IOKIYG

I was approached over lunch by a couple of student fundies trying to convert me to Christianity.

They started with a slow buildup about whether matter and energy are all that exist, or whether it’s possible that the supernatural exists. I asked them to define “supernatural”, since as far as I can tell, that word simply means “magic”. They said “something beyond the natural world”. I asked them to explain what that means, exactly, but they just sort of floundered around.

Here’s a hint: if you can’t explain what it is that you believe in, how can you hope to convince someone else that it exists?

They went on to say that relative morality is bad because you can’t say that genocide is bad. In order to denounce someone like Hitler, apparently you need absolute morality. I asked them for specifics, and they said that rape and theft, or telling someone to do these things, are absolutely wrong. So naturally asked whether, when (on God’s orders, presumably), or when Jesus told his disciples to steal a horse, that was immoral.

Ah, but it’s okay when God does it. So I guess absolute morality is kinda relative.

But that’s okay, because only Christianity provides a framework with which to make sense of things like morality. I asked how they thought non-Christians manage to do it. One of the fundies said that “Well, when you look at things like morality, you’re doing it within your own mental framework.” So I guess Christianity is the only system in which things make sense, aside from all the others.

I made the obvious rebuttal: that they were arguing that belief in a god is useful, not that it’s correct. To which they said that no, they also think that God exists. So I asked what method they use to determine what’s true and what isn’t. The same guy said that they believe the Bible: if it’s in the Bible, it’s true.

Leaving aside the circular reasoning of this approach (which he conceded), I asked whether this approach was reliable, i.e., if “it says so in the Bible” leads you to believe that X is true, is it a safe bet that X is, in fact, objectively true. So naturally I had to ask about cockatrices and unicorns in the Bible, and whether bats are fowl. I actually showed them this last passage, and they mumbled something about how different translations use different words (FYI, the NIV says “birds”; so does the NASB and NKJV). So evidently what the Bible says is always true, except when it’s not.

I would have gone on, but my lunch hour was up and I had to leave. Ah, well. Maybe next time.

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