Over on John Loftus’ blog “Debunking Christianity, he has put up a post from a pastor that John has invited everyone to address. I thought it would make a good post here. And yep, many dead horses will be beaten.
David Geisler seems to be the son of Norman Geisler, yet another Christian apologist. Norm seems to be called a “systematic theologian: which seems to mean no more than christians that do acrobatics to “harmonize” their scriptures to make the incoherent make sense. (and then they proceed to claim each other are wrong in their claims of “reasonableness”). Norm was a biblical inerrantist, a term that Christians can’t quite agree on, since they all have some parts that they want to pretend are literal, some metaphor and some they just ignore since those parts are inconvenient. Bible inerrancy does not mean bible infallibility or bible literalism. Which goes to show just how screwed up these people are in their inventions of their religion in their images. That Ravi Zacharias spoke at his funereal speaks volumes about the quality of Norm. You can see Norm’s very poor apologetics here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Geisler#Outline_of_Geisler’s_apologetic_system They end up being rehashes of claims of “necessariness”, which the theist can’t support, the argument from creation assuming that Geisler’s version of the Christian god is the creator, and the argument from morals, which Christians can’t agree on what morals their god wants. He also claims that the bible events have archaeological, scientific and historic evidence supporting them; this evidence mostly consists of the bible being claimed as evidence and forgetting it is only the claim.
David seems not to have fallen far from the tree. He seems to argue for the same failed apologetics. He also makes some quite wonderful fails on his own. We can take a look at his claims.
“About me thinking the only way you’re going to change your mind about God and Christianity is if you have some kind of experience like the apostle Paul, I probably should’ve said, is that once you truly understand the depths of what my father taught, and see that what he taught is really reasonable, then it would still take you some kind of experience to get your attention, which would take the work of the Holy Spirit. I apologize for not making that clear that that’s what I meant. I don’t believe that just religious experience in general is a good enough filter for you to know what kind of God, and what kind of religion you should embrace.”
So, we have David claiming that to really believe, there needs to be an event like Paul’s conversion, which Paul himself couldn’t keep straight. So, why doesn’t this god provide this for every single person, if, as many Christians claim, this god wants everyone to come to it. Many of other Christians, of course, claim that this god doesn’t want to give this experience since this god only wants belief by faith. Which Christian is the right one, if any? We also have the problem that David’s father’s arguments are not reasonable and are nothing new, often used by non-christian theists too. Christians don’t accept their own arguments from anyone else, so no reason to accept them at all.
“I’m sure you are very well aware 1 Corinthians 2:14 teaches that “the natural man does not welcome or embrace the things of the Spirit of God.” Please note it’s not that the natural man cannot perceive the truth according to Scripture, it’s that he cannot receive the truth. The Greek word is dechomai. It means to welcome or embrace the truth. Furthermore you may know that John 6:65 teaches that only God can draw people to Himself.”
It seems that David might be a calvinist, since he parrots the nonsense they have that only this god can bring people to itself, aka predestination and not free will. Romans 9 agrees with John 6:65: “65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”” Poof goes the claims of free will from some Christians.
“Further, Ephesians 4:18 says people are ignorant because of the hardness of heart. These are just my thoughts about what the Bible teaches is true, backed up with scripture to prove my point. Now I know this is pretty strong language, and normally I wouldn’t even share these verses with someone who doesn’t claim to be a Christian. “But since you’ve been to Seminary I assume you know all these anyways, so I’m not telling you anything new. I’m just trying to explain why I believe the Bible teaches it’s gonna take more than just giving you good evidence and reason for you to take that step to Christ.”
Now why wouldn’t David want to share these verses with anyone who wasn’t already aware of them? Everyone can read the bible, nothing in it is secret. David seems to be afraid of something if non-christians might know these things in the bible. In the bible, one thing consistently causes hardness of the heart, this god. We see this in Exodus many times, and in Ephesians 4, we see it again “18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. “ with, John 6, we see that this god again causes this, with its intentional picking and choosing who can accept it or not. (Deuteronomy 2, Joshua 11, Isaiah 63, John 12, Romans 11, 2 Corinthians 3, also have this god controlling people’s minds aka “hardening” their hearts). Perhaps David is afraid we will see that his god is no more than a tyrant.
