manawatu 5: the end of the road?

I’m not sure how much longer the Admin at Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society can hold out, but it looks like he’s reaching the point where he’s not getting as much satisfaction out of witnessing as he expected.

I don’t have the time to engage in cheap-shop comments from you, Professor. You can post what you like on you website and gain a few comments from your followers, however the facts march on.

Indeed, it seems he’s not willing/able to engage my comments at all. His tactic here is the same as it was before: apply a dismissive label, and then drop the subject. He throws in some vague, triumphalist-sounding rah-rah, but the real point is clear: my comments aren’t giving him the opportunity to promote his beliefs, and therefore he’s beginning to question the value of the time he’s devoting to the discussion.

This, as I’ve mentioned before (in the “About” link above) is what the trained Unapologist should be working towards: “to confront the superstitious with the real world, often enough and convincingly enough that it takes all the fun out of defending superstition.” Mr. Admin has made it quite clear that he has no intention of changing his beliefs, and it would be a waste of time for us to try. Our goal is to see to it that Christian apologists learn, through repeated experiences, that it is a waste of their time to try and confront the real-world evidence in a way that makes Christianity look real.

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Manawatu 4: Inside the creationist mind…

The Admin at Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society is proving to be a boundless source of good material. Let’s look at some more of his comments.

In one of my earlier comments on the Manawatu blog, I pointed out the fact that, by quoting evolutionists as their source for “evidence” against evolution, creationists are inadvertently documenting the fact that evolutionists are actually publishing the very evidence that creationists want to accuse them of suppressing. This is pretty much an open-and-shut case: publishing information is the exact opposite of suppressing it, and by quoting evolutionists in the very act of publishing, discussing, and addressing the allegedly “contrary” evidence, the creationists themselves are directly contradicting their own claims of deliberate suppression of the evidence.

And how does Mr. Admin respond to creationists being so blatantly caught in the act?

Regarding quotes, I think you are playing with words.

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“I am solidly pro-choice” — God

According to CNN and AP, a Nebraska legislator’s lawsuit against God has produced a “miraculous” response.

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) — A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said he sued God last week to make a point about frivolous lawsuits.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

“This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!” Friend said.

What is particularly interesting about this mysterious filing is that it reveals a hitherto unsuspected side of God’s political viewpoints: He’s solidly pro-choice.

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Manawatu Round 3: Can we interpret the evidence reliably?

As always, it is a pleasure to hear from the Admin of the Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society. In response to my last post and comment, Admin replies:

Professor, Apologetics breaks into at least two streams: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. No evidence is interpreted in a vacuum; it always comes thru a filter of some type.

Apparently this was intended to address my question about the goal of his apologetic if he truly feels that evidence is “somewhat of an excuse.” What he overlooks here is that there is more you can do with the evidence after it “comes through a filter of some type.”

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XFiles Friday: The resurrection and the “historical evidence”

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, pp. 23-24)

Geisler and Turek have defined their terms (or stacked the deck, if you prefer), and are now ready to discuss faith and religion, in the context of the claim that “religion is simply a matter of faith.”

Facts are also central to all religions because all religious worldviews–including atheism–make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation…

The alleged resurrection of Christ presents another example. Christians claim that Jesus rose from the dead, while Muslims say that Jesus never even died. Again, one of these views is right and the other is wrong. How can we know which one is right? By evaluating each of these conflicting truth claims against the historical evidence.

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Bad news for the “family friendly”

Ed Brayton over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has some really bad news for “pro-family” (code word for “anti-gay”) organizations like Dobson’s mob and the AFA: they’re all going to have to stop buying stuff. Seems that more and more big companies are realizing that hiring gays (and thus “advancing the pro-gay agenda”) is good business. A couple hundred of them got high scores and even perfect scores on a survey of gay-friendly hiring practices. Look for some major Christian boycotts to be announced soon, even if it does hit the boycotters harder than the boycottees:

[E]ating and drinking could be a bit difficult as well. No Coke or Pepsi, they both got 100. Nothing from Kraft or General Mills, which wipes out about half the products in the supermarket. No Budweiser. For crying out loud, even Coors, typically a friend to conservatives, has been corrupted by the forces of buggery and scores a perfect 100. And even that old American standy, Campbell Soups, got a 95.

If you haven’t already, be sure and stop by Ed’s blog for the full story.