CHRISTIAN POWNAGE 101 | The Rational Response Squad

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I want to tell you a story of a recent debate I had. The debate was with a local fundamentalist Christian pastor. Before the debate, I learned a thing or two about the approach this pastor usually takes. I learned that he never really intended to have a real debate with me and was going to rely heavily on an appeal to ignorance and faith. He intended to ridicule me while I gave serious concise arguments by simply parrying them with faith. So, in light of this new evidence I presented the following introduction to the debate.

(Opening statement)

Rich: “I have FAITH that Christianity is completely and unequivocally false!!” --- I have just completely destroyed your religion and I am sorry but understand it was bound to happen. What will you do now that I have completely dismantled any argument you could possibly use in defense of your religion? Well I hope it all works out for you and thank you for coming.” (Gathers notes and proceeds to leave the building).

*An odd rustling of chairs and whispers permeates through the church. The congregation (now in shock) struggles frantically to come to grips with what has just transpired. About half way down the aisle I hear the pastor’s voice as he speaks very angrily into the mic*


(Still with my back towards the angry pastor)

Rich: “The debate is over; I have just proved your religion false”.

Pastor: “Simply stating that you have faith my religion is false proves absolutely nothing!”

(I stop in my tracks, turn and now armed with a mischievous grin from ear to ear say:

Rich: “Well sir, now that we have established that faith proves absolutely nothing---let’s have a debate.”

(I then proceeded to kick the living shit out of every one of his arguments with a real sense of pity for the old bastard. He really never recovered from the first 30 seconds of the debate.)

Other variants:

This technique comes in handy if you think you will have a subject that is easily baited into a trap like this. If you get no response, you can try several variants on this same theme. It’s important to give the audience enough time to process your statement of faith. It is also important that the message be communicated as loudly and clearly as possible (within reason that is). If you get no response try returning to the podium and saying something like this:

Now how many of you think I have completely dismantled your religion with that statement of faith? Did I sway you in the least? Really look into your heart or hearts and tell me what it is telling you?

(This is mumbo jumbo Xian talk, obviously the heart does not speak but they don’t know that).

Are your views any different now that they were 30 seconds ago? No, they are not are they? - Simply stating that I have faith your religion is false proved absolutely nothing. So as you have just seen, with your own feelings and emotions bearing witness - just how unpersuasive and meaningless an appeal to faith really is. Simply declaring faith proves absolutely nothing! So now that we have exposed this most illogical fallacy, let’s have a debate without faith.

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