What happens when you misrepresent an argument? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I had an atheist get in touch with a ministry I work for and the conversation was cordial enough. Anyway, he recommended I come to his blog and subscribe and give my thoughts since they wanted to see intelligent theists. I subscribed and yesterday responded to something about blind faith including the Richard Dawkins idea that faith is believing something without evidence.
In the comments section, somehow it came to the cosmological argument, which I had not advanced, and the pointing out of how silly it was. After all, it’s silly to say that everything that exists has a cause. Why is it that God is the exception? The blog owner and another atheist said this and a third showed up to celebrate what a great response it was.
Yes. Absolutely wonderful.
Except, you know, that’s not what the argument is.
I know of no serious defender of the cosmological argument who is a scholar of the field and/or teaches at an institution of higher learning who advances this argument. None of them say “Everything has a cause.” The argument traditionally given is “Everything that begins to exist has a cause.”
To say something like this would be like me going to a group I was giving an apologetics lecture to and saying, “Do you want to know how stupid evolution is? Let me give you an example. Evolutionists believe that a fish crawled out of the sea and turned into a puppy dog and that puppy dog gave birth to a lion who gave birth to a human being. Isn’t that stupid?”
It definitely is. The problem is that evolutionists do not present arguments like this. This is not the way evolution is formulated. Keep in mind that this does not mean evolution is true nor does it mean that evolution is false. The atheists misrepresented the Kalam, but that does not mean that the Kalam is an airtight argument that works. The Kalam must still stand on its own two feet.
What it does mean is when dealing with any argument, one must deal with the argument as it is and not as one would like to have it. Do the latter and you can dispatch with any argument. Just turn it into something completely ridiculous and refute that and your work is done.
It’s also quite ironic to have atheists talking about blind faith and yet believing simply whatever is read in a book or on a web site by an atheist without looking to see if the argument is right. Were any theistic philosophers consulted to see if they used this argument? You know the answer to that as well as I do.
This has been going after atheists, but keep in mind this is entirely unacceptable for Christians. We are people who do want to take down our opponents’ arguments and we should, but let’s make sure we are taking down their arguments. There is no victory in making a fake argument and it’s dishonest and an insult to the cause of Christ.
And to atheist readers of this, if you have done this, stop it. Deal with the real argument. When I see the fake argument put forward, I just conclude that you’re an atheist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.