The Empty Rhetoric of Christian Apologists

Previously I described several deceptive apologetic strategies. I want to highlight one more: The use of empty rhetoric utterly lacking in substance.

Christian apologists will write peer reviewed articles defending Pascal's Wager. Given Pascal's premises his argument basically works. In order to see how it works you have to grant that reason cannot decide between two options. The two options for Pascal were non-belief and a Catholicism where nonbelievers risk an eternal punishment in hell for their nonbelief. Given these two options it would be better to believe.

This goes for William James's argument as well. If we're facing a forced option between two live options, nonbelief and the religious hypothesis, and there is no other way to know whether the religious hypothesis is true except by meeting that hypothesis halfway, then we should meet that hypothesis halfway. Doing so means placing oneself in the position of expecting to experience God.

The major, obvious, undeniable, clear as day, staring them in the face problem is that THERE ARE NOT JUST TWO OPTIONS. There are other problems with their premises, not the least of which is that reason and modern science can decide between them, of course. But continuing to defend Pascal and James is pure rhetoric without any substance at all. Defending them makes for a Pyrrhic victory, one which causes just about as much damage to their own faith as to the position it is victorious over.

To see this all we need to do is imagine two other options, non-belief and Islam. Their arguments would cause people who were raised in other religious cultures to embrace the religious prejudices of those cultures. Another way to see this is understanding how people adopt their religion in the first place. To date I have never heard of one evangelical Christian who will admit what is obvious, that how they adopt their religious faith is just like how others do it, based on their own idiosyncratic cultural religious prejudices.

Apologists are not living in the real world, the world of a myriad number of religious and non-religious choices. What, really, do they live in a cave or something? Sorry to be abrasive but they are deluded to think their points have any weight at all in the world we actually live in. To continue defending Pascal or James when their arguments do not apply to the real world of choices is, well, stupid. Yes, Pascal and James were basically right given their premises. So what? Don't be stupid!

The reason I bring this additional deceptive strategy up is because Christian apologist David Marshall continues to spout off that there is one God who can be seen in every religion. I had asked him who answers prayers? His response:
Who answers prayer? God, of course. That's "Bog" in Russian, "Dieu" in French, "Shang Di" in Chinese (also other names), and "Allah" in Arabic.
Now if you read the link I provided he did not attempt to answer the difficulties inherent in saying this. He responded with rhetoric, empty rhetoric, that is utterly lacking in substance.

There are other problems with his rhetoric. As an evangelical Marshall does not think God through Allah authorized Mohammad to be his prophet, for Marshall would say God's prophetic word through Mohammad contains obvious errors. God through Mohammad wants Muslims to kill Jews while the God of the Old Testament called Jews his chosen ones and granted them Palestine as an eternal possession. God through Mohammad said Jesus did not die on the cross while God in the New Testament said he died and that he arose from the dead.

Allah and Yahweh are not the same conceptions of God unless the real God is neither of them and above them both.

Marshall grants this, rhetorically, of course, for he says:
Everyone has a conception of God, but all theists recognize that our conceptions of God are less than the reality...
But again, this too is empty rhetoric, for in his books he basically defends an evangelical conception of God. He is not a pluralist like John Hick, you see. He wants to appear to be a rational level-headed believer and this means making these kinds of rhetorically empty statements. The reality is that Marshall is an evangelical standing in the tradition of evangelicalism. As a world traveler he instinctively knows evangelicalism is dead in the water, so he resorts to using empty rhetoric to appear reasonable, or at least, that's what it looks like to me.

Marshall claims that God is Allah is Yahweh is ______ (fill in the deity of your choice) and that this represents the best of the deities believed by the world religions. But he lands squarely in the evangelical camp. What then becomes of his claim that God is Allah is Yahweh is ______ (fill in the deity of your choice)? Nothing of substance at all!

No wonder I maintain that defending the Christian faith makes an otherwise intelligent person look stupid. That's because these Christian apologists are emotionally engaged much like romantic love is blind.

If you like what I do please consider donating if you can, so I can continue.