An Irrational Rant Against Ratio Christi

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Jacob Hubers thinks Ratio Christi is a “horror.” Clearly he’s disturbed that it exists. I am no longer with Ratio Christi but I continue to support it, partly because Christians need to learn how to think about life and faith.

Huber himself demonstrates the vacancy that exists in some Christians’ thought process:

As a fellow Christian, I find it ridiculous that they feel the need to, ‘Form strategic partnerships among professional apologists, faculty, and students for the purpose of exposing, in university contexts, the weaknesses and fallacies of secularism, atheism, and pluralism’. The only reason behind that is the fact that they want to promote their own agenda/beliefs by tearing down others, a very non-Christian thing to do in my opinion.

He is in fact promoting his own agenda/beliefs by tearing down Ratio Christi’s. And apparently he hasn’t thought it through clearly enough to see that it is so.

He’s wrong about some other things as well, such as the proportion of believing Christians in higher education, the actual Christian commitment of some of the 500 “exclusively Christian colleges” in the U.S., the relation between thinking/knowledge and doing acts of service, and above all the completely non-Christian idea that seeking to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ is self-seeking.

He writes, “Service to the poor was basically all of Christ’s life and mission.” I don’t know if he has ever read Luke 19:10, or Mark 10:45, or anything at all about Christ’s death and resurrection.

This is why Ratio Christi must exist: to help people learn how to assess evidence and process thoughts reasonably and rationally with respect to the truth of Jesus Christ and their own relationship with him in context of the broad reach of society. Jacob Hubers could stand to treat this organization with more knowledge, more reasonability, more humility, and less horror.

16 Responses

  1. BillT says:

    Having read Mr. Hubers’ essay, I’m not sure he deserves the attention this post gives him. His criticisms are just not that well thought out and contain assumptions that are just not warranted.

  2. Tom Gilson says:

    It’s illustrative, at any rate.

  3. I appreciate your criticism of my writing, and while I disagree with you on many specifics, I do understand some of the claims you make. I would like to see some actual evidence or statistics, other than simply saying, “he’s wrong”. As per the promoting my own beliefs/agenda, I can understand why you would think that, however I am simply trying to create a dialog, so that these issues can be discussed “reasonably and rationally with respect to the truth of Jesus Christ and their own relationship with him in context of the broad reach of society”. It is not the discussion I am against, in fact, I am very much for that discussion. Rather, I am against the ways that this organization goes about creating that discussion.

  4. Jim Jones says:

    > ‘Form strategic partnerships among professional apologists, faculty, and students for the purpose of exposing, in university contexts, the weaknesses and fallacies of secularism, atheism, and pluralism’.

    That seems impossibly difficult. I know of no such weaknesses and this is after reading a number of apologist books.

    Further, I observe that the one and only clear path to supporting Christianity is the one path most Christians abjure: Simply model the words and deeds of (Mr) Fred Rogers. Even skeptics are willing to consider and even emulate his example.

    Do that, and perhaps your religion has a chance. Fail, and you are headed for the situation in the United Kingdom where average attendance at Anglican churches (the official English church) has fallen to 1.4% and is dropping.

  5. Tom Gilson says:

    Jim, the weaknesses are there in great abundance. If you don’t know of them, then that speaks to both knowledge and hubris, for there is no system of thought that stands completely free of challenge. But atheism/secularism in today’s common presentation is especially prone to it. Try reading for example True Reason. There’s a follow-up to that coming soon, by the way.

  6. Tom Gilson says:

    Jacob, your online method of opening up “reasonable” conversation, by calling RC a “horror” and judging its people for hypocrisy, for lacking selflessness, and for “despicable perversion” (yes, judging), is hardly the usual way one tries to “simply create a dialog.” I understand you’ve reached out to some Ratio Christi people, however, and I strongly suggest you reserve judgment concerning the movement until you make that connection.

    You can find the data I spoke of in Yancey, Compromising Scholarship and Lukianoff, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate for starters. There is much, much more.

