Re: [asa] Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Aug 18 2009 - 22:28:02 EDT

Heya George,

I've already said that, certainly, bringing someone to theism does not
guarantee that they're going to become Christian. But I don't think there's
a "risk-free" approach to this - absolutely any move you make (including
making no move at all) has a risk attached. One has to keep in mind their
message and their approach, but at the end of the day do what seems to make
the most sense. And I maintain that the approach I'm talking about makes
quite a lot of sense, specifically in the west. I wouldn't say it's the only
approach available, or that it doesn't have risks, of course. But I'd need
to hear more than "They may end up believing differently than we/you do" to
reject it, because that's the status quo for this group as is.

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> It's not at all clear to me that a person becoming just any kind of
> theist is better - i.e., closer to Christian faith - than atheism. From a
> theoretical standpoint, Christianity is very different from many varieties
> of theism. It's not without significance that the early Christians were
> accused of being atheists by the pagans. If you ask many of the people who
> "believe in God" what God they believe in, you may have to say "I don't
> believe in that God either." & practically, being a member of many theistic
> communities (e.g., Islam) introduces constraints against acceptance of
> Christianity that are not felt by atheists. & even the "mere theist" may
> have settled upon notions about God that that make it difficult to take
> seriously the belief that the real God is revealed in a man dying on cross.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Schwarzwald <>
> *To:*
> *Sent:* Monday, August 17, 2009 9:18 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments
> ...........................................
> George Murphy: I really do believe that you are correct when you talk about
> there being a danger in making use of mere theistic arguments. However, I'd
> simply point out that there's danger in just about every apologetic approach
> - get an atheist to accept the existence of a grand designer or creator and
> for all you know you've just turned him into a hindu (I'd point out that
> with CS Lewis, this was apparently a very live possibility early on) or
> something else. At the same time, I'd consider an atheist becoming a hindu,
> a panentheist, an idealist, a pagan, or a "mere theist" to be progress. In
> other words, if we're thinking purely pragmatically here, I'm tempted to
> take a Pascal-like view - whatever danger there may be in using arguments
> for mere theism in discussion with agnostics or practical atheists, it's
> outweighed by the danger/detriment of the status quo being maintained with
> them. I'll put this again bluntly: I'd much rather deal with a mere theist
> of just about any stripe rather than the alternative, because at least the
> mere theist can be expected to take the question of God seriously.
> ...........................................

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Received on Tue Aug 18 22:28:46 2009

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