or maybe just those who have deluded themselves with misplaced zeal to argue “proof” for something they’ve already subscribed to as “belief” by faith that should, therefore, need no proof (Heb 11:1-3).
I lost interest in apologetics because it seemed so pointless. Why bother looking at evidence if your conclusion is pre-determined? The answer Christian apologists would give is that the evidence needs to be interpreted through the lens of the Bible as ultimate authority.
Special pleading aside, why is it that when we try to approach evidence as objectively and honestly as possible, we are accused of having a secular agenda, driven to undermine the Bible’s truth?
I came across a newsletter recently from a Christian creationist group and a few things struck me that led to this musing. First, all their experts are scientists who approach the Bible with a literalist hermeneutic. Clearly, this is the only way to correctly read the Bible. Otherwise, we’d be accusing God of not being able to clearly communicate what he wanted to say. (Note sarcasm behind the previous two sentences. The second sentence is actually an argument they make.) That argument for a literalist hermeneutic actually conflicts with one of the traditional assumptions driving biblical interpretation – the Bible is a cryptic document.
Second, why don’t they have any experts who are trained first in biblical interpretation? Because they’ll have a very different perspective on the significance of Genesis 1 for the creationist debate. See books by John Walton and John Sailhamer, for examples. I’m sure the apologists will have ready answers deconstructing any but their literal approach to the biblical text.
To me it requires much more intellectual honesty to start humbly with evidence to test my presuppositions and theological conclusions, rather than start with presuppositions to test the evidence.
In closing, a word about the blog post title. If you’re an apologetics nut who’s bristling with a flaming response provoked by my title, you’ve played right into my hands. Take care lest your comment prove my point.
For the rest of you defenders of the faith, what are you really defending? Your view of Scripture? Your ability to believe in God? What? Because true faith doesn’t require a defense.