Thoughts on the Mentionables Conference

What did I think of the conference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This weekend, I got to speak in Greensboro, NC at the Mentionables Conference. This is a group of lesser known apologists but ones that are considered worth a mention. If a church cannot hire a big time name to come in, we can come in and speak at a church. Our core network consists of myself, Joel Furches, Adam Coleman, Chad Gross, and Tyler Vela. A guest joined us as well in Ben Watkins of the real atheology podcast as he was part of the debate.

If there was a downside to this event, it was turnout. There weren’t many people who showed up which told us that we need to advertise. As for the rest, I really can’t remember having this much fun at a conference. We were constantly getting to enjoy ourselves.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ben’s company and his wife Allie and my wife Allie got along great. Ben looks to be an atheist that I could sit down and interact with and when we all went out for Italian Saturday night, we were all soon talking about other topics like movies and superheroes together. There was no hint of anyone being intellectually superior or anything like that.

Actually, Ben had a lot to say about a lot of internet atheists, a term he used as well. Many of them are just embarrassing and have no interest in doing real research and are quick to say that anyone who is a theist is irrational. There were also some strong words against the Jesus mythicist movement, which I was quite pleased.

During some question and answer time for us, we could also ask each other questions and what I wanted to push him on most was the resurrection of Jesus. I was pleased to see that he wasn’t going to just throw something out there to explain it, but he rather said he hadn’t looked at it as much as he should have. I am sure we will have a good discussion on this sometime.

I also enjoyed it when the time came that someone asked a question of what is the worst argument you have ever heard for your side. I immediately indicated that I wanted the microphone and said “Hands down, Ray Comfort’s banana argument.” I think it was quickly conceded that for theism, that was the trump card. No one was going to beat that.

Humor was abundant at the event. Many many times it was made clear that I do indeed affirm the virgin birth for example. We were all able to get together and chat freely and enjoy one another’s company. I do not think that I can say that I was getting bored at the conference at all.

I really look forward to the next one that we have and I’m already talking to some people to see if they would be interested. Come to think of it, there is one disappointment that I do have. Somehow it looks like Tyler Vela walked away in one piece. Obviously, something went wrong with my plan….

At any rate, this is a great group of guys I get to hang out with and I hope we do more together soon.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

I Affirm The Virgin Birth

Why is it that we affirm the virgin birth, which I do affirm? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you follow me at all on Facebook, you know one of the running themes on my page and wherever I go on there is to have people state that they affirm the virgin birth, which I do affirm. A lot of people wonder how this all got started and why we do it. While it is humorous, there is actually a point to the regular affirmation of the virgin birth, which I do affirm.

Over a year ago, a friend of mine and I were engaging with a skeptic on the Unbelievable? Facebook page. He kept using the same kind of argument that if Paul believed in the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) surely he would have mentioned it. We tried to point out that this was a high-context society and the oral tradition would cover that and it would be assumed that the listeners had a background where they were already familiar with the message of the Gospel and the letters of Paul were to clarify matters of debate and unless there was no debate on the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) there was no need to mention it.

To give a contrast, we pointed out that our churches, our pastors believe in the virgin birth (Which I do affirm), but they don’t have a need to mention it constantly. Then, in a bit of humor, it started becoming something that in every post we made, we stated we affirm the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm) The humor moved on from that post and now there is even a Facebook page called “I affirm the virgin birth.” (Which I do affirm.)

While humorous, it’s important to note that if it looks ridiculous to you, that’s to make the point. Christ mythers for instance are the worst in this category stating that everything had to be explicitly stated, unless of course it’s in the Gospels which just don’t count. (And they do affirm the virgin birth, which I also affirm) The argument from silence just really doesn’t cut it for historians. It’s meanwhile one of the favorite arguments of Christ mythers.

When you go to a church service, it’s normally assumed a sort of background beliefs so they don’t need to be explained every sermon. Now of course, a pastor could teach to someone assuming they have no background knowledge, but that does not mean he’ll give an exhaustive account of everything that he believes. After all, at most churches I’ve been to, I’ve rarely heard the pastor state explicitly that he affirms the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm)

Of course, there are times the argument from silence has some validity. For instance, Muslims like to point to the Gospel of Barnabas as a testament of Jesus. Unfortunately, we have no manuscripts or mentions of the Gospel of Barnabas and strangely enough, it seems to coincide well with Islamic doctrines. Where silence is expected though, the argument from silence is weak. Thus, we are not surprised when we have no explicit statements from Paul that he affirms the virgin birth. (Which I do affirm)

Humor is a great teacher and I prefer to use it whenever I can. This has been going on for a year and I see no sign of it stopping and hopefully, the point will be made to Christ mythers and others that Paul doesn’t have to explicitly mention something like the virgin birth (Which I do affirm). Silence does not mean as much as it is thought to mean.

And by the way, just in case you don’t know, I affirm the virgin birth.

In Christ,
Nick Peters