Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! I’ve lately been wanting to impress on you the importance of being a thinking Christian. Toinght, I’m going to tell of another important step that will help you with learning how to think.
A few months ago, I did a debate on the topic of abortion. I thought it was an enjoyable debate and the audience thought I made the most convincing case I believe. However, there was a little problem with all of this. I was arguing on the side of being pro-abortion.
Now readers know that I’m not pro-abortion. What was going on then? It was a project for a friend and while there was a real pro-abortion person supposed to speak, he couldn’t make it and at the last minute, I was asked if I could be devil’s advocate and argue for abortion which I did. (Rest assured also my entire audience knew I was pro-life.)
Why I bring this up is that the reason I was able to argue pro-abortion enough to make an audience think I’d made a case is because it is important to know the arguments of your opponents. When you go to present an opinion on a certain issue, you need to know not only what you believe, but you also need to know what it is that your opponent believes as well and I would argue, you need to know it better than they know it.
What is enjoyable about this is that you can be debating your opponent and have them make an argument finally that they think is the killer argument and then you can say “Well it’s about time! I thought you’d never get to that argument! Here’s why it fails!”
This is also a lesson that the new atheists need to learn. Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, and others have been quite clear that they don’t think they need to understand Christian theology. One of the worst mistakes you could make with someone however is to claim to obliterate their worldview when the strongest minds in that worldview can tell you lack sufficient knowledge of that view.
If Stenger and Dawkins think that Christianity is nonsense, that’s their right to do so. However, they need to know what it is that Christianity actually teaches. For instance, when Bill Maher in Religulous talks to some truckers at a trucker’s chapel, he brings up a list of Christian doctrines although two of them are doctrines that are held by Roman Catholics. Maher is too unfamiliar with what Christians believe to realize what any Protestant in the audience who knows his faith would recognize immediately.
Thus, I recommend that you read the literature of the other side. Have fun doing it as well. It’s a great encouragement to know you’ve read the books that your opponent has read and have read your own as well. To argue against the new atheists, you need to be fluent not only in Christianity but atheism as well. That will again require study.
Know your opponent and how he thinks, and you’ll learn more about how you are to think as well.