Randal Rauser Ruffling Feathers

Randal Rauser

If you are a regular follower of this blog you are familiar with Baptist theologian and apologist, Randal Rauser. As is the case with many Christian apologists who have obtained a PhD in philosophy, theology, or even in religious studies, Rauser is very proud of his credentials. And he frequently reminds you of his perceived educational superiority with condescension and sarcasm. This technique, pulling the “credentials card”, has become very popular with online apologists. In fact, some conservative Protestant colleges and seminaries are now offering a PhD in…apologetics! The “PhD” has become the ultimate weapon of the online Christian apologist. And I thought the most powerful weapon of Christianity was the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit! Silly me.

Here is a recent example of Rauser pulling the “credentials card” on an atheist skeptic: https://www.debunking-christianity.com/2021/08/the-amateurishness-and-toxicity-of.html

As many of you know, I too have tangled with Rauser and have been subjected to his condescending sarcasm. I have learned that the key to debating arrogant “credentialed” apologists like Rauser is to refuse to debate them regarding philosophical or theological concepts, but instead, repeatedly ask them this question: What objective evidence can you provide for your belief that an executed first century peasant lives in your heart, communicates with you in an inaudible manner, performs acts of magic for you (miracles), and has granted you immortality somewhere on the outer limits of the Cosmos?

Every time I asked Rauser this question, he refused to answer it, and eventually banned me from his blog.

Ignore the smoke screen of credentialing, dear skeptics. There is no such thing as a PhD in magic.

PsBattle: His magic trick is to pull a rabbit out of his hat:  photoshopbattles

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End of post.

48 thoughts on “Randal Rauser Ruffling Feathers

  1. Word!

    Look at his CV. His MCS is in “Interdisciplinary Christian Studies”. His PhD dissertation is “Trinity, Mind and World: A Theological Epistemology of Mediation”. Okay. Apart from teaching at a Theological Seminary, being a Xian Pastor, or being a Xian Apologist, what practical value do those advanced degrees have at all? I think going to a trade school could produce more benefit to society.

    Click to access R-Rauser-CV.pdf

    I have engaged him over the years. He is intelligent, but he is often condescending, He certainly can be thin-skinned, spiteful and vindictive. He attempts to burnish a public image of even-handedness in sociopolitical matters, yet he is decidedly one-sided again and again when it matters. He seems consumed by the need to express his opinion ad nauseam via outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, his blog, books, articles, interviews, and/or anybody who will seemingly give him an audience. He claims to accept plenary inspiration and divine authorial inerrancy, yet he will reject select Bible content right readily when it does not align with his personal experience and moral intuition. In summary, he is a piece of work.

    Be silent, be still, “Ratchet Jaw” Randal.

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  2. I don’t know where he finds the time for all the tweeting, youtubing, podcasting, etc. but he seems to have a strong need to be heard and to be recognized as correct.
    Compare that to Ehrman, who uses his time to write posts that he uses to raise money for charity in his area and I believe internationally.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s very interesting. I’m no Twitter expert, but personally, if I I were taking a break from tweeting, I would just stop actually tweeting for a while – no need to shut everything down and deactivate my accounts. Just pickup again later when you feel like it. But maybe that’s just me.

    I haven’t read any of people’s replies to his tweets. I wonder if there has been some big conflict and dustup. You have certainly brought up some examples of his tweets being very acrimonious. I know through the years he has tried to reset and or change the tone of his blog and interactions with commenters, after a few occasions when his love of arguing got too aggressive and he felt he needed to be less acrimonious and wanted less caustic interactions. Maybe this has occurred on his Twitter accounts. Or not.

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    1. Good point.

      Whatever the reason, his twitter accounts seem to be gone. Perhaps he decided to take a sabbatical or someone else wanted them gone? Maybe someone on his blog will ask him what’s going on.

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        1. Thanks for the reply. I had a look-see at that logorrheic explanation. When I read it, the first thing I could think to say was that only Randal would write something like that.

