I was stunned to realize I agree with most things he has written.
Like Thom Stark, I was disgusted by the firing of Chris. Rollston due to his intellectual honesty and his willingness to expose bad things people from the past have attributed to God. I have myself been banned from quite a few conservative forums for my challenge against certain dogma, but this is evidently nothing in comparison to the ordeal professor Rollston underwent.
Here is the key point of John’s recommendations:
“The ninth thing you must do is to become educated rather than indoctrinated.”
This is a wonderful sentence and I applaud John for leaving open the possibility that there might be Christian apologists out there who are really honest and educate themselves.
I hope he would agree Randal Rauser is a good example.
Yet, like many other things he rightly says about biases of all kinds, this sort of cuts both ways. Everyone with a worldview and an ideology is prone to delude herself. This is true for capitalists, socialists, marxists, post-modernists, transhumanists, Muslims, Christians and anti-theists alike. Until now, I haven’t found good evidence that the BEST theist intellectuals are more biased and deluded than the BEST atheistic intellectuals.
John is certainly right there is generally no come-back for a liberal who was previously a fundamentalist. However there are many cases of liberals who become fundamentalists in their later life.
Bin Laden is certainly the most ugly one. He was (among others) convinced by some books that he had to take the Koran seriously because it allegedly predicted scientific results, in the same way people converts to Evangelicalism after having read a book „proving“ that evolution is wrong.
„Then get a real education if you want to be an apologist. Skip on by any evangelical apologetics program where the professors are required to sign a doctrinal statement. Attend a secular university instead. Then see what happens. If your faith is strengthened then you will be a better apologist. If it causes you to become a liberal or non-believer then follow the evidence where it leads.
Along the way do two things. First, read books and attend lectures that are outside the box of your comfort zone, books like these for starters. „
To that, I can only loudly answer “Amen“!
One of my own conclusions of such a process is that in many domains and cases the evidence is much more ambiguous than what both believers and deniers think it to be.
Finally, I would add one personal recommendation for every evangelical apologist believing in Biblical inerrancy: start reading many OTHER ancient religious books, from the near East, but also from many times and places.
Compare this with the Bible and draw your own conclusion concerning its alleged uniqueness, inspiration and lack of errors.
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