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Stump the Professor

The Campus Crusade for Christ at UCI is has invited a certain Jon Rittenhouse to stand in front of an audience and defend his faith. They kindly offer a prize of $100 to anyone if they ask a question to which he is unable to give a satisfactory answer (as judged by a panel consisting of one unassertive atheist, a UCI professor, and a CCC member). I don’t expect to receive any money for my efforts at the event (as Jon has been doing this for quite awhile, and is most probably a gifted orator) but I do want to provide myself with a quick list of some arguments to use against him.

  • The Hitchen Challenge: Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.
  • Gay Love of David and Jonathan: article with scripture citation and wikipedia
  • Epicurius’ Riddle:

    If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to: Then He is not omnipotent.
    If He is able, but not willing: Then He is malevolent.
    If He is both able and willing: Then whence cometh evil?
    If He is neither able nor willing: Then why call Him God?”

  • Biblican Inaccuracies: an intro page and infidel list of scripture
    A quick point: Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel? God (2 Samuel 24:1) or Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)?
  • Pascal’s Wager: rational wiki
  • Also remember: PBS did a special called “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”
    • The Old Testament was written in the sixth century BC and hundreds of authors contributed.
    • Abraham, Sarah and their offspring didn’t exist.
    • There is no archaeological evidence of the Exodus.
    • Monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.
    • The Israelites were actually Canaanites.
    • The Israelites believed that God had a wife.
  • Baron Raglan wrote a book titled “The Hero” which sets forth a formula for successful mythological heroes.
  • Hector Avalos has a book that sets forth the idea that Christianity was an Old World Heath movement (this explains why there is such a focus on miraculous healing
  • Why does Jesus ever ask God for help with anything, if God == Jesus?
  • The great plan for salvation:
    John Bice in “A 21st Century Rationalist in Midieval America” says:

    They believe that a man named Jesus — whose return they have been anxiously awaiting for nearly 2,000 years — was born of a virgin and physically resurrected after death. They believe an all-powerful and all-loving God (a three-in-one multipurpose Ï‹ber-being consisting of a Father, Son, and some ill-defined entity called the “Holy Ghost”) sent Jesus, his son, who is also himself, to earth to be brutally tortured and killed for humanity’s collective sins. Further, they believe that only by accepting this story, and through a steadfast faith in Jesus, and his convolutedly meaningless “sacrifice,” can any human being travel the path toward eternal salvation. An eternity burning in hell awaits the rest of humanity for finite sins committed during a single lifetime.

    Julia Sweeny in “Letting Go of God” mentions:

    Why would a God create people so imperfect, then blame them for their own imperfections, then send his son to be murdered by those imperfect people to make up for how imperfect those people were, and how imperfect they were inevitably going to be?

2 comments to Stump the Professor

  • I especially enjoyed the Krispy Kreme episode.

    We need a “morning before” donut.

    Budd Ruff

  • Nice to see you stop by! I should have posted an update about this last week, but life has a way of intervening.

    One, I was too patient with letting others in the audience ask questions, I didn’t muster the courage to ask one of mine until it was too late, and he decided to stop answering questions.

    I figure he lost about 3-400 dollars, but I don’t know exactly. There were 2 stumps, and I forgot the exact questions.

    One person had a question regarding the order of creation events in the first two chapters of Genesis. Apparently the Sun is created on day 3 in one account, and Light on day 1 in the other account. Though he rambled quite a bit about reference frames, he never really answered the question about “How did God create light before he created the source of said light?”. Interestingly enough, our AAR judge ruled that the rambling answer was unsatisfactory, while the UCI prof rambled without a clear ruling, and the CCC judge agreed with the AAR ruling.

    Another person had specific questions about specific passages, the one I remember being: Who inspired David to do a census, God (2SA 24:1) or Satan (1CH 21:1). His general question being “If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, why all these inconsistencies?” The speaker claim, with this example, that it is possible for God and Satan to work in concert (with an atheist heckling: The Dynamic Duo!). Though he wasn’t able to answer all such questions because he lacked exact knowledge of every biblical passage. The judges ruled this a fair technicality.

    I remember a different person was arguing that the Mind was an epiphenomenon of the Brain, and that a Soul was therefore an unnecessary hypothesis. Despite a great deal of largely uncoordinated rambling by the speaker, this person was paid off simply so that the discussion could move on to other questions.

    My friend Alex asked “Would God approve the smoking of marijuana?” This recieved a good laugh by the audience. The speaker replied that though it’s not addressed specifically, there was one passage that effectively said “don’t take drugs” and alcohol was mentioned specifically, and recommended only in moderation. So we could imply that marijuana should be prohibited except in medicinal use.

    All in all, I thought that the speaker faced a fairly hostile crowd. There were a number of people that had come prepared with questions, and nobody was there expected to be converted. There was also a good amount of heckling, especially from the very center of the room (where there were two rows of people from AAR, and their friends). Personally I attend for the entertainment of discussion, not even expecting money, but also not expecting to hear any arguments that would sway my opinions. My expectations were all met, and my only disappointments were that the speaker rambled too much, and not all of his arguments were entirely clear; none of them were succinct.

    My roomate, Josh, was disappointed in me, because I wasn’t attending to learn anything about Christian Faith or Belief; I was attenting with a closed mind. He’s right, but I neither care, nor consider it a major drawback for this particular type of event.

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