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The Apologetics Death Spiral

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Andius View Post

    I agree to certain extent, where a great many social media platforms don't exactly give the space and format required for a proper debate. But to be fair, the video debate format that has grown in Youtube is actually really great for long format debates. A few discord platforms within academic social circles have also provided a good alternative to traditional forums (Reddit tends to be poorly moderated) of debate.

    I would actually do fault the apologetics movement to a certain extent. One terrible consequence I have noticed on the rise is the amount of young people hailing from American conservative backgrounds (growing up indoctrinated with terrible books such as Tactics by Gregory Koukl, ) with a hostile mindsets against most college professors and Academia in general. I can't help but notice how the Christian witness in Academia becomes compromised when orthodox intolerance, be it coming from crazed left-wingers viewing Whites in their social privilage as enemies or crazed right-wing reactionaries viewing progressives as threats to society. On the side of the Church (our side), there is some apologetics material that I consider is doing more harm than good in advancing the Gospel, especially when it comes at the cost of good quality apologetic books (The more difficult ones to digest admittedly).
    Just out of curiosity, can you expand on that assessment of Koukl's book?
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
      I set up a thread in general theistics for honest seekers, and apparently there aren't any! Where's the good fallow soil when you want to find it to plant some seeds?
      Most people who are religiously neutral/apathetic probably aren't going to be hanging out on theology debate forums to begin with in the first place. We're not a very good representation of the general population. That's good news; the mission field really is out there.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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      • #33
        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post

        Just out of curiosity, can you expand on that assessment of Koukl's book?
        I apologize for the delayed response. I had to reread the book to be doubly sure of it's contents and how I felt about it. I'll go chapter by chapter to give a basic gist of my assessment:


        Short Critique of Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions


        Part One: The Game Plan

        1. Diplomacy or D-Day?


        His proposal of initial inquiry in regards to a person's beliefs, rather than reflecting a genuine inquiry and seeking understanding, endorses an a priori "the other already maintains an incoherence I should watch out for". His idea of being an "ambassador for Christ" (International Relations being my specialty, his misrepresentations of what ambassadors do made me want to barf) implicates to prioritize searching for incoherences as a means to control the conversation, hardly the function of what an ambassador actually does. It's alright to actually be alert of any incoherence or fallacy one may pronounce, but I consider bad-faith making that a top-list priority in a dialogue.


        2. Reservations


        Greg is in the right when he says we Christians are not to shy away from arguments and to have well-honed mental agility to handle discussions, and does well in citing the precedent of apostles and Jesus himself. He acknowledges correctly that arguments in themselves will not magically make a mind change, our duty fundamentally requires to expose the Gospel, plant the seeds, very proper missionary understanding. This chapter is one of the more salvageable bits of the book.


        3. Getting in the Driver's Seat; The Columbo Tactic


        Requesting clarifications of terms as an opening engagement is good. What bothers me is how the Columbo Tactic encourages this insincere method of inquiry. As per Columbo, treating interlocutors as if they automatically have malicious motives in their verbal challenges. Now granted, malicious critiques of Christianity are out there, true, but to make that as the de-facto expectation of every challenge as Koukl makes it out to be is a malicious mentality in and of itself. Hiding it out under bumbling veneer of naivety (alá Columbo) makes this attitude even more insincere and undermines his exhortation of and becoming well informed on a subject.


        4. Columbo Step Two: The Burden of Proof


        Kook rightly acknowledges that in debates, Christians can't be the sole purveyors of evidence within many kinds of debates. He is not wrong (with his illustration of wall supporting the roof = ideas supporting the conclusion) in the importance of exploring how ideas create the basis/conclusions of one's beliefs and/or arguments. But his egregious ignorance of evolutionary theory combined with his triumphalist notion of Intelligent Design trumping the theory, coupled with his overestimation of frequency of college professors being fundamentally anti-Christian, demonstrates how terribly out of depth he is, and I argue kills his point of having a well supported conclusion. Expectations like the ones he is framing has fed the latest generation of Christian youth to treat those within academia as raving anti-Christians out to break their faith. Koukl would have done well to actually encourage the Christian "not to play" in the first place and actually investigate the positions/assertions independently if they are unknown to one as soon as the interlocutor's intentions have demonstrated to be (in a posteriori fashion) in bad faith. Instead he encourages this nonsense of "verbal aikido" as if bad faith interlocutors are worthy to even entertain, worse when one is a student and still has much to learn.


