Saturday, July 31, 2010

On debunking Christianity

Look, if you set up a site called DEBUNKING Christianity, you are going beyond just saying your opponents are mistaken. You are saying that their position is bunk. If you call your book The Christian DELUSION, then you are saying that their position isn't just erroneous, it's delusional. You're staking out the low ground, not the high ground. You gain some passion for your own position, but you undercut any hope you might have of walking away from the dialogue on some kind of a friendly basis once it's over. And you can't be terribly surprised that people whose position you are attempting to debunk don't like what you're doing, and hit back with as harsh as tone as you yourself employ. Why should anyone like it when they are told that what they believe and dedicate their lives to is bunk, and a delusion?

I'm not saying that debunking is always bad. There are some things in this world that deserve debunking. Of course, I don't think Christianity is one of them, but if you do, it's a free country.

If you want a polite exchange of ideas, you might want to name your site "Critiquing Christianity." Of course, some people who like to be nice might try to engage you in polite dialogue, anyway. But you should be surprised by the polite responses, not the harshly polemical ones. They go with the territory you have staked out.


Cole said...

I agree with most of this. I don't find the word "debunking" as bad as being called stupid or an idiot like I have been over there though. There are times in my life when I've been delusional but I'm alot better than I use to be. I find it quite the opposite. When I'm in God's presence my mind clears and I can think straight. I get an inner peace and hope. Nothing like when I'm delusional.

Anonymous said...

Reppert has hit the nail on the head here. Loftus should take note. It is obvious that Reppert understands gentleness, kindness, and tolerance of others' views from his conduct on this blog since its inception.

John W. Loftus said...

Cole, I see you're taking your medications again. Tell Vic about your condition, okay, before you rail against me.

Vic, you know I'm respectful until maligned. You know this. You also know the title to my blog is an attention getter. It does it's work well. In order to get your attention that's what I do.

I guess I got it, eh?

Cole said...


I wasn't refering to you calling me stupid. I was refering to the people that comment there.

If I remember correctly you told me that I wasn't stupid. I appreciate that. Intelligence has nothing to do with being schizo-affective.

Nikkolas Jakson said...

Dr. Reppert, can you explain why you are delusional?

Inquiring non-delusional minds want to know!

unkleE said...

"And you can't be terribly surprised that people whose position you are attempting to debunk don't like what you're doing, and hit back with as harsh as tone as you yourself employ."

He may not be surprised, but I am disappointed. The Bible says quite clearly to love our enemies and to treat opponents with gentleness and respect. Everyone can slip up, but the christian side should have noticeably better manners and more love than the atheist side. It is an unfortunate fact that it often doesn't.

How can we ever win a "battle" if we use the enemies weapons? Let's allow John to have the low ground, or the attention grabbing title, or whatever else he chooses, but let us not give up on loving him and praying for him. If we can't love and pray, I doubt we should be posting.

Vic, you are mostly a fine example of what I am saying, and I congratulate you for it.

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop writing:

True, it was on this website and not his own, but John did impugn my “thinking skills” in a previous thread, and accuse me of sleeping in church (guilty as charged!). But I still haven’t gotten over his labeling Victor as an “ignorant person” – this, about one of the most intelligent guys I know! Come on, John, admit it. I have no idea what you’re like in person, but you can get a bit over the top on the internet!

Steven Carr said...

How does Victor know he is not suffering from a delusion when Christianity teaches him that there are demons fully capable of attacking his senses and reasoning and highly motivated to do so?

Anonymous said...

But, Steven. You're caught in your own logical trap! In order for there to be demons attacking Victor's senses, then Christianity (or, at least that portion of it) has to be true!

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop, the reason John W. Loftus insulted you is because he sees you as some low-level Catholic who isn’t worthy to bend down and lace-up his intellectual hiking boots. That’s why his, “Vic, you know I'm respectful until maligned. You know this” is just delusional.

I think someone as self-absorbed and delusional as John W. Loftus needs to be ridiculed on a regular basis. My doctor told me laughing a John W. Loftus is good for my cholesterol.

