One of the tactics I’ve heard used often lately by Christians is that unbelievers are “deceived by the devil” or “suppressing the truth”. I’ve been thinking about why they have to resort to these kinds of tactics in debate.
If two rational adults are having a disagreement about something factual, they should be able to bring forward whatever evidence is needed and come to an agreement. If Bob thinks Barcelona is the capital of Spain and Chris thinks it’s Madrid, they can look it up and it turns out Bob is wrong. Bob can’t say “well for me it’s Barcelona”. No, it’s Madrid. It’s a fact. Sorry Bob.
Again, we’re talking about factual claims of course. Bob still gets to decide his favorite ice cream, but he doesn’t get to decide whether or not ice cream exists for him. He doesn’t get to decide if a god exists for him. Sorry Bob.
The existence of a god is a factual claim. The Christian god either exists or it doesn’t. So if I’m debating the existence of God with a Christian and their arguments aren’t working, how can that be? Is one of us not rational? They sure cling to their arguments despite my pointing out why they don’t work logically and/or factually. But the arguments make sense to them, so what’s the deal?
Oh wait, it’s because Satan is deceiving me. It can’t be that the arguments are actually not valid or sound. And what if, heaven forbid, my arguments actually start making sense? Admit that they could be wrong? Oh no no no no no. That’s the devil trying to deceive them. With facts or logic.
Or maybe they’ll pull out Romans 1:18. The Bible says right there that everyone knows God exists, yet here’s somebody who says they don’t believe any gods exist. Since the Bible couldn’t possibly be wrong, then it must follow that that person is one or more of the following:
Deceived by the devil
Or as Matt Dillahunty said in a “debate” recently (hosted by Dogma Debate), “It’s curious because I don’t know how to respond to ‘liar liar pants on fire’ as an argument for God”.
All great defense mechanisms to ensure that you’re never wrong and can’t be talked out of your belief.