        5. Step Three: Using Columbo to Lead the Way


        Similar to chapter 3, my primary objection is again the awful attitude of de-facto expectation of always finding a fissure in one's postures, as if you are not likely to find folks who have truly reasoned deeply their convictions. A weakness is something to be detected a posteriori, NOT a priori, especially when you are dealing with postures that can be new to one's experience, and Koukl truly stumbles in not making this critical distinction when interacting with one. And again, his lack of expertise in biology (He's seriously citing Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells?) clumsy handling of philosophy of Science in the "dialogue" he demonstrates between student and teacher, coupled with a strawmanish understanding of LGBTQ+ folks is utter cringe. Truly undermines Jesus' exhortation to be as fair as doves and to actually be prepared, especially on this this critical point of the tactic to start asserting.


        6. Perfecting Columbo


        This one is one of the more smarter chapters, exhorting the Christian to be reflexive on the postures and hypothesize possible objections derived from a subject matter critiquing a matter of Christianity or what are better ways approach/engage the subject matter of the person. It would be a great exercise in teaching Christians how to do dialectic (almost in similar fashion as Thomas Aquinas) were it not spoiled with the Colombo Tactic endgame of disingenuous pursuits of weaknesses in the other's postures. It makes it all the more ironic when he shows how not to fall to the Colombo itself if applied to reader.



        Part Two: Finding the Flaws


        7. Suicide: Views That Self-Destruct


        My biggest gripe with this section is Kroukl's framing how frequent self-refuting propositions come about. That amateurish arguments (There are no absolutes, you can only know truth via experience, no one can know the truth about religion) constitute the norm on critiques of Christianity is setting up a horribly low bar. A set up for failure should one encounter a heavyweight, especially one who might end up being well versed in postmodern philosophies (Non of them adopt the caricaturesque understandings of truth that Kroukl insists they embrace). Were he actually truly interested in preparing the Christian, he would have encouraged them to actually read the likes of Jean Baudrillard or Jaques Derrida on what they thought of truth, religion, and Christianity, actually engage the topics, not assume every proposition already comes with a "self-refutation" in it. I also can't help but notice Kroukl's religious illiteracy in understanding how the Atman, Brahman and Maya are understood in Hindu though, and automatically assumes they are flat out contradictions with his appeals to an insipid understanding of the Law of Non-contradiction. And don't get me started with his conviction that Evolution automatically entails a rejection of Christianity, but on the bright side he at least acknowledges the irrationality of scientism. Greg Kroukl's general ignorance really shows on this chapter.


        8. Practical Suicide


        Same objection as Chapter 7, making the amateurish challenges as the norm, but his examples of refuting on the spot the hypocrisy of Christians who object to christians criticizing pastors in public (while engaging it themselves on the spot) or in regards to homosexuality on how no one should be condemned (while engaging in condemnations) do illustrate properly how they can happen. Yet his cartoonish understanding of moral relativism or Determinism continues to undermine his point of actually being well prepared. Reading something like Baruch Espinoza or J.C.C. Smart would probably prevented him from coming off as a buffoon blabbering on his insistence of the effectiveness of the Columbo Tactic.


        9. Sibling Rivalry and Infanticide


        This chapter is the closest to an interesting dialectic, providing many dialogues that explore the Problem of Evil and the Moral Argument against the existence of God, citing the likes of C.S. Lewis and Richard Taylor and their contributions to the debate. But his bumbling understanding of Hinduism and how they handle the morality in paradoxical form constitutes a problem is inexcusable (again, his religious illiteracy showing). His preoccupation with the Colombo Tactic concern with finding "fatal incoherences" undermine the necessity of MAKING THE DUE DILIGENCE when attempting to understanding CORRECTLY a posture.


