Daily Archives: March 31, 2011
Best J.P. Holding Quote EVER
J.P. Holding was one of my inspirations for entering apologetics ministry. Before I saw his site, I had no idea that Christians even did things like that. I love writing, I love arguing my point, and I love teaching people things. Apologetics seemed to offer that, and an opportunity to serve God while doing it.
I was in.
I’ve seen an evolution in Holding. He used to be extremely sarcastic and derisive toward anyone who disagreed with him, including creating a Screwball of the Month Award for atheists who used the dumbest/most ignorant arguments against Christianity. Though he still does much of that, his main site has had most of that material expunged or edited for Christian charity. Mostly, he keeps the sarcasm at bay.
He’d never admit it, but I think he finally started listening to the other side and realized that Christian charity is most important when dealing with outsiders. They know we’re supposed to “turn the other cheek,” and they basically expect us to be doormats on account of that command. Let’s give them what they expect–and more. And, above all, “so far as it depends on you [the Christian], live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18).
In certain places, however, the sarcasm flies freely. Though J.P. has said a lot of sarcastic gems in the past, this has to be the best retort hands down:
God as a constant fixer-upper is the contrivance of a lazy and ignorant generation that thinks the whole purpose of being omnipotent is to be able to create rational beings and then entertain them. (source)
I laughed for 5 minutes straight. I still chuckle reading back over for the hundredth time. Thank you, J.P., and keep fighting the good fight!
What Type of Evidence is Required to Believe Extraordinary Claims?
How many of us have said, “I’ve been meaning to do [something], but [this] got in the way.” I’ve been guilty of that many times, especially around the house. I keep “meaning to,” but something else happens.
Wives are pretty forgiving here–or at least mine is. Provided that [this] is reasonable, and not, “I just had to beat my high score at Yahtzee, and after 10 hours of rolling those dice, I finally did it!”
Supervisors at work are much less forgiving, even if [this] is extremely reasonable. “I meant to get that paperwork faxed over, but four people called off for lunch rush and of the people that showed up, no one knew how to run the drive-thru register except for me!” Those who have worked in fast food know that what I just said is a very legitimate reason for missing office work, but they also know that no district manager would actually accept that excuse.
In the world of blogging, “I’ve been meaning to write a post on [something], but [this] got in the way” has far less severe consequences than it does in the corporate world. Usually, another blogger ends up writing the post, generally making the exact points that you would have raised. Then comes the inevitable internal groan, “Why didn’t I just write the post sooner?”
Today, as I read over the usual blogs, I discover that the post I’ve been meaning to write on the so-stupid-it-burns talking point that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” has already been written by Dr. Randal Rauser. Although I’ve disagreed with Dr. Rauser in the past, in this particular post he is 110% spot on. This paragraph sums up my own points to people about this claim:
The problem starts with this: who decides what is “extraordinary”? Without an absolute, objective standard this principle collapses into “Anything that appears really implausible to me requires extraordinary evidence” and that in turn collapses into “No evidence will be good enough to convince me of something I find really implausible”. In other words, this is a recipe for an irrational dismissal of any evidence counter to what one already accepts.
Literally, all the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” talking point ever does is allow the atheist to dismiss with a simple hand wave anything that he doesn’t want to believe–the existence of God, the Resurrection, any miracle in the Bible, or whatever else they don’t want in their worldview. All they need to do is class whatever their opponent says as “extraordinary,” and whatever evidence or argument offered in support as “not extraordinary.” BAM! Case dismissed faster than a pothead’s lawsuit on Judge Judy.
All that is required to believe any claim, extraordinary or not, is sufficient evidence. Period.