Saturday, December 8, 2012

Debunking Christianity: Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life

John Loftus posted the three-part documentary in which Dr Richard Dawkins hosts and explores a very provocative question: Can I have morality and meaning in my life without God? I don't think he answered the question. There was a lot of handwaving but nothing that I found worthy of accepting. These are big questions. It's sad to see an intelligent man struggling to answer it and coming up short.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Debunking Christianity: Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Dr. Doug Geivett Strongly Recommends Against My Book Proposal.

John Loftus has posted a recent conversation he had with Dr Doug Geivett on Facebook regarding an idea he had regarding a book written by Christians and Atheist about Biblical interpretation. When Dr Geivett politely declined, John Loftus took it badly and personally. I think it's worth looking at what was said.

Previously I made a book proposal:
Let's have a four -five -six views book with this as a question: "Why are there so many ways to interpret the Bible?" A proposed title might be this: "Five Views on Why Christians Disagree," or something like that. Then invite me as a contributor. I've written on this issue, calling it The Problem of Divine Miscommunication. See here.
Doug Geivett, a Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology strongly recommends against it. Now isn't that interesting? Why would he do so? He doesn't explain. He refuses to explain.

On the face of it, one might wonder with Loftus why would Christian think that such a proposal is a bad idea. But in light of Loftus' attitude in response and what the Bible says about unbeliever's abilities to understand the Bible, Dr Geivett's response makes sense. Maybe the reason that he does not answer Loftus in the way Loftus wants is because Geivett recognizes that it's a waste of his time. 

Here's the story:

I messaged him on Facebook with a link to my proposal asking if he or anyone else he knows might be interested in editing such a book. His response:
Hi, John. To be honest, I really would not be interested. And if I were advising Christian publishers of the sort you have in mind, I'd strongly recommend against it. This isn't a personal thing. But I don't think it serves the cause. My recommendation is that you continue to pursue secular avenues. Maybe they would be interested in your proposal.
Feeling a bit slighted and testy I responded:

So why did Loftus feel "slighted and testy"? Dr Geivett was not rude or dismissive and suggested a different take. Loftus' ego was bruised in my opinion. 
So, you don't think my arguments can be answered or what? It would be an apologetics work. Someone must answer them. Or, is it your view that it's best to ignore arguments whenever needed? I'm puzzled. I do have a few bites though. One Greek Orthodox scholar can argue it's because of Romanism and sola Scriptura. A liberal wants to argue that there are simply different voices in Scripture. An evangelical wants to argue it's because as human beings we lack understanding. In any case, thanks for the response. I'm certainly happy I'm not an apologist in this day and age, that's for sure.
Oh wow. Nice way to stay civil, Mr Loftus. Loftus gets meaner as the thing goes on. 

John, this is just the sort of response that leaves me cold, this tendency to jump to certain conclusions without adequate evidence, and to psychoanalyze those you disagree with. Take your two questions and ask yourself, "What is the most likely thing Geivett believes about these things, given his record?"
Notice the condescending tone?

Geivett was condescending?  So how is saying I'm certainly happy I'm not an apologist in this day and age, that's for sure. or saying that he can't answer his arguments is not condescending? It is. Pointing out that Loftus psychoanalyze people he disagrees with and jumping to conclusions is not condescension or insulting because it's true.

I don't know your record enough to know what you believe. I do know you're into guessing games. You could have told me why you think it doesn't serve the cause, but you didn't. No, I don't think a deluded person such as yourself thinks he cannot answer my arguments. I was giving you an opportunity to answer them. Now why does this project not serve the cause? admission that Loftus does not know Geivett's record so that the rest of the comment is pointless. Oh...and I guess referring to a person as deluded whom you don't know enough to know what they believe or that they can't answer your arguments is never insulting or condescending? I see! I sure hope Loftus does not really think that because that is stupid.

John, I got your message, which is why I replied. Think what you will about "guessing games," but understand that this kind of rhetoric is bound to alienate people you seem to want to talk to.
More condescension. I want to talk to him and so I must be more humble since, after all, I'm talking to the great and mighty Geivett. If you want to get my ire think or say that. Sooo...

Looks like Loftus has some kind of inferiority complex. Why else would he take Geivett's comments so negatively and offensively? He said, "No, I don't want to work with you on this." So what? Is Loftus so immature that he cannot take a "No"? Looks that way.

Ahhh, you fail to understand me then. I can't convince you that you're wrong. I intend to marginalize you. Play guessing games if you want to. I am dead serious. I think I understand full well what you mean when you say this book project will hurt the cause. You are afraid.

I suppose you think Randal Rauser hurt the cause by co-writing a book with me too, eh? Tell me straight up what you mean, that's all, no more guessing games.
I sent that yesterday morning. His response? Click on the red button in the upper right. ;-)

Crickets? LOL. Like threatening to marginalize him and calling him a coward fosters good will and open dialogue? Nope. 

So I was wondering aloud. Why would he say my book proposal doesn't serve the cause? I'm supposed to figure this out on my own. Any suggestions?

Yup. Let's look at the Bible's  answer. It answers the question in more than one place, but here is two of my favorite.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:6-8

It's pretty clear that a person who is an unbeliever cannot understand God's Law - the Bible. Therefore an Atheist like John Loftus is ill-equipped to critique interpretations of the Bible. They cannot understand it let alone submit to it.

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, - 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

Bottom line is that John Loftus, or any Atheist, is not equipped to discuss why people who claim to be Christian interpret the Bible differently or who is right or who is wrong. I think a book about how different people interpret the Bible and why is a good idea. I would like to see the contributing author breakdown be the following scholars:

a. A Jew
b. A Mormorn
c. A Jehovah Witness
d. A  Reformed Baptist
e. An Anglican
f. A Lutheran
g. A Methodist
h. A Roman Catholic
i. A Liberal
j. A Greek Orthodox
k. A Baptist
l. A Calvary Chapel

It would be good if each scholar discussed what makes their denomination distinctive and define what the Gospel is.  They could even include a brief historical of each church and discussions of core theology and why they look at the Bible the way they do. Focus on how they view Sola Scriptura and Biblical inerrancy. Can you have Bible inerrancy without Sola Scriptura? The core idea is a good idea but I don't think that Atheism has anything to add to the conversation.
Debunking Christianity: Dr. Doug Geivett Strongly Recommends Against My Book Proposal.
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