Sunday, August 12, 2012

Socrates in the Service of Christ

By Angus Menuge.


B. Prokop said...

To paraphrase the Realtors' mantra, it's all about "audience, audience, audience". When I go to an astronomy lecture, I don't expect each and every one of them to start out by re-proving that the Earth goes round the Sun. We can treat such fundamental issues as givens, and turn to finer (and still unsettled) details.

In like manner, amongst fellow believers there is no need to continually re-visit such basic doctrines as the existence of God, Creation, and the divinity of Christ each and every time we get together. We can safely treat these and similar issues as "been there, done that" and move along.

The same holds true in our own internal dialogues. I don't start each morning's prayer with a debate about whether or not God exists, or whether I'm praying to the right one... I can jump right in to what counts.

But in dealing with an unbeliever, one has to realize (to go back to my astronomy analogy) that you're dealing with someone who has not yet gotten his head around how the Solar system operates, or who may (perhaps unconsciously) hold a wildly inaccurate picture of the universe's most basic structures. For this audience, it is mandatory to go over the simplest, most foundational concepts. And of perhaps even greater importance, it is essential to ensure you both have the same definitions for the same terms. On this very website, I've seen all too many debates descend into incoherence due to the different parties using the same words in completely different senses.

One of my favorite (and perhaps apocryphal) stories about apologetics goes something like this:

Atheist: "I don't believe in God."

Christian: "Describe to me this God that you don't believe in. Odds are that I don't believe in him either."

But yes, yes, yes - it never helps to start any conversation by calling the other side stupid, ignorant, or delusional. That's the quickest way for confirmation bias to set in with a vengeance. (Now the conversation may very well end that way, if one participant has demonstrated himself to indeed be these very things. But that's another matter entirely.)

BenYachov said...

Go point Bob. In my experience the majority of Atheists disbelieve in a Theistic Personalist "deity" which I am convinced does not exist either.

Few understand Classic Theism vs Theistic Personalism.

To many kneejerk believe things are proven via empirical investigation & not philosophical argument.

Vocab Malone said...

Dr. Reppert:

I apologize for post-jacking here.

Are you interested in breaking down worldviews in a public setting at a semi-lay level for use in an evangelistic context?

Here is what I mean: every First Friday of the month there is an Art Walk downtown right through our property. Sometimes we host apologetic type-events or even debates in order to engage the onlookers. For example, we have had a debate and a dialogue, right out on our front steps. Here is one such link:

I will be interviewing Dave Wendt from Mesa Community college on Christianity over and against Relativism on September 7th for our next event. I am looking for at least one more philosopher - is this something you could be part of (sorry for the bad grammar).


PS - we would also be taking audience questions from time to time throughout the event.