In discussions in my philosophy class, we are sometimes encouraged to take on the role of apologist for various religions. I find it quite difficult as I haven't encountered any form of debate from an apologist that wasn't evasive and vague to the point of irritating me and I certainly don't want to be vague, evasive, and irritating. Any ideas? Have you guys ran into any somewhat formidable arguments (regardless of the religion)?

Tags: Philosophy, apologist, argue, argument, debate, discuss, discussion, religion

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No. Try to get your teacher fired.
We're acting as apologists for ancient religions, not judeo-christian religions. I find it to be an interesting challenge. I don't intend on getting my professor fired, I'm trying to figure out how to intelligently defend something that's ridiculous.
Sorry, I thought about it for a while but I can't find any. Maybe trying to fit with the dominant culture?

Blaise Pascal wasn't an idiot, although he certainly was a mystic. Maybe you could give his theological works a quick look and find something.
I'll look him up, thanks.
I find arguing for positions that I do not agree with to be difficult if not impossible. Apologetics is especially tough since all religions are based on an appeal to emotion in the first place.

Basically, you'll need to put yourself in the mindset of a believer. This means kissing logic goodbye on your way out the door to go cheat on her with your mistress, fallacy!

Not knowing which religions you need to argue for or against, here are some pointers that seem to help real life apologists:

1) Believe in the supernatural. Or at least act like it. There is something beyond this physical plain and that is the realm of the gods. You will need to tailor your arguments about the supernatural so it supports your gods and no others.

2) The afterlife exists. Fear for the immortal soul and where one may spend eternity is the basis of many a religion as this is the part that has practical relevance to most people. god created the heavens and the Earth? That's nice. Be good or you'll go to hell? Holy mother fucking shit! I'd better straighten up.

3) Weak evidence is evidence. No matter how poor the evidence may seem to the rational mind, to the believer it is rock solid.

4) Ask questions the other side cannot answer. If they have no answer, then your answer must be true.


The thing about apologetics is that all apologist engage in bullshit as defined by Harry Frankfurt in his essay On Bullshit

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose."

I am not sure what the point your teacher is trying to get across, but if you want to do well, put yourself into this mindset. Be vague. Be evasive. Be irritating. You will likely learn more about the mindset of an apologist if you actually do as they do rather than actually try to be reasonable and offer solid arguments. What's the fun in that? Where's the truth in that? Your classmates will hate debating with you and your teacher should give you high marks for this.

Because there are no formidable arguments for religion. Especially from Pascal (see the intellectual dishonesty that is Pascal's Wager). So don't bother looking for any. Especially not to support ancient and dead religions. So just be all fire and brimstone, and never ever admit defeat even when someone has you on the floor licking up your own piss. Be delusional.

That's my advice.
Pretend like the religion is true. You need no facts, only your feelings which are personal proof directly from the god of your chosen religion (personal revelation). Then challenge anyone to disprove that your feelings are genuine. (It displaces the burden from empirical evidence onto something that can't be disproved.)

And have fun with it -- the more absurd, the better. You know, gods need to eat too! That's why sacrifices have to be made; god eats souls for nourishment (soul food). Every living thing requires an energy source, something to consume, to continue living. It all makes perfect sense.
The whole point is to understand the religion more. If people are criticizing it, he'll act as an apologist and vice-versa if people are trying to convey the religion's points. The goal isn't take make people believe it. Right now we're doing Hinduism and it seems to contradict itself even more than christianity in my opinion. We're reading the Baghavad Gita.

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