          Randal had a main Twitter account for nearly 10 years. I followed his activity for quite some time. If I recall correctly, his account activity total was more than 40,000 tweets, and he had more than 4,000 followers. He used that Twitter account to promote his books and/or articles and/or podcasts and/or make announcements about interviews and other events of interest to him. He offered opinions re. geopolitical matters. He also conducted polls and solicited feedback from followers. Then, he suddenly decided to delete his main account (plus the new account he referred to as his Inner Atheist) without (apparently) advanced notice to his followers. Why delete the accounts rather than just post a notice that he was taking a break? If those reasons he citied for quitting Twitter are true, why did it take nearly 10 years to come to that conclusion? My guess, epicurus, is there is more to the story. I’d venture a guess that Randal made a wise career move to delete his Twitter accounts.

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          1. Yes, since the given reasons would have been obvious to anyone years ago, I doubt it took him ten years to realize them. I suspect that like an iceberg, the biggest reasons are hidden.

            He does teach at an evangelical seminary that probably doesn’t share many of his views, so it’s quite possible there were problems with his tweets that may have caused the school grief, perhaps. I remember a dust up on his blog with another Taylor prof – Gerry Shepard I think- many years ago where things got a bit nasty – mostly because of Randal’s temper, in my opinion. And he has mentioned other occasions when some have been opposed to his teaching there. So even though he has been there a long time, his divergent views may be causing some issues.

            I could be wrong of course, perhaps the tweet issue is due to something else, but like you, I don’t think it’s just for the reasons Randal gave in the blog post.

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            1. Thanks for the reply, epicurus.

              Thanks for that tidbit re. Randal’s dust up with another Taylor faculty member. That is interesting.

              “He does teach at an evangelical seminary that probably doesn’t share many of his views, so it’s quite possible there were problems with his tweets that may have caused the school grief, perhaps.” – epicurus

              I would wager that this is true. Indeed, I would wager a princely sum that this is true…

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            2. Randal Rauser: Man of conviction

              epicurus, it appears our favorite Xian apologist simply could not resist the temptation to use Twitter. After “deleting” his account for the reasons he cited in his pithy post, he is right back at it again. It seems Randal’s convictions for staying off Twitter lasted about a week. How funny. That says a lot about him. It really does.

              https://randalrauser.com/2021/08/why-i-am-off-twitter/

              https://twitter.com/randalrauser

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              1. Yes, seemingly an insatiable need for attention. Shocking that it took only a few days. The withdrawal symptoms must have been overpowering. Part of his response to a commenter questioning the flip flop was “… why are you so concerned?” An odd question given he makes a whole blog post about it and obviously wants people’s attention.

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                1. Thanks for the reply, epicurus. I had a look-see at the comments section of that blog post. I noticed that Randal made mention of deleting 2900 tweets. I think that supports the theory that that is a primary reason why he temporarily deactivated his Twitter account. My guess is his inflammatory tweets embarrassed and/or angered someone of importance, and they advised Randal to clean it up ASAP. Why else would Randal temporarily deactivate his Twitter account after nearly 10 years (apparently without advanced notice) and remove that many tweets. Then, he concocts and published some verbose list of reasons why he is off Twitter. And, after deleting so many tweets, he hops right back on to Twitter within several days.

                  Randal is a real piece of work.

                  Liked by 1 person

              2. It’s interesting to reread the end of his post how reluctant he is to use twitter anymore even though maybe in the future for a limited book promotional capacity. The future, one would assume, would be quite a while, not 3 or 4 days.

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                1. BTW, epicurus, Randal had exchanges with a commenter who asked why Randal deactivated his Twitter account and deleted tweet(s) that had been in place for some time. It seems clear so far that Randal does not want to say why he did it. I suspect he did it because someone advised him to do it out of anger and/or embarrassment over content Randal was posting. Frankly, I think Randal was hurting his credibility with some of the content he posted.

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                  1. I think you’re right. I also think he will be unable to restrain himself over the long haul, and will be back in the same situation down the road, especially as he, in my opinion, drifts farther away from his college’s belief’s.

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                    1. I would be willing to bet on that. In fact, Randal is already stirring the pot on Twitter again. Randal has been tweeting about women being giving equal opportunity re. teaching and/or leadership positions. He appears to believe women should be given equal opportunities in those capacities. Okay. That’s fine. He even posted this on Twitter yesterday: “Justice demands that I call out prejudice when I see it.” – Rauser

                      Okay. The following link was copied from Taylor Seminary just now. Please take a look at Taylor’s core faculty + adjunct faculty. Does this look like gender equality to you? I don’t think so.

                      http://www.taylor-edu.ca/current-students/faculty/faculty-biographies

                      Rauser is a piece of work.

