Monday, March 15, 2010
Avoiding The Question
Lately I have been listening to or viewing various debates between Christians and Skeptics. I have noticed several themes that permeate all of these debates. The three themes present almost always include organization, presentation, and addressing the debate subject. Now, my view is biased, I will admit, but I believe any objective person listening to any of these debates will see what I'm talking about.
The first point revolves around organization. What I mean by this is that most of the Christian debaters have a few solid points that they make addressing the debate topic or question. One of the best at this is Dr. William Lane Craig. Most of the Skeptics, however, seem to have no thought out plan to address the debate subject at hand. Most of Skeptics arguments are based upon tearing down the Christian worldview in a disorganized manner.
The second theme that seems present in all debates concerns how the debaters present their material. Again, the Christian will often present a point by point case that addresses the subject/question in a positive manner. What I mean by positive manner, is that, the Christian will make a positive case that addresses the topic at hand in order to sway opinion in favor of his/her position. The Skeptic, on the other hand, will often present a negative case, filled with "red herrings" and "straw man" arguments. By negative case, I mean the Skeptic will often resort to tearing down the Christian worldview, as opposed to focusing on the subject at hand.
The third and last observation that seems to permeate all debates concerns addressing the debate subject. This has already been touched on, but it seems the Skeptic in many instances totally avoids the question only for the purpose of tearing down the Cristian Worldview. In other words, the Skeptic is unwilling to present evidence/arguments for his/her position. Now I know I am generalizing here, but many of the Skeptics enter the debate for the express purpose of promoting skepticism. This is really highlighted by the agnostic Clancy Martin, who debated Christian apologist J.P. Moreland. One of Clancy's final arguments was that we should all be skeptical. How is anyone going to prove anything if your goal is to promote skepticism? The Christian rightly addresses not just the topic at hand, but will try to give an answer for what he/she thinks is the best at corresponding to truth.
In looking at the three themes, the real issue to emerge revolves around the question of truth. In my opinion the Christian apologist is concerned ultimately with the truth issue, while the skeptic tries to promote an unsustainable position of skepticism. What I would really like to see is for the skeptic to put out a succulent, organized position, that addresses the topic at hand, telling the audience why their position best matches with truth. So far, not so good for the skeptical position. Maybe the Skeptic has to avoid the truth question, so as not to embarrass his/her position?
* William Lane Craig debates
* JP Moreland's debate with Clancy Martin