“Concerning the Apostle Paul, as I said before, I thought his issues were also more theological since he was a good Jew, who would’ve had a vey hard time accepting the doctrine of the trinity. Now let me try to give you an example to back up my belief about this. In the last two years one of my staff and myself have been talking to this atheist. Over a period of time my staff member answered all his intellectual questions and one day he said to my staff member checkmate!, meaning he didn’t have any more intellectual barriers to faith. But he didn’t become a Christian. Then this atheist friend asked me to help him with a friend of his, who had made some bad decisions earlier in her life but was now having difficulty just surviving physically.”
No reason to believe this story at all. But it might be true. A shame that the only reason David wanted to help is to convert people aka get the external validation he craves.
“So I reached out to a church in the city where she lived and they reached out to her, and helped her physically. Now I got an email from her a couple weeks later and she said “thanks for helping me…I feel like I’m on my way to becoming a Christian.” I should also tell you that our atheistic friend whose name is John also, used to say to us “my Christian friends are nicer to me than my atheist friends.”
Again, convenient story that there is no reason to believe. Humans are usually nice, religion makes no difference. But so many Christians just can’t resist putting in their claims about how everyone thinks that they are so great.
“So when our atheistic friend heard what I did for his friend a few weeks later, I learned that he became a Christian. Now I’m not saying he became a Christian because of what I did for his friend. I’m say that my acts of kindness contributed somehow to him being more open to allowing God to work in his sinful heart and repent.”
And more baseless claims. Christians do love to invent their stories.
“Sometimes I even say to atheists I talk to: “you mean to tell me if I could answer your question to your satisfaction right now about your biggest barriers to Christianity, that right now you would repent of your sins–you would turn around 180°–you would invite Christ to come into your life and ask Him to change you from the inside out as Philippians 2:13 says, and will follow as He taught us to live for the rest of your life?” “
Unsurprisingly, David has to lie and claims that atheists aren’t honest, if they simply say “yes” to this question. Now, I can say yes to his question with no problem. The issue is that his magic spell at the end doesn’t work. I was a Christian and invited this god to help me not lose my faith. God never showed up. David also makes believe that his version of Christianity and “follow as he taught us” is the right way since Christians don’t agree about that at all. David’s excuse for his god being a no-show 40 years ago will likely be “mysterious ways”, despite what he has claimed about how much he knows what his god does and wants so far.
“Now sometimes if an atheist I’m talking to is more honest, they will say no because there’s probably some other areas that are barriers. So when I’m witnessing to a skeptic I always point out there are two questions you must answer concerning Christianity before you become a Christian: First is there enough evidence to believe that Christianity is true? Now that involves apologetics. But then once you’ve decided that it is true, it doesn’t automatically make you a Christian. You have a much more difficult decision to make. You have to decide “do you wanna believe in Christ?” That’s a decision of your will, not your mind, and that does not involve apologetics.”
Per David’s words so far, this not a matter of will at all, it is a matter if this god chose you to be able to accept it. He has changed his mind on what he wants to claim is his god’s MO.
“Now both of these decisions are essential for someone to become a Christian. By the way my father would often say that both the presuppositionalist apologists and the evidentialist apologists don’t understand clearly the distinction between “belief that” and “belief in” That has been my experience in dealing with some of them as well. I also like Bill Craig’s distinction between that we know something is true and how we show something is true.”
This bit is very funny. All apologists are presuppositional. Norm presupposed his god is necessary and that it is only his god that can be the creator. There is no difference between “belief in” and “belief that”. Christians believe in their god, and Christians believe that their god is real. Same idea. WLC is just as incompetent as Norm in his presuppositions. The poor guy’s whole argument about the resurrection is that there was an empty tomb when he can’t even show a tomb exists.
“Romans 8:16 teaches that “the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are the sons of God.” As you probably know, Saint Augustine said faith is an understanding step and the understanding step is faith’s reward. I’ll have to say faith and reason still can be complementary, I just have to clarify what you mean by faith, which a lot of Christians don’t do.”
There’s that holy spirit again, which demonstrably from Christian claims, can’t tell anyone the same story twice since all Christians claim that they got their version from the holy spirit. Faith is not understanding, faith is blind acceptance, aka the presuppositions that Norm, David and Bill make to try to claim that their religion is true.
“As for your question about whether I’ve led any Chinese to Christ when I lived in Singapore. Singapore is a tiny little country but I did travel all throughout Asia over 13 countries I did training in. The answer is yes…a lot. Whenever I would preach it’s very rare that someone would not indicate they want to pray to receive Christ, especially if I ended I’m talking about my sister’s suicide, and I’m telling my audience I’m not sure where my sister is because I’m not sure if she was ever a Christian…even though she grew up in the home of Norm Geisler.”
