How to Be An Apologist For Christianity and For Skepticism

By John W. Loftus.

Since others are getting into the act here, here, and here, let me throw my hat in the ring as well. Let me tell you how to be an apologist for the Christian Faith, as well as how to be one for skepticism. Like theirs, this too is sarcasm.

How to be a Christian Apologist:

1) Hide your head in the sand. Believe that people in the ancient world weighed the evidence for their beliefs with the same rigorous standards that we do today. But the Bible itself tells us otherwise.

2) Demonize the skeptic. Believe he or she is willfully ignorant of the obvious truths that you believe. Believe that the skeptic is just not interested in knowing the truth. Believe that the whole reason he is a skeptic is because he hates God and is in rebellion against him. Believe that he just wants to live an immoral life apart from God.

3) Claim that skeptical objections have been refuted long ago. Claim that Hume’s arguments have already been refuted, as William Lane Craig said to me at a conference. If they've been refuted, then why are they still very potent? In fact, Hume’s arguments against miracles cannot be refuted, strictly speaking, since he’s talking inductively. He argued that a wise person proportions his belief to the evidence. How can that be refuted?

4) Use rhetoric not substance. Do what William Lane Craig did in his debate with Bart Erhman. Claim that Erhman’s argument is “mathematically fallacious.”

5) Mischaracterize what skeptics are actually claiming. We do not claim to know that there is no God. We just think there isn’t enough evidence to believe in one. We do not claim miracles are not possible. We just don’t see enough evidence for them. We do not claim to have more knowledge than God purportedly does with regard to how he could’ve created a better world than this one. We just think that a Being with omniscience would know how to create a better world, especially since we have some knowledge about how a better world could’ve been created (like getting rid of all raced based conflict and slavery by creating all human beings as one race, and with no law of predation in the natural world).

6) Claim that the skeptic is ignorant of recent scholarship. While some skeptics are ignorant of recent scholarship, it isn’t more knowledge that is needed. As Dr. James D. Strauss would repeatedly tell his students in Seminary, “It’s not more knowledge we need. What we need is better interpretative schema.” Control beliefs, after all, control, and each side has them. The rise of modern science in the Occident, and the knowledge of religious diversity on the planet, and the presence of intense suffering around the globe aired nightly on the news have developed the skeptical control beliefs. Furthermore, Christian scholarship itself leads many Christians away from the faith. Me included.

7) Earn your living off what you claim to believe. So long as you are a preacher or a teacher in a seminary, you have a need to squash your doubts. I know of a few Christian professors and preachers who have openly expressed their doubts to me. But they refuse to entertain them for fear of losing their jobs and their livelihood.

8) Don’t ever take the skeptical arguments seriously. Just read them to refute them. You are sure of what you believe, so only read skeptical arguments with a view to refuting them. Never actually think about why that skeptic takes that view. Never try to step inside his mind. Never truly consider his viewpoint. Never think about whether or not his arguments could be true. After all, consider the source. According to #2 above, he doesn't really believe them sincerely either.

9) Deride the skeptical position and the skeptic himself. Talk about Stalin, Lenin and Marx. Talk about Soviet communism, Hitler, or other atrocious dictators as often as you can. Refer to gulags, concentration camps and even the Holocaust itself (although, about these things there is more to the story, especially inside Germany). Talk about Gay radical activists, mass murderers, and gang rapists who do not have “a moral compass.” At the same time explain away the Crusades, Slavery in the American South, Inquisitions and witch hunts. No one has a corner on moral truth…no one. But go ahead and continue to claim that Christians do, despite the evidence to the contrary, and despite the evidence that Christians do not get their morals from the Bible alone. Then simply deride the skeptic as a person as often as you can, in whatever way you can. Find some flaws in his character that will prove his arguments are wrong, then bring them up as often as you can. Doing so will refute all of his arguments.

10) State your arguments over and over until you believe them, and state them as if they are obvious to any intelligent educated person. Any falsehood can be believed if it is stated honestly and sincerely enough by many people over and over. Stay securely inside the Christian community from which you gain your beliefs. They will be reinforced every time you get together. However, if the Christian set of beliefs are truly obvious then anyone who encounters them should believe them. But it’s simply an illusion to think Christianity is a rationally superior faith.

How to be a Skeptical Apologist: [This too is sarcasm, by the way, although not entirely! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. ;-). ].

1) Think evidentially.
2) Think scientifically.
3) Think philosophically.
4) Think psychologically.
5) Think archeologically.
6) Think anthropologically.
7) Think historiographically.
8) Think about religious diversity.
9) Think about the amount of intense suffering in the world.
10) Think about how often the superstitions of the past have been refuted by science.

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