Sunday, May 27, 2012

The deception of apologetics

As I’ve stated in my blog on several occasions I am not fond of so called apologetics. What many people don’t realize is that the study of apologetics was not started by non-believers; it was started by believers in search of evidence in various other fields of study that would help validate their beliefs and their faith claims.

Before I begin I would like to define two key terms that are relevant to this post. The first one is theology which is defined in the Mirriam Webster dictionary as:’ the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God's relation to the world.’ The second term is apologetics: ‘a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity.’

As you can see in the above definitions theology is the main branch of study of in this case the Christian faith and all its subjects in relation to faith, practice, and experience. Apologetics is a branch of theology which concerns itself with the defense of those beliefs.  Through its disingenuous use of philosophy apologetics in my view is actually a corruption of mainstream philosophy. Theologians love to engage in pointless circular argumentation mostly based on presupposition and subjective evidence of their beliefs. When pressed they tend to try to flip the arguments against them in the other direction by for instance asking us to prove that God does not exist.

This is what is known as proving a negative and quite frankly it is impossible to do so. But what theologians fail to mention is that the onus is on them to prove that their God does exist, because they are the ones making positive claims regarding the certainty and truths of their beliefs. What evidence do they have of these claims? First and foremost they have faith; an invalid means of obtaining any kind of knowledge in my opinion. Then all that is left is subjective evidence mostly based on their interpretations of their own so called experiences or spiritual encounters with the divine.

Although the bible states in Proverbs chapter 6 verses 16-17 that there are six things that the Lord hates and seven that he abhors and verse seventeen puts a lying tongue at the number two spot. Christians seem to have no problem lying and using or misapplying and interpreting philosophical principles and argumentative methodologies, or pseudoscience to prove their faith as true. This is a perfect example of what we like to refer to as cherry picking not just through the scriptures but through all matters that they feel will help them validate their otherwise unverifiable and most likely false claims to absolute truth.

Although the bible condemns lying it seems to condone it in defense of the faith or if it is necessary to obtain converts. But of course the apple does not fall far from the tree, since in the book of 2 Chronicles chapter 18 is the tale of Ahab king of Israel and Micaiah. According to this tale the king of Israel wanted to attack and conquer Ramoth-Gilead but he was first advised by Jehoshaphat the king of Judah to seek council from the prophets of Yahweh who numbered at 400! They all unanimously told him that he would be victorious and that Yahweh would be with him. 

God had other plans though, and had decided it was time to take king Ahab off of the throne and end his reign once and for all. At first Micaiah went along with the prophecy of the other 400, but when pressed he told the king that he would die if he pursued his intended course of action. The next verses say that Yahweh had actually been consulting with others in heaven regarding who would entice King Ahab to his death at Ramoth-Gilead. After hearing several suggestions a lying spirit said he would do the job and then Yahweh asked him how he intended to carry it out. He said that he would be a lying spirit in the prophets of Yahweh and he was dismissed with the blessing of the Lord to carry out the deception. This explains why the four hundred prophet’s prophecies were at odds with what Micaiah had to say. 

In this situation as in our modern day examples of aplogetics and their uses of deception, misdirection, and misinterpretation of various legit fields of knowledge we see that it is not a sin to lie as long as it suits the purposes of the faith in general. Which is basically: to proselytize and gain as many converts to the faith by any means necessary.

Ironically, it was the study of apologetics that in many cases led otherwise strong believers to later reject the faith. Biblical scholars such as Hector Avalos, John W. Loftus, Bart Ehrman, and Robert M. Price are today known as some of the elite biblical scholars alive and they are all former believers who through their profound and in depth study of the scriptures have been led to a position of disbelief. 

I myself was a former fundamentalist believer who through one day deciding to read the scriptures in their entirety not once but four times, was later convinced that what I had learned could not have been true. I am convinced that anyone who reads the bible in its entirety without all the doctrinal bullshit and mumble jumble, if they are honest with themselves, would come away with the same conclusions.

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