I’m really itching for a game of Ultimate Frisbee. Seriously, can the snow please melt? Anyway, this week I’m presenting for your reading pleasure a slew of high quality posts on the (non-)tasks of the apologist, submission, “street epistemology,” presuppositionalism, and young earth creationism. How’s that for a lineup? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! I love to read what you think. Have a link to share? Drop it here with your own thoughts on it, and I may include it next time!
What an Apologist’s Job is NOT– Melissa Cain Travis offers some extremely sound advice on things to avoid as an apologist. This is a very practical post and a most read for those of us involved in apologetics. Read it!
On Submitting to One Another– What does it mean to submit? How does the notion of submission to one another play out in the church? Check out this thoughtful post by Paul D. Adams on these topics.
On Interacting with Street Epistemologists– Nick Peters has spent some time interacting with “street epistemologists” trained by atheist Peter Boghossian. Here, he shares some of his insights gained from this task. If you’re unfamiliar with the Boghossian, I highly recommend you check out “Peter Boghossian, Atheist Tactician.”
Picture Charades: Do you know your presuppositional apologists?– A fun activity of identifying key presuppositional thinkers. I take an integrative approach to apologetics, so I think it is important to read evidentialists, presuppositionalists, classical apologists, and yes, even fideists.
An Ancient and Alien Forest Reconstructed: A Challenge for young earth creationism– How might the forests of the past present difficulties for young earth creationism? Well, read the post to find out! It’s well worth it.
Read Greg Bahnsen’s opening remarks that he would have used against Michael Martin. Bahnsen shows thorough familiarity with secular epistemoloy, and uses those arguments against his opponents, something that most “presuppositional” apologists fail to do. I have a theory that Ken Ham and Sye Ten Bruggencate are really just fideists in disguise: http://trueforms.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/greg-bahnsen-vs-michael-martin-opening-remarks/
Thanks for sharing these links…and for sharing our link!
Hi, just found your site from your comments on Naturalis Historia, probably the best blog ever for debunking the nonsensical pseudoscientific [(Edited-) nonsense] of creationists, especially YEC variety .
As an agnostic, I often get challenged by my Christian friends on my worldview, and often have to develop counter-arguments to my best of ability. I wanted to ask this question on your blog post on atheism, but it seems overloaded with comments.
What gives you the confidence that the resurrection of Christ is a historical fact? Most historians think the earliest gospels werent written until at least 30 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. Thats a lot of time for them to be subject to fallible interpretations of humans.
Second question is how are you so sure that objective morality exists? History has shown how morality is controlled by domineering cultural influences, such as Roman citizens clearly seeing nothing wrong with gladiatiorai matches, meaning they clearly saw nothing wrong with killing for entertainment, something we would all unamimously agree is wrong in modern society. The second form of twisted morality is that of the sociopath. Isnt one the proof that the existence of objective morality is questionable, or at least easily subverted in the best of cases?
Thanks for your comment. I’ll try to be brief in my response to these huge topics (though I can recommend reading if you’d like a larger exploration).
Regarding the confidence in the historical accounts: I have to say I’m not very rebuffed by the notion that the Gospels were written 30 years after the crucifixion. Surely, you don’t think that that sort of length of time undermines historical credibility. I have a book about the Battle of Midway (WW2) on my shelf. It’s written with some newly discovered accounts from eyewitnesses and also uses a few recent interviews with other military persons present during the battle. The book was published in 2011. The Battle of Midway took place in June 1942. That’s approximately a 70 year difference between the book and the event itself. If I operated under the apparent historical principle you outlined in your comment, I surely shouldn’t trust that book to give a reliable report of history, right? After all, the time difference is 70 years, more than twice that of the earliest Gospel!
What about Alexander the Great? The earliest biography we have of him was written from firsthand accounts of generals around him, but the copies we have are several hundred years after his death! Yet we confidently think we know much about him, from the day of his birth to his exploits and even some tactical decisions and family life.
Given the criterion you gave above–a kind of principle of doubt with anything written 30 (or less?) years (or more?) after the events occurred, we’d have to flush almost all of our historical knowledge down the toilet. I don’t think that’s necessary, and I see the Gospels as astonishingly relevant historical sources dated within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses. That’s the kind of historical data we don’t have for many people at all in the ancient world, yet we, with all confidence, continue to maintain our confidence in our historical knowledge people like Alexander, Attila, Josephus, Xerxes, and the like.
Your second question–regarding morals–is also very on-point. I would simply note that it seems you are not actually talking about the existence of objective morality. Rather, your examples only show that people may be confused about what is objectively right or wrong. That is, your objection is epistemic, not ontological–it is about knowledge, not existence. Thus, I don’t think the examples you give show that objective morality is in doubt.