Evidence of Bias

In the comments that were posted below a recent blog I wrote I was challenged to consider a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Bart Ehrman regarding whether or not the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the relevant historical data. You’d have to read all the comments to get caught up on the context of the challenge, but it all boiled down the claim that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was not very compelling, and Ehrman proved as much against Craig in this particular debate. Well, I got around to listening to the debate (the audio I listened to can be found here) and what follows are a few comments about debates in general, and that debate in particular.

An important context for this entire discussion, as alluded to in the title of this post, is that we are all biased; Craig, Ehrman, me and… yes… even you.

Why debate?

When I first started into Apologetics I was not familiar with the use of debates to explore divergent opinions. My impression was that debates felt like useless exercises to keep scholars busy. They just argue with each other and nobody changes their minds. If this is your thinking, please read on. If you are already familiar with what debates are all about, and understand their merits, you can skip this section.

I’ll get to the purpose of debates in a minute but first I want to discuss a more practical question, how is a formal debate different from the kinds of dialogues we might find ourselves in over coffee and across our neighbours’ fence? First and foremost, a debate is publicized. There is an audience. When you share the big questions of life with your co-worker there probably aren’t a bunch of other co-workers sitting around the corner listening in. There should be less pressure than a formal debate, and rather importantly, there isn’t a clock telling you that your time is up.

Second, debates are not intended to be disinterested investigations into the truth, but rather they are intended to give both participants the opportunity to present the best possible case they can for their perspective, and to point out perceived holes in the perspective of their opponent. When you dialogue with people, if you take the approach I describe in Arguing with Friends, you will be primarily focused on searching for truth, and secondarily concerned with defending your views and finding fault in your friend’s views. For debaters they need to represent their side of the debate to the best of their ability. For the rest of us, we need to focus on truth, and be willing to acknowledge if we need to reconsider our perspective. We need to be as unbiased as possible (though nobody is completely so) whereas debaters are expected to defend their biases.

There are downsides to live debates. One downside I often see (and I saw it in this debate) is that there are so many concepts flying around that both sides usually end up misrepresenting the other – quite accidentally I am sure – on certain minor points. I paid attention and I believe in this debate there was at least one obvious misunderstanding on both sides. One speaker then ends up arguing against a position the other side does not hold simply because they misunderstood what was said. This is a downside, but I feel the benefits still outweigh the drawbacks and debates are still very useful tools.

So what are debates useful for? If done well (and there are a lot of really crumby debates out there) you get to hear two very highly educated scholars explore one narrow subject, both working hard to make the best possible case for their perspective. Debates can be a wonderful way to really see the heart and soul of the fundamental disagreements that the best minds on the planet have on certain subjects. I have found debates to be an invaluable tool to getting a very good overview of the core points of discussion on any particular topic; it helps you learn which avenues of discussion are probably the really important ones. However, like I said, they can be done very poorly, but isn’t that the case with everything in life?

Craig – Ehrman debate notes

I am not going to do a play-by-play summary of the Craig-Ehrman debate because I provided the link above so anybody can go and listen to it themselves. I am also not going to declare a winner because such declarations are often simply a reflection of the biases of the judge. I do feel that Craig did a fine, though imperfect, job of representing his views. I also feel that Ehrman brought up some legitimate points that Craig did not sufficiently address (as well as some red herrings). Many of Ehrman’s views that were not sufficiently responded to by Craig are more-than-adequately addressed at the Ehrman Project website. Although there was enough material there to fill a book (or several) I will only address a few points that I think might be most helpful for seeing how a “surface level” reflection might lead to one conclusion, but deeper reflection and research might lead to another conclusion. I will also point out how these views are a product of the biases of the one who holds them.

