Sunday, February 19, 2006

Anti-Intellectualism

Today's comment was spurred by an exchange with Rob, a frequent contributor to the EC discussion. He had wondered if my argumentation would lead down a slippery slope toward anti-intellectualism.

While Rob didn't directly accuse me of anti-intellectualism, this has been a recurring theme I have seen quite often with others engaging in this "conversation." I, along with most other apologists I know, view scholarship as very important. As part of scholarship, asking questions and seeking the truth are foundational. However, I am finding that some question-asking really has little to do with intellect or scholarship. Instead, the question is asked expressly for the purpose of obfuscation and creating doubt. This is often revealed by the disjointed fashion of the questions.

I'll give you a specific example by borrowing a bit of my discussion with Rob and adding to it as if were a dialogue with someone else. Make a comment about the Bible being clear on a subject such as homosexuality. You'll then hear, "No, it's not clear." This will be followed by throwing up something that has nothing to do with the original issue being discussed. We begin by talking about what the Bible says regarding sexual morality, and end up talking about whether sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis. The implication here is that if the Bible is wrong about photosynthesis, then it can't be right about sexual morality either.

(EDITED TO ADD) As an aside, a little tidbit from The Scientist reveals that photosynthesis IS taking place without sunlight. Check out this link:

http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20050621/01/

The Genesis account of creation mentions LIGHT being there, but the argument is since there is supposed to be no SUN, there could have been no photosynthesis, and therefore no plant life could have existed. Leaving aside the fact that a sovereign Creator can do what He wants with His creation, this is supposed to create an insurmountable problem for those who believe in Scripture. Sorry, it doesn't. The Genesis account mentions that God created light. How do the beknighted "believing" critics of inerrancy know what qualities that "light" had even if there was no sun? But rather than give Scripture the benefit of the doubt, the postmodernist "Christian" would rather give benefit TO the doubt. Even with the discovery above, which gives credence to my belief that the light created by God was sufficient to do what it had to to, the postmoderns are bound and determined to shred the authority of Scripture.

Well, back to the discussion of this post. Annoyed, you dispose of the photosynthesis issue through arguments such as the one above, and then try to steer the discussion back to the ORIGINAL issue - what the Bible says regarding sexual morality and the clarity thereof. However, your quibbling disputant will then head down another bunny trail, and you've got a choice to make. You can go down the bunny trail, deal with the objection hidden under the bracken by Peter Cottontail, hoping against hope that you can eventually get back to the original trail, refuse to go down the bunny trail and force the discussion back to the original issue, or end the discussion in frustration. You will see this time after time after time. Talking with these people is a lot like talking with a Jehovah's Witness.

The ideal discussion would have us sticking to the original issue. First, we would look and see what the Bible says about sexual morality. We would look at the meaning of Hebrew and Greek terms. We would look at the history of the period to see what prevailing attitudes were about the subject. That is scholarship, and it takes some intellect to pursue this. At the end of the day, the Bible alone is our final authority in regards to faith and practice. THAT what riles our disputants the most.

It takes patience. I have plenty of patience for unbelievers who don't understand, and I'll walk them through the mire to help them reach the correct conclusions. However, my patience is wearing extremely thin with supposed believers in positions of authority who spout nonsense - people such as pastors, teachers and theologians. Like Jannes and Jambres, these people are "always learning, yet never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

1 comment:

SolaMeanie said...

BTW...regarding photosynthesis. The argument is that for plants to "photosynthesize," they need sunlight. This is supposed to make the Genesis account suspect.

Sigh. Photosynthesis takes LIGHT. It doesn't HAVE to be from the sun. See why it's a frustrating bunny trail diversion?