Convenient Explanations

by Luke Nix

A Convenient Explanation Offered
As a defender of Christianity I want to be sure that I am engaging with the most powerful evidence for opposing worldviews. Engaging with weak evidence tends to show that I am unaware of the more powerful evidence or simply cannot answer the more powerful evidence- both of which often would result in my arguing against a straw man. In so many of my discussions with fellow Christians about different worldviews I like to play “devil’s advocate.” This is my effort to inform them of the stronger evidence for opposing worldviews and give them some pointers for responding to what skeptics will use to show their worldview as true.

The other day I was in discussion with several friends about naturalism. We were discussing some of the weaknesses of the view from a scientific perspective. One person confidently offered a challenge and explained that there was no way for naturalism to explain the observations he cited. Now, I’m no supporter of naturalism; however, I explained to him how a naturalist could not only explain the observations, but that their models even predict the observation he cited. His response was a dismissive, “well, how convenient.”

Christians Do It Too
The first thing I want to point out is that there is nothing wrong with having a “convenient” belief in a worldview. In Christianity it is quite convenient that God is concerned with building the character of His people. This addresses the logical problem of evil. It is convenient that God is a God of

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justice as well as love. This addresses the problem with the existence of external punishment. It is convenient that God is not merely an engineer, but also an artist. This can address the challenges to superfluous or bad designs in nature. All three of these “convenient” beliefs are used to address common challenges to Christianity. We should not dismiss “convenient” beliefs in other worldviews just because it addresses one of our critiques.

Being A “Sore Loser” In Discussion
Second, if this response had been offered to someone who actually holds the position I was defending, it would have been taken as very disrespectful, illogical, anti-scientific and likely would have closed off further conversation, not only on the scientific issues, but also salvific issues. I am very glad that my friend was in the company of people who hold similar views. In the “safe” environment of Christian friends, it can be shown why such a response as that one is actually quite detrimental to conversations of science and faith, and what a more productive response may sound like.

Be Gentle and Respectful
So, how should we respond when someone offers an explanation that addresses our critique consistently in their worldview? The first thing that we need to do is grant that they have made a very good point and you can see how what they have offered makes sense from their perspective…

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