Gospel Disproof #15: Liar, Lunatic, or Leafy Green Fruit Plant

[Originally published July 23, 2007]

Apologetics is, by its very nature, an inherently bandwagon-y enterprise, so it’s not too surprising that David Limbaugh, in his foreward to I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST , can’t resist the temptation to toss in his own two denarius’ worth:

As C. S. Lewis observed, if Christ is not God, then he could not have been an exemplary prophet or a great moral teacher, because he claimed to be God. If he was not who he said he was, then he was either a liar or a lunatic, hardly a great moral teacher or prophet.

This is a classic piece of Christian apologetics, and quite widely circulated among Christians. It’s so popular, you’d think there was some substance to it. But is there?

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Superstitious Faith

[Originally published July 30, 2007]

Via Dr. Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge, we have a good example of the “superstitious” apologetic for faith in God:

My relationship with God isn’t based on wishful thinking, it’s based on the fact that I actually am blessed to have a relationship with God. Basically, you must simply dismiss any supernaturally-caused experiences I’ve had or events I’ve witnessed that are reasonably unlikely to occur through sheer chance and coincidence without divine guidance as being simply by-products of a sort of mental illness.

Notice what his “evidence” for God is: “experiences…that are reasonably unlikely to occur through sheer chance.” In other words, his faith isn’t based on God actually showing up in the real world. If he had a genuine real-world manifestation of God, like say a video or audio recording of God preaching, then he’d have it up on YouTube or something so that the rest of us could be edified. But no, nothing like that. His faith is based on his own subjective opinion that some of the things which had happened to him were “reasonably unlikely” to have happened through chance alone.

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Colson on how gays persecute the church

[Originally published July 5, 2008]

The Christian Post brings us this column by Chuck Colson on how the gay rights movement is really just a front for a blatant attempt to persecute Christians for their faith. No, seriously, he’s really saying that.

It is all about equal rights, the gay “marriage” lobby keeps telling us. We just want the right to marry, like everyone else.

That is what they are telling us. But that is not what they mean. If same-sex “marriage” becomes the law of the land, we can expect massive persecution of the Church.

And therefore the oppression of gays must be allowed to continue unopposed.

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Investigating the Marian apparition at Zeitoun

[Originally published Feb. 9, 2009]

[A commenter named] Jayman brings up a fascinating subject in a comment on my post about the frequency of divine intervention.

Starting in 1968, and continuing over a 2-3 year period, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared over the Coptic Church of Saint Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt. It was witnessed by millions of people of different religious beliefs, it was photographed and videotaped. Miraculous cures were also experienced. Investigations into the matter found no natural explanation. Time to start moving the goal posts?

Zeitoun is a great example to use as a typical “miraculous” apparition, but before we get to that, I’d like to say a little something about goal posts. There’s a psychological trick that apologists sometimes use in connection with claims of the miraculous, if the skeptic says there ought to be evidence of God showing up in real life. The trick is to show the skeptic some questionable evidence, and then insist that he believe, based on that evidence. If the skeptic admits that the evidence is genuine, then he must either admit that God showed up in real life, or he must admit that he is unwilling to look at the evidence. If he questions the quality and validity of the evidence, though, he gets accused of moving the goal posts. “Oh, you said you wanted evidence, but now that we’ve shown you evidence, you want something more. I seeeeee…”

We’re not really asking for anything more. When we ask for evidence, what we mean is we want genuine evidence of God genuinely showing up in real life. It has to be good evidence, valid evidence, evidence that can withstand cross-examination. That’s not asking for too much, surely? Once we have verified that we are indeed dealing with genuine facts and not misperceptions or intentional hoaxes, then we can move on to the question of what the evidence means. We haven’t moved any goal posts until we at least arrive at where the first set of posts stood. And that means having genuine evidence of a genuine appearance.

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God is pro-choice

[Originally published Sept. 24, 2007]

According to CNN and AP, a Nebraska legislator’s lawsuit against God has produced a “miraculous” response.

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) – A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha said he sued God last week to make a point about frivolous lawsuits.

One of two court filings from “God” came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

“This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here — poof!” Friend said.

What is particularly interesting about this mysterious filing is that it reveals a hitherto unsuspected side of God’s political viewpoints: He’s solidly pro-choice.

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Golden Oldie: If it goose-steps like a duck…

[Here’s another encore, this one from May of 2008]

Over at Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views,” Senior Propagandist Jonathan West criticizes Dawkins for—are you sitting down?—comparing a rabbi’s speaking style to Hitler’s.

Now, after denouncing Expelled as “wicked, evil” and an “outrage” for pointing out that Darwinism was one of the intellectual influences on Nazism, Dawkins has compared a popular Rabbi who dares to criticize him to Hitler! And he did it no less on World Holocaust Remembrance Day. No, I’m not joking. As I’ve said before, it’s getting really hard to parody the Darwinists. They do it so well themselves.

Who knows what West thinks the “parody” would be here. Apparently, you can accuse “Darwinists” of promoting Nazism all day long, and everything’s just peachy, but if one of THEM dares to do the same to YOU, why, gosh, that’s just so over the top, it’s, it’s…well, I mean really. Even if that’s not actually what they really said.

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How God really works

[I have to be out of town today and tomorrow, so I thought I’d cheat and replay some old Evangelical Realism posts. This one, from August 2007, is my all-time greatest hit (according to my stats log, that is).]

A blogger at passionateamerica.com has a bit of Monday Morning “humor” that (perhaps without meaning to) gives us a good hard look at how God really “works”:

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, “God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes.” The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, “Here I am God. I’m still waiting.” It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform.

The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, “What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?”

The Marine calmly replied, “God was too busy today protecting America ’s soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an a$$. So, He sent me.”

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