Posted: Jun 18, 2010 7:48 am
by Will S
katja z wrote:
Will S wrote:
It would certainly be quite an undertaking to do a detailed survey of present day Christian apologists!

Oh my IPU, I wasn't asking you to do that! I know you've better things to do with your time, including staring at the ceiling ;)

I simply meant that you could mention the general orientation of the ones you have in mind - are they Catholic, Anglican, Calvinist, whatever. Except if you've read a bit (or a lot) of each and can be sure that what you're saying more or less applies to all Christian denominations? I should add that I'm a complete ignoramus when it comes to Christian apologetics, so this was just a general observation.

It's hard to be sure, but my impression is that, in general, most individual Christians and most Christian denominations have moved away from the idea that Christianity is something which can be proved.

That is, when we use the 'prove' in the same way that we do when we say that relativity or evolution can be proved, and we mean that there's very strong evidence which is almost certain to convince anybody who approaches it with intelligence and an open mind. But (and I have to recall that I do have qualifications in statistics!) I admit that I can't produce a couple of opinion surveys, done recently and 50 years ago respectively, to support this (which is not to say that such surveys don't exist).

Sorry if I risk boring the assembled company with reminiscences about 'when I were a lad', but I think it's relevant to say that, in those days, Christian denominations spent a lot of time and effort arguing with each other, and trying to convert people from one denomination to another - something which they do far less now. Obviously, you can't engage in this kind of argument, unless you think that there are facts and arguments which support your own position against that of your opponents.

Of course, the Christian denominations themselves will tell you that the warfare has died down because they have learnt better, and are more charitable these days. Personally, I think that one reason is that they have all, to some extent, lost confidence in the ammunition that they were using on each other; they've lost confidence in the idea that you can use reason to establish the truth in religious matters.