Wednesday, 3 August 2011

So You Want To Be An Apologist For Christianity

Important note:
If you were looking for the Muslim Apologists' Handbook you've got the wrong one. You need So You Want To Be An Apologist For Islam. Some of the words a slightly different and you don't want to find you've promoted the wrong god by mistake, do you.
So you've decided to be an internet apologist for Christianity.

You're going to come up against a lot of people with facts, logic, reason, complicated arguments, and evidence; people who've studied the Bible; people who've even studied science and maybe have degrees from universities.

Have no fear. None of this should bother you if you use the following guide:

First, the Bible is inerrant. Remember that! The Bible is the inerrant word of an omniscient god so it can't be wrong. It’s inerrant. Cling to that in the face of all arguments, evidence and reason. These must all be wrong because the Bible is inerrant, otherwise God wouldn't have said it was in the inerrant Bible.

If you ever admit the Bible could be even the tiniest bit wrong, your whole faith will be destroyed, so never, ever admit to a contradiction or that something in the Bible has ever been shown to be wrong. Never!

Understand?

NEVER!

Never answer a direct question with a direct answer. It’s probably a trap. You can recognise these traps because the questions will have words like ‘why’, ‘who’, ‘what’, ’when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’. The important thing is not to give your opponent something to check because it might be wrong.

Tricks you can use are:
  • Ask another question to change the subject
  • Refuse to answer the question until your opponent has answered yours.
  • Ignore the answer.
  • Accuse your opponent of not answering your question.
  • Tell your opponent you're not wasting your time on someone who won't answer your questions.

Two questions should never be answered at all, ever:
  • What evidence would you accept as disproving your god?
  • What evidence would you accept as proof of evolution?

Never EVER take the risk that the evidence you say you’ll accept may be provided.

Change the subject as soon as possible or break off the discussion with a departing “I'll pray for you”, or some such phrase. And remember: God exists so NOTHING could disprove him; evolution is false so NOTHING can prove it. Got that?

Only as a last resort should you answer a question, but remember to say your opponent hasn't understood the answer when they point out your answer has nothing to do with their question.

When faced with a Bible verse in which God is telling people to do something wrong, like kill children, commit genocide, kill your neighbour for eating shellfish or wearing mixed-fibre clothing,  sell your daughter, etc., you have several choices:
  • Say it used to be moral to do those things but Jesus changed that and gave us some better... er... no, not better, different morals. Better, means God didn't give us very good ones, so never admit they were immoral. They were just differently moral.
  • Say it’s allegorical.  Always remember that, even though the Bible is the literal word of God, that doesn't mean it’s always literal. It can still be allegorical. If your opponent asks how you know which is which, be condescending and say it’s because you have been ‘saved by grace’. It’s not your fault if they've rejected God’s bountiful... whatever springs to mind. This will make you feel superior and may make your opponent angry. God will appreciate it too.
  • You can use the allegorical excuse for any part of the Bible you can't explain, don't understand or hadn’t read and have been caught out with.
  • If none of these work, say the Bible used to say something different but the meaning of the words has changed. No, that doesn't make it wrong; it means your opponent is too ignorant/stupid/lacking in God’s bountiful... whatever. Always blame your opponent.

Sooner or later, usually sooner, the conversation will turn to evolution. This will normally be because you've changed the subject to avoid a difficult or embarrassing question and have said the first thing you thought of, like, “So you worship Charles Dawkins and believe your grandfather was a monkey.”

When discussing evolution it’s best to stick to the usual parodies of evolution because they are easier to attack and you can accuse your opponent of believing something really absurd that no sane person would believe, so getting that lovely warm, fluffy, pink feeling of superiority. And you don't have to bother with learning any biology.

You can find plenty of these parodies of evolution theory and other science at the AiG website. They specialise in making up things for Christian Creationists and apologists to mislead people with.