        10. Taking the Roof off


        Adopting Francis Schaeffer's methodology of putting to the test the logical consequence of a worldview (a test of coherence, factual adequacy and adequacy for practical life as he understood it), he uses it for the Colombo Tactic in finding fissures. But I can't help but notice his abuse of this methodology and his appeals in letting "reality" sort out whatever Kroukl' perceives as "incoherence". For a man who has gone around many places around the world, I am surprised of his appeals of how one feels guilty represents a universal notion of reality and projecting unto all, that is far from the truth. He misunderstands Mother Teresa's appeals to California Governor pardon Robert Alton Harris from Death Row leading to logically release all criminals from prison or penance, a dishonest representation. His clumsy handling of False Equivalencies with equating legal sanctions of same-sex marriages with the legal sanction of slavery when attempting to discredit the pro same-sex marriage postures appealing to how inter-racial marriage was illegal in the past is also just as silly. At best, he correctly demonstrates the Naturalistic Fallacy of those appealing to nature to justify same-sex attraction, appealing to Thomas Hobbes' State of nature as some sort of basis. His strawmen of Darwinism is ridiculous, and his management of an abortion debate is fruitless considering Pro-lifers and Pro-choicers simply have never agreed on a common starting point of conception and what constitutes a person, as if his postures are the automatic default on the debate. This chapter is one of the worst ones, and in need of serious revision, starting with actually READING Cornelius Van Till's and Francis Schaeffer's handling of "testing worldviews", his own "roof" and "walls" are in serious need of patching up.


        11. Steamroller


        Yeah... not much to comment on this chapter. To my amusement, this chapter is basically "How to deal with the Karens". To be fair, his approach on this area is not too bad, so no complaints here, and in agreement with his conclusion that you really can't reason with anyone to preoccupied with emotional outrages as their basis for objections.


        12. Rhodes Scholar


        Another one that in principle is actually not bad, how to spot fallacies of appeals of authority, and exhorts in actually checking the credentials of a given source. What undermines this chapter is his poor handling of philosophy of Science. Had he been familiar with the works of Karl Popper or Thomas Kuhn in respect to modern Science, we would not make the overly simplistic dichotomy of science as methodology vs science as philosophy of naturalistic materialism, and goes about an anti-evolution tirade, and misrepresenting Richard's Lewontin's point in regards to science and truth as only allowing "philosophically acceptable answers", and omitting Lewontin's point in science as the endeavor to reduce uncertainty in knowledge via consensus. The scientific illiteracy of Kroukl for someone advocating in checking credentials is appalling. His saving grace does point out to the incompetence of the Jesus Seminar in handling scholarship within Social Science standards.


        13. Just the Facts, ma'am.


        Kroukl is in the right when dealing history in always double-checking what are the facts. Although I admittedly have the caveat in respect his attitude of what constitutes historical facts (History as a discipline cannot be reduced to merely brute facts of the past in self-evident fashion), he is in the right in setting the historical records straight when blatant historical misrepresentations such as the ones popularized by the novel of the DaVinci Code, and for once he actually is correct in explaining how the methodology of Textual Criticism works for translations in establishing reasonable facts in respect to events from the past. But the man blunders in assuming what facts are obvious within the context of abortion debates, spoilers, a lot of conceptualizations surrounding personhood are far being "common sense truth" and Kroukl seems to miss this. Kroukl does a disservice to Christians when appealing to facts by failing to recognize his own biased understanding of what qualifies as facts.


        14. More Sweat, Less Blood.


        A rehash of the entire Colombo Tactic, and how it fits within Christian Praxis coupled with some practical advice on how to witness and reason with others, and encourages Christians to not be afraid to the challenges they might face.




        Basically, I consider the Columbo Tactic as an awful approach to apologetics. It is insincere, condescending, ill-equipped to discern good-faith arguments from bad faith-arguments, virtually consigning every argument to the latter. It is an approach that basically leads to an ultimately hostile stance to just about every challenge it will meet, I do not consider sincere the claim that the Columbo tactic is meant to be a friendly yet stern approach in interacting with arguments against Christianity. It is made worse with Gregory Koukl being the byproduct of the Apologetic Movement's atrocious notion that Christian apologetics HAS to be coupled with a default hostility towards Evolutionary Theory (The Apologetics Movement seriously HAS TO start distancing themselves from Creationist/Intelligent Design as some sort of prerequisite to be a Christian Apologist, let alone being a Christian), mixed with the tired old trope of associating Moral Relativism with Post-Modern thought and treating it like a boogyman (No major post-modern theorist seriously sustains that any claim to truth is equally valid). Even with the good things that the book does have, I cannot recommend this book, nor endorse the Colombo Tactic as part of good Christian Apologetics. It is symptomatic of the terrible breeding of reactionary minded Christians molded to view non-Christians as people fundamentally out to break them and to utterly mistrust most scholarly/scientific traditions and understandings. This book doesn't encourage good ambassadors to Christians, it encourages siege-mentalities with the stench of anti-intellectualism, which ultimately sabotage earnest attempts to create healthy dialogue and understanding, and most importantly, the opportunity to be effective representatives of the Christ in sharing the Gospel.
        Last edited by Andius; 01-08-2021, 04:35 AM.
        Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.
        As of the 1st of December, 2020, officially anointed as this:

        "Seinfeld had its Soup Nazi. Tweb has its Taco Nazi." - Rogue06 , https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...e3#post1210559

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by seer View Post

          When I first came here I spent most of my time on Apologetics and Philosophy, but a number of years ago I found myself almost exclusively posting on Civics. And I have seen that on other sites too, Politics seem to have taken over. Not sure why that is.
          Only reason I drifted to Civics is because it's an active forum whereas Apologetics has almost become a ghost town. There's hardly anybody to interact with here.
          Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
          But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
          Than a fool in the eyes of God


          From "Fools Gold" by Petra

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Andius View Post
            Don't know if a lot of you share this perception, but around the 2000's and 2010's (hard to specify when) but I recall a period when there were so many forums and websites (including this one) that hosted so many intense debates between Atheists/Agnostics and Christians, debates that got incredibly heated. I, like many, it was the time I became interested in Christian apologetics, and examine critically the claims of Christendom. It was the time when folks like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett (Atheist side), William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, and Ben Witherington III (Christian side) duked it out on public debates. Coinciding with that era, it was also, what I would consider the golden era of Theologyweb.

            What do you all think of this analysis? Think the Apologetics Death Spiral is an explanation as to the current state of TWeb and our respective societies in general?
            It was during that period I was interested in apologetics and theological discussion. But I don't feel the same interest in those subjects I once did - I feel I learned what I wanted to learn and shared with others what I wanted to share, and now I've moved on.

            If I were to decide to spend more time discussing those again, I wouldn't do it in this forum. There are other web forums, and other types of interaction (facebook, twitter, youtube), that I would look to first rather than this forum.

            If the question is why aren't new young people coming through the system and entering these discussions, I tend to think that the answer is that religion is no longer taken seriously among the younger generation in the Western world. They grew up seeing the Catholic church being rocked by a decade-long scandal of child molestation; seeing evangelicals wage a losing battle against human rights for gay people; and then most recently they've seen evangelicals massively align themselves with Trump. So Christians have nuked their own credibility.

            Improvements in genetic sequencing technologies over the last 20 years, have also pretty firmly put the nail in the coffin of anti-evolutionary views with what DNA sequencing has found. Conservative Christians don't seem to me to have coalesced around any well organized explanation of why their YEC predictions failed and then their anti-evolutionary claims failed, so they struggle to come across as promulgating beliefs that can be taken seriously.

            Young people today likewise have access to the internet and can google any and every religious claim they see made, and instantly learn why those claims are likely bogus. They can watch youtube videos about them. In the event they feel the need to read books about religion, they can read the work of Dawkins or others.

            Social media sites make young people very aware of what their peers think, and allows them to see exchanges being made on political and religious subjects (among others). In some ways that serves for them as the debate arena of ideas of the kind that you feel TWeb used to be. I think the ease with which religious ideas tend to get shot down in this kinds of exchanges, has given us a younger generation in the West that is far more non-religious than previous generations.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Starlight View Post
              It was during that period I was interested in apologetics and theological discussion. But I don't feel the same interest in those subjects I once did - I feel I learned what I wanted to learn and shared with others what I wanted to share, and now I've moved on.

              Fair enough, we all have our shifting interests.


              If I were to decide to spend more time discussing those again, I wouldn't do it in this forum. There are other web forums, and other types of interaction (facebook, twitter, youtube), that I would look to first rather than this forum.

              Well i wish you the best on that man.


              If the question is why aren't new young people coming through the system and entering these discussions, I tend to think that the answer is that religion is no longer taken seriously among the younger generation in the Western world. They grew up seeing the Catholic church being rocked by a decade-long scandal of child molestation; seeing evangelicals wage a losing battle against human rights for gay people; and then most recently they've seen evangelicals massively align themselves with Trump. So Christians have nuked their own credibility.

              Oh they still are coming out! Can't say objectively wether more or less compared to 10ish years ago, but they haven't stopped. What I am saying (as per the OG) is that the quality of the currents trends in Christian apologia (especially reflected in the newest iteration of youth interaction with non-Christians) are heading to a downward spiral of quality that ultimately threaten the pursuit of truth, killing the quality of meaningful debate. I contend you are overestimating and overprojecting the causes you cite regarding Christendom's credibility. Not saying they don't hurt the cause of the Church, it demonstrates their hypocrisies yes and must be addressed, but such things far from "nuking" their credibility. It is as analogues as saying the failings of neoliberal policy has nuked the credibility of neoliberalism, still going fairly strong.

              Improvements in genetic sequencing technologies over the last 20 years, have also pretty firmly put the nail in the coffin of anti-evolutionary views with what DNA sequencing has found. Conservative Christians don't seem to me to have coalesced around any well organized explanation of why their YEC predictions failed and then their anti-evolutionary claims failed, so they struggle to come across as promulgating beliefs that can be taken seriously.
              Don't be so naive and triumphalist, it does not suit you. Within established Academia, Creationism and Intelligent Design have been cast out for a long time now, virtually no chance a paper operating under Creationist or ID paradigms ever passing peer review of any kind, you are right in that particular nail. And we can say with confidence that Creationism and ID's popularity amongst lay folk is falling. I would argue that public policy in education, legal precedents in courts, and coupled with Science popularizers the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye have made greater impact than the accumulation of raw scientific accomplishments as perceived by popular perception.


              https://news.gallup.com/poll/21814/e...nt-design.aspx


              But considering that Creationist and ID thought is still promulgated in many Christian schools (Especially of American Protestant Conservative bent) , even internationally, said decline is not without significant friction.


              Young people today likewise have access to the internet and can google any and every religious claim they see made, and instantly learn why those claims are likely bogus. They can watch youtube videos about them. In the event they feel the need to read books about religion, they can read the work of Dawkins or others.
              Again, tone down the triumphalist and borderline ethnocentrism you are displaying Starlight, you're giving me the impression that you are no different from the hack ideological brawlers like Gregory Kroukl and Kent Hovind (quoting Youtuber PresidentSunday) with a misplaced confidence on their own band. Your a priori attitude that religious claims are things to be "debunked" as if what you claim young people do were some mechanistic thing that "just happens" really makes you no different from the two hacks I mentioned. Why on Earth are you recommending ethnocentric and religious-illiterates like Dawkins who drove the Skeptic and New Atheist communities into the brutish childish cliques that they are today?


              Social media sites make young people very aware of what their peers think, and allows them to see exchanges being made on political and religious subjects (among others). In some ways that serves for them as the debate arena of ideas of the kind that you feel TWeb used to be. I think the ease with which religious ideas tend to get shot down in this kinds of exchanges, has given us a younger generation in the West that is far more non-religious than previous generations.