  7. JAD says:

    Even though I don’t agree with the tone or substance of his criticism, I do agree with the intent of Jacob’s argument. For example, I think that current apologetic efforts are too one dimensional. For example, when I was heavily involved in apologetics during the 1980’s I didn’t see it as a stand-alone ministry but an integral part of evangelism. In other words, it was one of the tools in the evangelist’s tool kit. In deed the New Testament does recognize evangelism as a distinct ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16) but where is apologetics given the same kind of status?

    Notice also that Paul doesn’t see evangelism as a stand-alone ministry either, but as part of the overall comprehensive plan that Christ has for his church. I think a comprehensive plan and commitment to the gospels mission is what is lacking in the 21st Century church. If that’s not true, why are we continuing to lose ground when it comes to reaching our culture?

  8. Jim Jones says:

    > “… there is no system of thought that stands completely free of challenge. But atheism/secularism in today’s common presentation is especially prone to it. Try reading for example True Reason. There’s a follow-up to that coming soon, by the way.”

    Does “True Reason” rely in any way on presuppositions?

  9. Tom Gilson says:

    Does your question?

  10. BillT says:

    Simply model the words and deeds of (Mr) Fred Rogers. Even skeptics are willing to consider and even emulate his example.

    Do that, and perhaps your religion has a chance. Fail, and you are headed for the situation in the United Kingdom where average attendance at Anglican churches (the official English church) has fallen to 1.4% and is dropping.

    Jim,

    But, of course, the reality is that the reason that “average attendance at Anglican churches (the official English church) has fallen to 1.4% and is dropping” is that it has done just as you’ve suggested and modeled the words and deeds of (Mr.) Fred Rogers. The Anglican Church, European Protestantism and the mainstream American Protestant denominations went the Mr. Rogers route decades and decades ago and have been losing members ever since. On the other hand, Gospel believing and preaching churches in Africa, China, South and Central America and the United States have been steadily (if nor quite rapidly) gaining members.

    People who don’t understand the central message of Christianity and what has made it the world’s largest religion continue to make the same mistake as you do Jim. They think that if Christianity would just stop being so….Christian, that it would attract more people. But history shows us over and over that it is the opposite that is true. It is the Bible believing churches who profess the orthodoxy of the faith and accept the innate sinfulness of man, his need for salvation and the grace of Christ that flourish.

  11. BillT says:

    And may I just add Jim, that the reason that Bible believing churches who profess the orthodoxy of the faith and accept the innate sinfulness of man, his need for salvation and the grace of Christ are the churches that flourish is because what they teach is the truth. After all, how could a message like this succeed if it were otherwise.

  12. Jim Jones says:

    BillT says: “And may I just add Jim, that the reason that Bible believing churches … are the churches that flourish is because what they teach is the truth.”

    Or, they appeal to the basest of human instincts, those which divide and condemn. Providing a feeling of moral superiority without requiring the effort of deserving it is always popular.

    “Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions”

    — Blaise Pascal (1623-1662 – possibly mistranslated)

  13. BillT says:

    jim,

    So Christian teaching “appeal(s) to the basest of human instincts.” Ok. That must be it.

    And, BTW, it’s certainly not lost on me or anyone else that you completely avoided addressing your completely inaccurate and uninformed understanding of the reasons behind the decline in the Anglican (and other) churches. Instead, we get the above inanity.

  14. JAD says:

    Here is something that I posted recently at National Review Online which I think fits in the discussion here.

    Early in the twentieth century there was a theological split within most protestant denominations. The progressive/liberal wing of several “mainline” denominations broke from the traditional/conservative or evangelical wing. The progressives questioned the inspiration and authority of the Bible while the traditionalists did not. The result was the progressive’s maintained control of the denomination while the traditionalists started their own. For example, the Presbyterian’s split into the “mainline” Presbyterian Church USA and the much smaller the Presbyterian Church of America which later became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. There were similar splits in Methodist and Baptist denominations. The mainline denomination in deemphasizing the authority of scripture, championed the so-called social gospel. The traditionalist denominations OTOH emphasized the spiritual, saving of soul’s side of the gospel, actually repudiating the liberal’s social gospel. In other words, they just let the liberals have all the social justice, social concern stuff– like it was just so much unwanted dross.

