a quixotic video clip

A good friend of mine sent me a link this this video clip. As soon as the video clip started I became painfully aware of the video creator’s tactic. It’s the same old boring straw-man.

“Straw-man” is a valid form of argument. First, you set up a caricature of your opposition. You do this because your opposition is so complex that it is necessary to assemble a composite of your opposition. That’s the straw-man. Secondly, you attack that in hopes of overcoming the argument of your opposition.

Fair! But not in this case, because what the atheist argument is trying to do here is make Christians look stupid because they believe in God. But the problem begins when he hooks much of his argument on the assumption that Christians believe God literally wrote the Bible. Therefore, everything they believe pertaining to their faith is stupid because God didn’t literally write the Bible. The problem goes into full bloom when a Christian like me comes along who doesn’t believe that God literally wrote the Bible but still believes that God exists. He may have destroyed the straw-man he set up, but in my opinion he did nothing more than tilt his lance at windmills.

If every Christian believed that God literally wrote the Bible, then we’d have to take this video clip seriously. The straw-man isn’t truly representative. What do you think?

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Chris

    We could spend a great deal of time engaging folks like this, but they usually come back with a recycled version of their origional argument.

    “…nay, I am certain, that the sage Freston, who stole my books and library, has converted those giants to wind mills in order to rob me of their overthrow”!

    Pursuing Lady Dulcinea would produce more fruit. I’ll stick to the road to La Mancha with the simple heart of Sancho and let the feeble steed and the stumbling rock in the road do their work. Thanks for sharing this, but I ask you: Do believe that if fallable men wrote the bible, is the bible still infallable? (by the way, I think I share you view about who wrote it, I just would like to know more of your thoughts if you have time.)

  • BrianM

    and which Bible are we talking about – the original letters or the translations? ;-)

  • sandy

    present arguments are aimed at the today’s Bible.

    Nothing like a good straw man, only ever as strong as your awareness of the other side.
    It is good to talk to aethiests often,
    even ones with good arguments… good healthy straw men
    (Douglas Adams- author of Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy has a lovely compelling article called “The Salmon of Doubt” http://www.adherents.com/people/pa/Douglas_Adams.html )

    if no more to remember that this is enough: “I believe”

  • http://freedompastor.blogspot.com Frank Emanuel

    Huh. You are using straw-man in a way that I am not convinced is correct. The straw-man argument is actually a logical fallicy, precisely because it doesn’t confront the reality of the situation. I see it all the time when folks attack generalizations and characterizations. It is a horrible practice.

    Unfortunately the video wouldn’t load in???

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    the video still loads for me and others. don’t know what happened there. about straw man, i see what you mean. i think i meant to say that it is a form of argument. you are right in that it is a generalization that avoids the reality.

  • Fred

    Yes, Frank Emanuel is right. “I can’t knock you down, but I can knock down this straw man.”

  • http://freedompastor.blogspot.com Frank Emanuel

    It finally loaded in. What a great parody of fundie literalists. I love the “Creator God and his Son come and tell me I am correct” bit. What is sad is that there are a lot of Christians that would fall into this whole framework. And more unfortunately those Christians tend to be more vocal about their “convictions”.

    I am not sure this is a strawman but simply a parody. Parody isn’t really trying to make a judgement call so it is free to take great liberties.

    I’m debating just these things right now with a couple of friends in my mySpace blog. So this was quite appropriate for today. Nice comic relief so I don’t take myself too seriously.

    thanks,
    Frank

  • steve thomas

    wasn’t it the tin man that didn’t have a heart?
    I personaly believe faith begins at the heart and eventually the mind follows, it’s like gravity, you can say that it doesn’t exist but there is no denying it’s effect on you.


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