After my linking in a Facebook forum to yesterday's introductory blogpost, someone made the following pithy comment:
"Steve, you have not been investigating Christianity. You have not been writing in a manner that admits to investigation. You have written in a way that shows that you have ruled it out. You have been seeking agreement from others to rule it out as well. Calling a non-investigation an investigation is like calling ad hominem argument debate."
This is how I replied:
"I admit that I begin my investigation with the strong assumption that traditional, exoteric Christian teachings are absurd and nonsensical, just as most Christians "investigating" atheism [or other religions] would probably begin with similarly strong convictions against atheism [or other religions]. Having said that, I do want to understand the arguments for Christian teachings as thoroughly as I understand their counterarguments and to be as fair to both sides in my blogging as I can possibly be. That's the best I can do, and I will try my best to do my best."
I think my Facebook critic raises a good point. When I read and write about Christianity, it's always with the intent of debunking the faith. But does this guarantee that I can't give the best arguments for the faith a fair hearing? Josh McDowell, one of the most popular Christian apologists ever, supposedly came to the faith after setting out to debunk it. No doubt many others have taken a similar path to Christianity. So, who's to say that I can't give the faith a reasonably fair hearing despite what my motives may be starting out?