Assertions, Assertions, Assertions

Recently I received an email that reminded me of how much time is wasted and discouragement brought about by fundamentalist preaching of unbelief. Apologetic encounters with the more evidently hostile tend to desensitize believers to that sort of behavior whereas those who may not have had as many exchanges of the aforementioned nature are often taken aback by the overwhelming number of assertions that can be set forth in such exchanges. But assertions are often merely that; assertions. And mere assertions are readily dismissible. They distract from the apologetic endeavor, often discourage the well-meaning believer, and should be pointed out. Learn how to spot when people are making mere assertions in lieu of argument (or serious objections, or honest questions) and you will be much better off in terms of your apologetic.

Perhaps 90% of fundamentalist unbelief can be dealt with by pointing out that its preaching is mere assertion. Let me be clear that what follows is not an example of how every exchange with an unbeliever should go (not even most of them!), but there are places for it. My fear is that readers may swing to the opposite extreme and think they can be dismissive of every unbeliever who comes their way; please note that this is not what I am saying, and to take that away from this post or be dismissive would be wrong. I am well-acquainted with the gentleman below, and this exchange did not occur in a vacuum.

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Allan: I enjoy reading the bible, but it certainly has its share of errors, contradictions, anachronisms, misperceptions, etc.

Chris: I enjoy reading Allan, but he certainly has his share of errors, contradictions, anachronisms, misperceptions, etc.

Allan: The Euthyphro dilemma seems quite fatal to “Divine Command Theory”.  I’ve read a few Christian defenses of DCT from Euthyphro but they all seem so convoluted.

Chris: The Euthyphro dilemma seems quite silly to me. I’ve read a few Atheist defenses of Euthyphro but they all seem so convoluted.

Allan: Christians are put in the untenable position of arguing that God’s orders to destroy the children of the Midianites, Amalekites, etc. are somehow “good” – after all if God commanded it, then it simply *must* be good.  Of course most people would intuitively reject the notion that killing children under any circumstances can be morally “good”.

Chris: Atheists are put in the untenable position of arguing that Atheist orders to destroy children are somehow “good” – after all if humans commanded it, then it simply *must* be good.  Of course most people would intuitively reject the notion that killing children under any circumstances can be morally “good”, but not Atheist abortionists.

Allan: I’m a moral noncognitivist so all these arguments strike me as neither here nor there.

Chris: I’m a moral realist so all these arguments strike me as neither here nor there.

Allan: [The implicit assumption in Chris’s remark is that a fetus is the same thing as a child.  This can be attacked on many levels.]

Chris:  [The implicit assumption in Allan’s remark is that a fetus is not the same thing as a child.  This can be attacked on many levels.]

bdschwa: Chris, please start actually thinking and then putting your thoughts on the screen or just stop.

Chris: bdschwa, please start actually thinking and then putting your thoughts on the screen or just stop.

Allan: Seems that he’s just making sloppy, incorrect repartee.

Chris: Allan, it seems that you are just making sloppy, incorrect repartee.


One Comment

defectivebit

Triple A! It’s a contagious disease.


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