              True that many social media of myriad kinds host such arenas, but that religious ideas "easily get shot down" is not really a thing that uniformly takes place on the scale you are projecting happens (Especially when you consider the entirety of the globe and her myriad peoples). Your misplaced apriorism of what you think of religious ideas (Treating them as ideas just waiting to be refuted) is a definitive demonstration of the bad-faith problem (from the Atheist side of the debate) analyzed from the Apologetics Death Spiral analysis and their the latest generation of atheist proselytizers and their fideistic embracings of secularism/scientism (The ones bordering on secular supremacism are the WORST) and are just as responsible in having killed the quality of the debates. Young atheist proselytizers and young Christian apologists are in serious need of revitalizing their education and comprehension on the ideas of "The others" outside their own ideological tribes. This is why I consider the discipline of Religious Studies to be highly important and critical, and one that can contribute in resolving the predicament of The Spiral.
              Last edited by Andius; 01-11-2021, 04:49 AM.
              Ladino, Guatemalan, Hispanic, and Latin, but foremostly, Christian.
              As of the 1st of December, 2020, officially anointed as this:

              "Seinfeld had its Soup Nazi. Tweb has its Taco Nazi." - Rogue06 , https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...e3#post1210559

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Andius View Post
                Why on Earth are you recommending ethnocentric and religious-illiterates like Dawkins...?
                I've seen several variations of this religious-illiteracy claim made about Dawkins before by Christians, but having read some of Dawkins works myself I don't understand what it refers to - it appears to me Dawkins goes out of his way to be fair and balanced toward religious viewpoints and at no point did I notice any instances of him getting a piece of theology wrong. Could you perhaps cite a specific example of Dawkins doing this, so I can understand what you're getting at?

                As far as 'ethnocentric' goes I'm not sure if I get your point either. Dawkins lives in the modern West and is writing for readers in the modern West. Few authors write to audiences outside their own cultures, or are as comprehensible outside their own cultures - that's one of the issues that has to be taken very seriously in biblical interpretation and understanding the bible from our very different culture. I can understand, perhaps, that you living in Guatemala means that this in some ways Dawkins' writings don't appeal to you so much, but that doesn't seem to be a flaw in his work so much as an inherent limit on any work, even the best ones.

                Your misplaced apriorism of what you think of religious ideas (Treating them as ideas just waiting to be refuted)
                "Apriorism"? My viewpoint is based on ~20 years experience observing Christian-atheist interactions, not presuppositions about them.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Why do I imagine that some fundy atheists would still be atheists after Judgement day. They could try to claim that God was "merely" some powerful alien or something.
                  If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                    It was during that period I was interested in apologetics and theological discussion. But I don't feel the same interest in those subjects I once did - I feel I learned what I wanted to learn and shared with others what I wanted to share, and now I've moved on.

                    If I were to decide to spend more time discussing those again, I wouldn't do it in this forum. There are other web forums, and other types of interaction (facebook, twitter, youtube), that I would look to first rather than this forum.

                    If the question is why aren't new young people coming through the system and entering these discussions, I tend to think that the answer is that religion is no longer taken seriously among the younger generation in the Western world. They grew up seeing the Catholic church being rocked by a decade-long scandal of child molestation; seeing evangelicals wage a losing battle against human rights for gay people; and then most recently they've seen evangelicals massively align themselves with Trump. So Christians have nuked their own credibility.

                    Improvements in genetic sequencing technologies over the last 20 years, have also pretty firmly put the nail in the coffin of anti-evolutionary views with what DNA sequencing has found. Conservative Christians don't seem to me to have coalesced around any well organized explanation of why their YEC predictions failed and then their anti-evolutionary claims failed, so they struggle to come across as promulgating beliefs that can be taken seriously.

                    Young people today likewise have access to the internet and can google any and every religious claim they see made, and instantly learn why those claims are likely bogus. They can watch youtube videos about them. In the event they feel the need to read books about religion, they can read the work of Dawkins or others.

