Guidelines for Debating Evangelical Apologists like Dr. Randal Rauser

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Atheist apologist John Loftus has announced plans to debate evangelical Christian theologian and apologist, Randal Rauser, on the topic of violence in the Old Testament. I have some advice:

I followed Rauser on his blog for several months. He is a very prickly character. He does not handle criticism well. However, I eventually discovered his weakness; his “soft under belly”: his personal relationship with a first century peasant named Jesus of Nazareth.

Rauser hates to discuss his personal relationship with Jesus with skeptics! He will avoid discussing this topic at all cost, including banning you from his blog. He would much rather go off into the weeds of philosophy and logic; the existence of a generic Creator God; the basis of morality; etc.. If you debate Rauser on these topics, I guarantee you he will drown you in mind-numbing, sophisticated-sounding bs that he adeptly learned while obtaining his PhD in philosophy.

So don’t do it. You are wasting your time.

If you are going to debate him, I suggest that you insist that, at the very beginning of the debate, he provide evidence that he has a personal relationship with Jesus of Nazareth—and—how he knows that this god/man subverted the laws of physics to save his life when he was hit by a bus as a child at the age of 11. (Yes, this is why Rauser is a believer: Jesus saved his life when he was hit by a bus as a child.)

Sophisticated evangelical apologists such as Randal Rauser become very squeemish when you ask them how old they were when they first believed in virgin births and corpse reanimations.

Just how much study and research did Randall Rauser perform on these topics at the tender age of 11 before choosing to believe in their reality? Answer: None! Rauser’s Christian worldview is not based on his research and years of study. Nope. All of that came AFTER he had already believed—hook, line, and sinker—this ancient tall tale.

Just how rational and logical is thatDoctor Rauser?

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End of post.

25 thoughts on “Guidelines for Debating Evangelical Apologists like Dr. Randal Rauser

  1. Sounds like they have semi patched things up between them, at least enough to be civil to each other again. I remember the vitriol of 2013-14. They were both to blame in my opinion.

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  2. I posted this over at DC but I’ll put it here as well, I hope it isn’t superfluous.

    “If you debate Rauser on these topics, I guarantee you he will drown you in mind-numbing, sophisticated-sounding bs that he adeptly learned while obtaining his philosophy PhD.”

    As someone with a degree in Philosophy, I feel compelled to note that while Randal employs lots of philosophy in his arguments, and probably read a lot of philosophy during his academic years, he doesn’t strictly have a philosophy Phd, that is, he didn’t get a straight Phd in Philosophy, or master’sor Bachelor’s (I asked him this on his blog years ago).
    His CV:

    Click to access R-Rauser-CV.pdf

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    1. He teaches philosophy as an “associate professor of philosophy” at a university, or at least a college. Isn’t a PhD required for that position? A Master’s?? A Bachelor’s???

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    2. What’s odd is that he doesn’t state what field his Ph.D. is in on his C.V. That’s the first place it should ever be mentioned. And, his bio at Taylor Seminary doesn’t mention it, either.

      Weird.

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      1. What’s odd is that he doesn’t state what field his Ph.D. is in on his C.V.

        Neither does Doctor Who. But are you really going to suggest that Dr. Who is not a genuine Doctor of Time Travel and the Tardis is not a genuine time-travelling space ship?
        How dare you!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, “Historical Theology” is what he teaches at Taylor.
    The associate professor of philosophy reference from 2002-3 was at a small bible college, and I assume teaching 1st year courses doesn’t have a strict requirement that the teacher’s Phd or even master’s is in that discipline.

    An example is a friend of mine who while working on a Phd. in women’s studies was teaching a few 1st year undergraduate courses to make some money ( and conveniently saving the university some money by not having to pay professor level salary). What was she teaching? European current events. She was scrambling before each class to learn material and come up with lessons.

    Unfair to the students I think, they should have at least gotten a discount if their professor wasn’t actually qualified in that area.

    This is not to say Randall is not qualified to teach philosophy at a undergraduate introductory level – he’s obviously read a lot of it and studied it and probably ran across some of it in his theology classes- I’m just saying he does not strictly speaking have a PhD in philosophy.

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    1. Then not only is he a pompous ass…he is a fraud. Shame on him. The students at that bible “college” deserve a refund.

      Associate professor of philosophy, my ass.

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      1. I have it in my head that his Phd is in systematic theology, but I can’t find the blog post where he mentioned it and I I asked him if he ever considered getting a straight up Philosophy degree. it was several years ago and I can never seem to find anything on blogs when I do searches or at least never what I’m actually looking for.

