Dr. Victor Reppert Is Our Gullible Person of the Day, Part 1

"Gullible Person of the Day" is a new feature here at DC. Enjoy. I recently argued that differences between believers and nonbelievers are not primarily about worldviews. My contention is that believers are simply ignorant! I did so here and I mean it. To believe is to be ignorant to some degree. Our differences are not centered in disputes about the rules of logic either. We can all agree about them. They are centered in the accumulation of knowledge that in turn produces a reasonable/healthy skepticism. This skepticism leads knowledgeable people to apply the rules of logic consistently across the boards without any double standards, or special pleading on behalf of one's own particular religious faith. So believers are naively gullible. They aren't sufficiently skeptical people. Their subconscious brains are lying to their conscious brains about the quality and quantity of evidence for their faith. Their subconscious brains even lie to make their conscious brains see evidence where there isn't any at all.

Think of the saying, "It's as easy as taking candy from a baby." A gullible person is not sufficiently knowledgeable enough to be skeptical of the motives of someone else. So a gullible person can be taken advantage of easily. We can see it in recognized defenders of faith, like Victor Reppert, who is today's Gullible Person of the Day. I intend nothing personal here. Yet I maintain Reppert is ignorant. Like the baby in the aforementioned aphorism, he's but an intellectual babe. No matter how much knowledge he may have or retain, and regardless of whether he knows more than I do, Reppert lacks the knowledge to be skeptical of his inherited religious faith. Like the Sophists in the days of Socrates he's pretending to know what he doesn't know. As an intellectual babe he's playing a childish pretend fantasy game of faith, one that in my book is indeed a dangerous idea.

Victor Reppert had asked what it would take for his god to convince us to believe:
OK you tell God (just in case he exists) what it would take for him to give you sufficient evidence of his existence, so that you would be on your knees at your local church this Sunday. The stipulation here is that he has to use evidence to get you there, so he can't just fix your brain and make you a believer. We know an omnipotent being can do that. But what you would be asking him to do would be to give you sufficient evidence of his existence.
We previously discussed his comment right here. Additionally I dedicated the very first chapter in my book How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist to it, when discussing why Christian apologetics is necessary. I presented four different scenarios where neither apologetics nor belief are necessary for people to become Christians, none of which abrogate human free will or compel them to believe. Reppert has not read it so he's ignorant on this score. His brain tells him he doesn't need to read it, that I cannot offer him anything new he hasn't considered before. But then this means discounting the blurbs written by scholars who recommend it very highly.

Reppert came back to offer his real point:
Here is my real point, which I think has gotten lost here.

There are two atheist talking points that don't mix. Here they are:

1) Look, guys, if God would just give us evidence of his existence, we'd believe in him. The only reason we don't believe is because he hasn't provided evidence of his existence.
I need to state the obvious here, something it seems Reppert needs informed about. This is the point of every atheist on the planet, including non-Christian believers who reject Reppert's style of evangelical Christianity (never forget THIS!). It's an extremely important point too, one he misses given his next talking point #2. For he thinks there are atheists who hold his god to unreasonable evidential standards, ones that demand more than just presenting the evidence. How many atheists do this he doesn't say, but it seems he thinks a majority of us do it, which keeps a majority of us from believing. Reppert thinks he can meet the evidential challenge of #1, you see, not #2.

If Reppert can indeed meet the evidential challenge of #1 then why doesn't he simply present the evidence? More often than not he simply complains about talking point #2. But then, why do most Christian apologists themselves reject the evidential challenge? They do, as I document in my book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, chapter 5, where I show upwards to 80% of them reject the need for and/or the existence of sufficient evidence to believe. I argue that this fact alone, all by itself, gives us good reasons to disbelieve, for if 80% of Christian defenders themselves reject the need for and/or the existence of sufficient evidence, then sufficient evidence probably does not exist. Could the reasons for this be found in that the first modern evidentialists were the deists? We all know where that led them, to a creator god, not the god of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph.

More later...