Has anyone read this Part 2 yet? I appreciate the first part, where Marriott and Rauser agree we should argue only from a position of strength–using arguments we have thoroughly researched. Other thoughts? Thanks.
Nice, I didn’t realize there was a part 2. I’ll try to weigh in once I get a chance to read it.
Thanks! I forgot to post it! Sorry.
And to add to the confusion, I guess this “two-part” series is spread out over three postings. I didn’t realize till I looked over the links provided.
It’s a good interview that will hopefully provoke some good discussion!
He brings up the religious belief - Santa belief comparison here. I wonder if there isn’t more to draw from that comparison beyond its standard use as mockery of belief. I.e. Are there not elements of the Santa Claus story (maybe even beneficial elements!) that are true? Wasn’t there a real St. Nicholas? And he probably did some pretty good things (I know - I could look it up, but I don’t need to to make the point here.) By the time commercial interests made him into a toy-distributing demi-urge and Coca Cola turned him into the red and white jolly fat man, we would finally have most of the elements that people now like to focus on in terms of the modern skepticism. And those same skeptics would apply that exact same logic to Jesus … some initial grains of truth, but with a lot of bogus accretion beginning with the first disciples’ accounts. Sure, we can argue about what all is bogus (none of us buys into everything claimed about 1st century events by everybody). But whatever truth lies at the heart (however big that heart may be) is still there after the accretions are dissolved away.
Good point. False dichotomies can be so dangerous – where we get into the idea that either every single word in the entire Bible is literally true as written (or as understood by 21st century readers?), or the whole thing is garbage. I can sort of understand what motivates this, as I’ve held views like that before. I can also understand the danger of a “pick and choose” mentality in which one never commits to any particular interpretation or faith – but there has to be a balance here somewhere.
I appreciate the humility in the article in terms of “knowing what we’re talking about” and being willing to admit when we don’t, or to simply not engage with things that are out of our depth. Sometimes I think Christians put forth the idea that we must know everything about everything, or that merely being a Christian gifts us some kind of supernatural degree of earthly knowledge!
I also like the talk about “rationality” being some kind of “neutral” worldview, as if there is any such thing. I think Christians get off track by referring to atheism as a “religion” – but that doesn’t mean worldview isn’t a factor.
I loved the response to the question of indoctrination:
…what I have in mind isn’t a siege or ghetto mentality. Rather, I am advocating that believers take advantage of the great resources that God has given them in the church. One of which is that it provides the encouragement they need as “strangers and aliens” in the broader culture. Good churches, or outposts of the Kingdom, will be those that seek not to indoctrinate but to be channels through which the Spirit of God can work in bringing about spiritual formation. One way they can do so is by helping individuals to love God with their minds. Loving God with one’s mind entails evaluating all things and holding fast to what is true. The church has nothing to fear from critical thinking. In fact, it should be known for doing so with excellence.
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