Beware of folks who engage in goal-post shifting. This is an informal logical fallacy in which one party shifts the rules for victory after a debate has already begun.
For a great example, we can begin with a tweet I posted this past week:
According to historic Christianity, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago in a backwater of the Roman Empire is bringing healing to the entire cosmos, a universe which, at last count, encompasses more than two trillion galaxies.
— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) February 19, 2019
Enter Ed Babinski who tweeted a meme in reply:
— Edward T. Babinski (@edwardtbabinski) February 21, 2019
Ed clearly intends this meme to constitute an objection to my original tweet. We can reconstruct the underlying reasoning as follows: All things being equal, one ought to be skeptical of odd claims: the odder the claim, the more skeptical one should be. The claims of western monotheisms are very odd. Therefore, we ought to be very skeptical of those claims.
For the sake of argument, I set aside obvious problems with the meme. For example, it is no part of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam to assume that God only acts on planet earth. That’s an absurd claim, actually. But as I said, I decided to focus instead upon the main objection, namely that God’s salvific action is uniquely tied to this planet and the human population on it.
Since I don’t find this odd, and I don’t find Ed’s personal incredulity to constitute a good reason for me to reconsider my views, I replied as follows:
“Nope. If you have an argument why they should, please do share.”
So now we have the parameters of debate established. I have described Christian belief, Ed has offered an oddness rebuttal, and I’ve defused that rebuttal by pointing out it is person-relative.
Ed replied like this:
“No, Randal, If YOU have an argument demonstrating that the Bible is inspired cover to cover, please share.”
See how he’s shifting goalposts? He begins by presenting an oddness objection to a specific Christian doctrine about salvation. When I point out that his objection is as meritless as a counterfeit Eagle Scout sash, he then insists that I provide an argument that “the Bible is inspired cover to cover…”
Sadly, I find this kind of behavior to be all-too-common among critics of Christianity. They present a bad argument against Christianity and then, once challenged, insist that I am obliged to present a good argument for Christianity. Of course, I regularly present arguments for Christianity: I’ve written and co-written several books devoted to those topics. But it’s essential to recognize that this new demand is nothing more than an attempt to shift the goalposts from a failed objection.