Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Argument from Placenta

Last week I heard the dumbest Christian apologetic I've ever encountered. I'll just let that sink in for a moment . . .

Ravi Zacharias was being interviewed on the Christian radio station. The interviewer mentioned a talk by Dawkins and (IIRC) Lawrence Krauss. Krauss had said that arguments against homosexuality are claimed to be based on the Bible, but that's inconsistent when the same Christians don't advocate other biblical imperatives like stoning disobedient children. The interviewer wanted to know Zacharias's answer to this.

His response was in two parts. First, he failed to address the question as such, and used a lot of meandering words to say, "Times have changed since the Bible was written." Yes, that doesn't address why we would retain some prohibitions and not others, and it's theologically problematic when Yahweh is supposed to be unchanging, but that's not even the dumbest part.

His second "argument" was to reference a story told by Dawkins about a chef cooking and serving a human placenta. He made sure to include gross and shocking details, and then said, "Is that the kind of world you want to live in?"

This is the level of discourse on the ground. All those snooty theologians who complain that atheists don't address deep theological theory need to realize that "the great apologist of our time,"* when confronted with a thorny question, replies, "But, but, but, LOOK OVER THERE - people are eating placenta - EWWWW! Therefore, Christianity."

(For the record, Dawkins recounts the placenta story in A Devil's Chaplain, where it's clear it wasn't necessarily atheists doing this, and he doesn't endorse it in any way. It was an example in his discussion of stem cell research and how we decide what is ethical and what isn't.)

*a quote from Chuck Colson, via Wikipedia

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