…Is it just me, or do ex-pentecostal pastors/faith healers make the most insanely irrational and venomous militant atheists, or what?
I’m thinking specifically of Hector Avalos, and more specifically Dan Barker.
Not only are they really angry, but they’re really arrogant.
In the last several weeks, while working at church, I’ve listened to:
Avalos vs. William Lane Craig (on resurrection)
Barker vs. Manatta (on existence of God)
Barker vs. Friel (on existence of God)
Barker vs. Licona (on resurrection)
Barker vs. Wilson (on existence of God)
Barker vs. D’souza (08) (on existence of God)
Barker vs. D’souza (09) (on existence of God)
Barker vs. Kyle Butt. (on existence of God)
And after listening to that all, I’m astonished at how arrogant Dan Barker is. It’s amazing. It’s unfathomable.
He says (vs. Friel and many) that he could have designed the universe better than it is if God would have let him do it.
He says (vs. Wilson) that Moses didn’t know Hebrew as well as he does. (Maybe he could help us understand the proper pronunciation of the tetragrammaton?).
He says (vs. Licona) that he knows Greek better than Dan Wallace, though he admits to taking 2 years of Greek whilst Dan Wallace has taught if for 20+ years and has written several Greek textbooks, one of which is the standard intermediate textbook everywhere I know of…)
He says (vs. many) that the Bible is the “worst” source to quote because of all it’s “contradictions” (all of which are really weak and suggest Barker never had any sort of example of hermeneutics in his earlier years…) and he claims to be competent in the original languages (which I think means “able to read them”, not understanding the syntax or exegetical significance of any of the genres, figures of speech, poetic devices, etc.)
What’s the most bizarre is how he makes so much of his case on the idea that he used to be “the most Christian guy ever” because he worked with Kathryn Kuhlman and was preaching when he was 15. He talks about how he was a faith healer (vs. Friel he admits that he did it, knowing it was a sham, for 4 months before he left Christianity…?!?) and he talks about how he always used to evangelize with the “If drugs don’t help, try Jesus” kind of gospel.
Is it any wonder that a smart guy got exposed to the lunatic fringe and found it intellectually unsatisfying? I would love to debate him and simply ask him “what if you were part of a lunatic fringe (i.e. false) version of Christianity?” Either that, or I’d agree with much of what he says and explain “I don’t know why you keep attacking a god who isn’t the God of the scripture!” I hope James White does that when he debates him. No kidding.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “The Armchair Theologian” Unger