Why are Evangelical Apologists so Squeamish About Discussing their Personal Relationship with Jesus with Skeptics?

Randal Rauser on Treating Atheists Like People • Richard Carrier
Randal Rauser, PhD, theologian and philosopher

Evangelical apologists love to discuss almost any topic with skeptics…except their perceived personal relationship with a person who lived and died 20 centuries ago. Why is that?

Case in point: Randal Rauser

I don’t think Randal Rauser is a bad person. He is simply behaving badly because he has been backed into a corner. He is lashing out like a frightened child.

I’m sure Randal is a good person. The majority of Christians are good people, just as the majority of Muslims, Hindus, and atheists are good people. The issue for most non-supernaturalists (atheists) like myself is not that CHRISTIANS are bad, but that their belief in the supernatural is bad. It is our position that a society in which educated adults trust science, reason (critical thinking skills), and the principles of secular humanism, is much more likely to provide a higher level of equality, prosperity, and justice for all than a society in which educated adults are susceptible to fantastical supernatural claims.

It is our view that it is dangerous, and often deadly, for adults to believe in the supernatural. And that is why apologists like Randal Rauser need to be backed into a corner, using the Socratic Method (Street Epistemology), to demonstrate to them and to their readers just how irrational and dangerous their belief is that they have a relationship with a two thousand year old dead man!

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End of post.

4 thoughts on “Why are Evangelical Apologists so Squeamish About Discussing their Personal Relationship with Jesus with Skeptics?

  1. Because they realise that, discussing a personal relationship with anyone who is a) invisible and, b) not their spouse, probably involves a few unsavoury sexual undertones and they are worried they may go blind, and/or be involved in a spiritual/ghostly ménage à trois?

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  2. Gary –

    I read the conversation between you and Randall. Nothing unexpected.

    I think there may be a confusion both in what you’re asking, and what’s being answered.

    It would seem to me that a person (say, an historian) can be convinced that Jesus was resurrected, in an historical event – and yet – not be a Christian at all.

    For example, if the historian happens to be a “supernaturalist”, in a broad sense, and simply “believes” that it’s possible (in principle) for a person to be “raised from the dead”, and “transformed” into some other “cosmic dimension”, then that historian might be convinced that Jesus was thus “resurrected”, and yet, not believe any of the other “theological” stuff of Christianity. That is, he might not believe that Jesus died for sins, or that he was the “first fruits”, or that he is “Lord”, and so on.

    so, there’s two different things going on: One is whether Jesus was historically resurrected. The other is more theological: whether “Jesus is Lord”, and whether his death and resurrection means anything for the rest of us, and so on.

    It is the contention of the NT that a person can’t confess (or, “accept as true”) that “Jesus is Lord”, except by some kind of revelation of the Holy Spirit.

    However, this does not mean that a person (like our “supernaturalist historian”) cannot be convinced, on historical grounds, that Jesus was raised from the dead.

    I’m saying all this because it appears to me that you are conflating the two separate ideas when you are asking “Randall, what percentage of your belief in the veracity of Christianity is based on your perception of answered prayer and miracles?”

    What is even meant by a “belief in the veracity of Christianity”?

    A person can be convinced, historically, that Jesus was raised from the dead, and yet not believe that “Jesus is Lord”, or that “Jesus answers prayer”, or any other such theological thing.

    To be a Christian means that one is (a) convinced that Jesus was resurrected, and (b) that “Jesus is Lord”. The first part (a) can happen due to in-depth historical inquiry, or, it can happen simply by being told, by someone who is seen as authoritative and trustworthy, that Jesus really did “rise from the dead”. The second part (b), accepting that “Jesus is Lord”, is something that (according to the NT) has to effectively be “revealed” by the HS.

    So, when these two things are conflated into one thing, then it really becomes very difficult to talk about. And, it’s evident that you yourself conflate the two things when you’re asking about “percentages”.

    ODDLY ENOUGH – Most Christians do the same “conflating”, because they (like yourself) never think it through enough to realize that accepting Jesus’ resurrection as historical fact is something entirely different than accepting Jesus as “Messiah, Lord and Savior”.

    So, we’ve got one person (you) asking a confused question that conflates two different ideas, and a person who also mistakenly conflate the two ideas, attempting to answer.

    Is it any wonder that you can’t get the answer you want, if you don’t really even understand the question you’re asking?

    I’m NOT trying to be critical or snarky. But I am suggesting that you might consider what I’ve written here, and maybe it will help you to nail down exactly what info you’re looking for.

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    1. It would seem to me that a person (say, an historian) can be convinced that Jesus was resurrected, in an historical event – and yet – not be a Christian at all.

      Bollocks!
      No genuine historian believes in the physical resurrection of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth.

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