Edward T. Babinski said...


1) There is an old saying, don't judge a book/blog by its cover.

2) Of all people you ought to know how some Christians (Steve Hays for instance), react to anyone with ideas other than what they believe (especially after your run ins with him concerning Calvinism).

3) People in general have disagreements on all subjects including religion, but some Christian web-apologists like Steve Hays and J. P. Holding don't break the all-too-human mold, do they? Even with an alleged holy book to lead them and the Holy Spirit to guide them and Jesus inside, i.e., having so many supernatural advantages, they react all-too-human. While many scholars of a wide variety of beliefs appear to be able to jostle relatively politely, based on having the advantage of education and an appreciation of the benefits of civilized discourse.

4) Anyone who has studied the history of Christianity knows that it consists of a history of more excommunications and schisms than one can keep track of. Even today I know one blogger whose family went to a church that split three times in his lifetime, Christians refusing to worship with other Christians.

Steve Hays (Calvinist) vs. Dave Armstrong (Catholic):


Musta Hit a Nerve: What Anti-Catholic Luminary Steve "Whopper" Hays Really Thinks of Me

How Anti-Catholic Steve Hays "Argues" (Voltairean Humor in Puritan-Land) + Hays' Incoherent Explanations of How "Evil" I Am, Or My Writing, Etc.

How Leading Online Anti-Catholic Apologist Steve Hays "Argues" #2 (The Sad Case of Lutheran Edward Reiss)


High School Musical. Starring Dave Armstrong. Costarring Dave Armstrong. With special guest star: Dave Armstrong

Dave Armstrong's glossary

Dave Armstrong: Cowardly Anti-Catholic extraordinaire

Shopping for concrete galoshes (Steve Hays addressing Dave Armstrong)

Schrödinger's cat-holicism (Steve Hays addressing Dave Armstrong)

The martyrdom of Dave Armstrong, R.I.P.

Catholic quackery

Anonymous said...

Lord help us, the atheists give us so much to amuse ourselves with. The "outnumbered" the "final solution" are for those who didn't go to the secular university or know nothing about the enlightenment of the iron curtain.

I guess I need to fear the Methodist soup kitchen and the Baptist tent revivals because they might be taking names. The homeless and the sex-addict should take notice.

Don't judge is why internet chat is near useless. You need to be in the military under difficult circumstances or live as a neighbor to someone for years to see how their beliefs work themselves out. Under both criteria I find atheists wanting.

Victor Reppert said...

I never even said Loftus' tone was wrong, and of course people like Hays play hardball. You can choose whatever tone you want. However, Loftus plays hardball, and as a result he should expect people like Holding and Hays to also play hardball. That's not my style, but it should hardly be any surprise to Loftus if he gets harsh polemics from some defenders of Christianity.

Fishermage said...

People who call their websites things like "debunking Christianity" and write books with titles like "The God Delusion" or what have you show from the outset that while it may be possible to create a morality without God, THEY are certainly not capable of doing so.

Regardless of their ideas on God or religion, THEY are certainly bad people, and if they are acting out the philosophy or ethical system that they have developed without deity, they have done a pretty crappy job of it.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, Victor. I don't like this sort of language any more than you do, but you believe in a book which asserts that only a fool or a morally reprobate person could fail to believe in Yahweh. You're side threw the first stone, so by the same token, you shouldn't be surprised at such replies from non-theists.

Victor Reppert said...

Of course, interpretation of the passages you reference is a complex matter, and there are varying views on inspiration.

I never complained about Loftus' argumentative tactics. I just said that since he's playing hardball, for whatever reason, he should be too upset if others play hardball in response. That was the long and the short of my comment.

Anonymous said...

I say promotePeace with Words and do not sow seeds of sorrow. Delusion stings the heart of those denied the ability to understand Loftus' rhetorical ploy for attention. In a time of argument, it is no time for words of weakness, of weariness, or which won't willingly follow that maxim of Flew's to "choose your words carefully."