Great illustration of how to get people to start questioning their faith.
Here's a transcript:
Hey, it's Anthony here. I thought it would be interesting to take a recent encounter and break it down and use it as a tutorial to show that conducting street epistemology is not all that difficult. In fact, it's quite fun to get out and talk to people. I also hope this tutorial, this breakdown video, will inspire people to get out and try it. It's really not that difficult.
If you haven't already watched my encounter with Paul, I'd recommend pausing this video, look in the video description below, and click the link to watch the encounter in it's entirety first. I think you'll get a lot more out of it if you do that before jumping into this tutorial.
Anthony: Interviewing people about their God belief.
Paul: About my God belief?
Anthony: Yeah. I'll just time it for five minutes.
OK, so there's quite a lot going on here. I'm standing out in front of a state college courtyard with a sign that says, "How did you come to your God belief? Let's discuss it in five minutes." I'm out there with a camera in the Sun and I have a little timer, but I found that right at the start limiting the conversation to five minutes, you get far more people that are interested in stopping to talk with you, and that increases your chances for having a good, deep, meaningful conversation. It also shows that you respect their time, and that you're not going to hold them for much longer than that.
I also found that people really enjoy talking about their beliefs, and it seems to have caught Paul's attention here.
Paul: You asked the question before the interview, are you a Christian?
Paul: I'm staff here.
Anthony: Oh, you're staff here?
One of the first things Paul wants to know is if I am a Christian. If you look at any of my earlier videos, I couldn't wait to tell people I was a non-believer. But what I found is that gushing about how atheist you are and that type of thing really sets the conversation back when you're performing street epistemology. It's really not relevant because the discussion is not about you, it's about your interlocutor. So I try to avoid answering those questions or at least postponing them, as I attempt here.
Anthony: Would my answer to that question have any bearing on your answers to mine?
Paul: Probably not.
Anthony: Could we just keep it to five and then at the end I'll answer any questions you have?
Paul: That would be fine.
Anthony: OK, cool.
So Paul agrees to wait to the end of the five minutes before he can ask any questions about me. That was very generous of him to do that. Now, because I made that agreement - and you want to be honest, you want to be sincere, you want to be open, it's very important that at the end of that five minutes, you should be willing to talk with him about any questions that he may have since we made that deal.
Anthony: My name is Anthony.
Paul: Nice to meet you.
Anthony: Pleasure to meet you, too.
Get the person's name. Now, I'm terrible with names, so not only will I ask the person's name, but I will repeat it back to them. I might say, "How do you spell it?" if it could potentially be spelled a different way. And also try to use the person's name frequently in the conversation. Not to the point where it's annoying, but when you're trying to drive home a point, or maybe get their attention, by using their name, I found that it really kind of gets their attention. I heard once that people love hearing their name being said, and I'm trying to leverage that.
Anthony: So, you believe in a God, it sounds like.
Paul: Absolutely I do.
Anthony: OK. Strength-wise, if zero percent was "I don't believe", and a hundred percent was, "Absolutely I believe..."
Paul: One hundred percent I believe, there is absolutely a God. No doubt in my mind.
Very early on try to establish a scale. Now I only have five minutes I agreed to talk with Paul about his belief. You need to know where he's at on the belief scale. And you can come up with any scale. You can go A to Z, or zero to ten. I like going from zero to one hundred percent. If Paul came back and said that he believes in God twenty percent, then it's going to be a completely different conversation. Now, he comes back with a hundred percent, and he is a Christian.
Anthony: Oh, wow.
Paul: Look at nature itself.
Anthony: Just looking at a tree...
Paul: Looking at a tree, looking at anything convinces me that there was a God that made it. It didn't just happen by its own... explosion, or circumstance like that. Big bang theory, I just don't buy it. It just doesn't fit.
Paul: There's too much archaeological evidence to prove that there was a God.
Wow. So Paul is saying a lot here. He's saying, "Look at the trees." "I can just look at something and know that I can conclude my God exists." "There is archaeological evidence for it." "Look at the Big Bang. That doesn't jive with my understanding of how everything came together." There's so much there to jump at and just start tearing apart if you're familiar with counter-apologetics. But street epistemology is not about debate. If I go in there and boom, boom, boom, knock off those three things that he brought up, it's not going to help move the conversation forward, it's just going to close Paul down. It's going to show to him that I'm not interested in learning about him, or conversing with him. It illustrates that I want a battle with him. And that's not what I want to do. I want to understand him. I want to help him.
