This is an opinion post and does not necessarily represent the views of the Secular Alliance at IU.
On Saturday, February 2nd, five Secular Alliance members travelled to Purdue University for a Christian Apologetic conference. Why the hell were a bunch of atheists going to a Christian apologetic conference? Not because we wanted to cause ourselves pain or anything like that. On Friday the conference hosted a debate titled “Is Faith in God Reasonable?” and it was telecasted here at IU by CRU and SAIU. We were going to travel to Purdue with CRU, however they cancelled for weather.
The five of us tried to separate and go to a variety of breakout sessions. This is my account of the day. We departed from Bloomington at 6:30 am and arrived at Purdue just as the first talk began. William Lane Craig started with a talk titled “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ”. This first talk definitely set my expectations for the rest of the day. Christian apologetics is completely new to me, and I was not sure what to expect. I became quickly disappointed at what seems to be a disingenuous attempt at being scholarly or thinking critically. Everything said came from inside of a very particular box (the Christian Bible) and could not be taken out. During Craig’s initial talk he used the Bible as his only source of “facts” and when someone during Q&A asked if he also had historical sources, or any extrabiblical sources, he said “you say that like the Bible isn’t enough!?”. My first thought was “OF COURSE IT ISN’T ENOUGH!”. I thought this may just be Craig being who he is, but all the other sessions were the same. Everyone has the starting place of the Bible, and they did not address their issues with the intention of finding an answer, but instead with the intention of finding proof of what they already believed.
This is not inquiry, this is not critical thinking, and this is not scholarly. I don’t know why I expected more, but if you are bound by one source and one intention, you will never find real answers. There was one talk that all of us attended, but during different session times, ”Believing in Fairy Tales? Belief and Unbelief from Childhood to Adulthood”. When I was in the talk I was with three other SAIU members. During the Q&A part and throughout the talk we asked questions regarding the studies presented and the conclusions that the psychologist was drawing. We asked tough questions and were confused at the lack of evidence provided for his conclusions. Later, one SAIU member was in that talk and was the only non-Christian. Throughout the entire talk people exclaimed “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!” and asked no critical questions of the presenter. When presented with claims the Christian attendees agreed with, they took them as fact. Even when I agree with a claim I still want to know if it is truly backed up by evidence!
Overall I was thoroughly disappointed, but it is important for some of us to be reminded that things like Christian apologetic conferences happen, and people go accepting everything that is said as truth.
P.S. At this conference I learned that Jesus is a Capitalist!! Did you know that? *facepalm*