  1. Ehrman made a deliberate point of highlighting the biases of the New Testament authors. The idea being that these authorities could not be trusted simply because they loved the guy they were following and were therefore more likely to embellish. One cannot dispute the fact that the followers of Jesus were enamoured with him (heck, they were tortured and killed for him – consider Stephen in Acts 7) but the question is whether their bias makes them unreliable as sources. This is actually tied to another point that Ehrman brought up, but was not thoroughly discussed: errors in the Biblical record. Ehrman suggested that if the New Testament contained errors then it could not be considered a reliable record. Both of these “problems” are not as significant as Ehrman makes them out to be because virtually every ancient record we have is both biased and contains errors. Consider, just as one example, the works of Josephus. He was a Jewish author writing a history of the Jewish people. Biased? Of course! His works are also recognized as containing at least a few errors in them, and possibly some embellishments. Do historians throw out the works of Josephus as useless? Of course not! In fact his records provide a much clearer and more thorough picture of life in Palestine at that time than pretty much any other ancient record does. Historians find his writings invaluable in giving us a good picture of history, despite his biases, errors and embellishments. Why would the same not hold for the New Testament. This is probably an indirect example of what is called the “special pleading” fallacy; an example of Ehrman’s bias.
  2. Ehrman also claims that the authors were not eyewitnesses to the events described. If I remember correctly he also claims that we don’t know who the authors were. First off, we do actually have good reason from Church history to associate the Gospels with the claimed authors that have been passed down through history, but even if the authors are, actually unknown that raises another problem. How do we know they were not eyewitnesses? If the authors are unknown then on what grounds can we rule out the possibility that they were eyewitnesses? But there’s another question that needs to be asked; do we have other good reasons to believe that the Gospels – even if they were not written by eyewitnesses – are at least based on eyewitness testimony? The answer to that question would seem to be a resounding yes, if you ask Dr. Peter Williams (it’s a long video but VERY worthwhile to watch!). The fact of the matter is that the evidence is far from conclusive that the Gospel authors are unknown and not eyewitnesses, as Ehrman claims, so to present the data as such is another example of bias.
  3. Then there are the alleged contradictions. Ehrman advised us to not only read the Gospels vertially (from the top to the bottom of one then move to the next) but also read them horizontally. In other words, compare the details in the Gospel of Matthew to the details in the Gospel of Mark to the other two as well. Compare the details. Contrast them. You will find alleged contradictions. If Craig is right then most of the discrepancies are of the inconsequential variety that could just as easily be attributed to literary devices as they could be attributed to flat out errors. But when you compare the Gospels horizontally, if you look around for more than just what Ehrman asks us to look for, you find something else – undesigned coincidences. Ironically, comparing the Gospels side-by-side gives us insights into the big picture precisely because the collective picture of the four Gospels is fuller than the individual picture of any one Gospel. These confirmatory details that overlap between the Gospels is considered highly improbable if the stories they are describing are purely legendary. In other words, they testify to the probability that the Gospels contain accurate history. Here’s a video describing this precise phenomenon and there are several others by Dr. Timothy McGrew on Youtube going into this at much greater depth. That Ehrman would only see the discrepancies and not the undesigned coincidence is another evidence of bias.
  4. Ehrman spends a lot of time pointing out that historians can only tell us the facts of history, but cannot tell us whether a miracle occured or not. I will ignore his flawed treatment of miracles themselves and focus on another aspect of this claim. It would seem to me that historians regularly draw on other disciplines. If an historian finds ancient literature that claims 1,000 soldiers went in to some battle and only 750 soldiers returned, I have a hunch that historians will step outside the domain of history for a moment, step into the domain of mathematics, and figure out how many soldiers died on the battlefield. Or, perhaps historians might read about some fantastically bizarre behavior of an ancient figure. They might consult with a psychologist to see if that reported behavior is indicative of any particular mental illness. If the ancient figure is said to have some bizarre physical feature or illness they might step outside the domain of history and seek medical consultation. The point is simply this (and Craig specifically addressed this too), the study of history is but one avenue to truth. Even historians step outside their domain. Other disciplines – science, medicine, philosophy and others – are reasonable to draw upon to try and understand the full picture. But if Ehrman is correct then the discipline of theology must, strictly, be kept from making any contributions. He may not be officially an Atheist, but his bias on this subject clearly makes him a functional Atheist by excluding any “god talk.”
  5. Lastly, Ehrman ends his final comments by pointing out that Craig is really just an evangelist that wants to persuade you to accept his beliefs; and he is using the forum of the debate to that end. This is, of course,to completely different from Ehrman who is simply using the forum of the debate to… well… persuade you to accept his beliefs. The fact of the matter is, like I said earlier, the point of the debate is for both parties to make the best case possible in order to persuade the audience. That Ehrman feels Craig’s efforts are fundamentally different from his is a sign of, you guessed it, more bias.

So what about bias?

