Sunday, May 25, 2014

The latest atheist scholar God-slayer...

...stinks up the joint.

On Saturday, May 24 “Unbelievable” with Justin Brierley hosted a discussion/debate between Peter Boghossian, the atheist bigot and author of A Manual for Creating Atheists, and the brilliant Christian philosopher Tim McGrew. If you haven’t heard it yet you can listen to it here.
The discussion starts off with the two bizarre definitions of “faith” that Boghossian presents in his book: “belief without evidence” (23) and “pretending to know things you don’t know.” (24) (You can see my discussion of those two definitions here.)  McGrew points out that Boghossian has presented pseudo-definitions which do not represent the way the concept of “faith” is used by Christians or anybody else. As he notes, Mark Twain and a smattering of other religious critics have offered satirical definitions of faith along these lines, but that is hardly support for Boghossian’s serious proposal. Further, McGrew points out that Boghossian’s definitions are not in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Instead, the first definition contained in the OED represents the mainstream use of the concept of faith as something like trust or confidence in. And that is broadly the definition that McGrew defends in the debate, though he notes that faith includes an existential dimension.
Boghossian doesn’t even try to defend his absurd second definition (that is, “pretending to know things you don’t know”). It is as if the man recognizes that at that moment his own rhetoric got the better of him, but he is unwilling to admit it.

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