Always remember not to learn any real biology or any other science because it may make you doubt your unshakeable faith and you don't want to start debating real science with people who know about it, so stick to the easily attacked parodies. Best stay away from the real thing. Far too risky.

Practice the names, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking as they are easily confused and you will be using them often. Einstein will crop up quite often and his name can be a little tricky too. If you can at least spell their names people might think you know what you are talking about, which is always useful in a discussion, especially with people who probably DO know what they're talking about.

On the subject of spelling, try to remember it’s ‘Holy Bible’ not ‘Holey Bibel’ or ‘Holly Bibal’.

Remember a few key phrases and use them often:
  • If evolution is true why are there still monkeys?
  • Evolution is just a theory – a guess with no evidence.
  • Micro-evolution is possible but not macro (don’t try to explain this one, just keep asserting it!)
  • There is no evidence for evolution. Be prepared to be given lots of evidence at this point so you'll need to ignore it and dismiss it as ‘not evidence’. Don't follow those links!
  • No monkey ever gave birth to a human/No human ever gave birth to a monkey.
  • Why are there no crocoduck/half men-half monkeys?
  • Why do we never see transitional fossils? (Remember, fossils in museums don't count and a lot of them are plaster copies – stick to that at all costs). If ever you're shown a series of fossils, point out that there are no fossils in the gaps between them.
  • Charles Darwin recanted on his death bed. His daughter’s denial of that and the evidence that Lady Hope wasn't even present is a lie. Anyway, Darwin is now a Creationist because he converted after death, so even if that IS a lie it might as well not be.
  • Charles Darwin was a friend of Karl Marx and so evolution is Communist and Communism is Darwinism.
  • Charles Darwin got all his ideas from Mendel who was a Christian.
  • Evolution is impossible because information can’t be created. (Don't get involved in this one, just assert it...)
  • The second law of thermodynamics means evolution is impossible. (Never try to explain why; it involves complicated stuff like entropy). Practice spelling thermodynamics so it looks like you understand it.
  • No new species have ever been seen to arise. (Dismiss the inevitable long list of new species as ‘not new species, just varieties’. If need be, redefine the term ‘species’ to win this one. Change the subject as soon as you can).
Have a list of questions you keep asking every few days. If possible, remember who you were debating with and ask them the same questions every few weeks.

Ignore the answers; they're just trying to put you off your ‘faith’.

When given a link to an article which answers your question, don't follow it. Instead, insist your opponent answers the question. Say you're not going to do their research for them. Don't read the article; you know it’ll be wrong or will be trying to mislead you.

On Twitter, demand a complete answer in 140 characters explaining the whole of human evolution in detail. Or ask for the complete history of the universe.

You will also need a list of standard ‘arguments’ against the Big Bang? The following is a useful list but you should add more as you think of them:
  • How could life evolve in a ball of poisonous gasses in the Big Bang?
  • You can't make something from nothing so God must have done it. (Under no circumstances admit that this also means God couldn't have come from nothing, or created a universe from nothing either. If you do, you'll lose!)
  • It says in the Bible that God created everything so it must be true because God doesn't tell lies.
  • The Universe might look like it's billions of years old but that's just to test our faith/Satan did it to drive us away from God's bountiful bosom... or something.
  • You can't prove God doesn't exist. (See below for more fallacies you can use).

When you run out of arguments against science, change the subject to morality.

Ask your opponent to explain where morals came from. Ignore the answers and claim Atheists are immoral and can't be trusted because they don't know it's wrong to kill, rape, rob banks, etc. If your opponent mentions William Lane Craig break off the conversation immediately - and don't answer any of those trick questions about Canaanites and genocide!

When told that there is a long history of Christians killing and raping, say Stalin and Mao were Atheists. (You could try saying Hitler was an Atheist too but the risk here is that your opponent might know he was a Christian and may have some links to historical data proving it, so exercise caution).

Remember. None of the people who killed and waged genocide in the name of Jesus and Christianity were real Christians even though you probably wouldn't be Christian if it wasn't for them. Hold onto this one. It’ll serve you well in difficult corners.

