Frank Turek’s embarrassing details


Christian apologist Frank Turek has recently made a name for himself as the premier hate-martyr for the National Organization for Marriage. As part of their so-called Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance project, Turek recounts the tragic story of how he was let go as a consultant for Cisco and Bank of America after they discovered he had written a book about “How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone”. In reality, his views on homosexuality go far beyond merely opposing gay marriage, and he neglects to mention his history of claiming that gay people are “on the road to destruction”, that they “hate Western Civilization”, that they’re predisposed to “bad behavior” comparable to pedophilia and alcoholism, that they should be banned from the military, and that they’re “acting like racists” by seeking legal recognition of their marriages. Yes, these are the words of a man who presents himself as the victim here. Ironically, Bank of America had hired him to present a training seminar about adapting to diverse personalities in the workplace.

When he’s not angling to join the ranks of brave moral crusaders like George Wallace and Hazel Massery, Turek has made a living out of defending Christianity in books like “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist”. In the course of trying to convince people that the Christian faith is more well-supported than any other belief, he unleashes a particularly shameless argument. He calls it the “principle of embarrassment”, a phrase which he attributes to unnamed “historians”, but only seems to appear in the context of Christian apologetics, and was probably invented for that very purpose. Briefly, Turek claims that the authors of the New Testament included embarrassing details about themselves, such as failing to understand what Jesus was talking about, which they would have omitted if they were trying to pass off a fictional narrative as true. He contends that there would be no reason to make themselves look bad rather than good if they were making it all up. He also refers to this as “the duh factor”.

However, for any of these things to be genuinely embarrassing to their authors, they would first have to be true. And how do we know that they’re true? This would require that the New Testament is true. But the truth of the New Testament is exactly what Turek is trying to establish by citing these supposedly embarrassing details. If we don’t know that the New Testament is true, then we don’t know that the embarrassing incidents in the New Testament are true, either. And if we simply assumed that these details of the New Testament are true, then we could just as well assume that the entire New Testament is true, without having to appeal to any of these embarrassing details. With this oversight, Turek has failed to establish the truth of either.

More crucially, the fatal flaw of this criterion of embarrassment is that Turek and his fellow apologists do not have privileged access to this concept. They’re certainly not the most uniquely brilliant people on earth, and if they were able to imagine that such a standard could be used to judge the believability of a given narrative, then why couldn’t others realize this as well? Couldn’t they anticipate this principle, and thus account for it when writing these stories? If you want your fictional narrative to be seen as believable, then why wouldn’t you aim to fulfill this requirement? Even stories that are acknowledged as fiction from the outset still have to maintain a degree of believability by making their characters realistically flawed. Failing to do so, and instead writing all of them as utterly perfect, makes the story unrelatable and generally intolerable to read. Frank Turek was not the first person to discover this.

The real “duh” factor here is that he thinks he can pass this off as a compelling argument for Christianity – and the worst part is that maybe, he can. If it weren’t for people who are willing to accept anything they hear so long as it confirms their beliefs, Turek wouldn’t even have an audience for this tripe. He’s little more than a huckster peddling hollow justifications for faith to people who don’t know better, or just don’t care, all the while knowing that a child could poke holes in this. Now that’s an embarrassing detail.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s a well-known fact that the most believable lies are the most detailed, for the very simple reason that most people would assume that others wouldn’t go to the effort. Indeed, Christians themselves recognize this when debunking something like “The Da Vinci Code.”

  2. Autumn6 says

    Funny how you bring up Frank Turek, the Christian author who, I guess, got fired from his job for writing a book criticizing same-sex marriages
    and the homosexual lifestyle. Now, I don’t know really any more than what I was told in your post, but I have to say that it looks to me like
    you’re applauding the idea of a man getting fired from his job for sharing his personal beliefs about homosexual behavior in a book he
    wrote and got published. Now, I’m not going to get into how I feel about him being fired from his job because of this, but I find it quite
    hypocritical that you would be justifying it.

    You make your opinions known against Christianity all the time and it’s perfectly fine with you. Even to the point of putting up videos where you’re advocating the prohibition of Christianity. Yet, somebody calls homosexuality immoral you call it “hate speech”. Not only that, but you accuse Mr. Turek of suggesting that homosexuals are more predisposed to pedophilia and racism. Show me where he says that in his book.

    I’m pretty sure YOU wouldn’t like it if your views on Christianity got you fired from your job. It’s not like he’s said anything about homosexual activity that you haven’t said the same of Christianity: that it’s immoral, dangerous and shouldn’t be practiced by anyone. Don’t throw stones from a glass house like you do so very often.

    • says

      Turek himself summarises it quite succinctly for us.

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/55063209/Why-Same-Sex-Marriage-Should-Be-Opposed

      http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2011/09/30/37520

      “Frank Turek is the latest anti-gay martyr, an independent contractor who runs leadership and team-building exercises for big corporations. Both Cisco and Bank of America cancelled contracts with him after their employees discovered he’s an anti-gay activist and author of a book opposing marriage equality. NOM, of course, is all over this. He’s the first poster boy for their new project against gay-sponsored oppression: Fired just for believing in traditional marriage!

      As usual, the truth is more complicated. I don’t have Turek’s book, but he’s done us the courtesy of summarizing his thoughts online. The lowlights:

      Turek declares homosexuality is morally wrong and objectively harmful.

      He uses thoroughly discredited research by Paul Cameron to spread lies about gay men (Paul Cameron has been booted from many professional organizations after scientists complained he distorted their research to promote anti-gay slander).

      Turek claims gay parents regards their adopted children as trophies.

      He repeatedly lumps homosexuality with murder, rape, and incest.

      He tells us a gay man can be romantically attracted and committed to his partner, but cannot truly “love” him. He actually begins his reply to “But Same-sex marriage is About Love” by saying “Even if that were true…”

      That last one is especially dehumanizing.

      But there’s more. Here’s a video of him explaining homosexuality is part of humanity’s universal weakness for depravity. And another of him speculating that gays hate Western Civilization and the Declaration of Independence.”

  3. oldmsrebel says

    It is always hate when God haters get disagreed with, but Truth when they espouse something a 5 year old knows is perverted !
    Frank does a wonderful job being honest and using The Bible as his reference !
    Try it ! You will like it !

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