Advertisements

The Worst Argument Against Christianity

I’ve seen numerous variations of this argument perpetrated against Christianity. It essentially boils down to, “Christians disagree about some moral issues. Therefore, Christianity is false.” Thomas, of the WWGHA blog, puts it this way:

The fact that there are all of these schisms in Christianity proves that there is no God. For if there actually were a God, the answer to every question about God and Christianity would be crystal clear. God would say which side is right in every debate. There would be no confusion, no questions.

The premise that there are schisms in Christianity says nothing about the veracity of the same. Further, it is illogical to conclude that there is no God from that premise alone. Of course, I’ve spent much time and effort debunking the claims of the WWGHA sister site here, so I can’t say that I’m surprised that they’re making an argument like this. Most of their arguments are shallow and fallacious. I will show why this is a fallacious argument:

The theory of evolution has many debates raging within the scientific community about some of the specifics. Most scientists, for example, think that natural selection is the agent by which evolution occurs, but some think that there may be a different agent or another acting in concert with natural selection. Some scientists think that evolution can explain the origins of life by a gradual step-by-step process, but many don’t believe that evolution is a sufficent explanation for origins. And, of course, Ida: need I say more?

Here’s the big question: Does any of that detract from the truth of evolution? Any fair-minded scientist would say “No.” Thomas would probably concur, since his blog often touts new evolutionary discoveries. Which leaves only one question for Thomas to answer: Why the double standard?

Advertisements

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on March 23, 2010, in Apologetics, Heresy, Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You are quite brash with your comparison of something that is testable vs. something that is mere interpretation. We know that natural selection is a strong driver in evolution, no one argues against that (well, no serious biologist, at least), because, frankly, we’ve had 250 years to look into these matters with thousands of rigorous tests and debates. (No, really, look it up)

    Now, if your point is that debate and evolution of ideas and notions is healthy, then good on ya, for that is certainly true. But I read it to mean that since there are pedophiles elsewhere in society we shouldn’t cry out when we find them in the Catholic Church as well, because, frankly, it would be double-standards if you treated people who claim to be holy and have all the answers differently to other delinquent people out there. Let me clarify that ;

    Schisms inside *one* religion (of thousands!) that centers on one person with one apparent central message could be fine and well, but when there’s more than 36.000 denominations of Christian groups alone, this speaks volumes. There are no 36.000 different mechanisms of evolution, only a handful, with one big one we all agree on. You all seem to agree that at least Jesus is important (so that’s equivalent to evolutions primer of natural selection), but you all disagree on what the important things are, and what directions to take, and what interpretation of his words are the most true, and how or if society should be based on it, who to kill or not kill over it, what social groups to persecute, which days to do nothing on or do over-the-top worship on, what songs are appropriate, what words should be allowed or blasphemous, who to execute and for what arbitrary “crimes”, what gender to say is stronger or better or weaker, whether or not for women to wear certain clothing or not, what happens after you die, or if you really die, or how much space there is in heaven, if God is literal or abstract, whether the notion of resurrection is the important or just an important part, what scripts are regarded as canon, what canon even means, who does the right exegesis, whether Paul is right in encouraging slavery, is there a generic rule to follow, is the Golden rule really golden … and this list isn’t even exhaustive!

    And all of this goes on while at the same time you claim to have a *personal* relationship with the guy who has *all* the answers. Why doesn’t he answer just the basics to all alike?

    • Oddly, you never actually refuted my argument. All you did was list some of the differences of opinion that Christianity has within itself. I don’t deny any of them, and I never tried to minimize them. You acknowledge that there are differences of opinion in the theory of evolution and that doesn’t make it false (which is my central point). Of course, you did try to minimize them. Then, you resort to special pleading to say that differences of opinion with Christianity DO falsify it.

      Not. A. Refutation.

      • Cory, I can sort of understand why you think this wasn’t a refutation, mostly probably because we stand on two different sides of a rapid, but I’m a patient man, so let’s try again ;

        The initial argument was “God would say which side is right in every debate. There would be no confusion, no questions.” which is a point you didn’t even address. In fact, you went for the straw-man instead ;

        “The premise that there are schisms in Christianity says nothing about the veracity [truthfulness] of the same.”

        But if you notice, that premise had nothing to do with *your* conclusion. There *are* schisms and thousands of denominations of Christianity, and wasn’t played as an argument, and you yourself would probably gladly admit to these facts, no? This really is not up for debate, and is certainly not a premise for your extrapolation (that schisms themselves talk about the truthiness of Christianity; that’s your assumption, and not part of the premises). The premise can be rewritten to avoid the temptation to go for the straw-man ;

        If you all indeed have a personal relationship with God, one of the few main notions most Christians agree on, why is he telling you all different things about everything else?

        Basically, you can’t all be right, or even more interestingly, you can’t all be wrong at the same time. It’s easy to come up with an external few explanations from that, like maybe God prefers chaos or needs it for his plan (which you all can’t agree on either), or he’s telling lies (should be self-deprecating, of course), or he’s chaotically omni-potentially positive (where everything and nothing is true at the same time, now that sounds awesome!), or, simply, that each domination is a projection of people’s interpretation, that God does not exists. I think you need to pull out your exegesis skills rather than your logical skills in order to make an explanation in line with most Christian thinking.

