Saturday, March 17, 2012

10 Questions for the Creator of “10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer”

This overlong video, which has now been viewed almost six and a half million times, is directed at “educated Christians with college degrees.”

Hysterically, the video creator seems to think that having a college degree means, “You are a smart person. You know how the world works. You know how to think critically.”

Then he drops the hammer: “Have you ever thought about using your college education to think about your faith?”

The video proceeds to ask ten questions about God and the universe – questions which, the video author claims, can only be answered by atheism.

His conclusion: “Our world only makes sense when we understand that God is imaginary.”

Thank heaven – speaking colloquially, of course – that someone has finally succeeded in making sense of the world!

Since you have triumphed where so many before you have failed, Mr. Video Man, I’d like you to use your comprehensive theory of existence to answer ten more questions.

If you answer “it’s self-evident” to any of these questions, you lose the philosophy game, and your college degree will be henceforth revoked.

1. How can Young's experiment be explained?
2. Why does the Theory of Relativity explain phenomena on very large scales but not on very small scales?
3. What is gravity?
4. What is the nature of human consciousness?
5. Are there minds outside your own? How can you verify their existence?
6. Do you have free will? How do you know?
7. What makes an action ethical or unethical?
8. Are your sense observations trustworthy? How do you know?
9. Is human logic an accurate guide to reality? How do you know?
10. Have you ever been mistaken before? If so, how do you know you’re not mistaken this time?


  1. You can't denounce his arguments simply because they exude a false sense of confidence or totality. The healthy skepticism that you advocate (that says essentially "we can't know everything") is a prerequisite ground rule for having civilized debate. It is not a valid argument within that debate.

    A more vulgar example: often, I'd make perfectly sensible arguments to my parents, and they reacted with a guttural "you think you know everything!" Frustrating!

    Essentially, you posing those 10 perennial Big Questions of philosophy/science is like telling a young Ron Paulite excited about Austrian economics that professional economists argue over Keynes versus Von Mises so you as a young snot-nosed kid can't possibly know the right answer. If you were a thoroughgoing skeptic and answered this way to every belief, people would melt into a puddle of apathetic or nervous skepticism. You don't need to be an expert to stake out various beliefs and to reflect upon them rationally.

  2. Kenyon,

    Right you are; I have not refuted his arguments against God's existence in this post, nor did I try to do so. My point is, as you say, that this video "exudes a false sense of confidence or totality" - and I felt that should be pointed out.

    Of course if I answered this way to every belief (e.g., "We should take the Red Line; it's faster and cheaper." "How can you say that? You don't even know you have free will to CHOOSE the Red Line!") I would reduce people to puddles all the time. We are not talking about the Red Line, however; we're talking about Life, the Universe, and Everything, and you can't simply dismiss your culture's dominant Total Explanation if you're not prepared to present your own.

  3. Joel, what's happening in your life?

  4. I am celebrating the wedding of a good friend of mine, Brian Cassels, getting ready for another wedding in Grand Rapids, where I'll get to see my family, taking Arabic classes, working fulltime, reading The Silmarillion, and being sad that I haven't been able to meet one Henry Finn Vellema yet.

    How about you?