        A google search turned up phd in systematic theology at zoominfo.com, and at linkedin a phd in theological studies.

        https://www.zoominfo.com/p/Randal-Rauser/272494704

        https://ca.linkedin.com/in/randal-rauser-12a25920

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  4. I am surprised to hear this. I was aware that those two had a rift going back about 8 years or so. I wonder what prompted this? Perhaps Randal wants to use the forum to promote his book. I, for one, don’t see what John Loftus possibly has to gain. I wouldn’t bother debating Randal on any theological topic. as his tactics are predictable and stultifying. Frankly, I wish he would take a vow of extended social media silence.

    BTW, Gary, you might be interested in this article written by someone who was reviewing one of Randal’s books at the time. The Disqus comments re. the article are rich in content.

    https://www.theaunicornist.com/2013/10/randal-rauser-blows-gasket.html

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    1. Thanks for the link.

      Yes, Randal loves word games. Imagine Randal being interviewed by a cop for his alleged eyewitness testimony of a crime:

      Officer: So what exactly did you see?
      Rauser: How do you define “see”?
      Officer: What?? What did you see happen?
      Rauser: I cannot continue this conversation if you do not properly define your terms. I’m going to have to ban you from my blog.
      Officer: I’m not on your fucking blog, asswipe. Answer the question or I’m going to arrest you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are welcome. If you get the chance to read that article and the subsequent Disqus comments, I think you will find that others share your frustrations with Rauser. The author, Mike D, is a bright young man, though he has taken a break from blogging. I used to read his articles regularly.

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      2. Gary, I hope you had a chance to take a look at that article. The article was from 2013. My point is that Rauser was using the same weasel tactics then that he does now. When you try to pin him down with specific questions he doesn’t want to answer, he may try to weasel his way out by trying to drown you with loads of fancy philosophical jargon without actually answering your questions. His schtick has long grown stale. I really wish more people would tune him out. I find him insufferable.

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        1. This type of reaction is VERY common among Christian “preachers” and others who think they have all the answers. Rather than defend their position in a sane, sensible, knowledgeable way, they simply ignore all questions and comments that don’t agree with them.

          WIMPS! One and all!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You have hit the nail on the head, my friend: Rauser uses philosophy as a weapon to deflect any attacks on his superstitions. That is why one must resist going down one of his sophisticated-sounding philosophical rabbit holes and stay on target (as they say in Star Wars): Randal, please provide good evidence that you have a personal relationship with a first century peasant. Repeat.

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            1. I like John’s books and blog, but have been disappointed by his debating skills in the past. I don’t think live debates are his strong suit, even though I usually agree with his positions.

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              1. I agree. John’s books are fantastic, however, in debates he comes off as unprofessional. He definitely needs to ditch wearing the cowboy hat during his debates. It makes him look goofy and unprofessional. If he has a bald spot, so what. So do most men his age. Be proud! Take the hat off, John.

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                1. I think we are in agreement. Live debates are not the best stage for John.

                  Someone I would really like to see debate Rauser is Sean Carroll. I don’t know if Sean Carroll knows who Rauser is or if he would care to do it, but I think he would give Rauser an intellectual cuffing that Rauser would not soon forget. I’d pay to watch.

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                  1. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that it’s hard to give a “cuffing” to a debater if that person is an experienced public speaker, debater, and is debating a topic they are well versed in, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. I’ve seen WLC spank a few people over the years because they didn’t take him seriously, probably didn’t even know who he was before the debate, and were not well versed in the kind of ideas Craig puts forth. On top of that, one fellow seemed to be a poor thinker on his feet, making Craig look supreme in the debate, even though it was just the same old Craig arguments. When I have more time I’ll try to track the debate down on youtube.

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                    1. Sean Carroll is an American theoretical physicist who debated William Lane Craig some years ago. Some believe it was Craig’s worst loss in a debate. Sean Carroll is razor sharp. You don’t fluster him with high-minded B.S.

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                2. I believe it was a debate with David Wood years ago where John seemed totally disorganized and, I hate to say it, possibly even a bit drunk – that was the last debate of his I watched. It was cringeworthy. It’s a shame, as I said I agree with pretty much everything he writes. I certainly hope he is in top form for his debate with Randal.

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  5. I was going to post zoom info on linked in screen caps but I can’t figure out how to insert an image into a WordPress comment. I have no problem with disqus when I upload images on another blogs.

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