Friday, October 9th, 2009

A few years back I watched a debate between an evangelical Christian (Greg Koukl) and a new age guru (Deepak Chopra) on the issue of truth.  Mr. Chopra employed a common tactic to dismiss Mr. Koukl’s arguments.  The exchange went something like this:

DC: “Everyone thinks they are right.  You think you’re right.  The Hindu thinks he’s right.  The Buddhist thinks he’s right”

GK: Yes, that’s right.  And that’s why psychological confidence in one’s faith is not enough.  Something more is needed.  I am not interested in knowing that someone believes their view is right; I am interested in knowing why they believe their view is right.  This requires evidence.  We must weigh the evidence to determine who has better reasons supporting their view.

DC: chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp…


How many of you have ever been told “Who are you to say who’s right and who’s wrong?” when proclaiming and defending the truth of Christianity?  I’m sure most of you have.

This type of response is an attempt to ignore the force of your argument by challenging your authority.  Don’t buy into it.  Point out that you are not claiming that what you believe is true because you say it is, but because of the evidence in its favor.  Our authority is not derived from our self, but from the publicly accessible evidence in support of our beliefs.  When you are dealing with objective evidence rather than subjective opinion it makes no sense to say “Who’s to say.”  If someone said “2+2 = 4” nobody would respond, “Who are you to say?”

So when someone says, “Who’s to say?” you can respond, “I’m nobody to say, and I wasn’t claiming to be.  The authority for my position rests in the strength of my arguments, not in my person.  If you can show me where my arguments are in error I would be more than happy to change my position.”

Another response could be, “Not me.  I wasn’t claiming to.  I am just appealing to the evidence.  The evidence can speak for itself.”  Or a third alternative might be, “Who’s to say?  That would be the person with the best reasons!”