Don't be slow to mention Stalin, Mao or even Hitler because the unwritten rule of online debate says that the first one to do so wins the argument.

As a final resort, it’s okay to try a disguised threat. Something like, “I hope you like it HOT when you die!” or, “You'll believe when you're roasting in HELL!”

The following is useful list of general techniques you can use:
  • Use argumentum ad nauseum (or last one standing) – just keep saying the same thing over and over again until no one answers you. Then you will have won.
  • Have the last word. Just like in a football game where the last player to leave the field is the winner, you will win by having the last word. Don’t worry what it is, so long as it’s the last one.
  • Claim you have answered every single question in full and none of your claims have been refuted. There may be new people in the audience and they may believe you.
  • Ignore every answer and claim it hasn't been given. It’s best to wait several days when using Twitter because the answers you’re ignoring might still be visible but you can use this if you have to and just hope no one checks.
  • Use ad hominem. Things like saying your opponent must be insane/stupid/evil/a Satanist/a Stalinist/a Communist/a Muslim, etc.
  • Accuse your opponent of resorting to ad hominem when they point out that your argument isn't logical, doesn't make sense, is factually incorrect or has been refuted long ago. You can also accuse them of being an arrogant elitist when they use complicated science or information they've learned through study or by reading books.
  • Remember, you are doing God’s work, so anything is permitted because God is above human morality. God appreciates it when you sacrifice personal integrity for him so dont worry about that. You're scoring lots of Brownie points here.
  • When asked a really difficult question wait several days then answer a different, easier one. Claim you answered the one asked and blame your opponent for not understanding the answer.
  • When you've been given a really clever answer or been asked a really hard question (this will happen a lot so be ready for it) break off the discussion – urgent shopping trip is a good excuse – then wait several days and suddenly come back online and demand the ‘answer to my question’. Don't say what the question was or give any clue to when you asked it. The chances are your opponent won't be online so you can follow up with a series of triumphal messages claiming to have won. Remember to copy in your friends so they can re-post them for you and call your opponent names. Imagine how devastated your opponent will be when they next log on.
  • Type ‘FACT!!’ after a statement, especially if you're not sure about it and think it might not be true. This guarantees any reader will think it’s true anyway.
  • Always claim to have ‘masses of evidence’ for God. Never ever say exactly what that evidence is but say your opponent is deliberately ignoring it/must be blind/must be stupid/hasn't been save by God’s bountiful... er... thingy, and you’ll "pray for him/her".
  • Alternatively, give a list of things like sunrise, sunset, bird song, a baby’s cry, Fall in New Hampshire, a Beethoven Symphony, etc, etc, and claim they are proof of God. Never explain why.
  • Ask your opponent why they are so angry and/or upset. This might persuade some of the audience that your opponent really IS angry and/or upset. You will also get that nice warm feeling of smugly condescending superiority.
  • Ask your opponent if they were abused as a child and feel let down by God. Be sympathetic. This will make you look like someone who cares. It will make you feel superior and make it more likely that you get away with some of the tricks you'll be using – for God, remember, so not dishonest or immoral. Remember those Brownie points...
  • Pretend to be a child – somewhere between 8 and 12 years old is favourite. People tend to allow for childish mistakes and silly arguments. This gives Christian apologists a particularly strong advantage. If you're using apologetics to make money like a lot of people do, say you'll use it to buy a university education or to pay for your mother's/cousin’s cancer treatment or to provide shelter for the homeless, etc. This can be a particularly rewarding trick if you can pull it off, scooping gifts of hundreds or even thousands, tax-free, at a time.
  • Pretend to be too stupid to understand an argument. This works on Atheists because they think stupidity is some sort of divine gift which hides a deeper kind of wisdom. Anyway, it'll frustrate your opponent and may even make them either angry or patronising so you can use that against them.
Lastly, here is a list of useful fallacies you can usually rely on. No, it isn't ‘wrong’ to use fallacies because you’re doing God’s work and he is above human morality. Think of it as a sacrifice which God will forgive you for because you did it for him.