Anthony: It sounds like evidence is a big part of your belief.
So what I did there is, rather than targeting all those little things, I took a step back and said, "Generally speaking, Paul is interested in evidence. So let's clarify that. Let's see how much evidence is part of his belief."
Paul: Well, I use that to confirm what I believe by faith. There are certain things that can't be explained away by science, there are certain things that can't be explained away by guessing, or whatnot. There are just too many things in this world that convinced me there was a supreme being that made it, and has sustained it.
Anthony: Faith is a part of it, it sounds like...
Now that was somewhat interesting there. Paul says that when he looks at evidence, it helps confirm his beliefs. It's completely contradictory to the scientific method where if you're trying to figure out if something is real, you actually look at the evidence first, and then arrive at your conclusion. Paul is operating in a different manner. He also mentions faith a little bit here. I'm adjusting the camera and it's making some popping noises, so you might not be able to hear it that well. Now that he's introduced faith, I have to sort of figure out, Well, how much of this belief that Paul is basing it on is evidence, and how much of a factor is faith?
Anthony: If we were to pie-chart this out, what percent would be evidence, and what part would be faith for you?
Paul: Well, I think everything has to be by faith.
I love that question! There are probably multiple ways to ask that, but just asking "Can we pie-chart this out? How much is evidence for you, and how much is faith?" Paul may have never even thought about that. Who even thinks about pie-charting their belief? But by asking the question, it's causing him to re-examine how he has arrived at his beliefs, with particular regard to evidence and faith.
Paul: You can't really put a percentage on these things.
Anthony: Is is it all faith for you?
Paul: To me it's a majority...
Anthony: I mean, you mentioned evidence...
Paul: To me, the majority is faith.
Paul: But I do like it when I see archaeological evidence that does confirm what I believed all along, let's put it that way.
Anthony: I got that.
"Let's put it that way." "I do like it when I find evidence that confirms what I already believe." Now, this signifies a bias. And I can't blame Paul for that, a lot of people do this. But I would gather; I would guess that most people don't realize they are doing it. Maybe if Paul were ever to watch this video, or think about the conversation; mull it over, He might discover that he is looking at evidence to fit his belief.
Anthony: Let's focus on faith because that seems to be a big part of your belief, Paul. And I don't ever want to make an assumption, so what is your definition of faith?
OK, so I was at that crossroads. Do I go towards evidence, or towards faith. Paul said that faith is everything. "I like it when I see evidence that confirms the faith that I have but for me, faith is the biggest part of it." OK, now I know exactly which direction to go to. But there are so many different definitions of faith. People equate it with trust, or hope. They have just called it simply a belief. People will say that it's believing in something where you can't see or touch it, or it's not detectable in any way. I've heard so many different definitions, so rather than force my definition on the person, I'll just ask them, "What is your definition of it?" And again, I don't think a lot of people really think about their definition of it. I've had people say, "I'm not really sure. Can you help me out?" And I'll propose a definition, but you should try to avoid that if you can, and if possible, really try to get the interlocutor to explain what their definition of faith is.
Anthony: Do you have a definition of it?
Paul: Faith is believing in something that you can't see, can't necessarily feel, that has made or created this universe.
Anthony: OK. Hmm.
Paul: You just have to accept certain things by faith. You can't prove it scientifically, you can't necessarily prove it archaeologically, in certain cases.
Anthony: Do you feel like you have to use faith? You don't necessarily have a choice?
Paul: Absolutely you have to use faith.
"You absolutely have to use faith and you really don't have a choice." Now that can open up a huge can of worms, and you can go in a zillion different directions with that. But I'm just going to let the conversation go a little bit further here.
Paul: You have to have faith in order to believe anything.
Anthony: You need it?
Paul: You have to have it.
Anthony: So it's a requirement, would you say?
OK. Faith is a requirement. You have to have it to conclude Paul's God exists. OK, so we've established what faith is, and we've established how important it is, we've established that faith is way more important to him than even evidence. Even though evidence is important to him, because when he sees something, it helps bolster his belief.
Paul: Without it, what's the use of believing anything?
Anthony: Wow. So you need faith to conclude that the God exists, it sounds like.
Do you see what I'm doing there? When he says something, I'm basically just repeating back what he is saying in a slightly different manner. I'm being a mirror to Paul. I'm very intently listening to what he's saying, and I'm reformulating the sentence to match what he's saying, and repeating it back to him. So he can either agree or disagree. If he disagrees, then I have misunderstood it. If he agrees, then I am right on track, and I'm reinforcing, or basically repeating back to him what he's saying in a manner to get him to think about what he's saying, because, I've had a lot of people say, "Boy, when you repeat it back to me, it just sounds weird, or crazy." It's really getting them to think. So repeating back what the person is telling you is critical. You must do that.
Anthony: Do you use faith in any other aspect of your life besides concluding that the God exists?
Paul: Everything that I do...
Now, I love asking this question. You'll probably get sick of me asking it. But when somebody says that faith is important to them; and that they use it to conclude that the Bible is real, or their God exists, Ask them what other time... if this method is so reliable; is so important, do you find yourself using it in other aspects of your life?
Paul: I trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Anthony: Trust in him...
Paul: I have to have faith to believe that anything that happens in my life is for my good.
Anthony: What do you mean by that?
Paul: I believe that he takes care of me.
OK, I asked, "What do you mean by that?" I'll often use that response as well. If somebody says something rather profound, or deep, or even just a "deepity", like a Daniel Dennett deepity, where it's just silly, and you have no idea what they're saying. They are probably just so used to saying that phrase or sentence and never being questioned on it, but a simple, "What do you mean by that?", or "Can you explain that further?", That really jolts them a little bit. They may not have ever been asked that before. It challenges them to re-examine what they just said and if it has any meaning. And when they repeat it, usually what you get back to the question of "What do you mean by that?" is something a little bit more understandable.
Paul: I believe that he guides me, and he leads me to what he expects me to do as a Christian.
Anthony: And you've concluded that Jesus works in your life because of faith?
Paul: Yes. Sure.
Anthony: Do you use faith for... I don't know, here at school?
Now, looking back at this, I wish I had spent a few more seconds, or maybe even a full minute with Paul learning about what he does at the school. He said very quickly - and we were talking over each other at the start. But don't ever underestimate the importance of having just a very good, friendly conversation about something completely different. I could have asked him what he taught at the school, or what his role there is. How long has he been there? In the example that I'm about to give, and I'm about to give an example of an extreme, where he actually loses his job at the school, that's quite risky because I don't know his background all that much. He may be a janitor there for all I know. So spend a little time getting to know the person up front, and what you'll find is that you can start leveraging those little tidbits of information you've learned about them in the conversation when it comes to giving examples like this.
Anthony: You do?
Paul: Absolutely. I believe...
Anthony: Can you give me your best example?
Paul: My best example?
Ask for their best example, alright? Don't just say, "Give me an example." When you ask for the best example, the assumption there is that they're going to give you something that means the most to them, and it's their strongest argument, it's their strongest foot forward. If you get them to put their strongest foot forward, and you're able to get them to reflect on it and to think about it, maybe even start wondering if it's really reliable, then you've made a tremendous impact on them.
Paul: As I try to, let's say for instance, If I apply for a different position here at the university, I have faith that God knows whether or not that position that I'm applying for is best for me, and is best for my life. Therefore I use faith to believe and trust that if I don't get the job, then it's OK. He knew that I shouldn't have got that job.
This is probably one of the best examples that I've received from a believer explaining how they use faith. Usually you get, "I can't think of anything off hand right now.", so I was a little surprised that he was able to come up with something so good and relative. So you just have to go with the flow with those things. That's fine.
Anthony: Would you look at any outcome that happens in your life and just chalk it up to God working in it, and it's just confirmation of your faith?
Paul: Everything works.
Anthony: If you were to, let's say, I don't know. Let say you were walking back and you got an email telling you that you were let go today. Would you chalk that up to faith as well?
Paul: Absolutely. I'd believe that it's the best thing if that's what God wants, and I would take the next avenue that He wants me to go. Lose my job today or not, it makes no difference. I would continue on doing and following Him where he wants me to be in my life.
