Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will the "Christian Apologists" Please Shut Up

OK, when I saw on Christdot that a debate had been set up by Ray Comfort to be aired on ABC to "prove the existence of God without using the Bible," my only response was, "Please somebody stop them." Well, no one did - and we ended up with a train-wreck. My dislike for Ray's "apologetic" is well-known, but his assertion was utterly absurd and I was hoping that someone could make sure that this doesn't happen.

It's not that I think that the "rational response team" had great prose or even great points (and, frankly, they did as much preaching as Ray - complete with an emotional appeal), it's that I think that Ray and Kirk had absolutely no ammo going in, and ended up looking like idiots.


This article actually has a good summary of why Ray and Kirk just shouldn't tried to do what claimed they could do:
In a debate during which one has committed not to use faith or the Bible to scientifically prove the existence of God and then two of your three debate points (creation, conscience and personal conversion) depend solely on faith and the Bible, then you automatically lose. If fact, during his first response Sapient pointed out that Cameron and Comfort had already lost and everyone should just go home and he was actually right. Obviously that did not settle the larger question, but the “debate” was over in my mind.

That's it in a nutshell (and you can see it happen here). This wasn't a debate, Ray and Kirk conceded with the very first point and made Christianity look stupid by comparison. It's frustrating, to say the least.

I get tired of this type of arguing between Christian and atheistic folks - but I get darn-right annoyed with the fact that my fellow Christians keep jumping in to this muck with both feet - all the while not-realizing that they're selling the farm when they do so. Ray's whole premise, that he didn't need to use the Bible to "prove God," set up the playing field entirely in the advantage of the people he'd like to call his opponents. Why? Because he just told them that the criteria for which they prove something as "real" is the true arbiter of reality - whoops. Christianity needs faith, and is built upon assumptions that cannot be proven via the scientific method. This is not a bad thing. I can't prove that there's going to be a general resurrection of the dead. I can't prove that Jesus is reigning over all creation. I can't prove that the people who died in Christ are now "with him." And you know what? I'm OK with that, because we're talking about faith which is belief in things that are not seen. Why on earth do we keep telling people that it's the opposite?

Here's the thing, "contextual" doesn't always mean "using the same tools as everyone else is using." Living out the faith in context simply means finding a way to faithfully live-out this Gospel we keep talking about all the time. My premise is if we concede the match before we play (by trying to pretend that our faith is based on the scientific method) - then we're not being faithful, we're not doing ministry in context because we end up undermining ourselves. I think we just need to go back to proclaiming Christ in weakness, besides being Biblically sound I think it'll be a very contextually appropriate form of proclaiming Christ.

Note: You can also see some of the "rational response squad's" after-debate musing at the end of this video. The most interesting thing about this tape was how Evangelical it sounded. These folks are flip-sides of the same coin.

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