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Stupidity and circular arguments

by Findo on November 17th, 2010

How easily I forget how I dislike YouTube comments. Perhaps it’s a case of SIWOTI syndrome, but one comment never remains so.

I had a little down time yesterday morning, and didn’t feel like writing anything serious so took the time to read some articles online and watch some videos, including a couple by TFT regular  ASkegg. His videos are always well put together and generally interesting and thought provoking (even if I don’t always agree) – well worth checking out. One of his recent ones is a defence of calling Christians stupid:

I made the comment that his definition of faith is a strawman (I have dealt with this particular strawman before) and was soon reminded of the aforementioned dislike of YouTube comments, and regretted that I had forgotten my shunning of such.

It’s a horrible commenting system. It’s confusing and difficult to find comments when notified that a reply has been made, and that is reason enough. But I was also frustrated by the repetition and unthinking of some of the commentors. One particular circular argument was repeated sevral times to me, sometimes by the same person! If I were to paraphrase it, it would go something like this:

Me: That’s a strawman. Christian faith is trust based on reason, experience and evidence.
Commenter: No, that can’t be because faith is belief not based on evidence.
Me: That’s a circular argument, as you’re just using the premise being criticised.
Commenter: No, it’s not circular, because faith is belief not based on evidence.
Me: sigh.

Anyhow, enough frustrations. I did have another question for the video, which got lost in the circular fray:

I fail to see how Andrew is not special pleading when he says that Christianity is stupid and makes people stupid, but that his wife is a Christian, but not stupid. Surely if trusting in and following Christ is stupid, and makes people stupid, then anyone who trusts in and follows Christ is, logically, stupid or being made stupid?

In any case, I don’t think Christianity is stupid, or makes people stupid, and I certainly don’t think Mrs Skegg or anyone else is stupid if they  happen to trust and follow Christ.

From → christianity, faith, video

2 Comments
  1. "I fail to see how Andrew is not special pleading when he says that Christianity is stupid and makes people stupid, but that his wife is a Christian, but not stupid."

    To my mind, almost all religions require the belief in quite far fetched ideas without sufficient evidence to maintain such belief. This includes Christianity. Once a member of the faithful truly believes a holy book is the inspired word of god, it's often not a large step to valuing the divine words over evidence and reason – especially when Jesus himself says things like:

    ""Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." – Jesus

    What do you think Jesus meant by this? Demand evidence before you belief, or you are blessed if you believe without evidence?

    In any case, I will address your rather person question just this once. My wife places reason and evidence before her faith and NOT the other way around. She believes anything for which there is sufficient evidence, then places her faith in the gaps – like so many other Christians I know.

    It is preciously because she (and many like her) relegate faith secondary to reason and evidence that prevents them from becoming truly stupid. Without reason, faith will leave you drifting the seas of reality without a sail, rudder, or compass.

    • Once a member of the faithful truly believes a holy book is the inspired word of god, it's often not a large step to valuing the divine words over evidence and reason – especially when Jesus himself says things like:

      Is that a round about way of saying that Christianity only makes you stupid if you hold to biblical inspiration, and that your wife doesn't, and is thus exempt?

      What do you think Jesus meant by this?

      I wrote about John 20 here already.

      In any case, I will address your rather person question just this once. My wife places reason and evidence before her faith and NOT the other way around.

      Well, you did bring it up, which means it's not out of bounds.

      She believes anything for which there is sufficient evidence, then places her faith in the gaps – like so many other Christians I know.

      I think the same way. I think there is sufficient evidence for the resurrection, and the rest falls into place from there. Somehow I get the feeling you think I'm a bit stupid though.

      It is preciously because she (and many like her) relegate faith secondary to reason and evidence that prevents them from becoming truly stupid.

      "Truly stupid"? Is it a binary thing or sliding scale?

      Without reason, faith will leave you drifting the seas of reality without a sail, rudder, or compass.

      Well, no one around these parts is arguing for faith divorced from reason. ;)

      Thanks for responding though.

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