OK, so Paul has just very eloquently explained how he uses faith, and regardless of the outcome, whether he gets a promotion, or he gets a raise, or he loses his job, he's going to view that as God working in his life and that just bolsters the faith that he uses to conclude that the God exists.
Paul: I've had that happen already in my life.
Anthony: It sounds like there's nothing that you do not use faith for.
Paul: Really, there is not. You have to have faith in everything that you do.
Anthony: And you believe that...
Did you hear that pause? He was saying, "You have to have faith for everything that you do." Now, I paused for about two point five seconds. I should have paused for ten seconds, OK? The longer the pause is, the better. And that's one thing that I really struggle with. I feel like there is a sense of urgency because, number one, there's a clock running. Number two, there's this very imposing man standing three feet in front of me, probably in a hurry to get to his next appointment. You're talking about something that's, maybe somewhat uncomfortable. I'm worried that by pausing, it's going to open the door to him saying, "Well, it's time for me to go", or there's an interruption of some sort. But you have to fight through those urges to want to talk, and just shut up, because when you're quiet, and you listen, those last words Paul said will echo in his head, and he'll be thinking about it, and really wondering, "Does that really make sense?" And by filling the gaps with just talk, you're missing out on key opportunities for self-reflection. And that's one thing I could have done a lot better here.
Anthony: ...what you come to know is true, is correct because you use faith?
Anthony: What might you say to somebody that's Hindu, who maybe believes in Vishnu.
OK, I love the comparison going on here. I'm "dropping the Hindu", as somebody once said in the comments. I'm now trying to introduce another side of this. I want Paul to reflect on how his faith is any different; the faith that he uses is any different from somebody of a completely different religion.
Anthony: And they use faith to conclude Vishnu is real.
Paul: I can't judge that. I don't judge any other faith.
Anthony: I wouldn't be asking you to judge that.
Almost always now, it seems like people say when they're asked this question, "I'm not judging them. They have a complete right to be believing what they believe." And that's not what the question is about. I'm not asking Paul to judge the Hindu, or to judge the Muslim. I'm not asking him to condemn their right to be believing what they want to believe. But almost in a knee-jerk reaction - I see this time and time again - it's getting to the point now that I'm going to start rephrasing this question to, say, "Let's think about the Hindu. While you might both be in complete agreement they have the right to practice whatever they want to, in what way is his belief true?" To sort of circumvent the possible knee-jerk response from the interlocutor to say, "That's just his belief, and I can't judge him."
Paul: They have a faith in a supreme being too.
Anthony: Yeah. Who is more correct in that situation?
Paul: In my faith, I believe in what is more correct. I'm sure he believes he is more correct.
Anthony: How do we discover who is actually more correct?
Paul: It doesn't matter.
I freaking love that question! Paul just nails it, right? "That Hindu thinks that he's correct, and I think that I'm correct." And I ask him, "How could WE, how could you and I, Paul, how could we, working together discover the Hindu was more correct than you? Or that you're more correct than the Hindu?" You'll also start to notice his body language. He's pulling back. I think he starts crossing his arms here pretty soon. His hands are in his pocket. He's physically recoiling from me just a tad here, and I find that fascinating.
Paul: It sounds like through these questions that you yourself are questioning if there is even a God; that that's what this is all about.
OK, so we've reached the five minute mark. This is the point where I have agreed to start talking, or answer any questions that Paul might have for me. So I want to stick to my word and do that. Right there at the tail-end, though, if you caught it, he was asking, "Does it really matter if the Hindu or the Christian is right?" It's kind of hard for me to hear, but I think I say, "I do. I do find it important. I want to know things that are true." I think we talk a little bit more about that here.
Anthony: For me, I would like to... we just hit our timer.
Anthony: I would like to believe things that are true. If that Hindu is correct, I would like to discover that. If you are correct, I would like to discover that as well.
Paul: Well, I challenge you to do this.
Anthony: OK, so...
Paul asking his question gave me an opportunity to answer it, but in a way that allowed me to illustrate that I want to believe things that are true. That it's important for me to go through life believing things that are true. If the Hindu is right, I want to know about it. If he's right, I'd like to know about it. It was a great opportunity for me to illustrate my honesty and my sincerity, and in a way to model that behaviour; to encourage him to do the same in return. Now what he's getting into now, you'll find this when you do your street epistemology conversations, sometimes you get a little detour, and what's coming up now is a detour where he's asking me if I've read a book. I'll go ahead and play it.