I have spent a lot of time pointing out several examples of bias I found in Ehrman’s take on various matters. Does this prove he is wrong? Does this prove that he has not been completely forthright in his presentation of the evidence? Is he a liar? Of course not! None of the above at all. He, like Craig, like everybody, is biased. The fact that he is biased has absolutely no impact on his credibility at all, nor does it make his perspective any more or less likely to be correct. Our job is not to find an authority who is unbiased (we’ll be looking for a long time), but rather to examine the evidence as best we can, recognizing that everybody – ourselves included – comes to the data with preconceived ideas about the way the world is. We may have to reconsider our biases, and we always need to be open to that possibility.

But surely Ehrman’s blatant biases in the debate, and his unwillingness to consider Craig’s perspective, are evidence that he is just too stubborn to see anything but what he believes! Again, no. As I described at the beginning, the point of a debate is for both sides to make the best possible case for their perspectives. That would not work well if they were both wishy-washy and conceding all kinds of points to their opponent. I should hope that even debaters would be open-minded enough to go home after the debate and give it some serious thought, but during the debate to see such waffling would defeat the purpose of the debate. Like I shared earlier, the purpose of debates is very different from the purpose of you and your friend going for coffee. We still hold debaters to the high standard of civility toward each other, just as we would expect the same from two friends chatting, but there are clearly differences in the purpose of debates compared to friendly dialogues.

Craig and Ehrman both stood by their biases, presented the evidence as best they could, made the best possible case they could for the audience, and produced an all-round excellent debate to edify the rest of us.

Thoughts for the rest of us

The Craig-Ehrman debate has a number of lessons that we can take away for our conversations over the coffee table.

  1. If you have been reading my other blog posts (like here and others) you should know by now that I place a high emphasis on being prepared. Both parties had obviously done their homework – in fact they both hold PhD’s in their respective fields – but even the non-PhD folks among us (like myself) can spend enough time hitting the books to familiarize ourself with enough content to do a reasonably good job carrying on a conversation. Craig has even written about his observation that the more prepared you are the less likely you are to get hot tempered; a mistake we would all be wise to avoid.
  2. The facts do not speak for themselves. If you find somebody telling you that your beliefs are wrong because some fact says otherwise, ask yourself if there is a context that might paint a different picture of the facts. In Arguing with Friends I give an example that Ehrman is fond of pointing out; there are hundreds of thousands of variants in the extant manuscripts of the New Testament so it is clearly corrupted beyond belief. This may seem catastrophic to any faith we have that the text has been reliably transmitted but, as I describe in my book, there are other facts that shed a different contextual light on that fact and completely change the conclusion. Similarly, as I mentioned above, Ehrman tells us to read the Gospels horizontally to see the contradictions, seeming to discredit the reliability of the text. Well, if we read enough of the gospels horizontally we also find undesigned coincidences which appear to confirm the reliability of the text. The additional facts change the context. Think deeper than single facts!
  3. Always be respectful. Even though Craig and Ehrman disagreed, and even though the entire purpose of the debate is to make the best possible case for their perspective and poke as many holes as possible into the other, they were very respectful with each other, and even sung the praises of each other on occasion. Remember, we’re battling ideas, not people. In fact, I have a forthcoming post on precisely that subject.

So, what did I think of the Craig-Ehrman debate? I enjoyed it, though I still think Craig did far better than my commenter friend felt he did. Our difference of opinion is likely partly explained by the biases we both hold.

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20 thoughts on “Evidence of Bias

  1. Well that was a very thorough review of the debate. I must compliment you on your writing skills and diligence in addressing issues.

    It is not my intent to defend Bart or bash Craig. Like I said i have seen debates with Craig where he levels his opponents regarding the existence of God. But when it comes to defending his particular view of that God through Christianity, his has a much tougher time. That whole mathematical breakdown of probability that he resorted to in the debate with Bart, shows the great lengths this man will go to in order to defend his view.

    By taking it to such complicated lengths that the novice might actually think he has the upper hand. I think anyone watching that display with half a brain and commonsense, can see Craig was reaching hard to defend the bible through such extremely complicated measures.

    I would like to address the issue of “bias”. To assert a that a particular person is bias is to essentially say they are prejudice. Surely this would be correct to say that a vast majority of people tend to be bias. However I think its overreaching to say everyone is bias.

