I’ve come to find that winning a debate isn’t so much about who’s more “right” but rather who has better rhetoric. Last night during the debate, I think it was pretty clear that, although Ham had a couple good points, he was neither more “right” nor did he have better rhetoric.
Though he did make a valiant effort to win by creating some “alternate reality” in which natural law, empirical scientific evidence, and reasonable logic don’t exist…
I question when exactly Christians are going to learn that we cannot use logical reasoning to prove our faith; hence, the use of the word, “faith.”
I’ll say it since it seems no one else will:
What we believe is illogical. Call me blasphemous, but take a step back for a second and think about the sheer, utter, ridiculousness of our basic/foundational ideology:
- The virgin birth.
- Jesus being both fully God and fully human.
- Jesus living a perfect life.
- Jesus rising from the dead, after being crucified.
- Jesus floating/ascending up to heaven after rising from the dead.
- Jesus returning on a white horse, with a sword in his mouth, and apparently a tattoo of his name on his leg (or thigh?) #BadAssJesus
- And finally, believing that one day, we’re also going to rise from the dead in bodily form (many don’t know this is what the Christian bible teaches, instead they’ve bought into more of a Gnostic sounding view of the resurrection).
(Sidenote: research through the NSYR lead by Christian Smith and Melinda Denton present in their book Soul Searching, that most young Christians are not able to articulate what they believe in. Insinuating they don’t even know the basic message of the Gospel).
If your knee jerk reaction is to become defensive and pull out your apologetics, or learned system of defense, in which your youth pastor indoctrinated you with (which in this case might have been me, but uh, that’s a post for another time), then you’ve missed the point. Here’s a
fun painful example, of what that looks like:
You’re not going to argue someone into believing this stuff, all the while your refusal to admit that your set of beliefs as a Christian are illogical is not helping, its only frustrating. It’s leaving nonChristians such as Mark Joseph Stern, of Slate.com saying things like:
“The maddening aspect of creationism is not just that it’s ridiculous, but that it insists it’s a perfectly logical, empirically verifiable scientific explanation of the universe.”
There has to come a point of humility in which one must admit that what they believe and buy into is a little bit weird.
To argue against scientific empirical evidence with a rebuttal of “Because the bible tells me so,” is insufficient (which is why I wrote this). To make a bold statement claiming that 4,000 years or so ago natural law just changed without any empirical evidence documenting this change, and you believe that simply “because the bible tells you so,” is also insufficient. It’s presenting a baseless fallacy, a conclusion with no reasoning, and a judgment with little facts…Ignoring the empirical research and data provided in regards to evolution, that seemingly refute this idea of Creationism is annoying, and at worst it is deterring many away from Jesus.
“If I were an outsider, I would correctly assume that following Jesus means I must check my brains at the door in regards to science, and that I would need to become politically conservative… in which case, signing onto the Jesus movement would become a “thanks, but no thanks” situation.” – Benjamin Corey
I never see Jesus saying, that in order for us to show others that God loves them you must do so through argumentative rhetoric (i.e. apologetics). I see Jesus giving us a new commandment exerting us to love one another and saying… “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is why I think and believe one of the most dangerous things we can do with our lives, in our context, is blindly buy into an ideology we know very little to nothing about.
It’s the question as to whether or not we want to be right or if we want to be loving.
Right now the single cause of atheism is not because we’re so “illogical,” but because we’re so hypocritical. As Brennan Manning puts it so well, “we’ve acknowledged Jesus with our lips but yet we’ve denied Him by our lifestyle.”
We’ve done so much harm to others justifying it through our inane logic of, “because the bible told me so,” creating laws exasperating the inequality, and oppression of people based off of arbitrary factors.
What if instead of pouring $100 million into the re-creation of Noah’s ark we focus on the malnutrition of the poor (not just making this up, Ken Ham is trying to make this an actuality)? Unless there’s a big ass flood coming again, this is a definite waste of time and money (in Christian/evangelical terms, it “lacks good stewardship”).
Sidenote: Imagine what a $100 million could do for those impoverished, hungry, and malnourished… (Shoot maybe I’ll make a kickstarter, but seriously… who’s with me?)
In my opinion the best way to give sufficient evidence of Christianity is NOT through a “logical rhetoric” but rather through the power and love of God lived out daily i.e. serving the poor, seeking justice, promoting equality, living out a gospel that is inclusive as opposed to exclusive, oppressive, and/or uninformed.