Anyway, you can always say sorry to God later.

God of the Gaps. This is when you have a gap in your knowledge and claim no-one knows so it must have been God. You can even create gaps if you need to by claiming science can't explain things that have been explained.

God of Personal Necessity. This is when you argue that God must exist because life would be meaningless/purposeless, etc without one. You can even say there must be a god because otherwise there would be no afterlife and you don't like the thought of death.

The Numbers Fallacy. This is where you argue that God must exist because x billion people can't be wrong. Of course, even more people who don't believe in your god can be wrong but you don't meet them very often and they're mostly foreigners anyway.

The Appeal to Authority. God MUST exists because person x wrote a book saying he does, or "all historians agree God wrote the Bible/accept Jesus was a real person". You can also say Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, various Creation Scientists or William Lane Craig have proved God exists. The good thing about this trick is that you don't have to produce any evidence and can just tell your opponent to read what they've said.

Faith. Say your faith tells you God exists and you rely on faith more than evidence because faith is a gift from God but evidence can be misleading. God must exist if you believe in him, otherwise you wouldn't believe in him. You're probably wondering why no one else can see the logic here.

The Shifted Burden. Insisting your opponent proves God doesn't exist or else he does exist. Note: this argument ONLY applies to arguments you want to win. It obviously can’t be used to prove a false god exists, or Harry Potter, or Spaghetti Monsters, or that there are bears round the corner waiting for you to step on the cracks.

And that’s about it really. Keep this guide handy and you can take on anyone in on-line discussions. And never worry about being laughed at.

You're right and all the others are wrong.


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28 comments :

  1. That. Was. Hilariously. Brilliant.
    Thanks for making my otherwise pretty miserable day brighter (I'm sick!).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you sure you've not just crawled into Stormbringer/Piltdown Superman's head?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I see a theme developing - and it WAS worth all the work that you put in to this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm correct in saying that this post is awesome and if you don't agree, then you are wrong. Once again, great work "R".

    Kriss

    ReplyDelete
  5. TLDR (all of it)

    >>If you ever admit the Bible could be even the tiniest bit wrong, your whole faith will be destroyed, so never, ever admit to a contradiction or that something in the Bible has ever been shown to be wrong. Never!

    Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5% and none of these copying errors affects doctrinal truths. Dead Sea Scrolls showed how accurately it was transmitted. ~Contradictions everywhere!

    I am willing to answer every single question asked of me if you are willing to give me the same courtesy. Are you game? Since I corrected and addressed your point about the Bible NEVER being wrong, its my turn.

    Could you perhaps tell me one thing that you know and how you are able to know it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. >Biblical documents are 98.5% textually pure. The 1.5% that is in question is mainly nothing more than spelling errors and occasional word omissions. This reduces any serious textual issues to a fraction of the 1.5% and none of these copying errors affects doctrinal truths.<

    I'm currently reading "Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible" by Bart D. Ehrlman ISBN 0061173940.

    The author was once a fundamentalist evangelical Christian until he realised he could no longer honestly sustain the obvious fiction that the Bible is the inerrant word of an omnibenevolent, omniscient god because of all the factual errors, contradictions and blatant forgeries it contains.

    You'll probably want to ignore it the way you carefully ignore science in case it causes you too much uncomfortable cognitive dissonance.

    ReplyDelete
  7. >>The author was once a fundamentalist evangelical Christian until he realised he could no longer honestly sustain the obvious fiction that the Bible is the inerrant word of an omnibenevolent, omniscient god because of all the factual errors, contradictions and blatant forgeries it contains.

    ALL of this is called a Taxicab fallacy. As, the premise can’t be dismissed like a hack once you’ve arrived at your desired destination!

    You do not take the entire message into account, thus your argument is fallacious. To say God's message cannot be counted because of a typo is laughable. That goes for you too, otherwise that would be a relativist fallacy also.

    God's complete message of Salvation remains in tact and with complete inerrancy. You're looking at a very few typographical errors and crying foul? Keep in mind that these "errors" were LEFT IN for fear of changing Scripture for any reason. More evidence of the accuracy!!!! The Dead sea scrolls are another!

    Your bias is completely transparent and obvious.

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  8. OH and ONE glaring hypocrisy, on your part, is that you NEVER EVER answered my question. You know the very thing you are complaining about! Bwahahahahahahah...silly Atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I note you dismiss Ehrlman's arguments out of hand without bothering to read them. As I expected, you have carefully avoided the discomfort of cognitive dissonance by scrupulously avoiding reading anything which disagrees with your superstition. This is, of course a predictable response in a theophobe which is why I provoked it. Thank your for cooperating with me

    It amazes me that a grown adult can apparently persuade himself that nasty facts go away if ignored or that somehow reality is conditional on his acceptance of it, but this seems to be your modus operandum and neatly illustrates the emotional immaturity required to be a fundamentalist Creationist. Thank you for cooperating in a demonstration of that unfortunate condition.

    Tell me something: has this tactic ever fooled anyone other than you?

    ReplyDelete
  10. The classic atheist blog...full of lies, ad hominem, and name-calling...along with no evidence for or against their belief system or the belief system of others. Oh yeah, and the capper...delete this comment so that none of the elite intellectuals can ever see this. Good ol' atheism. What intellectualism has come to be. {laughing} What a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous.

    Sorry you felt unable to reveal your identity. The problem is now that anyone can contribute to this thread and pretend to be you, just as you could be pretending to be the anonymous person currently making an ass of him/herself in the comment sections of other blogs here.

    Having said, that, may I compliment you in keeping up the fine Christian tradition of abusing those whom you disagree with whilst not dealing with the subject.

    You forgot to threaten me with your god, however. You really should have read the blog so you could improve on your technique.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I came across this by someone blasting it for it is closed minded, illogical rhetoric. If you find it similar, do not repost or link to it, the author will use the funding your visit creates through page ads to spread more of this tripe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously touched a raw nerve there. LOL!

      Ever the sore loser, eh?

      Delete
  13. Rosa,

    How do you know your reasoning about this, or anything, is valid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi D.A.N.

      Have you come back to continue showing people your proud disconnect from reality?

      To check that reasoning is valid you compare your conclusions with reality. This is called 'science'. I can see why you have a problem with it.

      No doubt you'll now try to convince me there is no such thing as reality in order to try to justify your superstitious belief in a magic creator of it...

      Delete
  14. Rosa,

    Hi again.

    >>To check that reasoning is valid you compare your conclusions with reality. This is called 'science'.

    Science is reality? Can science be wrong? Thus what follows, can "reality" be wrong?

    >>I can see why you have a problem with it.

    I certainly do.

    Now define "reality" without begging the very question.

    >>No doubt you'll now try to convince me there is no such thing as reality in order to try to justify your superstitious belief in a magic creator of it...

    Well doubt then, because I do KNOW there is a reality.

    How are you certain that your senses/faculties/perception of reality are correct???

    How do you KNOW science is correct?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D.A.N

      Yep. Just as I expected, you're going to try to convince me there is no such thing as reality in order to justify your infantile belief in a magic creator of it.

      I doubt we can make any progress beyond that if we want to debate like adults can we?

      Are you ever going to make any worthwhile contributions to this blog?

      Delete
    2. 'Science' is a very broad term, I suggest that you familiarise yourself with what science actually is before you begin demanding to know if it is 'right' or not. This is what Wikipedia has to say:
      "In modern usage, "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is also often restricted to those branches of study that seek to explain the phenomena of the material universe.[6] In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature such as Newton's laws of motion. And over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
      So when you are asking how we know 'Science' is right, it's because we applied the Scientific Method'

      ("The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method )

      We apply the scientific method to various ideas which we want to test out to find out how true or untrue they are, we gather evidence to support that truth and change our ideas if the evidence doesn't fit in with the idea.