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                    2. Despite being argumentative and craving attention, I would be willing to bet Randal will not publicly call out the leader(s) of the seminary by name re. their staffing make-up.

                      This does not look like gender equality to me. Assuming this link is current, it appears to be just about anything but that. Unless my eyes deceive me, as per the link, I only see one woman in the core faculty + adjunct faculty at Taylor Seminary. Hmmm. Perhaps Randal will give up his faculty position for a woman… in the name of equality.

                      http://www.taylor-edu.ca/current-students/faculty/faculty-biographies

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                    3. Yes, I’ve checked this page occasionally over the years and, as is predicable, the faculty has always been almost all male and white. I don’t think the higher ups at Taylor are as worried about it as Randal is.

                      I don’t much care for twitter, but I spent some time scrolling through his feed, and was surprised at just how many tweets per day he puts out. Quite surprising, given that just a couple weeks ago he made his grand pronouncement that he was totally off Twitter, and that the caustic nature of the exchanges of the platform and format were such that if he ever returned to it, it would be a long time later, and only hesitatingly, and pretty much only to promote his books. We’ve discussed what we think his motivations are, but I’m still surprised that a man of his age and educational background is so obsessed with being heard.

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  4. I know nothing about this man. My comment has to do with this question, which you have more or less posed to me:
    “What objective evidence can you provide for your belief that an executed first century peasant lives in your heart, communicates with you in an inaudible manner, performs acts of magic for you (miracles), and has granted you immortality somewhere on the outer limits of the Cosmos?”
    I consider that an unanswerable question. I’m sorry to say this, but it is also insulting in tone.
    Maybe a better question is why we believe Christ is God, which you also quite fairly ask.

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        1. Why is it an “unanswerable question”? If your faith in the bible and your god is as strong as your responses have indicated, it would seem you would be able to provide an answer for the hope that is within you.

          Further, the gist of Gary’s question is nothing more than a request for you (or any believer) to provide evidence that your faith has merit. The fact that he worded it as he did doesn’t change the essence of the question.

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          1. What objective evidence can you provide for your belief that an executed first century peasant lives in your heart, communicates with you in an inaudible manner, performs acts of magic for you (miracles), and has granted you immortality somewhere on the outer limits of the Cosmos?
            The evidence of Him living in my heart is only observable by myself, unless you consider the changes in me observable by others to be evidence which I doubt you would.
            If He communicated to me in an inaudible manner is by nature unprovable!
            If He performed a miracle for me then I could perhaps provide evidence. He hasn’t and I never claimed he did.
            That He has granted me immortality is really the whole message of the gospel… the evidence for that is in the Bible itself. So the question is simply really why do I believe in the Bible? That is at least answerable.

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            1. What objective evidence can you provide for your belief …

              BINGO! You can’t.

              Yet most believers won’t acknowledge this one very simple fact. Instead, they write untold numbers of books and spend untold numbers of hours on the internet using every reason they can possibly come up with — all in an attempt to “prove” the Christian faith is more than just a head trip.

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    1. Many Christians and apologists say something like the person of Christ is more important than what they think about the Bible. The problem for the non christian is that we only could know anything about Jesus from the Bible. The response is then often that knowledge of Jesus comes from the heart, a personal relationship, or whatever one wants to call it. Gary’s question comes from that, as well as an attempt to keep apologists from taking us all down philosophical and theological rabbit holes with word games and obfuscation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you. I realize this is a blog about hard evidence, not vague feelings.
        I think what one thinks about the Bible is central to the Christian faith.
        Otherwise how do they know who He is, and on what is their faith founded upon? I think that argument is ridiculous, and I don’t know anyone personally who would say that.
        There are many many people out there who call themselves Christians who may not be.

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        1. Yes, and if what one thinks about the Bible is central to Christian faith, what approach should one take in dealing with the problems of contradictory stories, lack of original manuscripts, failed prophecy by Jesus, etc. If these are legitimate problems, should one still hold to a view that the Bible can be trusted to give us accurate information about what Jesus actually said, did, and who he was, as well as information about God. If not, should one remain a Christian? Are you familiar with authors who critically examine these issues, such as the well known Bart Ehrman, Dale Allison, etc?