Paul: I'll go back to a gentleman... if I remember his name off the top of my head, who was a devout atheist, who believed there was absolutely no God, and he was challenged to prove, either scientifically, or archaeologically, or any other way that he wanted to that there was no God. To actively go out and try to prove there was no God.
Anthony: Do you think that can be done?
Paul: He did it.
I love that question! "This guy went out to prove there was no God." I mean, that's ludicrous, and I think that Paul is misunderstanding, or he's forgotten exactly what the premise of the book was. I really doubt that anyone was able to prove that there was no God. I probably would have heard about it by now. Instead of asking him, or saying, "Are you crazy?", or "That's impossible! You can't prove a negative!", or the typical knee-jerk counter-apologetic response, I just asked him, "Do you think that's possible?" You always want to try to turn it and get the person to reveal his side of things. I thought I was pretty successful in that here.
Anthony: He proved there was no God?
Paul: Yeah. There's two books you need to read.
Anthony: He proved there was no God?
Paul: There are two books that he wrote.
I was so incredulous, if you noticed the first time I said that, "He proved there was no God?!?!" Like I couldn't believe it, then as soon as I said it, I realized the tone was improper. You don't want to be accusatory. You don't want to be snide. You don't want to be rude. My brain heard myself say that, and I repeated it in a gentler nature. In a much softer way. The damage was already done, but I was trying to recover from that, and it was interesting that I did that.
Paul: One is called, "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". His name is Josh McDowell.
Paul: You may have...
Anthony: I have heard of that, yeah.
Paul: "Evidence that Demands a Verdict", and "More Evidence that Demands a Verdict". Read those books.
Anthony: I will. I will. Actually, I've read one of them.
Paul: Have you?
Now that's a little risky, there. Even of you've read the book - which in this case I have - it's risky because it gave Paul an opportunity to ask me a specific question about it. Maybe a key point or take-away from the book, and if you're not able to come back with the right answer, it could jeopardise the trust he might have in me. It just opens you up for a potential pitfall, so I would suggest that if somebody offers for you to read a book, be sincere. Tell them that you'll look into it, write down the author's name and the name of the book, and just take it off-line. Don't open yourself up to possibly being caught in a trap.
Paul: So, back to my question to you.
Paul: Are you a Christian?
OK. Paul has not forgotten that he wants to find out if I am a Christian or not, and here we are six minutes and fifteen seconds into the talk, and he's still... Remember that very first question? He wanted to know? Well, he hasn't forgotten, and he wants to find out here. Now, I'll answer it, but I'll answer it in a way that turns it around back to him, to get him to talk, to get him to reveal his point of view.
Anthony: I'm not a Christian, but if it could be illustrated to me that the method that you're using to conclude that your God is real is reliable in some way...
Paul: Again, you're basing your belief system on science, to prove one way or another absolutely for sure there is or is not a God. And it can't be done.
Anthony: God cannot be proven through science? You need faith?
Paul: Probably not.
Anthony: Is that right?
Paul: You have to have faith.
I love that right there. Everything is out of the bag at this point. It can't be proven. My God belief can't be proven. You have to have faith. You need faith to have faith. I think that's just such a telling part of the conversation, and if we had ended the conversation at the five minute mark, we never would have reached this particular hurdle. You'll notice that I repeat it back to him. I want him to hear what he's telling me. You have to have faith in certain areas.
Anthony: What do you find so reliable about faith when that Hindu might use the same thing, Paul, to conclude that Vishnu is real?
Paul: He believes in God, too.
A lot of things going on there. I used his name: Paul. He took a step back. Did you hear his voice waver just a little bit? He's clearly agitated, rattled, maybe a little... He's definitely uneasy about the discussion right now. There's a lot of things going on, not just his verbal characteristics, but the way that he's standing; the way that he's moving.
Paul: I would say that every religion on Earth, other than Satanism...
Paul: And even Satanists believe in a God.
Anthony: I understand these people believe in these Gods...
