Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
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15-02-2015, 10:35 AM
Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
So soon after I first arrived here I think it was KingsChosen who introduced me to Christian Apologetics with a web site I can't be bothered to remember of some scientists attempting to provide a rational basis for Christianity. I noted at the time that the mental gymnastics they were performing were quite impressive. And the more I look at them, the more impressive they become.

While their quest is quixotic and even the idea of providing a rational basis for Christianity feels wrong-headed, I think they have at least been somewhat successful at highlighting the limitations of logic. I'm thinking for example of C.S. Lewis' 'Mad, Bad, or God' trilemma which no less than Hitchens himself finds no objection. They just had entirely different interpretations.

Even quixotic adventures can provide useful results.

#sigh
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15-02-2015, 11:41 AM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
(15-02-2015 10:35 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  So soon after I first arrived here I think it was KingsChosen who introduced me to Christian Apologetics with a web site I can't be bothered to remember of some scientists attempting to provide a rational basis for Christianity. I noted at the time that the mental gymnastics they were performing were quite impressive. And the more I look at them, the more impressive they become.

While their quest is quixotic and even the idea of providing a rational basis for Christianity feels wrong-headed, I think they have at least been somewhat successful at highlighting the limitations of logic. I'm thinking for example of C.S. Lewis' 'Mad, Bad, or God' trilemma which no less than Hitchens himself finds no objection. They just had entirely different interpretations.

Even quixotic adventures can provide useful results.


What I find really stupid is that if you take apart the "logical" arguments and are not convinced, they simply do the following: "Well you see you can't use human logic to define GOD!!! He is above our understanding." So if that is what you think, then what the fuck is the point of apologetics? They embrace human logic and reasoning if you buy the argument but if you don't, they then move to not being able to know god with your mind. It is just moving the goalposts.

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
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15-02-2015, 11:48 AM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
(15-02-2015 11:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  What I find really stupid is that if you take apart the "logical" arguments and are not convinced, they simply do the following: "Well you see you can't use human logic to define GOD!!! He is above our understanding." So if that is what you think, then what the fuck is the point of apologetics? They embrace human logic and reasoning if you buy the argument but if you don't, they then move to not being able to know god with your mind. It is just moving the goalposts.

It is the exercise in logic itself I find impressive independent of any ulterior motive.

#sigh
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15-02-2015, 03:24 PM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
I don't find that particular example to provide failings in logic. As pointed out, perhaps he was mistaken.

I tend not to listen to apologetics since it just irritates me and confuses me. I don't see the world the way these people do. And they don't see the world the way I do.
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15-02-2015, 03:49 PM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
(15-02-2015 11:48 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(15-02-2015 11:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  What I find really stupid is that if you take apart the "logical" arguments and are not convinced, they simply do the following: "Well you see you can't use human logic to define GOD!!! He is above our understanding." So if that is what you think, then what the fuck is the point of apologetics? They embrace human logic and reasoning if you buy the argument but if you don't, they then move to not being able to know god with your mind. It is just moving the goalposts.

It is the exercise in logic itself I find impressive independent of any ulterior motive.

In trying to justify Jesus as god C.S. Lewis argued that he would have had to be a liar, a madman akin to someone claiming they were 'a poached egg'; Lewis chose God.I fail to follow his reasoning.
An ineffable force that can be related to god like qualities in addition to being concerned with us, is remote to say the least and very largely beyond the secular scientific method, along with all of the religions that claim some sort of intimate knowledge.
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15-02-2015, 04:21 PM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
The "liar, lunatic or son of God" argument is a false choice. It's not unlike Pascal's Wager, really. Like Pascal, who constrained his wager to one particular religion when the actual menu up for consideration was much broader, Lewis constrains himself to these three choices, forgetting conveniently about possibilities such as "no such thing as a Biblical Jesus in the first place", "Jesus isn't completely or accurately represented", or of course, "there is no personal interventionist god anyway". That leaves out a lot of others including straight up atheism, but you get the drift.

Lewis' "logic" falls apart unless you accept the implicit assumption that the gospel accounts are accurate, first person historically valid accounts of Jesus' claims -- a Jesus who literally was divine, raised the dead, rose from the dead, etc., much less claimed deity for himself.