    Making an assessment of someone being “bias” takes detailed knowledge of that persons inner thoughts, which we do not posses. However, through relationship with the person and understanding their world view, we can make a better guess on whether their views are truly bias.

    In the case of religious people and christian apologists the probability of Bias is a lot higher than someone who is spiritually neutral or ambiguous. Because the Christian apologist has a dogmatic world view established by their belief system of the bible and Christianity.

    Now of course the same can be said for any religious person or atheist. However, it can’t be said for a spiritually ambiguous person. If such a person is truly ambiguous and they don’t identify with one specific world view, ie Christianity or Atheism, then it is far LESS likely that person is operating from a bias perspective.

    Again this takes personal knowledge of that person to know if they are sincerely looking for truth, or simply want to propagate a view that is the opposite from those they debate with.

    All of this boils down to motivation. What is the motivation for Bart or Craig? You or Me?

    For me the motivation to engage others isn’t to convince them of my views. Rather its the dialectical method i mentioned earlier. By engaging with others that have differing views, I hope to understand the deeper truth of these matters.

    I can do this because I am truly open, I have no affiliation either way. Nothing is tying me down to a particular dogma. However with apologists as with many atheists this is not the case, they are tethered by their dogma’s. The apologist is bound by deeply moving emotional attachment to their faith in Jesus and the bible, and the atheists are bound to materialism and hatred of religion.

    For the spiritually ambiguous there are no boundaries. They are open to all sides and angles that have logical merit.

    • First off, John, Let me just say that you are an absolute wellspring of wonderful conversation topics. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I don’t think I wish to flog the “bias” horse much longer so I’ll just toss out a couple of thoughts. You say, “Making an assessment of someone being bias [sic] takes detailed knowledge of that persons inner thoughts, which we do not posses.” If that were truly the case then you have no grounds on which to claim that I am biased because you do not possess detailed knowledge of my inner thoughts. Perhaps I am the perfectly unbiased one and you are not! [Obviously I don’t believe this, given what I wrote above.]

      Secondly, given the myriad forms that bias can take (here’s a lengthy list of known forms – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases) to claim that somebody is completely unbiased means that their thoughts are NEVER, even once, influenced by any of the possible forms of bias which can taint our interpretation of the data. You would have to guarantee me that you never, ever, succumb to even a single one of the forms of bias on that rather lengthy list. Can you see why I would have a tough time believing that? To me the claim that “all men are biased” is roughly on par with the claim that “all men are mortal,” it is not in need of serious proof because it is pretty much self-evident. To claim to be unbiased is more or less to claim to be god; a claim that I would have significant skepticism toward.

      Like I said, though, I don’t feel there is much further we can go on this subject as it seems to be devolving into “yes you are,” “no I’m not,” “yes you are.” You are welcome to respond, but this may be my last input to this part of the chat. I’m still considering how best to address your other comments.

      With respect to Craig’s use of math, I’m pretty sure the math itself was perfectly legitimate, but the presentation clearly left something to be desired. I had to learn some statistics when I was getting my Engineering degree, so I can say that I’m pretty sure his treatment of the subject was spot on. I only had the audio, so I could not see the equations, but as he talked through them I could visualize the thrust of his argument and it seemed perfectly legitimate based on my limited knowledge of the subject. For those who sincerely want to learn the truth, stuff like “hard math” will not prove to be a hindrance; they will prevail.

      • “If that were truly the case then you have no grounds on which to claim that I am biased because you do not possess detailed knowledge of my inner thought”

        It seems as though you are skimming through my replies . Because often your rebuttles don’t take into account my entire statements.

        I said “Making an assessment of someone being “bias” takes detailed knowledge of that persons inner thoughts, which we do not posses. However, through relationship with the person and understanding their world view, we can make a better guess on whether their views are truly bias.”

        So you see in the second part of the paragraph i say that through understanding one’s world view you CAN make a fair assessment of bias. In the case of religious people they have a clearly delineated world view from which you see bias.

        Again with the spiritually ambiguous this is far less likely. Of course someone claiming to be “spiritually open” can still be bias, I’m just saying the likelihood goes down when they don’t have a fixed dogma.

        As for Craig and his math, this just further validates my objection with Christian apologetic’s. The christian faith is about faith not math and logic.

        You can’t prove the bible or any religious book is right using mathematics. That’s just silly.

  2. In regards to the site “Ehrman Project,” I find it amusing that there has been such a site established with the hopes of debunking Bart.

    I also find it equally amusing that the attempts to debunk are made in short 1-4 minute videos.

    Are they kidding with this?

    • Very briefly, I don’t understand what is amusing about having such a site. Ehrman is making serious claims about the New Testament documents at a popular level; claims that he is using his scholarly credentials to back up. If other scholars disagree then it only makes sense that they would respond, also at a popular level. How is what they are doing any more humorous than what Ehrman is doing? I see both their efforts as perfectly legitimate.

      The videos are short, but they are simply addressing very small chunks of his claims at a time. If somebody made the claim that Pearl Harbour was attacked in March of 1940, how long would a video need to be to correct that erroneous claim? 30 seconds? 1 minute? Brief does not mean incomplete or false. Furthermore, you were criticizing Craig earlier for using complex, convoluted math and you now criticize Ehrman Project for using short, simple videos. If it’s long and convoluted you have no use for it; if it is short and simple you have no use for it. What, exactly, are you looking for?

      Lastly, the videos may be short, but there are roughly 4 dozen of them. Combined, they represent several hours worth of scholarly input to a wide range of subjects, mostly presented at a popular level. In my view that is a resource well worth investigating, for those who are serious about exploring these subjects.

      • My critique of Craig was about his overindulgence, the opposite is also a mistake. It takes adequate time and data to dismantle someones view with these matters. Craig over does it, and this site is the polar opposite.

        But your right in the end it’s about whether the rebuttals are good, and from the ones i saw on the site they were horrible. I don’t have the energy or desire to go through each video with you and say why. But again anyone who is sincerely looking for truth can see how bad these rebuttals are.

  3. Here is a burning question.

    Why do Christian Apologists even exist?

    The Gospels are clear that the “mind is at enmity with God” and that faith is paramount. It seems to me like a waste of time for Christians to be concerned with the historicity and logic behind scripture. Jesus never made a point out of this with his followers, in fact many if not most of his followers were uneducated.

    The book of Acts which was the impetus for establishment of the church, was facilitated not by convincing the Romans how “logical” the message of Christianity is. The church was established simply by the contagious faith and supposed miracles of the early believers.

    To “study to show yourself approved” doesn’t sound like the basis of what the christian life and mission is about.

    Not to mention I have never heard of anyone, anywhere that was converted by even the most clever apologists. Most conversions happen through people simply coming to the faith through a realization that is a spiritual one, not logical.

    My hunch is that apologists are doubters in disguise. They have a deep heartfelt attachment to their faith, but their mind can’t handle the illogical inconsistencies that are in the scriptures and their doctrines.

    So apologetic’s is created in order to soothe these questions.

    Unfortunately to disappointing results.

    • I find it fascinating that your burning question is the exact opposite of my burning question. I wonder why EVERY Christian doesn’t take Apologetics more seriously. As I describe in Arguing with Friends, every single worldview must answer two fundamental questions; what is it and why believe it. In Christian lingo these translate, roughly, to Theology and Apologetics respectively. No truth claim can avoid these two questions, so the fact that more Christians don’t take Theology and Apologetics more seriously is bizarre beyond belief.

      Frankly, I wish more Christians followed your example. You are so passionate about sharing your views with others, and hoping you can convince them to accept your views, that you would even call in to an internet radio interview so that you could use that forum to try and open other people’s minds to your perspective. You did your best to present and defend your views (even referencing scholarly research on NDE), and also to show others what you believe are problems in their own worldview (i.e. the exclusive nature of religious claims). What you are doing is precisely what Christian Apologists are attempting to do. You share the evidence that has convinced you of the views you now accept, and Christian Apologists share the evidence that has persuaded them of their current views. In many ways you are a shining example of what Apologetics is all about, albeit from a non-Christian perspective. Still, the core nature of what you are doing is identical, and you exemplify it rather well.

      Now, of course, all people need to keep an open mind on these matters, and conversations between friends should be more exploratory in nature rather than debating in nature (dialectical, as you say – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectic), but we still exchange ideas and we try to help others understand why we find certain pieces of evidence so compelling just as they are trying to help us understand the basis for their beliefs. We may need to reconsider various pieces of evidence, and we must keep an eye on our biases, but that’s all part of the process.

