As Jesse Duplantis begs for $54 million to buy a jet plane, let's remember this little ditty popularized by Josh McDowell (though I am sure he didn't originate the basic idea):
For example, suppose a student comes into the room and says, “Hey-I
have a stewed tomato in my right tennis shoe. This tomato has changed my
life. It has given me peace and love and joy that I never experienced
before.” It’s hard to argue with a student like that if his life backs
up what he says.
it's hard to argue with a student like that, but it's not because his
life backs up what he says. It's because we long ago fell into this
trap where subjective experience trumps objective fact.
an objective sense, you could run that student in circles with
arguments on why the stewed tomato isn't that cause of his peace. The
most obvious point is that it has the bearing of the tail wagging the
dog. But the real reason you can't argue with this student is because
all the relevant data is locked away in his skull behind a wall of what
some politely call confirmation bias. You can't argue with it if the
student wants it to be true.
corollary point to this is where we segue into Duplantis' $54 million
excursion into foolishness. This is just the latest of so many examples.
(Who remembers Oral Roberts saying God would "call him home" if his
followers didn't pony up $8 million? Oral's people were getting a
relative bargain.) It is also the fruit of the stewed tomato trap. Under
the assumption that you can't argue with experiences of peace, love and
joy, it follows as a corollary in the minds of critics that you also
can't argue with expressions of greed, selfishness, and dissatisfaction.
Christianity (the stewed tomato) has changed Duplantis' life this way?
No thanks. Directions to the nearest Buddhist temple, please.
used the stewed tomato analogy a lot in his time. It was no surprise
then that when I asked him some questions many years ago, he said that
he never started with apologetics when talking to people and that his
apologetics works were not meant to be evangelistic tools. He said as
much as well in Evidence That Demands A Verdict: His goal was to use apologetics to answer questions so he could get back to presenting the stewed tomato.
like this are no aid to apologetics, and foolish excursions like the
one Duplantis is on only make the job of apologetics harder. Thanks to
the stewed tomato trap, it is hard to argue against it.