Do we really need to always answer stupidity?

I spoke, briefly, about this in my book on Mimetic Criticism and the Gospel of Mark. I rarely have time to invest in debunking those who utilize the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. Recently, someone trying to gain attention for themselves posted on my facebook page’s wall and attempted to have a discussion around the idea that Rome invented Jesus. This is a pet theory of a few with fanciful imaginations (and lack of medication). I don’t have time to invest in answering every conspiracy theory out there. It’s sorta like asking an evolutionary biologist to debunk Young Earth Creationists and every point they attempt to make.

Why should we spend time validating thought structures that not only are baseless, but rather delusional?

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5 Replies to “Do we really need to always answer stupidity?”

  1. I would argue that, in many ways, Rome did invent Jesus. More accurately, I would say that Constantine reinvented Jesus to meet the needs of the Empire. As governments often do, unable to stamp out a potentially dangerous grassroots movement, those holding the reins of power co-opted it. This explains how a Bethlehem firebrand, known for ridiculing hubris in high places and associating with undesirable sorts, became synonymous with law and order as well as family values.
    If the historic Jesus were to visit churches in America today, I suspect on of his principal tasks would be to exorcize rampant greed perpetuated in his name in much the say way that he drove money-changers from the Temple. Likewise, many members of the professional clergy would be as offended by the historic Jesus was were the pretentious Pharisees in Roman-occupied Jerusalem. After all, snakes are still snakes regardless of generation!

    1. I don’t think Constantine had that much clout as to rewrite Christian history. What he did do, however, was to change the eschatology of the Church and had a severe influence on the hierarchy of the Church.

      But, here, here to your last paragraph!

      1. I would be more inclined to agree with your assessment if, in my experience, Paul weren’t quoted at least as much as Jesus in churches.

  2. Well, biologists do regularly answer creationists at length. Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True is just one example.

    The difference is of course, that creationists have a lot more political clout that Jesus denialists.

    1. But, by answering the creationists, we have given them some validation. Yes, some biologists do answer from time to time, or rather, put out a thesis of some sort.

      Personally, YEC and mythicists are of the same type.

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