Why should we bother to defend the Bible against atheists? Catholic National Register
The argument for Christianity and the Bible is a cumulative argument, adding to the conclusion that Christianity is true and atheism false.
A sympathetic and impartial atheist asked me some good questions under one of my blog posts. It became a great opportunity to explain the broader goals and motivations of apologetics. In defending the Bible against atheists (who like to constantly argue that the Bible is usually contradictory and immoral), I write for:
Christians – for their existing faith to be strengthened by seeing the weakness of opposing arguments and the strength of ours;
Christians who falter in their faith (who would be negatively affected by the material I refute) and who may be considering leaving or becoming an atheist – only to be strengthened by seeing the weakness of opposing arguments;
those who question the doctrines of biblical inspiration and infallibility;
righteous and honest atheists – to show that these atrocious arguments are embarrassing for atheists to voice and should be reprimanded within their own community;
the atheist who really thinks these are unanswerable arguments;
the atheist who might be on the fence and considering giving up atheism;
atheists or anyone else who thinks that Christian theology is held only by gullible and childish ignorant people who hate science and reason;
anyone who thinks Christianity is fundamentally irrational and opposed to a reasonable explanation or defense;
love of the truth itself (that is, what I have come to believe, to the best of my ability);
the concern for an open and honest discussion between opposing points of view, believing that dialogue is a means of obtaining the truth.
I am writing these things to support Catholics in their beliefs. But I also offer support for things where Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics fully agree. I do not discuss Catholic specificities when defending Christianity against atheist attacks – I do not consider it appropriate or prudent – unless they touch on a specifically Catholic belief.
Nothing in my responses to atheists should cause the slightest pause for a traditional Christian. In fact, I could have written almost all of them when I was an evangelical Protestant between 1977-1990.
I am also writing these responses to convince non-Christian theists that Christianity is true (in an indirect, roundabout sense), but that is not my direct goal.
I seek to “beat the winners”, as Alvin Plantinga often says. Any specific effort in this direction does not defend the whole of the Bible, and even less all of Christianity (or more precisely Catholicism). It just shows that the particular objections I’m dealing with fall flat and come to naught at all. It is a “reactive” company. I show how such objections fail.
I am not claiming that the entire Bible cannot be proven wrong (although I believe it). This shows how some particularthe arguments are hot air and are irrational. It is meant to give thought to people who are mightily impressed by these ridiculous pseudo-“arguments”. Then there are hundreds of other possible arguments and objections to address – most of which I have covered, in over 3,200 posts on my blog and in 50 books. The argument for Christianity and the Bible is a cumulative argument, made up of dozens and dozens of individual arguments, adding to the conclusion that Christianity is true and atheism false.
People are convinced by an accumulation of considerations which they believe all point in the same direction: the truth of the Bible or of Christianity. If I make them here curious and persuade them of anything, then they will be at stake for future attempts at persuasion – until a possible conversion to Christianity or Catholicism specifically, or serious doubt about atheism, or a strengthening of a weak or faltering Christian faith. It’s perfect. This is why I was put on this earth (what is called a âvocationâ or a âvocationâ).
I use reason as that common ground that both parties accept. I never say, “Accept x, y or z just because Christians or Popes or Christian tradition said so. “I say,” Accept it because it seems by virtue of reason to be true, ” where he may be true, given the weakness of the opposing arguments “, or” it seems to be more plausible than atheist alternatives.
Such articles can strengthen existing faith and provide support for the reason of faith, so that it can be held more boldly and confidently, and more effectively and successfully shared with others. Christians are attacked from all sides. There is a need for some people in our community to help support the faithful through efforts like this and many others of a different nature (like social service or prayer, etc.).
I find these atheist “objections” generally pathetically and pitifully weak. However, they most often present themselves as academics or semi-academics. Most of them would be made fun of in the scene of any truly academic setting. I myself am not an academic or an academic. But I claim to be engaging in secular, semi-academic apology efforts for the “thinking man.” And I have had my own dialogue with many scholars.
My atheist friend was kind enough to greet my response and he said:
âI’m always looking for evidence that a supernatural realm of any kind exists before I grapple with the details. Setting aside Christianity as a means of supporting my position would be pointless, for there is always another tradition or faith to be broken down, and another, and another.
Sadly, many online atheists are engaged in the same thing over and over again – âtaking down Christianityâ. They take it upon themselves to criticize the Bible and the opinions that arise from it day after day: they often casually assume that they know how to interpret the Bible correctly, and that they can do it better than the vast majority of Christians.
But they not know how to interpret the Bible – believe me, as someone who has debated it dozens of times – and are almost always much less knowledgeable than Christians on how to do biblical hermeneutics and exegesis.