      • The initial argument was “God would say which side is right in every debate. There would be no confusion, no questions.” which is a point you didn’t even address. In fact, you went for the straw-man instead ;

        “The premise that there are schisms in Christianity says nothing about the veracity [truthfulness] of the same.”

        Not a strawman at all. I’m not arguing that there are not schisms, sects, and denominations within Christianity. I’m admitting that there are. But, I’m also saying that the existence of these conflicts do not falsify Christianity. I’m trying for consistency in positions here. There are numerous differences of opinion in various scientific theories. That doesn’t falsify them. Why does the existence of these differences of opinion in Christianity falsify it?

        Now, as to God saying which side was right in every debate, we’ll leave that alone for just a minute and move on.

        But if you notice, that premise had nothing to do with *your* conclusion. There *are* schisms and thousands of denominations of Christianity, and wasn’t played as an argument, and you yourself would probably gladly admit to these facts, no? This really is not up for debate, and is certainly not a premise for your extrapolation (that schisms themselves talk about the truthiness of Christianity; that’s your assumption, and not part of the premises). The premise can be rewritten to avoid the temptation to go for the straw-man ;

        If you all indeed have a personal relationship with God, one of the few main notions most Christians agree on, why is he telling you all different things about everything else?

        Okay, now this is a point I can address. Is God actually telling different Christians different things about everything else? Well, I would say that he is not. It’s a matter of perspective. God’s full and final revelation is Jesus Christ. Jesus continually uses Scripture to confound the Pharisees. Jesus uses Scripture to ward off the devil. Paul writes to Timothy about the proper use of Scripture. Peter confirms the proper use and interpretation of Scripture. Therefore, since Scripture declares that God is not the author of confusion, God will not contradict Scripture were he to engage in special revelation to someone.

        But, when someone declares that “God has revealed something to me,” we often see that revelation contradicting Scripture. I would argue that this person is not hearing from God. Maybe they are hearing from the devil. Maybe they’re talking to the voices in their head. I don’t know, we can argue that later. The point is that they are not hearing from God.

        I don’t actually think that God does engage in special revelation. I’m a cessationalist, which means that I believe that the gifts of prophecy and tongues have ceased at the close of apostolic times. By “tongues,” I do not mean the so-called “prayer language” that some people are able to speak in, and indeed must be able to speak in in order to be considered “saved” in Pentecostal denominations. I mean the ability to speak in your native language and be understood by the entire crowd of people, some of whom may not speak or understand your native language.

        As a cessationalist, I therefore believe that the Bible alone stands as a record for how God wants us to behave as Christians, and even more, as human beings. He isn’t continuing to engage in special revelation because there is no need to do that, since Scripture stands alone as the authoritative guide for living life. Where all of the denominations come into play is that mankind likes to resist what God has revealed in Scripture, even Christians are guilty of this. So, they have all manner of interpretations, some of which are undoubtedly dead-on, but some of which are clearly not. That leads us neatly into your next point:

        Basically, you can’t all be right, or even more interestingly, you can’t all be wrong at the same time. It’s easy to come up with an external few explanations from that, like maybe God prefers chaos or needs it for his plan (which you all can’t agree on either), or he’s telling lies (should be self-deprecating, of course), or he’s chaotically omni-potentially positive (where everything and nothing is true at the same time, now that sounds awesome!), or, simply, that each domination is a projection of people’s interpretation, that God does not exists. I think you need to pull out your exegesis skills rather than your logical skills in order to make an explanation in line with most Christian thinking.

        I’ll leave aside your swipe at me–where you imply that I’m not in line with most Christian thinking, as though you would be an authoritative judge of that (see Eph 4:18). I’ll instead focus on where you say that each denomination is a projection of people’s interpretation. That is exactly the case. It doesn’t follow from that, however, that God doesn’t exist.

        So, why, if God does exist, are all of these interpretations allowed to be? Although I generally hate the free will defense, in some way it actually applies here. Recall Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” More on that from Pyromanic Dan Phillips. It is our responsibility to immerse ourselves in the Word, and to know what it says, and more than that, to do what it says.

        Some people want the Word to say things that it doesn’t say. For example, some people say that women should be ministers. So they have to find different interpretations for the plain meaning of 1 Timothy 2:12. Some people don’t think that homosexuality is sinful, so they have to perform serious eisegesis on Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and Romans 1:27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10! There are dozens of other differences between the various denominations. Far too many to cover here. But, Paul Copan has two books on the subject: That’s Just Your Interpretation and True For You, But Not For Me. Also of interest might be James White’s Pulpit Crimes.

        For some free reading on denominations, try here, here, here, and here.

        I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Christians agree on far more issues than they disagree. I’m not denying that the disagreements exist. But, even the numerous divisions that do exist do not nullify the truth of Christianity! GotQuestions.org said it the best:

        The core truths that a person needs to know and understand are absolutely and abundantly clear in Scripture. Even on the non-essentials, if Sola Scriptura were consistently applied, there would be unanimity. The problem is that it is very difficult to perfectly and fully apply Sola Scriptura, as our own biases, faults, preferences, and traditions often get in the way. The fact that there are many different denominations is not an argument against Sola Scriptura. Rather, it is evidence that we all fail at truly allowing God’s Word to fully shape our beliefs, practices, and traditions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: