Religion in Society

Are Christian Apologists Liars, Ignorant, or Blind?

| by John W Loftus
Keep in mind I'm talking here about credentialed Christian apologists and not the myriad numbers of hacks out there, some of which are liars for Jesus and certainly ignorant. My informed judgment of credentialed apologists, having been one of them, is what follows. If they are lying to defend their faith they are lying to themselves. This is not impossible to conceive give cognitive dissonance theory which predicts that when presented with falsifying evidence believers will deny it depending on how much vested they have in their belief. And they are certainly ignorant about many things, sometimes willfully ignorant. But none of this is done on a conscious level and for that reason they are not conscious of the lies or their ignorance. After all, only the ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance. A moment's reflection shows this is true.

And yet I have known many Christian apologists who are not ignorant at all. They are clearly informed about many things. They face our arguments head on, or so it seems to them. Take for example Dr. Victor Reppert. In the following few short sentences I don't think I've ever run across such a short yet adequate summation for the case for faith in the resurrection of Jesus:

I think that as you pull at the story of the founding of Christianity, as you play out the various scenarios all the way through, you end up thinking that none of the scenarios for what might have really happened fit the facts very well. They run into factual brick walls of one kind or another. The Christian story, IF you can get over the initial antecedent improbability of the miraculous, makes more sense of it that any other story does. I think there is no logical proof that a miracle cannot happen, since it is possible that God exists, and God is omnipotent. Further, I think that this miracle is one that God would have a fairly understandable reason to perform. So, given my prior probabilities, the evidence lifts the case for the resurrection at least over 90%. But I can't prove [to] someone else that they shouldn't have priors so low for the Resurrection that it never gets above 10 for them. Both can be rational, and that's just life in the big city. (I also don't think salvation is a matter of passing a theology test). If you don't believe in the Resurrection, then I think there are a bunch of inconvenient facts out there that are hard to make sense of. But I think every philosophy has to deal with inconvenient facts. Link.

He is clearly not ignorant, and yet every sentence above has been debunked many times over by skeptics, including me.

So how then can Christian apologists be ignorant and not be ignorant at the same time?

They are delusional. They have been indoctrinated. They are brainwashed. They have blinders on and can only see that which their blinders allow them to see. So they are basically blind.

David Eller has said that people like him have "a different set of eyes than we do, and they cannot see what we see. Criticizing them, even poking them in the eye, simply does not improve their vision. They are deep inside a Christian box, and until they see the box and the world outside of it, their view is fatally limited."

Valerie Tarico tells us “it doesn’t take very many false assumptions to send us on a long goose chase.” To illustrate this she tells us about the mental world of a paranoid schizophrenic. To such a person the perceived persecution by others sounds real. “You can sit, as a psychiatrist, with a diagnostic manual next to you, and think: as bizarre as it sounds, the CIA really is bugging this guy. The arguments are tight, the logic persuasive, the evidence organized into neat files. All that is needed to build such an impressive house of illusion is a clear, well-organized mind and a few false assumptions. Paranoid individuals can be very credible.” Trusting Doubt:(p. 221-22).