Oh yes, very compelling

This is quite funny. Christianity Today did a survey asking ‘What do you think is the most compelling argument for Christianity? ‘ The choices are: 1) The exquisiteness of the physical world; 2) The reliability of the Scriptures; 3) The life and character of Jesus; 4) Christianity’s positive influence on culture and individuals; 5) The experiences of individuals; 6) Something else.

Notice anything about the arguments? They’re not arguments! They’re so not arguments. They’re not even gestures at arguments – they wouldn’t be arguments even if you generously supplied some missing steps. Well I suppose 2 could be if some facts were completely different – if the ‘Scriptures’ actually were ‘reliable’ and if they didn’t contradict themselves all over the place. But the others?

The ‘exquisiteness’ of the physical world for instance? Which exquisiteness? That of shit? Tumors? Pus? Maggots? Wet rotting vegetation? Rotting corpses? But okay, suppose you restrict that ‘argument’ to hummingbirds and fuschias and cheetahs and sunsets – what is the argument? Sunsets are pretty therefore Jesus died and was resurrected? I don’t quite follow. Same with the life and character of the guy himself. One, it’s a mixed bag, not to say contradictory (see above), and two, that might be the start of an argument for emulating Jesus in certain selective ways, but it’s not an argument that Jesus died and was resurrected, or that he’s God. 4 of course is a bluntly utilitarian argument for why Christianity is a social good, but I take ‘compelling argument for Christianity’ to mean ‘compelling argument for the truth of Christianity’ – but maybe that’s my misunderstanding. Then there’s 5 – the experiences of individuals as a compelling argument for Christianity. I have an inner sense that Jesus is God – there’s your compelling argument (or do you have to multiply it by a billion to make it compelling? I’m a little behind on the technical aspects of these compelling arguments). It seems weak, because what if you have an inner sense that your cat is God? Or perhaps by ‘experiences’ is meant ‘I was upset so I turned to Jesus and I felt better.’ But then, again, you could still substitute your cat.

Of course there’s always ‘Something else.’ That’s probably the one reserved for all the actual compelling arguments. The ones that we never actually…quite…see.

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