Ever one to exaggerate his own reactionary angst well beyond the limits of the credible, Paul makes it clear that he’s sore at me. For instance, he tells us that
atheologians like Bethrick do not really care about truth. If their side makes a mistake we do not see them lambasting their side.
As for my blog, I make its purpose quite clear in the headstock banner, which states:
In this blog, I will post my criticisms of presuppositionalism as it is informed and defended by apologists such as Greg Bahnsen, John Frame, Cornelius Van Til, Richard Pratt, and their latter-day followers.
When it comes to Christianity we see them claim that they are on the side of reason and truth. They defend "reason." But constantly, we see atheists refusing to lay down their own strict rules on fellow atheists (or, unbelievers).
So Paul needs to do more than merely assert things like
Atheists, like Bethrick, are about the group first, reason next.
With all the vices and moral failings Paul attributes to me, it's quite extraordinary that the worst he can come up with is a charge like the following:
Bethrick did not blog on how poor Derek did.
Bethrick blogs on how poor he thinks Bahnsen did (Bahnsen v. Stein)
Now Paul may complain that I have not posted a blog critiquing Gordon Stein's performance in his debate with Bahnsen. But again, such a complaint would miss the stated purpose of my blog. Why would I devote a blog to harping on Gordon Stein's mistakes when he's not a champion of Christian apologetics? Blank out.
Of course, there are things I can say about Stein, and two shall suffice for the time being. The first point is that a debate over the existence of the non-existent is typically a fruitless use of time for rational human beings; when a rational individual encounters someone who holds to belief in invisible magic beings on the basis of faith, the proper response is to be happy he's not one who is so deluded, not assume that such an individual is interested in rational discourse.
The other point I'd make about Stein's performance in his debate with Bahnsen is to point out that Stein said all he needed to in his response to Bahnsen's question at this point in the debate:
Okay Dr. Stein, you mentioned eleven basic proofs for the existence of God. Did you mention the transcendental proof for the existence of god?
No, I didn’t mention it by name. I think it is not a proof. I would not call it a proof as I understand it the way you said it.
Paul then writes:
I constantly see this religious attitude in the allegedly non-religious. "Get as many people to deny God first; truth, whatever that is, takes the hindmost" seems to be the motto of many of them.
Paul then links to his blog More on Moore which in turn posts a link to a posting of his on Triablogue. He asserts that Dr. Zachary Moore made some unpardonable blunder of logic, and after exposing this error those most loathsome of spoilsports - the atheists - "refused to tell him that he was wrong." (My, what gall they have!) Paul then says
Some, like Bethrick, implied that he didn't know who was right.
This just shows how serious he (and his ilk) should be taken.
Continuing to air his own dirty laundry (apparently his frustrations have been accumulating for several months now), Paul turns his attention to a question that I posed in response to assertions that he made in his blog titled (no, I'm not making this up) Your Post Stunk When The Christian You Tried to Debunk With Your Awful Junk – a title which, as an incomplete sentence, leaves the reader wondering where its author finishes his point. In this blog, Paul responds to questions posed to Christians on another blog.
One of these questions has to do with the myth of Cain and Abel, and apparently the question gets some little detail of the myth wrong by placing the two legendary figures in "the Garden" at some point. (Were Paul a little more careful in his ambitions to rival Oxford scholars, he might have made it clear that I was not the author of the questions he sought to tackle.) Such oversights are simply an open invitation to the "aren't you stupid!" scoldings of Mighty Manata. In his response to this question, Paul asserts that
Cain was afraid that the other people who lived on the planet would kill him.
there were approximately 890 of them,
some are: Bob, Nick, Dan, Pete, Frank, Eddie, and Arnold.
The only way it can be charitably read in a way other than making Dawson look like a stooge is to read it as Bethrick offering a rhetorical question with the implied conclusion: "If you don't know their names and how many there were, how do you know there were any? Since the Bible doesn't say there were others, then there were no others." This is the best way to read Bethrick. We see, though, that the best way to read Bethrick is to read him as committing the fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantium!
Continuing to complain about my comments, Paul writes:
I had pointed out that the purpose of the Bible was not to give an answer (or a detailed and precise answer) to everything there is. For example, the Bible doesn't tell us how to change a flat tire. Bethrick said, "I agree, the Bible doesn't give us knowledge of anything."
I agree that it would be naive to expect anything approaching useful or precise knowledge from the primitive writings collected in the bible.
There are many, many things the Bible gives us knowledge on.
Such as how the mind forms abstractions?
Paul then writes:
His [sic] tried to imply that he was agreeing with me but I pointed out that I never said the Bible doesn't give us knowledge of anything
Paul then made my point for me, writing:
I pointed out to Bethrick that it gives us knowledge on how to escape the wrath to come.
Bethrick claims he was a Christian, but if he agrees with Matthies article then one must wonder if he ever was a believer. Maybe he was in the youth group of some touchy-feely church and now just uses his past childhood (leaving out the details) to give him some credibility when talking about Christianity. One thing is clear, though, as a believer he never studied his faith.
Paul also writes:
Indeed, someone who is “intellectually satisfied” with Christianity, has in fact sold short his cognitive potential. And it is most telling that Paul segregates the moral from the intellectual here, as he does in fact do so openly, treating morality as if it were not intellectual. On the contrary, morality requires a mature and confident intellect, one which requires the conscious choice to be honest to oneself, whereas religion implores the believer to “deny himself” (cf. Mt. 16:24). One cannot be honest to himself, and deny himself, at the same time. And just as Paul openly divorces the moral from the intellectual, so Christianity divides a mind against itself. I realize that Paul resents atheists, not only because he feels threatened by them, but also because he worries that one day he too will renounce his faith. Only then will it be possible to embrace reason.
We hardly ever find a Christian, who was intellectually satisfied, becoming an atheist. Indeed, in most cases (actually, all) the reason people leave the faith is for moral reasons (i.e., cheating on their wife), not intellectual ones. The intellectual ones always come after, as a way to justify their moral rebellion.
by Dawson Bethrick