On Using Refuted Arguments
Many years ago, Dr. Laura made a comment on her radio program stating that the Bible declares homosexuality an abomination, and that should settle the matter. This was subsequently parodied in an episode of the West Wing, where the President pwns a Dr. Laura-like character by quoting chapter and verse from Leviticus several outmoded laws, asking her to clarify them for him. Eventually, the President’s list was expanded with other outmoded laws and circulated as Internet chain mail.
When all this first happened, J.P. Holding wrote an excellent refutation of it.
Anyone with a general understanding of how a Christian approaches law and grace already knows how ridiculous this argument (if you can even call it that) is. The Old Testament Law points to a morality far higher than it espouses; a morality written into the hearts of every person on this planet. Ultimately, if we let the Greatest Commandment and the Second Greatest Commandment together be our guides, then we will fulfill the Old Testament Law without having to dive into the minutiae of it. That morality that exists in conception and can exist in point of fact by the grace of God, is the morality we aspire to.
Because we understand that a higher morality exists, we therefore seek to achieve it. It hasn’t been realized yet, and so we keep trying. What it is, even between religions and societies, is fairly consistent. That’s why I say it is an object of conception–we know it when we see it, but we haven’t seen it yet. Even the most die-hard atheist can admit that society isn’t as moral is it should be, and knows deep down that we need to somehow fix the broken parts.
Despite the fact that the West Wing clip (and the letter it spawned) stands refuted (specifically by Holding and generally by a Theology 101 understanding of law and grace), atheists continue to circulate it on YouTube. The Blog for Why Won’t God Heal Amputees just posted it again.
Therefore, here’s my question to atheists: How many times do Christian apologists have to refute the same arguments before you’ll stop using them?