apologists are experts

Let's face it - the vast majority of people who have spent a great deal of time studying the Bible believe it is the word of God. That's an inescapable reality. Should we leverage some credibility to the claims based on the position of the authorities? Let us consider the ramifications of doing so.

Let us suppose that there is a hypothetical dichotomy that the experts must decide upon. If 90% of the scholars agree with the position that favors Christianity, I would feel extremely confident that about 90% of the scholars came into the field as Christians. The opinion of such authorities, who began with the conclusion before considering the evidence, cannot be trusted simply because they are authorities. One simply cannot trust those with huge emotional investments to be objective on critical issues. You cannot trust a car salesman when buying a car; you should trust a consumer report. You cannot trust an Islamic scholar when studying Islam; you should trust a scholar who had no opinion going in. You cannot trust a Jewish scholar when studying Judaism; you should trust a scholar who had no set opinion going in. You cannot trust a mother of an artist when determining which artist made the best painting; you should trust an art critic with no knowledge of the artists. For this reason, I put little stock in the opinions of people who began studying Christianity years after they accepted the notion of a talking snake.

Apologists and the bunch ignore counterevidence when they find it, or find someway to rationalize it with the Bible. This practice isn't localized to one religion either. Muslims, Mormons, Jews, etc. will interpret according to their preconceived notions. The importance of the fact that such adults were indoctrinated with beliefs from childhood cannot be overstated! How else do multiple religions survive in the age of scrutiny and reason? This is why apologists must excuse me for wanting authorities, if they appeal to them, to have no religious preference. Practice of religion clouds judgment. Understanding of religion does not.

Not only does the problem reach outside of Christianity, it continues outside of religion. Think of other fields that skeptics and rationalists consider to be based on myths. What percentage of people who are UFO experts believe that UFOs are flying saucer vehicles piloted by aliens? I don't have the statistic with me, but should we not feel confident that the vast majority are UFO apologists? People with such interests will naturally join such fields, entering with the notion that they are flying saucers and beginning with the determination to validate their beliefs. UFO apologists don't pay much attention to evidence and explanations that debunk their beliefs; they find ways of making it consistent. They do not like simple explanations for sightings, so they begin with premise that the sighting is authentic, and mold explanations without breaking the premise. Does this not sound familiar? Have you ever seen the pseudoscientific techniques and equipment used by ghost hunters? Does this not sound familiar as well?

The same can be said for those who study Bigfoot, Nessie, yetis, psychics, ESP, ghosts, homeopathy, faith healing, etc. The believers become the experts; disbelievers have no interest. Every now and then, you will find rationalists dedicated enough to devote time for debunking such nonsense. These people, who have studied with great interest but without preconceived notions, are the ones who offer natural explanations. There is no reason that we shouldn't feel confident that people with no interest in the field who take the time to learn both sides will agree with the natural explanations offered by skeptics. The skeptic knows that Bigfoot is based on myth and that the evidence doesn't support the claims because he has no emotional investment in Bigfoot. Despite no good evidence, the believer is going to continue believing what he wants to believe, thanks in part to his bad reasoning. The Bigfoot enthusiast will not listen to reason because he convinced himself long ago of the veracity of his beliefs. Very rarely do we see disbelieving experts become believing experts. Even with years of conditioned reinforcement from their environment, the number leaving greatly outweighs the number joining.

Yes, the overwhelming majority of biblical experts believe in the veracity of the Bible. To someone who had never heard of such matters, however, Yahweh and Bigfoot should be no different. Smart people believe dumb things because they are very gifted at coming up with scenarios that maintain their beliefs. Have you ever read the explanations on why Matthew and Luke contradict on when Jesus was born? Debating the existence of Yahweh is no more of an issue to me than debating the issue of Bigfoot. I see this simply as a matter of exploring the best options to make Christians understand this very concept.