Now that we’ve learned what goes into making an argument, let’s talk about how to respond to an argument. First, a bit about why philosophy is necessary.
About a month ago, I wrote about my frustration with being a lay apologist and I stated my frustration often came from two camps, both fellow Christians and unbelievers. I mentioned in that post how it seemed I could not win sometimes because unbelievers told me I was not intellectual enough, while my fellow church members often said I made things too complicated. In my first post, I primarily dealt with fellow Christians and church members (link here: http://bit.ly/MR60Xv). In this offering I shall deal with the unbelievers. When I talk about unbelievers I often mean those who are highly educated, are indeed intelligent, and who may even know the Bible better than the average Christian.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of discussions with fellow Christians about different ideas. Typically we’re are on different sides of the debate and are trying to come to either an agreement, compromise, or understanding. One of the things that I have noticed all too often (I wouldn’t worry about a couple times) from too many people and from the same people after I’ve pointed it out, is that they will offer a challenge that does not even apply to my view. Last week I discussed “zombie” topics in Christianity. One of the identifiers of a zombie (person) is that they continue to argue against “strawmen”.
“Um, that’s not what I believe.”
The strawman is a slight (or not so slight) variation of an argument or position that is easier to defeat than the real argument or position. This is a fallacious way to argue because it does not actually address the challenge at hand. Its power comes by the fact that the nuances of the incorrect argument or position can be so close to the actual one that those listening may not recognize the difference, and believe that the actual challenge has been addressed and defeated when, in fact, it has not been addressed, much less defeated. [Read more...]
I present to you this backdrop because with the changing of families, particularly with latch-key kids, our family is learning more and more each day what it means to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). The following scenario/dialogue in an example of this. Click here to see what happened next. . .