Interesting argument, but it’s essentially the argument from popularity. David forgets that Muslim evangelists do the same things as he does and get converts too. It’s a shame that David has to use his sister in this way, in his sadistic fantasies: “ooh, she might be in hell” and cue the crocodile tears about something that David agrees with. All he has is fear to try to scare people into agreeing with him.
“So that’s why I believe that it’s not always a matter of having enough evidence why people don’t take steps to Christ. In fact, it reminds me of what Jesus said in the parable in Luke 16:31. He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Yep, luke does have this and its because JC claims that his father and he do their best to pick and choose who can accept them, and then damn the rest for no reason. Luke also has this “king” saying that anyone who doesn’t want him as king should be brought before him and murdered by his followers (Luke 19). Many christians very much don’t like that parable since it is rather obvious who the “king” is supposed to be.
“You may be interested to know that my wife grew up with idols in her home. she did not grow up as a Christian home and many in Singapore did not grow up as Christians. I also want to clarify what I said about once you establish the evidence for a theistic God, then miracles are not only possible they are probable when you look at the evidence for Jesus.”
Oh my. Such a baseless claim. David doesn’t explain how this works at all. However, we do know how it works. When you are convinced of a thing, no matter if it is true or not, then you assign coincidence and parlor tricks to this thing as evidence for it, since you now are invested in maintaining your belief that you have some special knowledge and the friendship of some magical being.
“The Cosmological argument establishes that an infinite power exists that created the universe. So once you’ve established that logically then you can build on that argument. I’d like to say you can piggyback off of it.”
Well, that’s what Christians would like to pretend. The Cosmological argument only works if you have the presupposition that there needs to be a creator. We have no evidence that one is needed or “necessary” at all. Only most theists need one. We have no idea if cause and effect are part of the universe’s beginning or existence.
“Afterward you can establish the moral argument for the existence of God. It’s true you cannot start with a moral argument, because you haven’t demonstrated the principle of cause-and-effect that you do in the cosmological argument.”
nope for this one too. That Christians can’t show or agree on what their god wants as morals, we have no evidence or need for an objective lawgiver. What we have are Christians who have no problem with this god doing horrible things and also being horrified if humans did the same things. If it is the actor that determines if an action is moral or immoral, then the action is subjective and thus Christians have a subjective morality, one based on might equals right.
“Then you can hear the teleological argument and conclude that a theistic God exists.”
The teleological argument is the argument from design. Sigh. So, we have David who thinks this can be used to show that his version of the Christian god is the only designer. It doesn’t. It tries to claim that something designed reality, and has no evidence for that at all. It also can be used by any theist and poor David doesn’t believe other theists when they use it.
“You can also add the ontological argument, although David Hume’s criticism is correct that if you start with the ontological argument you cannot get where you want to go. And so we a moral intelligent personal and necessary being sounds like the God of the Old Testament, a Theistic God.”
As you can see above, we don’t have a “moral, personal, and necessary” being at all. I do note that David didn’t try to show evidence for how personal this god is. Good idea on his part, since all he has are baseless claims that other religions use too.
“But when you’re arguing for the cosmological argument I don’t think it’s enough just to argue beginning with the causality argument, because of the criticisms of Hume, but once you understand what act in potency is, and what a contingent being is, and what a necessary being is, then you can establish the current causality argument as well, and it strengthens the cosmological argument.”
All of those things that David mentions, “act in potency” etc are made up nonsense from apologists (Aquinas) who need to pretend that their god exists. Still no evidence that anything is necessary at all. And since the cosmological argument relies on nothing more than opinion e.g. the most “perfect” thing idea, it still fails dramatically.
“Now I’ve already told you my father also has an argument for God based on the argument from being, that we have in the appendix of his book 12 Points That Show Christianity Is True. Now if you’re interested, I’ll send this to you and you can look at that and tell me whether you think it’s valid argument or not. I would be curious to get your opinion I plan to get it presented in philosophical journal sometime this next year, because it’s never been critiqued from an academic point of view. If you have any suggestions I’ll be glad to hear them as to where I should send it. I think I told you my father thought that this argument was one of his most important contributions to Christianity. Hope this is all helpful information for you, maybe not to change your mind, but at least to help you understand the Christian faith doesn’t have to be unreasonable!”
No one needs to have David send his father’s nonsense to them, we can see that on his father’s wiki page. As I noted above, it’s nothing new or true at all. And for his desire to present in a philosophical journal, oh my. All of his father’s claims have been long addressed by academia and all of his father’s claims have been found wanting.
Yep, the Christian faith still is unreasonable.