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          1. I’ve been reading the Bible for about 45 years… I can’t tolerate contradiction, and I have come across many seemingly contradictory writings that really bothered me. After researching them, there were very satisfactory explanations, to me anyway, probably not to you.
            eg the time of the crucifixion, the vastly different geneologies of Christ just to think of a couple off the top of my head. Jericho.
            Crucifixion time is Hebrew in one gospel, Roman in the other.
            Genealogy in one is of Joseph, the other is Mary. Christ has claim to the throne of David through his adopted father and natural mother.
            Jericho – one account is of Jesus entering, the other exiting.
            There were actually 2 Jericho’s.
            Lack of original manuscripts? As far as I know the NT manuscripts are about as close, or even more so, to the events recorded as any historical manuscripts.
            Failed prophesy by Jesus? Can you explain?
            What about one not stone left upon another?
            And many of His prophesies are yet to be fulfilled. Fasten your seatbelt.
            I am completely confident in the Bible. I wonder if y’all are as confident as I am.
            As far as Ehrman, I have read a little, very little of him. I will address him after reading him a bit.

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                1. I don’t.

                  How do you know that Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple? You are making the claim, not me. In our culture, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim not on the person questioning the claim. (If you disagree with that perspective, there is no point to continuing this conversation.)

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                  1. You are correct. Actually it was someone else who suggested that Christ’s prophesies did not come to pass, not you.
                    And your question really boils down to, who wrote Matthew?
                    There are arguments on both sides of the aisle. I find the arguments that Matthew himself wrote it more convincing. Eg had to know Greek to be a tax collector…
                    Came across an interesting point that supports someone I follow who argues that there were people who actually wrote down the words of Jesus as He spoke.
                    It was suggested that Matthew did that.

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                    1. Even many evangelical Bible scholars (Richard Bauckham and NT Wright) doubt or at least question that Matthew the Apostle wrote the Gospel of Matthew, primarily because it would be odd for an eyewitness to copy so much of another author’s work (the Gospel of Mark) who was not an eyewitness (allegedly, John Mark). It is estimated that the author of Matthew incorporated over 90% of the Gospel of Mark into his Gospel, often copying Mark word for word. Why would he do such a thing if he had witnessed these events himself? That doesn’t make sense.

                      But I’m sure you already know this.

                      Bottom line, the authorship of ALL the Gospels is disputed, that is a fact. Even most Roman Catholic Bible scholars—who believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and in miracles—reject the apostolic authorship of the Gospels.

                      Let’s look at the first Gospel written, the first Gospel to contain the alleged prophecy in which Jesus predicts the future destruction of the Temple. The overwhelming majority of scholars date the writing of the Gospel of Mark to sometime between 65-75 CE. That means that it is possible that the prophecy about the destruction of the Temple occurred before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. If this is the case, then it is certainly possible that Jesus did make this prophesy. But, it is also possible that this prophecy was simply a lucky guess, either by Jesus or by the author of Mark. The author of Mark, writing in 65-69 CE, knew that trouble was brewing between the Jews and the Romans as the Jewish-Roman Wars started at about that time, and predicting a Roman triumph, knew that the destruction of the Temple, the last place where Jewish authority had been allowed under Roman rule, would be the probable outcome of a failed Jewish revolt. If the Romans won the Jewish-Roman War, everyone knew the Temple was doomed.

                      So this “prophecy” has four possible explanations:

                      –Jesus did have fortune-telling powers
                      –Jesus made a lucky guess
                      –Jesus never said this, the author of Mark made a lucky guess and invented Jesus making a prophecy about the Temple before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
                      –the author of Mark, writing after 70 CE and knowing all about the destruction of the Temple, invented the prophecy to make it look like Jesus had fortune-telling powers.

                      If we were talking about a prophesy from any another religion, I will bet that you would assume that the correct answer is 2, 3, or 4. So why do you assume the answer is 1 for your religion? The chances are very high, based on the evidence, that this prophecy was an invention of the author of Mark.