      With respect to the idea that the life of the mind is somehow antithetical to faith, that is an unfortunately common misconception. I intend to address that in a future blog entry, but for now here are a couple of brief articles that explore this concept.

      http://www.leaderu.com/common/sixenemies.html

      http://www.clayjones.net/2010/09/arguing-doesn%E2%80%99t-do-any-good-sure-it-does/

      Very briefly, any religion that excludes or denigrates the mental component of human nature is an incomplete religion. Christianity is deeply committed to loving God with all our minds (Mark 12:30). Your claim that the mind is at enmity with God (I think you are misreading Romans 8:7?) is completely and thoroughly inconsistent with the message of the Bible. We are, in fact, instructed to be transformed by the reneweing of our minds (Romans 12:2) and to love God with all our minds, as quoted earlier. Many other examples abound; I will blog on this some time in the (hopefully) near future.

      http://johnlennox.org/index.php/en/resource/the_christian_use_of_the_mind/

      • You make reference to me promoting my angle and how it’s ok for Christians to as well.

        Again I don’t hold specific fixed truth like Christians do, I weigh the evidence available. My calling in to the radio was simply to show both Christians and atheists how silly it is to debate over such an abstract and nebulous concept, “the existence of God”. That was my whole point.

        You have an interesting view of Christianity, because from all i have gleaned from the scriptures the way to know God is through faith not intellect. (Mathew 18:3) And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

        Children aren’t educated, they are simple and trusting through faith. Of course i am sure you will once again pull the convenient “your misinterpreting, or your taking this scripture out of context” defense.

        Which is always the easy way out when Christians are confronted with scriptures that challenge them.

        You know very well the christian faith is based off of just that “Faith” not logic.

        I looked at your sites, they are severely inept. The first site doesn’t even deal with what I am saying..

        these topics don’t address what we are talking about..

        Introduction
        1. Indifference
        2. Irrationalism
        3. Ignorance
        4. Cowardice
        5. Arrogance and intellectual vanity
        6. Superficial techniques or schlock apologetics
        About the Author

        Christian apologetic’s is designed to try and defend the irrational, which is faith in the bible. We are living in an age of unprecedented access to knowledge and science, people of faith are being shaken because of the falsehood of their doctrines.

        I guess the “5” fold ministry has now turned into 6.

        • “Of course i am sure you will once again pull the convenient “your misinterpreting, or your taking this scripture out of context” defense.” – Considering your wildly inaccurate understanding of Romans 8:7 (and considering you thought it was in the Gospels) it seems bizarre that you feel as though you are qualified to correctly interpret the Bible despite your obvious unfamiliarity with it.

          It is becoming increasingly clear that you have little desire to discuss any of these issues, and you simply want to tell me that you know Christianity better than I do, despite your lack of familiarity with the Bible. You also seem content to simply declare how things are (i.e. the videos at Ehrman Project are bad, I won’t explain why, just trust me) instead of taking the time to lay out your case and provide reasons for it. I’m not sure if this is what you consider to be a prime example of the dialectical method, but I think Socrates had something else in mind.

          Unless you have anything further to add to the discussion along the lines of evidence, reason or something beyond merely your unsubstantiated (and sometimes demonstrably false)opinions, I respectfully choose to decline any further engagement. I have learned not to lash out when people misrepresent and belittle my faith – and are completely closed to any correction on these matters – but I have also learned to be content to walk away and let them have the last word when it devolves into that sort of nonsense.

  4. Pingback: Evidence of Bias « Ratio Christi- Apologetics At The Ohio State University

  5. “Considering your wildly inaccurate understanding of Romans 8:7”

    You talk about me having opinions, Isn’t that one? Also i laid out additional scripture to further back up my point which you’ve yet to address. For me it’s not about one or two or three scriptures, its about the overall theme of the bible which is clearly “faith” driven not logic driven.

    “and you simply want to tell me that you know Christianity better than I do, despite your lack of familiarity with the Bible”

    A completely emotional response.

    First I never said “i know the bible better”, Second how do you know I’m not familiar with the bible? .

    Granted I’m no scholar, but neither are you. However I diligently studied scripture for over 10 years.

    As for me not addressing the Bart debunking site, i already stated numerous amounts of times in your last thread that I refuse to debate scripture. 1. Because I’m not a scholar. 2. Because it’s futile. No matter what i do to show you the problems, nothing will ever suffice. As i have stated previously dogma in faith will always override evidence. My whole reason for getting into these discussions was to share what i know about NDEs, and what they reveal about the afterlife. The sidetracking into the veracity of scripture was not my intent.

