The following is a response to a post by Nancy Pearcey to promote her book Finding Truth. She claims five points found in Romans chapter one serve as a foundation to address other worldviews.
The life-diminishing blunder of following a holy book instead of honestly examining reality is never more salient than it is in Nancy’s 5 points she extracts from Romans 1.
1. (Identify the Idol) Calling an appreciation of reason (after finding it quite reliable after a lifetime of testing) an “idol” or god-substitute is as absurd as the liberals calling George Bush a “Hitler”. This intentional linguistic distortion to poison the well speaks directly to the degree of dishonesty Nancy and other apologists are willing to employ, absurdly to defend a “god of truth”.
2. (Identify the Idol’s Reductionism) If you eliminate possible conclusions from your quest for truth as unacceptable, then you are not an honest seeker. Your psychological longing to have more intrinsic dignity than other animals is evidence of nothing. If it feels “dehumanizing” for you to be merely the product of a materialistic reality, and you, as a result reject that conclusion, you most certainly can not claim to be an honest seeker. No presuppositions are allowed for the honest seeker.
3. (Test the Worldview) Excellent! This is correct! But no cherry-picking. If you have never seen something uncaused, and you therefore conclude both that 1) the universe is caused and that 2) there is an uncaused god, you are cherry-picking. Pay honest attention to all the things you have never seen including a) a disembodied mind, b) life after death, and c) the mechanism that something “spiritual” could manipulate the physical world. If you find inexplicable contradictions on both sides, be willing to say “I don’t know”. And test well the claims of Christianity, not the least of them the Romans 1 claim that the unevangelized have enough information to make them culpable to a degree that would deserve hellfire. Test the power of prayer against the vast bodies of statistical data we have today. Test the wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit against wisdom after a good education. Assess how many logical fallacies those with the Holy Spirit commit against those without the Holy Spirit. Statistically the data for the power of the Holy Spirit in respect to divorce rates, obesity rates and crime rates in areas in which the Holy Spirit is claim to be most powerful. Yes! Test your worldview!
4. (Test the Idol) Nancy claims that every reductionist worldview contradicts itself. Yet here I remain, willing to answer questions about my worldview so that any contradictions can be exposed. Fire away. If you ignore the coherent statements of the many individuals with non-religious approaches to the world, and hunt for ideologies that are incoherent or inconsistent, you’ll find them. It’s like finding a mistake in Tommy’s equation, then claiming your own equation must be therefore correct. This is probably the biggest deception among apologists today; demonstrate someone is wrong and imply you are therefore correct.
5. (Replace the Idol) Yes, if you can find someone who is wrong, you can then dishonestly suggest your own ideology is therefore correct. And this is done all the time. Demonstrating someone else’s god (idol) is made of clay does not make your own iron god anything more than iron. This move is both irrational and dishonest.
Critical thinking is great! But let’s not pretend motivated reasoning billed as critical thinking is anything less than dishonest.