This is a guest post courtesy of Justin Schieber (his third in a month!). One more and I’ll have to put him on the payroll.
Justin here offers a reply to my challenge to the Reasonable Doubts doubtcasters to demonstrate how Christian beliefs are clearly false. This thoughtful statement is yet more evidence why, whatever my differences with RD, I continue to listen to and enjoy their podcast.
And so now let’s turn things over to Justin.
* * *
I should start by saying these are my (Justin Schieber) own thoughts and I cannot assume to speak for anyone else on the show. I also want to thank Randal for challenging us in regards to this.
I first want to retract something I’ve said in comments below – speaking as ‘Reasonable Doubts’. I had said that we certainly have used ‘bullshit’ to describe Christianity. I must retract this because, outside of the one example that was out of context as Jeremy has already demonstrated, I honestly cannot think of any other time that word was used to describe Christianity on our show. I hope that, if I am wrong, I will be corrected by Randal or our own listeners so I may retract further. With things as flexible as Christian truth claims, it’s entirely unjustified to say that all logically possible versions of it are clearly false to any rational person. It’s sometimes easy to forget that we live in the United States where a significant slice of the population does hold to a form of christianity (young earth creationism) that clearly is, pardon my french, absolute bullshit. I think Randal would agree with me here. The question of whether the elasticity of Christian truth claims and interpretations is a virtue or a vice is something I won’t be commenting on at the moment.
Secondly, I should also want to speak more carefully about what I mean when I implied that that would have been unsurprising. What would be unsurprising is if we were to call a particular invalid inference something akin to ‘bullshit’ as a bit of careless hyperbole. But as to calling all possible full forms of Christian belief obviously false to any rational person, I would not want to make that claim. I would want to make the significantly less bold claim that I have not yet come across any arguments for any form of Christianity which leads me to think it is probably true.
All that said, my co-hosts and I very much appreciate criticism as long as it is in proper context, avoids being petty and grasps the points we are actually making – which Randal usually achieves. We’d like to think ourselves as not too proud to admit our oversteps in part because thoughtful criticism can only make the Reasonable Doubts Podcast a better skeptical guide to religion.