    I think much of secular-progressive left’s moral, cultural and social beliefs are actually a warmed over version of mainline protestant Christian thinking. Unfortunately I think it has been helped along because traditional/conservative evangelical branch has largely abdicated its responsibility to be a moral influence in the world. Jesus told his disciples, “You are the light of the world…” (see Matt. 5:13-16). This is the mission of common grace. Besides preaching to the lost, we’re commanded to be a moral influence. We’ve been failing here—failing miserably. Is it too late? I pray to God it isn’t.

    However, there still is a glimmer of hope. The perverted, secularized version of morality and social justice that the left has co-opted from protestant Christianity is just not very good—it never was. Indeed, in many cases it is self-refuting and hypocritical.

    We are moral beings, because we were created by God as moral beings. Therefore, the typical progressive whether he is part of corporate America, academia or the mainstream media cannot be amoral. He or she is just not wired that way. That’s actually a good thing. It means he’s open to moral questions. Christians (not just conservatives) need to learn how communicate and demonstrate God’s moral truth and love (by being loving ourselves) to people who are honestly seeking moral answers. We need to develop an approach that is proactive rather just reactive. That’s how early Christianity succeeded in a hostile first century pagan culture. Can it still work that way in the 21st century?

    Notice how moralizing Jim is. But from where does he get his morality? I bet if we traced the roots of his moral beliefs, we’d end up with some version of Christianity. Like most secularists, however, he doesn’t realize that he is living morally on borrowed capital.

  15. Richard Jude Woerner says:

    One statement in Jacob’s rant stems from a serious misunderstanding of the Great Commission.

    He writes;
    Now, before I say they offer nothing in selflessness, I should mention that they state “Discipleship” and “Servant Leadership” in both their Values and their Goals, however, they go on to explain that this relies almost completely on converting others to become Christians. To me, that is not selflessness. Selflessness is something where you actively seek to improve someone’s life without expecting something in return (i.e. conversion).

    One cannot be a disciple without first being one that is selfless, this is basic Christian Theology.

    As we all know, the Great Commission is;

    Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
    Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    This is very straight forward and does need are warrant anything added or taken away by us.

    The questions is, how do we as followers of Christ succeed in fulfilling this?

    NO WHERE does this mean to “improve someone’s life.” That is milquetoast Christianity. Or can we say, Joel Osteen theology.

    Paul makes this just as clear in Romans;
    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    WHY?

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    Now, with all that, what Mr. Huber is missing is that Apologetics is one way to fulfill the Great Commission. We should expect conversions, although they do not always happen when we expect them to happen. Some plant the seeds and others reap the harvest. Both are important. However, Christ died for the sins of man so that ALL would be saved.

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    What I read was a Christian who was convicted by the fact he wants a type of Christianity that he has created in his mind. A weak, non-confrontational, live and let live faith (I say that loosely) that is noneffective and weak.

    Ratio Christi may not be perfect, but the goal of equipping Christians on how to present arguments to not only defend the faith that we are to content for (Jude 3), but also how to defeat the arguments that are prevalent in these universities.

    He also may want to read Paul’s argument in Acts 17 which is the model for an Apologetic argument. Oh and get this, Paul also quoted a Greek poet as part of that argument. Yes, Paul the Apostle appealed to a secular writer as a way to present is Apologetic argument.

    Oh and sorry Jacob, Luke 19:10 IS the whole reason Christ came to this planet He created. It is the entire Gospel wrapped up in 16 words (KJV). Not to help the poor or the homeless.

    So what should we do with the atheistic arguments? Paul explains briefly.

    2 Cor 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
    2 Cor 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

  16. Nigel Owen says:

    Jim Jones, at #12 you say “…Providing a feeling of moral superiority without requiring the effort of deserving it is always popular.”

    The Bible (and most evangelical churches) teach that there is nothing morally superior about Christians. All humans are morally bankrupt and it is not possible to change that through any effort on our part. That is what makes the gospel so popular. Christ does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, there is no moral superiority there.

    I don’t know from where it originates but I have found the following quote helpful “Christianity can be likened to one beggar showing another where to find food”