Saturday, February 28, 2009

Christian Apologetics: Knowledge and Intellect Not Required

There are websites, over paid charlatans, and wandering internet Christians who are dedicated to apologetics, the defense or “proof” of Christianity to win converts. It’s an age old practice going back to the 2nd century.

One of the earliest Christian apologists was Justin Martyr who lived from 100 to 165 CE. His efforts were directed mostly toward the Roman hierarchy, and the Greek philosophers. One of the most famous and laughable defenses of Christianity was his explanation of why there were pagan predecessor gods to Jesus who shared very similar life stories and attributes. Ole' Justin claimed those gods were put in men’s minds by Satan in order to confuse man in preparation for Jesus’ coming. I imagine that got a chuckle from the educated Roman senators, and Hellenistic philosophers.

In the 1930’s a British journalist, pen named Frank Morison, claimed he was raised a Christian but was skeptical of the resurrection myth. He embarked on detailed study of the scripture and visited the Holy Land. In his book Who Moved the Stone? he came to the conclusion that Jesus’ resurrection was in deed real. Why? His bottom line was this: Because there were guards all around the tomb, and after seeing the tomb it would have been impossible for anyone else to move the stone blocking the door!! Thus, he “proved” the veracity of the scripture by using the same scripture as the sole source of information. Brilliant.

These days Ray Comfort (aka "Banana Boy"; see photo above) is among the most visible Christian apologists. A complete lack of understanding of scientific principles and evolutionary theory don’t stand in the way of his trying to discredit them in favor of Creationism. What he lacks in real knowledge he makes up, attributing his laughably inane misrepresentations of evolutionary theory to Darwin. Comfort is best remembered for proffering that the banana is proof of God; for why else would it “… fit so perfectly in our hands, and have such a convenient wrapper?” (Ray doesn’t like being asked about pineapples.) As a fellow online atheist observed: "My penis fits my hand perfectly, does that mean God intended for me to Jerk off?" Good question.

Recently I saw a particularly vapid would be apologist exclaim that Christianity is the “one True religion” His proof rested in the fact that C.S. Lewis, some British jurist, and other 19th and 20th century personages of some minor notoriety abandoned skepticism and became devout Christians. To his limited thought processes this was evidence of the veracity of Christianity. All things being equal, the fact that more people are leaving Christianity than are joining it, preferring to trust reality and naturalism or even Islam, should be as valid evidence for Christianity’s falsehood. But that doesn’t occur to apologists, at least not to the really stupid, and really bad ones.

What these fine examples of defenders of the faith all have in common is this: they rely on attempts at knowledge and intellect to support their belief. However, their lack of both attributes works against them. Genuine apologists don’t try to match their understanding of science / scientific theory, the natural world with educated advocates of science and reality. They don’t attempt isolated examples of “evidence” that can be dismissed as inventive subjective woulda-coulda, or falsified by anyone capable of looking past their nose.

The real Christian apologists tell their disciples that to be effective in spreading the “Truth” of Christianity and to bring non-believers to Jesus, they have to abandon knowledge and intellect, and depend only on faith. They say they must “rely on God, not knowledge.”* They recognize that knowledge is an ineffective tool, cautioning them that “Study should never replace the power of God.”* And of course they are correct.

The professional apologist knows that a belief system that has no concrete evidence for its doctrine; no qualitative or quantitative proofs; that cannot support it’s myth and supernaturalism with real world example is destine to be discredited / defeated when facing opposition from natural world evidence, proofs, and genuine knowledge. They recognize that it is tantamount to their bringing a pen knife to a gun fight.

What’s interesting about their advice, what’s so telling about their religion, is that they are endorsing and promulgating the same thing the early Christian Church did – the downplaying of study, discrediting of knowledge, and demonization of intellectual growth. Why? …, because they know that their religion’s continuation, its very existence, is predicated not on attracting the most intelligent, most analytical, least credulous to their ranks. That would be a waste of time. It has, is, and always will be geared toward convincing and attracting the least educated, most credulous and gullible.

You’ll recognize the “real” apologists when you see one. They’re the ones who don’t try and come up with half baked retorts to scientific evidence. They’re the ones who, when they make a religious pronouncement offered up as fact, and you ask them for proof, will answer with something akin to: “Proof? Proof??? I don’t need no steenking proof!! I have faith!” When he does, smile and think about this camel.



mud_rake said...

The professional apologist knows...

That's a classic opener, hump! I've been taunted by many of these christian apologists on my blog and find stinky turds that have been left late at night that just about knock me off my computer chair in the morning when I find them smelling up my blog.

They are humorous- not the turds, the apologists. They are so righteous, so arrogant and so dumb altogether.

Science, as you point out, is their nemesis because, as soon as life can be created in a laboratory, the whole caper blows apart.

No doubt that is why they work so hard to get creationism into the science curriculum, hoping that it consumes real science so that they can happily go about their merry 'I believe' lives.

I don't take them seriously at all these days; been there, did that. No, it's best to view them as a carnival sideshow between the two-headed goat and the bearded lady.

I enjoy your ramblings.

[interestingly, my word verification is "rust sci" which must be a Jeopardy clue for Fe2O3

DromedaryHump said...


sideshow indeed, good analogy.

thanks for your comment. \


Holey Hands said...

New Banana Man Animation:

DromedaryHump said...

HH!! LOL!!