                      I suggest the answer is: You have a bias; you WANT the prophecy to be real. You are not using good critical thinking skills, my friend.

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                    2. I will answer to the best of my ability, of which unfortunately I do not claim is prodigious. I am mostly self educated in Bible study. I am, however, very confident in my thinking skills.
                      I can turn your argument against you.
                      You want the prophesy to be a good guess, or written after the fact, or written by someone else, etc etc You have about as much proof for your opinion as I do of mine. I find 2, 3, and 4 possibilities not very compelling, in light of the willingness of the disciples of Jesus Christ, who ran away in terror when He was arrested, to subsequently boldly proclaim His gospel. The only logical explanation is their witness to the resurrection. What possible motivation could they all have to make up stories that would end them up on some ancient torture device?
                      John Mark was a close associate of Peter’s, I’m sure you know, and probably got much of his material from him. I wonder if anyone thought of the possibility that Mark also used written material from Matthew. It seems quite possible to me that Matthew wrote notes of Jesus’ sayings and doings.

                      “Bottom line, the authorship of ALL the Gospels is disputed, that is a fact.” Of course, the authorship of the entire Bible is disputed.
                      I do not give great credence to Roman Catholic scholars, sorry to say. They misinterpret scripture to fit their belief systems, eg their doctrine of purgatory and the perpetual virginity of Mary.

                      As far as what most experts think, yes we need to turn to the experts. We all know that probably countless times the experts all concurred on things that proved to be totally false. So I read what they say and why, and where they are coming from, and make up my own mind.

                      I was thinking about something you said.
                      “If Jesus did the many amazing feats that the Gospels claim he performed, why would Josephus write more about John the Baptist than he would Jesus?” [Politically expedient? He was self- serving, you must admit] “And why was Philo completely silent about Jesus even though he wrote a substantial amount regarding Pilate”[He wrote on philosophy, not history; he was contemporaneous with Jesus, and living in Egypt he may simply not have heard of Him]
                      “I think the answer is simple: Jesus was just not the big deal that the Gospels make him out to be.” Ok now my turn to ask a question. Please name another lowly peasant from any age, any country, around whose birth the entire world measures time by? I would say that’s a pretty big deal.

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                    3. I find 2, 3, and 4 possibilities not very compelling, in light of the willingness of the disciples of Jesus Christ, who ran away in terror when He was arrested, to subsequently boldly proclaim His gospel. The only logical explanation is their witness to the resurrection. What possible motivation could they all have to make up stories that would end them up on some ancient torture device?

                      Answer: They were mistaken. They were sincerely mistaken. They sincerely believed that Jesus had appeared to some of them when in fact he had not. They had experienced illusions (bright lights, shadows), mistaken identities (seeing someone on a hill in the distance that looked like Jesus), vivid dreams, trances, delusions, and hallucinations. History is full of cases of hysterical religious fanatics claiming to have seen something bizarre.

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                    4. As far as what most experts think, yes we need to turn to the experts. We all know that probably countless times the experts all concurred on things that proved to be totally false. So I read what they say and why, and where they are coming from, and make up my own mind.

                      So you are the final authority on all issues? Doesn’t sound very wise to me. Educated people trust expert opinion. They do not spend a few hours on the internet or reading a few books and then decide that they know more than the consensus of experts. You are not using good critical thinking skills. Did you graduate from a university?

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                    5. Ok now my turn to ask a question. Please name another lowly peasant from any age, any country, around whose birth the entire world measures time by? I would say that’s a pretty big deal.

                      Mohammad.

                      (The entire earth does not measure time by Jesus of Nazareth. Only Christian Europe and Christian America did that. Note that today most educated people do not use “BC” and “AD”, we use “BCE” and “CE”. Jesus’ time has come and gone in the educated West.)

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                    6. Years ago at a museum on the West Coast I remember the bewilderment of a small boy who was on vacation with his family from what I’m guessing was somewhere in the Middle East -that is, I believe he was Arabic in this case- asking his father about a description of ancient military battles when the dates were such and such BC and AD. He had no idea what any of that meant, and his father had to explain to him that in North America and some other parts of the world that’s how they measure time. they were speaking in English so they must’ve had some familiarity with the west but obviously not enough to use our calendar.

                      Like

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