    I know you give others advice on debating. I would like to give you some advice. Through this entire discussion of the last two threads where we have exchanged comments, it seems to me as you either don’t really read what I write, or some how willfully or unintentionally forget and omit things when responding to me. I have had to repeat myself several times after you make rebuttals. This makes for a complete waste of time.

    If you read my responses look how many times I had to repeat myself because of your lack of taking into account what i already said.

    But hey at least you listen to me. I tried to chime in yesterday on your friends radio show regarding JWs. I was in the chat room presenting valid objections and he booted me out.

    I was respectful and civilized I have been with you, I guess he couldn’t handle my objections.

    Thank you for engaging.

    • “But hey at least you listen to me. I tried to chime in yesterday on your friends radio show regarding JWs. I was in the chat room presenting valid objections and he booted me out.

      I was respectful and civilized I have been with you, I guess he couldn’t handle my objections.”
      >>>

      Here are some of the problems/factors about your dialogue in my chatroom (for The Razor Swift) the other day.

      1. You weren’t addressing the main subject material that we were discussing on the show itself. (Like what you did -bringing up red herrings- when I interviewed Paul, NDEs had nothing to do with what he spoke of in his interview)

      2. You were all over the place with numerous/random/unrelated questions and comments.

      3. When I’m doing a live radio interview, my objective is not to debate people in my chatroom, but to give my undivided attention (mostly that is) and respect to my guests.

      4. I did not personally boot you, one of my moderators did.

      If you would like to discuss some issues with me, I would be happy to do so in my Paltalk chatroom, this is the place for that. Here’s the link: http://razorswift.wordpress.com/our-paltalk-chatroom/

      • “1. You weren’t addressing the main subject material that we were discussing on the show itself. (Like what you did -bringing up red herrings- when I interviewed Paul, NDEs had nothing to do with what he spoke of in his interview)”

        Actually I was DIRECTLY addressing the issue you guys were talking about. Your guest was making the claims that JWs are a “cult” controlled by fear and irrationality. And my point was to shine the light on Christianity being no different. Since you both are Christians then that was totally on topic.

        Same thing with the NDEs, It wasn’t a “red herring”. Paul was discussing his book arguing with friends which is about Christians debating other world views. So I called in challenging the method of debate that Christians and atheists employ, that was completely on topic. In fact if it was so “off topic”, why has your guest Paul made many comments how he enjoyed the exchange and he also dedicated a blog on wordpress to the discussion?

        2.”You were all over the place with numerous/random/unrelated questions and comments”.

        Wrong again. I stuck to the topic by questioning how Christianity is any different from JWs in the wider sense of being a religion controlled by fear and irrationality. A pastor joined in and tried to tell me Christianity wasn’t about fear. I then asked him about Hell and he flip flopped at one point saying hell isn’t a penalty. Then when I called him out on his doctrine, delineating that the bible is clear about the penalty of hell, he couldn’t answer and shortly after I was booted.

        3. “When I’m doing a live radio interview, my objective is not to debate people in my chatroom, but to give my undivided attention (mostly that is) and respect to my guests.”

        So what is the purpose of having a live chat? Is it only for people who patronize your views?

        Also I personally e-mailed you after the show and asked you why you booted me out. I have not heard any response until now when i publicly made reference to it. The show was three days ago, why did you wait till now to respond?

      • “4. I did not personally boot you, one of my moderators did.”

        Really?

        That’s why you said on air “someone is hijacking the chat room” and two seconds later I was booted?

        Your “moderators” must have lightning fast responses.

        I don’t buy it.

        But even if it was “out of your hands” .Its still your show and you could have emailed me back explaining. It seems very fishy that you decide to give reasons three days later, and only after I made a comment on Paul’s page.

        • With all due respect, gentlemen, please continue this conversation somewhere else. I have allowed both sides of the discussion to say their piece on my blog, now I ask both sides of the discussion to take the conversation away from my blog. Thank you.

            • I have removed the additional comments from both of you. I asked you to take it elsewhere. I’m being “equal opportunist” here; both of you drop it!

              If you can avoid disputes over what happens at other people’s websites, and if you can continue to dialogue cordially you are both welcome to comment elsewhere.

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