      If by 'Science' you mean the ideas themselves, eg. the Big Bang or Evolution, we Know science is correct because we have applied the Scientific method to them and have found them to be the best way of explaining the world that we have at present. Whether that fits in with your 'Faith' or not is irrelevent if your 'Faith' doesn't stand up to the Scientific Method, which unfortunately for you it doesn't.

      Further more, as the party proposing the theory that 'God' exists in the way you say he does, and that the Bible is his word, the burden of proof is on you to prove that according to Scientific Method, not on us to prove that it is not so. That is how the Scientific Method works.

      Good luck proving that, and not making God vanish in the process, because as we all know, God said that without Faith he is nothing.

      Delete
    3. I think D.A.N has long since flounced off in a huff because his tactics in lieu of arguments didn't work here.

      Delete
    4. Yes, I hadn't noticed how long ago this was posted :)

      Delete
  15. D.A.N.

    If there is an objective reality about which we can have knowledge, then no god is sending communication into that reality. In this case, we are able to trust our measurements of the reality, and make predictions based on those measurements (a procedure which, by my personal measurement, serves me well).

    On the other hand, if any god is sending communication into reality, then we would not be able to know what is and is not real.

    If you choose to believe that there is no reality, then every belief you add to that first belief, is a contradictory belief.

    Similarly, if you choose to believe that there is a reality, but some god sends messages into it, then every belief you add to those two beliefs, is contradicted by those two beliefs. You cannot know a third thing, because your observations leading you to the third belief may have been corrupted by a message from a god.

    So, ultimately, I choose to ignore the words of people who are capable of only knowing one or two things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >>If there is an objective reality about which we can have knowledge, then no god is sending communication into that reality.


      IF? So you don't KNOW? How do you KNOW your reasoning about this, or anything, is even valid?

      Delete
    2. D.A.N.

      I'm sorry you're still having difficulty telling reality from fantasy. I think it's about time you sought professional help with your problem. I really don't see why you expect to get it from here.

      Delete
  16. >>I'm sorry you're still having difficulty telling reality from fantasy.

    Your avoidance of the questions speaks volumes here. Keep up that great work for the glory of God.

    >>I think it's about time you sought professional help with your problem.

    In the field we call that PROJECTING.

    >>I really don't see why you expect to get it from here.

    I hope you're referring to answers to my questions, so that you would be spot on for once. :7)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, in your fantasy, I'm projecting your proud inability to tell reality from your fantasy, eh?

      There probably isn't much I can do to help you if you've managed to disclaim any responsibility for your problem and to blame it all on everyone else, is there.

      All that remains now for you to try is blaming me for your messages too.

      Don't you ever get embarrassed needing to be so inventive in your avoidance of the real world in order to make your delusion seem to work for you?

      Delete
  17. Actually I've heard all of these arguments from god believers. Maybe especially this one: The Numbers Fallacy. This is where you argue that God must exist because x billion people can’t be wrong. And this one: The Shifted Burden. Insisting your opponent proves God doesn’t exist or else he does exist.

    I see among the comments that there are more people than I who rejoice in reading your blog articles. Maybe I should start The Rosa Rubicondior Fan Club? (BTW, did you know that "fan" is a swear-word in Swedish, meaning Satan, The Devil? Talking about swear-words, my surname Helvete is the Swedish word for Hell, the probable end destination for people like me. Who knows (except for God, of course) if you and me will meet each other there some time in the future? I'm alreasdy looking forward to that and therefore do my utterly best to avoid being sent to Heaven in my afterlife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you might have guessed, I have a blog about the numbers fallacy - Fundamentalists Have a Problem With Numbers :-)

      Delete

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