Friday, February 26, 2010

Local atheist talk weak on critique

The Wednesday nigh lecture in downtown Denver, Objectivism vs. Christianity, by Dr. Locke, was one hour long.  While strong on rhetoric, it was weak on argumentation.

This weakness was manifested in two different ways. First, the critique of Christianity was almost a series of unjustified assertions of what is wrong with its belief-system. Second, the analysis--the rightful basis of any critique--was almost a cornucopian presentation of how not to present an opposing viewpoint. 

The critique of Christianity, at the beginning of the talk, was naturally based upon the assumed referent of Objectivism. Unfortunately, such a viewpoint was not defended clearly at the first. Perhaps the speaker thought the audience would be mostly friendly to his views.

The problem is this: most of the "problems" offered about Christian philosophy were only legitimate critiques assuming the truthfulness of Objectivism. From a Christian worldview, this necessarily becomes one large question-begging enterprise: the very thing in debate between Christians and non-Christians is whether the one worldview or the other has the legitimate standard of right and wrong, reason and non-reason, etc.

For example, when it was asserted that the Bible's view of justice is actually "anti-justice," this assertion is only valid given the truthfulness of Objectivism and its definition of 'justice'.  As a Christian (or any non-Objectivists for that matter) I have a different standard of justice and a different definition. To merely assert that my view is wrong based upon the presumed (and unargued) position of Objectivism is to beg the larger question (to argue in a circle).

It would be another thing to demonstrate (prove) that the Christian doctrine of justice was internally inconsistent within its own worldview (philosophy). No such proof was offered.

When debating or talking about the superiority or inferiority of one broad-based philosophy or another, it is incumbent upon the initiator of the discussion to handle the entire worldview, not attack it piecemeal. Any single element in such thorough systems of thought is always dependent upon the rest.

Even so, some of the critiques, in the form of a question, are legitimate questions and I hope to answer them in future postings. The next article will analyze the second weakness of this lecture: the presented "facts" of Christianity.

   More Info: For an eye-witness account, here.

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