                    Social media sites make young people very aware of what their peers think, and allows them to see exchanges being made on political and religious subjects (among others). In some ways that serves for them as the debate arena of ideas of the kind that you feel TWeb used to be. I think the ease with which religious ideas tend to get shot down in this kinds of exchanges, has given us a younger generation in the West that is far more non-religious than previous generations.
                    I missed this when you posted but I think it has good insights. I'm not sure about the status of 'young people' and religion but I always found that there was an intense curiosity and even a hunger to understand and some anger that good explanations were never given to them over the years. I'm not a Facebook/twitter person so I have no idea if religion is a big topic on social media but I sort of doubt it is. I agree Youtube debates, lectured, interviews are high quality.

                    I have found good discussions on other Forums and this one has possibilities but people have to lighten up a bit. It is nearly impossible to have a discussion with a fundamentalist/literalist if all they say in a discussion is 'this is what God said' and tolerated nothing else. I have no problem continuing the discussion assuming even a fundamentalist should be able to comment on how they understand, for example, the Trinity or how exactly we're saved or how they understand incarnation but too many, at least seemingly, don't have the ability to go further than restate religious creed/dogma.There is, seemingly, no ability or interest to more deeply understand and express their belief or the creeds of their Church. Some delight or are limited to hurling insults - which in itself is an admission that there is 'not much understanding' of their own beliefs.

                    Civics seems to be popular on this site but even there it is opinion vs opinion and amazingly the site appears to allow and encourage personal attacks. I have never seen a religious or theology site that is so focused on politics over religion.

                    However, I really hope that 'young people' don't limit their reading to Dawkins :+}

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                      I've seen several variations of this religious-illiteracy claim made about Dawkins before by Christians, but having read some of Dawkins works myself I don't understand what it refers to - it appears to me Dawkins goes out of his way to be fair and balanced toward religious viewpoints and at no point did I notice any instances of him getting a piece of theology wrong. Could you perhaps cite a specific example of Dawkins doing this, so I can understand what you're getting at?

                      As far as 'ethnocentric' goes I'm not sure if I get your point either. Dawkins lives in the modern West and is writing for readers in the modern West. Few authors write to audiences outside their own cultures, or are as comprehensible outside their own cultures - that's one of the issues that has to be taken very seriously in biblical interpretation and understanding the bible from our very different culture. I can understand, perhaps, that you living in Guatemala means that this in some ways Dawkins' writings don't appeal to you so much, but that doesn't seem to be a flaw in his work so much as an inherent limit on any work, even the best ones.

                      "Apriorism"? My viewpoint is based on ~20 years experience observing Christian-atheist interactions, not presuppositions about them.
                      I find that oftentimes the atheist (obviously generally speaking) has a different concept of God than does the modern, progressive religious person. For example it is the God of old time theism that is a supreme being residing in his heaven and miraculously breaking ito the natural world. This god is dead or simply never actually existed for ages for many of us and many of us would be in greater disagreement with this concept than the atheist.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                        It is getting harder and harder to speak on Biblical issues without sounding like I'm condemning the Democratic Party.
                        Maybe shift to speaking on Biblical issues such as adultery, bearing false witness and greed?
                        Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                        mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                        Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                        Mountain Man: … this is how liberals argue these days, with labels instead of ideas.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
                          Why do I imagine that some fundy atheists would still be atheists after Judgement day. They could try to claim that God was "merely" some powerful alien or something.
                          Because you're projecting.
                          Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

                          mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

                          Mountain Man: First of all, the Bible is a fixed document.
                          Mountain Man: … this is how liberals argue these days, with labels instead of ideas.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Roy View Post

                            Because you're projecting.
                            Some, not all. I assumed you weren't one of the stupid ones. What would ypu think if you did end up experiencing the Christian Judgement day?
                            If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              It is getting harder and harder to speak on Biblical issues without sounding like I'm condemning the Democratic Party.
                              Since I would tend to say that the Democratic party agrees with the bible on pretty much all issues, and the Republican party is against it on pretty much all issues, I am genuine really intrigued what you are preaching...?! Perhaps you could share with us two-sentence summaries of each of your last 5 or 10 sermons?

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                              • #45
                                Both parties fall short of God's standrad.
                                If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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