Now this is where I did something bad. He was talking to me and I interrupted him. "Wait, wait, wait! Listen. Paul. Paul." You know, I should have just let the guy talk. He was starting to talk about Satanism. I mean, what a great example! If I could have used that, to illustrate, and sort of expand on the whole Hindu thing; that Hindus use faith, Christians use faith, Satanists maybe use faith, that could maybe just drive home the point that the method that he's using to conclude that his belief is true is no different than all of those others. But I cut him off and I shouldn't have done that. I should have just shut up and let him talk. I noticed also that his arms are crossed. He's leaning back. He's crossing his arms, he's clearly uncomfortable at this point.
Anthony: Right? They're at a hundred percent, too.
Paul: I fully support their right to believe that.
Anthony: OK. Right?
Anthony: But I want to know who is more correct.
Paul: Does it matter?
Does it matter? Does it matter if the Hindu is correct? Does it matter if the Christian is correct? Well, hell yeah it matters! But as much as you want to scream that, you want to maintain a civil discourse, and carry the conversation further, and get him to reflect on that, which is what I do here next.
Paul: I think the question you should ask is, "Does it matter?"
"Do you think it matters?"
Anthony: Do you think it matters, Paul?
Paul: I do, because as a Christian, I believe that through Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, but that is my religious belief.
Paul: Am I going to judge a Hindu, or them, or... because I don't know all the answers.
Anthony: I'm not asking you to judge them.
Paul: Well, I don't know all the answers...
There we go again. "I'm not going to judge them. They have a right to believe what they're going to believe." That's not what this is about. The question is, "Does it matter whether what you're believing in is true or not?"
Paul: You're asking me, "Do you think they're correct, or not correct?"
Paul: don't know.
Anthony: You don't know.
Paul: I can only go down my road, to my belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, and trust that I'm right.
Paul: If I'm not...
Anthony: Paul. Please listen.
"I don't know if I'm right." That's freaking huge to have Paul say that! When he was so adamant at the very beginning that he's at the hundred percent mark in his belief. For him to admit that, "I can't know if the Hindu is more correct than me. I can't know if I'm more correct than that Hindu." If the conversation were to end right now, it would have been great. It would have been fantastic! Now we do push the conversation a bit further, and it kind of devolves a little bit, but I would say that if we were to sort of chart-out, you know, a little bar chart, or line chart of the progress of this conversation, we've just hit the peak of it with that declaration from Paul.
Paul: It is what it is.
Anthony: Paul. If you can't know if they're more right than you, can you be at the hundred percent mark?
Paul: I'm positive that my God is real. And I'm positive...
He's positive that his God is real. He completely avoids answering my question I flubbed it a little bit; I stuttered when I was asking him, "If you can't know if your belief is true, if you can't know if the Hindu is more correct than you, how could you possibly be at the hundred percent mark?" How? And I wish that he had just stopped talking and listened; just thought about it. But I get the sense that he's not interested in evaluating what he's come to believe. I think this conversation has really shaken him up. You'll see at the end he can't resist turning back to the camera and yelling a few things. Which is unfortunate. I think that he's so content in maintaining the belief, that he won't even open himself up to examining if he could be mistaken on it. And that's really, in a way, sad. Now it's not necessarily all Paul's fault. A lot of different people do this for a variety of things, and not just because of the God belief. But this is a very, very telling; a very important part of the conversation. That's why I wanted to spend so much time here.
Paul: ...that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of this universe. Because He died on the cross for our sins over two thousand years ago.
Anthony: And you believe that because of...
Paul: I believe that because of absolute, total faith.
You see what I did there? I said, "You believe that because of..." I didn't say, "And you believe that because of faith." I didn't say, "And you believe that because of faith and the evidence that makes you think that the faith is right." No! Leave it an open-ended question. Let him fill in the blank.
Paul: And I believe that there's archaeological and scriptural evidence...
Anthony: But the evidence that you said at the start was...
Paul: Have you read the book of Josephus?
