Stupid Apologist Tricks

In the spirit of fairness, here are some apologist arguments that ought to be retired:

“Oh, yeah? Well, the Bible is worse!” When someone points out an anachronism or other problem with the Book of Mormon, occasionally someone points out that similar problems or worse are present in the Bible. For someone who isn’t predisposed to believe the Bible any more than the Book of Mormon, pointing out absurdities in both texts doesn’t exactly shore up belief in either.

“Oh, yeah? Well, prophets in the Bible did way worse things than Joseph Smith ever did!” This one is closely related to the first. In response to accusations against Joseph Smith’s behavior, some apologists are quick to remind that Biblical prophets killed babies, engaged in various sexual escapades, and had obnoxious teens ripped apart by bears. Again, this doesn’t help anyone’s faith in Joseph or the Biblical prophets.

“Not all the discovery has been made.” When someone rightly points out that there is no conclusive New World archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, some apologists charge that the critics believe everything that is to be known about Mesoamerica is known, and nothing further will be discovered. This is an obvious strawman, it need not be said, as few critics would ever say something that stupid. But some apologists argue that the Nephite cities just haven’t been discovered yet, and most critics agree that it is certainly possible that some evidence will be discovered; however, it is odd that some apologists have identified what they consider strong candidates for Nephite cities, and yet these cities show no evidence of Nephites, either.

“If you can’t explain how it was done, you can’t opine on whether it happened or not.” This one is especially ridiculous. It’s normally used in the context of the Book of Mormon witnesses, but not always. The gist of it is that, if you don’t have a coherent theory to explain how someone convinced people that they saw plates or angels, you must accept that there really were plates and angels. This is like saying that if you don’t know how a magician does his tricks, you must accept that he really did cut that woman in pieces or make the Empire State Building disappear.

Advertisements

9 Responses to Stupid Apologist Tricks

  1. Tim says:

    I think the dumbest Mormon apologetic is the post-modern “we can’t really know truth outside of ourselves”. That doesn’t bode well for a modern-day prophet who is supposed to be dispensing truth to all men (or for any book of scripture).

  2. runtu says:

    Yep, I forgot about that one. That argument usually comes from the same person who insists that those who disagree with her are “fundamentalists.”

  3. I have heard the first two used a lot in dialogue pertaining to Islam and Christianity…it sort of boils the argument down to choosing between the lesser of two evils…and if that is the case then we are all in a pretty bad spot.

  4. Brittany Marie,

    Just so you know, I have started a religion wherein we worship insects. So, if you’d like, you only have to choose between the lesser of two weevils.

    Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk…

    (Runtu, I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me today).

  5. Tim says:

    Hey don’t know if this is a good place to post this question. But I don’t think I hear you mention Jesus all that often (in your life as a Morm or a former Morm). How do you react to post such as this
    http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/02/12/joseph-saved-me-from-getting-hung-up-on-christ/

  6. runtu says:

    Thanks for pointing me to that post. The author is one of my closest friends and a very good man with a great deal of integrity. The posters over there who have attacked his character should be ashamed of themselves.

    I’m still sorting out what I believe, but one of the respondents over there talked about how when you realize that Joseph Smith was peddling a fake religion, it sort of undermines the claims of other religions who use the same appeal to emotion and faith that he did.

  7. Odell says:

    Another one I heard was “that’s old stuff,” referring to claims of Joseph Smith’s treasure hunting, etc. The implication is that because the criticism is old, it has been dealt with.

  8. Honorentheos says:

    My least favorite “trick” is the focusing on one particular issue to the exclusion of the larger view. And it seems once any thread gets into something beyond the immediate question and the standard apologetic response, it dies unless someone comes along and resurrects another same ol’, same ol’ arguementative line. People will argue for days over the most idiotic things when they feel they know the answer to the question, no matter how resistent to logic the other is being. But throw in a new thought, and see how many people stick around to puzzle over it…

    Good times.

  9. Seven says:

    The one that bugs me the most is when they take scriptures out of context to fit their agenda or fall back on the excuse of the bible not being translated correctly when EV Christians win the debate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: