Of course, you can argue with a Fundagelical, but it won’t get you anywhere. When I attended my Fundagelical Christian High School, we were required to take a class in apologetics. Apologetics was explained to us as “defending the faith.” We were taught the basics of argumentation and logic, but not for the purpose of evaluating what we believed; it was for the destruction of what others believed.
Fundagelical apologetics “defends the faith.” In other words, the truth is predetermined; the truth is not to be questioned or examined; if someone believes differently or questions what you believe, then you must defeat them with apologetics.
Think of Fundagelical apologetics like building a fortress around a set of beliefs and then patrolling the battlement walls constantly to protect that set of beliefs. Fundagelicals are, in general, young-earth creationists. They believe the earth to be a little over 6,000 years old. If a paleontologist says a fossil is millions of years old, you question how they got to that age. If they reply “Carbon 14 dating”, you are armed to denounce the inaccuracy of Carbon 14 dating. If a geologist says the sedimentary layers of the Grand Canyon were created over millions of years, you reply that catastrophism explains how the Grand Canyon could have been created in the Flood of Noah. (yes, I know it doesn’t really, it’s alternative facts.)
Fundagelicals see reason and logic as weapons to attack the beliefs of others and defend their pre-determined truth. Logic and reason must never be used to examine the truth you are taught by religious leaders; after all, it was given to us by God Himself in the inerrant Bible.
Ask any philosophy or science teacher at a Community College or University, and they have encountered Christian freshmen who are ready to do battle with the evil secular forces that infest these liberal secular institutions. Often these young “on fire” believers are filled with inaccurate information and have only debated against straw men in the apologetics class.
I’ve seen many a young Christian launch what they believe is a devastating argument against a science teacher only to be met with a quizzical look. The science teacher patiently explains that the straw man they so handily dealt a death blow doesn’t exist. Christian apologetics is decades behind in what the rational world actually believes.
When a Christian is questioned, when logic is applied to their beliefs, then the defense is “the Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.” They pat themselves on the back and tell the tale to other Christians of how Satan tried to attack their beliefs.
It’s pointless to argue with a Fundagelical. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis, speaking through the demon Screwtape says this about humans “It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time, the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved, they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning.”
Fundagelicals have disconnected thinking and doing. If you show how their beliefs are irrational, they don’t re-evaluate, they hold up the “Shield of faith” and retreat back to the safety of a church full of people who think just like them. They will listen to the Youth Pastor, and Senior Pastor tell stories of how they defeated evolutionists and atheists with devastating arguments and will be consoled.
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I never had to deal with a fundagelical, I never really cared to much to learn any one point of view when it came to religion. But now that I am doing my walk with God. I know I am LOVE by God, he forgave my sins. I still don’t care what a Fundagelical person might think.
Great post RC.