OK, now he's talking about evidence again. Which is telling in itself. If you think about it, it could illustrate that we've really, in a way, pointed out the deficiencies of concluding that something is true or real because of faith. If it was reliable, and he was confident on that method, we'd still be discussing faith, but we're not doing that now. He's shifting gears, and he's going back to evidence: the first thing he led off with. Extremely telling that he chose to do that. And now he's bringing up Josephus, which... This is where I use an example that's too specific, and I find in myself that need to bring up the counter-apologetic, which rears it's ugly head sometimes for me where I can't resist pointing out that the common argument that people use to believe that the Bible is true because of this guy named Josephus who in the hundredth century or so, a hundred years after Jesus' death wrote something. I have a hard time, even to this day. I should have just let that go over my head, because that's a pitfall. That's a landmine. But I get caught in it here.
Paul: He talked about Jesus Christ. So we have historical evidence that Jesus existed..
Anthony: We're kind of drifting from faith into evidence...
Paul: Absolutely. There has to be some evidence too. Now, there has been some archaeological proof in the crossing of the Red Sea...
"There has to be some evidence there." "It's not just all about faith." Remember he said before, "it's all about faith"?
Paul: They found chariot wheels at the bottom of the ocean. At the bottom of that sea.
Anthony: Let me ask you something. If somebody were to reveal to you that, I don't know, people that study the historicity of the Bible could illustrate that maybe what you've come to accept as evidence in Josephus was... I don't know, let's just say that one was a forgery and one didn't have anything to do with the real Jesus?
Alright, that was a very, very specific example, and it really tipped my hand to Paul, to illustrate that I know what the hell I'm talking about when it comes to Josephus. What I probably should have said - because now he's starting to get into evidence - I probably should have just ended the conversation because we were at such a high point where we basically illustrated how unreliable faith is. But he shifted gears to evidence, and I went along with him. What I should have done at that point is to conclude the conversation, or if I wanted to have the evidence discussion, I could have said something like, "In what way is the evidence that you've come to believe is true falsifiable?" Or, "What would it take for you to conclude that the Bible was mistaken in some way?" I got into a very, very specific argument. A very, very specific example. And Paul is not buying it.
Paul: Now you're starting to get in...
Look at that. He's actually starting to walk away from me at this point. He's completely like... He's ready to go.
Anthony: ...for example.
Paul: No. No.
Anthony: Would you accept the information?
Paul: I would want to know where the evidence came from.
Anthony: OK. You would listen to it.
Paul: Uhh... probably not, because I know where you're going with this interview. You're going with this interview trying to disprove Christianity. And I will never, never disown my God. Because to disown my God...
OK, now he's completely closed off. He's frustrated. He's getting ready to leave, and as much as we hit a high point with the discussion about faith, in the end I do think that this conversation was a failure to a certain extent. Because if Paul walks away from the conversation closed off and just as entrenched as he was when we started the conversation, or even more so, then I have failed. If I happen to see Paul again on campus, and he completely ignores me, or flips me off, or just refuses to speak with me, that's not going to help any of us out. So it's hard to say if I made an impact on him. I get the sense that I pushed it too far with him. I don't think this was a very successful one. Now, I might be mistaken. I don't know. One of the reasons why I like going to this location is that I'm seeing people that I've talked to again, and again, and again, and there is a chance for a follow-up interview. So hopefully I'll have a second interview with Paul and we can talk about it a little bit more, but the way things ended here, I get the sense that he will probably not want to speak with me again, and that would be unfortunate.
Paul: ...not before man. He would disown me before Heaven. And I will not allow that to happen. Have a nice day. Nice meeting you! I hope you come to the truth. The real truth.
OK, and then he walks away. Classic fight or flight response. We were at the eight minute mark there, so he stayed well beyond the three minutes, it was a great conversation. There's a lot of things I think that I did right, and there's some few things there that I think I could have improved on. And that's the big part of it.
Get out there and do this! It's not going to be perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect. Even just getting ten percent of it right is way more than just sitting at home watching this video and taking some pleasure in just watching it. I want to inspire you to get out and do this. You don't have to carry a camera. But if you do have a recording device of some kind if that's allowed in your area, I would recommend that you do it, if only for your own benefit of improving.
OK. That was my deconstruction video of Paul. I hope that you enjoyed it. I really enjoyed putting it together. If you have any suggestions, from the type of background that's behind me, or the audio, or things that you would like to hear me talk about, or if there's a particular encounter that you watched me do and want to see me deconstruct it, by all means, let me know in the comments below and I will take some time and I'll do that.
Thank you very much for watching, and I wish you all the best.