It also assumes a particular interpretation of what is meant by "son of god". Does that make Jesus a god, a demigod, or a facet of a trinitarian being?

Finally it frames the question so as to suggest that "liar" and "lunatic" are unthinkably taboo and blasphemous ideas that of course, ha-ha, no one would dare subscribe to. No? Really? If I claimed to be divine, would you not call me both a liar AND a lunatic? In the special pleading for Jesus, this suddenly becomes unreasonable??
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15-02-2015, 08:05 PM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
I remember being at a Catholic youth conference when I was a teenager and hearing the "either Jesus really was the son of God, or he was a liar" claim. And when I reflect on my lack of critical thinking back then, I'm embarrassed.
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15-02-2015, 09:15 PM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
I find at the beginning you don't take them seriously. You immediately recognize nonsense as nonsense. But if you dialogue with them, you see their enthusiasm and commitment, and then make point upon point, and you have to temporarily accept something as true for argument sake- eventually switches fire in your mind and you don't know where you are or what you believe. That's how all sects get to you, combined with other forces like money and weapons. The ideas and arguments can be likened to programs or software instructions and settings, but the brain- not like a computer all physically- has switches and criteria. The biological system is important to understand, and it's complex. I believe our brain is designed to connect with members of our own nation/race/society, notwithstanding that we may not agree logically with all ideas. That and possibly other things, I believe religion and ideology in general and clearly ridiculous ideas exploits that human nature. We, our brains are religion's 'host". Ever notice they try find a way inside. If one thing doesn't appeal to you, they try another tact. They are not diabolical per se, they are just zombies. They can be likened to zombies or infectious agents, vectors of a virus. I take them seriously as a danger, and I try to face them head on, and try to deprogram them. There were four tables of Christianity set up at my campus, and I went to them and said, I worship satan. It's funny it actually started an honest open dialogue. No one hated on me either but they became more friendly that I said that. I got to explain my views and the history of their religion, and some seeds may have been planted. So we've all got to learn to flow with life. I want to learn to flow with life fluidly. i think Christianity is a machine, that is dominant in "western civilization", to the extent it "occupies it". You see its marks of power and territory everywhere- the buildings with crosses, the first "brand" or trademark ever I can think of. I think until all crosses are lifted, we can never have a great society. This will trigger zombies brains. I was once a zombie before- hardcore. Superhardcore. So I understand. They can maybe be human again but it's hard.

"Give us the boy until seven and we'll give you the man" - Church of the Holy Foreskin

"Heavy, melancholy men turn lighter, and come temporarily to
their surface, precisely by that which makes others heavy--by
hatred and love. " Nietzsche
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16-02-2015, 04:30 AM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
step1. pretend to care
step2. pretend to take their arguments seriously
step3. smash them with facts
step4. watch them try to weasel out of this situation and make themselves look like idiots
step5. make sure they can't escape
step6. make each attempt to escape even more painful
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16-02-2015, 06:50 AM
RE: Christian Apologetics - 'Mad, Bad, or God'
(15-02-2015 11:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  What I find really stupid is that if you take apart the "logical" arguments and are not convinced, they simply do the following: "Well you see you can't use human logic to define GOD!!! He is above our understanding." So if that is what you think, then what the fuck is the point of apologetics?

In general, the point is to keep from losing believers. Most apologetics are not very convincing to someone who doesn't either already believe or isn't really looking to believe.


(15-02-2015 11:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  They embrace human logic and reasoning if you buy the argument but if you don't, they then move to not being able to know god with your mind. It is just moving the goalposts.

It's a hand wave to actually stop discussion. It's no different than "mysterious ways" or any of the other arguments to say "it doesn't make sense, but I believe it anyway". It is literally an admission that it doesn't make any sense.


(15-02-2015 08:05 PM)Dahlia Wrote:  I remember being at a Catholic youth conference when I was a teenager and hearing the "either Jesus really was the son of God, or he was a liar" claim.

The only time I heard that argument was when someone was looking for a reason to write me off. Basically, he set it up so I would either agree with him or so that he could declare me "anti-Christian". At that point, he would only respond to strawmen versions of what I said, and about every two days would start a new thread to complain about me if the old one got stale.
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